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08/23/2004 Archived Entry: "more on data privacy and ownership"

Thanks to Jeff B. for forwarding this item:

Hook an unprotected virgin PC to the Internet and it's infected by a worm in just 20 minutes, according to the Internet Storm Center.

That's down from 40 minutes last year. As Slashdot notes, 20 minutes isn't long enough to download most system patches (or virus definitions on a dial-up).

(Of course, that's an unprotected Windows PC.)

Not two days after I posted my last blog entry, about data ownership and privacy, the following items came to my attention:

* The Canadian police are proposing to add 25 cents to every telephone and Internet bill, to pay for their wiretapping. I'm not sure what angers me more: that I should pay for them to tap someone else, or that I should pay for them to tap me.

* Not to be outdone, the U.S. FCC is trying to mandate that the Internet be made easier for them to tap. At the ISP's expense, of course...which means at your expense. (Thanks to Gordon P. for this item.)

* On the heels of Microsoft, the movie industry, and the music industry: now the publishing industry wants to get in on Digital Rights Management. (And this item is months old, but here's yet another proposal for DRM DVDs.)

On the bright side, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that peer-to-peer file sharing software is legal. They apparently made the sensible decision that it is the act of sharing a file that violates copyright, not publishing software that allows files to be shared. (A good thing, too....after all, your computer's operating system allows files to be shared. So does the Internet.)

However, be on guard for further changes in the copyright law to try to get around this problem.


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