Article 43

 

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Bad Apple

Apple hides account info in DRM-free music, too

By Ken Fisher
ARS Technica
May 30, 2007

With great power comes great responsibility, and apparently with DRM-free music comes files embedded with identifying information. Such is the situation with APPLE’S NEW DRM-FREE MUSIC: songs sold without DRM still have a user’s full name and account e-mail embedded in them, which means that dropping that new DRM-free song on your favorite P2P network could come back to bite you.

We started examining the files this morning and noticed our names and e-mail addresses in the files, and we’ve found CORROBORATION OF THE FIND AT TUAW, as well. But there’s more to the story: Apple embeds your account information in all songs sold on the store, not just DRM-free songs. Previously it wasn’t much of a big deal, since no one could imagine users sharing encrypted, DRMed content. But now that DRM-free music from Apple is on the loose, the hidden data is more significant since it could theoretically be used to trace shared tunes back to the original owner. It must also be kept in mind that this kind of information could be spoofed.

Concerned users could convert selections to MP3, but there will be a generational loss in quality resulting from the transcoding. We also have to wonder: who is buying DRM-free music with the plans of slapping it up on a P2P share, anyway? It’s not like there aren’t dozens of other ways to get access to music without paying for it.

What would Apple do with the info?

The big question, of course, is what might Apple do with this information? Because it can be spoofed, it’s not exactly the best way to determine who is sharing music, and in any case, tracing a link back such as this would leave a copyright holder in a gray area. Embedded data or not, the mere presence of the data in a file found on a share is not an unassailable indicator of copyright infringement.

That said, it would be trivial for iTunes to report back to Apple, indicating that “Joe User” has M4As on this hard drive belonging to “Jane Userette,” or even “two other users.” This is not to say that Apple is going to get into the copyright enforcement business. What Apple and indeed the record labels want to watch closely is: will one user buy music for his five close friends?  The entertainment industry is obsessed with the idea of “casual piracy,” or the occasional sharing of content between friends. I wouldn’t be surprised if some data was being analyzed in aggregate, although Apple’s current privacy policy does not appear to allow for this. As with the dust-up over the mini-store, Apple should clarify what this embedded data is used for.

We’ve contacted Apple for a response but have not heard back from the company.

SOURCE

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TUAW Tip: Don’t Torrent That Song...

By Erics Sadun
TUAW
May 30, 2007

Sure, you can now download music from the iTunes store without DRM but that doesn’t mean you should just willy nilly start sharing that music with your friends. For one thing, it’s illegal. For another, your account information is embedded into that m4a music file. Don’t believe me? Try this yourself.

1. Launch Terminal. You’ll need to be comfortable at the command line to perform this check.

2. Navigate to one of your iTunes plus downloads. If you have a US iTunes account, you can download the iTunes plus “Ooh La” single of the week.

3. Use the UNIX “strings” command to look at the text in your data and grep to search for your name. e.g.

strings 01\ Ooh\ La.m4a | grep name
Alternatively, open all the strings in TextEdit:
strings 01\ Ooh\ La.m4a | open -f.

Bottom line: DRM-free doesn’t mean that Apple suddenly supports piracy.

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 05/31/07 •
Section Privacy And Rights
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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Justice Relaxes Discimination Rules

Justices Ruling Limits Suits on Pay Disparity

By Linda Greenhouse
NY Times
May 30, 2007

The Supreme Court on Tuesday made it harder for many workers to sue their employers for discrimination in pay, insisting in a 5-to-4 decision on a tight time frame to file such cases. The dissenters said the ruling ignored workplace realities.

The decision came in a case involving a supervisor at a Goodyear Tire plant in Gadsden, Ala., the only woman among 16 men at the same management level, who was paid less than any of her colleagues, including those with less seniority. She learned that fact late in a career of nearly 20 years too late, according to the Supreme Court’s majority.

The court held on Tuesday that employees may not bring suit under the principal federal anti-discrimination law unless they have filed a formal complaint with a federal agency within 180 days after their pay was set. The timeline applies, according to the decision, even if the effects of the initial discriminatory act were not immediately apparent to the worker and even if they continue to the present day.

