See also TBTF for
Board votes to allow software patents in Europe.
According to this
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
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.
Fffi.org ] And here is the European
Patent Office's proposed
extention (in PDF format).
EPIC and Junkbusters resign from Amazon Associates.
The Electronic Privacy Information Center just sent a
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) ]
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
It may come as a surprise to Americans that the same strategy works
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
Date: Fri, 08 Sep 2000 07:38:57 -0700
From: pn &lt;email@example.com&gt;
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.
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
the proposal in the spring of 1999.
Well, the idea has resurfaced and it's on a fast track. This
from the Heritage Foundation outlines the new proposals in identical
bills filed in the House
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.