12th > July > 2007 Archive

3

Google hosting Frenchified Miami Vice episode

Google continues to fight allegations that it's promoting video piracy. In March, entertainment giant Viacom slapped Google with a $1bn lawsuit over copyrighted videos posted to YouTube, the site Google purchased last fall, and now, the National Legal and Policy Center is asking whether the search engine cum world power is facilitating copyright infringement on its home-grown video-sharing site, Google Video. Today, the NLPC posted a list of 50 copyrighted movies and TV shows that it says have been hosted by Google Video, including everything from Columbia's recent Spiderman 3 flick, Disney's Meet the Robinsons, and Warner Brothers' Blood Diamond to a French dub of "Miami Vice." "Our goal is to do our best to expose the pirating of copyrighted material by finding and posting as many apparently pirated works as possible," reads the center's report. "For starters, we are focusing on Google Video because it hosts many full-length movies and concerts and because it has received less attention than YouTube." According to the center, all fifty titles were available from Google Video as recently as this Saturday. And, yes, Michael Moore's Sicko is on the list. In mid-June, after complaints from The Weinstein Company, the film's producer, Google pulled copies of Sicko from both YouTube and Google Video, but it seems that pirated copies continue to pop up. Like another film on the NLPC list, Evan Almighty, Sicko continues to play in American theaters. It first appeared on Google Video and YouTube well before its official theatrical release. Google spokesperson Gabriel Stricker told The Register that the company is committed to removing copyrighted material whenever the copyright holder asks that it be taken down. "We not only meet but actually exceed what is required of us by DMCA," Stricker said, referring to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the U.S. law that addresses copyright issues with digital media. "We have created a number of tools that makes it very easy for users, specifically content owners, to notify us and request removal of potentially infringing content." But Stricker confirmed that a copyright holder must notify Google each time infringing content is posted to its sites. "It's important for us to be notified every time," he said. "There are some instances where the entire piece of content has been posted. There are others where there are mash-ups of the content, some sort of derivative use that's permissible under the law. It's very difficult to generalize." The company has also implemented a "hash" system designed to block repeated uploads of the same infringing material, and Stricker insisted that repeat offenders will have their Google accounts terminated. Of course, there are ways around a hashing algorithm. According to Stricker, Google is working on additional technologies that can better identify copyrighted video. The company is already using technology from Audible Magic to identify copyrighted songs on its sites, and previously said that it will soon unveil video fingerprinting technology on YouTube. They better get a move on. It looks like there's another suit on the way from The Buttock.®
Cade Metz, 12 Jul 2007
Beginning Unix
1

IBM performs AIX6 peep show

Packed with pride over the release of the Power6 chip, IBM has decided to go bold with its complementary AIX6 operating system. It's putting the OS up for public beta - a first for Big Blue. Historically, IBM will hand deliver beta AIX code to thirty of forty of its largest customers. With AIX6, however, IBM has gone to the trouble of crafting a web site for the beta, allowing anyone with CD burning wherewithal to grab the code. IBM pitches the new open stance as a way to welcome HP-UX and Solaris users to the wonders of AIX.
Ashlee Vance, 12 Jul 2007
Recycle sign
1

MEPs back green procurement

Public sector buyers of office equipment will have to apply strict energy efficiency criteria after MEPs passed new procurement rules.
Kablenet, 12 Jul 2007
4

Laois takes 'All Ireland eBay Champion' crown

Laois residents are the top eBay users in Ireland, beating out neighbours Carlow to take first place, new statistics have revealed. According to the auction site's Irish figures, Laois topped the list of counties when it came to buying from eBay, coming first as both the most buyers per capita out of the 26 counties, and the All Ireland eBay Champion of 2007. The county was closely followed by Carlow and Wicklow to finish off the top three. John McElligott, MD, eBay Ireland eBay's All Ireland rankings were devised to learn about post Celtic Tiger shopping habits, and to give the firm a snapshot of who's selling what on the auction site. "Laois has a strong record of buying and selling on eBay.ie, however they surprised even us when they emerged as the winners of the eBay.ie All Ireland," said John McElligott, managing director of eBay.ie Each county had their strengths; Laois citizens, for example, top the poll for spending on cars and trucks, and business, office and industrial goods. The county even outdid Dublin in this regard, buying five times more office equipment than the capital despite its considerably smaller population. Carlow, on the other hand, excels in the home and collectables categories, while Wicklow eBayers are a touch more creative, preferring to spend on art and photography. Galway is a county of sports fanatics, selling the most sporting goods of all the counties. Cork eBayers, on the other hand, are clearly a talkative bunch, selling more mobile phones and accessories per capita than any other county. The capital city, meanwhile, comes into its own in the consumer electronics stakes, topping the list of sellers per capita. Dublin natives are also responsible for buying the second highest amount of clothing and accessories per capita. Monaghan trailed the pack in both buying and selling categories, a position the auction site has said comes down to problems with broadband access in rural areas. © 2007 ENN
Ciara O'Brien, 12 Jul 2007
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114

