TheStandard.com: U.K. Passes E-Mail Snooping Bill Into Law
Country Watch: Britain
7/28/2000; 12:24:04 PM 'A surveillance bill granting the U.K. government sweeping powers to access e-mail and other encrypted Internet communications passed its final vote in the House of Commons on Wednesday and is set to become law on Oct. 5. Among other provisions, the Regulation of Investigatory Powers (RIP) bill requires Internet service providers in the U.K. to track all data traffic passing through their computers and route it to the Government Technical Assistance Center (GTAC). The GTAC is being established in the London headquarters of the U.K. security service MI5 the equivalent to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the U.S.'
Music & MP3
7/28/2000; 10:38:08 AM 'Fairtunes is an Internet service that allows digital music consumers to pay artists for their work.'
Note, paying the artists is not the same as paying the copyright holder, as the studios hold the copyright. It's a purely moral gesture with no legal force.
No "There" There
Misc.7/28/2000; 9:41:25 AM 'Cyberspace isn't on any map, but I know that it must exist, because it is spoken of every day. People spend hours in chat rooms. They visit Web sites. They travel through this electronic domain on an information superhighway. The language we use implies that cyberspace is a place as tangible as France or St. Louis or the coffee shop on the corner. But why, exactly, should we think of the Internet as a geographic location? I recently participated in a telephone conference call with people in several other states and countries. Were we all together in another "place"? I doubt that any of us thought so.'Counterpoint: In Bruce Sterling's relatively well-known (and freely available on the Internet) book, he starts the first chapter with the invention of the telephone as the first 'cyberspace'.To some extent, both views are right. Part of the problem is simply the nature of the metaphor, which not everybody agrees on. To his credit, the author actually points this out at the end of the article:'The cyberspace-as-place metaphor is probably here to stay. And it has its uses, as do the many other fanciful metaphors we use in everyday speech. But let's not be misled. The regulation of cyberspace -- in areas from copyright to taxation to privacy -- hardly represents the spoliation of a pristine and untamed land.'
Divided Data Can Elude the Censor
Free Speech7/28/2000; 8:11:34 AM 'The system is called Publius, after the pen name adopted by the authors of the Federalist Papers. It dices up messages, encrypts the pieces and spreads them across many computer servers. The pieces, called keys, are designed so that even a small number of them can be assembled into a complete message. Thus, while keys would live on dozens or hundreds of computers, a user would need to have access to only a few of those computers to have enough information to reassemble the document. Publius recently accepted its first users as part of a two-month trial.'Dr. Rubin said he hoped that political dissidents and others would use Publius to spread messages that otherwise would run the risk of being censored by autocratic governments or powerful organizations. In a paper about Publius, for example, Dr. Rubin and his co-authors, Dr. Lorrie Faith Cranor, a senior researcher at AT&T, and Marc Waldman, a doctoral student at New York University, wrote that the Church of Scientology tried to censor information about itself that it considered secret. "The Church has used copyright and trademark law, intimidation and illegal searches and seizures in an attempt to suppress the publication of Church documents," they wrote.'AT&T doing this? Wow... in today's climate, they will be sued as a liable party when something gets released that somebody doesn't like (the Church of Scientology, mentioned in the article, is a likely one), and by their own admission, they will be powerless to stop it. This is a bold thing for a company to support.
Toysmart suspends auction of customer list
Privacy from Companies
7/28/2000; 8:06:36 AM 'Objections to the sale of confidential customer information have driven Toysmart.com to temporarily pull its customer list from auction, according to the Massachusetts attorney general's office....
'"The debtor said that because of all of the objections being filed (against the sale of its customer list), no bidder was wanting to come forward," said Massachusetts Assistant Attorney General Pam Kogut. "All of the objections had chilled the possibility of a sale." But this does not mean Toysmart will no longer consider the sale of its list, she added.'
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