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Man’s Tool Of Choice

Posted on May 31st, 2011 at 23:31 by John Sinteur in category: Great Picture

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  1. 21C

  2. lol

‘vmmap: bad software everywhere’

Posted on May 31st, 2011 at 23:20 by John Sinteur in category: Software


This is yet another example of the patheticness that is modern software development. Instead of going headfront and fixing the actual problems, most systems cope out and just sweep the problem under the carpet, hoping no-one will notice.

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  1. Great thread, it’s really worth clicking Next in Thread a few times to see some follow-ups.

    IMO, this is just reality. People write & optimize to the current platform.

    I bet that there is more of this in Windows than in any other platform. Microsoft made a specific strategic decision to try to keep “app compat” as high as possible, and I think they had to, to facilitate people adopting first Win 3.1, then Win 95, and then especially for NT4/XP.

E. coli outbreak in Germany: Women more affected

Posted on May 31st, 2011 at 23:12 by John Sinteur in category: News


One of the mysteries about the outbreak of the particularly vicious strain of E. coli is that most of the victims have been women.

The cause of the outbreak: cucumbers.

Post your “comment of the week” right here:

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  1. Oh, behave! Women clearly eat more vegetables than men…

  2. Well, they *use* more vegetables, I’ll give you that…

  3. Reminds me of (true story) a pulmonologist, that told of a female patient that complained about side effects of her new inhalation device. A little bit of background: the inhalator for ‘Pulmicort’ looks like this:
    You take the top cover off, twist the device to free the powder, insert in the mouth and inhale. Her complaint: it gave her an itch on a very specific place down below. She was the very first to complain about this. The pulmonologist wondered if she applied the device correctly 😉

  4. They’re clearly not putting enough (anti-microbial) garlic in their tzatziki.

  5. OK, OK, I’ll say, “That’s NOT funny!” (even though it was).

  6. My SO says that women prefer using meat to vegetables, and who am I to disagree?

Scientologist charged for ‘intimidating’ alleged sex abuse victim

Posted on May 31st, 2011 at 23:05 by John Sinteur in category: Pastafarian News


A SENIOR member of the Church of Scientology has been charged by police for intimidating a young girl who wanted to report sexual abuse allegations within the church.

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Chiquita sued over Colombian paramilitary payments

Posted on May 31st, 2011 at 23:05 by John Sinteur in category: News


"A company that pays a terrorist organization that kills thousands of people should get the capital punishment of civil liability and be put out of business by punitive damages," said attorney Terry Collingsworth, who filed one of the first lawsuits on behalf of Colombians.

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  1. This, and Ratko Mladic brought to the Hague, all in the same week? Good.

The oil and the corexit are killing everything in its path. Truth.

Posted on May 31st, 2011 at 22:57 by John Sinteur in category: News


I decided to make a whole page for the BP disaster as there is so much information that the majority of people do not know.

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Apple to Unveil Next Generation Software at Keynote Address on Monday, June 6

Posted on May 31st, 2011 at 22:52 by John Sinteur in category: Apple


Apple® CEO Steve Jobs and a team of Apple executives will kick off the company’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) with a keynote address on Monday, June 6 at 10:00 a.m. At the keynote, Apple will unveil its next generation software – Lion, the eighth major release of Mac OS® X; iOS 5, the next version of Apple’s advanced mobile operating system which powers the iPad®, iPhone® and iPod touch®; and iCloud®, Apple’s upcoming cloud services offering.

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Are Chevy dealers gaming the system to keep Volt’s $7,500 consumer rebate?

Posted on May 31st, 2011 at 22:51 by John Sinteur in category: News


Getting beyond the drama of the Chevrolet Volt and its high-profile development process was supposed to mean that General Motors could focusing on enjoying the car’s green halo. But that has not exactly been the case. On the other side of numerous awards and glowing reviews there have been the sales numbers and stories of dealer gouging. Speaking of dealers, a new story by Mark Modica on the National Legal and Policy Center site suggests that Chevy dealers are selling Volts to one another and claiming the car’s $7,500 federal tax rebate for themselves, then selling the cars to private buyers as used sans rebate.

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Will Clarence Thomas Recuse Himself on Health Care Reform?

Posted on May 31st, 2011 at 22:49 by John Sinteur in category: News


Following a time-honored Washington tradition of dumping required but embarrassing information on a Friday night before a major holiday, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas finally released the details of his wife’s income from her year or so working for the tea party group Liberty Central, which fought President Obama’s health care reform law. His new financial disclosure form indicates that his wife, Virginia, who served as Liberty Central’s president and CEO, received $150,000 in salary from the group and less than $15,000 in payments from an anti-health care lobbying firm she started.