From 2001 to 2006, workers brought nearly 40,000 pay discrimination cases. Many such cases are likely to be barred by the courts interpretation of the requirement in Title VII of the CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF 1964 that employees make their charge within 180 days ғafter the alleged unlawful employment practice occurred.

Workplace experts said the ruling would have broad ramifications and would narrow the legal options of many employees.

In an opinion by Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., the majority rejected the view of the federal agency, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, that each paycheck that reflects the initial discrimination is itself a discriminatory act that resets the clock on the 180-day period, under a rule known as ԓpaycheck accrual.

ԓCurrent effects alone cannot breathe life into prior, uncharged discrimination, Justice Alito said in an opinion joined by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony M. Kennedy and Clarence Thomas. Justice Thomas once headed the employment commission, the chief enforcer of workersԒ rights under the statute at issue in this case, usually referred to simply as Title VII.

Under its longstanding interpretation of the statute, the commission actively supported the plaintiff, Lilly M. Ledbetter, in the lower courts. But after the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case last June, the Bush administration disavowed the agencys position and filed a brief on the side of the employer.

In a vigorous dissenting opinion that she read from the bench, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said the majority opinion ғoverlooks common characteristics of pay discrimination. She said that given the secrecy in most workplaces about salaries, many employees would have no idea within 180 days that they had received a lower raise than others.

An initial disparity, even if known to the employee, might be small, Justice Ginsburg said, leading an employee, particularly a woman or a member of a minority group ԓtrying to succeed in a nontraditional environment to avoid ԓmaking waves. Justice Ginsburg noted that even a small differential ԓwill expand exponentially over an employees working life if raises are set as a percentage of prior pay.Ҕ

Justices John Paul Stevens, David H. Souter and Stephen G. Breyer joined the dissent.

Ms. Ledbetters salary was initially the same as that of her male colleagues. But over time, as she received smaller raises, a substantial disparity grew. By the time she brought suit in 1998, her salary fell short by as much as 40 percent; she was making $3,727 a month, while the lowest-paid man was making $4,286.

A jury in Federal District Court in Birmingham, Ala., awarded her more than $3 million in back pay and compensatory and punitive damages, which the trial judge reduced to $360,000. But the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, in Atlanta, erased the verdict entirely, ruling that because Ms. Ledbetter could not show that she was the victim of intentional discrimination during the 180 days before she filed her complaint, she had not suffered an ғunlawful employment practice to which Title VII applied.

Several other federal appeals courts had accepted the employment commissionԒs more relaxed view of the 180-day requirement. The justices accepted Ms. Ledbetters appeal, Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, No. 05-1074, to resolve the conflict.

Title VIIҒs prohibition of workplace discrimination applies not just to pay but also to specific actions like refusal to hire or promote, denial of a desired transfer and dismissal. Justice Ginsburg argued in her dissenting opinion that while these singular discrete actsӔ are readily apparent to an employee who can then make a timely complaint, pay discrimination often presents a more ambiguous picture. She said the court should treat a pay claim as it treated a claim for a hostile work environmentӔ in a 2002 decision, permitting a charge to be filed based on the cumulative effect of individual acts.Ӕ

In response, Justice Alito dismissed this as a policy argumentӔ with no support in the statute.Ӕ

As with an abortion ruling last month, this decision showed the impact of Justice Alitos presence on the court. Justice Sandra Day OҒConnor, whom he succeeded, would almost certainly have voted the other way, bringing the opposite outcome.

The impact of the decision on women may be somewhat limited by the availability of another federal law against sex discrimination in the workplace, the Equal Pay Act, which does not contain the 180-day requirement. Ms. Ledbetter initially included an Equal Pay Act complaint, but did not pursue it. That law has additional procedural hurdles and a low damage cap that excludes punitive damages. It does not cover discrimination on the basis of race or Title VIIs other protected categories.

In her opinion, Justice Ginsburg invited Congress to overturn the decision, as it did 15 years ago with a series of Supreme Court rulings on civil rights. ғOnce again, the ball is in Congresss court,Ҕ she said. Within hours, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, who is seeking the Democratic nomination, announced her intention to submit such a bill.

