Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Where does Copyright protection end and harassment begin?


Vuvuzelas Blare On Pirated Copies of Music Game

"A novel anti-piracy measure baked into the Nintendo DS version of Michael Jackson: The Experience makes copied versions of the game unplayable and taunts gamers with the blaring sound of vuvuzelas. Many games have installed switches that detect pirated copies and act accordingly, like ending the user's game after 20 minutes. Ubisoft has come under fire multiple times for what players have seen as highly restrictive anti-piracy measures that annoy legitimate users as much or more so than pirates. But some more-mischievous developers have used tricks similar to the vuvuzela fanfare to mess with pirates. Batman: Arkham Asylum lets unauthorized users play through the game as if it were a normal copy, with a single exception: Batman's cape-glide ability doesn't work, rendering the game impossible to finish — although you might bash your head against it trying to make what are now impossible jumps. If you pirate Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2, brace yourself for an explosion, as your entire base will detonate within 30 seconds of loading the game."

(Related) This model is often used with free software, when “premium' versions are offered for sale.


Single Software Licence Shared 774,651 Times

"A single licence for Avast security software has been used by 774,651 people after it went viral on a file-sharing site. Avast noticed that a license for its paid-for security software, sold to a 14-user firm in Arizona, was being distributed online. Rather than shut down the piracy, the company decided to see how far the software would spread — it's since popped up in 200 countries, including the Vatican City. [Holy Pirates, Batman! Bob] Now, the company is turning it into a marketing opportunity, with a pop-up encouraging users of the pirated copy to download a legal copy of the free or paid-for version. Avast isn't sure how many pirates have gone legal, but said some have made the switch." [As my Math students can tell you, “some” is greater than “none” Bob]


Review of FTC’s Proposed Privacy Framework – Part 1

December 7, 2010 by Dissent

Richard L. Santalesa writes:

Last week the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released its anticipated 122-page staff report on Protecting Consumer Privacy in an Era of Rapid Change: A Proposed Framework for Businesses and Policymakers (the “Report”), which we covered in brief here immediately following its release. In this part of our review, and in following parts, we dig into the specifics of the Report’s proposed framework, with a eye to examining rationales for the various proposals as well as analysis on the potential effects going forward on practices and data policies.

Despite the Report’s detailed nature it should be stressed that it represents only a “preliminary” step in the FTC’s continued ongoing development of recommended and/or future required data and privacy protections.

Read more on InformationLawGroup.

A Privacy reading list, for all that spare time you can't fill...


The Year in Privacy Books 2010

posted by Daniel Solove

Here’s a list of notable privacy books published in 2010.

[Here are two that look particularly interesting:

Shane Harris, The Watchers: The Rise of America’s Surveillance State (Penguin 2010)

Adam D. Moore, Privacy Rights: Moral and Legal Foundations (Penn. St. U. Press 2010)

For my Computer Security students: Life just got more complicated, again.


Android Phones Get Virtualization

"VMware is teaming with LG to sell Android smartphones that are virtualized, allowing a single phone to run two operating systems, one for business use and one for personal use. A user's personal email and applications would run natively on the Android phone, while a guest operating system contains the employee's work environment. The devices would also have two phone numbers."

Data Mining is all about who owns the claims on the richest veins of information gold.


Apple Impasse With Magazines Over Subscriber Data

"Peter Kafka reports at All Things Digital that Apple and the publishing industry haven't been able to come to terms over magazine app subscriptions. Publishers want the ability to sell the subscriptions themselves, or at least the opportunity to hang on to subscribers' personal data, and Steve Jobs won't let them. Publishers also don't like the 30 percent cut that Apple wants to take in the iTunes store, but their real hang-up is lack of access to credit card and personal data. It's valuable to them for marketing because the demographic data helps magazines sell advertising, and without it they can't offer print/digital bundles. All Apple is willing to offer is an opt-in form for subscribers that would ask them for a limited amount of information: name, mailing address, email address."

It was never intended to be rational. It was intended to show that “we are doing something!” Security theater.


A nude awakening — TSA and privacy

… My colleague argues that aggressive pat-downs and full-body scans are crucial to our security. This argument fails in multiple respects — it makes the false assumption that these new procedures are actually effective in mitigating the risk of terrorism, which they aren’t; it fallaciously presumes that one’s security risk is higher in an airport than it is anywhere else, which it isn’t; and it prescribes a remedy that is far worse than the disease. Benjamin Franklin had a pithy rebuttal: “those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” Here’s mine:

… The fundamental problem is that terrorism is innovative while TSA policy is reactive. The TSA modifies its protocol on the basis of terrorist plots that have already happened, while an intelligent terrorist knows not to duplicate the failed efforts of past terrorists.

… The odds of dying on an airplane as a result of a terrorist hijacking are less than 1 in 25 million — which, for all intents and purposes, is effectively zero — according to Paul Campos, a law professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder. By comparison, the odds of dying in a normal airplane crash, according to the OAG Aviation Database, are 1 in 9.2 million. This means that, on average, pilots are responsible for more deaths than terrorists.

In the same vein, the average American is 87 times more likely to drown than die by a terrorist attack; 50 times more likely to die by lightening; and 8 times more likely to die by a police officer, according to the National Safety Council’s 2004 estimates. I can go on, the point is this: the risk of a terrorist attack is so infinitesimal and its impact so relatively insignificant that it doesn’t make rational sense to accept the suspension of liberty for the sake of avoiding a statistical anomaly.

Free is good. Not really news, but a reminder.


Monday, December 6, 2010

New Google eBookstore Includes Many Free Titles

Today, Google launched Google eBooks. Google eBooks, not to be confused with the similar sounding Google Books, is a designed to provide access to ebooks through a wide variety of ebook reading platforms including the web, iPads, Android tablets, and Barnes & Noble Nooks. A lot of the books in the Google eBookstore require purchase, but there is a sizable collection of free classic titles that you can access. Books that you select through Google eBooks will also appear in your Google Books library. Learn more about the new Google eBooks in the video below.

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