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Facebook hires former Bush aides as Washington lobbyists

Posted on May 31st, 2011 at 16:35 by Paul Jay in category: News


Facebook just made two more friends in D.C.

It’s hiring two aides of former President George W. Bush as lobbyists.

Joel Kaplan, previously deputy chief of staff in the Bush White House, is joining Facebook as vice president of U.S. public policy, a new position in which he will oversee the company’s public policy strategy and interact with federal and state policymakers.

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Tests show Arctic reindeer ‘see in UV’

Posted on May 31st, 2011 at 16:33 by Paul Jay in category: News


Arctic reindeer can see beyond the “visible” light spectrum into the ultra-violet region, according to new research by an international team.

They say tests on reindeer showed that the animal does respond to UV stimuli, unlike humans.

The ability might enable them to pick out food and predators in the “UV-rich” Arctic atmosphere, and to retain visibility in low light.

Details are published in the The Journal of Experimental Biology.

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Retired GOP senator goes to work for Goldman Sachs

Posted on May 31st, 2011 at 16:31 by Paul Jay in category: News


Former Republican Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, who retired this January, has been hired as an international adviser to Goldman Sachs.

“Judd Gregg’s experience and insight will contribute significantly to our firm and our continuing focus on supporting economic growth,” said Goldman’s chairman and CEO Lloyd Blankfein in a statement announcing the move.

Gregg was first elected to the Senate in 1992, after serving as governor of New Hampshire for four years. Before that, he spent eight years in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“A strong financial sector is critical to our nation and one of the key engines of job creation in our country,” the former senator said. “I hope that I can bring to Goldman Sachs some ideas and perspectives that will help the firm continue to be a leader in supporting its clients in their pursuit of the capital, credit and advice they need to be successful.”

During his tenure in the Senate, Gregg served as ranking member of the budget committee and occupied a seat on the banking committee that oversaw institutions like Goldman Sachs. He voted against the financial regulatory overhaul of 2010.

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US ‘to view major cyber attacks as acts of war’

Posted on May 31st, 2011 at 16:30 by Paul Jay in category: News


The Pentagon has adopted a new strategy that will classify major cyber attacks as acts of war, paving the way for possible military retaliation, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.

The newspaper said the Pentagon plans to unveil its first-ever strategy regarding cyber warfare next month, in part as a warning to foes that may try to sabotage the country’s electricity grid, subways or pipelines.

“If you shut down our power grid, maybe we will put a missile down one of your smokestacks,” it quoted a military official as saying.

The newspaper, citing three officials who had seen the document, said the the strategy would maintain that the existing international rules of armed conflict — embodied in treaties and customs — would apply in cyberspace.

It said the Pentagon would likely decide whether to respond militarily to cyber attacks based on the notion of “equivalence” — whether the attack was comparable in damage to a conventional military strike.

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  1. Wait, does that mean the U.S. is at war with Iran?

  2. “War is … a continuation of politics by other means.”

  3. Not only Iran, but China and Russia too. Also, depending on how you define “major cyber attack”, you can claim that the US is at war with most of it’s allies – at least the ones that has internet.

From out there on the Moon

Posted on May 31st, 2011 at 16:27 by Paul Jay in category: News

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  1. In space, no-one can hear you lie.

Wonkbook: the negotiations behind the negotiations

Posted on May 31st, 2011 at 15:07 by Desiato in category: Commentary

This is a bit dated (May 12), but the issue is unresolved and I thought it was very interesting commentary on the debate about raising the U.S. public debt ceiling from Ezra Klein.


The negotiation that we’re having, in theory, is how to cut the deficit in order to give politicians in both parties space to increase the debt limit. But if you look closely at the positions, that’s not really the negotiation we’re having. Republicans are negotiating not over the deficit, but over tax rates and the size of government. That’s why they’ve ruled revenue “off the table” as a way to reduce the deficit, and why they are calling for laws and even constitutional amendments that cap federal spending rather than attack deficits. (…)

If we were really just negotiating over the deficit, this would be easy. The White House, the House Republicans, the House Progressives, the House Democrats and the Senate Republicans have all released deficit-reduction plans. There’s not only apparent unanimity on the goal, but a broad menu of approaches. We’d just take elements from each and call it a day. But if the Republicans are negotiating over their antipathy to taxes and their belief that government should be much smaller, that’s a much more ideological, and much tougher to resolve, dispute. The two parties don’t agree on that goal. And if the Democrats haven’t quite decided what their negotiating position is, save to survive this fight both economically and politically, that’s not necessarily going to make things easier, either. Negotiations are hard enough when both sides agree about the basic issue under contention. They’re almost impossible when they don’t.

