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posted by Dopefish on Monday February 17 2014, @02:00PM   Printer-friendly
from the government-should-mind-their-own-business dept.
mattie_p writes "MIT students won a hackathon last November with a non-functioning demo of Tidbit. The concept is to replace web advertising revenue with a tiny amount of Bitcoin mining on the user's browser. Out of the blue, the students were hit by a subpoena from the New Jersey Attorney General demanding that the founders 'turn over sensitive information including source codes, hosting websites, and all of the Bitcoin wallet addresses associated with Tidbit.'

At first MIT council referred the students to legal assistance from the EFF, who quickly came to their defense. Now there is a petition going around requesting the MIT administration support the students directly. Parallels are being drawn to Aaron Swartz, possibly because one of the authors of the recent petition is Prof. Hal Ableson, although details of the two cases have very little in common.

MIT President Reif has now come out strongly in support of the students--and in favor of academic freedom from interference by government."
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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Random2 on Monday February 17 2014, @03:50PM

    by Random2 (669) on Monday February 17 2014, @03:50PM (#786)

    Would trading ads for bitcoin mining really be a bad thing? If the site (and the user) know what's coming ahead of time it's so much easier to contain; the main problem with ads is that they're completely arbitrary code that can't be verified until it's on the machine. Excluding people finding ways to hijack the ad and deliver malware, this seems like a much safer option.

    Of course, I'm quite happy that soylent doesn't need Javascript either, but I wouldn't necessarily mind something like this replacing ads.

    If only I registered 3 users earlier....
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  • (Score: 1) by carguy on Monday February 17 2014, @06:11PM

    by carguy (568) Subscriber Badge on Monday February 17 2014, @06:11PM (#915)

    Thanks to mattie_p for scraping my draft of this story off the forum and posting it (with some bonus editing as well). For whatever reason, I couldn't submit stories this morning.

    I also think Tidbit is a cool idea, of course with some possibility of misuse. Will try to keep SoyLent posted if there are any developments in the court case -- which might turn into Chris Christie vs. MIT.