All posts by Andrea Foster


Civil-Liberties Group Offers Legal Help to Computer Researchers

Researchers who fear that their work in encryption and computer security could run afoul of the law will be getting support from the Electronic Frontier Foundation under an initiative called the Coders’ Rights Project.

The foundation, a nonprofit group that promotes civil liberties in cyberspace, announced today that the project will offer researchers assistance on legal issues related to computer-security vulnerabilities, intellectual property and free speech, and reverse engineering, which inv…


In a New Book, Lessig Says Society Is Turning Artists Into Criminals

Lawrence Lessig, the Stanford University law professor whose writings have profoundly influenced the way people think about intellectual property in the digital age, announced a year ago that he’d had enough of advocating for the reform of copyright law and would devote his energies to fighting corruption and the influence of money on American politics.

Turns out he has more to say on the subject for which he’s best known. This fall he’s coming out with his latest book, Remix, which argues that …


Sonoma State U. Students Learn to Create Computer Viruses

Students at Sonoma State University learn how to create computer viruses, worms, and other malicious code in a controversial class taught by George Ledin, a professor of computer science. An article last week in Newsweek says anti-virus software manufacturers are irked by the professor’s class and some have vowed not to hire his students when they graduate.

According to the article, Mr. Ledin has been likened to A.Q. Khan, the Pakistani scientist who sold nuclear technology to North Korea. But …


Minority-Serving Colleges to Receive Money for Technology Improvements

Colleges serving minority students may receive federal money for computer hardware, software, and network upgrades under a provision in legislation to reauthorize the Higher Education Act. The bill cleared Congress Thursday and is expected to be signed by President Bush.

The provision largely restates the Minority Serving Institution Digital and Wireless Technology Opportunity Act of 2007, HR 694, which the U.S. House of Representatives approved in September. The provision would create a progra…


Copyright Expert Predicts More Regulation for Colleges on File Sharing

William Patry, Google’s senior copyright lawyer and a former lawyer for the Judiciary Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, has dissected the provision in the mammoth higher education bill regarding peer-to-peer file sharing on college campuses. And what he writes on his blog Wednesday is not encouraging for colleges. The provision requires colleges to develop plans to use technologies for stopping illegal file sharing and “to the extent practicable” to provide students with subscripti…


Lawyers for 2 Female Students at Yale Law School Learn Identities of Anonymous Online Attackers

Lawyers for two women at Yale Law School who charged a Web site with destroying their reputations have learned the identities of some of the individuals who posted to the site derogatory comments about the women, according to an article Wednesday in Wired.

A year ago the women sued an administrator for the Web site, AutoAdmit, and several others who posted messages to the site under pseudonyms. The messages were filled with misogynist attacks on the women. One message called one of the women a “…


An Interdisciplinary Vision of Computer Science

Richard A. DeMillo is stepping down as dean of Georgia Institute of Technology’s College of Computing. During his six-year tenure at the college, Mr. DeMillo expanded the college’s research funds by 60 percent and increased the number of faculty members by 40 percent. A former chief technology officer at Hewlett-Packard, Mr. DeMillo plans to write technology books after he leaves the dean’s office November 1. Then he will return to the university to teach computing and management.

Q. You told Co…


Recording and Movie Industries Win Out Over Colleges in Higher-Education Bill

In the longstanding battle between the higher-education community and the entertainment industry over how aggressive colleges should be in trying to stop the swapping of music and video files over campus networks, the entertainment industry has prevailed.

The industry triumphed in pushing through a provision in the renewal of the Higher Education Act that would force colleges to use “technology-based deterrents” to curtail the ability of students to share copyrighted works using peer-to-peer net…


New Search Engine Generates Buzz Among Librarians

Some former Google employees have introduced a new search engine that they hope will overtake Google in popularity. The search engine is called Cuil, (pronounced “cool”) and it has been generating so much interest that its home page could not be opened at various points today.

Tom Costello, a former Stanford University researcher and one of the founders of the search engine, said Cuil culls through 120 billion Web pages, more pages than Google searches, according to an article today in The New …


Cable Industry Likens Itself to Academe in Managing Network Traffic

In an effort to dissuade the Federal Communications Commission from penalizing cable companies for prioritizing peer-to-peer traffic, the cable industry is arguing that colleges do the same thing.

The National Cable & Telecommunications Association wrote a letter to the agency, dated Thursday, arguing that it is not “anticompetitive” for their member cable companies to prohibit or limit certain peer-to-peer programs. The agency is probing a complaint that Comcast had been slowing down the exch…