As peaceful protests continue in Syria, the regime of president Bashar al-Assad had what must have seemed like a bright idea in the heat of the moment. As of today, Syria has banned the iPhone from the nation. Customs inspectors in the country will no longer allow shipments of the device in, and current users are strongly encouraged to stop using the iPhone. Take that, democracy.
In the wake of PS3 unlock hacks released by Geohot and fail0verflow, Sony has felt it necessary to issue a statement warning users away from such activities. In a recent statement, the console maker made it clear that the use of these tools to run unsigned content will result in a permanent PSN ban. This is a similar stance to that of Microsoft on Xbox piracy.
Language is evolutionary. It meets the needs of the people who use it through adaptation to the necessary and the novel. Technology, for example, adds new words, some of which stick, others which don’t, every year. But there are those out there who’d just as soon you stay within the bounds of ‘proper’ language usage--if it’s good enough for the Queen, then by golly it’s good enough for you.
Lake Superior State University has a Word Banishment Committee, that decides, for our better good, which words need to be dropped from our lexicon. For the past 35-years it has released its “List of Words Banished from the Queen's English for Mis-use, Over-use and General Uselessness”. This year’s list includes the techno-terms “tweet” (and all its variations: tweetaholic, retweet, twitterhea, twitterature, twittersphere), “app”, “sexting”, and “friend” (when used as a verb).
Before we get hot under the collar at such paternalism, keep in mind that we’re talking the end of December in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. You need to find something to amuse yourself with during these dark, winter days on the Upper Peninsula. Smug self-righteousness is as good an option as mooning Canadians across the St. Mary’s River. And, to be fair, the list does have one redemption: it does contain “chillaxin'”.
In an unprecedented attempt to maintain some form of creditability, the Wikipedia arbitration committee has unanimously voted to crack down on the Church of Scientology by banning all IP address assigned to the organization and its associates. The conclusion of this case marks the longest running dispute proceedings in the websites history, and the full ban goes into effect immediately. The ruling also represents the single largest ban handed down by the encyclopedia monolith, an accomplishment that I doubt the Church will be adding to their entry any time soon.
The accusations made by the Wikipedia board include several counts of failing to maintain impartiality, and using the service to promote its own personal agenda. Multiple editors from the same IP range were logged in and were accused of coordinating their efforts to force through changes. This type of behavior is clearly prohibited in the terms of service, and also prevents people from using the wiki to publish original research that cannot be properly supported.
During the dispute it was argued by the Church that those editing from Scientology IPs were acting without direction from the Church itself, however, a former member of the Scientology Office of Special Affairs suggests otherwise. "The guys I worked with posted every day all day," Tory Christman tells The Reg. "It was like a machine. I worked with someone who used five separate computers, five separate anonymous identities...to refute any facts from the internet about the Church of Scientology."
So did Wikipedia handle this properly, and more importantly, do you still trust their neutrality.
According to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), this and other blacklisted hyperlinks will cost webmasters $11,000 a day if published on a website. The hefty fine applies to any site containing a banned URL, which was demonstrated last week when the AMA threatened the host of an online broadband disccusion forum after a user posted a link to a banned anti-abortion website.
According to The Syndney Morning Herald, the ACMA's blacklist doesn't significantly impact web browsing by Australians, but that could change if the Federal Government implements its mandatory internet filtering censorship plan.
The newest site added to the ACMA's blacklist includes Wikileaks, who drew the ACMA's ire after it published a leaked document containing Denmark's lists of banned websites. Wikileaks had also posted Thailand's censorship, noting that both lists have expanded from child porn to other material including political discussions.
"We note that, not only do these incidents show that the ACMA censors are more than willing to interpret their broad guidelines to include a discussion forum and document repository, it is demonstrably inevitable that the Government's own list is bound to be exposed itself at some point in the future," Electronic Frontiers Australia said. "The Government would serve the country well by sparing themselves, and us, this embarrassment."
The Australian Government's internet censorship trials are due to begin shortly, however none of the major ISPs have been invited to participate. O_o