Sunday, October 26, 2003

A couple of Spiked reports right on the button with respect to the mid week BBC programme, The Secret Policeman, exposing a handful of racist police officers. As Josie Appleton says, the

"report showed the impact of
diversity policies: most people had learnt the approved terms to use
in public, whatever their private views. But enforcing this kind of
personal etiquette won't help to reduce real racism, and indeed may
increase resentment of ethnic minorities."

John Dean served as President Richard Nixon's White House lawyer for about three years. He has written two books about the experience and the Watergate scandal, Blind Ambition (1976) and Lost Honor (1982). He's none too impressed at the performance of the current White House resident, George Bush and has regularly criticised him in the mainstream press. His latest critique draws on details recently published in a book by the editor of the Nation, David Corn, called The Lies of George W. Bush: Mastering the politics of Deception. It has to be said that Corn is not exactly a fan of the president either. Dean seems to believe that Bush merits his own special prosecutor in the Kenneth Starr mould to investigate a range of areas from Iraq's WMDs to his relationship with Enron chairman Ken Lay, and including stem cell research, alleged criminal expose of a CIA operative, management of pre and post September 11th, and his tax plans amongs others. Bush, Blair and spin certainly haven't done a whole lot for the credibility of politicians but then I wonder if nowadays we can have more influence with the pound (or dollar or euro) we spend rather than the vote we cast? Sorry state of affairs.

The Miscrosoft settlement judge, Colleen Kollar-Kotelly,

"urged government lawyers Friday to investigate why only nine companies so far have paid Microsoft to license its technology for their own software products, agreements central to the success of a landmark settlement negotiated with the Bush administration." Microsoft could be looking at many more court dates ahead.

The case of Bret McDanel is another example of why computer security folk need to be very careful how they tred. McDanel served 16 months in prison technically for transgressing the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. His crime was that he spotted serious security flaws in his company's software. He reported these to the management but they ignored them. After quitting the company he then decided to email their customers to point out the flaws. His former employers didn't take too kindly to this and got the authorities involved. McDanel was prosecuted convicted and jailed. After the event, and with the support of the tenacious Jennifer Granick at Stanford the prosecutors have now agreed that McDanel was wrongfully convicted and are supporting his appeal to get the conviction overturned. This doesn't happen very often so credit must go to the officials involved.

Major League baseball are planning to sue websites describing games for intellectual property infringement.

"Bob Bowman, who oversees Major League Baseball Advanced Media, says it's time to assert property rights: "One way to exhibit a live baseball game is TV. Then there's radio. The third is offering real-time data online. To us, there's no difference.""

That could have come straight out of the mouth of Jamie Kellner of Turner Broadcasting who believes taping tv programmes and fast forwarding the ads is theft.

In the wake of Swarthmore college authorities harsh treatment of the students civil disobendience campaign against Diebold, students from other univerities such as MIT are signing up.

Looks like the ubiquitous Jack Valenti may be finally thinking of retiring after 37 years as head of the MPAA.

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