On Tech Brief today: Piracy in parliament, rise of the robots and coding kids.
• Swedish politicians exercised about the sharing of copyrighted material may soon be able to pop down the corridor and let their feelings be known. Sweden's Pirate Party plans to site the machines hosting notorious file-sharing site The Pirate Bay inside the Swedish parliament.
"The Swedish Constitution is often ignored, but it contains an interesting detail. It says that MPs can not be sued or prosecuted for something that is done as part of their political mandate. In practice, this implies total immunity for any political action taken within this working environment."
The only stumbling block is that the party has to win seats in September's elections before the cunning plan can be put into effect.
"We're officially adding a new piece of software to the list of default common applications we expect employees to use, and that's the Mozilla Firefox browser."
The switch means that any of the 400,000 IBM employees not using the software will be encouraged to switch.
• The day robots realise they no longer need people could be the day they turn on us and establish an entirely different kind of tin-pot dictatorship. Lewis Page, writing in The Register, suspects that the US Air Force's trials of robot-to-robot mid-air refuelling will only bring that day hurrying closer:
"We need hardly add, no doubt, that this plan to strip the last vestiges of dependence on human assistance from the robotic aerial combat legions of America - there are parallel efforts to allow unmanned ground servicing - in other words to free the killer droids completely from any need to permit humanity's continued existence - comes from rogue Pentagon tech bureau DARPA."
• Diaspora. Remember them? College students developing an open alternative to Facebook? During their summer break? They got lots of cash to do it? Well, they want you to know what they have been doing with that time and all that money. Coding, generally. For those not paying attention, Diaspora is based around "seeds" which hold information about their owners.
"Everyone on your friends list is pushed a copy of your messages. Additionally, if any of your friends comment on your post, the comment is sent back to the post's owner, and back down to all of your other friends. These seed are on the internet (in different places, too) and are speedy and lightweight. This allows us to create a real time feed of all of your friends' updates."
Links in full
• Rick Falkvinge | Pirate Party blog | We will host The Pirate Bay inside the Swedish parliament
• Bob Sutor | Sutor.com | Saying it out loud: IBM is moving to Firefox as its default browser
• Lewis Page | The Register | Strato-droids to mate in upper atmos, exchange vital juices
• Maxwell Salzberg | Join Diaspora | One Month In