iFive: Assange Arrested, MasterCard Cuts Off WikiLeaks, ICANN’s Web Future, Piracy Cases Ditched, Obama’s “Sputnik Moment”

Tuesday’s fresh batch of early morning tech/innovation news for you…

Expect to see one or two of your colleagues taking a vacation day, because the world has changed. Not Earth–Azeroth. World of Warcraft’s Cataclysm update is out–one of the biggest to hit the game–and with over 12 million players worldwide, we wonder what the economic impact of all those gamer days off will be. On with the real news:


1. WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange is under arrest in the U.K. this morning, facing charges from Sweden. British police say he’ll be charged with one count of coercion, two of molestation, and one charge of rape–which is interesting, since Swedish prosecutors have reportedly told his lawyer that this isn’t the case. Are we seeing yet more confusion emerge about the legal position of the mercurial founder of WikiLeaks?

2.Meanwhile MasterCard is cutting off payments to WikiLeaks, citing its rules about “inciting” illegal activity. With PayPal doing the same, and a Swiss bank shutting Assange’s bank account, the site is in a financially tricky spot. And, oddly enough, it may not have done anything illegal, setting both MasterCard and PayPal at odds with the facts.

3. ICANN, which manages the Internet’s addressing system, just met to discuss the future of the Net–and the switch to IPV6 from iPV4, since the web is “running out” of addresses on the old system. It’s all very technical, but shouldn’t really affect you (we hope). What it does do is remind us of the “how to make money on the web” flowchart, and the idea of buying up Universe Wide Web addresses…

4. The U.S. Copyright Group has had thousands upon thousands of cases against alleged movie pirates thrown out of court, as they’re not under the right jurisdiction. Since it’s lost 97% of its cases, folks are wondering if USCG’s plan to profit from privacy is now financially viable. People who consider the whole notion rather sickeningly odd will no doubt be pleased, as will tens of thousands of pirates.

5. President Obama has finally remembered his promise to be a tech-savvy and future-friendly guy, and has called for a “Sputnik moment” in science and engineering investment, inspired by the sudden rush of enthusiasm caused by Russia’s leap ahead in the Space Race.

To read more news on this, and similar stuff, keep up with my updates by following me, Kit Eaton, on Twitter.


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