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Slashback Censorship Mozilla The Internet

Slashback: Indymedia, Starfighter, Mozparty 180

Posted by timothy
from the kiki's-on-piedras dept.
Slashback, below, brings updates and followups to several recent Slashdot stories, including Diebold's (trivial) financial penalty for copyright abuse, reviews of 'The Last Starfighter,' an inquiry into the best response to the recent seizure of Indymedia's servers in the UK, and the upcoming, distributed Mozparty2 to celebrate the 1.0 releases of Firefox and Thunderbird. Read on for the rest.

An apology might be a nice start. Chris writes "The UK government has broken its silence on the Indymedia server raid and is claiming that there 'no UK law enforcement agencies were involved'; see Richard Allan's blog for the whole written answer. This means that the potential for taking legal action against Rackspace in the UK needs to be explored -- were any UK laws (eg the Data Protection Act 1984 or the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000) broken? Are there any UK cyber law experts on Slashdot with any suggestions...?"

Is Google private enough for you? XeRXeS-TCN writes "Following on from the recent concerns reported on Slashdot about the Google Desktop, the CEO of Copernic has warned about user privacy. Google Desktop Search allows users to opt out of sending the company back detailed usage data, but it isn't possible to firewall it completely. Much more ominously, Google's product manager Marissa Mayer said she expected the private queries to generate more hits for google.com. Most people, she believed, would choose to combine personal and web searches resulting in more revenue for Google's ad business. More on this at The Reg."

If this is a dupe, then Murphy was right. Vcullen writes "The Formula that scientists recently proposed to calculate Murphy's Law has recently been turned into an easy to use online Murphy's Law calculator. So now you can work out what the probability of it happening on any given situation!"

Nice shooting, kid. Bravo! Jason Scott writes "Inspired by the Slashdot story about the arrival of 'The Last Starfighter: The Musical' off-Broadway, I drove from Boston to New York City and back in one day to attend a matinee. I have written a review of what I experienced on my weblog. As I say in the review, 'If spoilers do not interest you, if you only want the simplest of directions and want to make the next right move, then heed these words: if you live within driving, walking, bus or train distance of New York City, see this musical. Immediately.'"

And ottffs writes with his own impressions: "I was recently in Manhattan presenting at ACM Multimedia 2004 conference. I was lucky enough to be able to attend the premiere of 'The Last Starfighter: the musical' on Friday night. I have posted a review and some pics to my blog."

There goes the next office party budget. JimMarch(equalccw) writes "After losing a major copyright case in which Diebold was punished for exercising their copyright in a wrongful fashion (copyWRONG?), the other shoe has dropped: the court says Diebold owes the ISPs and webmasters who complained a total of $125,000. "

Anyone care to start one for El Paso? loconet writes "Following the success of Mozilla's 1.0 release parties, where Mozilla supporters from all over the world celebrated the release of Mozilla 1.0, comes Mozparty 2 celebrating the upcoming 1.0 release of Mozilla Firefox and Mozilla Thunderbird. According to the Mozparty site, currently there are 1007 ppl partying in 109 parties from which the biggest party is in Mexico."

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Slashback: Indymedia, Starfighter, Mozparty

Comments Filter:
  • Google (Score:4, Informative)

    by erick99 (743982) <homerun@gmail.com> on Thursday October 21, 2004 @07:01PM (#10593808)
    The Google privacy issues are not issues if people use it on their home machine with a single user accessing the machine as Google instructs. The software was never intended to be deployed in a business or other multi-user environment.
    • Re:Google (Score:5, Insightful)

      by BenjyD (316700) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @07:13PM (#10593892)
      Clearly nobody reads the articles, not even the mods. From TFA:

      "users should know that the giant ad broker intends to mix public and private queries in the future,"

      "Google Desktop Search allows users to opt out of sending the company back detailed usage data, but it isn't possible to firewall it completely"

      "Eric Schmidt said the company's goal was to create a "Google that knows you""

      Admittedly, the main source for the article is the CEO of a competitor to Google. But this isn't the multi-user issue.
      • Re:Google (Score:4, Insightful)

        by erick99 (743982) <homerun@gmail.com> on Thursday October 21, 2004 @07:16PM (#10593911)
        Yes, a competitor who made unsubstantiated statements that do not reflect well on Google. It's a cheap shot and tells me they are afraid of Google and not confident of their own stable. But, hell, it worked. It fooled you.
        • Re:Google (Score:3, Informative)

          by BenjyD (316700)
          I didn't say anywhere that I believed it. I think that the Google Desktop Search privacy policy specifically states that it sends no data back to google, so they'd be directly lying if some of his statements are true. I also made the dubious source of the statements clear.

