Should You Be (Or Are You) Allowed Do What You Want With Your Hardware?

Are EULA’s too restrictive?

Do companies like Apple and Sony overstep their boundaries and the law when the “shrink wrapped” licenses the force you to agree to when you purchase a piece of hardware?

Should they have any right or jurisdiction at all to tell you what you can and can’t do with something that you own. Do the EULA’s for a piece of hardware, such as the iPad, have any standing in real life or if you chose tho challenge them in court?

Formulate your answers to these questions and let me know what you think after your read Devin Coldeweys article on Crunch Gear –  The User’s Manifesto: in defense of hacking, modding, and jailbreaking.

SourceForge: Nobody Is Asking Why Now?

sourceforge hands tied
Bound by the law?

Sourceforge is now blocking access to sites from Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria.

Since 2003, the SourceForge.net Terms and Conditions of Use have prohibited certain persons from receiving services pursuant to U.S. laws, including, without limitations, the Denied Persons List and the Entity List, and other lists issued by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security. The specific list of sanctions that affect our users concern the transfer and export of certain technology to foreign persons and governments on the sanctions list. This means users residing in countries on the United States Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanction list, including Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria, may not post content to, or access content available through, SourceForge.net. Last week, SourceForge.net began automatic blocking of certain IP addresses to enforce those conditions of use.

In all the commentary I am seeing, nobody has asked the very simplest and perhaps most obvious of questions: Why now?

These terms have been in place for nearly 7 years now. (The Entities list has existed since 1997)

Lets forget for the minute that one hell of a lot of the software hosted by Sourceforge is developed with the help of, or even entirely by, people living outside the U.S.

Lets also bear in mind that SourceForge has claimed that this is because of the “transfer and export of certain technology” to foreign persons and governments on the sanctions list, yet doesn’t give any details about what this technology is?

Surely everything on SourceForge can’t contain dangerous technology? Why not just restrict the programs which contain those technologies?

Not to mention the fact that everybody knows that any idiot, never mind some evil axis human overlord wannabe wouldn’t be able to use a proxy or Tor to get past the IP filtering!

Or is there something more at play here?

Google and China perhaps? Did the U.S. government pay SourceForge a call and “politely” remind them that these laws exist? Maybe because the government wants to show that it is willing to enforce it’s laws and send a subtle hint to China that the hacking of U.S. companies and theft of their I.P. might get them added to these lists?

I find it very hard to believe that the guys at SourceForge have had a sudden moment of conscience and, out of the blue, decided to comply with laws that have existed for almost 12 years and to their own terms and conditions which they have ignored for the past 7 years.

OFlaherty Episode #03 – Coffee Club

Coffe Club

From Vienna to the coffee club and CC Spam to podcast clients for Vista.

Next MS OS in 2009?

King of Spam

Wheres my feed?

On the Podcast

Attribution to bloggers

Podcasting to Generate $400 Mil. in Ads by 2011

Good podcast client for Vista?

Blogs of the week:

Credit

Download Podcast MP3: OFlaherty #03 14.6mb 30:35

I am the CC King of Spam!

Well, not really, but if folks keep sending me emails that have been forwarded 200 hundred times and packed with addresses in the CC (Carbon Copy or Courtesy Copy) field then I could quite easily be if I wanted.

I have no need to start scraping the internet for addresses all I have to do is sit back and wait for them to come to me. Yesterday, I received 9 different forwarded messages, and could have scraped more that 1300 addresses between the lot of them.

Here’s a quick tip folks. Every email client allows you to put addresses into the BCC, Blind Carbon Copy (wikipedia link) field. If you put the addresses you want to forward your email to in the BCC field other folks won’t be able to see who you emailed it to, and the folks you receive it won’t know who else you emailed it to.

This is also handy when you’re writing important emails and want somebody else to have a copy to , for security, else without the original recipient knowing that you simultaneously sent multiple copies or who you sent them to.

BCC is for protecting the privacy of others. When you forward an email to 20 people who’s only connection to each other is you, you’re putting their privacy in danger. They may not want me to have their email.

There’s also a good chance that their email address could end up in the hands of a spammer because you were a lazy sod and didn’t bother using the correct field (BCC instead of CC) when spamming your friends with the latest virus filled PST file.

But you, dear CC abusers, are not alone in the blame.

The developers of many (many – not all before the Open Source Advocates flame me) Open Source email clients don’t display the BCC field by default. It usually has to be enabled by via  a menu option. But then again, if you’ve switched to Open Source then I would have considered you informed enough to have figured this out for yourself. Unfortunately, looking at the header file of some of these emails, it’s quite obvious that many open source users have just forwarded blindly.

Also proprietary software developers such as the guys at Microsoft behind Office 2007 are to blame.

When you create a new email in Outlook it shows the “To” field and the “CC” field. There’s not a sign of the BCC field. It should be there if folks are expected to use it.

Also, when you click the “To…” button, or the CC one, to add addresses without typing them, the BCC field is shown, but it is last on the list, it should be second. Drop CC to the end. It’s a small design change but it would make protecting each others privacy a lot easier as it’s more likely to be selected first.

Better yet, how about a dialog box appearing every time you use CC asking “Are you sure you want to ruin your friends privacy and give these emails to spammers?

I propose not just moving BCC above CC, but instead of it standing for Blind Carbon Copy, how about changing the meaning to “Before Carbon Copy”. After all that’s how it should be used.

O’Flaherty – Episode #02

Getting sick with Vista.

Talking about new operating systems, cool blogs and free software while trying not to sweat on the microphone.

Apologies for my voice and rushing this one – I’m a little under the weather!

Vista

  • The joy and the hardware woes

The Experiment

Google WebMaster Tools

IMified

ALZip

The Blogs

Credit

Get well soon Derek!

Download Podcast MP3: OFlaherty #02 25.6mb 27:56