Tools & Techniques Sounds like a fun hack! (Until the Secret Service asks if you hate Dick Cheney) File this one with the insecure voting systems... Interesting that the MIT students who hacked a subway pass (risk: loss of revenue) were slapped with an injunction but the professor's hack (mass murder) is ignored.
University of Massachusetts professor hacks heart device to expose risks
Jessica Fargen By Jessica Fargen Friday, August 15, 2008
A UMass professor has found a way to remotely control an implantable heart defibrillator, proving that hell-bent hackers could some day terrorize the millions of people who rely on the devices to regulate their hearts.
With a homemade $1,000 radio transmitter, researchers were able to reprogram a pacemakerlike device and deliver high-energy shocks that could do all sorts of mischief, from causing a fatal heart attack to extracting personal information such as names and Social Security numbers.
But Kevin Fu, a University of Massachusetts at Amherst professor, said don’t worry yet. [We can protect you for only $19.95! Bob]
... A spokeswoman for Medtronic, one of the top pacemaker producers, said although the risk of any patient harm is low, the company takes seriously security risks, such as the one exposed by the researchers.
“This was a very, very controlled environment,” said spokeswoman Tracy McNulty. “It’s never happened in the real world. [How would they know? Bob] You would literally have to be standing on top of somebody to make this work.” [Apparently they haven't read the article Bob]
... “There’s a lot of work that goes into ensuring the devices are safe from manipulation,” she said. [But nothing as elaborate as actual testing... Bob]
As common citizens become more common, we need better ways to keep them under control.
U.S. May Ease Police Spy Rules
More Federal Intelligence Changes Planned
By Spencer S. Hsu and Carrie Johnson Washington Post Staff Writers Saturday, August 16, 2008; A01
... Under the Justice Department proposal for state and local police, published for public comment July 31, law enforcement agencies would be allowed to target groups [Watch out fer them Democrats! Bob] as well as individuals, and to launch a criminal intelligence investigation based on the suspicion that a target is engaged in terrorism [Suspect any who votes Republican? Bob] or providing material support to terrorists. They also could share results with a constellation of federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies, and others [The media? Bob] in many cases.
Another indication that a global legal system is needed?
New magazine-sharing site escapes copyright laws abroad
Posted by Stephanie Condon August 15, 2008 5:31 PM PDT
... There is a hitch in the case against Mygazines, however. Mygazines is registered in the Caribbean island of Anguilla and hosted in Sweden, by the notorious PRQ. The Stockholm-based PRQ is owned by the founders of BitTorrent tracker site Pirate Bay and is known for hosting other dubious sites.
With its domain name registered abroad and its servers beyond U.S. borders as well, Mygazines seems to have slipped around the jurisdiction of U.S. copyright law. Even though publishers could pursue legal action against the site for material available in the U.S., there'd be no way to get representatives for the company to court or to collect damages.
Sometimes you have to point out the obvious (especially to the oblivious)
Do We Really Want Congress Choosing Which Business Models Are Best?
from the lobbyists-aren't-pushing-for-the-public-good dept
One of the most disappointing things in watching how Congressional Reps respond to entertainment industry lobbyists is that they seem to accept that the RIAA and MPAA's interests really are about helping "content creators" rather than simply putting in place laws that prop up an increasingly obsolete business model. Braden Cox recently came out with an interesting paper that highlights the fact that lobbyists are almost always either trying to protect their own business model, or make it difficult for other companies' business models to succeed. Yes, this is incredibly obvious, but it's an important reminder of something that is often missed by our politicians.
More specifically, it also explodes the myth that "the tech industry" has a single opinion on most policy issues. The report notes, basically, that different companies support different policies entirely based on their business models. It also notes that any effort by Congress to protect one particular business model is equally likely to harm another business model. In effect, any effort by politicians to prop up one is making an explicit choice over which business models are "best." And, for obvious reasons, we should all be pretty worried when Congress critters put themselves in the position of deciding which business model is best.
Tim Lee then does a nice job following up to show how things like the DMCA are an explicit choice by Congress to say that proprietary software business models are better than open software business models -- even though most in Congress don't recognize this fact. Isn't it time that we let the market decide what the best business models are instead of Congress?
AT&T Says It May Inject Its Own Ads In Your Surfing... And You'll Like It
from the oh-really? dept
Various ISPs have long made extra cash by selling your clickstream data to various tracking outfits. But in the last few months, it's come out that many have been either testing or considering taking things a step further by inserting their own ads based on your surfing history, using technology from firms like NebuAd and Phorm. Both of those companies have run into some trouble lately, as there are serious questions as to the legality of such practices, which have gotten the attention of folks in Congress.
While most ISPs have shied away from giving too detailed answers to Congress, apparently AT&T has decided to take a different stance. While the company says it has not tried any such ad insertion technology, it vehemently defends the idea, claiming that it would implement it "the right way" and that it "could prove quite valuable to consumers and could dramatically improve their online experiences, while at the same time protecting their privacy."
This is an old line that's been used before about these types of services: that it somehow enhances your surfing experience by throwing less crappy ads at you. Of course, this is based on the somewhat faulty assumption that people actually care about most banner ads, no matter how relevant. Also, it's hard to see how it "protects" a customer's privacy, when the whole point of these programs is to make use of your surfing details (which most people believe is private) to make your ISP more money.
Related, Legislating human behavior? If that worked, we'd have one law: “Do no evil”
The Pirate Bay Sees Boost in Italian Traffic Following ‘Block’
Written by enigmax on August 15, 2008
... “Since the block we’ve increased traffic from Italy,” he says. “We gained 10 places on Alexa in Italy, and our own stats show a 5% increase in traffic from Italy (which has been quite stable before),” which is understandable considering the masses of worldwide press coverage this week, a fact not lost on brokep:
Another iPhone paradigm changer? Interesting pricing model anyway...
August 14, 2008
Listen To Your Home Music Library On Your iPhone With Simplifymedia
... And now with an iPhone version of the application, you can wirelessly listen to your home (or friends' home) computer music on-the-go. It's amazing!
... Download the Simplify Media app from the App Store [iTunes Link - free for first 100,000 users - $3.99 after that].