          I read the article before posting - at the very least, I am discussing the correct issue, rather than knee-jerk posting a response without bothering to check.
      • And rightly determined that it was almost entirely a bunch of FUD puked up by some disingenuous wanker more interested in pushing their own barrow than 'informing' users.
    • Re:Google (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Flexagon (740643)

      The software was never intended to be deployed in a business or other multi-user environment.

      That rules out many (most?) home systems, shared by all family members. In fact, it rules out so many systems that it's hard to imagine this not getting addressed before the beta ends.

  • Firefox is notoriously bad at coming out on the days they say it will. November 6th? Not gonna happen.
  • Diebold (Score:5, Funny)

    by mind21_98 (18647) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @07:02PM (#10593813) Homepage Journal
    Now if only Diebold would be punished for their crappy voting systems, we'd be in nirvana. :)
  • Mozparty 2.0 (Score:4, Informative)

    by bizpile (758055) * on Thursday October 21, 2004 @07:04PM (#10593832) Homepage
    Sign up for the Mozparty in Gainesville, Florida here [openforce.at].
  • by pegasustonans (589396) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @07:06PM (#10593845)

    'The Last Starfighter,' an inquiry into the best response to the recent seizure of Indymedia's servers in the UK

    Watch Alex as he blasts the evil goons from the DMCA/IP/Nasty Galactic Cluster Alliance! or something like that...

    • NO!
      Nobody read it that way... Not even you.

      This joke was old since the day it was first concieved. Let it die. Don't mod it up, and metamod these stupid moderators into the ground.

      Thank you.
    • Greetings starfighter! You have been recruited by Slashdot to defend the Electronic Frontier against Gates and the Corporate Armada!
  • by FauxReal (653820) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @07:07PM (#10593857) Homepage
    Come on, give the guys a break, they were too busy protecting the sanctity of the political process. Besides, it's not like they were downloading music!
    • by KjetilK (186133)
      Heh, well, I think your post illustrates how bad the imbalance with copyright law has become. Copyright law is supposed to be a balance between the public's right to freely participate in the cultural and scientific progresses of society, and the rights of the creators to be awarded for their contribution to said progress.

      Nowadays, if you a little too freely participate in said culture, you're a pirate, one who can be imprisoned, bankrupted and hung out to dry in public. If you on the other hand deny the

      • FauxReal's comment was obviously (to me, anyway) a joke. You're right, but try to see clues to sarcasm like "at least they weren't downloading music" on Slashdot.
    • Besides, it's not like they were downloading music!

      Or were they? [mintruth.com]
    • Yes, you've been bad, now here's your fine. <wink, wink, nudge, nudge>

      Kind of like when GM, Firestone and Standard Oil were found guilty of criminal conspiracy when they systematically dismantled the electric public transportation with bus lines. "The court imposed a sanction of $5,000 on GM. In addition, the jury convicted H.C. Grossman, who was then treasurer of General Motors. Grossman had played a key role in the motorization campaigns and had served as a director of PCL when that company under

  • How long before... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 21, 2004 @07:18PM (#10593924)
    ... a virus or worm could exploit this google privacy issue?
    • by cduffy (652)
      You mean the ability to grab information people thought was gone off of places it exists on the hard drive?

