EFF is suing the US government to invalidate the DMCA's DRM provisions

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The Electronic Frontier Foundation has just filed a lawsuit that challenges the Constitutionality of Section 1201 of the DMCA, the "Digital Rights Management" provision of the law, a notoriously overbroad law that bans activities that bypass or weaken copyright access-control systems, including reconfiguring software-enabled devices (making sure your IoT light-socket will accept third-party lightbulbs; tapping into diagnostic info in your car or tractor to allow an independent party to repair it) and reporting security vulnerabilities in these devices. Read the rest

For 90 years, lightbulbs were designed to burn out. Now that's coming to LED bulbs.

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In 1924, representatives of the world's leading lightbulb manufacturers formed Phoebus, a cartel that fixed the average life of an incandescent bulb at 1,000 hours, ensuring that people would have to regularly buy bulbs and keep the manufacturers in business. Read the rest

As browsers decline in relevance, they're becoming DRM timebombs

My op-ed in today's issue of The Tech, MIT's leading newspaper, describes how browser vendors and the W3C, a standards body that's housed at MIT, are collaborating to make DRM part of the core standards for future browsers, and how their unwillingness to take even the most minimal steps to protect academics and innovators from the DMCA will put the MIT community in the crosshairs of corporate lawyers and government prosecutors. Read the rest

Unpleasant Design: design that bullies its users

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Selena Savić and Gordan Savicic (previously) have published Unpleasant Design, their long-awaited book on "design that bullies its users" -- that is, devices, street furniture, tools and products designed to control humans. Read the rest

Russian bill mandates backdoors in all communications apps

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A pending "anti-terrorism" bill in the Duma would require all apps to contain backdoors to allow the secret police to spy on the country's messaging, in order to prevent teenagers from being "brainwashed" to "murder police officers." Read the rest

W3C DRM working group chairman vetoes work on protecting security researchers and competition

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For a year or so, I've been working with the EFF to get the World Wide Web Consortium to take steps to protect security researchers and new market-entrants who run up against the DRM standard they're incorporating into HTML5, the next version of the key web standard. Read the rest

Oculus breaks promise, uses DRM to kill app that let you switch VR systems

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As recently as 5 months ago, Oculus founder Palmer Luckey was promising his customers that they could play the software they bought from the Oculus store on "whatever they want," guaranteeing that the company wouldn't shut down apps that let customers move their purchased software to non-Oculus hardware. Read the rest

O'Reilly Hardware Podcast on the risks to the open Web and the future of the Internet of Things

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I appeared on the O'Reilly Hardware Podcast this week (MP3, talking about the way that DRM has crept into all our smart devices, which compromises privacy, security and competition. Read the rest

Kobo "upgrade" deprives readers of hundreds of DRM-locked ebooks

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Chris writes, "After a recent Kobo software upgrade, a number of Kobo customers have reported losing e-books from their libraries--notably, e-books that had been transferred to Kobo from their Sony Reader libraries when Sony left the consumer e-book business. One customer reported missing 460 e-books, and the only way to get them back in her library would be to search and re-add them one at a time! Customers who downloaded their e-books and illegally broke the DRM don't have this problem, of course." Read the rest

How standardizing DRM will make us all less secure

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After decades of fighting for open Web standards that let anyone implement software to receive and render online data, the World Wide Web Consortium changed course and created EME, a DRM system that locks up video in formats that can only be played back with the sender's blessing, and which also gives media giants the power to threaten and sue security researchers who discover bugs in their code. Read the rest

EFF to FDA: the DMCA turns medical implants into time-bombs

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The Electronic Frontier Foundation just filed comments with the FDA in its embedded device cybersecurity docket, warning the agency that manufacturers have abused the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, threatening security researchers with lawsuits if they came forward with embarrassing news about defects in the manufacturers' products. Read the rest

The Gimmick Economy: how central banks pretend software isn't eating the world

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Mathematician/economist Eric R Weinstein is managing director of Thiel Capital, but that doesn't mean that he thinks capitalism has a future. Read the rest

VW offers to buy back 500K demon-haunted diesels

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Reuters reports that VW is about to tell the federal judge in San Francisco in charge of its case that it will offer to buy back nearly half a million of its diesel vehicles from owners who were deceived about the cars' emission standards and performance when the company engineered its cars so that they would act daemonically, performing differently based on whether they were being tested or not. Read the rest

Printer ink wars may make private property the exclusive domain of corporations

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Printer manufacturer Lexmark hates America, and everything good and right in the world, because we keep stubbornly insisting that if we buy a printer cartridge, we can refill it, because it's ours.

Read the rest

Watch: nomination hearings for the next Librarian of Congress, 11:15AM PT

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Carla Hayden is President Obama's pick for the next Librarian of Congress, and she's an extraordinarily good choice: an open-access advocate who opposes mass surveillance and comes out of the library world, Hayden is ideally poised to lead the Library, which, in turn, supervises the Copyright Office and sets the nation's de facto IT policy, for example through things like the Triennial DMCA 1201 hearings). Read the rest

Hacking Team supplied cyber-weapons to corrupt Latin American governments for human rights abuses

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In Hacking Team Malware Para La Vigilancia en América Latina, a new report from Derechos Digitales, we learn how Hacking Team, the hacked-and-disgraced cyber-arms dealer (previously) supplied weapons to corrupt state actors in latinamerica who used them to spy on political opposition, journalists and academics. Read the rest

High tech/high debt: the feudal future of technology makes us all into lesser lessors

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Sarah Jeong continues her excellent series of critical perspectives on technology with a piece on the way that technology is being used to let computers control their users, on behalf of the corporations who make and sell these tools. Read the rest

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