Hacking the Vote: Chicago Edition

A “very serious vulnerability” in Chicago’s elections Web site made it possible for hackers to swipe Social Security numbers and the personal information of over 1.3 million voters… No confirmation at this point of any information actually being gleaned from the site.

ABC News reports that the problem has existed for more than five years.

Chicago Tribune reports election officials claim to have patched the more than 5-year-old problem.

Can you imagine how much money may have been made by hackers over the past five years who accessed this info? I mean charging just 2 cents per SS# could provide nearly $30k toward an entire year’s tuition the outrageously expensive college of your choice. Is anyone gonna pay to fix this this

This story originally broken by the non-partisan Illinois Ballot Integrity Project

Look Who’s Sleeping With You(Tube)

OMG! UMG is not gonna sue YouTube as threatened last month? Is YouTube pinned or just happy to share the bed? Today’s New York Times pulls back the covers:

Three of the four major music companies — Vivendi’s Universal Music Group, Sony and Bertelsmann’s jointly owned Sony BMG Music Entertainment, and the Warner Music Group — each quietly negotiated to take small stakes in YouTube as part of video- and music-licensing deals they struck shortly before the sale, people involved in the talks said yesterday. The music companies collectively stand to receive as much as $50 million from these arrangements, these people said.

This payoff will certainly materialize faster than any potential compensation from a lawsuit would. But the possible catch — doesn’t part-ownership also entail liability for any future content-related lawsuits filed against YouTube?

Earlier this week, Universal sued video-sharing portals Grouper and Bolt, demanding 15 grand per infringement and telling the press:

“Grouper and Bolt… cannot reasonably expect to build their business on the backs of our content and the hard work of our artists and songwriters without permission and without compensating the content creators,” a Universal spokesman said.

Yeah, I’m sure they’re worried about 50 Cent appearing on a mini-YouTube or Mariah Carey being compensated (doesn’t she have like a $20M contract)?

Last month it seemed Universal woke up thinking it was still 1999, only big mama RIAA is at bay (or, more likely, abusing the courts and/or high school kids).

Will there be more juicy details on this YouTube + Big 3 of 4 so-called partnership? Or is the new YouTube opaque?

Return of the [Pirate] Jigga

The Wall Street Journal is all worked up about Jay-Z’s p2p-pimpin’ for Coke’s Stageside site (which directs you to download video files directly or via direct links to BitTorrent, Gnutella and the like).

Is the industry *finally* comin round the bend? The article — titled “Record Labels Turn Piracy Into a Marketing Opportunity” details what could be considered (to put it nicely) the industry taking a wide turn. An alternate (if not more accurate) title in a more reality-based publication could be “Record Labels Think p2p is Just Another Way to Own You.”

According to the WSJ, the old-school “decoy” technique, in which bad-karma’d companies like ARTISTdirect flood the p2p networks with fakes of “as many as 30 of the Billboard Top 100” to frustrate users to endlessly search for a legit copy of a song instead of hearing it once and then buying the record (not to mention, the title of the song spikes up to the top of the search charts as a result of the neverending-search-for nothing corporat practical joke). Since this is a Public Diplomacy course, let’s just make a stretch and call it the carrot-stick approach.

Unfortunately, big media still thinks it has the upper hand and somehow must *fight* p2p and other “free” media-sharing, especially in light of the 2005 Grokster decision. From the WSJ article:

Before the ruling, record labels worried that they might undercut their legal arguments if they used peer-to-peer sites for their own purposes. Now, “we’re basically free to exploit these billions of fake files we’re putting out,” says Randy Saaf, chief executive of MediaDefender.

MediaDefender is the p2p-weasling company that was bought out by ARTISTdirect last year. Somehow — or I’m not reading it right — the WSJ scribes are buying into MediaDefender’s notion of “marketing,” but frankly it’s no different than me sharing a hundred fake mp3’s on the old Napster and listing them as Metallica cuts.
courtesy WSJ.comThe chart to the left, featured in the WSJ article, is from BigChampagne, the same online media measuring company that confirmed that — in terms of “moving units” — Danger Mouse’s “Grey Album” was in a stratosphere to itself on Feb. 24, 2004, or Grey Tuesday, when we all went grey and/or hosted the Album. Today, BigChampagne has courted Nielsen and claims to be “the leading provider of information about popular entertainment online.”

Jay-Z, needless to say, never had a problem with the mashup concept and lo, his fortunes have only grown. Nearly two years later, might *some* of the majors be finally getting it? Turn up that Young Dro and stay tuned . . .

(More digressive irony: The top Google results for listen to the grey album are ARTISTdirect-hosted pages.
Search via Yahoo! audio search, however, and it’s all there!)

Must-See Katrina Video

‘Orgullosos de Estar Aqui’ [Spanish for “proud to be here”] is a ten-minute feature for Current TV on the Latino workforce in post-Katrina New Orleans and features interviews and footage of the ongoing racial tension in the continual rebuilding of the city.

I highly encourage you to watch this video and pass it along to friends as this is one hook on the Katrina story that the media has completely missed.

Future of Web Apps Summit Podcasts

MP3s and video of most of the speaker presentations from last month’s FoWA summit in San Francisco are now available for public consumption. Chow them down here.

Also: Here’s a collection of links to the great PowerPoint presentations of some of the speakers:

Speaker Presentation Slides