Software in the courts

In week's Roundup explores Google's assertion that privacy no longer exists, the UK-based NASA hacker loses his extradition appeal, Microsoft becomes a sponsor of the Apache Software Foundation and the Australian Tax Office chooses Windows and only Windows, again, for electronic submissions.

The ongoing case of Google vs Boring has brought an interesting point of view out of Mountain View; in lieu of the chewbacca defence, Google has instead made the point that there is no such thing as complete privacy.

"Today's satellite-image technology means that ... complete privacy does not exist," Google said in its response to the complaint. Google isn't completely stomping privacy into the ground, as they now blur visible faces in Street View.

Staying with the courts, Gary McKinnon, the UK citizen who hacked into NASA and US military sites has had his appeal dismissed and is set to be extradited to the US where he could face up to 70 years if successfully convicted. McKinnon has said: "My intention was never to disrupt security. The fact that I logged on there and there were no passwords means that there was no security."

On the open source front was the big news that Microsoft has decided to become a sponsor of the Apache Software Foundation. That doesn't mean that Microsoft will be replacing IIS with the Apache Web server, Microsoft's senior director of platform strategy, Sam Ramji, said that he sees it as an endorsement of "The Apache Way, and opens a new chapter in our relationship with the ASF". Of course, it doesn't hurt that Microsoft can use Apache licensed in their own products and not have to reciprocate changes back to Apache.

Finally this week, if you are a Mac or Linux user and you wish to use e-tax this year -- too bad! The ATO has said that it is once again only supporting Windows, but said that people on non-compatible systems could "come into a Tax Office shopfront and use e-tax on a shopfront computer" to do an electronic return. Yet another case of your dollars at work -- really!