02.01.12

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Links – More censorship attacks, US Telcos try to knife TV Whitespace Baby

Posted in Site News at 1:01 am by Guest Editorial Team

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  • How to do 3D screen casts with Blender
  • Science

    • The Lancet: The Research Works Act: a damaging threat to science

      Science is a public enterprise. A scientific publisher’s primary responsibility is to serve the research community. Their own interests—financial and reputational—depend upon the trust the public has in science. Obstructing the dissemination of publicly funded science will damage, not enhance, that trust. The RWA brings publishers and publishing into disrepute. Already, several academic publishers have spoken out against this Bill, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The Lancet also strongly opposes this Bill.

    • Researchers Decode Words from the Brain’s Auditory Activity
  • Health/Nutrition

    • FDA staffers sue agency over surveillance of personal e-mail.

      The Food and Drug Administration secretly monitored the personal e-mail of a group of its own scientists and doctors after they warned Congress that the agency was approving medical devices that they believed posed unacceptable risks to patients, government documents show. … Information garnered this way eventually contributed to the harassment or dismissal of all six of the FDA employees, the suit alleges.

      People often claim that they can’t do their work without Windows. This is a case where the unjust power of non free software made it impossible for people to do their job for you.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

  • Finance

    • The Austerity Debacle

      The infuriating thing about this tragedy is that it was completely unnecessary. Half a century ago, any economist — or for that matter any undergraduate who had read Paul Samuelson’s textbook “Economics” — could have told you that austerity in the face of depression was a very bad idea.

    • Philanthropy is the enemy of justice

      The world’s poor are not begging for charity from the rich – they’re asking for justice and fairness … there is the vexed question of whether these billions are really the billionaires’ to give away in the first place. … Bill Gates himself may not indeed have known about what the AeA was doing on Microsoft’s behalf, but the fact remains that if a philanthropist’s money comes from externalising corporate costs to taxpayers, and that if Microsoft is listed for its own tax purposes as a partly Puerto Rican and Singaporean company, then the real philanthropists behind these glittering foundations might be a sight more ragged-trousered than Bill and Melinda.

    • Goldman Sachs and Occupy Wall Street’s bank: the real story

      Goldman’s “Urban Investment Group” representative had stated in a phone conversation that Occupy’s credit union will never get another dime from any big bank … Peoples’ Del Rio dismisses such threats, but I don’t. These Community Reinvestment funds ultimately come from public pockets, so why should the titans of Wall Street be allowed to bully community credit unions, which are answerable to their members, not Goldman’s partners?

      It is not at all surprising that the banks that cut off wikileaks would also cut off a bank serving OWS. If this is legal, it should not be.

  • Anti-Trust

    • New study in ‘Social Policy and Society’ journal supports link between inequality and crime

      Dr Adam Whitworth from the Department of Geography at the University of Sheffield analyses Home Office 2002-2009 data for burglary, robbery, violence, vehicle crime and criminal damage across England against a range of factors including inequality, unemployment, residential turnover and educational achievement. The results suggest that inequality is significantly and positively associated with increased levels of all five crime types, with effects being larger for acquisitive crime and robust across various different measures of inequality.

    • The ongoing fight against GPL enforcement

      The SFC have successfully used Busybox to force the source release of many vendor kernels, ensuring that users have the freedoms that the copyright holders granted to them. Everybody wins, with the exception of the violators. … A couple of weeks ago, this page appeared on the elinux.org wiki. It’s written by an engineer at Sony, and it’s calling for contributions to rewriting Busybox. This would be entirely reasonable if it were for technical reasons, but it’s not – it’s explicitly stated that companies are afraid that Busybox copyright holders may force them to comply with the licenses of software they ship.

  • Censorship

    • Sneaking 3 Horrible Wireless Ideas into One Bill

      … proponents of these additions took a few years’ worth of ideas that will make wireless worse, wrapped them up in a bundle, and glued them to the underside of a bill that – if it does not pass – will raise taxes for millions of Americans. In this case, these conditions would apply to spectrum freed up by the transition to digital TV broadcasting, and would impact some of the most useful spectrum to become available for years. … No Net Neutrality Protections. … No Safeguards Against Further Consolidation. … No Super-Wifi. One of the greatest boons of the transition from analog to digital TV broadcasting was supposed to be the creation of unlicensed “whitespaces” or “super-wifi.” This new spectrum – which is much better at communicating long distances and through walls than current wifi spectrum – would be used cooperatively by everyone and usher in a new era of wireless devices.

      If this bill passes, it will give new spectrum to the usual monopolists that would have gone to the public and give them a free hand at censorship.

