Nice Language!

Can it be that the Democrats have found a workable framing for this fight? Bush Calls Surveillance Bill an ‘Urgent Priority’

And Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts said the president was using “the specter of terrorism” to push his own agenda.

“If the telecommunications companies didn’t break the law, they do not need immunity,” the senator said. “If they broke the law, the American people deserve to know the size and scope of their lawbreaking. Adhering to the rule of law would not ‘aid our enemies’ — it would uphold the very principles we are fighting for. The President’s position has nothing to do with protecting Americans and everything to do with sweeping under the rug illegal activity by his administration and his corporate partners.”

Dataveillance Consolidation

Reed Elsevier, owners of Lexis-Nexix, make a scary move: Magazines Up for Sale, Including Variety

Variety, Publishers Weekly and dozens of other trade publications are going up for sale as the publishing company Reed Elsevier looks to get out of the uncertain advertising market.

The company, based in London and Amsterdam, announced Thursday that it intended to sell one unit, Reed Business Information, and acquire ChoicePoint, a provider of consumer information, for $4.1 billion.

Ed Felten Causing Unrest

Just keeping folks on their toes! Researchers Find Way to Steal Encrypted Data

The move, which cannot be carried out remotely, exploits a little-known vulnerability of the dynamic random access, or DRAM, chip. Those chips temporarily hold data, including the keys to modern data-scrambling algorithms. When the computer’s electrical power is shut off, the data, including the keys, is supposed to disappear.

In a technical paper that was published Thursday on the Web site of Princeton’s Center for Information Technology Policy, the group demonstrated that standard memory chips actually retain their data for seconds or even minutes after power is cut off.

When the chips were chilled using an inexpensive can of air, the data was frozen in place, permitting the researchers to easily read the keys — long strings of ones and zeros — out of the chip’s memory.

The Times, They Are A-Changin’

Sorry, Boys, This Is Our Domain

Research shows that among the youngest Internet users, the primary creators of Web content blogs, graphics, photographs, Web sites are not misfits resembling the Lone Gunmen of “The X Files.” On the contrary, the cyberpioneers of the moment are digitally effusive teenage girls.

“Most guys don’t have patience for this kind of thing,” said Nicole Dominguez, 13, of Miramar, Fla., whose hobbies include designing free icons, layouts and “glitters” shimmering animations for the Web and MySpace pages of other teenagers. “It’s really hard.”

[…] If you did a poll I think you’d find that boys rarely have sites,” she said. “It’s mostly girls.”

Indeed, a study published in December by the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that among Web users ages 12 to 17, significantly more girls than boys blog 35 percent of girls compared with 20 percent of boys and create or work on their own Web pages 32 percent of girls compared with 22 percent of boys.


If it weren’t so sad: Look, Up in the Sky!

The price tag for shooting USA-193 is up to $60 million. Try making a list of the threats to your personal safety that could be reduced for that amount of money. For instance, there’s a construction site next to our office building, and I personally spend a great deal of time worrying that the monster crane will come crashing through my office window and squash me. I bet $60 million would go a long way toward convincing the contractors to find another way to lift things.

Small, paranoid minds wondered if the government was not being completely forthright about its motives. The weapons the military mobilized to do the shooting are part of the missile defense system. Some people think the whole poison-gas story is just an excuse to give the Pentagon a chance to test its hardware.

This is only conceivable if you can imagine that the people who are in charge of intelligence-gathering might attempt to mislead the American public.

Specialized Book Scanning Project

Literary treasures, kid-friendly formatpdf

It is barely bigger than a matchbook. Its tiny spine is hand-sewn with string. Published in the mid-1800s, its eight pages are softly tattered and dappled brown with age.

Until recently, the only way to see this miniature illustrated children’s book at the Boston Public Library was to visit the rare books department, accompanied by a librarian, and view it in a private reading room.

But now, “Gems for Children,” which extols the joy of school and virtue of doing right, is available to anyone with a computer and Internet connection. With a mouse click, it can be read – page by page, picture by picture – in the International Children’s Digital Library, a website aiming to become the world’s largest collection of online children’s literature.

[…] “This provides a way for us to reach many, many more children, teachers, and parents,” said Tim Browne, executive director of the International Children’s Digital Library Foundation, the Manchester nonprofit that operates the site in collaboration with the University of Maryland. “In very remote villages, we can for the first time expose children and educational systems to real, educational books.”

The nonprofit relies heavily on volunteers to identify worthy books to add to its collection, secure copyright permission if necessary, and send the books to the foundation physically or digitally. Books are digitized by scanning them page by page, a process the library sometimes outsources to places like the Internet Archive.

A Test Case

Web Site That Posts Leaked Material Ordered Shut

In a move that legal experts said could present a major test of First Amendment rights in the Internet era, a federal judge in San Francisco on Friday ordered the disabling of a Web site devoted to disclosing confidential information.

The site,, invites people to post leaked materials with the goal of discouraging “unethical behavior” by corporations and governments. It has posted documents concerning the rules of engagement for American troops in Iraq, a military manual concerning the operation of prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and other evidence of what it has called corporate waste and wrongdoing.

[…] On Friday, Judge Jeffrey S. White of the Federal District Court in San Francisco granted a permanent injunction ordering Dynadot of San Mateo, Calif., the site’s domain name registrar, to disable the domain name. The order had the effect of locking the front door to the site — a largely ineffectual action that kept back doors to the site, and several copies of it, available to sophisticated Web users who knew where to look.

Later — an NYTimes editorial: Stifling Online Speech

In a second order, the judge directed Wikileaks not to distribute the bank documents. That was a “prior restraint” on speech, something the courts almost always find violates the First Amendment. If the employee did not have a right to the documents and the bank was injured as a result, a suit against the leaker for monetary damages should be sufficient.

Much of the law governing the Internet remains unsettled. Still, the free speech burdens of closing down a journalistic Web site are just as serious as closing down a print publication, and courts should tread carefully.

For now, the lawsuit appears to have backfired, bringing worldwide publicity to the documents. Enterprising Internet users have found ways to get to the site. We hope it will also educate judges and the public about the importance of giving full protection to online speech.