      They already can; they have been able to from before the Google local search engine existed; and they'll continue to be able to after it's gone until folks actually take good care of OS-level security and permissions.
  • You'll also wanna check out the Battlestar Galactica homage titled The Cylon King [sluggy.com].
  • by t_allardyce (48447) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @07:23PM (#10593950) Journal
    The Indymedia thing to me sounds like a case of an ISP doing everything it can not to get into trouble. Its been shown time after time and even tested, ISPs will remove/giveup anything if they told. Even random people on Hotmail accounts have been able to order that information be taken down because it violates copyrights even though the copyright is fully explained on the actual page. We've come to a time when ISPs have no interest in sticking up for their clients, if someone can sue Rackspace then maybe it will send a message that ISPs have 2 sides to respect OR perhaps the law could just be changed to take all legal responsibility off their hands?
    • by dbIII (701233) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @07:33PM (#10593991)
      We've come to a time when ISPs have no interest in sticking up for their clients
      If they do so it is entirely possible that they will be shutdown by some bloodyminded official. Bruce Sterling's non-fiction "The Hacker Crackdown" has some good examples of machines that were seized on very flimsy pretexts and not returned for months or well over a year - and that was over ten years ago before DVDs were considered worth protecting with a military reponse (Norway). Very few ISPs have the resources to rebuild an entire facility from scratch - it's not just the hardware, all available backups are seized as well.

      I'm sure the words "National Security" would have been invoked in this case. It is not entirely impossible for people to be dragged away and locked in a cage in Cuba for two years without even being charged with a crime - so any ISP is likely to roll over as soon as some official looking types with US accents turn up and start talking about security.

    • by poot_rootbeer (188613) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @07:34PM (#10593997)
      The Indymedia thing to me sounds like a case of an ISP doing everything it can not to get into trouble. Its been shown time after time and even tested, ISPs will remove/giveup anything if they told.

      That basically seems to be what it boils down to.

      Despite the claims that have been made on IndyMedia about IndyMedia (impartial observers, wot?), it appears that the decision to pull the plug the UK-hosted IndyMedia machines was unilaterally made by RackSpace, the hosting company.

      Could RackSpace, a company that does business in both the US and the UK, have had its arm twisted by US law enforcement to pull the plug? Possible, but unlikely -- for one thing, we would have seen the fuzz go after IndyMedia resources located in the US as well. Claiming that US law enforcement was indeed involved in this action in the absence of any proof to that effect is speculation and irresponsible reporting.

      • by Yeb (7194) <moe@alephobjELIOTects.com minus poet> on Thursday October 21, 2004 @07:51PM (#10594083) Homepage
        Rackspace made the following press release:
        In the present matter regarding Indymedia, Rackspace Managed Hosting, a U.S. based company with offices in London, is acting in compliance with a court order pursuant to a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT), which establishes procedures for countries to assist each other in investigations such as international terrorism, kidnapping and money laundering. Rackspace responded to a Commissioner's subpoena, duly issued under Title 28, United States Code, Section 1782 in an investigation that did not arise in the United States. Rackspace is acting as a good corporate citizen and is cooperating with international law enforcement authorities. The court prohibits Rackspace from commenting further on this matter.

        Do you think Rackspace is making this up? The US was clearly involved, unless this is a total fabrication of Rackspace's, which I doubt.

        Why would Rackspace want to unilaterally pull the plug, anyway?

        -Jeff

        • Let's see. Rackspace has an "investor relations" contact, but I can't find a stock listing. Nevertheless they seem to have filed a DBA or something of the sort in the U.S. and whatever the equivalent is in the UK, so they are subject to the laws and the justice apparatus of those countries. So while law enforcement may not have been involved, it is very likely someone in a host country's government was.

          But the complaint, what little we know about it, was thought to be from Italy and/or Switzerland, was
      • This post doesn't deserve any kind of positive mod. It was established at the time the FBI was involved in this seizure. All the stuff here just said no UK agency was involved which tends to suggest the FBI bypassed the law enforcement agencies that had jurisdiction in the UK which make this especially reprehensible and scary.

        The FBI is with each passing day trying to make itself in to a global police force with or without the cooperation of the rest of the the world. They brag about their globalization
    • by YOU LIKEWISE FAIL IT (651184) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @08:53PM (#10594402) Homepage Journal
      The Indymedia thing to me sounds like a case of an ISP doing everything it can not to get into trouble. Its been shown time after time and even tested, ISPs will remove/giveup anything if they told.