BBC Trust to hear open sourcers' iPlayer gripes

ExclusiveExclusive The BBC Trust has asked to meet open source advocates to discuss their complaints over the corporation's Windows-only on demand broadband TV service, iPlayer.
Christopher Williams, 12 Jul 2007
Flag Germany

Resellers warn of more expensive PCs

An international group of resellers is warning that changes to German copyright laws are likely to mean more expensive PCs. The controversial law will add a so-called "copyright levy" to IT equipment in order to compensate authors and artists for legal copies made of their work.
John Oates, 12 Jul 2007
18

Beeb reveals Kylie as Titanic waitress

The BBC has released the first still from Doctor Who Xmas special Voyage of the Damned, showing Oz popstress Kylie Minogue as a waitress on the Titanic. Filming on the yule extravangaza - described by Russell T Davies as "ambitious" - kicked off in Cardiff this week. Minogue stars as Astrid aboard the ill-fated liner, in a story which follows on directly from the end of series three. As is the local custom, Minogue enthused: "It is an incredible thrill to be joining David and the entire Dr Who production for this year's Christmas special. Doctor Who enjoys a unique history and it is going to be very exciting to be a part of that." She's joined by an able crew of familiar faces, including Britain's "best loved sitcom actors", Geoffrey Palmer and Clive Swift, the former playing Titanic's captain. The BBC's thespo love-in adds: "Voyage of the Damned will also feature Gray O'Brien who recently appeared in the Oscar winning film The Queen, Debbie Chazen; star of the BBC comedy series The Smoking Room, Olivier Award winner Clive Rowe, Russell Tovey from the smash hit film The History Boys, Jimmy Vee who has previously been in Doctor Who as the Moxx of Balhoon, and George Costigan who starred in The Long Firm* and the acclaimed film Rita Sue and Bob Too." Sadly for fans, there's no mention of the convincing Sophia Myles, who played Madame de Pompadour in The Girl in the Fireplace. Many wanted to see Myles take up permanent residence alongside the good Doctor for series four, and are still recovering from the shock news that Catherine Tate will reprise her Runaway Bride role as the Time Lord's companion while Martha Jones is seconded to Torchwood. ® Bootnote *Quite what The Long Firm has done to miss out in this orgy of superlatives is anyone's guess. Sadly, it's apparently neither Oscar winning, best loved, acclaimed, or a smash hit. Oh well...
Lester Haines, 12 Jul 2007
34

Why the iPhone is a success

ColumnColumn Two weeks after the iPhone virus started spreading, the verdict has to be that Steve Jobs has got it right.
Guy Kewney, 12 Jul 2007

LG goes Goth with black Shine

LG has introduced its latest Shine handset: a Goth-friendly dark metal machine dubbed the Titanium Black model - a phone with 'something of the night' about it.
Tony Smith, 12 Jul 2007
Smart and gets things done

'Smart and gets things done'

Book reviewBook review Smart and gets things done is a pretty apt description of the kind of people we want to recruit into our development teams. Unfortunately, this is no easy matter. And, given the consequences of a wrong choice for either party, it can often be a pretty hit and miss affair. Joel Spolsky, of VBA and Joel On Software fame, has put together this slim little volume that aims to let us all into the secret of recruiting the best of the best of the best. Oh, and along the way we get to learn a lot about Joel, his company, and what a great place it is to work in...
Dr Pan Pantziarka, 12 Jul 2007
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13

Second-generation Sony PSP unveiled

It seems that Sony's PlayStation Portable (PSP) has been working out and lost some of its puppy fat, resulting in a re-designed Sony handheld console that's 33 per cent lighter and 19 per cent slimmer - as predicted almost a year ago.
James Sherwood, 12 Jul 2007
23

