Friday, October 24, 2003

Young Aaron Swartz is annoyed about Diebold using copyright law to cut off the publication of their embarrassing internal memos.

Meanwhile the Swarthmore students who have set up a campaign of civil disobedience against Diebold are beingopposed by their college authorities. Next step the ACLU or similar group launching a legal suit to fight for the students' constitutional rights anyone? Especially after the university decided to start terminating the internet accounts of any student linking to any site that links to a political protest site that links to the Diebold memos.

Bruce Schneier does a typically incisive piece on the data mining I was talking about yesterday

"There's a common belief - generally mistaken - that if we only had enough data we could pick terrorists out of crowds...

Security is always a trade-off: How much security am I getting, and what am I giving up to get it? These "data-mining" programs are not very effective. Identifiable future terrorists are rare, and innocents are common. No matter what patterns you're looking for, far more innocents will match the patterns than terrorists because innocents vastly outnumber terrorists. So many that you might as well not bother. And that assumes that you even can predict terrorist patterns. Sure, it's easy to create a pattern after the fact; if something identical to the 9/11 plot ever happens again, you can be sure we're ready. But tomorrow's attacks? That's much harder."

All is not well on the IPR front at Cambridge University. Dr M.R. Clark of the Department of Pathology has "detailed practical experience of how the University policy was operated for many years by the Wolfson Industrial Liaison Office (WILO) and also more recent experience of the Research Services Division (RSD) and the Technology Transfer Office (TTO). What I can say immediately is that there has been a profound philosophical change in the way that the TTO operates
when compared to the WILO, particularly with regard to the involvement of University academics in the discussions over commercial exploitation of their IPR."

Via such routes does the abuse of intellectual property interfere with education.

A report commissioned by the Danish government concluded in early October that open source software was critical for any serious attempt at "e-government".

"RightsWatch is the name of a research project aimed at developing consensus and
promoting awareness of self-regulatory notice and takedown (NTD) procedures for
Europe, as a tool to achieve prompt removal of copyright-infringing material from the

They've just produced a white paper that summarises their work. "The RightsWatch partners would welcome your views on the project's findings. "

Reporters without Borders have just published their Second world press freedom ranking. Finland, Iceland, Netherlands and Norway top the rankings. Ireland is 17th, the UK 27th.

"The ranking distinguishes behaviour at home and abroad in the cases of the United States and Israel. They are ranked in 31st and 44th positions respectively as regards respect for freedom of expression on their own territory, but they fall to the 135th and 146th positions as regards behaviour beyond their borders. "

The EU gets good ratings apart from Italy (54th) and Spain (equal 42th).

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