Cambridge refuses censorship on chip-and-PIN vulnerabilities

According to BoingBoing, the UK banking trade association wrote to Cambridge to have a student’s master’s thesis censored as it documented a well-known flaw in the chip-and-PIN system, Cambridge University’s Ross Anderson replied with the following:

Second, you seem to think that we might censor a student’s thesis, which is lawful and already in the public domain, simply because a powerful interest finds it inconvenient. This shows a deep misconception of what universities are and how we work. Cambridge is the University of Erasmus, of Newton, and of Darwin; censoring writings that offend the powerful is offensive to our deepest values. Thus even though the decision to put the thesis online was Omar’s, we have no choice but to back him. That would hold even if we did not agree with the material! Accordingly I have authorised the thesis to be issued as a Computer Laboratory Technical Report. This will make it easier for people to find and to cite, and will ensure that its presence on our web site is permanent….

You complain that our work may undermine public confidence in the payments system. What will support public confidence in the payments system is evidence that the banks are frank and honest in admitting its weaknesses when they are exposed, and diligent in effecting the necessary remedies. Your letter shows that, instead, your member banks do their lamentable best to deprecate the work of those outside their cosy club, and indeed to censor it. [Source: Cambridge]

The reply is full of win, academic world scores one.

Rich man who has sex with daughter silences media

David Bruce McMahan is a philanthropist and financier who has supported initiatives to help the disabled internationally, the arts and land conservation. According to federal courthouse in Miami (via VillageVoice), he also has had an incestuous relationship with his daughter, Linda, who is now suing him.

Over the years, as a high-flying financial player at places like Bear Stearns and then later managing your own hedge fund, you had not only amassed a fortune, but you had reproduced prodigiously, having six children by three different women, and then marrying a fourth. Then, in 1990, there was that great shock: You learned about Linda. Gorgeous, talented, eager-to-meet-you and all-grown-up Linda.

His daughter Linda tells the seduction story in a video by she was almost finished with a PhD in psychology when she visited her father’s Westchester County estate. Linda claimed that her father David Bruce McMahan told her he believed they’d been married in a previous life and her legs were a “very sexy version” of his own.

The pair reportedly purchased matching diIdos and exchanged an email:

“I unpacked the toys and checked them out. The thing excites me just looking at it. I promise you have never seen anything like it. Interestingly ‘it’ is actually smaller than I am! But what moves! I should have been so lucky. They are now packed into their own bag and I am going to make sure we have enough AA batteries to last for the duration.” (Source: Village Voice)

Later in 2004 Linda testified her father wanted to cut Sargent Schutt, her legal husband, out of the picture. Bruce McMahan then brought his daughter to Westminster Abbey to exchange vows. Bruce McMahan was married at that time to Elena, his fifth wife who suspected him of incestuous behavior. So Bruce McMahan asked her daughter to file a sworn statement denying the incest. Linda refuses and multiple lawsuits were exchanged.

VillageVoice continues that David Bruce McMahan tried to silence the media and engaged a PR firm to clean up his Wikipedia page and even changed his name.

With just days to go before our story was to be published, you wrote checks for millions of dollars to settle all of the lawsuits and get them sealed from public view as quickly as you could. (You also hired an L.A. public relations firm in an attempt to intimidate us, and even tried to haul us into court to have legal materials pulled down from the website, but we don’t scare easy, bub.)

The New York Post, God bless ’em, did put together a righteous write-up of its own, relying on our reporting, but then the Post had at least one reporter who knew all about you, and convinced editors there that you were every bit the scumbag our story made you out to be.

If the Times stayed silent, newspapers and magazines from Greece to Australia inundated us with requests for the Westminster Abbey photos and other documents.

(Looks like you’ve also changed your name, slightly. Born David Bruce McMahan, you went by D. Bruce McMahan until we wrote about you. Now you’re David B. McMahan, apparently.)

That couldn’t be more obvious seeing how much money you spent scrubbing Wikipedia. For months after our original story came out, you had your goons launch daily attacks at the website, using sock puppets and other methods to intimidate the online encyclopedia into removing any mention of what was in our stories. Today, there’s no page at all. As far as Wikipedia is concerned, you don’t even exist.

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BlackBerry to be banned in Saudi Arabia

Likely for censorship reasons. BlackBerry devices does some encryption that has been deemed as a obstacle toward censorship and surveillance practices.

Saudi Arabia to Ban BlackBerry Service on Friday

Saudi Arabia has ordered the suspension of Research in Motion’s BlackBerry service as of Friday, as it does not meet current regulations, according to the country’s telecommunications regulator.

The suspension will cover all services, including e-mail and instant messaging, said an official from the Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC), who requested not to be named. He did not specify what were the current local regulations that BlackBerry did not comply with.

BlackBerry’s service is to be suspended in neighboring United Arab Emirates (UAE) from Oct. 11 because it does not fall in line with the country’s regulations, the UAE telecommunications regulator said on Sunday.

RIM is also in negotiations with the Indian government over the country’s demands that security agencies should be able to intercept BlackBerry data.

In a customer update earlier this week circulated to the media, RIM said that it does not possess a “master key,” nor does any “back door” exist in the system that would allow RIM or any third party to gain unauthorized access to the encryption key or corporate data. The symmetric key system used in the BlackBerry security architecture for enterprise customers ensures that only the customer possesses a copy of the encryption key. (Source: PC World)

I’m standing on the BlackBerry side for this one.

Porn broadcasted in Indonesia parliament

It turns out that pornography images has invaded the Indonesian parliament. The images were displayed for 15 minutes before officials switched off the screens. I guess 15 minutes is just in time for a quick one.

JAKARTA: Computer screens at the Indonesian parliament broadcast porn images in an incident that caused a shock among journalists and legislators, reports said on Tuesday.

The images were displayed for 15 minutes before officials switched off the screens.

“It’s not a funny incident,” Roy Suryo, a Democratic Party lawmaker, was quoted by the Globe as saying. “Someone must be held responsible for it.” (Source: Times of India)

Oh yes it’s funny. Just laugh it off. It’s no big deal Mr lawmaker. By the way, Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim nation.

Youtube removes video of teenagers singing “Winter Wonderland”

Oh, you can’t sing a cover of “Winter Wonderland”. Apparently YouTube took down a video of teenagers singing “Winter Wonderland” due to copyright infringement. Warner probably owns the rights to the song.

Deleted Video?! Warner Music Group?! Copyright Infringement?! WINTER WONDERLAND?!

Well… I am just wondering why Youtube or whichever company did that. These Christmas jingles would sell better if more people spread it, wouldn’t it? Wouldn’t it be in their commercial interest to not remove these videos? Unless of course the song would hurt the sales of the song, perhaps like a parody or change of lyrics or even a horribly-rendition.

YouTube’s January Fair Use Massacre

This is what it’s come to. Teenagers singing “Winter Wonderland” being censored off YouTube.

Fair use has always been at risk on YouTube, thanks to abusive DMCA takedown notices sent by copyright owners (sometimes carelessly, sometimes not). But in the past several weeks, two things have made things much worse for those who want to sing a song, post an a capella tribute, or set machinima to music.

First, it appears that more and more copyright owners are using YouTube’s automated copyright filtering system (known as the Content ID system), which tests all videos looking for a “match” with “fingerprints” provided by copyright owners.

Second, thanks to a recent spat between YouTube and Warner Music Group, YouTube’s Content ID tool is now being used to censor lots and lots of videos (previously, Warner just silently shared in the advertising revenue for the videos that included a “match” to its music). (Source: EFF)

I’ll leave you to judge if this has gone too far.