Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.


A web page about guys who build Tesla Coils.

Spotted on Slashdot

John Williams Tesla Page

TCS: Tech - Tipping Their Hand

Tipping Their Hand
By Glenn Harlan Reynolds

For years now, I've been saying that the record industry's long-term legislative strategy had less to do with preventing copying than with sewing up the market to ensure that Big Entertainment companies won't have to worry about competition from independent artists. It looks like I've just been proven right.

The proof comes in the form of a bill sponsored by Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.) that would make it a crime to fool "digital rights management" systems, even if doing so were for a legal purpose. Here's how the bill would work:

Biden's new bill would make it a federal felony to try and trick certain types of devices into playing your music or running your computer program. Breaking this law--even if it's to share music by your own garage band--could land you in prison for up to five years. And that's not counting the civil penalties of up to $25,000 per offense. "Say I've got an MP3 collection and I buy a new nifty player from Microsoft that only plays watermarked content, and I forge the watermark to allow my legal MP3 collection to play," says Jessica Litman, who teaches intellectual property law at Wayne State University. "
What they're trying to do is to create a system that's not so much proof against copying - a mostly impossible task anyway - as a system that's very unfriendly to content that comes from anyone other than Big Media suppliers. It's not about copying. It's about competition. - The Age

spotted on boing boing

American movie, recording and software executives could be prohibited from entering Australia or extradited to face criminal charges if a copyright protection bill before the US Congress passes into law.

Californian Democrat congressman Howard Berman has proposed legislation to deal with the rising tide of copyrighted works illicitly traded over peer-to-peer (P2P) networks such as KaZaA.

Berman's bill immunises copyright holders from civil litigation or criminal prosecution if they invade US PCs connected to the international P2P networks to take down their own copyrighted materials.

But the global nature of P2P networks ensnares file sharers outside the US, with the unintended consequence of making it more difficult for copyright holders to pursue pirates in Australia.

Under section 9a of the Victorian Summary Offences Act (1966), "a person must not gain access to, or enter, a computer system or part of a computer system without lawful authority to do so". The penalty if convicted is up to six months' jail.

Computer, Internet and intellectual property lawyer Steve White says the Berman bill is "stupid and counterproductive", and he believes it will lead to an online arms race as PC owners and the networks seek to thwart the efforts of copyright holders.

Atrocities in american airports, a London Daily Alert

A Brazilian man wrote about an incident where he was extremely abused by INS in LA. It has gotten a lot of airplay on the Net so you may have seen it, but in case you haven't, here it is.

Brock Meeks confirms with the INS that the incident actually occured although the details are unclear.

Brock Meeks is a respected journalist and a google on Ricardo Abude will give you some references. He is aparently a real person.

If this story is true, it's very scary. I recently met someone from Israel who was strip searched coming into the US and in transit althought there was no apparent reason other than the fact that she was from Israel. She wasn't bitter about it though. I think with the increased security, the risk of the "police" becoming un-naturally brutal is a great risk and something we should all keep an eye on. I remember feeling very unfairly treated when I lived in Michigan when "Japan Bashing" was "in" by a variety of official personnel and those memories still haunt me.

Atrocities in American Airports

By Ricardo Abude

If you, or someone from your family, have any plan to visit the US in a near future, I strongly suggest you to continue reading this text, where I describe the experiences I had in LA International Airport, late Feb 24, 2002.

My name is Ricardo Abude E. Da Silva, I'm an Electronic Engineer graduated in 1982 and today am managing our family's businesses in the farming sector. My email is

Throughout my 42 years of age I've travelled several times to the US, both on business and tourism. Late Feb 23 I embarked in Rio heading to LA, in possession of my third Visa to the US, issued in November 1999, and valid until November 2009.

I was aware of the increased airport security for US trips, due to Sep 11 attacks, and in Rio International Airport one can already notice the routine change, but I could have never imagined what would happen next.

From now on I describe, step by step, the horrendous and unimaginable nightmare that I went through :

Saturday Feb 23 21:50 hrs I depart from Rio with Varig flight RG 8836, going to LA.

Sunday Feb 24 07:00 hrs I arrive in LA and proceed towards passport control. The officer looks at my Passport for about five minutes, and asks me to proceed towards an INS office known as Secondary One. It is the first time something like that happens to me, but I imagine I危 going to be interviewed for additional information concerning my stay. Extra safety measures.... I thought.