Water found on extrasolar planet

For the first time ever, water has been conclusively identified in the atmosphere of a planet outside our solar system. The presence of water on another planet is a groundbreaking discovery, and has fuelled hopes that one day we will find life somewhere out there. Water is widely regarded as being an essential ingredient for life. Certainly on Earth, wherever there is water and energy, there lurks something living, however slimy or weird. Unfortunately for seekers of little green men to whom we could come in peace, the planet would be very unfamiliar to anyone who evolved in this neighbourhood. HD 189733b, located 63 light-years away, in the constellation Vulpecula, is a gas giant slightly larger than Jupiter, and orbits its star once every 2.2 days. The researchers, who made the discovery using NASA's Spitzer space telescope, say the discovery lays the ground work for detecting water, and possibly life, on more familiar, rocky worlds like Earth. Dr Giovanna Tinetti, an ESA fellow from the Institute d'Astrophysique de Paris and UCL said: "The 'holy grail' for today's planet hunters is to find an Earth-like planet that also has water in its atmosphere. That discovery, when it happens, will provide real evidence that planets outside of our Solar System might harbour life. So the discovery that water exists on an extra-solar gas giant is a vital milestone along that road of discovery." The watery gas giant is a transiting planet - it passes directly between us and its star as it orbits. This gives astronomers an opportunity to study the spectrum of light that passes through the planet's atmosphere from its parent star. The researchers, led by Dr Tinetti, found that the planet absorbs the starlight in a way that can only be explained if it has water vapour in its atmosphere. The starlight that had passed through the planet's atmosphere dimmed at two infrared bands: 3.6 and 5.8 micrometres. If the planet was rocky world with no atmosphere, both bands (and a third at 8 micrometres) would respond the same way. But in this case, the atmosphere absorbed less radiation at 3.6 micrometres than at either 5.8 or 8 micrometres. Water is the only molecule that can explain this behaviour, the researchers say. As for finding water on smaller planets, first we have to find the planets. Today's telescopes are not quite sensitive enough to detect the gravitational wobble exerted by smaller, rocky worlds that will be so much more interesting to us. But when the James Webb Telescope launches in 2011, some smaller planets might well become targets for this kind of analysis. ®
Lucy Sherriff, 12 Jul 2007
2

Belkin builds download 'speedometer' into next-gen Wi-Fi box

Accessory specialist Belkin will this month connect consumers with the latest incarnation of its shiny black N1 802.11n Wi-Fi router - a slimline system with a built-in download speedometer.
Tony Smith, 12 Jul 2007
channel
22

South Dakota rejoins the execution club

South Dakota yesterday executed its first prisoner in 60 years, 25-year-old Elijah Page, who succumbed to a "lethal combination of three drugs at the state penitentiary in Sioux Falls", the local Argus Leader reports.
Lester Haines, 12 Jul 2007
Warning Stop

Stopping integration as an 'accident'

Look at any schematic diagram of the integration needed to ensure good communications between different collaborating applications and you instantly see the meaning behind the phrase "accidental architecture". Add in the complexities inherent with the introduction of SOA environments, however, where a large number of applications can loosely integrate to many others on a temporary basis, and one can soon end up with an "accidental knitting pattern".
Martin Banks, 12 Jul 2007
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12

Brit troops release badger plague on Basra

British forces in the lively Iraqi city of Basra are denying claims they are responsible for a "plague" of "vicious badger-like creatures which have attacked livestock - and even humans", the Telegraph reports.
Lester Haines, 12 Jul 2007

If no news is good news, why do we have so many stories every week?

A failure to communicate Big news of the week is that Reg readers have decided communication is not something they want in their world. When given the option of changing the term for our industry from IT (information technology) to ICT (information communications technology), 57 per cent voted to consign ICT to the fires of hell and the dustbin of history, whichever was closest at hand. Only 12 per cent said they wanted to keep communicating.
Billy MacInnes, 12 Jul 2007
12

Logitech launches Wii Mote-like 'in-air' mouse

UpdatedUpdated With a rather ostentatious claim that "the future of PC navigation starts now", mouse-maker Logitech today unveiled an input device that's as at home being waved around in the air as it is being pushed around a desk.
Tony Smith, 12 Jul 2007
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24

Nintendo to let Wii gamers go for their guns

With a look that's a little reminiscent of the Austrian Steyr Aug 9mm assault rifle, Nintendo's Wii Zapper is set to help gamers dive into the melee, lock 'n' load, lay down suppressing fire and, it's hoped... survive.
James Sherwood, 12 Jul 2007
28

Netgear Storage Central Turbo SC101T network storage box

ReviewReview Storage for digital documents has never been cheaper, but what's the best way to make it available to all the computers in your home or office? You've got a network - why not use that? Enter the network-connected storage box...and to tempt you to spend your hard-earned this week is Netgear's Storage Central Turbo SC101T.
Tony Smith, 12 Jul 2007
Iphone
52

What's al-Qaeda's take on the iPhone?

