Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

031903algore.jpgAl Gore and Apple sure picked an interesting day to announce this. I wonder if they are going to declare war on Microsoft?

CNet
Al Gore joins Apple's board
By Ian Fried
Staff Writer, CNET News.com
March 19, 2003, 1:38 PM PT


Apple Computer on Wednesday named former Vice President Al Gore to its board of directors.

I think business method and software patents are a very bad idea. I've been arguing against them for a long time. Larry has an idea to solicit specific examples and opinions from people. He will verify the information and make a web page. This should help the policy makers and lawyers understand what technologists are always complaining about.

I’ve been a skeptic about software and business method patents for a long time (while a supporter of, e.g., drug patents)
[...]
So here’s an idea. I’d like to construct a page of views of technologists who have experience with the system. The aim will not be to evaluate the system as a whole, but instead to collect credible testimony about the burdens the system imposes. Policy makers should be evaluating whether the benefits outweigh the burdens. My aim is not to do that weighing. My aim is simply to collect stories and evidence about the burdens.

If you have experience and a view, then email me and describe both. I will collect them and verify the source, and then make the results available here. The aim is not to conduct a poll; this will not be a representative sample of anything. But it would help immensely to have a place where people could go to read what technologists say to me all the time.

If Saddam survives, he'll probably ban photoshop.

Via hidely on Metafilter

Village Voice via Lisa Rein
Ashcroft Out of Control Ominous Sequel to USA Patriot Act By Nat Hentoff for the Village Voice.

Under the proposed Ashcroft bill reversing that court decision, for the first time in U.S. history, secret arrests will be specifically permitted. That section of bill is flatly titled: "Prohibition of Disclosure of Terrorism Investigation Detainee Information." In Argentina, those secretly taken away were known as "the disappeared."

Moving on, under Section 501 of the blandly titled Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003, an American citizen can be stripped of citizenship if he or she "becomes a member of, or provides material support to, a group that the United States has designated as a 'terrorist organization,' if that group is engaged in hostilities against the United States."

The day before yesterday, I was in the inquiry committee for consumer protection and I explained that privacy had far reaching effects. One example I gave was GRID.
Equifax
EQUIFAX BECOMES CRITICAL LINK IN FIGHTING FINANCIAL FRAUD

Selected to Manage Database That Will Aid Financial Institutions In Tracking Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Other Criminal Activities
[...]
The Global Regulatory Information Database (GRIDSM) is a unique solution for financial institutions to conduct automated and enhanced due diligence on entities, individuals and transactions as mandated by federal law. Among other federal and international rules, the recently passed USA PATRIOT Act requires financial institutions to undertake stringent verification processes for existing and new accounts. The GRID database is the first unified attempt by financial institutions to comply with the Act's requirements through a comprehensive database.

Information collected in Japan about Japanese citizens could easily be handed over to GRID by the Japanese government as a gesture of good faith to the US that the Japanese government seems so happy doing these days. GRID will be a global database and will grow to include all kinds of information. For those of you who are unaware of this, money laundering law makes it illegal to hide your money flow from the government, even if you are not doing anything else illegal. So, a warning to those Japanese who have recently sent money to a friend in Iraq, visited Afghanistan, donated money to Greenpeace or had dinner with a human shield... beware of international travel. You may be on a list that you won't know how to get off of. As a non-citizen of the country you are visiting, you will not even have the rights that US citizens have. These lists are based on profiling, so many things that you do could be construed as: "becomes a member of, or provides material support to, a group that the United States has designated as a 'terrorist organization,' if that group is engaged in hostilities against the United States." Better not to say, do our buy anything if you plan on visiting to the US any time soon.

beosound2.jpg

MacMegasite
Bang & Olufsen releases MP3 player for Mac
Bang & Olufsen has responded to requests from Macintosh users and is making the company’s portable mp3 player compatible with Apple’s iTunes.
Yes! I love B&O stuff. I aways buy it and never use it. ;-p I'm so happy with my iPod and my Shure E5c's that I'm not sure where this BeSound2 would fit into my lifestyle, but it just looks sooo cool. Maybe I can use the BeSound2 when the iPod is out of battery power or when I have to wear an mp3 player at a dinner party...