Shallow Thoughts : : rights

Akkana's Musings on Open Source, Science, and Nature.

Fri, 03 Sep 2004

Anti-RNC Protestors imprisoned in New York

A judge ordered the immediate release of 470 protesters in New York yesterday, after they'd been held illegally for almost three days in substandard conditions in a makeshift holding cell retrofitted from a pier garage).

The city denied there was any political motivation to holding the detainees for so long, and blamed the delay on the huge number of arrestees.

(Well, whose fault is that?)

Sources

It's apparently based on an AP story, but it doesn't seem to be possible to get to AP stories from AP's web site.

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[ 11:24 Sep 03, 2004    More politics/rights | permalink to this entry ]

Thu, 19 Aug 2004

Wrong Time for an E-Vote Glitch

Wired has had great coverage of the e-voting fiasco all along, but the latest story is particularly impressive: Wrong Time for an E-Vote Glitch. Sequoia Systems (suppliers, to our shame, for Santa Clara county, though at least they're not as bad as Diebold) had a demo for the California state senate of their new paper-trail system. Turned out that their demo failed to print paper trails for any of the spanish language ballots in the demo. It wasn't just a random glitch: they tried it several times, and every time, it failed to print the spanish voters' paper trail.

What a classic. I wish advocates for the Spanish-speaking community would seize on this and help to fight e-voting.

Sequoia, of course, is claiming that it wouldn't happen in a real election, that the problem was they didn't proofread the Spanish ballot but they would for a real election. I'm sure that makes everyone feel all better.

Other news mentioned in the article: the California bill to require a paper trail has stalled, and everyone thinks that's mysterious because it supposedly had bipartisan support.

They don't mention whether that's the same bill which would have allowed voters to choose a paper ballot rather than a touchscreen machine. That's important, since those of us who don't trust the touchscreen machines need to know in time to request absentee ballots, if we can't use paper ballots at the polls.

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[ 17:35 Aug 19, 2004    More politics/rights | permalink to this entry ]

Tue, 17 Aug 2004

EMI copy protected CDs don't affect Linux and Mac users

The Register had an article on the copy protection in the Beastie Boys' new CD. The relevant bit: the copy protection is only for Windows PCs (it uses a data track with an autorun file) and even then, it does nothing if autorun is disabled. For linux and mac users, it does nothing at all, and works as a normal CD. And Windows third-party CD burning apps can burn copies of the CD just fine.

The CD publisher, EMI Italy, was asked about this, and said they weren't worried at all about linux and mac users, or PC users who know enough to disable autorun (or use a CD burning app?); they think the majority of PC users will be stopped by this.

Assuming that Windows users who know enough to rip a CD and then distribute it online, but not enough to google for how to disable autorun, may seem a bit weird. But I guess if that's the kind of copy protection they want, we should be happy for it. Personally I still wouldn't buy a copy protected disc (I don't buy CDs from RIAA publishers anyway, a little personal boycott) and of course there's no guarantee, knowing the RIAA's history, that they won't decide to come after linux and mac users later; but for now, I suppose we should be happy that if we accidentally happen on this sort of disc, we don't have to worry about the Windows-oriented copy protection getting in our way.

(Would this constitute an anti-DMCA argument that the protection is not "effective"? It certainly should, but I'm still not entirely clear on the legal definition of "effective" except that it means something different from what the word means in normal English.)

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[ 17:04 Aug 17, 2004    More politics/rights | permalink to this entry ]