And This Is News How, Exactly?

The real question is whether this is anything more than any of the tools already available to anyone willing to read the PGP manual. And, if it is, who’s got any interest in making such a splash? Yes, this will give Rush Limbaugh and those of his ilk plenty to fulminate about, but no intelligence services’ statement on the subject can be trusted — the political benefits of asserting that this tool is potent are just gravy to any agency that has, in fact, cracked it and wants to make sure that it gets the widest possible use.

Jihadi software promises secure Web contactspdf

The Mujahideen Secrets 2 was promoted as “the first Islamic program for secure communications through networks with the highest technical level of encoding.”

The software, available free on the password-protected site which often carries al Qaeda messages, is a newer version of Mujahideen Secrets issued in early 2007 by the Global Islamic Media Front, an al Qaeda-linked Web-based group.

“This special edition of the software was developed and issued by … Ekhlaas in order to support the mujahideen holy war fighters in general and the al Qaeda-linked group Islamic State in Iraq in particular,” the site said.

This stuff makes my head hurt.

FCC Going To Test White Space Devices Again

FCC resumes testing of Internet devicespdf

Federal regulators said they will try again to test prototypes on Jan. 24 for transmitting high-speed Internet service over unused television airwaves.

Late Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission said the devices — developed by Adaptrum Inc., Microsoft Corp., Motorola Inc. and Philips Electronics North America Corp. — will be tested in laboratory and real-world conditions.

The agency said testing will take three months and issue a report about six weeks after the testing ends.

See earlier: Followup on FCC White Space Device Test

Techno-Economic Prognostications From The Writers’ Strike

In Tentative Deal, Directors Send Message

After months of informal talks, Hollywood’s movie and television directors agreed Thursday afternoon to a new contract with production companies. The accord would appear to send a none-too-subtle message to striking screenwriters: This is not the time to get hung up on new media.

[…] Over all, the agreement — which also increases minimum compensation rates and other gains for the union — was meant to reflect the directors’ belief, bolstered by an independent study of industry economics, that digital media will provide a negligible amount of revenue during the life of the contract.

In the directors’ opinion, digital media revenues will become significant only after 2010.

[…] In one regard, the directors’ industry agreement points toward possible trouble for all involved. When online media ultimately replace DVDs, something that might not happen until 2015 or so, consumers are expected to pay a much lower price for a film or program than the $15 or so that now flows to distributors for each title.

A reduction in packaging costs might offset some of the drop, but the entertainment industry may be looking at a significant decline in its revenues, rather than an electronic bonanza, the directors have reckoned.

Taking My Ball and Going Home

The Rolling Stones apparently want to ride the current music company business model all the way into the ground: EMI cost-cutting irks Rolling Stonespdf

The Rolling Stones may leave EMI Group PLC after more than 20 years on the label, said a person with direct knowledge of the matter. The band would be at least the fourth to express unhappiness with owner Guy Hands’s job cuts.

See this much earlier view from a contemporary: David Bowie, 21st-Century Entrepreneurpdf

His deal with Sony is a short-term one while he gets his label started and watches the Internet’s effect on careers. ”I don’t even know why I would want to be on a label in a few years, because I don’t think it’s going to work by labels and by distribution systems in the same way,” he said. ”The absolute transformation of everything that we ever thought about music will take place within 10 years, and nothing is going to be able to stop it. I see absolutely no point in pretending that it’s not going to happen. I’m fully confident that copyright, for instance, will no longer exist in 10 years, and authorship and intellectual property is in for such a bashing.”

”Music itself is going to become like running water or electricity,” he added. ”So it’s like, just take advantage of these last few years because none of this is ever going to happen again. You’d better be prepared for doing a lot of touring because that’s really the only unique situation that’s going to be left. It’s terribly exciting. But on the other hand it doesn’t matter if you think it’s exciting or not; it’s what’s going to happen.”