      Hah! ISP's? Most people react this way. While many slashdotters would be familiar with Milgrams Experiment [wikipedia.org], I'm not sure how many realise what for me is the real insight here - not only will people submit before authority, they will submit before an unsubstantiated image or impression of authority. Rarely do people ask to see the papers, authorisations or justifications of those who seem to know what they're doing ( and I've experienced this effect first hand in the healthcare industry ).

      Ok, rant over. But I think you'll be surprised how quickly the average person will be cowed by an authority figure ( lawyer, policeman, person in an expensive suit ) regardless of whether or not their claims have merit. The change that has to be made is not just for ISP's, but for all citizens.

      YLFI
    • by gcaseye6677 (694805) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @10:01PM (#10594770)
      An ISP's takedown policy is crafted purely as a business decision. Will the company make more money by sticking up for the legal rights of their customers, or will they make more by immediately taking down anything that anyone doesn't like. You could make a case for either side, but I'm guessing that most ISPs have chosen the side of avoiding all controversy and taking down anything in question. Sure, their customers will take their business elsewhere, but someone will come along to replace them. The hosting business has pretty slim profit margins, so it's unlikely that most ISPs will be willing to spend money on lawyers if they don't absolutely have to.

      The nice thing is, a website can be hosted anywhere in the world, so it's not like you can't find another host if your site is taken down on dubious grounds. For that matter, even if your site is blatantly illegal, somebody somewhere will host it for the right price.
    • No, it's worse than that [theregister.co.uk]. A US court sent its order out of its jurisdiction to a Bologna, Italy court with which it has a mutual "MLAT" agreement. Bologna sent the order out of its jurisdiction along a similar agreement with the UK. So Rackspace complied, as it was probably legally obligated to do. They probably folded too quickly, but the system of going through a couple of backdoors to enforce a US court order seems not only to have worked, but not to have even raised an eyebrow at the UK officials who d
  • Gunstar (Score:5, Insightful)

    by centauri (217890) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @07:30PM (#10593978) Homepage
    I don't know what they called it in the stage show, but in the movie the Starfighter is not the name of the ship. The ship is called a Gunstar. The being who fires the weapon systems of a Gunstar is called a Starfighter.

    (And the pilot of a Gunstar is called a Starnavigator)
  • by interactive_civilian (205158) <mamoru.gmail@com> on Thursday October 21, 2004 @07:31PM (#10593981) Homepage Journal
    ummm...they seem to have forgotten a very important side effect of probabilities and Murphy's law (at least that I have noticed in my experiences, and Murphy and I have become rather close):

    The more improbable that something will go wrong, the greater the chance that it will go wrong immediately and in a big way.

    I mean, come on, don't these people read the Guide? The Starship Titanic immediately underwent a massive existence failure because some fool tried to use an improbability field and make it infinitely improbable that something would go wrong with the ship.

    So, as a PSA to all: Do NOT trust low numbers from the Murphy's Law calculator. If you get a low score, then duck and cover.

    • Shit happens. But it is seldom content to happen independently of other shit happening...
    • The only way it could work is if it was a million to one chance?

      Why?

      Because everyone knows that million to one chances come about nine times out of ten!
  • Much more ominously, Google's product manager Marissa Mayer said she expected the private queries to generate more hits for google.com. Most people, she believed, would choose to combine personal and web searches resulting in more revenue for Google's ad business.

    MOTHER OF FUCK! No! That's just wrong.
  • by Dark Lord Seth (584963) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @07:34PM (#10593994) Journal

    3 out of 5 things regarding the equasion for Murphy's Law are easily manipulated. Put the right man ( skilled ) with the right experience ( frequency ) on the right job with plenty of time. ( urgency )

    Complexity can also be influenced up to a certain level; A large complex task can be broken down into numerous less complex elements. So basically, Murphy's law proves that while heeding common sense, people are less likely to screw up. Well done!

