Wednesday, June 30, 2004

In a 2-1 decision, the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston upheld a federal judge's dismissal last year of a wiretapping charge against Branford C. Councilman, a former vice president of Interloc. According to a 2001 indictment, Councilman ordered his employees to write software to monitor the incoming email of Interloc subscribers, looking for email from rival Amazon. The Appeals Court ruling says that Councilman's actions were legal. Representatives from the CDT and EFF are quoted as saying the decision is a real blow to privacy rights. Oddly enough, both Interloc's former system administrator and Alibris, which bought Interloc in 1998, plead guilty in the case.
Professor Steve Kurtz was charged today by a federal grand jury in Buffalo, New York--not with bioterrorism as had originally contended by the governement, but with obtaining $256 worth of bacteria that he apparently didn't pay for. According to the CAE press release, the Feds are playing fast and loose with the facts about the danger posed by this artist. Government agents using fear and deception to sway the public's opinion? Imagine that!

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

The Supreme Court has once again ruled that COPA may interfere with Americans' constitutional rights to free speech. The case now goes back to the lower court to decide if some web site operators will have to require users to prove they are adults.
The AP is reporting that the Bush administration is denying a request seeking the Justice Department's database on foreign lobbyists because copying the information would bring down the computer system. There you go: A database which can't retrieve data without fear of crashing. The system is operated in the counterespionage section of the Justice Department's criminal division and "was not designed for mass export of all stored images" according to a DOJ spokesperson, who also said the system experiences "substantial problems."

Monday, June 21, 2004

Matt Basham, a teacher at St. Petersburg College in Florida didn't like that his students had to spend hundreds of dollars on training textbooks from Cisco, the maker of industry-standard routers. So, he wrote his own 800 page, two-volume manual and is giving it away for free over the Internet. He's also selling hard copies for about $20.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Ernest Miller raises some interesting points in his recent post "Valve Bullys Cafes". Cyber Cafes are huge in some parts of the world and a growing business just about everywhere else. As Valve software gets ready to release the 800 Pound Gorilla known as Half-Life 2 to the public, its corporate decisions will resonate throughout the global economy. Agree or disagree with their tactics, but don't ignore the ramifications.