Republicans Push Another Big Brother Internet Act

"A House of Representatives panel has approved a sweeping new copyright bill that would boost penalties for peer-to-peer piracy and increase federal police powers against Internet copyright infringement. The House Judiciary intellectual property subcommittee voted for the 'Piracy Deterrence and Education Act' (PDEA) late Wednesday, overruling objections from a minority of members that it would unreasonably expand the FBI's powers to demand private information from Internet service providers. The PDEA--the result of intense lobbying from large copyright holders over the past six months--has emerged as a kind of grab-bag that combines other proposals introduced in the past but not approved. One section that first surfaced last year punishes an Internet user who makes available $1,000 in copyrighted materials with prison terms of up to three years and fines of up to $250,000."

Bill Gates Plans to Destroy Internet Freedom

"How could the freedom genie be shoved back into the bottle? Basically, it's part of a huge effort to transform the Net from an arena where anyone can anonymously participate to a sign-in affair where tamperproof 'digital certificates' identify who you are. The advantages of such a system are clear: it would eliminate identity theft and enable small, secure electronic 'microtransactions,' long a dream of Internet commerce pioneers. (Another bonus: arrivederci, unwelcome spam.) A concurrent step would be the adoption of 'trusted computing,' a system by which not only people but computer programs would be stamped with identifying marks. Those would link with certificates that determine whether programs are uncorrupted and cleared to run on your computer. The best-known implementation of this scheme is the work in progress at Microsoft known as Next Generation Secure Computing Base (formerly called Palladium). It will be part of Longhorn, the next big Windows version, out in 2006."

FCC's Leading Dem Forsees Corporate Takeover of the Net

"FCC commissioner Michael Copps told the New America Foundation that the 'Internet, as we know it, is at risk.' Copps, who has clashed repeatedly with FCC chairman Michael Powell and the commission's GOP majority, contends that the panel's policies are designed to close out new entrants in favor of the current incumbent big telephone and cable companies. Those policies...closely mirror the FCC's controversial policies that will allow fewer companies to control larger slices of the media pie. 'Our ill-advised Internet policy is only one piece of a tectonic shift across a whole range of FCC issues,' Copps said. 'From media to telecom to the Internet, we appear to be rushing toward breathtaking regulatory alterations. The commission is permitting, even encouraging, competition to whither on the face of centralization. It is shortchanging its responsibility to protect the public interest.'"

Send Spammers to Jail, U.S. Lawmakers Say

From Reuters: "E-mail 'spammers' who flood Internet inboxes with millions of unwanted, deceptive commercial pitches should face jail time as well as financial penalties, U.S. lawmakers and law enforcers said on Tuesday. But some said a proposed anti-spam bill, which has won the backing of top lawmakers, would do little to stop the flood of unwanted commercial pitches, as companies would still be free to send offers to anybody with an e-mail address... The leading bill in the House of Representatives would require Internet marketers to disclose their online and offline addresses, and honor customer requests to be taken off their mailing lists, an approach backed by business groups that want to differentiate 'legitimate' marketing from the two-thirds of spam that contains fraudulent information of some kind."

Orrin Hatch Calls for Automatic Destruction of Computers with Pirated Material, But Hatch's Server Has Unlicensed Software!

Wired.com reports: "Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) suggested Tuesday that people who download copyright materials from the Internet should have their computers automatically destroyed. But Hatch himself is using unlicensed software on his official website, which presumably would qualify his computer to be smoked by the system he proposes. The Senator's site makes extensive use of a JavaScript menu system developed by Milonic Solutions... The copyright-protected code has not been licensed for use on Hatch's website. 'It's an unlicensed copy,' said Andy Woolley, who runs Milonic. 'It's very unfortunate for him because of those comments he made'... On Wednesday, the senator's site met none of Milonic's licensing terms... [It] had neither a link to Milonic's site nor a registration code. However, by Thursday afternoon Hatch's site had been updated to contain some of the requisite copyright information. An old version of the page can be seen by viewing Google's cache of the site." ROTFL!

Is Google Exposing YOUR Home Address to Stalkers?

