System Overlord

A blog about security engineering, research, and general hacking.

ALF 2009: A Success!

Atlanta Linux Fest 2009 was a huge success! We probably had 600+ people come through the door, which is just amazing for the 2nd year of an event that was only 125 people last year! 22 successful presentations, many of which were standing room only. Planning for next year is just around the corner, so stay tuned to

Big thanks go out to fellow planners Nick Ali, Jim Popovitch, Joshua Chase, and Amber Graner! If any one of us had been missing, I doubt things would have worked out. Also a big thanks to the spawn of akgraner for filling in the gaps and keeping us rolling in stitches!

Bozeman, Montana uses the Constitution for Toilet Paper

The city of Bozeman, Montana has decided that all applicants for city jobs must provide them with the usernames and passwords for social networking sites, forums, and chatrooms that the applicant participates in. This fits into the category of things I think are hoaxes until I read it a few times over.

From NetworkWorld:

SELF - Community-Based Technology Centers

This presentation discussed the benefits and future of Free IT Athens and other community-oriented technology centers.

They provide free/low-cost computers, computer training, and other technology support for underprivileged and low-income citizens in Athens. They refurbish computers to both prevent them from ending up in a landfill and to enable children and adults to gain knowledge and the benefits of the use of the Internet and computers in general.

On July 18, ALE, the Ubuntu GA Loco, and Free IT Athens will be holding a joint event to visit the Free IT Athens venue and donate equipment for refurbishment. I hope to be able to join them and help in these goals. I may, by then, have a couple of machines that could be used for this purpose, which is good for the environment and for the community. was also discussed with similar goals and ideas as Free IT Athens. is also trying to build computer labs for low-income areas, some with standalone systems, and some with thin-client systems. FreeLinuxPC, in its long-term vision, wants to provide organization and information to organizations like Free IT Athens and others with similar goals.

Finally, the Gussie Greene Community Technology Center has similar goals, but has its own identity. This is a top-down approach to addressing the digital divide in South Carolina.

SELF - Vendor Booths and BoF: GPG

I missed a couple of hours of speakers, but hopefully they'll post the videos of it online. During that time, I visited the booths a bit more, and got into some interesting discussions. I found out about The Linux Link Tech Show, a weekly live podcast talking about Linux related issues. I talked with int eighty from Dual Core about their music, and his appearance on Hak.5. I also spent a bit of time talking with the Zenoss Community Manager, and I'm going to propose switching our monitoring at work from Nagios to Zenoss. It's significantly more powerful and robust, and I'm sure I'll have more to say after giving it a try. On top of all this, I talked with the guys from Free IT Athens. They refurbish computers for, and provide training to, the underprivileged citizens of Athens, GA.

I also attended a Birds of a Feather session for a GPG keysigning. Hopefully that will improve the web of trust for my key, as well as the keys of others. It's also something I'd like to organize for ALF or an ALE meeting. Having independently trusted keys strengthens both the web of trust and the usefulness of GPG.

SELF - DMCA and Copyright Law

Presentation by Wendy Seltzer <>

-Section 512 (ISP Safe Harbor, Notice, Takedown)
-Section 1201 (Anticircumvention)
1998 Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act
- +20 years to all copyright terms (existing and future)

Betamax exception: Technology used primarily for non-infringing purposes should not be seen as infringing even if some infringing use occurs.

McCain posted clips of interviews on YouTube, networks of original videos filed DMCA takedown notices, resulting in removal of his clips. Lawsuits under 512(f) to remedy false takedown claims.

Google shows that links have been removed per DMCA as well as publication of DMCA complaint via Chilling Effects. These complaints include the original links to the content, as the DMCA requires specificity in filing a takedown complaint.

Similar to Chilling Effects, MIT runs a site known as YouTomb which attempts to track videos removed as DMCA violations. In this site, you will find both legitimate and abusive uses of the DMCA.

The French HADOPI act, struck down by French Constitutional Court (Internet Access is key to exercising basic human rights), said that 3-time violators of copyright should have their Internet access shut off and be banned from getting a new ISP account.

Anticircumvention: If there is a technological measure intended to protect copyright, it is an independent violation of the law to break that measure. Sharpies for copy-protected CDs? Lexmark claimed the chip in their toner cartridge constituted an "effective technological measure" to prevent production of 3rd party cartridges.

MPAA claims that videorecording a TV set constitutes an acceptable analog alternative to using software to circumvent DVD protection, and thus DeCSS and similar technologies should not be allowed as an exemption under DMCA. This comes from the same group that has fought for laws prohibiting bringing a videorecording device into a movie theater. (Recorded by Timothy Vollmer, video of video of video on Vimeo)

"Sorry, you can't interoperate with that with Free Software." Anti-consumer features embedded solely in hardware and proprietary software. Free software would make users able to increase the usefulness of their DVDs and other media, but would potentially allow for infringing uses of the system.

Authors of DMCA probably did not realize impact of anticircumvention provisions, nor realize the potential power of FOSS in the realm of media. Congress is also probably not aware of the nature of the Open Source software running the rendering clusters involved in producing the movies, the servers distributing the content and trailers and other information, and many other components necessary for their infrastructure.

In closing: Monorail Kitteh now stops @ Library.