Party promotes copyrights of man

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By  Published  September 1, 2006

We all know that governments are taking tougher measures to crack down on the problem of software piracy in the region. However in Europe authorities are facing a fresh problem as the pirates get organised and bid for political recognition.

In Sweden, the Swedish Pirate Party, a powerful political organisation, is seeking to enter the country’s forthcoming general election on a platform of shared culture free knowledge and protected privacy.

And it has launched a new internet service that lets users swap files and information without fear of being monitored or logged, claims a report from online newswire RealTechNews.

This network, called a ‘darknet’, allows people to use an untraceable address where they cannot be personally identified.

“The right to exchange information in private is fundamental to the democratic society. Without a safe and convenient way of accessing the internet anonym-ously, this right is rendered null and void,” said Richard Falkvinge, chairman of the Pirate Party.

Swedish firm Relakks will provide the service, offering a neutral internet protocol (IP) on top of the user’s existing internet service provider (ISP) service, through an encrypted virtual privcate network (VPN) connection. The cost is 5 euros (just over US$6) a month, and a portion of the fees will go towa- rds the party’s efforts to changing copyright and privacy laws.

Mystery is a PC

The PC recently celebrated its 25th birthday with much fanfare, but could the naughty appliance possibly be hiding its true age?

We only ask as a report from the UK newspaper The Observer has lifted the lid on the ancient antiquarian mystery that is the Antikythera mechanism.

This strange and sophisticated device has puzzled scientists for years, with its various cogs, dials and wheels, ever since it was dredged up by sponge divers from the waters around the Greek island of Antikythera over 100 years ago.

Now academics have divulged that the inscriptions on the calcium-encrusted device prove the mechanism, dated to 80 BC, is in fact a computer.

“In many ways, it was the first analogue computer,” claimed Professor Theodosios Tassios from the National Technical University of Athens.

“It will change the way we look at the ancients’ technological achievements,” he added.

Others were equally effusive. Michael Wright, former curator at London’s Science Museum, said: “The skill with which it was made shows a level of instrument-making not surpassed until the Renaissance.”

Yeah, but could you play Sonic the Hedgehog on it? See, our generation wins every time.

Tibet cornered

Search engine collusus Google has run into trouble with governments around the world with its Google Earth application since its launch. Many are afraid that their secret weapons facilities will be revealed to one and all, including their enemies.

Now Google Earth has become embroiled in the furore over Google bowing to Chinese wishes over censoring sites. It seems that Tibet has been taken off the Google Earth query search, according to newswire The Register. The report takes users on a tour of choice Tibetan sites that are included within Chinese boarders. Most show rapid development across the region including huge facilities housing anything up to 500,000 personnel from the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

Conspiracy theorists will be delighted with the preponderance of black helicopters across the images, as well as a huge football pitch that appears to have been created overnight.

And if any members of the ‘Free Tibet’ campaign have any ideas, we should point out that the picturesque Lake Kokonor, Tibet’s largest salt-water lake, appears to be surrounded by Chinese military installations.

Unless of course, that’s what the Chinese authorities would want us to believe…

Luring trekkies

But maybe Google Earth is just a stepping stone to the rest of the universe. Certainly, Google made no bones about it at the recent Star Trek Convention in Las Vegas, US.

It was on a mission to recruit engineers among the devotees and set up a stand based on the famous bridge of the Starship Enterprise, according to a repo- rt on the website Google claimed the convention, attended by more than 10,000 fans of the cult sci-fi franchise, was the ideal place to search for talent. Trekkies, according to Michael Jones, Google Earth chief technologist, tend to be tech-savvy, passionate and willing to expand the boundaries of human accomplishment.

He went on to claim that the mapping service was “the warp drive of computer graphics”.

Other Google staff tried to further stretch the analogy with Tom Galloway, Google technical writer, going on to claim that Captain James T Kirk was a pioneering blogger due to his captain’s log and that, “the crew was constantly asking the ship’s computer for information… sort of like Google.”

Actually, Star Trek was nothing like Google — but it would have been churlish to deny Google folk the chance to rub shoulders with the show’s stars.

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