If you type in your telephone number in Google.com's search bar and click the search button, you may be shocked to find your name - along with your address AND the option of pulling up MapQuest directions and a map to the location of the phone number! This means that anyone who gets your telephone number (through the phone book or Caller ID) can find out exactly - and immediately - where you live. Because this 'reverse directory' is now online, abusers will be able to more easily find victims and those who help them (such as people who run safehouses for victims of spousal abuse). The good news is that you can get the link to your telephone number REMOVED by clicking on the link below. If your children have a separate phone number, be sure to check it too.

Karl Rove Blocks Al-Jazeera Internet Deal

"Akamai Technologies Inc., a Cambridge Internet company, said it has ended a brief business relationship with Al-Jazeera, the Arab satellite news broadcaster. Al-Jazeera and Akamai had been in discussions to help improve delivery of Al-Jazeera Web page content over Akamai's global network of 12,600 servers. Qatar-based Al-Jazeera said it thought Akamai was succumbing to political pressure not to help the channel, which has been criticized for alleged anti-American bias. Akamai chairman George Conrades serves on a Bush administration Net-security committee. Akamai declined to comment." Karl Rove cannot permit American propaganda to be challenged. Freedom of speech on the Internet is yet another casualty of the Bush regime...

AOL - So Easy to Hack, No Wonder it's Number 1!

"If you've seen an AOL commercial lately, you'll note how much the company loves to flaunt its ground-breaking features and accomplishments. Claims of being the biggest ISP, the most customisable service, the easiest to use, offering the best features, etc, are all common themes of AOL advertising, ending with the company's slogan: "So easy to use, no wonder its #1." AOL can now add another accomplishment to its list: "Biggest security disaster in ISP history". That's the inherent problem with being the world's largest ISP - when you screw things up, you tend to really screw them up-for lots of people. In this particular case, hackers have compromised security at AOL to such a degree that the personal information of all 35 million subscribers may be compromised. That's definitely a feat to put on the next commercials for AOL 9.0..."

Powerful Software for Human Rights and Social Justice

"The Benetech Initiative, a Silicon Valley nonprofit, today announced the release of The Martus Human Rights Bulletin System, an open source technology tool designed to assist human rights organizations in collecting, safeguarding, organizing and disseminating information about human rights abuses. Through a partnership with The Asia Foundation, a U.S.-based nonprofit working on the ground in Asia, Martus will first be implemented in the Philippines to provide better resources to groups combating hundreds of human rights violations per year... Future applications of the Martus software for social justice groups include monitoring other issues like violence against women, human trafficking, environmental destruction and hate crimes. The software and its source code are available for download at www.martus.org"

Bush Reich and Hungry Computer Security Corporations Try to Chicken-Little America into a Billion-Dollar Surveillance Scheme

"The idea that hackers are going to bring the nation to its knees is too far-fetched a scenario to be taken seriously," said Jim Lewis, a 16-year veteran of the State and Commerce Departments. He compiled the analysis for the Center for Strategic and International Studies. But the Bush Reich continues to fear monger to justify yet more surveillance of Americans - and are supported energetically by those who stand to profit from the "cyber protection industry." Terry Benzel, VP of Network Associates, which sells cyber security chicken-littled Congress recently in a hard sell routine in which he claimed that if the Internet is left unmolested by the Bush administration, "people will die, the nation's economy will be crippled and protective services systems will be weakened." Worse yet, Network Associates will lose out on billions, huh Terry?

Bush Prepares Plan to Turn the Internet into Big Brother - Impeach Bush Now!

In the name of security - of course! - Bush "is planning to propose requiring Internet service providers to help build a centralized system to enable broad monitoring of the Internet and, potentially, surveillance of its users. The proposal is part of a final version of a report, 'The National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace,' set for release early next year... [Earlier drafts] suggested it would likely be controlled by industry. The current draft sets the stage for the GOVERNMENT" to do the spying. One commercial provider "compared the system to Carnivore, the Internet wiretap system used by the F.B.I., saying: 'Am I analogizing this to Carnivore? Absolutely. But in fact, it's 10 times worse. Carnivore was working on much smaller feeds and could not scale. This is looking at the whole Internet.'" Impeach Bush Now!

