Touted by an odd coalition, ICANN’s .xxx domain money grab has fallen flat on its face. The expected land rush of defensive buys to avoid stigma never materialized and the smut peddlers are happy with the way things are.
The engineers who warned Lightsquared’s service would disrupt GPS are vindicated. This proves that while you can buy influence by backing corrupt pols, you can’t change the laws of physics. The idea could still work, but investment in engineering instead of elections will be required.
More Fourth Amendment abuse in the Senate: SOPA and Protect IP morph into the slightly less abusive OPEN bill. While it promises more due process, it still enables rogue agencies to violate the supreme law of the land. Meanwhile, Senator Wyden does some call out the DHS for going rogue showboating.
How to harass the competition without tarnishing your highbrow image. Wage war on rivals by proxy: Apple Gives mobile patents to a troll.
Comic Louis CK’s latest film goes direct to download for $5. Chances are he’ll make far more from self distribution then releasing through one of the big studios. Look for more big name entertainers to follow.
Another sign the patent system is broken: Google wants to patent the cloud as a print server.
Regardless of how you may feel about the unconstitutional Patriot Act, it’s potential for abuse remains it’s most problematic feature. Having fulfilled it’s usefulness, the act was supposed to have expired this year. But bad laws die hard in Washington. Congress and the President gave it a 4 year extension earlier this year due to “ongoing threats”. I believe that the most feared threat in Washington is the loss of all of the bureaucracy the Patriot Act created that it’s sunset could defund.
Most troubling is how the Patriot Act lends itself to the ongoing assault on our rights in the virtual world. I believe that there are those in Government and industry who are making a very proactive and deliberate effort to mute the Constitution’s power in the cloud. The potential for overreaching thanks to unchecked authority is a disaster waiting to happen. The Patriot Act provides for so called emergency surveillance with out due process. With no more terror activity taking than in the last eight or so years, a 400% increase in Internet snooping seems a little extraordinary.
According to an official DOJ report, the use of “emergency”, warrantless requests to ISPs for customer communications content has skyrocketed over 400% in a single year.
The 2009 report (pdf), which I recently obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request (it took DOJ 11 months (pdf) to give me the two-page report), reveals that law enforcement agencies within the Department of Justice sought and obtained communications content for 91 accounts. This number is a significant increase over previous years: 17 accounts in 2008 (pdf), 9 accounts in 2007 (pdf), and 17 accounts in 2006 (pdf). (Slight Paranoia)
At the very least DOJ has some explaining to do. Congress is supposed to provide oversight. Will it? Will so called civil libertarians like the EFF seek answers in the courts? I’m not seeing much indication either are interested. I hope I am wrong.