Sunday Feb 24 07:30 hrs A Second officer asks me to collect all my luggage and accompany him inside Secondary One. ...the interview is going to be in there... I thought again. All of a sudden, I am brutally pushed inside a 2x2 yd cell, all my luggage, money, documents and personnal belongings are confiscated, and they take away my belt and shoe strings.

As I protest against the unexpected treatment, the two officers respond with loud screams and threats of beating me and keeping me confined. I am violently pushed against the wall, they frisk me from head to toe, and all my personnal belongings are searched.

Again I'm pushed against the wall, my picture is taken, I'm fingerprinted and am finally thrown into a filthy, stinky, unventilated hall, already crowded with people. I notice, by their looks, that they've gone through the same ritual, and even though I am still stunned by the long flight, the jet lag, and mainly by the violent, outraging disrespect of civil and human rights, I face the crude fact of life ...there's no such thing as interviews. I'm a prisoner.

Sunday Feb 24 09:00 hrs - The scene resembles a Greek tragedy, a 4x4 yd room, filthy chairs, a stinking black carpet, no ventilation, huge 50 TV turned on all the time volume blasting. Tired, hungry people, sick people, people throwing up....worried about a friend, who was waiting for me outside the airport I ask for a phone call.

- Shut up! No phone calls. - They answered.

Sunday Feb 24 10:00 hrs - Arrested, hungry, thirsty, no communication, and without the slightest ideia of what was going to happen next, I noticed the continuos flow of tourists coming to our cell and I face the degrading scandal the very same treatment is given to women, teenagers, children even elderly people - a truly barbarian act!

Revolted, I witness two INS officers disputing the priviledge of frisking the prettiest ladies, without any concern of hiding their sickening lust from their respective fathers, husbands or brothers, doing their commentaries, invitations, and obscene declarations right on their faces.

- I've just frisked a disgusting it's my turn to frisk this Italian fox! - stated an Officer to his coleague, refering to the wife of an Italian tourist. The blunt disrespect made my stomach churn in revolt....

Kicking, pushing, screaming, threathening, heavily armed bullies displayed their brutallity, prejudice, and arrogance upon the constant flow of tourists coming into our cell, getting more and more crowded by the minute, holding an unbearable stench....

Sunday Feb 24 14:00 hrs - After seven hours of ordeal, I'm finally taken to an almost surrealistic interview with Officer Sanchez, and Officer Lee, both subordinate to Officer Green, from INS. He explains to me that since all my papers and my Visa were in perfect order, he would kindly give me two options:

- The first was to sign a document in which I requested the withdrawal of my Visa, returning to Brazil in the first available flight.

- If I refused to sign the hoax I'd be arrested for an undetermined period and he'd start a compulsory deportation process, sending me back to my Country thus.

A important detail on the deal - while I refused to sign the document I'd not receive any food, or water. What would you choose? Oh well, me too.

Sunday Feb 24 16:00 hrs - I am taken, with another five prisoners, to a different cell. We are all handcuffed, and escorted by armed officers, we are made to stroll through the airport lounge. The terrified tourists make way, frightened by the grotesc scene. They take us all to a Van, parked outside the terminal, and transfer us to the other cell. The humiliation is suffocating ....

- Sunday Feb 24 17:00 hrs - Apparently, they have forgotten to make me sign a few forms at the Secondary One, so I'm taken again for a couple of strolls ( going there and coming back ) in the Airport Lounge. Those strolls remember? With cuffs and escorts?

Sunday Feb 24 18:00 hrs - Due to my unceasing protests, they finally allow me to make a phone call. I contact a Lawyer in LA, in the hope he'd get me out of that hell, but the information I get from him is even more surprising, and disheartening:

- Ricardo, the INS grounds at the Airport are not legally considered American soil, so I cannot invoke any civil right to take you out of there.... he tells me. How about that ???

In other words: I realize I'm in a no-man's land, a lawless place, arrested by arbitrary Nazis in the guise of INS Officers, that, due to this legal technicality, have the power to do whatever they please with you - and what is worse - with your family. I start to dream of the moment of catching a plane back home to Brazil.....however, before that, I'd still go through the worst night of my life.....

Night of Sunday to Monday Feb 25 I start to dread the moment in which tiredness is going to win the battle and make me lie down on those filthy chairs. It寄 very cold, but even so, the prospect of using the slimy blankets is not at all attractive.

