Feds stumbling after Anonymous launches 'Operation Last Resort' | ZDNet: "Questions are now being raised on the dot-gov side of the 'operation.' Monday, a House panel issued a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder with seven specific questions, and demanding answers regarding the Swartz prosecution. With the letter to Holder, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee requests a briefing with the Justice Department. CNET writes, "Many questions have been raised about the appropriate level of punishment sought by prosecutors for Mr. Swartz's alleged offenses, and how the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, cited in 11 of 13 counts against Mr. Swartz, should apply under similar circumstances," [Reps. Issa and Cummings] say in the letter, which requests a briefing no later than February 4. The letter is another voice from the Federal side of the discussion, joining a chorus led by Democratic congresswoman Rep. Zoe Lofgren who has authored a bill called "Aaron's Law" that aims to change the 1984 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (with which Swartz was being prosecuted). It remains to be seen whether the actions of Anonymous have influenced federal action."
I'm not going to waste time on this nonsense (dumb dogs!), but you can read the full article at the link below--
Brian Hare and Vanessa Woods: The Secret Genius of Dogs - WSJ.com: "With half as many neurons in their cerebral cortex as cats—and half the attitude, some would say—dogs are often taken to be the less intelligent domestic partner. While dogs drink out of the toilet, slavishly follow their master and need a chaperone to relieve themselves, cats hunt self-sufficiently and survey their empire with a regal gaze. . . . So are dogs smarter than cats? In a sense, but only if we cling to a linear scale of intelligence that places sea sponges at the bottom and humans at the top. Species are designed by nature to be good at different things. And what might the genius of cats be? Possibly, that they just can't be bothered playing our silly games or giving us the satisfaction of discovering the extent of their intelligence."
FCC to Congress: U.N.'s ITU Internet plans 'must be stopped' | ZDNet: " . . . in a rarely seen show of harshly-written rhetoric, McDowell will also demonstrate that the U.N.'s harmful designs on the Internet are at least a decade old, and its agenda is comprised almost entirely of lies and deceit. McDowell's astonishingly blunt statements (prepared and published in "Fighting for Internet Freedom: Dubai and Beyond") outlined the ITU's frighteningly successful agenda to take control of the Internet by redefining telecommunications treaties in direct benefit to ITU bedfellows not limited to China, Russia, Iran, and Saudi Arabia. . . . "
Issa defends Internet freedom | UTSanDiego.com: ""Stick it to the man," said Issa, (US Congressman Darrell Issa) chairman of the House Oversight Committee, adding access to information is a "human right." Swartz took his own life last month as he faced multiple felony charges for allegedly hacking into Massachusetts Institute of Technology computers and downloading reams of scholarly articles he sought to make free to the world. Justice Department officials have agreed to brief Issa and other committee members about why the department originally charged the 26-year-old Swartz with four felony crimes and later upgraded it to 13 counts. Issa called that an overreaction and vowed that he and congressional colleagues will establish restraints on what he called an abuse of prosecutorial discretion. Swartz faced as much as 50 years in prison and $1 million in fines had he gone to trial as scheduled in April and been convicted. . . . "
Wow, read the full article at the following link (excerpt below)--
Lauren Weinstein's Blog: Google, France, and the Extortion of the Internet: " . . . Whether we call it Tribute, Danegeld, or just plain blackmail and extortion payments, there is little evidence to suggest that "paying off" a party making unreasonable demands will do much more than quiet them for the moment, and they'll almost inevitably be back for more. And more. And more. Even worse, caving in such situations signals other parties that you may be susceptible to their making the same (or even more outrageous) demands, and this mindset can easily spread from attacking deep-pocketed firms to decimating much smaller companies, organizations, or even individuals. Let's be very clear. France's complaints regarding Google related to activities that are absolutely part and parcel of the fundamental and fully expected nature of the open Internet when dealing with publicly accessible Web sites, and pages not blocked by paywalls or limited by robots.txt directives. France's success at obtaining financial and other concessions from Google associated with ordinary search and linking activities sends a loud, clear, and potentially disastrous message around the planet, a message that could doom the open Internet and Web that we've worked so long and hard to create. Because if France can do this with Google, what's to stop France from the same modus operandi with other firms and sites -- or for other countries and entities to follow a similar course?"
Steve Jobs and phone hacking: Exploding the Phone by Phil Lapsley, reviewed. - Slate Magazine: " . . . In the story of the phone phreaks Lapsley sees a greater lesson about the way society ought to handle those who think different. “There is a difference between mere curiosity and true crime, even if we cannot always clearly articulate what the difference is or what we should do about it when we recognize it,” he writes. “At some level, we as a society understand that there is a benefit to having curious people, people who continually push the limits, who try new things. But we’d prefer they not go too far; that makes us uncomfortable.” But that discomfort is often a sign that those curious people are on the right track. “If we hadn’t made blue boxes,” Steve Jobs said in 1998, “there would have been no Apple.” After all, as Lapsley points out, most of the phone phreaks didn’t care about making free long-distance calls. It was burning curiosity that motivated them. “There is a societal benefit,” he writes, “to tolerating, perhaps even nurturing … the crazy ones—the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes.” Sometimes those curious misfits turn out to be Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Edward Tufte—or Aaron Swartz."
If only Aaron Swartz had lived in the Steve Jobs era when overzealous prosecutors were still under control and accountable!
Senator Wyden Speech at 2013 CES | Blog | U.S. Senator Ron Wyden: "The incumbents often seek special help from the government, claiming they want a marketplace from government intervention; but they don’t get it. The role of the government is to address market failures, and to block cartels, monopolies, and anti-competitive forces that interfere with the effective operation of free enterprise. A legitimate function of the government is to defend the market against the forces interfering with its efficient function. That is where you come in. If we play offense around an agenda for Internet innovation we can, to use the language of the Oregon Ducks, Win the Day. With that in mind, here are some ideas to tackle the big challenges that I see down the field. The centerpiece of our agenda should be guaranteeing innovators the Freedom to Compete. Here is what the freedom to compete in the marketplace means. First, it begins with access to the Internet. Internet Service Providers – wired or wireless – must be barred from practices that discriminate against specific content. The Open Internet order established by the FCC is a good start but it doesn’t go far enough because, in reality, it is not comprehensive. . . . " (go to link above for full speech)
Tell-All on the Internet Fells Chinese Official New York Times While it was the party leadership that ultimately tossed Mr. Yi overboard, it was the Internet that sealed his fate. Over the past two months, a parade of corrupt officials have been exposed by enterprising journalists, anonymous tipsters or, in Mr. Yi ...
Tigers Making a Comeback in Parts of Asia: "Joe Walston, executive director for Asia Programs at the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), praised the three countries for taking action to protect their tiger populations. The animals are endangered globally. (See tiger pictures.) There are six remaining subspecies of tiger that live in 13 Asian countries—a habitat that's reduced by 93 percent from their historic range. "There are a number of factors that are necessary for tigers to come back, but without true government commitment, there will not be any success," Walston said. . . . In India's Nagarahole and Bandipur National Parks, for example, a combination of strict antipoaching patrols, surveillance, voluntary relocation of people away from tiger habitats, and scientific monitoring have helped the big cats rebound to the point where they have saturated the two national parks. This success is only possible because the Indian state of Karnataka is dedicated to conserving tigers, Walston said. (Learn about National Geographic's Big Cats Initiative.) . . . "