OINK.CD Shutdown

Music piracy Web site closed after UK, Dutch raidspdf

British and Dutch police shut down one of the world’s largest sources of illegal pre-release music on Tuesday and arrested a 24-year-old man.

The raids in Amsterdam and the northeast English city of Middlesbrough followed a two-year investigation into a members-only Web site, www.OiNK.cd, which allowed users to upload and download albums before their release.

[…] British police said they arrested the 24-year-old on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud and infringement of copyright law. Dutch police seized servers and other computer equipment.

Judiciary Showing Some Spine? Or Just Bellying Up To The Trough?

Senators Say White House Cut Deal With Panel on FISApdf

Senate Judiciary Committee members yesterday angrily accused the White House of allowing the Senate Intelligence Committee to review documents on its warrantless surveillance program in return for agreeing that telecommunications companies should get immunity from lawsuits.

Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) and Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.), the ranking Republican, said any such agreement would be “unacceptable,” signaling that legislation granting immunity to certain telecom carriers could run into trouble. Leahy and Specter demanded that the documents, which were provided only to the Intelligence Committee, be turned over to the Judiciary Committee as well.

Sorry — until this becomes a public debate, I don’t see how this posturing by Judiciary makes much of a difference. I want to know what my government is doing.

For example, imagine what “amnesty” would have done in cases like this one (assuming, of course, that we can trust the testimony given now): Papers Contradict Nacchio’s Defensepdf

The contract, valued at more than $2 billion and known as “Groundbreaker,” amounted to one of the most tantalizing aspects of Nacchio’s criminal defense. In essence, he argued that despite warning signals about waning demand for telecommunications services in 2001, he remained optimistic that Qwest would pick up millions of dollars in secret government contracts.

Those hopes were dashed, Nacchio contended, after he questioned the legality of an U.S. government plan in a February 2001 NSA meeting, he said in court papers.

Nacchio’s claims attracted substantial attention among privacy advocates and lawmakers as part of renewed debate over the boundaries of government eavesdropping and the possible financial liability of telecom companies that have been sued for their roles in the operations.

Arguments underlying Nacchio’s defense, with portions blacked out for security reasons, came into view this month. But the government responses only began to become public late yesterday.

“Qwest was not ‘left off’ the list of subcontractors for the Groundbreaker project,” prosecutors wrote.

Hard To Believe

Hard to believe that hotels are having a hard time accepting that wireless internet is a requirement of so many travelers. I was at a Ritz last month, and you don’t want to know what I had to pay to get internet access — despite the criminally high cost of the room in the first place! Some hotels dip toes into brave new digital worldpdf

Many such hotels are trying to catch up with a population that is more comfortable with technology than ever. The $133-billion lodging industry’s cutting edge sees a business opportunity in traveling lawyers pining for high-speed Internet access, twentysomethings looking for a place to plug in their iPods and vacationers preferring YouTube over the boob tube.

But although the trend is gathering steam, it’s a tricky proposition for an industry that is more Flintstones than Jetsons.

“We’re a business that’s still trying to come to grips with the toaster,” complained John Burns, president of Hospitality Technology Consulting in Scottsdale, Ariz. “If you have to turn the knob to make it lighter or darker, we have to think about that.”

Still, customers want what they want. In a survey of business travelers this year, 58% said free high-speed Internet access was “very” or “extremely” influential in determining where they stayed — triple the proportion from five years earlier.

Cellphones and Privacy

Privacy Lost: These Phones Can Find You

Two new questions arise, courtesy of the latest advancement in cellphone technology: Do you want your friends, family, or colleagues to know where you are at any given time? And do you want to know where they are?

Only two?

“There are massive changes going on in society, particularly among young people who feel comfortable sharing information in a digital society,” said Kevin Bankston, a staff lawyer at the Electronic Frontier Foundation based in San Francisco.

“We seem to be getting into a period where people are closely watching each other,” he said. “There are privacy risks we haven’t begun to grapple with.”

But the practical applications outweigh the worries for some converts.