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Current Topic: Current Events

Diebold TSx Evaluation
Topic: Current Events 12:23 pm EDT, May 15, 2006

Blackbox Voting has released a report claiming security flaws in TSx/TS6 Diebold machines. The report is, quite understandable, extremely light on details. has a blog post about this as well.

Diebold TSx Evaluation

UN Broadcasting Treaty seen as severely limiting essential freedoms
Topic: Current Events 2:41 pm EDT, May  4, 2006

A remarkably unacceptable treaty proposal is currently being pushed through the U.N. World Intellectual Property Organization's Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights, seemingly concieved by the RIAA and MPAA and backed by traditional old-line media businesses. The Broadcasting Treaty, currently undergoing review at a UN convention in Geneva, Switzerland, contains passages that would severely restrict the concepts of fair use and freedom of speech—on a global level. IP Watch has an excellent overview of the issues:

UN Broadcasting Treaty seen as severely limiting essential freedoms

[cato] Peer-to-Peer Networking and Digital Rights Management: How Market Tools Can Solve Copyright Problems
Topic: Current Events 4:51 pm EST, Feb 18, 2005

The term "peer to peer" (P2P) refers generally to software that enables a computer to locate a content file on another networked device and copy the encoded data to its own hard drive. P2P technology often attracts people who use it to reproduce or distribute copyrighted music and movies without authorization of rights owners.For that reason, the short history of P2P technology has been one of constant controversy and calls by many in the content industry to regulate or even ban P2P-based networks or software.

As a general preventive measure against copyright infringements through digital technologies including P2P, copyright owners often use digital rights management (DRM) techniques to encrypt content or otherwise restrict access. Depending on the access or compensation arrangement, content owners may differentiate prices and limit use by the number of plays, duration of access, temporary or partial uses, lending rights, and the number of devices on which the file may be accessed. The potential level of use control may go beyond the expectations of consumers accustomed to a broader range of uses enabled by analog technology. Consequently, many consumer advocates now contend that DRM is harmful to consumers because it tilts the balance of control in favor of copyright holders. For their part, rights owners respond that DRM merely offsets grave dangers made possible by digitization and Internet distribution.

This study argues that the basic functions of DRM and P2P can be quite complementary and that innovative market mechanisms that canhelp alleviate many copyright concerns are currently blossoming. Government should protect the copyrights of content owners but simultaneously allow the free market to determine potential synergies, responses, and outcomes that tap different P2P and DRM business models. In particular, market operations are greatly preferable to government technology controls, on the one hand, or mandatory compulsory licensing schemes, on the other. Recent court decisions regarding the liability of P2P networks or software providers may force the Supreme Court to revisit its own precedents in this area. In the absence of an efficient resolution by the Court,Congress may pass legislation that may interfere with both technological evolution and free-market processes.

[cato] Peer-to-Peer Networking and Digital Rights Management: How Market Tools Can Solve Copyright Problems

RE: Leading Shiite Clerics Pushing Islamic Constitution in Iraq
Topic: Current Events 5:50 pm EST, Feb  6, 2005

adam wrote:
] Ahh yes, Democracy, so long as it doesn't violate Islamic law.
] You think Bush's "mandate from the people" has caused some
] aggressive policy proposals? This 3 page NYTs article
] discusses what the leading (and very conservative) Shiite
] Ayatollahs plan to do with their "mandate," and it has very
] little to do with freedom or equality. It haseverything to do
] with as Islamic of a state is possible.

I'm not sure we should project western ideals and morals upon other groups of people. It seems to me that little of this was a surprise; certainly there's never been any chance whatsoever of a real seperation between religion and the state a la the west. In the sense that the people as a whole are (indirectly) electing their leaders, it has everything to do with freedom. As for equality, I don't think it was ever about that.

The real question is: do we think a nation should have the right to elect a government which may have ideals in terms of equality (particularly gender equality) that are vastly different than ours? If the answer is no, then how can we truly say we believe in democracy?

RE: Leading Shiite Clerics Pushing Islamic Constitution in Iraq

Marine General's Blunt Comments Draw Fire
Topic: Current Events 4:44 pm EST, Feb  3, 2005

SAN DIEGO -- At a panel discussion in San Diego Tuesday, a top Marine general tells an audience that, among other things, it is "fun to shoot some people."

Marine General's Blunt Comments Draw Fire

RE: Students say First Amendment Rights NO BIG DEAL
Topic: Current Events 8:35 am EST, Feb  2, 2005

I'm not surprised by this at all. I think it is CHomsky who said that If you don't believe in freedom of expression for people we dispise, we don't believe in it at all. By that measurement, I think most americans don't believe in it at all, dispite the free speech flagwaving that suggests the contrary.

Decius wrote:
] Hrm. This article puts quite a spin on the data. This
] conclusion is not entirely supported even by the information
] they cut out and presented in the sidebar. The real title
] ought to be "Students only concerned with their 1st amendment
] rights, and not of others." This is typical of any group in
] society. Students are far more likely then teachers to support
] the independence of their school newspaper and far more likely
] then teachers to support "offensive" rock music. They care
] about their personal freedoms and not freedoms in general. Its
] hard to fault them when their teachers, parents, etc aren't
] any better.
] What's up with that? Well follow the link at the end of the
] article and you'll see that the study is sponsored by a group
] that seeks to promote journalism classes in high schools. Its
] obviously to their benefit to create a "crisis" in student's
] knowledge of the first amendment which they are ready and
] willing to address. Plus, no one knows more about using the
] media to promote an agenda then journalists themselves.

RE: Students say First Amendment Rights NO BIG DEAL

Students say First Amendment Rights NO BIG DEAL
Topic: Current Events 8:14 am EST, Feb  1, 2005

Very dangerous trend.

Students say First Amendment Rights NO BIG DEAL

San Francisco considers handgun ban
Topic: Current Events 7:10 pm EST, Jan 20, 2005

The proposal would bar residents from keeping handguns in their homes or businesses and prohibit the sale, manufacture and distribution of any firearms or ammunition in San Francisco.

San Francisco considers handgun ban

'Intelligent design' taught in Pennsylvania
Topic: Current Events 5:57 pm EST, Jan 19, 2005

HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (AP) -- High school students heard about "intelligent design" for the first time Tuesday in the Pennsylvania school district that attracted national attention by requiring students to be made aware of it as an alternative to the theory of evolution.

'Intelligent design' taught in Pennsylvania

Afghan Women's radio relaunched
Topic: Current Events 8:09 pm EST, Jan 18, 2005

The first radio station dedicated to the interests of women has been relaunched in Afghanistan.
The Voice of Women station promises to help women deal with the violence and discrimination they still face in many parts of the country.

It is expected to reach hundreds of thousands of women in the capital, Kabul, and more distant provinces.

The station was taken back on air by its director - and one of the country's most famous women - Jamileh Mujahed.

She was the first local woman broadcaster to appear on television announcing the fall of the Taleban in 2001.

Afghan Women's radio relaunched

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