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The Internet Your Rights Online

Taming the Web 365

Thomas writes: "A story on Technology Review outlines the closer-to-reality-than-you-think fact that Internet regulations are right around the corner. It points out three false hopes held by web 'libertarians.' 1. the web is too international to control. 2. the net is too interconnected to fence in. 3. the net is full of hackers that are impossible to control. This is a good read." Bingo.
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Taming the Web

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  • by cr0sh ( 43134 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2001 @06:52PM (#2122056) Homepage
    As long as I can connect two computers together, the internet will exist...

    For me, it started with a null modem serial cable strung between two TRS-80 Color Computers, so that I could "share" the single floppy drive I had.

    I quickly moved to a 300 baud modem - and I suddenly had a whole new world at my fingertips.

    Later came a 2400 baud modem, a 14.4, a 28.8. BBS's all over town - the city - Fidonet - across America, and in some cases, around the world.

    I messed around with connections over telephone wire, building funky parallel port bit-bangers, to create a po-man's networking system.

    Now I have a personal network inside my house - cobbled together from parts and pieces the corps didn't want - picked off the scrap pile of electronic hubris...

    I hear talk of 802.11 - lasercomm - radiocomm - it is in the air. Hackers will do it. Fidonet will be recreated.

    What are they to do? Regulate radio - oops, they already do! Regulate 2.4GHz - yep, that will come. Regulate sell of lasers? That could happen, too. Regulate light making devices? Perhaps.

    Maybe I will then hack together a system that only transmits/recieves during the daytime, using mirrors to reflect the sun over long distances, to be received and converted using homemade selenium photocells (and yes - I know how to make them). Regulate mirrors?

    Then I will stand on the roof of my house - and shout to the heavens, and my friend beyond, who will relay my message. It may be slow - but to shut me up, you will have to kill me.


  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 14, 2001 @06:26PM (#2123714)
    guy got bored, so he went in, bypassed the security features [wired.com], etc.

    Even though this was a device that only connected to the Gemstar severs via a modem.

    So, you know. Guess the author was right. Can't stop technology and regulation.


  • What about Morpheus? (Score:3, Informative)

    by nougatmachine ( 445974 ) <johndagen@n e t s cape.net> on Tuesday August 14, 2001 @06:13PM (#2132903) Homepage
    The article mentions that Gnutella is moving to larger servers to facilitate traffic, and this makes these servers prime targets for shutting down, thus slowing the networks. But what about Morpheus [musiccity.com]? This company licenses the same technology as KaZaA (but without the spyware), which lets broadband users serve as intermediate "super-nodes" which will automatically have more queries passed along, if I understand right. I might have gotten that detail wrong as I'm not very familiar with the technology, but the point is that Morpheus automatically sorts the bandwidth for you, and presumably does not rely on a centralized server while still giving adquete performance. The webpage also claims that information on the network is "encrypted", but not many details are given.

    I think this kind of thing would be pretty hard to police.

  • by hillct ( 230132 ) on Tuesday August 14, 2001 @07:00PM (#2156638) Homepage Journal
    While we've been focusing on rights language, and discussions of what should be, WIPO, with the support of many old-economy publishers have begun to implement the legal constructs which will allow prosecution for net based offenses, related to intellectual property. The first evidence of this in the US was the DMCA, but for the rest of the story, read the WIPO whitepaper "Technical Protection Measures: The Intersection of Technology, Law, and Commercial Licenses [wipo.org]" (available in M$ word format and PDF format). It's a vary interesting read.

  • You know this one always bothered me. The whole CD-ROM thing is due for a rethink. How about connecting the laser and read head right to the machine you have now. Central Point Software (now swallowed by Microsoft...) had an option board that could directly control a floppy drive. Pretty cool unit. Gave the user proper control over the floppy disk. You could read mac disks and make backups of those fragile key disks required to make some programs run. That board also assisted in data recovery from damaged disks.

    Early CPUs were probably not fast enough to make good use of a directly controlled CD writer, but the CPUs of today are.

    The same thing could be done with DVD.

    Why would someone want to do that? I can think of many good uses for this sort of thing.

    1. Improved reading of error ridden media.

    2. Reading of all CD-ROM formats. SGI EFS formatted discs do not work in a pretty large number of consumer CD-ROMS because their firmware was not written with alternate block sizes in mind.

    3. Backups. This is still legal even with the DMCA. Given the high cost and limited release cycles of many types of media this concerns me. Bought a game? Want to play it 10 years from now? What if the media is not playable then? I have games written in 1979 for the Atari 2600 that are still playable on todays hardware. There is no reason this should not continue.

    4. Enhanced formats. Users could come up with their own way of using the disc. Maybe they want more space, or perhaps greater resistance to errors. These would be valid choices and a percentage of users would be interested in them.

    There are others I am sure, but one thing is sure. Opening up a CD-ROM and driving it yourself is no different from opening your car and making some choices as to what happens under the hood.

    Pretty sure that anyone can go to a Radio Shack and get the interface parts required to do this sort of thing. If the current trends continue, particularly with Audio CD's then I just might consider it.

    Yeah, I know it is a 'my tech is better than your lawyer' sort of thing. Sue me.

    We need advocacy on our side. How can we get this done? Joe Q public has to be able to understand a point like the one I made above. Tell them they can't modify their car and they go nuts! Why is this so hard?

... though his invention worked superbly -- his theory was a crock of sewage from beginning to end. -- Vernor Vinge, "The Peace War"