February 2007

Wired News: Patently Bad Move Gags Critics

Yesterday, RFID access device company HID Global got IOActive researcher Chris Paget to pull his talk from Black Hat DC because they claimed that demonstrating how to clone RFID cards violated their patents in card readers. Are they nuts? Unfortunately, IOActive, which probably holds several patents of its own and wants to look like an upstanding respecter of intellectual property rights, backed down and the talk went unmade. While I am not a patent lawyer, the claim seems both colorable and totally weak. Colorable, because if the card reader patents are valid and the claims are drafted broadly enough, then a homebrew card reader just might infringe. Totally weak, because even if the patents are valid, and the reader infringes, and HID Global decided to pay expensive patent lawyers to sue, the damages in the case, even if trebled, would be achingly small (the licensing fee for a single device). My Wired News column today is about this brouhaha. In the column, I heap scorn upon HID, but I do wish that IOActive had pushed the issue. I’m sure a flurry of lawyers would have rushed to their defense.

More on the issue from Ryan Singel, Rob Lemos and Brian Krebs.

The audio from theStanford Technology Law Review’s Fourth Amendment Symposium

is now available. Look under “Announcements” in the right hand column. I particularly enjoyed Erin Murphy’s comments on Susan Friewald’s paper and Donald Dripps’ comments on Paul Ohm’s.

On this Valentine’s Day, my Circuit Court column is about using computers to determine people’s future actions, either through fMRI brain scans of intentionality, or through analysis of social/genetic factors that are risk factors for criminal behavior. This is a new fascination of mine, the way that society craves tool for preventing both counter-terrorism and crime, and the ways in which science and society are not up to the technical and ethical challenges of the task. Read more in Wired News: Tapping Brains for Future Crimes

Arnold’s website blamed in audiotape snafu – Los Angeles Times

Taugshow #10

Originally uploaded by Laughing Squid.

Last night we filmed the Taugshow with monocrom at the Exploratorium. It was great fun. My cohost made green slime and tied up his girlfriend, while I explained the intricacies of the First Amendment and the historical requirement of mens rea in criminal prohibitions. I also discussed whether a hacked teledildonics session (man in the middle attack, of course) could be prosecuted as rape. Oh, how I love my job.

Arnold’s website blamed in audiotape snafu – Los Angeles Times