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DSK Offered Maid’s Family Hush Money

Posted on May 30th, 2011 at 17:21 by Paul Jay in category: News


Representatives of the former International Monetary fund director Dominique Strauss-Kahn, accused of sexually assaulting a maid in a Manhattan Hotel on May 14, have reportedly tried to offer her family in Guinea over a million dollars in hush money to make the case go away. That’s the story in today’s New York Post, which cites a “French businesswoman with close ties to Strauss-Kahn and his family.” The source reportedly told the paper, “For sure, it’s going to end on a quiet note.”

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  1. If true, this is conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, or obstruction of justice, if you prefer. Multiple jurisdictions will keep the lawyers busy for a while.

  2. This “news” was published more than a week ago.

Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

Posted on May 30th, 2011 at 17:19 by Paul Jay in category: News


Close race this week, but coming out on top for “most insightful” was a comment from The Buzz Saw in response to Disney’s Anthony Accardo whining that the tech industry hasn’t propped up legacy businesses that are slow to adapt to a changing market. TBS points out that since Accardo is only focused on “protecting” rather than innovation, you would get results that simply piss people off (something the entertainment industry does all too often):

Innovation to enforce copyright, eh?

I’m curious. As a software engineer myself, exactly how is the tech community to come up with an algorithmic (excuse me… “innovative”) mechanism to detect a license/copyright? For one thing, the “tech community” has been trying that for years. DRM anyone?

I make it a point to sell my talent, not my output. My output can be copied and reused eternally, and that is a desirable trait! My ability to create such useful output is obviously a scarce good, and I find myself able to sell it accordingly. 🙂

The reason the “tech community” (such a ridiculous generalization of a term) refuses to support Big Content in its endeavor to lock down content is that the end result would be a ridiculous sense of entitlement.

If Big Content had its way…

A TV would refuse to function, because it detects too many viewers.

A camera would not shoot, because it would sense a “no cameras” signal in the area.

An application would fail to launch, because the keyboard detected fingerprints other than those of the original licensee.

A Blu-ray would not start, because it senses you exceeded its viewing quota, and you need to go buy the movie again.

A song would not play, because the attached speakers are too awesome, and you are not licensed to hear so much bass.

A book would erase its words, because its GPS would detect that it is being read in a country where the book is not released yet.

Yeah, I am very comfortable over here NOT on your side, Big Content

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  1. I think each of those hypothetical scenerios can be boiled down to this: the content industry wants to sell _licenses_ to content, not physical copies of content like they used to.

    And they have to make this change, right? In the digital world, there’s nothing else. You can’t sell bits as if they’re a physical object. The dongles (CDs, DVDs) have become obsolete.

    So then all that’s left is arguing over what is a fair license and what’s not. Seems a lot like entry level workers negotiating their salaries with big companies: the only way to get clout is to negotiate as a bloc.

    (Or, as John does, to opt out altogether.)

  2. One logical conclusion for technologists is that we should build a DRM system that allows not only copyright holders to set limits, but allows consumers to set minimum capabilities that must be granted. This would allow different pricing levels for different capabilities, and it would allow the creation of well-understood rights levels. Consumers could tell their devices, I will not pay for content that does not have Silver Level rights or Gold Level rights. Large consumer representation orgs could negotiate consumer-friendly blanket licenses with rights holders that conform to a well-understood capability-level. Etc. But the point would be that ideally it would remove the “take-it-or-leave-it” aspect of DRM.

Americans Arrested Violently at the Jefferson Memorial — for Dancing

Posted on May 30th, 2011 at 17:12 by Paul Jay in category: News


Watch what happened today at the Jefferson Memorial in DC. CodePinker Medea Benjamin and others were arrested for “dancing,” and others were body slammed for the crime of movement!

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Air France 447: What the Black Box Tells Us – James Fallows – Technology – The Atlantic

Posted on May 30th, 2011 at 13:57 by Desiato in category: News

James Fallows digs into the Air France stall mystery. No full answers yet, but interesting analysis for those of you who are interested in the technical details.


And the main puzzle, as several of the initial stories point out, is why a team of experienced pilots would have kept pulling back on the controls, to increase the nose-up pitch, when the stall warnings were going off. This is a puzzle because being trained to do exactly the opposite is practically the foundation of learn-to-fly courses. If a plane is losing speed and threatening to stall, you recover by pointing the nose sharply down and adding power (plus other things). This reduces the angle of attack, builds air speed, and allows the wings to start providing lift once again.

