Russian 'Pirates' Offer Hobbled NASA a Helping Tech Hand
Today in international tech news: Russia's Pirate Party pens a letter to NASA saying that the furlough-ravaged agency can use its servers. Also: A panel established to assess NSA surveillance is shuttered by the shutdown; copyright groups go after The Pirate Bay in Iceland; cloud TV services gain ground in Europe; and a few too many Samsung employees got to see a secret patent license between Apple and Nokia.
Oct 8, 2013 1:58 PM PT
Russia's Pirate Party wrote a letter to NASA offering to host the agency's website, which is currently out of commission because of the government shutdown.
The Pirate Party -- a minority political movement in many European countries predicated on privacy and transparency -- informed NASA that it could use the party's dedicated servers until the U.S. government got off the ground. The Pirate Party promised "bulletproof collocation or dedicated servers" for as long as NASA needs and said that NASA's traffic and activity would be safe.
NASA planned on celebrating its 55th birthday this week, but most of its 18,000 employees have been furloughed while the House of Representatives twiddles its thumbs.
NSA Panel Sent Packing
In other shutdown-related news, a panel set up by President Barack Obama to assess the U.S.'s surveillance technologies has been effectively frozen, its staff furloughed.
The panel, called the "Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies," was established in August. It was supposed to meet with leaders of Congress' intelligence committee last week, but a member of the Review Group, former CIA director Michael Morell, refused to partake, saying it was "inappropriate for our group to continue working while the vast majority" of the intelligence community was without work.
The group was originally tasked with providing a report to Obama within 60 days and a final report by December 15. Those deadlines are now in doubt because of the shutdown.
Speaking of U.S. surveillance, here is a photo of Edward Snowden grocery shopping in Russia.
Putting the Freeze on Pirate Bay in Iceland
A band of copyright groups in Iceland have filed a complaint in hopes of forcing Internet service providers to block file-sharing site The Pirate Bay and Deildu.net, Iceland's largest private BitTorrent platform.
The UK, the Netherlands, Belgium and other European countries have already passed legislation forcing ISPs to block The Pirate Bay, which is the 53rd most-visited website in Iceland (Deildu.net is 142nd.)
The copyright coalition says that they have already tried to raise awareness for legal alternatives to copyright-infringing file-sharing sites, but to no avail.
In August, The Pirate Bay, which originally hails from Sweden, launched a browser ("Pirate Browser") to help people skirt ISP blocks. They also hope to launch a P2P website that is impossible to block or take offline.
LG, Panasonic TVs to Have Cloud Software in Europe
A cloud TV service from Sweden-based Magine AB will let users use computers and mobile devices to channel surf, rewind show and access archived content.
The service will launch next year and will be installed on TV sets from LG, Panasonic and Royal Philips NV's venture with TPV Corp. The cloud will be available where Magine operates in Europe -- currently Sweden, Germany and Spain, but more likely to come.
Samsung in Hot Water Over Patent Disclosure
Samsung could be in trouble after more than 90 employees laid eyes on a secret patent license between Apple and Nokia.
The license was for attorneys only, but for one reason or another it was apparently bandied about. U.S. judge Paul Grewal has ordered a member of Samsung's patent licensing team and five more Samsung staff to appear in court next week, with a further hearing scheduled for Oct. 22.
[Source: The Guardian]