On Pro Basketball: Miami Heat Are on a Path of Little Resistance
My sister's wedding penny stock egghead
six months away.
Like most google sniper review
she wants to be in top shape when she says "I do." But like any budget-strapped young professional, she doesn't want to pay to get there.
No $100-a-month gym membership.
No $50-an-hour personal training sessions. In the grand scheme of wedding
expenditures, we decided, this part would be free.
It is bad â€“ enabling federal prosecutors' harassment of Aaron Swartz. But America's copyright regime is an even greater threatIs the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act the "worst law in technology", as Columbia Law School's Tim Wu calls the statute? I think there are worse laws for the technology industry and
its customers, but the CFAA is more than bad enough â€“ a vague, outdated and Draconian law, abused by the government in several high-profile cases â€“ to have spurred calls for repeal.As
Wu and many others (including
me) have pointed out over the years, the vagueness of the
CFAA has given prosecutors a tool that should worry
everyone. This is because the government contends that the statute's ban on "unauthorized access" to someone
else's computer is a felony, period, with potential penalties you'd associate with serious violent crime.The
late Aaron Swartz has been the highest-profile target of overreaching federal prosecutors relying in large part on the CFAA, in a case where he downloaded hundreds of thousands of academic papers from an organization that didn't want him prosecuted and ultimately decided to make the material
freely available. There's little question that his suicide was spurred, in part, by
the government's escalating threats, made possible thanks
to prosecutors' ability to use the CFAA as sledgehammer.But
he wasn't the first. The Bush administration
the CFAA to
prosecute the easy-to-dislike
Lori Drew, who was among several people
who created a bogus MySpace account of a fictitious teenaged boy who wooed and rejected the daughter of Drew's neighbor in suburban St Louis. The
girl killed herself.
When Missouri prosecutors said they had no relevant state law to prosecute Drew and her admittedly heartless helpers
in this scheme, a federal prosecutor in Los Angeles hauled Drew there to face charges under the CFAA.The
case boiled down to Drew's misstatements in
her MySpace profile. (Shamefully, MySpace supported the prosecution.) The jury convicted Drew of
one charge, but the judge in the case wisely overturned it, pointing out that the government would have made everyone who's ever
violated a "terms of service" agreement, no matter how minor the
violation, at risk for criminal charges.The threat of this law is not just from government prosecution. It's been stretched widely in civil cases, as well.
Wu says the way to fix this intolerable situation is to
persuade President Obama to
fix it:"The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act is egregiously over-broad in a
way that has clearly imposed on the rights and liberties of Americans.
one speech, the president can set
no, he can't. At least, not in a way we could trust.First, presidential
dispensation is useful, but it's not remotely permanent. White House occupants change. A more authoritarian chief executive than Obama won't be bound by what he does.Presidents also change, or their positions do. That's the second big problem with Wu's
thinking. Obama's record on civil
liberties and executive power is simply abysmal â€“ worse than George W
Bush's in many ways, and better in only a few (such as gay rights).Obama's
Justice Department has made clear it believes
the CFAA gives it the power
to go after anyone.
That includes you
and me, assuming you've ever violated a terms of
service in any way, as you undoubtedly have done.Banana
republics have lots of laws designed to
be widely broken, providing leverage for prosecution of people either
by the government or who
do otherwise legal things that
annoy the leaders. So, even though you and I are exceedingly unlikely to become targets of the CFAA, we could be â€“ and that's why the law is intolerable as it stands.Wu
doubts, fairly, that this Congress in particular can be persuaded to
act on almost anything. And it's no exaggeration to say
that lawmakers are terrified in general of doing anything that might cause them to be accused of being soft on crime. But like it or not,
ultimately an issue for Congress, which writes the laws.The
lawmakers' tendency to favor vagueness has some merit â€“ it
gives the people who carry out enforcement and make
regulations the ability to adjust to changing circumstances â€“ but in cases like this, where the abuse by the executive branch is blatant, Congress
should take the risk of doing its job. Representative
Zoe Lofgren, a California Democrat, has proposed an "Aaron's Law" that would help redress the current imbalance. Reforming CFAA is also an issue for the press â€“ or would be, if we had more journalists
who took seriously
their duty to hold power accountable. Journalists
in aggregate have two problems with this law: a superficial understanding, at best, and an ongoing deference to government positions on
journalists are directly threatened by overreaching, as they are in
the WikiLeaks case, they still demonstrate a reluctance to take a stand.If enough news organizations put the Obama civil
liberties record under the spotlight it deserves, perhaps the American people would care more about what they're losing.
Or maybe, we're willing to live in a more banana-like republic all the time; but I hope not.I said earlier that the CFAA, bad as it is, isn't the worst law relating to technology. At least one, by my reckoning, is worse: the increasingly harsh copyright regime
that has already turned countless millions of Americans
into lawbreakers and deterred countless innovators.Copyright
in America started life
in the US
constitution as a
way to promote innovation by giving creators of works strong rights for limited periods.
It has metastasized into a system that has
perverts the founders' intent and given giant corporations overwhelming â€“ and increasing â€“ power
over not just entertainment but everything that contains information, including software, which
is now part of almost everything.In
a rare defeat for the Copyright Cartel, the supreme court has
upheld the "first sale doctrine" â€“ the principle that once you buy a book or CD, you
can resell it â€“ in a closely watched
case. The court's rationale
was that Congress didn't mean to create a different standard for works bought overseas as opposed
to ones bought in
same court also just refused to hear an appeal of
woman who's been ordered to pay more than
$220,000 for downloading two-dozen songs
â€“ a testament to Congress'
gift to Hollywood and its allies
form of absurdly stiff penalties for minor infringement.In the end, people who
want change in
bad laws have to work for it.
