August 2008

Comic Books Carry Copyright Propaganda for Kids

August 29th 2008

Two Years in Jail for File Sharing The National Center for State Courts has distributed 50,000 comic books and teachers’ guides to explain how courts work to America’s youth. As the Threat Level blog notes, the plot “reads like the Recording Industry Association of America’s public relations playbook: Download some songs, go to jail and […]

Lacking Innovation, Microsoft Patents the Obvious and Spends $300M to Rebrand

August 28th 2008

The USPTO has granted Microsoft a patent for a “method and system for navigating paginated content in page-based increments.” That would be the page up function. Specifically, it’s for a function that moves your view exactly one page, rather than one screen. Of late, Microsoft has been more prolific in producing press releases and security […]

Is Obama the Anti-Christ? Just ask Google, CNN, or John McCain Online.

August 26th 2008

Public Servant….Or Satan? The idea that Obama is the devil has been kicking around among talk-radio callers for a few months. Saturday Night Live performer Victoria Jackson voiced her concern that Obama is the Anti-Christ on her blog: “I don’t want a political label, but Obama bears traits that resemble the anti-Christ and I’m scared […]

Online Tax Drives New Complexity and Costs: Havens Remain

August 25th 2008

As state real estate and income tax collections head downward, tax collectors have turned their gaze toward online commerce. At the same time, a few states are emerging as havens from taxation. New York Goes After Affiliate Marketers with the Amazon Tax New York implemented the so-called Amazon tax. It seeks to change the common […]

Appointment to Gutted Privacy Board Promises New “Post-Bush” Protections

August 24th 2008

Early this year I described how President Bush gutted the committee responsible for protecting citizens’ civil rights and privacy within the administration’s anti-terrorism programs. The congressionally mandated committee had become an “open joke,” amending its reports at the request of the administration it was supposed to supervise. So, hearing such criticism, the President simply didn’t […]

How 104,000 Obama Social Networkers Trumped 20,000 Clinton Volunteers

August 23rd 2008

Is there any magazine cover Barak Obama isn’t on? Time has had him on its cover seven times this year alone. Perhaps a bigger accomplishment, though, is the candidate making the September/October cover of MIT’s Tech Review. Politics is increasingly driven by online technology, and as this blog often notes, the Web is increasingly defined […]

Digital Pawn Shop for Domains

August 22nd 2008

Valuing brands is the alchemy of advanced financial theory, but now one company is valuing domains—and you can take it to the bank. Thirty-three-year-old Rick Latona and his partner, attorney Matt Collins, may be the first ever digital pawnbrokers. Latona, in fact, was a real-world pawnbroker who now owns 11,000 domains. The guys loan up to […]

Stealing an Identity to Make a Fake Facebook Page for Anonymous Sex Isn’t Stalking, Except Maybe in Indiana

August 21st 2008

A 23-year-old man who worked at a church in Wabash, Indiana, has been charged with felony stalking and misdemeanor harrassment. MSNBC all but convicts him in its coverage, and complains that because he hasn’t been charged with a sexual crime, his Internet use will not be restricted. Bad journalism aside, when he appears in court to answer these charges […]

Making a Fake Gay Facebook Page About Your Principal Isn’t Defamation in Texas

August 20th 2008

Most of the time, students who go to court are objecting to punishment for stunts such as making fake Facebook profiles about their principal. In this case it is the principal, Anna Draker, who went after offensive students in court. Benjamin Schreiber and Ryan Todd, two 16-year-old Clark High School students, posted a false MySpace page […]

MBTA Injunction Against MIT Students Lifted

August 19th 2008

Judge George O’Toole Jr has lifted the gag order preventing three MIT students from publicly discussing MTBA security flaws. As noted here, the MBTA made the student’s report public in their petition to gain the restraining order in question. The MBTA, which had earlier denied that security flaws existed, had asked the judge to prevent […]