Tuesday, November 22, 2005
EFF Brings Class Action Suit Against Sony
Via BoingBoing: The EFF has filed a class action lawsuit against Sony BMG over the company's DRM practices, specifically that recently used on a number of Sony music CDs. From the EFF press release:
The suit, to be filed in Los Angeles County Superior court, alleges that the XCP and SunnComm technologies have been installed on the computers of millions of unsuspecting music customers when they used their CDs on machines running the Windows operating system. Researchers have shown that the XCP technology was designed to have many of the qualities of a "rootkit." It was written with the intent of concealing its presence and operation from the owner of the computer, and once installed, it degrades the performance of the machine, opens new security vulnerabilities, and installs updates through an Internet connection to Sony BMG's servers. The nature of a rootkit makes it extremely difficult to remove, often leaving reformatting the computer's hard drive as the only solution. When Sony BMG offered a program to uninstall the dangerous XCP software, researchers found that the installer itself opened even more security vulnerabilities in users' machines. Sony BMG has still refused to use its marketing prowess to widely publicize its recall program to reach the over 2 million XCP-infected customers, has failed to compensate users whose computers were affected and has not eliminated the outrageous terms found in its End User Licensing Agreement (EULA).
The MediaMax software installed on over 20 million CDs has different, but similarly troubling problems. It installs files on the users' computers even if they click "no" on the EULA, and it does not include a way to fully uninstall the program. The software transmits data about users to SunnComm through an Internet connection whenever purchasers listen to CDs, allowing the company to track listening habits -- even though the EULA states that the software will not be used to collect personal information and SunnComm's website says "no information is ever collected about you or your computer." If users repeatedly requested an uninstaller for the MediaMax software, they were eventually provided one, but they first had to provide more personally identifying information. Worse, security researchers recently determined that SunnComm's uninstaller creates significant security risks for users, as the XCP uninstaller did.
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january 26, 2006
Telephone Repair Handbook
Mark Pesce & Angus Fraser
In a three-part feature, Mark Pesce
and Angus Fraser propose a complete rethinking of a technology that
everyone depends on: the telephone.
may 30, 2005
Burgess: The Mindjack Interview
Melanie McBride recently caught up with Broken Saints creator Brooke
Burgess to talk about long form Flash and the way of this Broken Saints
may 13, 2005
is Good? How Battlestar Galactica Killed Broadcast TV
by Mark Pesce
the first part of a two-part article, Mark Pesce looks at how a re-visioned
70s camp classic changed television forever.
may 21, 2005
is Good? Part Two: The New Laws of Television
by Mark Pesce
the final part of a two-part article, Mark Pesce lays out some new rules
for television, which he says are good for everyone unless you're
february 01 , 2005
Future of Money
by Paul Hartzog
Paul Hartzog examines the changing nature of money and what might be in
store for the currency of tomorrow.
november 05, 2004
Without Borders: Digital Culture and Decentralization
by Paul Hartzog
Hartzog rethinks sociologist Saskia Sassen's idea of the Global City and
how it may or may not apply to digital culture.
august 31, 2004
Ads Invade Gamespace
by Tony Walsh
do you get when you cross the world's most measurable medium with the
world's most immersive medium? Video games peppered with Internet-style
banner-ads. This new method of marketing allows measurable demographic
data to be collected from the elusive online gaming community, targeting
dynamically-downloaded advertisements at specific demographics. The promise
of a new revenue stream is obviously attractive to advertisers and game
publishers, but will the idea win over gamers?
july 20, 2004
Gaming's Quiet Revolution
by Tony Walsh
Today's avatars in massively multiplayer environments like
Second Life are giving their users the gift of expression and infusing
games with something more, soul.
june 25, 2004
by J.D. Lasica Reports
collaborative work tools and the drawbacks of social software took center
stage at this year's Supernova. The third annual tech-in-the-workspace
conference "Where the decentralized future comes together!"
drew more than 150 technology thought leaders, software startup CEOs and
other heavy hitters (alas, fewer than 20 of them women) to the Westin
Hotel in Santa Clara, Calif., on June 24-25.
may 24, 2004
Digital Radio Be Napsterized?
by J.D. Lasica
Recording Industry Association of America has discovered that digital
radio broadcasts can be copied and redistributed over the Internet. The
so the RIAA, the music business's trade and lobbying group, has asked
the Federal Communications Commission to step in and impose an "audio
broadcast flag" on certain forms of digital radio.
may 17, 2004
by Mark Pesce
the earliest days of television, writers like George Orwell in 1984
and Ray Bradbury in Fahrenheit 451 projected television as the
instrumentality of a totalitarian future - a monolithic entity dispensing
propaganda. And, if any of you occasionally watch Fox News, you can see
they weren't that far off the mark. But here's the thing: the monolithic
days of television are numbered. Actually, they've already passed - though,
as yet, very few people realize this.
april 19, 2004
Blogging, Equality, and the Future
the mainstream media's interest in blogging at a fever pitch, Mindjack's
Melanie McBride takes a critical look at the future of blogging and talks
to some of the bloggers trying to shape it.
april 12, 2004
Copyright Law and its Challengers
A profile of Jed Horovitz and his documentary Wilfull
Infringement, about his struggles with Disney over copyright laws,
and other individuals who have run into similar problems in their creative
march 11, 2004
Is Nothing Sacred?
