May 15, 2008

First Arlen Specter and the Patriots, Now This [5:17 pm]

This week’s indicted “ham sandwich:” Woman indicted in fatal MySpace hoax on girl (pdf)

A 49-year-old Missouri mother accused of using a fake MySpace persona to “torment, harass, humiliate and embarrass” a 13-year-old girl who hanged herself was indicted on Thursday on federal charges.

See earlier posts: this, this, and this and more

The LATimes article: L.A. files ‘cyber bully’ charges against Missouri mother in connection with girl’s suicide (pdf)

Invoking a criminal statute more commonly used to go after computer hackers or crooked government employees, federal prosecutors in Los Angeles on Thursday charged a Missouri mother with fraudulently creating a MySpace account and using it to “cyber-bully” a 13-year-old girl who later committed suicide.


[...] Local and federal authorities in Missouri initially looked into the circumstances surrounding Megan’s October 2006 death in Dardenne Prairie, an upper-middle-class enclave of about 7,400 people 35 miles northwest of St. Louis, but declined to file charges, saying they were unable to find a statute under which to pursue a criminal case.

O’Brien said attorneys in his office were aware of the case, saw a Los Angeles nexus because MySpace Inc. is a local company and began their own investigation with the assistance of prosecutors in Missouri and FBI agents in Los Angeles and Missouri.

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Is Your ISP Blocking BitTorrent? [2:21 pm]

A report from From the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems: Glasnost: Results from Tests for BitTorrent Traffic Blocking

More than 8,000 users from locations around the world have used our tool, Glasnost, to test whether their BitTorrent traffic is being manipulated. On this page, we present preliminary results from these tests. The tests were conducted between March 18th and May 15th 2008.

[...]

  1. All hosts which observed blocking did so in the upstream direction (i.e., when the client host attempted to upload data to one of our Glasnost servers). Only a handful of hosts observed blocking for downstream BitTorrent transfers.

  2. We found widespread blocking of BitTorrent transfers only in the U.S. and Singapore. Interestingly, even within these countries, most of the hosts that observed blocking belonged to a few large ISPs.

  3. Both in the U.S. and in Singapore, all hosts that suffered BitTorrent blocking are located in cable ISPs. We did not see any blocking of BitTorrent transfers from DSL hosts in these countries.

Most (573 of 599) U.S. hosts that observed blocking are located in Comcast and Cox networks. In Singapore, all blocked hosts are connected using the StarHub network. While we did observe blocking for hosts in 10 other ISPs (7 of which are in the U.S.), we did not see widespread blocking of BitTorrent traffic for hosts in those ISPs.

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A Name Out Of History [2:13 pm]

Harvey Schein, Promoter of Betamax at Sony, Dies at 80

Harvey L. Schein, who led the Sony Corporation of America in the 1970s and doubled its size in spite of championing the failed Betamax video recording system and clashing with Sony’s top Japanese executives, died Wednesday in Manhattan. He was 80, and had homes in Manhattan; Washington, Conn.; and Sanibel, Fla.

[...] In 1976, alarmed by what they saw as the parasitic nature of the home recording of television programs and fearing that people who recorded television shows to watch later would never tune in to reruns, MCA/Universal and Walt Disney Productions filed suit against Sony, charging copyright infringement and asking for an injunction against sales of the Betamax.

The suit was highly public. Mr. Schein appeared on Walter Cronkite’s nightly newscast with Sidney Sheinberg, the president of MCA/Universal, who called him a “highwayman.” And even though the publicity did not ultimately save the Betamax, it did help build consumer enthusiasm for new possibilities in home entertainment.

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