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Brazil Approves Internet Bill of Rights
Department: bad-examples-world-wide  Date: 2014-04-24T17:06:00Z  Comments: 
First time accepted submitter Dr.Potato (247646) writes "After more than three years being discussed, Brazil's Internet Bill of Rights was approved on April 22nd (and in Portuguese). It was rushed through the senate in order that president Dilma Roussef could sign it during the meeting on internet governance that occurs in São Paulo this week. In the bill of rights, among other things, net neutrality was maintained, providers will not be legally responsible for content published by users (but are forced to take it down when legally requested) and internet providers are obliged to keep records of users' access for six months and can't pass this responsibility to other companies." Brazilian internet users may continue to have the right to be surveilled on social media, too.

Read more of this storyat Slashdot.










DC Revolving Door: Ex-FCC Commissioner Is Now Head CTIA Lobbyist
Department: but-they're-so-well-versed-in-it  Date: 2014-04-24T16:25:00Z  Comments: 5
jfruh (300774) writes "Up until three years ago, Meredith Attwell Baker was an Obama-appointed FCC commissioner. Now she's the newly minted CEO of the CTIA, the nation's largest lobbying group for the mobile phone industry. How can we expect regulators to keep a careful watch over industries when high-paying jobs in those industries await them after retirement? One of the most damning sentences in that article: 'More than 80 percent of FCC commissioners since 1980 have gone on to work for companies or groups in the industries they used to regulate.'"

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Lumina: PC-BSD's Own Desktop Environment
Department: always-room-for-one-more  Date: 2014-04-24T15:44:00Z  Comments: 
jones_supa (887896) writes "The PC-BSD project is developing a new open source (BSD license) desktop environment from scratch. The name of the project is Lumina and it will be based around the Qt toolkit. The ultimate goal is to replace KDE as the default desktop of PC-BSD. Lumina aims to be lightweight, stable, fast-running, and FreeDesktop.org/XDG compliant. Most of the Lumina work is being done by PC-BSD's Ken Moore. Even though Lumina is still in its early stages, it can be built and run successfully, and an alpha version can already be obtained from PC-BSD's ports/package repositories."

Read more of this storyat Slashdot.










DIY Wearable Pi With Near-Eye Video Glasses
Department: up-close-and-personal  Date: 2014-04-24T14:53:00Z  Comments: 2
coop0030 (263345) writes "Noe& Pedro Ruiz at Adafruit have created a pair of open source near-eye video glasses combined with a Raspberry Pi. Their 3D Printed design turns a pair of 'private display glasses' into a "google glass"-like form factor. It easily clips to your prescription glasses, and can display any kind of device with Composite Video like a Raspberry Pi. They have a video demonstrating the glasses, a tutorial on how to build them, along with the 3d files required to print it out."

Read more of this storyat Slashdot.










Anonymous' Airchat Aim: Communication Without Need For Phone Or Internet
Department: turn-down-your-volume-before-clicking  Date: 2014-04-24T14:11:00Z  Comments: 3
concertina226 (2447056) writes "Online hacktivist collective Anonymous has announced that it is working on a new tool called Airchat which could allow people to communicate without the need for a phone or an internet connection— using radio waves instead. Anonymous, theamorphous group best known for attacking high profile targets like Sony and the CIA in recent years, said on the project's Github page: 'Airchat is a free communication tool [that] doesn't need internet infrastructure [or] a cell phone network. Instead it relies on any available radio link or device capable of transmitting audio.' Despite the Airchat system being highly involved and too complex for most people in its current form, Anonymous says it has so far used it to play interactive chess games with people at 180 miles away; share pictures and even established encrypted low bandwidth digital voice chats. In order to get Airchat to work, you will need to have a handheld radio transceiver, a laptop running either Windows, Mac OS X or Linux, and be able to install and run several pieces of complex software." And to cleanse yourself of the ads with autoplaying sound, you can visit the GitHub page itself.

Read more of this storyat Slashdot.