    • Lawrence Lessig: After the Battle Against SOPA—What’s Next?

      The real question now, however, is whether this community recognizes the potential it has. Ours is not a Congress that has made just one mistake—almost passing SOPA/PIPA. Ours is a Congress that makes a string of mistakes. Those mistakes all come from a common source: the ability of lobbyists to leverage their power over campaign funds to achieve legislative results that make no public-good sense. … We need a system that is not so easily captured by crony capitalists. We need a government that is not so easily bought. And if only the giant could be brought to demand this too, in the few moments we have before it falls back to sleep, then this war—this “copyright war,” this war that Jack Valenti used to call his own “terrorist war,” where apparently the “terrorists” are our children—will have been worth every bit of the battle.

    • Reppresive governments around the world rave about Twitter’s new censorship tools.

      Here’s a report of Occupy Oakland being censored

    • RIAA/MPAA demand search engine censorship

      Hollywood and the major music labels want the search engines to de-list popular filesharing sites such as The Pirate Bay, and give higher ranking to authorized sites.

      The “authorized” sites, of course, would be chosen by the big publishers. This picking of favorites is exactly what Microsoft accused Google of. In private, big publishers demand that power exclusively.

    • Canadians from all corners of industry, culture, education, law and civil society oppose Canada’s SOPA
    • Copying Is Not Theft, But Censorship Is

      Great art like this matters too much to passively let monopolists erase it from our common culture. When you find good videos online, consider making local back-up copies. We never know what’s going to be censored when, and without audience back-ups some great art could be lost forever.

    • A Let them eat cake moment from Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman: A ‘Mob Mentality’ Killed PIPA and SOPA

      It became almost religious dogma that any legislation built around the process would have broken the Internet and created cesnorship around the world. … PIPA and SOPA would have, in a nutshell, required that Web sites not link to sites “dedicated to the theft of U.S. property.

      It’s amazing how people can advocate censorship and say it’s not censorship at the same time. Then again, he might be angry because he’s only making $45 million dollars this year.

    • Hang The Pirates — But Start With The Movie Moguls And Record Execs

      I don’t like the bully-boy tactics. I don’t like the idea that justice has to be bought. I don’t like the idea that crushing one man can become a government priority because he offends the commercial interests of a specific group of well-connected businessmen. And I most definitely do not like the hypocritical, moralistic stance that these self-serving moneymen and their hired vassels adopt when they are, in fact, just trying to eliminate someone whom they perceive — rightly or wrongly, but so far without proving anything — as profiting from the usage of their property.

      As search engine censorship demands prove, it’s not about stopping infringement, it’s about stopping competitors. People should avoid the misleading terms, “privacy” and “intellectual property.”

  • Privacy

    • FBI seeks Big Brother-’Minority Report’ hybrid

      The FBI is looking to harvest feeds from Twitter, Facebook, and the like because “social media has become a primary source of intelligence because it has become the premier first response to key events and the primal alert to possible developing situations,” according to the RFI. “[It] has emerged to be the first instance of communication about a crisis, trumping traditional first responders that included police, firefighters, EMT, and journalists.”

    • The US Navy builds a similar system and considers freedom an infection.

      With funding from the Office of Naval Research, a team at Aptima, Inc. is developing software that’d do more than just scan Twitter for trending topics. Instead, it’d mine the web, including news stories, social networks and blogs, to extract topics and phrases that are gaining traction online. … They’d pull apart a web conversation (the author of the post, the site where it was published, the comments that ensued) and try to figure out which parts contributed most readily to the spread of a revolutionary message. That’s a different approach to prediction than the Pentagon’s current initiatives, like the Integrated Crisis Early Warning System, … The software’s overarching goal? Help the Pentagon determine how “the flow of ideas or ‘memes’ through electronic media can … infect and influence susceptible populations.”

      Ah the dream is alive, “Through counter-intelligence it should be possible to pinpoint potential trouble-makers and neutralize them.” See also this.

    • Proposed congressional bill targets Carrier IQ and other mobile tracking software

      The bill would require companies to disclose the use of such tracking software and clarify exactly what information the software collects. Customers would have to consent to any data collected or transmitted, and third parties would have to file applications with the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission to ensure the data is being transmitted securely.

      This is weak but welcome protection because the US market is not really competitive. It is much better than proposals to mandate spying by ISPs.

    • CNN reports on TSA “VIPR” searches for trains, busses and highways.

      They repeat the TSA mantras, that they are a transportation service not an airport service and that loss of privacy and property are voluntary because you can just stay at home. For some reason, corporate media people can’t just call bullshit.

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