Certain subjects, no matter how delicately presented, almost always seem to ignite flame wars on the Internet (feel free to make liars of us). Politics is one of them, and if you have an aversion to politics, well, you have our sympathies, this being an election year and all. Let us also offer some advice: Stay away from YouTube for a few days, because starting tonight, the video sharing site will begin live streaming the 2012 Presidential and Vice Presidential debates.
Critics say that the collective interwebz can never again generate as much political pressure as it did in the days leading up to the SOPA/PIPA votes. A new organization scoffs at the idea and promises to sound a warning alarm whenever the open Internet is threatened. The idea behind The Internet Defense League sounds lofty, but the group already has many of the major forces behind the blackout on board and ready to spring to action.
While the DoJ is apparently banging on cable company doors to ensure the Internet's pipes stay free of anticompetitive interests, a dynamic duo in Washington are doing their part to try and formalize what we should expect while virtually traversing said pipes. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Representative Darrell Issa (R-CA), two key Congressional members in the fight against SOPA, are back with a draft for a "Digital Bill of Rights" -- and they're asking for your help to finalize the document.
Big media isn’t used to losing a fight, but then again this is the Internet we are talking about here. The much despised SOPA censorship bill introduced by Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith seems to have completely stalled, which according to The Hill is due to a lack of consensus. If you are one of the countless thousands who called your local officials to lodge complaints, sent old fashioned mail, or even just complained in online forums give yourself a pat on the back, somebody heard you.
After hemming and hawing (and probably a heck of a lot of backroom dealings), the FCC finally passed a basic – if very limited – version of net neutrality late last December. As could be expected, net neutrality opponents began frothing at the mouth and threatening to sue the day the law went into effect (which happens in 12 days, actually). This week, Senators are voting on S.J. Res. 6, a simply worded resolution that aims to defang the new net neutrality rules. Today, the White House released a statement saying, basically, “Don’t even try it.”
To file-swapping pirates, the terms “free download” and “Shady Russian warez sites” are almost interchangeable – and the US government knows it. Washington’s exerted a lot of pressure on Moscow in an effort to shut down numerous sites (most notably allofmp3.com) that infringed on the copyrights of US citizens and companies. But hold your horses! At least one Russian minister thinks top US sites like YouTube (and Google, YouTube’s parent company) regularly violate Russian intellectual property laws, too.
LulzSec may have been in it for the laughs, but Anonymous has always claimed that its hack attacks and DDoS bombs are designed to push forward a liberating social agenda. "Hooey," you might ask, "What about that time Anonymous harassed that kid with the No Cussing Club?" and we'd have no option but to nod our heads thoughtfully. Someone in the group takes the social message to heart, though; Anon recently announced a splinter political group called the Anonymous Party Of America, made for people who empathize with Anon's civil liberties message, but disagree with hacking the Church of Scientology.
You don't come to Maximum PC for political debates so we're not going to go off on a tangent about what this country does and doesn't need. At the same time, if you live and breathe politics, or simply want to see where members of Congress stand, Google has made it easy with its new Town Hall channel on YouTube. Go there, select an issue, and watch a couple of short videos of politicians doing what they do best: talking.
The Swedish Pirate party announced back in May that they would be providing hosting for torrent site The Pirate Bay. Now they are taking things a step further and are expected to run the site's business from within the Swedish Parliament. The Swedish Constitution, they say, would protect this endeavor with its guarantee of legal immunity for actions undertaken as part of a party's political mandate.
The Pirate Party stresses the issues of government transparency, privacy, free speech, and copyright reform. An election is coming up soon, so much of this could just be political bluster. Still, they sound pretty serious. "We can never accept the copyright industry’s way of systematically and legally harassing anyone who tries to build next-generation industries," said Pirate Party leader Rick Falkvinge.
It seems The Pirate Bay just won't die, no matter how many battles they lose. There's always someone to clean things up and fill in the missing pieces.
Are you worried Fermi is going to make your GeForce 8800 look a bit long in the tooth? Well just be glad you're not stuck trying to run Crysis on the Secret Service's mainframe featuring state of the art technology from the 1980's. A classified review of the aging computer system has revealed that the system is now only operational about 60 percent of the time, and frequently prevents them from accessing the master database of mission critical information and apps.
"We have here a premiere law enforcement organization in our country which is responsible for the security of the president and the vice president and other officials of our government, and they have to have better IT than they have," said Lieberman, who is chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee. Currently the NSA runs 42 mission-oriented applications on a 1980s IBM mainframe, and are hideously underpowered based on the agencies current requirements.
The price tag for updating the system is a mere $187 million, and far below the $33 million they currently have in the budget. If I were president, I would probably check the seat cushions on Air Force One to make up the difference, they are charged with saving his life after all.