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This is the TBTF Log, the place where I report important breaking news in the most timely way possible.

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Previous weeks' logs table of contents.

2000-09-15

10:15:47 AM
    The Anarchist Cookbook
  • Author of The Anarchist Cookbook wants it pulled. William Powell, writes in this note on the Amazon site that he no longer believes in or stands behind the words he wrote 30 years ago, at age 19. When The Anarchist Cookbook was published in 1970, copyright was taken out in the name of the publisher. Powell was too inexperienced in the game to think this unusual. He first asked the original publisher to take the book out of print in 1976; the request was refused. The rights to the book have since been sold to another publisher, whom Powell has not contacted. He no longer receves royalties. Here is his conclusion:

    Unfortunately, the book continues to be in print and with the advent of the Internet several websites dealing with it have emerged. I want to state categorically that I am not in agreement with the contents of The Anarchist Cookbook and I would be very pleased (and relieved) to see its publication discontinued. I consider it to be a misguided and potentially dangerous publication which should be taken out of print.

    This is not new news; Powell's note is dated January 2000. I haven't seen any press coverage of it.

    Thanks to Rogers Cadenhead for suggesting this story.


2000-09-13

1:37:44 PM
    Threads Software patents
    See also TBTF for
    2000-03-31, 1999-08-30, 06-14, 02-15, 01-26, 01-13, 1998-12-15, 08-31, 05-18, 05-11, 04-27, more...
  • updated Board votes to allow software patents in Europe. According to this Wall Street Journal article, an administrative board for the European Patents Office has voted 10-9 to allow software patents in Europe. A final decision is due in November when all the countries represented by the Office meet in conference. (You need to be a WSJ subscriber to follow the link. I'll post a more available source for this article if another outlet picks it up.)

    To date Europe has been spared this particular form of runaway intellectual-property protection, which has been rampant in the US and Japan for at least the previous decade. The proponents of EU software patents included most of the small countries such as Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and Cyprus. Among the opponents were Germany, France, and the UK. A German justice minister said,

    We would have problems with the U.S. tendency to patent everything that can be patented. That would stifle innovation and cause a glut of litigation.

    Note added 2000-09-15: Marc Olanie sent links indicating the reaction of Europe's open source community to the threatened "patent creep." These links are to the English versions, but both sites are multilingual. [ Eurolinux.org, Fffi.org ] And here is the European Patent Office's proposed extention (in PDF format).

1:04:38 PM
    Boycott Amazon.com
  • updated EPIC and Junkbusters resign from Amazon Associates. The Electronic Privacy Information Center just sent a letter to its newsletter subscribers announcing its reasons for severing its commercial ties with Amazon.com. For me, the final straw was Amazon's aggressive use of its One-click patent. For EPIC, it was Amazon's recent withdrawal of its promise never to share customer data with third parties.

    EPIC was one of Amazon's first Associates, having signed up in 1996. Their resignation should deliver a sharp blow to Amazon.com's image.

    Note added 2000-09-15: Junkbusters quickly joined EPIC in severing its relationship with Amazon. [ CNET, MSNBC (AP) ]


2000-09-12

11:50:55 AM
  • Wireless bootstrap into the 21st century. It's a commonplace that cell-phone and wireless Internet technology can boost technology-poor regions of the globe ahead by two generations. Poor areas (Africa is usually cited) are literally un-wired, and by using wireless technology they can skip that infrastructure step entirely and move straight into the Internet age.

    It may come as a surprise to Americans that the same strategy works here.

    John Kristoff sent in a note on the new Net connectivity available to the Havasupai Village at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Thanks to Northern Arizona University, the Native Americans residing there now have a fatter pipe than many members of the first-world technology elite.

    Date: Fri, 08 Sep 2000 07:38:57 -0700
    From: pn <paul.neuman@nau.edu>
    Subject: Historic Moment
    
    This is one of the first e-mails to be sent from the Supai Village
    at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. The only way to reach the
    Havasupai Village is to ride mules, hike or fly in by helicopter.
    We have installed 6 wireless (bi-directional... systems over
    mini-dishes [36"x24"]) Internet systems so these folks can finally
    receive instruction from Northern Arizona University or Coconino
    Community College. The computer I am now using has an uplink speed
    of over 160Kbps with a downlink speed from 200-400Kpbs. The entire
    United States and much of the world is now open to this technology
    and it is unbelievable how fast it functions. NAU Webstreamed
    courses are been shown down here at 200kpbs and it is like you are
    right there in the classroom. It is really exciting to bring the
    most remote Native American tribe into the new century since they
    have been unserved for many centuries.

2000-09-10

3:23:13 PM
  • US again rushing toward "Know Your Customer" invasive banking laws. Remember the "Know Your Customer" banking regulations proposed late in 1998? They would have forced banks to profile their customers and report any "suspicious" activity to the federal government. The idea was to put a dent in money laundering, said the feds, but privacy groups and ordinary people (257,000 of them) rose up in opposition and the FDIC withdrew the proposal in the spring of 1999.

    Well, the idea has resurfaced and it's on a fast track. This article from the Heritage Foundation outlines the new proposals in identical bills filed in the House (H.R.3886) and Senate (S.2972). The Privacy Digest also delves into the resurgence of what many feel is a blatant assault on the privacy of Americans' financial transactions. The PD article includes historical material on the original Know Your Customer fracas.

    Thanks to PD webmaster Paul Hardwick for the heads-up.


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