Laser Blog

Articles tagged "digital rights"

120 PCI Lawsuit

Tuesday 17th January, 2012

This is interesting.

... the McCombs allege that the bank, and the payment card industry (PCI) in general, force merchants to sign one-sided contracts that are based on information that arbitrarily changes without notice, and that they impose random fines on merchants without providing proof of a breach or of fraudulent losses and without allowing merchants a meaningful opportunity to dispute claims before money is seized
"It’s just like Visa and MasterCard are governments," said Stephen Cannon, an attorney representing the McCombs. "Where do they get the authority to execute a system of fines and penalties against merchants? That’s a very important issue in this case."

Shades of Wikileaks, perhaps?


118 Lessons from Wikileaks

Tuesday 7th December, 2010

An interesting article by Simon Phipps, discussing the implications of actions of Paypal, Amazon, and others, namely blocking Wikileaks from their paid services without judicial review, useful explanation or workable recourse.
While the Internet itself may have a high immunity to attacks, a monoculture hosted on it does not. We might be able to survive a technical outage, but a political outage or a full-fledged termination of service are likely to put a company that's relied on the cloud for critical infrastructure out of business ... a sales system hosted in the cloud can be taken offline instantly by someone we will never discover, for reasons we can't determine and with no way for us to get them back online.
Amazon and PayPal shouldn't be boycotted; they are just reptiles, after all. The problem is that we have a society with the governments that it deserves, ready to encourage summary judgement rather than consider matters deeply.


117 "Apple has declared war on the tinkerers of the world"

Monday 1st February, 2010

The first link below has sadly disappeared. Here is a related commentary.
Rob. April 2015.

When DVD Jon was arrested after breaking the CSS encryption algorithm, he was charged with “unauthorized computer trespassing.” That led his lawyers to ask the obvious question, “On whose computer did he trespass?” The prosecutor’s answer: “his own.”

If that doesn’t make your heart skip a beat, you can stop reading now.

Or you can read the whole article.


105 Safari imposition

Thursday 27th March, 2008

There's been a little flurry of news regarding Apple's "Safari" web browser.

The first thing which caught my attention recently was Apple's bundling of Safari by default into iTunes and Quicktime updates on Windows PCs. So unless you're on the ball (but aren't all Internet users on the ball?) and deselect the "Safari" checkbox, you get Safari downloaded and installed on your Windows PC. Well of course you wanted it!

In this update, Apple claims that "Safari for Windows is the fastest and easiest-to-use web browser for the PC", a claim which is countered by many sources. I guess these things are perceptual to some people, rather than quantitative!

This has now been followed up with a fascinating paradox in the EULA which comes with Safari for Windows, which states that you are permitted to install said software (unwittingly downloaded or not) onto no more than "a single Apple-labeled computer at a time." Which means that if you're installing Safari for Windows (which you may have been tricked into downloading and installing in the first place) onto a Windows PC, you're violating the terms of the license.

Added March 28, 2008

Slashdot has a couple of articles related to this, one discussing the points above as well mentioning that Safari seems to be suffering some security vulnerabilities. The second article follows up on the vulnerability theme; at the CanSecWest hacking contest, a MacBook Air was compromised within two minutes due to a Safari-based vulnerability.


103 Hotmail doesn't work with Firefox 2.0 and GNU/Linux

Monday 11th February, 2008

Personally, when I first saw the headline, I thought, "So what?" However on closer reading, it seems that Hotmail has been deliberately rigged not to work with Firefox 2.0 and GNU/Linux. To work around it, all you need to do is use User Agent Switcher to masquerade as Firefox running on Windows, and it works just fine. There is no technical reason why it shouldn't work, this just seems to be a deliberate attempt to block Linux users from Hotmail.

The funniest part of this whole story is when the author contacted Hotmail support with his woes, explaining that Firefox 2 wasn't fully supported under GNU/Linux, and he received a reply recommending him to use Outlook Express, as well as details of the steps required to set up Outlook Express on Windows XP and Vista.