Every pilot has done this in practice time and again through his or her flying career. “Stall recovery” drills are part of every basic flying curriculum, every recurrent competency drill, every bit of familiarization with a new airplane. (…)

Why this didn’t happen in the Air France cockpit is the next stage of the mystery to explain.

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Senior Defense Official Caught Hedging on U.S. Involvement in Stuxnet

Posted on May 29th, 2011 at 23:18 by John Sinteur in category: News


If you want to see a top Pentagon official squirm, tune into CNBC’s cyberwar documentary Thursday night, and watch Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn face an uncomfortably direct question about the Stuxnet worm.

In “CodeWars: America’s Cyber Threat,” correspondent Melissa Lee asks Lynn outright: “Was the U.S. involved in any way in the development of Stuxnet?”

Lynn’s response is long enough that an inattentive viewer might not notice that it doesn’t answer the question.

“The challenges of Stuxnet, as I said, what it shows you is the difficulty of any, any attribution and it’s something that we’re still looking at, it’s hard to get into any kind of comment on that until we’ve finished our examination,” Lynn replies.

“But sir, I’m not asking you if you think another country was involved,” Lee presses. “I’m asking you if the U.S. was involved. If the Department of Defense was involved.”

“And this is not something that we’re going to be able to answer at this point,” Lynn finally says.

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  1. I have trouble imagining that you’d get a straight answer. With the U.S. and Israel being the major suspects, saying “yes we were involved” amounts to an admission of a hostile act against another country, and saying “no we were not involved” points the finger straight at Israel (plus it may be an outright lie). But hey, it’s nice to see a journalist not take an evasive answer without following up a bit.

Children don’t need Brain Gym to spot nonsense

Posted on May 29th, 2011 at 23:15 by John Sinteur in category: News


This week I got an email from a science teacher about a 13-year-old pupil. Both have to remain anonymous. This pupil wrote an article about Brain Gym for her school paper, explaining why it’s nonsense: the essay is respectful, straightforward, and factual. But the school decided they couldn’t print it, because it would offend teachers in the junior school who use Brain Gym.

Now, this is weakminded, and perhaps even vicious. More interesting, though, is how often children are able to spot bullshit, and how often adults want to shut them up.

Emily Rosa is the youngest person ever to have published a scientific paper in JAMA , one of the most influential medical journals in the world. At the age of nine she saw a TV programme about nurses who practise "Therapeutic Touch", claiming they can detect and manipulate a "human energy field" by hovering their hands above a patient.

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  1. Crikey…it seems like Britain is stiff with these loons. All the way from the Price of Wales down. And they’re getting public money for woo. When I was a kid to give everyone a break we had “Music and Movement”. The teacher played a record and we all ran about the gym pretending to be animals or trees. It was free.
    Of course these days, the teacher would be fined for public performance of a copyright recording.

  2. Unfortunately, *everywhere* is stiff with people who believe in similar stuff.

Baptist fundie found guilty of rape

Posted on May 29th, 2011 at 22:50 by John Sinteur in category: Pastafarian News


A 52-year-old member of a fundamentalist Baptist church in New Hampshire faces up to 54 years in prison after he was found guilty on Friday of raping his children’s 15-year-old baby sitter, who belonged to the same church, more than a decade ago.

The case involving Ernest Willis of Gilford garnered national attention because Concord’s Trinity Baptist Church which he and Tina Anderson, now 29, attended forced her to apologize to the congregation for the “crime” of having become pregnant.

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Slow Motion Cool fem allens Hummingbird fly-in feed 300fps

Posted on May 29th, 2011 at 22:17 by Paul Jay in category: News

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  1. That’s a female ruby-throated hummingbird. They are amazing creatures. I wish I had that kind of equipment at my house.


    You should have seen my flock immediately after Hurricane Katrina. 20-30 at a time hovering in the air waiting their turn. That is the only thing I wouldn’t mind repeating from that experience.

Air France Rio crash: Jet plunged in minutes

Posted on May 28th, 2011 at 0:48 by John Sinteur in category: News


The Air France jet which crashed into the Atlantic en route from Rio in 2009 stalled and fell in three and a half minutes, French investigators report.

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  1. Appears strange to me they pulled up when the airspeed warning sounded. Normal is to pull down in such occasions to pick up speed.
    On the other hand: The French will never say the French pilots did anything wrong.

Republican Blames Trees for Global Warming

Posted on May 28th, 2011 at 0:41 by John Sinteur in category: ¿ʞɔnɟ ǝɥʇ ʇɐɥʍ


Republican Congressman and former friend of the Taliban Dana Rohrabacher has an idea for curbing global warming: Gut the world’s rainforests of old and decaying trees, because greenhouse gasses are "generated by nature itself." The California Representative thinks this whole idea of manmade global warming is bullshit, and wants to have developing countries with large rainforests to go in and do some heavy duty pruning.

