Stowaway

on 27 January 2006 at about 19:57

This week: xoxbox

This item was originally posted on CEMP's Interactive Media Portal on 27 January, 2006.

A round up of web jetsam from 20 -27 Jan 2006. This week: privacy, censorship, copyright, audience participation (or not) and Palestinian bloggers. Guest starring Google, China, Iran, Lawrence Lessig and 6732 edits.

This article’s name is brought to you courtesy of wwwhelper.com and the words web and box. :)

This week: privacy, censorship, copyright, audience participation (or not) and Palestinian bloggers.

Cyber-scuffles broke out over the US Department of Justice’s demand that search engines including Google, Yahoo, MSN and AOL hand over users’ search records. The world briefly turned into a Fritz Lang-directed 1984-style authoritarian hell, with only Google (who refused to comply) as the last defence.

As so often, much of the speculation and vitriol was uninformed: it eventually transpired that no personally identifiable information was asked for or handed over, but concern remains that a precedent has been set.

If Google started the week well because they seemed to be standing up for users’ privacy and against the power of the state, it was short-lived: by the end of the week, the Google story was about getting into tyrannical bed with the evil empire of censorship and torture. Google.cn, the Chinese version of not-evil-search is actually, quite evil, since it complies with the authorities’ desire to censor material about democracy and human rights. ‘Erm, okay, be evil’?

Iran also blocked the BBC’s Persian language site. The same Iran that jails bloggers, though it allows them to take exams in handcuffs.

Apparently, 2006 will be the year that the future of consumer rights will be determined: DRM will either close down all the media you use, or it will be defeated. Why is DRM bad? Cory Doctorow is always persuasive.

The Broadcast Flag reappeared, threatening to severely curtail the kinds of things you can do with media you’ve already bought.

Meanwhile, Lawrence Lessig, the Stanford Professor, did an interview in Second Life about the inconsistencies of the legal approach to copyright.

Hmmm, something cheerful… how about this? The Beastie Boys hope to storm the Sundance festival with a film ‘directed’ by Beastie Adam Yauch, but shot by most of the audience at their show at Madison Square Garden. ‘Awesome: I Fuckin’ Shot That’ was edited together after 55 cameras were given out to audience members, and has 6732 edits. Geez…

The Washington Post couldn’t be bothered to spend any time getting to grips with content produced by their audience: after opening up their blog to comments, they quickly switched it off again, because people started, well, saying things. The swines. Some parts of the print world still just don’t get it.

Finally: this week, Hamas were unexpectedly voted into power in Palestine. Palestine Blog Aggregator collects content from many pro-Palestinian blogs, so you can see reactions from those it directly affects.

[Original] Comments

On DRM. My 12 year old neice couldn’t convert a new CD (Green Day I think)to MP£ to play on her MP£ player. I explained that this was because the CD was copy protected. She just didn’t get it. ” But I’ve paid for it”, she said, “why can’t I listen to it as I want?”. Quite! Her conclusion was that she had been “ripped off”.

Apparently there are cunning ways around the google.cn censor filers: misssspelling :)

Misssspellings, lol. I think this shows that Goog£e aren’t even trying. I recall that when Audiogalaxy put filters in place to stop music downnloads (to please the R$AA) everyone used the same workaround – and Audiogalaxy was eventually shut down by the R$AA. I wonder how China will respond?

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