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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: 4, Insightful) by Common Joe on Monday February 17 2014, @05:29PM

    by Common Joe (33) <> on Monday February 17 2014, @05:29PM (#868) Journal

    I think this is where we've gone wrong with both computers and the Internet. It's my computer and I don't have an easy way to show what choices I want to make when I visit a website. There are no negotiations. There's a lot of my-way-or-the-highway attitude. A lot of times, there is no way to even suggest things to a website about what I'd like.

    Sometimes I want ads. Sometimes I don't. If I want ads, there's no way to specify what kinds of ads (jpg vs flash or car vs food) that I want.

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  • (Score: 1) by tibman on Monday February 17 2014, @05:54PM

    by tibman (134) Subscriber Badge on Monday February 17 2014, @05:54PM (#894)

    Slashdot (is it allowed to say that word?) was the first site i've ever seen that made advertisements optional. It is still the only site i know of.

    SN won't survive on lurkers alone. Write comments.
  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by No Respect on Tuesday February 18 2014, @01:18AM

    by No Respect (991) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @01:18AM (#1249)

    I never want ads. And I don't negotiate, either, so on that front it is my way or the highway. I will stop going to a website if they try to force me to look at ads. This is something I end up doing occasionally and to be honest, I don't feel as though anything of value has been lost on my end.