October 24, 2008
Colbert on How Computers Helped Create The Current Economic Crisis
From the October 13th show, the one day the market went up significantly. [MG]
Vista SP2 and Windows 7 News
Hot on the heels of Service Pack 1, at least in computer terms, Vista Service Pack 2 is getting ready for beta testing. In the meantime, PC World takes a look in survey form what will be that creature known as Windows 7. [MG]
Turkey Finds A Way To Beat Encryption
It is sometimes frustrating to law enforcement agents in getting electronic evidence from a suspected wrong-doer when that evidence is encrypted. There are methods of breaking the encryption, but these may outlast the lives of those involved depending on the strength of the encryption tool. Then there is the beating-the-crap-out-of-the-suspect technique. As President Bush famously said, and Chicago's own Mayor Daley echoes, "we don't torture." Fair enough, as far as those statements go. Apparently Turkey hasn't reached the same level of civility expressed by our elected officials when it comes to criminal investigations, if you believe what appears in this story. [MG]
October 23, 2008
Virtual World Actions, Real World Consequences
One of the more fascinating issues that bubble to the surface from time to time are real world legal consequences for things that happen in the virtual world. A running story line that appears from time to time is about tax agencies examining whether and how to assess value (and a levy) when virtual items are bought and sold using real money.
Two stories remind us that real world crime is another aspect of virtual reality. Ars Technica reports on a Dutch case where two teenagers were sentenced to community service for stealing virtual property, a mask and an amulet, from another teen. The victim gave up his game property after being physically threatened with a knife, though the assault was not part of the charge. The case centered on theft of virtual property.
The Chicago Tribune is reporting on a Japanese woman who murdered her online husband after a quick digital divorce. Killing a bunch of pixels is normally not a crime in the real world, even in the Netherlands. Her method involved using a login ID and password for the virtual victim. The charge in this case is suspicion of hacking, which if prosecuted would result in a potential prison term of up to five years and fine of up to $5,000.
To paraphrase Abe Simpson, its nuts I tells ya. [MG]
October 21, 2008
PACER Adds Audio to Docket
Pacer has added audio from selected District and Bankruptcy courts to the docket listings in the service. These recordings will be available for download for a fee of 8 cents aside from any fees associated with the docket reports. Some courts, such as the Seventh Circuit, have had audio recordings of oral arguments for some time. This is a bit different. Transcripts have traditionally not been available through Pacer, even though they may be in the court file. The audio recordings are not a substitute, but they may help determine if one needs to order up a transcript. The press release is here.
DARPA Builds Video Database To Be Analyzed By Computers
The federal government, DARPA specifically, is going to build a database of surveillance footage where computers can do the initial analysis and tagging. Biometrics will not be part of the organizing features of the collection. Rather, tagging videos will cover activities such as jumping a fence, climbing under cars, or other common yet suspicious events. DARPA has discovered something that we all know: we are awash in media and human tagging takes up too much time. This is true even for an organization that has tremendous human resources at its disposal. Welcome to the real world, DARPA. And Viacom wonders why Google can't screen YouTube for copyright violations.
The story is here.