Back in November we found ourselves sympathizing with a UK bar owner who was facing a $13,000 fine for copyright infringement as a result of operating an open hotspot, but little did we know this was only the tip of the iceberg. It was a clear cut case of misplaced accountability, but it looks like the UK government is planning to go one step further to keep this from happening in the future. A new "Digital Economy Bill", if passed, would ban the use of open Wi-Fi hotspots outright anywhere in the UK. The bill would ultimately make any home or business operating an internet connected router 100 percent accountable for the traffic that passes over it.
Making users accountable for locking down their own connection doesn't sound like a bad idea in principal, but it ultimately closes off opportunities for businesses to offer internet access to the latté sipping masses at the local coffee shop. The bill will require all networks to be secured with a password, and to maintain a log of all users who access it in order to be in compliance with the new law. "This is going to be a very unfortunate measure for small businesses, particularly in a recession, many of whom are using open free Wi-Fi very effectively as a way to get the punters in," said Lilian Edwards of Sheffield University.
I'm sure nobody here minds trading up a few more civil liberties in exchange for giving the folks over at the RIAA a good nights sleep do you?
A coalition of some of the biggest names in the OSS world have banded together to create Open Source for America, a brand-new advocacy group that's going to try and highlight the advantages of open-source software to help achieve the goals set out in President Barack Obama's push for an open-data government. But as we pause to "ooh" and "ahh" at the list of companies and open-source celebrities contributing to the new group--Novell, the Mozilla Foundation, the EFF, Tim O'Reilly, and Mark Shuttleworth, amongst many others--let us not forget the uphill battle that the concept of "openness" tends to face in the government sector.
I just can't find myself getting that excited over open-source software when we still have fundamental issues of transparency and openness in governmental data. There's a wealth of information out there that's free and easily accessible to the public. But that doesn't mean that legislators, agencies, and departments are going out of their way to make this information as useful as it could be. In fact, it was only as recently as two months ago that the U.S. Senate itself opened up its own voting records for third-party applications and mashups.
Click the jump and put on your safety helmet--we're going data diving!
Newton's third law of motion states "to every action there is an equal and opposite reaction," which might help explain why ISPs feel compelled to offer increasingly faster broadband, yet place bandwidth restrictions as low as 40GB/month. It hardly seems fair considering that streaming HD content is finally starting to take hold, along with downloadable games, an increased interest in Linux, and other ways to use up that monthly allotment. New York Congressman Eric Massa doesn't think it's fair either and has pledged to introduce a bill called the "Broadband Internet Fairness Act."
"I am taking a leadership position on this issue because of all the phone calls, emails, and faxes I've received from my district and all over the country," Massa said in a statement. "While I favor a businesses' right to maximize their profit potential, I believe safeguards must be put in place when a business has a monopoly on a specific region."
Massa was referring to Time Warner Cable (TWC), who said it plans to test tiered internet service in Rochester, New York, which resides in Massa's district. Even more startling is AT&T's plans to test its 20GB data cap in the same town where TWC began its pilot program.
It remains to be seen what, if anything, will come from Massa's proposed bill, but the lesson here is that if you take the time to write, email, or call your Congressman, someone just might listen.
Put down the political pitchforks, because whether or not you're into politics, you might want to start paying attention in the coming months. Among the topics a Democratic aide said is likely to make a comeback this year is Net neutrality, along with possible changes to digital copyright and patent law.
Net neutrality, who Aaron Cooper, counsel to Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) in the Senate Judiciary Committee, says is a "completely judiciary issue" might soon take center stage. And if you're not keeping a close eye on where things are going, you can bet that copyright holders are. Case in point - Cablevision has proposed a service that would allow subscribers to record broadcast TV shows and movies on a DVR hosted by Cablevision, but not everyone likes the idea. Alec French, VP for government relations for NBC Universal, warns that Cablevision's plan would be "setting a roadmap out for anyone who wants to create a copyright infringing service."
Issues like this and statutory licensing reform (of high interest to Webcasters) are just some of the topics that could step into the limelight in 2009 and affect how you use your PC.
While the presidential election might only come around every four years, the monotonous coverage has become all too predictable. Tuning in to your favorite news station will inevitably net pundits from both the Republican and Democratic parties giving a play-by-play analysis of how the voting has gone aided by a blue and red color coded map of the United States. Rinse and repeat in four years.
But this year the process looks to get a bit more interesting from a technological standpoint. Instead of remote interviews showing the candidates on a split screen or a floating window, CNN will look to up its geek cred with the use of holograms.
"Everyone is doing something virtual this election year," says CNN senior VP David Bohrman, the guy who pushed the technology. "Virtual elements in a real set look so much better than a real person in a virtual set."
To make it happen, CNN will use 44 cameras and 20 computers in each remote location to capture 360-degree imaging data of the person being interviewed. The images will then be processed and beamed by computers and cameras located in New York. The end result, if all goes to plan, is that those being interviewed, whether a spokesperson from the Obama or McCain camp, will appear as though he or she is in CNN's television studio.
Will holographic interviews make you more likely to tune into CNN? Hit the jump and post your thoughts.
There's no stopping it folks, the text messaging revolution is here and it's sweeping the nation from the pre-teen crowd all the way up to the potential presidency. Don't believe it? Let's have a look at the evidence.
Morgan Pozgar, a 13-year-old girl from Claysburg, Pennsylvania, wins last year's text messaging championship and takes home a $25,000 purse for for typing Supercalifragilisticexpialidoucious! Even though the sound of it is something quite atrocious in just 42 seconds. To become the champion, little Miss Pozgar estimates she sent 8,000 text messages a month in preparation for the contest.
Democratic candidate Barack Obama and his team have set up a website where you can register to receive a text announcing Obama's choice for a VP running mate the moment it becomes official (and it won't be Hillary).
Republican candidate John McCain has accused his rival of being too much of a celebrity and not enough of a political leader, but could this latest move be a way to gain supporters among the tech savvy crowd? Post your thoughts below.
Since the advent of web2.0 and the nefarious abundance of fallacy in news stories propagated by the mainstream media, an increasing number of individuals have begun turning to the Internet and subsequently Youtube to find and view political coverage. Youtube has become a haven for political junkies consequently plumping the site with snarky commentary arguing every point of view from here to Guantanamo bay. Recognizing this high degree of politically charged activity Google has decided to debut one of its innovative new technologies on what could be called the 'Youtube Politics Homepage'.
Will this new tech bring about a shift in the way politicians attempt to garner votes? Have Politicians attempted to manipulate the technology in their favor?