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December 2, 2004

KaZaA Claim Challenged [6:11 pm]

So - is this a way for MediaSentry to get business at the point of a gun, or is it a business argument for anonymizers? Witness assaults Kazaa filter claims

Tom Mizzone, vice president of data services at New York-based MediaSentry, told the Sydney court on Thursday that his company is able to identify Australian users of Kazaa software by tracking IP addresses.

Mizzone said the IP addresses allocated for Internet service providers in Australia can be traced through the “scanners” his company uses to track down sound recordings and user information within the Kazaa system.

He added that MediaSentry is also able to detect the copyright-infringing music files made available for download in the Kazaa system’s shared folders. Mizzone told the court that his company is doing what any ordinary user of the Kazaa system is able to do. Aside from detecting files, he said, they can also communicate with the users via instant messaging.

Mizzone’s statement is critical to the music industry’s claim that Sharman Networks can use the Kazaa software to identify people who are downloading copyright-infringing materials and communicate with them at the same time.

Sharman Networks and other respondents in the trial have maintained that they are not able to control what Kazaa users do with the software and that trials of filtering have failed in the past.

Later: further testimony cited in Witness says Kazaa activity can be monitored

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Post-BitTorrent App? [6:03 pm]

Slashdot discusses what might be the next step in moving large files around the Internet: Decentralizing BittorrentExeem out of Suprnova

As one commenter puts it:

The point of Exeem (Score:5, Informative)

by bairy (755347) * on Thursday December 02, @04:01PM (#10978326)

(http://www.bairy.co.uk/)


is to basically become a Kazaa but using the bittorrent protocol. I was one of the beta testers and I can say it works well, it’s fast it’s efficient and because it doesn’t have to faff around with one tracker it starts transferring the second, *the second* you add the torrent.

Publishing a torrent is incredibly easy, drag the folder in, pick a category, click go. It hashes it and it starts seeding within seconds.

It still (obviously) needs some work doing to the app to make it more friendly but it’s shaping up well.

See related: BitTorrent Servers Under DDoS Attacks

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More on DVD Formats from Ed Felten [5:55 pm]

DVD Replacement Still Insecure (see yesterday’s Skirmish in the Fight Over the Next DVD Standard)

There’s a budding format war in the movie industry, over which video medium will replace the DVD. The candidates are called HD-DVD and Blu-Ray. For some reason, HD-DVD advocates are claiming that their format can better resist unauthorized copying.

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What Is Journalism? [5:24 pm]

Eugene Volokh’s provocative You Can Blog, but You Can’t Hide

So the situation is a mess - and it’s getting messier. Because of the Internet, anyone can be a journalist. Some so-called Weblogs - Internet-based opinion columns published by ordinary people - have hundreds of thousands of readers. I run a blog with more than 10,000 daily readers. We often publish news tips from friends or readers, some of which come with a condition of confidentiality.

The First Amendment can’t give special rights to the established news media and not to upstart outlets like ours. Freedom of the press should apply to people equally, regardless of who they are, why they write or how popular they are.

Yet when everyone is a journalist, a broad journalist’s privilege becomes especially costly. The I.R.S. agent, for example, no longer needs to risk approaching many mainstream journalists, some of whom may turn him in. He can just ask a friend who has a blog and a political ax to grind. The friend can then post the leaked information and claim the journalist’s privilege to prevent the agent from being identified. If the privilege is upheld, the friend and the agent will be safe - but our privacy will be lost.

What’s the answer? [...]

Note that this is not just a speculative piece — see this EFF effort in a related area — where will these lines get drawn? Libel Case Could Chill Speech Online

Last week the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California (ACLU) filed a friend-of-the-court brief in a case that could undermine a federal statute protecting the free speech of bloggers, Internet service providers, and other individuals who use the Internet to post content written by others. The case in question is a libel suit filed against women’s health advocate Illena Rosenthal after she posted a controversial opinion piece on a Usenet news group. The piece was written not by Rosenthal, but by Tim Bolen, a critic of plaintiff Terry Polevoy.

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Mary Hodder: Online Vanguard [5:01 pm]

An odd angle for Wired News to take, but Mary’s impressive enough that she rates the ink anyway! Her So-Called Digital Life

In some ways, her so-called digital life has become more real to her than reality. She checks friends’ blogs, scans their comments, follows the same links, mulls the same information, shares her thoughts via discussion threads or by posting comments on napsterization.org — and it’s all hyperlinked, searchable and browseable, depending on the tools available. Although Hodder may be physically disconnected from her friends, they’re never really far away, represented by digital word sculptures they make together. “They create content, I read or point to it in my blog or modify it, and they do the same,” Hodder said.

She isn’t an aberration. On the contrary, she’s a trend. Most of her friends — many of them geeks and ├╝bergeeks — live this way, the internet at the center of their relationships. Hodder is one of a growing number of technophiles whose lives are one big Wikipedia (a web-based encyclopedia that anyone can edit). And the life she leads may foreshadow yours.

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Drafting Legislation [4:55 pm]

I shudder to think how this legislation is drafted — outlawing IR transmitters? Where do matches fit into this? Lawmakers seek to curb traffic light devices [pdf]

Firefighters speeding down congested city streets these days can turn red traffic lights to green with the flick of a dashboard switch. But the same technology that gets emergency vehicles quickly through certain bottleneck intersections across the state may be falling into the hands of harried commuters who also want to breeze through traffic, lawmakers say.

[...] ”It concerned me that a device like this in a frustrated motorist’s hand could do a lot of damage,” said Representative Timothy J. Toomey, a Cambridge Democrat who filed legislation this week to outlaw the devices for everyone except public safety officials. ”There is no reason for any member of the public for having a device like this. They should only be available to public safety officials who are trained to use them.”

[...] As official use has grown, however, Internet sites have cropped up that appear to market the devices to traffic-weary commuters, offering the promise of an ability to change traffic lights without being detected.

”No visible light is emitted!” exclaims one site that calls its light changer an undetectable fix to traffic problems. ”You will completely blend in with all other traffic, yet be able to safely control intersections!”

Selling for as little as $300, the transmitters being touted on the Internet have begun to alarm fire officials like LaFond.

See Guerilla TV Tech

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