    • > 3 out of 5 things regarding the equasion for Murphy's Law are easily manipulated. Put the right man ( skilled ) with the right experience ( frequency ) on the right job with plenty of time. ( urgency )

      And no matter how urgent your need to try the calculator might be, the probability that the ever-lovin' fuck will have been slashdotted out of it by the time you get there, is equal to one.

    • Frequency is actually how often you do the task that is likely to go wrong, not how many times you have done it in the past. If you do something more often, it's more likely to go wrong.
    • I guess the guys who came up with the site (or the equation), played way too much tabletops RPGs.

      They have 5 bars. Urgency, Importancy, Complexity (disadvantages), and my skill and the frequency of doing the task susceptible of Murphy (advanteges).

      If I put the first 3 bars, at maximum, and the last 2 at minimum (A freaking task, in which the world existance rest, and which I never have done before), the chance of me doing it is 5%.

      If I put the 3 first bars, at minimum, and the last 2 at maximum (A simple
  • by ScottMacVicar (751480) * on Thursday October 21, 2004 @07:36PM (#10594010)
    South Pole [openforce.at]
    It looks like there is a party on all 7 continents.
  • by The Pi-Guy (529892) <joshua+slashdot@ ... m ['wis' in gap]> on Thursday October 21, 2004 @07:39PM (#10594025) Homepage
    According to the Mozparty site, currently there are 1007
    ppl partying in 109 parties from which the biggest party is in Mexico.


    Ah, I'd love to welcome you to Slashdot, but we don't take kindly to AOL users here. Please turn in your geek badge at the door - a man named Roland will be collecting them.
  • Grew up there, didn't think there even was a damn tech community there. To put things into perspective, I thought Cleveland was nice after a decade in El Paso.
  • by PollGuy (707987) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @07:45PM (#10594054)
    I came across this Diebold training video [boomchicago.nl]. Check it out.

  • More on Indymedia (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 21, 2004 @07:48PM (#10594070)

    There are some good questions on Spy Blog [spy.org.uk]:

    The questions about whether or not Rackspace's UK subsidiary have acted illegally under United Kingdom law, by intercepting "electronic communications" (including emails), disrupting an electronic communications system, export of personal data outside of the European Union to the USA without permission, breach of copyright etc. still need to be answered.

    Without the protection of a properly authorised UK law enforcement warrant, which was obviously not obtained in this case, Rackspace UK could be sued for breach of confidentiality by the >Indymedia systems administrators [blagblagblag.org] with whom they have a legal contract.

    The contract was with Rackspace UK and Rackspace are a UK limited company... you can look this up with Companies House [companies-house.co.uk] (UK office hours, they don't leave their mainframe connected to the net when they are not in the office!)... so there must be potential for breach of contract action(s) here...

    Check term 10 of Rackspace UK's Master Service Agreement [rackspace.co.uk]:

    "10 Law and Disputes
    10.1 This Agreement shall be governed by English law.

    I rang Rackspace in the UK today, their Linux managed servers sales section, I asked them if they would host a box for me in the UK and if it could be exempt from UK laws... I didn't get very far... I asked to speak to her boss but she said they were both out... she said only the US company could speak about this matter...

    For more background on this see Jebba's blog [blagblagblag.org] and also please sign the Indymedia Solidarity Statment! [indymedia.org.uk]

    PS Isn't it time for a Indymedia topic with a nice (((i))) logo... :-)

    chrisc at indymedia.org
  • As seen on the Page

    Mathematicians have now come up with a rule for predicting the law of "anything that can go wrong, will go wrong". They say the formula allows people to calculate the chances of Murphy's law (or Sod's law as it is also know) - and to even try and beat the bad luck.

    The person is asked to rate the following factors on a 1 - 10 scale for the situation to be analysed

    Urgency
    Importance
    Complexity
    Frequency of doing this task
    How skilled I am at this task

    which are then mangled togethe

  • by shaneh0 (624603)

    "she expected the private queries to generate more hits for google.com."

    Google is a very mature brand in their market. Although I can't speak to it's veracity I read in Business 2.0 that Google has 96% awareness among (?domestic?) internet users.

