Page - By Harendra Alwis
shock and awe' of the war in Iraq is now hiding behind the curtain
of history, as the people the world over breathe a sigh of relief...
or can they? Leaving the politics of the matter aside, this war
was one that was fought on the technological front with communication
jammers and fibre optics as well as thousands of missiles. There
was a full-scale war of electrons that only a few paid attention
As the military
machines of both sides were busy trying to jam the communications,
and even GPS (global positioning system) devices of the other, the
boundaries of electronic warfare have been stretched far beyond
our imagination. Even the increased use of fibre optic cables by
Iraq since the first Gulf War affected the electronic battle this
time. The problem with fibre-optic cables is that they don't make
any emission from the cables. An electrical cable has a magnetic
field around it, and if you have the right sensor in the right place,
you can read what is being sent along the cable (Though you have
to be pretty close, you need special forces for that). So deeply
buried fibre-optic cables are a real problem. The other thing they
replace of course, is radio traffic, and that is very easy to detect
and record although it's not necessarily so easy to decode and sift.
The fibre-optic cable actually defeats both these means of interception.
On the other
hand, a civilian war raged across the Internet with pro and anti-war
activists as well as pro and anti coalition activists hacking into
and attacking websites of the opposite party. Sites like that of
Arab TV station Al-Jazeera and British Prime Minister Tony Blair,
have been targeted and taken down by hackers wanting to make their
respective points. And in the last month, tens of thousands of sites
have experienced similar attacks - the war has triggered the most
active hacking ever.
These are definitely
not very positive signs, but nevertheless they deserve our attention.
Can we use electronics and communication technology to promote positive
and democratic activism, and use those resources to promote peace
and brotherhood instead? Write into email@example.com and
share your views with us.
The issue of
piracy undoubtedly, seems to have generated a great deal of enthusiasm
because I still receive different opinions regarding the matter
even though many weeks have passed since opening up the debate.
One such response is featured (see box) since Hasitha evidently
brings the software piracy crisis to the brink of resolution, and
pinpoints certain key issues with greater force such as the issue
regarding the students of IT and also those engaged in the 'business
of piracy' and their economic fate. I will address the latter issue
and all those engaged in the business directly or indirectly are
clearly seeking to profit from an illegal trade. Even though I admit
that I myself have 'benefited' from their actions, I still cannot
see how their actions can be justified.
fact that I would like to bring to the attention of readers, however,
is the argument that the high cost of non-pirated material would
hinder students. Virtually all producers of software offer very
attractive and considerable concessions for students. In most of
these cases, the discounts offered on the shelf price of these products
range from 50% - 90%! Most standard software tools that IT professionals
are required to learn have versions specifically built for the purpose
of instruction and are distributed free of charge or at a fraction
of the cost of the 'enterprise editions'. Therefore, it may not
be valid any longer to argue that eradicating the piracy of intellectual
property and copyrights would harm the students.
Let this not
be a debate though about the merits and demerits of piracy, but
an open forum for all to express their views. If I have presented
any counter arguments here seemingly against the views expressed,
that is solely for the purpose of providing a balance so that the
discussion would be enriching and fruitful to all.
Point of view
is good for us?
With regard to the arguments presented a couple of weeks ago,
I wish to express my views on the issue of software piracy. I agree
with Viraj Siriwardene that the attempts by the government to implement
new laws against abuse of copyright and intellectual property can
the IT industry is one of the most successful and promising industries
in Sri Lanka. Furthermore, with the development of modern technology
and especially computing, a career in IT can be considered lucrative
It is a fact
that virtually all of the compact discs and some other computer
accessories that our country purchases are not 'originals' (most
of them have been tampered with in some way) and most CDs are pirated.
The obvious reason for this is because pirated accessories are much
cheaper than originals. In the event of the government implementing
new laws the IT trade would suffer a setback. It is important to
note that Sri Lanka is a Third World country, which has faced severe
economic recession due to various reasons. We also have a huge population
and to purchase original CDs would mean an enormous additional expense.
Already the cost of living and inflation rates are high.
So for the
average citizen, it would mean an additional expense. Furthermore
Viraj's point about students and undergraduates being unable to
purchase software easily, is quite disturbing. This would mean an
injustice to the future generation. They certainly won't benefit
from all this. It would also mean that many small and medium scale
CD dealers would have to close down their businesses. Many will
lose their jobs. There would be a shortage of CDs.
I also wish
to comment on some remarks published under the 'note' section. This
is not a case of Robin Hood. The question we must ask is whether
it is better to buy CDs from the pirates or from so-called honest
men. Look at the price differences and you'll understand. Even though
the author mentions that new laws will help investors to invest
in our country, I do not think it will be all that successful as
there is an apparent lack of enthusiasm amongst large-scale investors.
