The BBC has an article posted today about a research paper that offers some provocative conclusions. The premise is that a Harvard professor did a study which purports to show that Google searches on people’s names return results with a racial bias, based on stereotyped racial associations of the names themselves:
She found that names like Leroy, Kareem and Keisha would yield advertisements that read “Arrested?”, with a link to a website which could perform criminal record checks.
Searches for names such as Brad, Luke and Katie would not – instead more likely to offer websites that can provide general contact details.
“There is discrimination in the delivery of these ads,” concluded Prof Sweeney, adding that there was a less than 1% chance that the findings could be based on chance.
The article also contains this response attributed to Google:
“It is up to individual advertisers to decide which keywords they want to choose to trigger their ads,” the search giant said.
It seems the real issue here is that the prof doesn’t understand how A/B testing for AdSense advertising works.* Continue reading Harvard Professor Doesn’t Understand AdSense
So, these guys exist:
Defense Distributed is organized to produce and publish information related to the 3D printing of firearms. [...] the first order production goal remains the same: produce and publish a file for a completely printable gun
And then this happened:
the 3D-printing firm Makerbot has deleted a collection of blueprints for gun components from Thingiverse, its popular user-generated content website that hosts 3D-printable files.
And, in the wake of a soul-rending tragedy wrought by a man with a gun, someone who doesn’t understand how the internet works suggested the solution should be new laws:
U.S. Representative Steve Israel (D-Huntington, N.Y.) plans to propose a ban on creating gun magazines with 3-D printers. The bill is still in the drafting stage, but Israel intends to make sure existing legislation includes consideration for this new kind of homemade firearm.
and the DefDist guys responded.
So, now this is happening:
We’re not sure how this site might fit into Defense Distributed’s efforts, but know that THIS place, if there will be no other, IS a home for fugitive information. No object file will be censored unless it is malicious software. When we say freedom of information, we mean it.
and with a manifesto like that, naturally, comes this. And so the cat is officially out of the bag, forever.
Continue reading Bag ——-> Cat
The good news is that the jailbreak exception for phones was extended in this most recent review period. The bad news is that, inexplicably, it wasn’t extended to cover tablets… . . . → Read More: Jailbreak Exemption to DMCA renewed by US Copyright Office
If you buy digital media that includes copy protection or other forms of digital rights management technology that interferes with your ability to play the media, you don’t really own it. That is, you don’t own it until you strip the DRM off . . . → Read More: A Public Service Reminder
In real property law, there are a variety of ways that someone other than the owner can lawfully make use of a piece of real estate. Copyright allows for unlicensed reproduction of a protected work for certain “fair use” categories of copying and publication. It can be legal to parody a trademark in a way that might otherwise be seen as confusingly (and infringingly) similar to the official mark (see e.g. North Face v. South Butt).
In patent law, the exceptions are much thinner. Patent owners often assert the right to exclude others from practicing a patent as a right that is more or less exactly equivalent to the right to exclude other people in meatspace from a piece of real property, for example by locking the front door on your house, or putting up a fence.
Over at Patently-O this week, Dennis linked to a discussion of this and other flaws in the current model of patent protections, and how creating features similar to justifiable trespass or adverse possession in patent law might be a good thing for society as a whole.
[T]he law significantly hems in the rights of owners not to use their property, employing numerous doctrines, such as . . . → Read More: Adverse Possession in IP law?
[update] here is today’s editorial in the NYT. As you might expect of a publishing company with a vested interest in copyright, they’re in favor of trade barriers and artificial market segmentation, even if it results in injury to US consumers.
The SCOTUS heard arguments in Wiley v. Kirtsaeng on Monday October 29- news in and of itself, since the Court was the only entity of the federal government in DC that stayed open Monday in in the face of the threat from hurricane Sandy. Here is the reporting on the arguments from the EFF and on the lead-up to the arguments from Bloomberg. There are many others out there, but I thought these would be illustrative of the (relatively) opposed interests of copyleft from the EFF and vested interest of Wiley and the rest of the publishing industry from Bloomie.
It is perilous to forecast an outcome from the tenor of the arguments, but EFF is cautiously optimistic because of the direction that questioners took. From the EFF release:
It’s gratifying that the Court seems to appreciate the ramifications of this case, even if Wiley’s attorneys do not.
Oral argument recording and transcript are . . . → Read More: First-Sale Doctrine Roundup
Ars Technica reports:
It’s a little bit baffling that the rehearing is even required. As Judge Sharon Prost wrote in her dissent to the original ruling, “the majority has failed to follow the Supreme Court’s instructions—not just in its holding, but more importantly in its approach.”
Software patents are bad for business and innovation in software, electronics, finance, and healthcare. The best outcome here would be if software was entirely excluded from the ranks of patentable . . . → Read More: Good News for High Tech: Fed Cir takes CLS Bank v. Alice for en banc rehearing
In a move that should surprise absolutely no one (except, maybe, the loud-mouthed jury foreman who botched the job in the first place), Samsung has filed a motion for a judgment as a matter of law and alternately for a new trial of the patent claims in the case where Apple recently won a billion-dollar infringement verdict.
Because the jury foreman gave interviews after the fact, wherein he admitted that he relied on his own extraneous experience and knowledge of electrical engineering to inform his deliberations, and he shared his “expertise” with the other members of the jury, I would not be surprised if the judge granted . . . → Read More: Samsung moves for JMOL, new trial in Apple patent case
I don’t see how new models will help Blackberry.
Research In Motion’s developer powwow this week delivered a small dose of good news as the company touted 80 million subscribers and kept its BlackBerry 10 timelines, but the bad news is on deck later today: fiscal second-quarter financial results.
To say expectations for RIM’s second quarter are low would be a major understatement. Wall Street is expecting RIM to report a loss of 47 cents a share on revenue of $2.5 billion for the fiscal second quarter, and a miss wouldn’t . . . → Read More: Unless they’re running Android