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4th Amendment Summary by the EFF

Can you refuse search or not? It would be good to know your rights.
(Image is in the Public Domain)

You can't use rights you don't know about or don't understand. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has posted a summary of your 4th amendment rights to deny the government permission to search you or your belongings (digital or otherwise).

It's good to know what you can and can't do since you should know that even when you've done nothing wrong, you may still get yourself into a lot of trouble if you are careless with your privacy.

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Judge Supresses Report on Voting Machine Insecurity

Evoting
(Image is in the Public Domain)

Just great.

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California First State to Force Fast Food To Post Calorie Totals

California leads the way
(Image is in the Public Domain)

Well I pretty much shot the content for this post out in the title. Well, I guess I'll just say, "Way to go Cali!" and "It's about time".

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RIAA Victim becomes Victor!

Freed from a bogus judgement
(Image used under: Creative Commons 2.0 [SRC])

The Thomas v. Captiol case was something we all watched with horror as some poor woman was slapped with a fine of $220,000 simply for having downloaded some music. However, that case has recently been overturned due to the fact that the RIAA's argument that merely having copyrighted music available for download is a crime.

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Spore Slapped With Class Action Suit Over Invasive DRM

Gaming
(Image used under: Creative Commons 2.5 [SRC])

It's hardly surprising that there has been a huge backlash against Spore due to the decision to include DRM. I'm a little surprised, but very happy, that someone had the tenacity to file a class action lawsuit against them for it.

In the end, no company has the right to control your game playing to this degree. It's a shame that a game from such a well-renowned company would be smeared and tarnished because their foolish decision to treat their customers like criminals.

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iTunes Update Erases Music Library

Bad apple
(Image used under: Creative Commons 2.0 [SRC])

A glitch in the newest iTunes software update has caused many people to lose previously purchased music and movies. Though they've fixed the problem and apologized for it, many people are unsatisfied.

"Most of the music I have purchased online from Apple's iTunes Store has been deactivated," wrote Martin of Suisan, Calif. "I have purchased approximately $140 dollars worth of songs and videos from iTunes Store, which currently is worthless due to the fact that iTunes will no longer play any of them."

When you deal with a company that is dead set on controlling everything you do with your legally purchased media, you're best off not using their product. Even if you decide to use iTunes, make sure to strip the DRM off using the Hymn Utility so you can copy or use the music freely.

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“Spore” Dying Under DRM

DRM
(Image is in the Public Domain)

Spore, the long-awaited video game from the creator of Sim-City and the Sims has finally been released, but with a catch. It includes invasive Digital Rights Management (DRM) that has resulted in a movement by gamers to keep the Amazon.com score at the absolute bottom.

I hate to see a good game go down, but no company has the right to try so hard to control how we use our legally purchased software.

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Amazon.com Kicking Customers Out of the Store

Amazon
(Image is used under the Pixabay license)

Amazon.com has been closing accounts that have "too high a percentage of returns" or "[ship] to too many different addresses".

I've never liked Amazon.com's policies but this kind of anti-customer activity is even worse than Yahoo. To be fair, there's not much detail on which accounts have been closed and what counts as abuse to them, but this sounds a lot like the customer profiling that Best Buy has been doing.

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How to Deal With Flight Cancellations

Rights you don't know about are as good as nonexistant
(Image is used under the Pixabay license)

With the stark increase in flight cancellations this year, it's in your best interests to have some idea of how to fight back.

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One More Reason To Be Against Digital Rights Management (DRM)

With DRM, what they give, they can take away
(Image used under: Creative Commons 2.0 [SRC])

From Ars Technica:

Yahoo e-mailed its Yahoo! Music Store customers yesterday, telling them it will be closing for good—and the company will take its DRM license key servers offline on September 30, 2008. Once the Yahoo store goes down and the key servers go offline, existing tracks cannot be authorized to play on new computers. Instead, Yahoo recommends the old, lame, and lossy workaround of burning the files to CD, then reripping them onto the computer. Sure, you'll lose a bunch of blank CDs, sound quality, and all the metadata, but that's a small price to pay for the privilege of being able to listen to that music you lawfully acquired. Good thing you didn't download it illegally or just buy it on CD!
Here's a brilliant spoof of the Yahoo announcement that was sent to subscribers that I found at Digg.com:

Dear Consumer

We would like to thank you for being a customer of the DRM Clothing Store. Unfortunately, DRM'd clothing has not been as successful as we hoped, and we will be discontinuing service effective as of noon today. At the time that we suspend operation, all the DRM'd clothing that you have purchased will spontaneously cease to exist. We appreciate that this may be inconvenient to many of you, particularly to those of you who are currently wearing our DRM'd clothing at, say, a business meeting, a funeral or a formal dinner.

The DRM features in our clothing primarily affect the seams and stitching. If you use a sharp knife to separate your DRM'd clothing into separate fabric pieces, and then re-sew the clothing using your own needle and thread, the clothing will continue to function much as it did before. However, you must do so before noon today.

We regret the inconvenience caused to our loyal customers and thank you for your custom. We trust you will look back on your time as a customer of the DRM Clothing Store as an exciting adventure in digital living. And to those of you who don't receive this message in time, and find yourselves standing stark naked in a crowded subway car, trying to protect your modesty with an empty Starbucks cup and a day-old copy of the "New York Post", we'd just like to say "DRM Clothing – life on the digital edge!"

Yours sincerely, DRM Clothing

P.S. No refunds will be issued.

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