Five officers are in the night shift, and feeling bored, they pass time kicking disgusting Chinese's , cursing stupid niggers, threatening filthy latinos. Our uneducated officers are unable to articulate three consecutive words without using the F.. word, and we spend the night immersed in this sea of racial prejudice, brutallity, violence, arrogance and cowardice.

A curious note: our cell had two immense posters hanging on the walls. Look at that - one was a huge map of Brazil, and the other was a picture of Ouro Preto - a historical city in Central Brazil. Both seemed to convey a silent, but eloquent invitation .....

Monday Feb 25 13:00 hrs - After the worse 30 hours of my life, two armed officers escort me to my plane ( Varig flight RG 8837 ) and deliver my passport to the stewardess. They set guard by the plane door until take off. Just a last minute humiliation I guess....

Tuesday Feb 26 07:30 hrs - I arrive tired, but immensely happy in Cumbica International Airport, in SP. I call my girlfriend Sarah in Belo Horizonte. After her recovery from the initial shock and the necessary explanations I invite her to celebrate our unexpected meeting with a trip - to Ouro Preto - of course!

I relate this unfortunate episode hoping to bring these facts to light, to a wider number of people. Maybe those who, like me, were planning an innocent trip to this country might think twice before permitting their wifes, parents and children to be subjected to this infamous tribe of uncivilized barbarians.

Daily, in every American Airport, hundreds of people from the four corners of the world are falling into the claws of these arrogant, racist, brutes, barbarian Nazis, and I think every single citizen of the globe shall contribute in whichever way they can to end this grotesc stain from the face of the free world.

The terrorists put down WTC's twin towers, but they will achieve a far greater victory if they succeed in bending down the spirit, the values and ideals that guided America since it's very birth as an independent Nation.

Having visited the US so many times, and knowing with reasonable depth the history of this Country, I must say that the attitudes and methods of the INS Officers do not reflect the way of being and thinking of the majority of the American People, and surely do not reflect the values and ideals I referred to above.

However, the overwhelming majority of the thousands of tourists that are going daily through this sad experience in American Airports do not have this perspective, and they are going back to their countries carrying in their hearts the seeds of hatred, violence and intolerance that end up germinating in tragedies such as Sep 11.

To Mr G. Bush one suggestion: in the attempt to erradicate the World of terrorism and it's Evil Axis, start at home - in the American Immigration and Naturalization Service - INS.

A very important note: this narrative would not be complete without doing justice to Victor - one of the INS officers. He came into our cell Monday morning. Right when I lay my eyes on him I noticed a different glow, quickly explained by his attitudes: he'd take care of one of us, feed and give water to another, he was always ready to help, at least send a smile, say a friendly word....

He moved like a star, shedding light into the darkness. I had the priviledge to talk with him for a few minutes, when I had the chance to convey my admiration, respect and gratitude for what he was doing for all those people, brutally subjected to such a painful experience.

Son of Mexican Immigrants, educated in India, and possessing a spirituality impossible to hide behind such shinning eyes, this man, who represents so well the best of the East and the West told me simply .. Ricardo, I don't do much, all I can do is try to transmit to these people a little compassion, a little love....

May God always guard you and bless you Victor, as you guard and bless so many.... A last suggestion to the US President consider promoting Victor to the post of Foreign Relations Minister, what he deserves more than anyone. I'm certain that, in a very short time, he'd reverse the already beaten up image of the US with the rest of the world.

His attitude reflect perfectly the spirit and the values that have created America, and proves that one cannot possilbly combat terrorism by becoming himself a terrorist one should employ that ancient technique - turning the other cheek.

Finally, I want to say that I have already done the following :

1. Filed a formal complain at the American Embassy in Brasilia.

2. Filed a formal complain at the Brazilian Foreign Affairs Ministry

3. Send a copy of this text in Portuguese and in English to the Internet, newspapers, magazines, websites, and Human Rights International Institutions.

I hereby authorize any individual or corporation to divulge or reproduce this text partially or in its entirety, making it a public domain, as I believe this case is.

May God bless us all.
Ricardo Abude E. da Silva

Lies and Secrets

Japan's national ID network has gone live already

by Gohsuke Takama
Tokyo, Jul 31, 2002

It's Up and Running Already

Rhetorics and politics are good friends. Almost everyone in Japan including politician has been believing that Japan's national ID network system, the Basic Residents Registers Network, would go live on Aug 5 of this year. Opponents of national ID have been thinking there is some chance to stop launching. But the truth is that it is already live since more than a week ago, technically. And it has gone without privacy protection laws which left behind in Japan's diet for more discussions after summer.