Digital Music for a Digital Age
by Ian Dawe
nothing sacred?" This was the rallying cry, some years back, concerning
sampling. Pioneered by the fledgling hip-hop artists, with its roots in
music concrete, sampling is the art of extracting snippets of music from
other recordings and re-assembling them into a new piece, usually based
around some kind of electronic beat. Theft, it was called. Another phrase
applied to it was "art".
december 12, 2003
by Donald Melanson
software is the latest "next big thing" to get technophiles
excited and VCs interested. What exactly it is, few can describe.
In some respects, it is nothing new at all, but rather a means of connecting
and defining previously disparate elements. Mindjack editor Donald Melanson
takes a look at one group that has taken this idea and run with it, before
the idea ever had a name: film and DVD enthusiasts.
october 29, 2003
Variables for Understanding Online Communities
by Andrea Baker and Bob Watson
article is an attempt to discuss some of the qualities that define virtual
communities. It is a work in process, an exploration. The twelve variables
we've selected are most likely not all that exist, just the ones we find
most important in our thinking right now. These variables struck us as
important ways in which communities are differentiated despite the type
of software chosen to carry a given community.
october 29, 2003
by Nicholas Carroll
was puzzled the first time I read about "knowledge management." How can
you manage knowledge -- much less shuffle it around an organization --
when knowledge is a construct in an individual mind? People in information
science and neurobiology were of the same opinion: you can manage information,
but not knowledge. Knowledge is something that lives between your ears.
It has to be reduced to information to be organized, stored, and transmitted."
september 18, 2003
The Myth of Fingerprints
newest contributor, Ian Dawe, examines the history of identification technology,
from passwords to fingerprints to DNA.
The Trouble with e-Voting
is one of those things Iíve been dreading for several years. Since it
first became a technological possibility, the thought of all of the security
risks involved has been swarming in my head like a hornetís nest. On the
surface, it sounds like a beautifully democratic thing Ė each person anywhere
in the world just needs to get him or herself to a computer in order to
vote. But when one puts together the current legal ramifications and the
technological flaws, itís actually rather scary.
Have iPod, Will Travel
reviews the iTrip FM Transmitter for the iPod from Griffin Technology.
Alexander on The Matrix Reloaded
to The Matrix faces a series of challenges. It must satisfy, then exceed
its audiences appetite for imaginative fight scenes. It needs to
work with the science fiction concept of split-level reality, going further
without undoing the premise. Fidelity to an ambitiously defined alternate
world isnt crucial, yet unlike the situation of the Star
Wars and Lord of the Rings movies. However, a sequel is bound to plumb
the first movies underworld of technological fear and cultural theory
riffing. The Matrix: Reloaded attempts all of these, but diffuses, throwing
itself into an open, unsettled finale
may 26, 2003
examines the online, interconnected groups of people that you turn to
for advice on music, art, fashion, books, etc., and the broader implications
of these taste tribes.
may 05, 2003
Outside The MUD
CEO Stewart Butterfield on the Game Neverending
Sugarbaker talks to Stewart Butterfield about his company's take on massively-multiplayer
march 21, 2003
State of Digital Rights Management
Bryan Alexander reports from the
Berkely DRM Conference.
February the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology held a conference
to demonstrate and push the limits of DRM. For a sunny weekend in northern
California, representatives of computer science, entertainment, media
companies, Congress, the FTC, European copyright law, and the occasional
cypherpunk, offered their versions of DRM, while holding each other's
notions up to fierce scrutiny.
march 21, 2003
Two Degrees of Separation
In an entirely
unscientific study, Sarah examines the uncanny social connections that
sprout from the Silicon Valley populus.
march 10, 2003
Machine Than Flesh
essay of Rodney Brooks' Flesh and Machines: How Robots Will Change
february 17, 2003
reputation management" is reminiscent of the political term "spin control."
But the Internet is not traditional media, and opportunities for controlling
one's reputation are quite different – in theory unlimited, but in practice
limited by an almost inherent lack of focus, and the countervailing weight
of mainstream media.
november 04, 2002
The Internet Archive
away in one of the seediest neighborhoods of San Francisco is a roomful
of over two hundred computers with a terabyte of data stored on every
october 28, 2002
The Transmetropolitan Condition
An Interview with Warren Ellis
has never been a better time to read the work of comic book legend Warren
Ellis. From the formulaic pornography of news coverage to the on-going
ineptitude of our world "leaders", Ellis delivers an intelligent and savagely
funny antidote to global idiocy. The creator of Transmetropolitan, Planetary
and Global Frequency talks to Mindjack about his work, our times and the