Topics discussing when software code acts as a form of policy, what Lawrence Lessig , author of Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace would call (US) "East-coast-code meets West-coast-code".

US: The End of the Internet

This article by Jeffrey Chester, The Nation includes:

To ward off the prospect of virtual toll booths on the information highway, some new media companies and public-interest groups are calling for new federal policies requiring "network neutrality" on the Internet. Common Cause, Amazon, Google, Free Press, Media Access Project and Consumers Union, among others, have proposed that broadband providers would be prohibited from discriminating against all forms of digital content. For example, phone or cable companies would not be allowed to slow down competing or undesirable content.

IOIC: International Open Internet Coalition - “For an Open Internet”

The homepage for contains A Letter to the Internet Community

The marvel that is the Internet is under an increasing barrage of policy, regulatory, and related technologically-enabled attacks against its fundamental open-access, "end-to-end" operational model. Under the auspices of PFIR (People For Internet Responsibility), we have established a new organization -- the International Open Internet Coalition (IOIC) -- dedicated to the proposition that the Internet should remain an open and neutral resource, free from unreasonable interference or restrictions on the actions of businesses, organizations, individuals, or others related to their access or use of the Internet.

Torvalds says no GPL V3 for Linux. Then is it time to explore other FLOSS alternatives to Linux?

I have been wondering about whether I wanted to report about this on this blog at all, given there are newcomers to the community reading about these issues for the first time.

This is an expected rift between those of us that consider DRM to be an attack on our fundamental rights as citizens (Reminder: DRM has nothing to do with stopping copyright infringement), and those who claim to take a so-called "practical approach" to the protection of such rights.

In a ZDNet News article by Stephen Shankland he discusses how Linus Torvalds, origional developer and key coordinator for the Linux kernel project, objects to digital rights management provisions in the proposed update.

Genuinely Trustworthy Computing

This Enterprise Network Planet article by Carla Schroder includes:

FOSS enforces trust on a couple of levels. One, the community values of openness and sharing, and two, there is no place to hide. Everything is transparent. It is possible that one of the Linux distributions could make a deal with the devil, and sneak in unsavory bits. But they would be found out, and it is trivially easy to migrate to a different distribution.

The very smart and well-equipped Mark Russinovich detected Sony's little gift to the masses almost accidentally. Regular users wouldn't have had a chance. Which gives you the answer to why certain vendors are Linux-hostile: they cannot control it, and cannot get away with sneaky stunts like the Sony scam. And the motivation behind terrible legislation like the DMCA, which tries to make it illegal to even talk about these things–exposing corporate misdeeds and idiocy simply cannot be allowed.

See also: [LAFKON] A movie about "Trusted Computing"

Peter Quinn's First Interview (Past CIO of Massachusetts)

Peter Quinn, former CIO of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, has given an interview to Pamela Jones over at Groklaw, regarding the people, companies, and events surrounding his resignation. He spins an interesting tale of Microsoft, money, and the politics of technology.

PC World Canada story on e-voting in Canada

E-voting: Death of the ballot or ticking time bomb?

Full disclosure: I was interviewed for this article.

Copyright protection: How far will Sony go?

A Digital Digest article includes:

This conflict between users who want to control what goes on inside their PCs and media companies that want to protect their content is not likely to abate so long as the companies try to control CD copying, says Gartner research director Mike McGuire.

Since studios are unlikely to give up copy protection, he believes music firms may now redouble their efforts to get companies like Microsoft and Intel to build copy protection right into computers.

If you don't yet understand what is wrong with this, what is often called "Trusted Computing", please watch the video. I was handing out CDs with this video (and "Star Wreck - In the Pirkinning") this season as well as other FLOSS CDs.

Sony and other extremists wish to monitoring, metering and controlling the private activities of citizens, circumventing computer security, circumventing privacy legislation, or circumventing property rights. Business models which are dependant on this circumvention of rights should be allowed to fail.

Software as a branch of political science.

I often find I bump into technical people who are part of a belief system called Technological Determinism. It is marked by the belief "that the development of technology itself follows a path largely beyond cultural or political influence, and that technology in turn has 'effects' on societies that are inherent, rather than socially conditioned".

I believe that the opposite is true. While our discovery of natural sciences may be partially independent of social science influences such as politics and law, that technology is the application of natural sciences. How we apply what we learn is itself a social science, making technology inherently a mixture of natural and social sciences.

Technical Measures and non-software copyright related industries.

I had a long talk yesterday with someone from the music industry. His focus was on music and musicians, while I try to be aware of the variety of ways in which copyright law affects different marketplaces and human rights.

There is a critical problem with thinking only about one type of creative work when analysing recent copyright reform. For instance, legal protection for technical measures is not an issue that you can understand without understanding technical measures, and more specifically the software marketplace.

Legal protection for technical measures, often called Paracopyright, is the most controversial aspect of the 1996 WIPO treaties, and these controversial treaties form the core of Bill C-60 from the previous government. Any discussion of paracopyright must include a discussion of the software marketplace.

e-voting disaster in Quebec

Quebec tried out electronic voting extensively in their recent municipal elections.
As might be expected, it did not work very well.

For more information, see my postings on Paper Vote Canada blog e.g.:

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