This is due to adverse economic conditions and the war situation
We might be
better off with the way things are at present. Certainly piracy
and stealing in any form have to be condemned. However we should
look at what is more advantageous to us. There is no great disadvantage
in buying duplicates. So far we have done that and we should just
stick to our current policy. If we decide to change that, we might
have to combat many unforeseen problems as well as the above mentioned
ones. We should think of what benefits our country and us.
of the road for S
of the rock band The Doors has encountered opposition.
the US say the parents of the late Doors frontman Jim Morrison and
his late girlfriend Pamela Courson are leading a legal assault against
keyboardist Ray Manzanel, guitarist Robby Krieger and former Cult
Singer Ian Astury who has taken Morrison's place in the band.
Both sets of
parents claim in a lawsuit filed in the Los Angeles Superior Court
that the group has maliciously misappropriated the Doors name in
a breach of contract. They are seeking unspecified damages and disbandment
of the lineup.
The Doors was
originally formed in Los Angeles back in 1965 by Jim Morrison along
with Manzanek, Krieger and John Densmore. Morrison left the band
in December 1970. He died four months later in France in 1971. The
Doors disbanded in 1973.
S Club announced
on April 22 they will split at the end of May. The group was formed
four years ago. Seven members were selected from 10,000 teenage
Paul Cattermole left the group last year. The group which was then
known as S Club 7 decided to drop the 7 as the membership of the
The end of
the group came as member Jo O'Meara is reported to be suffering
from a spinal condition which will make her wheel chair bound.
development the father of group member Hannah Spearitt is reported
in the UK media as considering taking legal action against S Club's
manager Simon Fuller. It is believed Fuller took a disproportionate
share of S Club's multi-million pound fortune.
according to reports, generated £50 million from album sales,
TV programmes and sponsorship deals.
wants to know why the members made so little money while the group
was very successful. Hannah is reported to be in debt of over tens
of thousands of pounds to Polydor Records. She is still following
up payments from Simon Fuller's 19 Management.
weeks the UK singles chart has a new No:1 song with 'You Said No'
by Busted. The band released two singles earlier. The first 'What
I Go To School For' peaked at No:3 in 2002. The second single 'Year
3000' peaked at No:2 in January this year.
entered the chart at No: 2 with 'All Over'. Lisa is a member of
the So Solid Crew. The release of 'All Over' was overshadowed by
a shooting incident that took place at the launch party. For So
Solid Crew it was the usual story - violence following the group.
is the fifth member of the So Solid Crew to branch out following
Oxide & Nevtrino and Romeo and Asher D.
Go' is the second chart hit for David Sneddon. His first hit a few
months ago was 'Stop Living The Lie'. He was a winner of the Fame
Time will really
tell if the concept is a success or failure or just another gimmick
as they call it in the UK to keep the programme ratings on TV high.
'Don't Let Go' has very little power and so had to settle for the
The duo White
Stripes notched up their first Top 20 hit this week with '7 Nation
Army' as it debuted on the chart at No:7. The rock and roll act
made three attempts before with singles which simply failed to make
a major impact on the buying public. Instead the three songs peaked
outside the Top 20. '7 Nation Army' is taken from White Stripes'
new album 'Elephant'.
a member of the group
NSYNC has told the BBC's Radio I that the group will release a new
album by end of this year. The group have been working on new material
while Justin Timberlake has launched a solo career.
was training last year as a cosmonaut in Russia. But as he failed
to pay up his fee of passage he had to pull out of the space project.
is to retire from the music scene in July according to reports.
The Irish singer will leave over 20 years in the music business
to pursue a new career.
Sinead is best known for the huge No:1 hit across the world in 1990,
'Nothing Compares 2 U'.
an uproar in 1992 by tearing up a photograph of Pope John Paul II
on a live TV show in the US.
In 1999 she
was ordained a priest in the Latin Tridentine church, a splinter
group of the Roman Catholic Church and was known as Mother Bernadette.
In 1998 she
gave an hour long interview taking a look at her life story - the
contents of which was very tragic and sad at times. Sinead is expected
to contribute a track to the Dolly Parton tribute album and record
a track to Sharon Shannon's album later this month.
UK top 20
- You Said No - Busted
2 - All Over - Lisa Maffia
3 - Don't Let Go - David Sneddon
4 1 Make Luv - Room 5 Feat: Oliver Chatham
5 3 In Da Club - 50 Cent
6 - X Gon' Give It To Ya - DMX
7 - 7 Nation Army - White Stripes
8 - Knock Out - Triple Eight
9 6 Move Your Feet - Junior Senior
10 7 Cry - Kym Marsh
11 4 Come Undone - Robbie Williams
12 2 American Life - Madonna
13 8 Spirit In The Sky - Gareth Gates Feat: The Kumars
14 11 Scandalous - Mis-Teeq
15 5 Out Of Time - Blur
16 13 I Can't Read You - Daniel Bedingfield
17 10 All I Have - Jennifer Lopez Feat: LL Cool J
18 9 Speechless - D-Side
19 12 Damaged - Plummet
20 14 Born To Try - Delta Goodrem