In-depth analysisIn-depth analysis In a fortnight during which just about everyone on the planet, excluding naturally those in a coma or temporarily indisposed up some tributary of the Amazon, has offered their two bits' worth on the launch of Apple's iPhone, it comes as a bit of a surprise that al-Qaeda has dismally failed to contribute to the brouhaha.
Jefferson Alberry II, 12 Jul 2007
Warning Speed Camera
21

Plods to get helmet cams

Police officers are to be equipped with head cameras under the government's latest crime fighting initiative. The Home Office is to provide £3m to equip police forces across the country with head camera technology, following successful trials in Plymouth.
Kablenet, 12 Jul 2007
1

EU info group probes UK.gov IT strategy

A parliamentary organisation is planning an inquiry into the Transformational Government strategy. The European Information Society Group (Eurim) will formally launch the exercise on 18 July, with a call for evidence and plans to hold three hearings in October and November, after the publication of the next round of Comprehensive Spending Reviews. Margaret Moran MP, the chair of the organisation, told GC News the inquiry is aimed at raising awareness of Transformational Government among MPs and influencing future policy. "We hope it can link the policy strands and free up resources to deal with complex issues," she said. "We want to clear out the easy online services and focus on the people who really need them." Eurim's secretary general Philip Virgo said the process will cover three strands with individual hearings on each: social inclusion, ensuring that online services reach people who reach people without internet access; shared services, extending to partnerships with groups such as non-governmental organisations and community enterprises; and democratisation of delivery, taking in the techniques developed in online social networking. "We think we've gone for the three areas that are most difficult," he said. "They've been picked in consultation with ministers and officials." Among the figures due to give evidence are Sir David Varney, government chief information officer John Suffolk, and chief executive of the Royal Society for Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce Matthew Taylor. Virgo said Eurim may ultimately publish a report from the inquiry, but that it is more concerned that it influences the thinking of MPs and feeds into the policy making process. The organisation is receiving submissions to the process at dialogues@eurim.org. This article was originally published at Kablenet. Kablenet's GC weekly is a free email newsletter covering the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. To register click here.
Kablenet, 12 Jul 2007
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Samsung extends snapper series

Samsung has launched four digital cameras, all aluminium-clad and ranging between 7- and 8-megapixel models.
James Sherwood, 12 Jul 2007
Ety8_SM
3

Etymotic touts 'world's first' Bluetooth earphones

Congratulations to Etymotic for creating Ety8, the world's first Bluetooth in-the-ear earphones - the antidote, it reckons, to the bulky Bluetooth cans we've seen on the market to date.
James Sherwood, 12 Jul 2007
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2

UK2.net hack cuts off email

Cut-rate internet host UK2.net has become the subject of a hacking attack, leaving customers temporarily unable to access their email.
John Leyden, 12 Jul 2007
Sybase logo

Sybase tools up for enterprise drive

US software tools builder Sybase plans to move beyond its database roots and challenge the leaders in enterprise software development. The company says the latest release of its PowerDesigner modelling tool transforms what is traditionally thought of as a data modelling tool into a full-blown enterprise modelling tool.
Phil Manchester, 12 Jul 2007
6

Parliament's sci-tech committee faces permanent recess

The Science and Technology Committee is fighting a rearguard action to save itself after Gordon Brown’s overhaul of government departments terminated the Whitehall tentacle it was covering. Gordon Brown had barely got his key in the lock at number 10 before he carved up the DTI, with the result that the Office for Science and Innovation was subsumed into the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills, with its staff no longer forming a distinct unit within the government. If it wasn’t bad enough that’s Science now only appears in very small letters in Whitehall org charts, if at all, the change also means the Science and Technology Select Committee now has no-one to watch over. The MPs have now gone on the attack, saying that there is a need to retain the committee to enable scrutiny of science policies across the government. Dr Brian Iddon MP, a member of the committee, speaking to El Reg at an ID conference today, said that if the committee was scrapped, science scrutiny would pass to a committee covering for Innovation, Universities and Skills. With, for example, arts course in the Universities thrown into the mix, the current six reports a year covering science would likely drop to one. “I don’t think they thought through what would happen to the select committees.” he said. He added diplomatically, “I don’t think it’s a cockup. I think it’s an oversight.” The Education Select Committee was facing the same problem, said Iddon, with Universities now in one department, and primary and secondary education disappearing into the Department for Children, Schools and Families. Having committees working across government departments shouldn’t be a problem, said Iddon, as the work of the Public Accounts Committee showed. A final decision could be announced today. Either way, the fate of the committee will be sealed one way or another by the beginning of the summer recess later this month.®
Joe Fay, 12 Jul 2007
3