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  1. Well apparently he’ll get to live to see the result. Not comforting.

Brazil does away with laws to protect large swathes of rainforest

Posted on May 27th, 2011 at 23:17 by John Sinteur in category: News


Brazil’s powerful agricultural sector has scored a major victory, with the approval by the lower house of Congress of a reform that would open up some protected forests to cropland and ranchers.

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  1. Well, that’s not going to help climate change. We are a stupid species. I guess that expecting elites to behave better than other people is silly as well.

HTC Pays Microsoft $5 Per Android Phone, Says Citi

Posted on May 27th, 2011 at 23:08 by John Sinteur in category: Google, Microsoft


Microsoft gets $5 for every HTC phone running Android, according to Citi analyst Walter Pritchard, who released a big report on Microsoft this morning.

Microsoft is getting that money thanks to a patent settlement with HTC over intellectual property infringement.

Microsoft is suing other Android phone makers, and it’s looking for $7.50 to $12.50 per device, says Pritchard.

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Saudis often warned U.S. about oil speculators, cables show

Posted on May 27th, 2011 at 23:05 by John Sinteur in category: Robber Barons


When oil prices hit a record $147 a barrel in July 2008, the Bush administration leaned on Saudi Arabia to pump more crude in hopes that a flood of new crude would drive the price down. The Saudis complied, but not before warning that oil already was plentiful and that Wall Street speculation, not a shortage of oil, was driving up prices.

Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi even told U.S. Ambassador Ford Fraker that the kingdom would have difficulty finding customers for the additional crude, according to an account laid out in a confidential State Department cable dated Sept. 28, 2008.

"Saudi Arabia can’t just put crude out on the market," the cable quotes al-Naimi as saying. Instead, al-Naimi suggested, "speculators bore significant responsibility for the sharp increase in oil prices in the last few years," according to the cable.


According to the cable, al-Moneef said Saudi Arabia suspected that “speculation represented approximately $40 of the overall oil price when it was at its height.”

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Boffins tail bees with tiny radio tags

Posted on May 27th, 2011 at 22:43 by John Sinteur in category: News


Bees with radio tags glued onto their backs have been busily demonstrating just how long it takes them to get home, and how much easier it is to travel west.

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The 18 Senators Who Approve Breaking The Internet To Protect Hollywoo

Posted on May 27th, 2011 at 15:21 by Paul Jay in category: News


Last fall, we noted that the Senate Judiciary Committee had unanimously voted to approve COICA, a bill for censoring the internet as a favor to the entertainment industry. Thankfully, Senator Ron Wyden stepped up and blocked COICA from progressing. This year, COICA has been replaced by the PROTECT IP Act, which fixes some of the problems of COICA, but introduces significant other problems as well. A wide cross section of people who actually understandtechnology and innovation have come out against PROTECT IP as written — including librarians, human rights groups, public interest groups (pdf) and various technology groups (pdf), including CEA, CCIA and NetCoalition. Most significantly, a group of internet/DNS specialists have made a strong case that this would break the internet in significant ways:

  • The U.S. Government and private industry have identified Internet security and stability as a key part of a wider cyber security strategy, and if implemented, the DNS related provisions of PROTECT IP would weaken this important commitment. DNS filters would be evaded easily, and would likely prove ineffective at reducing online infringement. Further, widespread circumvention would threaten the security and stability of the global DNS.
  • The DNS provisions would undermine the universality of domain names, which has been one of the key enablers of the innovation, economic growth, and improvements in communications and information access unleashed by the global Internet.
  • Migration away from ISP-provided DNS servers would harm efforts that rely on DNS data to detect and mitigate security threats and improve network performance.
  • Dependencies within the DNS would pose significant risk of collateral damage, with filtering of one domain potentially affecting users’ ability to reach non-infringing Internet content.
  • The site redirection envisioned in Section 3(d)(II)(A)(ii) is inconsistent with security extensions to the DNS that are known as DNSSEC.
  • The U.S. Government and private industry have identified DNSSEC as a key part of a wider cyber security strategy, and many private, military, and governmental networks have invested in DNSSEC technologies.
  • If implemented, this section of the PROTECT IP Act would weaken this important effort to improve Internet security. It would enshrine and institutionalize the very network manipulation that DNSSEC must fight in order to prevent cyberattacks and other malevolent behavior on the global Internet, thereby exposing networks and users to increased security and privacy risks.

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