Jul 18, 2001

Frontier XML Python Module
Personal Notes
7/18/2001; 3:39:34 PM I've released a Python module for Frontier's Table XML format. Please follow the link for more info if you're curious.

Jul 18, 2001

Case highlights law's threat to fair-use rights
DMCA7/18/2001; 12:39:49 PM 'The music industry is no longer threatening computer science professor Ed Felten with civil lawsuits for his research into one of the industry's digital copy-protection schemes. He doesn't have the same assurance, however, that the United States government won't launch a criminal prosecution if he proceeds.'That uncertainty grew more pronounced this week when the FBI arrested a visiting Russian computer scientist Monday in Las Vegas, charging him with violating the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act by distributing software that cracked a system for encrypting electronic books. It was one of the first criminal prosecutions under a bad law that was designed to protect copyright owners from unauthorized copying but is having all kinds of other negative effects....'Felten and his colleagues then filed suit, asking a federal judge in New Jersey to specifically allow them to publish -- to allow them their First Amendment rights -- and declare the DMCA unconstitutional. 'But the U.S. Justice Department, also a defendant in the Felten suit, hasn't responded. And after Tuesday's arrest, it's no wonder that Felten -- and programmers and researchers everywhere -- should be feeling considerably more nervous. A federal prosecutor in San Jose told me Tuesday that the law under which was Sklyarov charged wouldn't apply in Felten's case, but why should he take the risk?'

Jul 18, 2001

Swedish Supreme Court on the EU Data Directive
Free Speech7/18/2001; 10:51:10 AM 'The Swedish Supreme Court has made an important decision
regarding the EU data directive. This directive has been
interpreted by many people as a serious infringement in the
freedom of speech, since it requires permission from the
person you write about before you publish any information
about a person on the Internet.'
'The case was a person, who had published a web site, in which
he seriously criticized several Swedish banks and named
individuals working at these banks, which he regarded as
having improperly cheated the customers of the bank from
their money.'
'The Swedish Supreme Court rejects the convictions in the
lower court and the appeal court, and frees the person from
all he was prosecuted for.
'The main reasons given by the Swedish Supreme Court for this
decision is that:
'The EU Data Directive is based on the European Convention for
protection of human rights. This convention has two possibly
contradictory requirements: Protection of Privacy and Freedom
of Speech. However, Protection of Privacy is specified in
this convention as including private and family life, home
and personal correspondence. Acts taken by bank directors in
their work do not belong to this area....'
I find this interesting mostly because it is a break from the EU.

Jul 06, 2001

Going on vacation
7/6/2001; 8:40:45 AM I'll be leaving for a week so the already-sporadic updates will be getting even more sporadic.

Every time in the last week I've tried to post something here, I've been unable to get through. The problem's not always the server, but it doesn't much matter. I think that when I get back, I'm moving to another server under my control, 'cause this week has been annoying.

Jun 28, 2001

Microsoft drops Smart Tags from Windows XP
Free Speech6/28/2001; 8:56:32 AM 'As first reported by CNET, the Redmond, Wash.-based company has included Smart Tags in the most recent test versions of Windows XP, an upgrade to the Windows operating system. But a company spokesman said Wednesday that the technology will not be included in the final version that will be released Oct. 25.'Let's hear it for the power of whining!I'm glad that Microsoft is doing this. But it is in some sense disappointing. Someday, we as a society are going to have to pay the piper and actually hammer out these issues. (Then again, the longer we delay, the more we understand this stuff...)

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