Lib Dems call for NPfIT review

The Liberal Democrat Party has repeated its call for a review of the NHS National Programme for IT. The party's shadow health secretary Norman Lamb used a recent interview with soon-to-be departing NHS IT chief Richard Granger in CIO UK magazine as ammunition to push for an independent inquiry. In the article, Granger admits: "Sometimes we put stuff in that I'm ashamed of," while labelling one contractor's equipment recently installed as "appalling". Granger is calling the contractor to account but Lamb, responding on 11 July 2007,said: "What is 'appalling' is that Richard Granger repeatedly defended the disaster prone NHS IT system when he was responsible for its delivery. Now that he has stepped down, he is more candid with the truth." The Lib Dems' proposals for a review, originally published in March this year, list a number of system failures. These include: the patient record system at Queen Mary's hospital in Sidcup, which was reported as frequently being unavailable; the loss of patient records at the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre, following Fujitsu's installation of Cerner's software; and the breakdown of CSC's data centre in July last year, which affected 80 trusts. "How soon will it be before another technical glitch puts patients' lives at risk?" remarked Lamb. "Any discussion with people working in the NHS leaves an overwhelming sense of loss of confidence in the project. The government cannot continue to charge ahead with the system, blind to ever more stark warnings. We must have a thorough independent review with no more uncommitted spending until that review is complete." In the interview, Granger hit back at reports suggesting that the programme was way over budget. He said, for example, that the original figure did not include Picture Archiving and Communications Systems (PACS), which was a late addition to the scope of the project. Lamb told GC News that he was committed to the need for investment in NHS IT systems, particularly with local health networks, but was not persuaded by the "grandiose, top-down approach" adopted by the government. Describing the NPfIT as being "botched from the start", he added: "There wasn't a proper system review at an early stage, which leads to building things that are not necessarily in line with user needs. With him (Granger) leaving, it strikes me as an opportune moment, with a new secretary of state for health, to stand back and have a proper independent review." This article was originally published at Kablenet. Kablenet's GC weekly is a free email newsletter covering the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. To register click here.
Kablenet, 12 Jul 2007
75

'Suspicious looking' man hauled off translatlantic flight

An American Airlines flight from Los Angeles to London this morning made an unscheduled stop at New York's John F Kennedy International Airport after a member of the flight crew "alerted security on the ground that there may be a suspicious person on board, and the decision was made to divert the flight", Flight International reports. The man in question had "raised some eyebrows" aboard flight 136 by boarding the aircraft using an AA employee bus, thereby bypassing LAX security, even though he was on a private trip. A flight attendant who questioned him onboard was not satisfied he was an AA employee, and duly informed the pilot. When the plane landed in NY at 4am, Transportation Security Administration operatives arrested the suspect, described as being of "Middle Eastern origin". He was questioned while the aircraft was searched and passengers rescreened, without result. US Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff later confirmed the man was an employee who was flying in a private capacity. He told CNN the incident may have been a "misunderstanding", adding: "I think the good news here, of course, is an alert crew sees something that's anomalous or seems questionable and they take action." Flight 136 was cancelled, and passengers reassigned to other London-bound aircraft. ®
Lester Haines, 12 Jul 2007
Identity
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Experian rejects ID theft notification proposal

Credit rating giant Experian has rejected the notion of automatically informing UK citizens when their ID details may have been hijacked. Experian’s hardline stance came at a conference on “Big Brother Britain” in London today, where a number of speakers said that more severe penalties and obligations should be imposed on companies to ensure data individuals' privacy concerns are taken seriously.
Joe Fay, 12 Jul 2007
Java
4

Lightweight Java security app aims to pep up m-commerce

UK mobile application developer Masabi has launched a lightweight Java security package for mobile phones in a bid to make m-commerce applications more user-friendly and secure.
John Leyden, 12 Jul 2007
4

Oz watchdog accuses Google of misleading public

The Australian competition watchdog has accused Google of "misleading and deceptive conduct". The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has taken action against Google Inc, Google Ireland Limited, and Google Australia Pty Ltd in the Federal Court, Sydney, saying Google has breached the Trade Practices Act by failing to adequately distinguish between sponsored links on its website and "organic" search results. The watchdog said that, in 2005, sponsored links for Newcastle car dealerships Kloster Ford and Charlestown Toyota would also direct users to the site of classified ad magazine Trading Post, a rival in the business. The ACCC has also taken action against Trading Post. An ACCC statement says it is seeking declarations from both Google and Trading Post that they breached the Trade Practices Act, as well as an injunction "restraining Google from publishing search results that do not expressly distinguish advertisements from organic search results". Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) reports that Google Australia said it would fight the claims. "Google Australia believes that these claims are without merit and we will defend against them vigorously," spokesman Rob Shilkin told SMH. "They represent an attack on all search engines and the Australian businesses, large and small, who use them to connect with customers throughout the world." The ACCC's statement says while Google has faced action in other countries over trademark issues, it is "the first regulatory body to seek legal clarification of Google's conduct from a trade practices perspective". ®
Tracey Cooper, 12 Jul 2007
Salesforce
5

Salesforce.com takes corp-anthems into the developer ghetto

The barrel-scraping netherworld of corporate anthems is agog at Salesforce.com's groundbreaking new hip-hop opus, "Dev Life". The CRM firm's late entry into El Reg's worst corporate anthem in the world - ever! competition is an undeniably shocking cultural artefact.
Christopher Williams, 12 Jul 2007
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Evesham re-packs e-box for HD era