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 05/30/07 •
Section Dying America
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Preying On The Job Seeker 3

“There’s a sucker born every minute”
- PT Barnum

Remember what I said HERE.
.
Lots of people prey on the weak and/or ignorant.  As a job seeker - you may be desperate for a job - and extremely VULNERABLE to anything that may come across as an opportunity.  For instance:

---

From: Bert Vogts
To: me
Subject: Job AlertFrom WC AG

Dear Potential Employee

YOU HAVE BEEN CONTACTED as a POTENTIAL EMPLOYEE who has registered on one of DOUBLECLICK Inc websites. For further information please VISIT.

My name is Bert Vogts , human resource and direct manager at WC AG Inc. I will try to explain about our company and the entry level position available in a nutshell. WC AG Inc.. currently offers a secure, fast, and inexpensive means to TRANSFER FUNDS and goods internationally . WC AG Inc. headquarters are located in Voigtstrasse 3 ,10247 Berlin,Germany.

There are 15-25 openings for a representative (depending on client activity) to assist in creation our virtual local presence for the back office functions. Person, who is accepted for this position, will perform these tasks:

- Responsible for processing the applications
- Process work requests necessary to maintain an effective payments transfer program;
- Managing cash and balancing receipts;
- Making collections;
- Posting payments;
- Making bank deposits;
- Operating within prescribed budgets;
- Consult with Senior Manager in developing payment schedules;
- Coordinate the assignments;
- Operate a computer and modern software to operate and maintain a computerized operations program;
- Perform related duties and responsibilities as required.

You will be compensated for the time spent on each project at a $21.00 per hour rate once full time employed. You will be paid every two weeks via corporate check. Also you will receive 5% commission from the transaction amount.  You must have a bank account to receive wages from us. Depending on your work results, you might be hired on a full time basis within 1-2 months. Please remember that no self respecting company will ask you for any upfront fees or any kind of payment to begin employment! Please note that while is no prior experience requirements, good communications skills and responsible personality is a plus.

If you are interested please email me at with ‘Interested’ and country of residence in a subject line to receive further information. Please note that at this time we are accepting applications from US, Canada and EU residents only, please DO NOT apply if you are not.

Your information will be used only within WC AG Inc.. Every employee, who satisfies our requirements, will be contacted by our manager via e-mail.

Phone interviews will be mandatory before full time employment.

Sincerely,
Direct manager
Bert Vogts

Voigtstrasse 3
10247 Berlin
Germany

Customer service:
Fax: +49 (0)30 71 61 02 - 199

---

To: me
Subject: Company Representative Needed…
From: Richard.H Mason <mmgrouphandlinginfo_desk@yahoo.co.uk>

MM Group Handling
Unit 15 Carlyon Road
Industrial Estate Atherstone
Warwickshire CV9 1LQ
United kingdom
Tel: +44-703-190-7869
Fax: +44-870-479-6750

I am Mr. Richard.H Mason President MM Group Handling.
We are a trading company that is into the hire, sales
and service of Electrical Trucks, Fork Trucks and
associated materials handling equipments and diverse
range of battery for electric vehicles which can be
readily adapted for customers specific requirements to
the America and selected locations in Europe.

We are searching for individuals or a company who can
act as our representative/payment agent in your
country and earn 10% of every payment made through you
to us.

For further details, endeavor to forward the following
below:
Email:mmgrouphandlinginfo_desk@yahoo.co.uk
1. Full Names:
2. Company Name:
3. Full Contact Address:
4. Tel and Fax Numbers:

Regards,
Richard.H Mason
President

More Preying on the job seeker articles:

[1] - [2] - [3] - [4] - [5] - [6] - [7] - [8] - [9] - [10]

Posted by Elvis on 05/30/07 •
Section Dealing with Layoff
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New Immigration Plan Ignores History’s Lessons

“The answers are there - you just have to know where to look.”
- Dana Scully, X-Files

History may be about to repeat itself with IMMIGRATION REFORM

Are we STILL that DUMB?

