Microsoft's Passport service: No Marylanders allowed?
UCITA4/26/2001; 11:46:24 PM 'It also appears that Microsoft is attempting to bar residents of Maryland and, potentially, other states considering the Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act from using Passport with this sentence in the terms-of-use agreement: "Use of the Passport Web Site and service is unauthorized in any jurisdiction that does not give effect to all provisions of these terms and conditions, including without limitation this paragraph."' 'Maryland's much-maligned UCITA, which is slightly different from the version originally proposed, gives its state courts jurisdiction over software licensing issues for Maryland residents and companies. (Here's the text of Maryland's UCITA, but it's in rich text [rtf] format.)''Of course, UCITA also binds consumers to the software license agreements they sign, so it would seem that Maryland's UCITA would contradict itself in this case -- by giving Maryland courts jurisdiction over software disputes at the same time it ties the user to an agreement to use courts in King County, Wash.'If you need an idea for a book to write, write Corruption Never Pays: Why Laws You Buy Always Come Back To Haunt You. It seems corporate megaliths never learn some lessons...
Watermark Crackers Back Away
4/26/2001; 9:22:34 PM '"We, the authors, reached a collective decision not to expose ourselves, our employers, and the conference organizers to litigation at this time," Ed Felten, a computer science professor at Princeton, told a crowd of reporters who gathered in the lobby of the Holiday Inn where the Fourth International Information Hiding Workshop was taking place.'
That's officially, of course. Unofficially, some of us have already read the paper...
Punching Holes in Internet Walls
4/26/2001; 1:04:52 PM 'In the Middle East, for example, anti- Islamic sites and gay sites are often off- limits. In China, the prohibition includes the sites of Western publications, human rights organizations and Falun Gong, the banned spiritual movement. And Saudi Arabia also blocks sites for financial reasons: its ban on Internet telephony favors its own state-run telephone monopoly.'
'Countering such government restrictions are services, some free, that are provided by companies like SafeWeb (www.safeweb.com), Anonymizer (www.anonymizer.com), SilentSurf.com (www.silentsurf.com) and the Cloak (www.the-cloak.com). During the conflict in Kosovo in 1999, for example, Anonymizer, based in San Diego, set up free services so that Kosovo residents could communicate with less fear.'
iMotors shutters site
Personal Commentary4/26/2001; 12:11:30 AM 'iMotors shut down its operations because it didn't have enough cash to grow its business, according to the note. The company, which sold used cars over the Internet after refurbishing them, said it would refund deposits placed with it and honor car warranties on vehicles it had already sold.'If I can just hold out long enough, iRights be the last site on the net with a name of the form "iNoun". Then my name will look... *gasp*... original! One down, hundreds to go... Wish me luck!Update: And there goes iSyndicate! Droppin' like flies!
Libertarian, or Just Bizarro?
Misc.4/25/2001; 12:48:06 PM 'What if you could take all the haters and the perverts and the spammers and stick them on their own private Internet?'That way, they could do whatever they want without bothering the rest of us, and we wouldn't have to spend our money or time regulating them.'If it sounds too simple, it probably is.'Bah. This isn't worthy of top billing on Wired.com. The most telling quote:'Though the idea may have appeal among some of the special-interest groups above as well as Web anarchists and dyed-in-the-wool libertarians, nobody seems clear on what exactly splinternets are, how they would work, or what Crews is really talking about.'Nobody, including the reporter, it seems; see Update below.Proposals of this nature go beyond "the devil is in the details"... there's nothing but details. Vague promises and claims are utterly useless; only practical proposals that can be analysed are useful. Put simply, without details the proposal is on par with a proposal that we be able to deliver pizzas over the phone line; easy to propose, but pure nonsense in the real world. Without more specificity, it's just beating at air.Until he spends a bit more time thinking about the non-existant idea(s) he is so busily proselytizing, Crew belongs firmly in the catagory of "bizzaro".'Indeed, "the exclusion of others" seems to be the most prominent thread in Crews' vision, not the politics of ownership or regulation....' '"Do people really want to be connected to everyone? I don't think so." Crews said. "Fundamentally, people want to be connected to other people like them."'*shudder* That's the wrong point of view... people don't so much seek out the company of people like them as avoid the company of people they don't like... which may or may not be "people unlike them". There's no need to break off and form your own net... just find somewhere you like and stay there! Most people already do this. Except for perhaps isolating children, this proposal solves a problem that doesn't really exist, and institutes a form of isolationism that could cause trouble later.
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