Evesham has given its 'black box' e-box Windows Media Center system a technology face-lift with the addition of hi-def its multimedia capabilities. That means a single HDMI port for connecting it up to an HDTV. Nope, there's no HD optical disc support.
James Sherwood, 12 Jul 2007
chart
32

MS update sends PCs 'haywire'

Early reports are suggesting problems after users apply one of the six patches issued by Microsoft on Tuesday.
John Leyden, 12 Jul 2007
Microsoft
3

Microsoft's software IP prophylactic

Microsoft told delegates at its Worldwide Partner Conference in Denver this week that it would deliver new software protection technology for developers and ISVs in October. But it won't be the same technology it currently uses to protect its own software.
Phil Manchester, 12 Jul 2007
Microsoft Office logo
25

Microsoft pushes Office 2007 with 'try-before-you-buy'

WPCWPC Microsoft is shipping limited-use copies of Office 2007 with PCs in a try-before-you-buy scheme to seed the market with its latest suite and drive Windows server and client software sales. The company has revealed its Office Ready PC Program, where partners pre install images of Office 2007 on new machines and allow end-users to purchase the full suite through a product activation key after a 60-day trial.
Gavin Clarke, 12 Jul 2007
1

Aussies face the threat of Robo-Pacinos

If reporting from The Age newspaper is to be believed, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) Commissioner, Mick Keelty, briefed a Parliamentary Inquiry into the future impact of organised crime that Australians would be facing the threat of part-robot humans involved in organised crime in the future. Without access to the transcripts from the Inquiry, it is difficult to determine exactly what the Commissioner exactly did say. Taken on face value, the report has begun receiving attention from security-focused sites and blogs, not a lot of it favourable to the Commissioner's position. So, what is it that the Commissioner might have said? If the Inquiry that is mentioned is the Inquiry into the future impact of serious and organised crime on Australian society, then there is no record of the transcript available for the session held on July 5, but there is a record of him having provided a brief to the Inquiry. Looking at the submission that the AFP made to the above Inquiry, there are elements which suggest that the Commissioner may have used it as a springboard for his comments to the Inquiry. Further research also turns up the transcript of the Commissioner's speech delivered to the Pearls in Policing Conference, delivered on June 11. Combining these two sources, the seemingly outrageous claims made in the article in The Age seem to have a valid background in previous material published by the AFP. It is accepted that organised crime groups are making efficient and effective use of technological advances to enhance their own activities. The recent spate of Mpack website infections can be linked back to suspected East European organised crime groups that have previously been active in other online criminal activity, and it is well known that many other organised crime groups maintain an active online activity base. Whether or not viable cloning and robotic integration will take place within 20-30 years is more speculation than informed policing. There are enough dissenting voices out there that almost any position can be taken on where human cloning and robotic integration will end up, and it will appear to be a valid claim. Unfortunately, the Commissioner seems to come across as someone whose advisors have read too many press releases and dubious whitepapers and not watched enough 'Ghost in the Shell' to recognise where their ideas have been previously cleanly laid out and elaborated in an easily digestible format (especially the concept of a digital copy of an individual's brain - wrongly attributed to Second Life). If we see the AFP renamed to Section 9, then we will know where they have been looking for inspiration. Citing the presence of scams affecting online environments such as Second Life (it helps if the correct names and terminology are used for elements of the environment), the Commissioner suggests that some of these activities could be illegal, but difficult to track, monitor and enforce. The answer to this is surprisingly simple, even more so than the efforts being put into trapping criminals who are active through other online communication channels. Second Life, World of Warcraft, EvE Online, and every other form of online community and virtual world can all be boiled down to the following simple facts: Individuals implement a persona when they become part of an online community Individuals may use this persona to engage in actual, attempted, or simulated criminal acts. Intent now becomes an important factor. It can be tracked. Information will be present on the victim's system, the perpetrator's system, and more than likely the servers providing the service. If those servers are in countries where laws and their application are different, then other existing laws can come into effect. There is precedent for applying national or state law to online services that are provided within relevant political boundaries, but it is fraught with loopholes and simple bypass mechanisms - something that law enforcement needs to be aware of, especially given that there will always exist ways around the online enforcement of legislation. On the positive side, the Commissioner did acknowledge that the AFP is really in the position of playing catch up in a number of these technical fields. He acknowledged that the AFP does not currently maintain the technical expertise to fully understand the legal and policing ramifications of different technological activity, and will need to enhance their interaction with industry to strengthen their future position. 13 July 2007 This article originally appeared at Sûnnet Beskerming © 2007 Sûnnet Beskerming Pty. Ltd SûnnetBeskerming is an independent Information Security firm operating from the antipodes. Specialising in the gap between threat emergence and vendor response, Sûnnet Beskerming provides global reach with a local touch.
Sûnnet Beskerming, 12 Jul 2007
41

