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 by John Moe // Posted: 07/26/10 05:25 PM

The Library of Congress issued a decision on Monday that lets you run software on your smart phone even if Apple or HTC or whoever made the phone doesn’t approve it. It’s a process called “jailbreaking”.

(from USA Today / AP):

In addition to jailbreaking, other exemptions announced Monday would:

• allow owners of used cellphones to break access controls on their phones in order to switch wireless carriers.

• allow people to break technical protections on video games to investigate or correct security flaws.

• allow college professors, film students and documentary filmmakers to break copy-protection measures on DVDs so they can embed clips for educational purposes, criticism, commentary and noncommercial videos.

• allow computer owners to bypass the need for external security devices called dongles if the dongle no longer works and cannot be replaced.

Comments | Filed Under: Cellphones

San Francisco passes law requiring cell phone retailers to disclose SAR (specific absorption rate) of phones

 by John Moe // Posted: 06/24/10 11:17 AM

Our colleagues over at Marketplace covered this on their show last night.

The council passed a measure on a vote of 10 to 1 and Mayor Gavin Newsom has said he’ll sign it. SAR measures how much radiation is absorbed by a person using the device. The FCC has limits SAR to 1.6 watts per kilogram of body tissue. The measure is in response to fears about cell phones causing brain cancer.

From the NYT:

"From our perspective, this is a very reasonable and quite modest measure that will provide greater transparency and information to consumers for whom this is an area of interest or concern,” said Tony Winnicker, a spokesman for Mr. Newsom. “We’re playing a role that we’ve often played, which is to be at the forefront of a debate.”

But a major United Nations study released last month showed no relation between cell phone use and brain cancer. Cell phone industry reps say they’re concerned this new law will spread unfounded fears about their products.

Comments | Filed Under: cellphones law

today's show

What will we do with all this "white space"?

09/26/10 11:15 AM

There’s a vote coming up this week in Washington that will have a big impact on how you use the internet, what’s available to you, how much faster you’ll be able to get things online. On Thursday, the FCC is expected to open up unused parts of the broadcast spectrum, a lot of people call it “white space”. This is space that was positioned to be something of a buffer between television stations but such padding is proving less essential since the conversion to digital TV.

On today’s show, we talk to Glenn Fleishman from Wi-Fi Networking News and The Economist about how the spectrum works and what kind of new space we’re talking about. We also check in with Tim Wu from Columbia Law School about the companies that will look to use the space and what it all might mean for you and me as internet consumers.

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