Bush Tinkers with Internet Security, Including Plans for Internet Outages

Ted Bridis writes: "The Bush administration is considering creation of a fund that would combine tax dollars and money from the technology industry to pay for Internet security enhancements, according to internal documents from the government's effort to develop a national cyberprotection plan. Federal officials writing the plan, set to be disclosed this month, also are discussing sweeping new obligations on companies, universities, federal agencies and home users designed to enhance security of the Internet, according to more than 30 pages of working papers obtained by The Associated Press." Of particular interest to mainstream internet users is this idea under consideration: "Studying the creation of a new government network to handle communications and computing in case of Internet outages."

Did AOL Pay DRUDGE $3000/Month to Fuel the Clinton Impeachment Flames?

According to Court documents at the following link, RE: Blumenthal VS Drudge. Matt Drudge's only source of income during the onset of the Clinton impeachment frenzy (brought forth in large measure by none other than Matt Drudge himself) was coming from America Online to the tune of three thousand dollars a month! Is it any wonder that progressive posters over on AOL seem to be experiencing bias and censorship of information that doesn't reflect kindly on the Bush regime?

How Can We Fight AOL's Censorship of Democratic Messages?

Recently, we have heard from a number of AOL members whose pro-Democratic messages have been deleted from discussion boards. What can we do about it? Should we start a petition to AOL/Time Warner CEO Richard Parsons? Should we demand refunds from AOL? Should we encourage Democrats to cancel their AOL accounts and switch to another service? If you have been censored by AOL, join the discussion.

Think Bush's Contributors Can't Control the Internet? Think Again

The FCC under Bush appointee Michael Powell (Colin's son) is quietly handing over control of the Internet to a few massive corporations - probably all Bush supporters. Consumer advocates warn that "if the FCC goes through with its plans, cable companies and the Baby Bells will quickly establish a monopoly on broadband service over their own networks... One worry is that the lack of competition will yield high prices and poor service. But the far more urgent concern is that media conglomerates will use their control over broadband pipes to restrict access to content, information, or technologies that compete with their own content or otherwise threaten their interests." The Consumer Federation of America, the Media Access Project, the Center for Digital Democracy, and the Consumers Union are challenging the FCC on this blatant power grab, and we'll be following their efforts closely!

Internet Helps Find Missing Children

Rightwing idiots like Kathleen Parker think Internet users are conspiracy nuts. We could point out that a recent Harris poll shows 66% of US adults use the Internet ( http://www.harrisinteractive.com/harris_poll/index.asp?PID=295 ). But here's a story about one of a zillion ways in which the Internet is making the world better. "In 1989, about 62 percent of kidnapped children and runaways whose safety was considered seriously threatened were recovered safely, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, a nationwide clearinghouse, which handles 6,000 to 7,000 such cases a year. Now the recovery rate is about 93 percent." Thanks to web sites like missingkids.com, people who spot a child they suspect has been kidnaped can search for the child's photo. Hey Kathleen - why don't you give Al Gore credit for taking this miraculous technology out of the laboratories and bringing it into the overwhelming majority of homes and offices in the US?

AOL Revokes Subscriber's Account Following Complaint, then Lies About It

AOL subscriber Sonia Griffin "thought she won $10,000 in the AOL/Coca Cola 'Pop the Top' online game. But AOL reported a computer glitch invalidated her entry, and several dozen others, from around the country. Griffin met those other entrants online via an e-mail listserv. After Eight on Your Side broadcast Griffin's story, she e-mailed the version that is posted on Tampa Bay Online (www.tbo.com) to those folks. Twenty-seven minutes after Griffin hit the 'send' button, she received an e-mail stating AOL 'secured' her account." AOL spokesman Andrew Weinstein says "AOL never monitors its members' e-mail." Sure - and the US Government isn't going to read every e-mail in the US and the world under Big Brother Bush's new PATRIOT law.

Voter.com Bites the Dust

It's a volatile world on the Internet, especially when millions of dollars in venture capital need to turn a profit. Unfortunately, we are seeing many political sites in deep trouble. Salon.com is ailing and Voter.com is going under. But rest assured that Democrats.com and our progressive newswire partner, BuzzFlash.com, are here to stay! We don't have millions of dollars invested in our sites, we just have the support of readers like you and a passionate quest for justice.