Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Stephen Maurer quoted in New Scientist on DNA and Terrorism

Stephen Maurer, Director of the Goldman School Project on Information Technology and Homeland Security ("ITHS") and member of TRUST was quoted in the New Scientist September 14, 2008 article, "DNA firms step up security over bioterrorism threat" that discusses efforts to counter fears that terrorists could make deadly viruses by ordering genetic material from corporations. Maurer is quotes as saying, "The fact that they're going to share their experiences is really important." Maurer helped write the industry guidelines.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

UC Berkeley Professor Doug Tygar called in as expert witness for the defense

Slashdot recounts a story published in NETWORKWORLD about the latest twist in the bizarre story of the rogue network administrator that hijacked the city's network in the last two months. With costs estimated at $1 million, city officials say they are trying to locate a mysterious networking device hidden somewhere in the network.

This device, which is referred to as a "terminal server" in court documents actually appears to be a router that was installed to provide remote access to the city's Fiber WAN network, which connects municipal computer and telecommunication systems throughout the city. The router was discovered on Aug. 28. When investigators tried to log in to the device, they were greeted with what appears to be a router login prompt and warning message saying "This system is the personal property of Terry S. Childs." Childs, a network administrator with DTIS was arrested June 12 on charges of network tampering after he refused to provide his superiors with administrative access to the city of San Francisco's network, which he'd managed for the past five years.

In a report filed before the city disclosed the hidden router, a court-appointed expert witness for the defense wrote that DTIS could easily prevent Childs from accessing the networks.
"I have seen no evidence that Mr. Childs is a 'computer hacker,' and by taking a number of simple steps, DTIS could block access by Mr. Childs to San Francisco networks," wrote Doug Tygar, a University of California, Berkeley computer science professor.

Childs next appearance is set for September 24th, when he'll face up to seven years in prison if convicted.

For complete story, see NETWORKWORLD .

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Samuelson quoted about copyright and electronic access to CA laws

In a September 3, 2008 Santa Rosa Press Democrat article, "He's giving you access, one document at a time," concerning efforts to make California laws more accessible on-line, Professor Pam Samuelson was quoted

"If it's the law, the public should have access to it," she said.

Samuelson points out that the idea of copyright was established to provide people incentive to create. People are given exclusive legal rights to their paintings, writings and other works because by selling those rights they can attempt to make a living.

There is no similar need for financial incentives to establish standards such as building codes, Samuelson said. For the most part, volunteers spend long hours drafting proposed standards for things like plumbing and building. Governments often take those standards and adopt them into law.

Once the standards become law, she doesn't think people can claim copyright protections. But like Malamud, she sees the courts making the final ruling.

"I don't think it's an airtight case for either side. But I think the law favors that if something is a law, it's in the public domain," she said.

9/29/08 Update: This article has been picked up by the San Francisco Chronicle (9/27/08) and the NY Times (9/29/08).