Archives for the tag “ Slashdot ”

Stéphane Thibault >_

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Internet Brands bought Wikitravel.org in 2006, plastered it with ads and neglected it. After years, the Wikitravel community finally decided to fork under CC by-sa and move to Wikimedia. Internet Brands is now suing two of the unpaid volunteers for wanting to leave. The Wikimedia Foundation is seeking a declaratory judgement (PDF) that you can actually fork a free-content project without permission. Internet Brands has a track record of scorched-earth litigation tactics.

Stéphane Thibault >_

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According to British daily The Telegraph, Sir Tim Berners-Lee has warned that plans to monitor individuals’ use of the internet would result in Britain losing its reputation as an upholder of web freedom. The plans, by Home Secretary Theresa May, would force British ISPs and other service providers to keep records of every phone call, email and website visit in Britain. Sir Tim has told the Times: ‘In Britain, like in the US, there has been a series of Bills that would give government very strong powers to, for example, collect data. I am worried about that.’ Sir Tim has also warned that the UK may wind up slipping down the list of countries with the most Internet freedom, if the proposed data-snooping laws pass parliament. The draft bill extends the type of data that internet service providers must store for at least 12 months. Providers would also be required to keep details of a much wider set of data, including use of social network sites, webmail and voice calls over the internet

Stéphane Thibault >_

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A Polish security researcher, Krzysztof Kotowicz, makes an worrisome entry in his blog: with a few lines of Javascript, any web site could list the extensions installed in Chrome (and the other browsers of the Chromium family). Proof of concept is provided here. As there are addons which deal with very personal things like pregnancy or religion, the easiness of access to those very private elements of your life is really troubling.

Stéphane Thibault >_

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One of the major unanswered questions about Bill C-30, the lawful access/online surveillance bill, is who will pay for the costs associated with responding to law enforcement demands for subscriber information (“look ups”) and installation of surveillance equipment (“hook ups”). Christopher Parsons has an excellent post that takes a shot at estimating some of the costs. I recently obtained documents from Public Safety under the Access to Information Act that indicates that the government doesn’t really have its own answer. As of December 2011, the issue was still the subject of internal debate with Public Safety working with the RCMP and CSIS to develop a fee schedule for the costs.

The document is particularly interesting because it places the spotlight on how the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP) would like to handle the issue. In 2009, the CACP proposed several possibilities, including the creation of new public safety tax that would appear on monthly customer bills.

Stéphane Thibault >_

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Google plans to penalize overly optimized sites because they want to level the playing field for other websites who do not concentrate on such efforts. Basically there are sites out there that completely focus their efforts on SEO and not content and those results would rank higher than sites that don’t focus on SEO.

Google Engineer Matt Cutts explains the following: “We are trying to make GoogleBot smarter, make our relevance better, and we are also looking for those who abuse it, like too many keywords on a page, or exchange way too many links or go well beyond what you normally expect.”

Stéphane Thibault >_

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Academic research is behind bars and an online boycott by 8,209 researchers (and counting) is seeking to set it free, well, more free than it has been. The boycott targets Elsevier, the publisher of popular journals like Cell and The Lancet, for its aggressive business practices, but opposition was electrified by Elsevier’s backing of a Congressional bill titled the Research Works Act (RWA). Though lesser known than the other high-profile, privacy-related bills SOPA and PIPA, the act was slated to reverse the Open Access Policy enacted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 2008 that granted the public free access to any article derived from NIH-funded research.