---

By Lou Dobbs,
CNN
May 22, 2007

There are times when reason carries the mind no further, when the mind is carried from the rational across the penumbra of the absurd. That is where the leadership of the U.S. Senate now resides.

What many once regarded as the world’s great deliberative body looks more like a clamorous bazaar in which senators feverishly hawk duplicity and deceit as bright jewels of public policy. Comprehensive immigration reform is just such a bauble, and buyer beware.

Most beguiling among those merchants of mendacity is none other than Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, who has been peddling his wares at the Senate bazaar for more than four decades. Kennedy’s counterfeit immigration views reach all the way back to his championship of the IMMIGRATION AND NATIONALITY ACT OF 1965.

In signing that legislation into law, President Lyndon Johnson promised it would not be revolutionary or affect the lives of millions, even as it overturned 60 years of U.S. immigration policy of national origin quotas and led to the creation of explosive chain migration.

TWENTY ONE YEARS LATER, President Ronald Reagan signed into law amnesty for more than three million illegal aliens who had entered the country. President Reagan then promised the new employer sanctions would “remove the incentive for illegal immigration by eliminating the job opportunities,” and that the law’s amnesty provision would allow millions who were hiding in the shadows to “step into the sunlight.”

And now, another 21 years later, we hear the same language as the pro-amnesty and open borders advocates demand that American citizens ignore history, reason and the national interest. They are again marketing the same false assurances about border enforcement and insist there will be no social or economic cost to the taxpayer or the nation. More than four decades of disruptive and destructive immigration policy initiatives should be a sufficient history lesson for all Americans.

The ESSENTIAL TRUTH is CLEAR: We cannot reform immigration law until we control immigration, and we cannot control immigration until we control our borders and our ports. This president and the congressional Democratic leadership refuse to recognize that reality and will not honor that truth.

President Bush and Sen. Kennedy pass for political stars in our tortured times, and that is sad enough. But if we follow the course they’ve set, true tragedy awaits us. And the fault will be ours.

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 05/30/07 •
Section Dying America
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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

China Cyberweapons

The Defense Department reports China is building cyberwarfare units and developing viruses.
By Sumner Lemon, IDG News Service
PC World
May 28, 2007

The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) continues to build cyberwarfare units and develop viruses to attack enemy computer systems as part of its information-warfare strategy, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) warned in a report released on Friday.

"The PLA has established information warfare units to develop viruses to ATTACK enemy computer systems and networks,” the annual DOD report on China’s military warned. At the same, Chinese armed forces are developing ways to protect its own systems from an enemy attack, it said, echoing similar warnings made in previous years.

These capabilities are part of China’s ONGOING military modernization EFFORTS, which have seen the country add dozens of high-tech fighters and ballistic missiles to its arsenal. CHINA ISN’T ALONE in building the capability to attack an enemy’s computer systems. The U.S. and other countries have developed similar abilities.

The PLA’s virus-writing efforts have been underway for years, reflecting the importance that China apparently attaches to information warfare. As early as 2000, the DOD warned, “China has the CAPABILITY to penetrate poorly protected U.S. computer systems and potentially could use CNA [computer network attacks] to ATTACK SPECIFIC US civilian and military infrastructures.”

In recent years, the PLA has begun training more seriously for computer attacks, including them as part of larger military exercises in 2005.

The main focus of China’s military modernization efforts are Taiwan, an island nation that China views as a renegade province. The two separated in 1949 after a civil war between the Communist and Nationalist armies, with the Nationalist forces retreating to Taiwan. China has long threatened to attack Taiwan if the island formally declares independence, and the expansion of China’s military capabilities are largely geared towards a possible attack against Taiwan.

“A limited military campaign could include computer network attacks against Taiwans political, military, and economic infrastructure to undermine the Taiwan population’s confidence in its leadership,” the report said.

But THE US, which would likely intervene in a Chinese attack on Taiwan, is also a POTENTIAL TARGET, it said.

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 05/29/07 •
Section Bad Moon Rising
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