Nov 20, 2000

Support for UCITA Law Eroding
11/20/2000; 3:25:05 PM

'After more than a year of conflict, a campaign by America Online, Microsoft and other powerful software companies to pass legislation dramatically limiting the rights of software buyers appears to have stalled in the face of growing opposition.

'Half a dozen states this year have considered the controversial legislation, which would allow software companies to ban the sale of used software, avoid fixing software bugs and even block the publication of critical reviews of their products.

'But concerns about the unprecedented power the law would give software firms has gradually eroded support in legislatures that had hoped passing the bills would attract high-paying technology companies to their states.'

Nov 20, 2000

Court to Yahoo: Use Nazi Filter
Country Watch: France
11/20/2000; 1:21:52 PM 'In a landmark ruling with potential implications for Web users around the world, a French court on Monday ordered U.S. Internet giant Yahoo to bar French users from sites selling Nazi memorabilia.

'Judge Jean-Jacques Gomez confirmed a ruling that he first issued on May 22 ordering Yahoo to prevent people in France from accessing English-language sites that auction Nazi books, daggers, SS badges and uniforms....

'Gomez ordered Yahoo to conform with the findings of the panel, submitted on Nov. 6, that a filter system registering keywords could block access to the offending sites for 90 percent of French Web surfers.'

At least this ruling is in touch with reality. 90% blocking may indeed be achievable. 100% isn't, and if they were held liable for every violation, that would quickly become prohibitive.

So, what will the rest of the world do?  You know France isn't the only country that will have its own things it wants to block. In this particular instance, France seems to be OK with the fact that perfection is unachievable, and presumable Yahoo! won't be held accountable for those 10% violations. Will the rest of the world (and the next major issue in France, whatever that may be) be so reasonable?

(Of course, there's still that thorny jurisdiction issue... can France tell Yahoo! USA what to do and make it stick?)

Nov 20, 2000

New LinkBack Feature & First User
11/20/2000; 10:52:44 AM

Last week, I added a new feature to LinkBack.  It can now send the results anywhere, so you can host them on your own weblogs if you want. 

Serious Instructional Technology is the first (and currently) only site using it. "Who's Linking to SiT" in the upper left is being dynamically generated and uploaded via XML-RPC every hour.... which means that iRights is now showing as linking to him (since this has been posted for long enough).

(While I also taught the system to use FTP, using Manila and XML-RPC is cool; I (or rather my system) can post to SiT without having to have full permissions to the site; to post with FTP requires having the password for FTP, which means that I would be able to do anything to the site. Manila-managed sites are more secure for everyone, and XML-RPC makes it an easy function call from inside Radio Userland where LinkBack is currently living.)

Nov 20, 2000

Watching for Internet Privacy Law Signals
Privacy from Companies
11/20/2000; 10:12:32 AM

'E-commerce companies and other Internet-based operations are going to face a cyberspace odyssey on the privacy front in 2001. In its next session, Congress is more likely than ever to pass online personal data protection legislation....

'The battle trenches are quickly being dug. Technology companies trying to figure out how not to break the law (remember, the Federal Trade Commission is erring on the side of the privacy advocates for the most part) will have to tune in to these key players next year.'

Nov 18, 2000

New documents shed more light on FBI's "Carnivore"
Surveillance and Privacy from Government
11/18/2000; 11:04:15 PM 'The FBI released additional documents about its controversial Carnivore technology Thursday, and critics immediately lambasted it as proof that the email-tapping program is more powerful and invasive than the government has disclosed.

'The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), which sued the FBI for the information through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), said the batch of paperwork indicates that Carnivore can capture and archive "unfiltered" Internet traffic--contrary to FBI assertions.'

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