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03/16/2004 Archived Entry: "Various & sundry"

If history tells us anything, it tells us "don't piss off the Germans." I guess Microsoft didn't get that message; Internet Explorer won't support the new German umlaut domains. (Perhaps MS is still fuming that Munich went open-source, even after a personal sales pitch from CEO Steve Ballmer.) Good news for Mözilla and Öpera.

This stinks like yesterday's diapers: it seems the California Attorney General is proposing to crack down on peer-to-peer file sharing software. But the metadata hidden in the Microsoft Word document reveals that, apparently, one of the authors of the proposal is a lobbyist for the MPAA. How nice to be able to draft your own self-serving new laws, and have the Attorney General propose them on his letterhead.

Did I say "draft"? According to SFGate, "The government is taking the first steps toward a targeted military draft of Americans with special skills in computers and foreign languages." Strictly in the planning stage, they say, yet "The agency already has in place a special system to register and draft health care personnel ages 20 to 44 in more than 60 specialties if necessary in a crisis." I'm not sure I'd be happy having a disgruntled hacker working on my computers, but then I don't run my own court system, either.

There's no such thing as "enough" with the feds. Now they want more power to tap your Internet traffic. "The long-awaited proposal ... has been crafted so broadly that it would outlaw the introduction of new broadband services that did not support ready wiretapping access." At your ISP's expense, of course. Because The War On Privacy -- er, Terror -- Must Be Won!

Meanwhile, the province of Ontario is busy fighting the War on Dwarf-Tossing. Seriously.


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