This is doubly hard given Congress' pay-to-play system of legal bribery, where dollars translate into votes. Maybe that will have to change first, as the "United Re:Public"
coalition says, but we need to get started or get used to a system
that puts everyone at risk. We could begin by calling our legislators and insist they
get behind "Aaron's Law".US
constitution and civil libertiesIntellectual propertyInternetCensorshipUS supreme courtUS CongressAaron SwartzDan Gillmorguardian.co.uk ©
2013 Guardian News
and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.
| Use of
this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More FeedsWith the world's energy needs growing rapidly, can zero-carbon energy options be scaled up enough to
make a significant difference? How much of a dent can these alternatives make in the world's total energy usage
over the next half-century? As the MIT Energy
Initiative approaches its fifth anniversary next month, this five-part series takes a broad view of the likely scalable energy candidates.Of all the zero-carbon energy sources available, wind power is the only one that's truly cost-competitive today: A 2006
report by the U.S.
Energy Information Administration
put the total cost for wind-produced electricity at an average
of $55.80 per
megawatt-hour, compared to $53.10
$52.50 for natural gas and $59.30 for
a result, wind turbines are being deployed rapidly in many parts
of the United States and
around the world. And because of wind's proven record and its immediate and widespread
availability, it's an energy source that's seen as having the potential to grow very rapidly.
"Wind is probably one of the most significant renewable energy sources, simply because the technology is mature," says Paul
Sclavounos, an MIT professor of mechanical engineering and naval
architecture. "There is no technological risk."Globally, 2 percent of electricity now comes from
in some places the rate is much higher: Denmark, the present world leader, gets more than 19 percent
of its electricity from wind, and
is aiming to boost that number to 50 percent. Some experts
estimate wind power could account for 10 to 20
percent of world electricity
generation over the next few decades.
â€” Qatar, which has provided
weapons to rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, gently lectured visiting Secretary of
State John F.
Kerry on Tuesday about American reluctance to become more involved in the two-year civil war that has
killed more than 70,000. Read full article >> A tale of marital meltdown has Hollywood hot under the collar and is up for its first literary award â€“ and deservedly soIt's a pretty
impressive comeback: less than five years after
the financial crisis brought Gillian Flynn's decade-long career at Entertainment
Weekly to a close, she has hit the jackpot. Gone Girl,
published in the US
in June 2012 and out in paperback in the UK at
the beginning of this year, has now sold more than 2m copies throughout the world â€“ 300,000 of them over here. It stormed the New
York Times bestseller
list and the film version is set to be produced by Reese Witherspoon; it will
feature in this spring's Richard & Judy Book Club and,
last week saw its inclusion on the Women's prize for fiction
longlist, where Flynn is keeping Hilary
Mantel, Zadie Smith and AM Homes company. As she might tell
her former employers, that's entertainment.Why
is it so popular? Well: the straightforward
is that it's
pretty gripping. It immerses you almost instantly
in a mystery â€“ the disappearance of Amy Dunne, a woman in her late 30s who has
left New York to accompany her husband Nick back
to his native Missouri.
A picture of
marital disharmony is rapidly conjured up: the couple have both lost their jobs as magazine journalists and now live in a soulless, rented mansion, courtesy of Amy's trust fund.
While Nick goes out every day to work in
the bar that he and his twin sister have bought â€“ once again with Amy's money â€“ she struggles to fill
More deeply rooted problems hover in the background.
Nick can't stand his cruel father, parked in
a nearby care home; Amy loves her parents, but might have
preferred them not to base a phenomenally bestselling series of children's books on
their only daughter
an idealised version of her.And then, on their fifth wedding anniversary, Amy disappears.
Crucially, she doesn't simply walk out of her life: mayhem at the mansion suggests
a more brutal scenario and brings the cops running.
And with that, we're off.But what's really ingenious about Gone Girl is its structure: Amy and Nick take turns narrating events, but not from the same point in time. While Nick charts life from the moment of Amy's vanishing, she fills in their relationship from the very beginning, painting a picture of a couple so ludicrously, impossibly golden that we begin to smell
a rat almost immediately. If things were
so great then, we wonder,
how can they be so crappy now? Could Amy possibly be embroidering reality? And when is she writing all this, anyway? Where on earth is
she?Flynn's coup de grace is to provide us with not one but two unreliable narrators. Just as Amy is sugar-coating the
past, so Nick is being economical with the truth of the
present day; we know he's lying to the police because he tells us
so, but he doesn't tell us what he's hiding, or why.It's clever
stuff, and pacily written, with some deft touches â€“ I loved the horrible truth of a couple
founder because he can't decode the romantic
treasure hunts she constructs
how close they are. And that might be the key to
its success: lots of thrillers take place in families or marriages, but few are so
adept at inhabiting two genres at once. More usually, you find yourself racing through the personal
relationships to get back to the
shrugging off the whodunnit element because the characters are so engaging.
Or, even worse, feeling that the author wanted to do the
Gone Girl manages, somehow, to convince you that it can be more than one book at the same time. Whether that's
enough to secure its further passage in the Women's prize
for fiction, where it will come up against the irritatingly persistent question
of what constitutes a
is another matter.ThrillersFictionWomen's
prize for fictionWomen's prize for fiction 2013Reese WitherspoonFilm adaptationsAwards and prizesAlex Clarkguardian.co.uk ©
2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds United Airlines is planning a major purchase of new airplanes
in the next few years, a
sign that corporate America may once
again be developing an appetite for new investment. The House passed a 90-day extension of key provisions of the USA Patriot Act counterterrorism surveillance law on Thursday, sending the measure to President
Obama for his signature. Rand Paul has had a very good 2013, and he has been fairly explicit
about his potential interest in running for president.
Yet, oddsmakers continue to
view him as a long