Ben Tasker's Blog

Republished: CPS trying to bluff RIPA Action?

This was originally posted to 14 Nov 2007

This story caught my eye as it holds consequences for all of us. Well those of us that use encryption anyway, as you may be aware on the 1st October 2007 RIPA came into effect. To but the law basically, if you encrypt something then the police can require you to hand over your encryption keys. If you don't and it's not terror related then you can get 2 years in the slammer, if it is terror related then you are looking at 5 years.

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Republished: The Problem With Software Patents Is

Originally published on in June 2006

Simply put there are a great many problems with the concept of software patents, let alone the practicality. Those of us who follow news within the IT industry are forever seeing 'X sues Y for infringing patent.' Does this mean that all the companies in the IT sector are trying to steal other peoples work and ideas? No, the problem is patents are being granted on concepts that they should not. This does also affect non-software patents to a point, however software patents seem to be the most affected by this.

Currently in the UK (and as far as I know Europe as a whole) software patents are not legally enforceable. This does not mean they do not exist, Software patents have been granted, and still are. However you cannot currently back them up in a court of law. Now lets take a look at the Patent System in the US so that we may see exactly why we do not want software patents.

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McKinnon Loses Extradition Fight

This content was originally posted on 3rd April 2007

In the news today Gary McKinnon has lost his bid to avoid extradition to the US. For those who have not been following his story, he was accused by the US government of breaking into US Government Networks. He does not deny this, nor has he ever done so. However the US want him extradited to America for trial, despite the fact that he repeatedly states that he was only there out of curiosity, and the security on these networks was low enough to be trivial.

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Republished: Apple elects for more Vendor Lock In

Originally published on 04 June 2006

It would seem that Apple have elected for more vendor lock-in. It used to be possible to download a Windows executable file to update the firmaware of your iPod, however now you are forced to download iTunes 7 and update through that.

That may seem like something normal, but the beauty of the old system was us Linux users could extract the new firmware and install it manually, now we can't as Apple don't provide a Linux version of iTunes. This from a company who has already been criticised for Vendor lock in with their Fairplay DRM.

One day companies will remember that it is the consumer who provides their revenue, and that whilst it may be a small percentage, creating disgruntled customers is never a good idea. Once the world becomes aware of what companies are doing to restrict their rights (DRM, Vendor lock-in etc) these companies are going to find themselves very short of revenue.