Nov 08, 2001

Judge: Yahoo not bound by French Nazi ban - Tech News -
Country Watch- France, Free Speech
'A U.S. federal judge ruled Wednesday that Yahoo was not bound to comply with French laws governing Internet content, a decision which could have broad implications for international free speech rights in the Internet age.'

Sanity! Sweet, sweet sanity! Enjoy it while you can, it may be a while before you see any more.

This case has had a long history. Brief review: Yahoo! has a seperate Auctions site for France (as well as many other countries). Yahoo! Auctions in France allowed people to sell Nazi items, illegal in France. France sued them, and issued an order that applied to all of Yahoo, everywhere, that they had to stop selling that stuff in auction. Today's news is that the US will not honor the universal restriction, freeing Yahoo! in the US to continue to sell Nazi items. Yahoo! France still cannot, but that's reasonable.

'"Today the judge basically he said it was not consistent with the laws of the United States for another nation to regulate speech for a U.S. resident within the United States," Worth said.'

Slightly off-topic: This kind of thing is why I am quite against the inevitable-seeming "One World Government". You get the same monoculture effects that you get with a Microsoft monopoly, or in biology. Multiple competing countries is messier in the short term, but in the long term, better for everybody. (The REAL answer is to colonize space, but that still seems unlikely.)


Nov 07, 2001

Which America Will We Be Now?
'While firemen and police were racing into the fires of hell in downtown New York, and now, while our soldiers and airmen and Marines are putting their lives on the line in Afghanistan, the Administration and its Congressional allies are allowing multinational companies to make their most concerted effort in twenty years to roll back clean-air measures, exploit public lands and stuff the pockets of their executives and shareholders with undeserved cash. Against such crass exploitation, unequaled since the Teapot Dome scandal, it is every patriot's duty to join the loyal opposition.'


Nov 07, 2001

File-swapping case may break new ground - Tech News -
Free Speech, Music & MP3, Programmer's Rights
'The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), which has represented hackers, cryptographers and computer scientists in its push for digital rights, agreed to defend MusicCity against copyright infringement charges by movie studios and record labels. It's helping build a high-powered team of lawyers to show that this case is different from Napster's.'

'"This case shows more clearly (than Napster) that what the plaintiffs are most concerned about is control of technology," said Andrew Bridges, a Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati attorney representing MusicCity. "This is all about whether they can leverage copyrights into control over software development."'


Nov 02, 2001

Monsters, Inc.
Personal Commentary
As a Computer Science major, it is required that I immediately rush out and see all computer animated films the day they are released. (At least the good ones.)

So, a few hours ago you could have seen me in the local theater for one showing of the newly-released movie from Pixar, Monsters, Inc.

Here's the complete list of reasons not to see it:

Special effects in Hollywood seem to cause a peculiar form of amnesia in movie makers whereby they forget to add a story to the movie. Pixar's movies, which have been completely computer animated and are in some sense the very definition of "modern special effects", have been the shining counterexamples, and this movie is no different. If you liked the Toy Stories or A Bug's Life, you'll like this movie. Period.

Much like those movies, Monster's Inc. is the very definition of a family movie, as opposed to a children's movie with jokes for the adults thrown in as a concession to the people REALLY paying for the ticket. The plot is funny, well paced, well assembled, and successfully carries the movie. Bring your kids, and your imagination. (You won't need your "inner child"... your "inner adult" should find the movie sufficiently enjoyable.)

I don't believe in recounting the plot in a review, so I'll let it stand with this: A bigger culture clash one can hardly imagine.

For a vastly more whiney view of the movie, written by a review who was annoyed because the movie wasn't the movie they wouldn't have written, see this Salon article. (No, really, the whole review is a description of the movie the reviewer would have written, or perhaps more accurately, expected to see. The reviewer doesn't actually review the movie they saw.)

Oh, and if you care, the tech's cool. Watch the hair on the main character. Wow. But the story's the thing.


Nov 02, 2001

Stealing MS Passport's Wallet
Hacking & Cracking
'By cobbling together a handful of browser-based bugs with flaws in Passport's authentication system, Slemko developed a technique to steal a person's Microsoft Passport, credit card numbers -- and all, simply by getting the victim to open a Hotmail message.'

Were it not for the discouraging effects of the DMCA, I would find it enjoyable to try to crack .Net, in the effort to improve the system for the users. Of course, in this legal environment, I have better ways to have fun then improve somebody else's code for free.

Once again, it's worth reminding people that this crack broke the entire .Net system wide open. That's the perils of centralized architecture like this. This is only the first of many, I expect.

If you want security, do NOT sign on to Passport. The more you think you need to, the more "services" you would thus activate, the more true this is.


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