Victory for Users: Librarian of Congress Renews and Expands Protections for Fair Uses

The new rules for exemptions to copyright's DRM-circumvention laws were issued today, and the Librarian of Congress has granted much of what EFF asked for over the course of months of extensive briefs and hearings. The exemptions we requested—ripping DVDs and Blurays for making fair use remixes and analysis; preserving video games and running multiplayer servers after publishers have abandoned them; jailbreaking cell phones, tablets, and other portable computing devices to run third party software; and security research and modification and repairs on cars—have each been accepted, subject to some important caveats.

From Victory for Users: Librarian of Congress Renews and Expands Protections for Fair Uses | Electronic Frontier Foundation

LibraryBox offers users a chunk of the Splinternet

One of the pioneers is LibraryBox, an open-source hardware and software project put together by Jason Griffey, a fellow at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society.

The box is a low-powered Wi-Fi router that can be run from a solar panel, battery or even a bicycle charger. Users can copy material from the internet, including entire websites, on to an attachable USB stick, then broadcast it to nearby users.

From LibraryBox offers users a chunk of the Splinternet | The National


Publishers Straddle the Apple-Google, App-Web Divide

Apple wants mobile devices to be filled with apps. Google supports a world where people browse the web for most things. Now websites are increasingly caught in the middle of those competing visions.

From Publishers Straddle the Apple-Google, App-Web Divide - The New York Times

The Internet's Dark Ages

It is not just access to knowledge, but the knowledge itself that’s at stake. Thousands of years ago, the Library of Alexandra was, as the astrophysicist Carl Sagan wrote, “the brain and heart of the ancient world.” For seven centuries, it housed hundreds of thousands of scrolls; great works of philosophy, literature, technology, math, and medicine. It took as many centuries for most of its collections to be destroyed.

The promise of the web is that Alexandria’s library might be resurrected for the modern world. But today’s great library is being destroyed even as it is being built. Until you lose something big on the Internet, something truly valuable, this paradox can be difficult to understand.

From The Internet's Dark Ages - The Atlantic

There's No DRM in JPEG - Let's Keep It That Way

The professional version of the JPEG format, JPEG 2000, already has a DRM extension called JPSEC. But usage of JPEG 2000 is limited to highly specialized applications such as medical imaging, broadcast and cinema image workflows, and archival, therefore the availability of DRM in JPEG 2000 hasn't affected the use of images online, where the legacy JPEG format remains dominant. Now, the JPEG Privacy and Security group is considering essentially backporting DRM to legacy JPEG images, which would have a much broader impact on the open Web.

From There's No DRM in JPEG—Let's Keep It That Way | Electronic Frontier Foundation

Why The Internet Needs IPFS Before It’s Too Late

IPFS is a new peer-to-peer hypermedia protocol that aims to supplement, or possibly even replace, the Hypertext Transfer Protocol that rules the web now. Here’s the problem with HTTP: When you go to a website today, your browser has to be directly connected to the computers that are serving that website, even if their servers are far away and the transfer process eats up a lot of bandwidth.

From Why The Internet Needs IPFS Before It’s Too Late | TechCrunch

Big Tech Has Become Way Too Powerful

The underlying issue has little to do with whether one prefers the “free market” or government. The real question is how government organizes the market, and who has the most influence over its decisions. We are now in a new gilded age similar to the first Gilded Age, when the nation’s antitrust laws were enacted. As then, those with great power and resources are making the “free market” function on their behalf. Big Tech — along with the drug, insurance, agriculture and financial giants — dominates both our economy and our politics.

From Big Tech Has Become Way Too Powerful -


Apple, Google, and Microsoft are all solving the same problems

Between them, Apple, Google, and Microsoft pretty much set the agenda for the entire consumer electronics industry. They employ a great number of the smartest and most creative technologists in the world and produce the most influential innovations. Whether it’s Windows, the iPhone, or Google’s titular search, these three American giants’ contributions have shaped our social and economic milieux as much as our technological one. Their futures promise to be as different as their pasts, however the present products and services on offer from each company show them to be closer than ever. They all seem to be solving the same problems.

From Apple, Google, and Microsoft are all solving the same problems | The Verge


Technological predictions: 1903 - 1970

Popular Mechanics has been making predictions of technological innovations since it first started publishing in 1903. Greg Benford, a science fiction author, has collated some of them in a short book called The Wonderful Future that Never Was. They’re predictions on the future of cities, of transportation, of home life, and more, presented in short blurbs set with hand-drawn futurist art.

From Technological predictions: 1903 - 1970 | Dan Wang


ECPA reform: The 1986 email privacy law might finally get updated.

federal law protects some of your email from government snooping without a warrant. But it doesn’t protect your email if it’s been left on a server for too long, and, worse, it doesn’t protect your metadata—information that can get you arrested and prosecuted, that can reveal intimate secrets about you, and that would expose the entire network of people you talk to. On Wednesday the Senate Judiciary Committee is set to address the first problem, but reform efforts in both houses of Congress have largely passed over the second issue. In dodging the problem of metadata, legislators have missed the forest for the twigs.

From ECPA reform: The 1986 email privacy law might finally get updated.


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