    While I think the press may slightly increase brand awareness among the non-internet using public, I really doubt they'll see more hits. As if people will read the story and rush to go online to see what 'this google thing' is all about.

    Google has reached th

    • Not more consumer awareness. It's got nothing to do with the "press" they are getting.

      It's the simple fact that if people are searching their desktop/email/etc for something and they can also search the web with Google at the same time for no extra effort then a lot of people will do it.
  • MozParty2 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by killermookie (708026) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @09:49PM (#10594694) Homepage

    Did anyone else cringe when they went to sign up for a Mozilla Firefox party only to stop and realize that the site is basically one giant spam harvesting board [openforce.at]??

    --Matt
  • Spyware Install? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Goo.cc (687626) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @10:26PM (#10594905)
    If I was Indymedia, I would look very carefully at the server before using it again. For all they know, monitoring software or a trojan could have been installed.
  • by topham (32406) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @10:27PM (#10594914) Homepage

    Googles search option LOCALLY combines LOCAL data with web search results. It is a feature you can turn off if you wish. At no point does it submit the resulting data to Google.

    Google's (web) search intercepts the query and submits it to the web, and to the local search function, when results fromthe web are returned the results from the local search are merged (ON YOUR MACHINE).

    How is this a privacy problem?
  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @11:07PM (#10595140) Homepage Journal
    The Indymedia story [theregister.co.uk] now appears to amount to the US Department of Justice filing a "court order" out of US jurisdiction with a Bologna court under a MLAT, which Bologna passed along in its European legal mutuality with London. So Ashcroft could shut down Indymedia across two outside jurisdictions as readily as he could have in Missouri. Everyone in Europe who wants Bush out of their backyards better start emailing and calling everyone they know in the US, talking some sense into us and getting us to vote for Kerry. If Bush can do this during his last reelection vulnerability, his second term will see every "undesirable" in some Guantanamo gulag.
    • OK, this is a little off-topic, but if you're a European who wants to get Kerry elected, I would suggest not sending unsolicited emails and telephone calls.

      The UK Guardian tried that, and it doesn't seem to have been very successful. Have a look at http://www.guardian.co.uk/uselections2004/story/0, 13918,1332041,00.html [guardian.co.uk].

      • That's why I wrote " emailing and calling everyone in the US" (emphasis added). Friends don't let friends vote Bush.

        BTW, most posts in a multitopic Slashback are "offtopic" :). This subthread is directly ontopic: Indymedia is the canary in Ashcroft's coalmine, and Bush is the noxious gas.
  • by forgoil (104808) on Friday October 22, 2004 @01:38AM (#10595800) Homepage
    http://www.securityfocus.com/archive/1/378632/2004 -10-15/2004-10-21/0

    Very easy to crash your browser, and should be fairly easy to set up and start finding crashing bugs. I already run firefox, but would love to see it not fail this easily.
  • UK law (Score:3, Informative)

    by julesh (229690) on Friday October 22, 2004 @03:28AM (#10596118)
    were any UK laws (eg the Data Protection Act 1984 or the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000) broken? Are there any UK cyber law experts on Slashdot with any suggestions...?

    The most important one, I suspect, is the Human Rights Act, 1998:


    PART II
    THE FIRST PROTOCOL
    ARTICLE 1
    PROTECTION OF PROPERTY
    Every natural or legal person is entitled to the peaceful enjoyment of his possessions. No one shall be deprived of his possessions except in the public interest and subject to the conditions provided for by law and by the general principles of international law.

    The preceding provisions shall not, however, in any way impair the right of a State to enforce such laws as it deems necessary to control the use of property in accordance with the general interest or to secure the payment of taxes or other contributions or penalties.


    So, they can't confiscate property unless some other law specifically allows it. I'm not sure what that law would be.
  • by Snosty (210966) on Friday October 22, 2004 @04:30AM (#10596263) Homepage
    Wow, that's just over 9 people per party! ROCK ON!

    Tragic, looks like the geeks still can't get anyone to come to their parties. Maybe someone should call the Beastie Boys.

... when fits of creativity run strong, more than one programmer or writer has been known to abandon the desktop for the more spacious floor. -- Fred Brooks

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