A news appeared on Jul 19 said that the Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications would start testing of the network from Jul 22, using actual Basic Resident Registry's record update data including newly issued Resident Number. It also noted that transfer of the Resident Registry data from local government owned computers to the National server and the Prefectural servers would be completed by Jul 20.

This clearly means that all the residents in Japan already numbered and huge databases that holding whole Japan's 125 million residents' data are already up and running. If so, what the difference between before and after Aug 5? A: Deleting the data of moving out people from the record. That's all. And that sounds more likely just a little change in Local Government staff's operation procedure at the request counter than launch of nation wide computer networks.

Now this is the beginning of activation for Japan's national ID systems that apply for Japanese and naturalized foreigners: 11 digit number national ID, networked resident record system based on the ID numbers, and national ID card that based on contactless radio transaction smartcard, with 32 bit CPU and co-processor supposed to handle crypto and digital signature, which will be issued from 2003.

This status makes computer security specialists worried. If organized crimes or foreign spy agents get access to one of these, that could be a disaster. Clear and present danger is here now. World class crackers might be difficult to ignore temptations to try their penetration skills on this network because it is built on Windows NT/2000 servers and possibly MS SQL too. You got the idea?

Databases and National ID Networks

Japan has nearly 3300 local governments, i.e. cities, towns and villages. Until a few month ago their residents' records were all separated. But now the Basic Residents Registers Network connected them all.

But this network has strange design structure. Data of residents' records at cities, towns and villages in a prefecture are copied to the Prefectural server. Then data of whole Japan's 125 million residents' records are copied to the National server. So the records of Japan's every resident - name, birth date, address, gender and ID number - are sitting in these servers.

Also there is another strange structure. the National server which is locating at Local Authorities Systems DEvelop Center, LASDEC for short, has an additional offers residents' data for the administrative bodies of central government. A funny thing is that the data once transferred to administrative bodies would not be covered by Basic Residents Registry Law which regulates the residents registry.

Japan's Privacy Bills

Japan would be having two privacy laws, the Personal Data Protection Law and the Law Concerning Access to Information Held by Administrative Organs. However, both are still in discussions and far from passing the diet, because the diet ended on Jul 31, even with 40 days extension to normal schedule.

Many pointed out both bills have problems. For the Personal Data Protection bill, which originally designed as EU/OECD style protection of personal information bill, but it had too many modifications. And all the news media are now opposing to this bill especially on strong consent requirement with data subjects and punitive provisions. If a news media discovers some wrong doing in a big corp boss, how could they get consent with him?

More problematic is another. The bill for Law Concerning Access to Information Held by Administrative Organs. This bill is supposed to be for protection of personal information collected and held by government administrative organs. However, many words set in the bill already crippling the law itself. The bill does not have clear set of rules on "collection limitation" of personal information. It also permits the government to use anyone's personal information if needed and "Change of Use Purpose" without notifying to data subject person. Plus, no penalty for government stuff upon duty violations. If this bill was passed, the government can use anyone's personal information for almost in any way, any purpose, legally.

Missing Information and Secrecy Lovers

What do Japanese people have in mind about this national ID network? That is another side of the problems. A poll done by Kyodo Communications on June 30 brought up that 83.2% of Japanese did not know about this Basic Residents Registers Network and they would be given numbers. Is this a result of secrecy or just a lack of PR?

Since that time, news media started having more reporting. On Jul 22, Asahi Newspaper did another poll and the result was drastically different. 59% answered they heard the name of Basic Residents Registers Network, 86% showed concern on privacy information leaks, and 76% answered that they prefer to postpone the launch of the network.

Opposition started from local government side too. 7000 population rural town Yamatsuri-cho disconnected to the network on the day of testing started. There are more than 60 cities and towns, including 3 million population Yokohama-city, manifesting or concerning disconnecting until privacy laws set.

The allies of four minority parties brought a bill to the diet that repeal the Basic Residents Registers Network. (Japan has seven political parties.) But it dead in a water without even a discussion. A group of politicians in leading conservative majority the Liberal Democratic Party tried to make up another bill that postpone the launch. But it also dead even before proposed on the last day of the diet by time constraint and their slow action. And on Jul 31, the Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi is still saying the launch date is Aug 5 and go ahead.

Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications

Prime Minister's office