Student's suspension for IM buddy icon upheld by US court

Student speech in the US continues to take a beating.
Kevin Fayle, 12 Jul 2007
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Court denies stay of internet radio execution

The internet radio death watch continues. Late yesterday, a federal appeals court denied an emergency stay petition from webcasters, refusing to delay the arrival of massive royalty hikes that threaten to bring down online radio as we know it. The new royalty rates - which could mean a 300 per cent payment increase for large stations, 1200 per cent for smaller broadcasters - are due to kick in this Sunday. The stay was rejected with a single sentence from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. "Petitioners have not satisfied the stringent standards required for a stay pending court review," the order read. Jake Ward, a spokesperson for SaveNetRadio, a coalition of Internet radio broadcasters that's been lobbying Congress for a repeal of the rate hikes, told The Register he was "surprised" and "very disappointed" by the court order, but said webcasters will continue to fight the good fight. "We're not giving up," he said. "There's plenty of work to be done, and we'll be doing it." The Internet Radio Equality Act - which seeks to introduce a more-forgiving royalty model - now has 128 sponsors in the House of Representatives, and though broadcasters hope to get this legislation passed before Sunday, Ward says the push won't end if the big day comes and goes without a new law in place. "The Court’s failure to act has put the ball squarely in the hands of Congress, and Members of Congress work for the people, many of whom enjoy net radio everyday.” A similar response came from the Digital Media Association, the national trade organization whose members include big-name broadcasters Yahoo! and Live365. "DiMA members and all webcasters are disappointed by the Court’s decision, and are now forced to make very difficult decisions about what music, if any, they are able to offer," said DiMA executive director Jonathan Potter. "We’re hopeful that Congress will take steps to ensure that internet radio is not silenced." In March, the U.S. Copyright Royalty Board set down new royalty rates that would require webcasters to pay 8 hundredths of a cent each time they broadcast a song to an individual listener. That's $0.0008 per song per listener - and it's retroactive to the beginning of 2006. According to Ward, this amounts to a 300 per cent rake hike for the even the largest internet radio stations, 1,200 per cent for the smallest webcasters. Most, he says, could not afford to stay in business. By 2010, rates are scheduled to hit $0.0019 per song per listener. When SoundExchange, the nonprofit organization charged with collecting online radio royalties, comes knocking with the bill this Sunday, some broadcasts may not answer the door. "We've heard, from our coalition members, almost every conceivable position," Ward said. "Some may pay in full until they can't pay anymore - and then go bankrupt. Other may continue paying 2005 rates. And some may refuse to pay at all."®
Cade Metz, 12 Jul 2007
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75-year-old has world's fastest private internet connection

75-year-old Sibritt Löthberg from Karlstad Sweden just got her first computer, but it didn't take her long to download all the necessary patches. Swedish news site The Local reports that Löthberg's home has been tricked-out with a record-breaking 40 Gb/s connection - the first time a private residence has tapped into the internet at such high speeds.
Austin Modine, 12 Jul 2007
7

Dell promises 'radical,' two-year metamorphosis

AnalysisAnalysis IBM has its On Demand, we'll-service-the-hell-out-of-you thing. HP has its Business Technology, we'll-ink-the-hell-out-of-you thing. Sun Microsystems has its Participation Age, red-shifting, we'll-network-the-hell-out-of-you thing. And now Dell has the we're-tired-of-direct-modeling-the-hell-out-of-you Dell 2.0. Whereas the other major server vendors have already tried their best to define the market, Dell is more of an in-process creature. It's trying to describe what the market desires at the same time as it struggles to figure out what Dell desires to be over the long-term. With any luck, Dell 2.0's perception of the market and perception of itself will meet at a decent place.
Ashlee Vance, 12 Jul 2007
11

