Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I'm not sure we should dismiss the risk out of hand either...


Threat of Cyberwar Is Over-Hyped

"A new OECD report suggests the cyberwar threat is over-hyped. A pair of British researchers have said states are only likely to use cyberattacks against other states when already involved in military action against them, and that sub-state actors such as terrorists and individual hackers can't really do much damage. Dr. Ian Brown said, 'We think that describing things like online fraud and hacktivism as cyberwar is very misleading.'"

[From the article:

Between well-equipped states, like the US, China, UK and so on, certain cyber-weaponry would likely be part of any future war.

But having said that, we think that less capable states and sub-state actors, like terrorist groups and individual hackers, will not be able to have an equivalent damaging effect using cyber attacks.

A very short White Paper talking about Cloud Computing as a tool for handling large collections of data.


Canada Explores New Frontiers In Astroinformatics

"The number of scientific instruments available to astronomy researchers for gathering data has grown significantly in recent years, leading to unprecedented amounts of information that requires vast storage and processing capabilities. Canadian researchers are finding a way around this problem (PDF) with a new solution that combines the best of grid and cloud computing, allowing them to more efficiently reach their research goals."

Perhaps this kind of extortion wouldn't play well in court...


File-sharing Cases – ACS:Law Fails to Appear in Court After Trying to Drop Lawsuits, While France Moves Forward with Warnings

January 17, 2011 by Dissent

enigmax writes:

Today a judge-ordered hearing took place in the Patents Court to decide how to handle all cases filed by ACS:Law against alleged file-sharers. Despite claims by the law firm that they have no fears of going to court, last week all the cases were dropped and today, supported by claims of “an unfortunate family accident”, company owner Andrew Crossley failed to attend the hearing. All this as a new, mysterious and already controversial company appears to front the entire operation. And immediately backs out.

Last month ACS:Law made a messy attempt at achieving default judgments in the Patents County Court against 8 internet connection owners who the company claimed infringed or allowed others to infringe copyright.

Read more on TorrentFreak.

Meanwhile, over in France, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) reports that a second wave of warning letters is going out to alleged file-sharers:

Reporters Without Borders is concerned to see that the French authorities have advanced to the second stage of enforcement of the controversial HADOPI law, under which Internet users suspected of illegal file-sharing could end up having their Internet connection suspended.

After starting to send warning emails on 5 October, the authorities have announced that they are now sending out a second wave of emails accompanied by a certified letter. If violators continue to illegally download copyrighted material, the HADOPI’s Rights Protection Commission (CPD) can then ask a judge to order their Internet Service Provider to disconnect them for a month.

Read more on RSF.

Sort of like a “shrink wrap license?”


Article: The New Price to Play: Are Passive Online Media Users Bound by Terms of Use?

January 17, 2011 by Dissent

The New Price to Play: Are Passive Online Media Users Bound by Terms of Use?
Woodrow Hartzog University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill – School of Journalism and Mass Communication; Stanford University – Center for Internet and Society
Communication Law and Policy, Vol. 15, No. 4, p. 405, 2010


When individuals turn on the television, listen to the radio, or read newspapers, they are not forming contractual relationships. Yet almost without exception, online readers, viewers and listeners are required to enter into “terms of use” contracts. These ubiquitous agreements are generally unfavorable for the user in areas of intellectual property rights and privacy. In addition, the terms often restrict users’ behavior and their ability to litigate any disputes with a Web site. In analyzing the implications of contracts for Web site users, this article examines whether courts have recognized a distinction between online consumers, interactive users, and “passive media users” – online readers, listeners or viewers who engage in little, if any, of the activity traditionally required to form contracts. Case law reveals a frequent de facto exemption from online agreements for passive media users, but not highly interactive users. This exemption could be formally recognized to benefit all parties to a contract.

Source: SSRN. The full article does not seem to be available on their site at this time.

[nor is it on the UNC web site... Bob]

Or is this a way to avoid conflict with the SEC?


Goldman Sachs Says No Facebook Shares For US Investors

"In 2009, Robert Cringely speculated that the day might be coming when Goldman Sachs decides the United States isn't worth dealing with anymore. Crazy, eh? Maybe not. Blaming 'intense media attention,' Goldman Sachs has decided to exclude US investors from a $1.5 billion Facebook offering. In a nicely-timed all-investors-are-not-created-equal MLK Day statement, the US taxpayer bailout beneficiary said, 'Goldman Sachs decided to proceed only with the offer to investors outside the US.... We regret the consequences of this decision, but Goldman Sachs believes this is the most prudent path to take.'"

Visualize a bigger Internet – much bigger...


How Bigger The Internet Would Become By 2020 (Infographic)

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