Latest from Techdirt.com
Empire State Building Supposedly Sues Photographer Over Photograph Of Topless Woman Wed, 15 Jan 2014 11:38:00 GMT
The story is almost too good to be true for the press. Apparently, the company that owns the famous Empire State Building in NY issuing photographer Allen Henson for $1.1 millionbecause he took a photo of a model named Shelby Carter, posing topless up on one of the ESB's observation decks. I've read nearly a dozen articles about the lawsuit, and I've noticed one thing: every one of them contains one or more of the photos of Carter topless (some pixelate or otherwise cover her breasts, some do not), and every one of them includes direct and different quotes from Henson who seemed quite willing to talk to anyone and everyone about the story and who freely admitted that it was good publicity for his ongoing efforts tophotograph topless womenaround NYC, after a police announcement last year that it's not illegal for women to be topless in NY. However,noneof them seem to include the actual lawsuit. We won't post the photos here. You can see them at basically every other link in this post. The closest to having the actual lawsuit (and this surprises me) is the NY Daily News, which at least notes thatthe lawsuit was filedin Manhattan Supreme Court, and at least suggests the cause of action:
In papers filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, ESRT Empire State Building says photographer Allen Henson caused "damage to its business and reputation as a safe and secure family friendly tourist attraction" by taking pictures of a woman without her shirt on there this past August 9.
I'd really like to see the actual lawsuit to see on what basis the company is making this claim. Yes, the Empire State Building is private property, so its owners can easily kick Henson off the property and even bar him from returning. But I can't see how they have any legal argument at all for demanding $1.1 million. From some of the other comments, there appears to besome allegationsthat the actions are "commercial" and that it cost the Empire State Building extra money to beef up security while decreasing the Empire State Building's "reputation as a safe and secure family friendly tourist attraction." I'm still not clear how that amounts to something you can sue someone over, let alone for $1 million. But, until someone actually provides the lawsuit (and Henson himself seems to suggest he hasn't even seen it either), it's difficult to understand the details. I have some emails out, and hopefully someone in the press will stop focusing on getting up photos of this woman's breasts for long enough to see if they can get a copy of the actual lawsuit to post as well.

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Why Exactly Do We Need To 'Protect' US And EU Foreign Investments Through TAFTA/TTIP Anyway? Wed, 15 Jan 2014 08:19:51 GMT

Techdirt has already examined the issue of corporate sovereignty many times over the past year, as it has emerged as one of the most problematic areas of both TPP and TAFTA/TTIP. A fine article by Simon Lester of the Cato Institute examinesa hidden assumption in these negotiations: that an investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism is needed at all.

Most of his post is devoted to the background of corporate sovereignty, and it provides a useful primer if you're still wondering what exactly ISDS is supposed to do, and why. Having established the framework, Lester concludes by making two key points:

First, if a U.S. (or EU) company chooses to make an investment abroad, why should the U.S. (or EU) government go to bat for it at all? In the past, we used "gunboat diplomacy" to protect our companies. Now we use international lawyers. But why should we do anything? These companies have chosen another jurisdiction for their investment, which is fine. Companies should invest in whatever location makes the most economic sense. But in that situation, it is not clear why the investment is "ours" to worry about anymore. When multinationals invest all over the world, are they really "ours," or are they now just global entities?
Business is inherently about taking risks -- if there were no risk, there would be no need for entrepreneurs. So why should a nation be expected to offer a kind of free insurance policy against those risks when they are incurred abroad -- not least because commercial policies doing that arereadilyavailable? Since fans of the free market think that the government should just get out of the way, surely they should extend this to foreign investment too?

Lester's other point is one that many people have made -- that ISDS is in any case unnecessary in an agreement between the US and EU:

when the place of the investment is the EU or US, which have plenty of their own protections in domestic law, international law seems largely duplicative. International investment rules are an opportunity for lawyers to bring additional claims, but are not necessary for "protection" of foreign investment. Without some evidence that more is necessary, perhaps US-EU investment rules should be limited to a basic promise to treat each other's investors equally, let governments settle disputes between themselves, and leave the international constitutional protections out of it.
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Aaron Swartz Explains Why The NSA Needs To Be Stopped Wed, 15 Jan 2014 04:14:51 GMT
Last week, when we wrote about the big "day of action" against the NSA in memory of Aaron Swartz, to be held February 11th, a few folks questioned whether this was an appropriate issue, since they were unaware of Aaron being all that concerned about the NSA. Obviously, Aaron died months before the Snowden leaks, but as many folks who knew Aaron knew, the NSA was absolutely an issue he was quite concerned about even prior to the Snowden leaks. Brian Knappenberger, who has been working to put the finishing touches on his new documentary about Aaron,The Internet's Own Boy, in order to debut it at Sundance, hasreleased an astounding trailerof the film (which looks amazing). Included in it, are multiple clips of Aaron actually speaking out about the NSA and surveillance, mainly focused on the NSAsaying itcan'tpossiblycalculate how many Americans it's spying on, because to do so, would be either (a) impossible or (b) would violate their privacy (yes, at one point, they actually said figuring out how many people are being spied on would violate their privacy).
So, yes, Aaron was quite concerned about the NSA, and it makes you wonder just how much we all lost in his death, because you have to expect that, as with SOPA, Aaron would have been an instrumental force in fighting back against the NSA as its overreach and abuses have been exposed. If you haven't yet, please go check outTheDayWeFightBack.orgto learn more about the day of action.

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DailyDirt: Categorizing Everything Wed, 15 Jan 2014 01:00:00 GMT
People just keep creating stuff -- books, movies, music, you name it... so it's (more than) a full-time job to keep up with all the cool new stuff. How do we classify music into hip-hop, heavy metal or Krautrock? What can we learn from mapping all these seemingly separate media genres? People and machines are working together to cobble together categorization systems that try to keep up with the flood of new content. Here are just a few examples.If you'd like to read more awesome and interesting stuff, check out this unrelated (but not entirely random!)Techdirt postvia StumbleUpon.

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