Sep 23, 2001

Oracle boss urges national ID cards, offers free software (9/22/2001)
'Broaching a controversial subject that has gained visibility since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Oracle Chairman and CEO Larry Ellison is calling for the United States to create a national identification card system -- and offering to donate the software to make it possible.'

I'd like to ditto this.


Sep 23, 2001

Today, there's safety in spreading out (9/22/2001)
'Then came the atrocities of Sept. 11. In the horror of that day, and in the way the Internet responded, the logic of decentralization has never been more clear.'

The first hint of dispersal talk that I wondered about on the original WTCAttack list.


Sep 23, 2001

Don’t Press the Panic Button
'Congress is being asked to rush to pass emergency antiterrorist legislation written by the Department of Justice. House Committee hearings are scheduled for Friday, Senate hearings for Tuesday, and the DOJ is demanding the bill be enacted by the end of the week. It would be a serious mistake for Congress leaders to force this legislation into law without careful scrutiny, because much of the legislation turns out to have nothing to do with fighting terrorism. Instead, the legislation contains a host of items which have been on bureaucratic wish lists for many years....'

'Before voting for any bill — and especially for a bill on a fast-forward agenda — congressmen have an obligation to read the bill. When they read the proposed new DOJ bill, they will find much that is unnecessary, and more that is a serious threat to the Bill of Rights.'

The CDT also has an analysis of the bill (PDF). My call: If this thing passes, anyone interested in liberty has lost. That's how critical this is. It'd be years before the Supreme Court got a case and could overturn this, and they'd probably have to do it in parts.


Sep 21, 2001

MS FrontPage Restricts Free Speech II (It's True!)
Free Speech
From Slashdot:

Several readers have told me their EULA for FrontPage 2002 does not contain the no-disparaging-MS term, or that the term only applies to the FrontPage logo or to the Web components like the MSNBC news headline component. Just to be sure, this afternoon I went down to the store and bought a copy of FrontPage 2002 myself. In the box was the "Microsoft Frontpage 2002" license on a four-page folded sheet, titled "End- User License Agreement For Microsoft Software." Under Section #1, Grant of License, the second paragraph headed "Restrictions" states in part: "You may not use the Software in connection with any site that disparages Microsoft, MSN, MSNBC, Expedia, or their products or services, infringe any intellectual property or other rights of these parties, violate any state, federal or international law, or promote racism, hatred or pornography." (Not only a stunning example of legal overreaching, in my opinion, but very poor grammar as well.) It appears to me to clearly apply to use of the program as a whole and not just the logo or Web components. I suspect that there are different versions of the EULA of FrontPage 2002. Perhaps the license was updated for the most recent SKU, or versions obtained through different channels don't yet have it. I'm going to try to get Microsoft to clarify where this EULA does and doesn't appear, but I'm not sure they will be very anxious to provide me with that information.

This appeared on Slashdot yesterday, but I was waiting for confirmation; it smelled like a misunderstanding. However, it seems to have been true.

Many people on Slashdot decried the apparently-illegal nature of this restriction. But, I think a liberal reading of the nearly-forgotten UCITA, which as you may recall is essentially in effect in some states, means that this is perfectly legal in those states. It's a little liberal because I'm extending the review-banning clause, but it definately has the spirit of the law.

Now, I'm not claiming it's constitutional, because it probably isn't. But in UCITA states, it's probably legally binding, i.e., it would take a protracted lawsuit to get out of this.


Sep 15, 2001

Open Letter to Michael Eisner, Chairman and CEO, Walt Disney Company
'The SSSCA, which you are in the middle of buying from Congress, would outlaw the software that powers the independent Internet, the Internet that had many of us crying on our keyboards this week, from loss, relief or rage. At times like this, a slightly cracked monkey means more to us than a perfectly coiffed mouse.'


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