Whole Foods CEO went after rival as a message board troll

Court documents reveal that organic grocer Whole Foods CEO John Mackey was an internet forum troll intent on undermining his main competitor through chatter. Using the pseudonym Rahodeb (a variation of Deborah, his wife's name), Mackey posted on Yahoo! Finance's bulletin board over an eight year period, claiming to be a huge fan of Whole Foods and sparring no barb for its rival, Wild Oats Market. "The writing is on the wall. The end game is now underway for OATS," Rahodeb wrote on the forum in March. (OATS is the ticker symbol for Wild Oats.) "Whole Foods is systematically destroying their viability as a business — market by market, city by city. Bankruptcy remains a distinct possibility for OATS IMO if the business isn't sold within the next few years." Whole Foods later agreed to purchase Wild Oats for $565 million. Mackey's internet exploits were revealed by a Federal Trade Commission antitrust lawsuit seeking to block the sale of Wild Oats. The story was first caught by the sharp eyes of The Wall Street Journal. A court document (warning, PDF) made public today included a quote from the Yahoo forum and a footnote that claimed Mackey often posted to internet sites using the screen name Rahodeb. "The only thing time has told us about OATS is that it has lost $81 million in 19 years and $33 million over the last three years," wrote Mackey on the forum in February '05. "...The stock is up on takeover speculation and nothing else. The company still stinks and remains grossly overvalued based on very weak fundamentals. The stock is up now, but if it doesn't get sold in the next year or so it is going to plummet back down. Wait and see." "You're also right that I have no shame," he continued. "Why should I?" Mackey has confirmed his internet alias on his Whole Foods blog, and said the FTC quoted his internet persona in court documents to embarrass him and the company. The blog continues that he made the forum postings because he "had fun doing it," and "never intended any of those posting to be identified with me." "The views articulated by Rahodeb sometimes represent what I actually believed and sometimes they didn't. Sometimes I simply played 'devil's advocate' for the sheer fun of arguing." Rahodeb was also quick to staunchly defend his true persona. Some gems from the board: "While I'm not a 'Mackey groupie,' I do admire what the man has accomplished." When a forum member insulted Mackey's haircut in a Wall Street Journal mugshot: “I like Mackey’s haircut. I think he looks cute!” Rahodeb's last post on the forum was on Aug. 12, 2006. Apparently, he had lost a bet with another poster about Whole Food's quarterly earnings on the terms that he would leave the forum. "Whole Foods itself has a very bright future and I will continue to hold my stock for a very long time — until the growth begins to significantly slow." At least two forummers appeared to be on to him. He ends with this note: "Surgeon General and Boston Cowboy — you were both right about my true identity all along. Congratulations on your cleverness. Take care everyone. Goodbye." Goodbye, funny man. Readers can browse Rahodeb's Yahoo Finance posting history here. ®
Austin Modine, 12 Jul 2007

Warner rescues imeem from indie-music hell

Just two months after Warner Music Group sued online media-sharer imeem, claiming copyright infringement, the two companies have announced a rapprochement. That's French for "the big record labels are beginning to like this Web 2.0 thing." Warner has dropped its suit, allowing users to share its entire audio and video catalog via imeem's instant-messaging-based social-networking service, The Wall Street Journal reports. In exchange, imeem will pay Warner an unspecified portion of its revenue. The two companies are calling the agreement "a strategic partnership focused on creating innovative digital media opportunities." "Our strategic partnership with Warner Music Group represents a very significant milestone for imeem - we are now able to offer our users an impressive level of free, interactive, and ad-supported access to an amazing catalog of both audio and video from a major record label," said Dalton Caldwell, imeem's founder and chief executive officer. “We are excited to explore innovative digital opportunities together with Warner Music Group and drive cool new ways of connecting online fans directly with artists and their music.” In May, Warner sued imeem in a U.S. District Court in Southern California, claiming that the startup's online service - said to have 16m active users - was facilitating widespread sharing of its copyrighted material. The service allows web junkies to create and share "playlists" of their favorite photos, songs, and videos. Originally, users could freely share almost any content, but in the wake of Warner's suit, imeem completely revamped the service, cracking down on unauthorized streaming and agreeing to share ad revenue with content owners. Using a content identification platform from SNOCAP, imeem ensured that songs and videos couldn't be freely streamed unless the copyright holders signed on to receive ad dollars. If a holder didn't join up, its songs and videos were cut down to useless 30-second clips. At launch, only independent labels agreed to participate, representing few big name artists (Belle & Sebastian and Thievery Corporation made the press release). As Caldwell told The Register, the revamped service included unadulterated songs from "80 to 90 per cent of the indie aggregators," but that isn't saying much. Calling the service a shell of its former self would have been kind. Signing Warner gives imeem a serious shot in the arm, and Caldwell believes this could lead to deals with other "Big Four" labels. "We're talking with everyone," he said. "We're trying to build the biggest and best service we can - and we're trying to help content owners make as much money as possible." Sony BMG recently signed on with social networker Last.fm, and all four major labels have inked digital music deals with YouTube, the Google-owned video sharing site.®
Cade Metz, 12 Jul 2007
9

Fujitsu Siemens makes tiny, quiet, green tower server

Fujitsu Siemens says it has launched the world's smallest, quietest and most cost efficient tower server. The Tower Server Primergy TX120 is aimed at small businesses and branch offices that do not have a separate server room.
Austin Modine, 12 Jul 2007