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Wendy McElroy

Mail 'inspections' caused prominent men, like George Washington, to complain of mail tampering. According to various historians, it led James Madison, Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe to write to each other in code - that is, they encrypted their letters – in order to preserve the privacy of their political discussion.

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 TiVo, the creator of the digital video recorder that panicked the TV business by making it simple to skip ads, now flashes banners on TV screens when users pause, fast-forward or delete shows.

Viewers who paused "The Biggest Loser" TV show saw an ad saying "Jenny Craig says you've got more to lose!" If you used TiVo to pause "Iron Chef America" on the Food Network, this popped up: "Sub-Zero: Every cook deserves the best!"

"We were once a foe of the networks, now we've become a friend," said Tara Maitra, TiVo's general manager of content services and ad sales. "We're working with the industry ... to get users to engage in a world increasingly equipped to fast-forward through commercials."   Dave Zatz, a 37-year-old network engineer in Herndon, Va., isn't happy about it because he bought a TiVo digital video recorder and pays a subscription to skip ads.

"It's obnoxious,&qu

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Boing Boing

Tonight, Aug 3 - 7-9pm PDT. Iranians protesting the results of the recent election found an outlet and a means of organizing with the Internet, and showed that new digital media can help free speech and fight repression globally. But what happens now the headlines and the Twitter trends have died down?

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Right about now, Apple probably wishes it had never rejected Google Voice and related apps from the iPhone. Or maybe it was AT&T who rejected the apps. Nobody really knows. But the FCC launched an investigation last night to find out, sending letters to all three companies (Apple, AT&T, and Google) asking them to explain exactly what happened.

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Christian Science Monitor

For Skype, the line could be going dead.

At issue is a key piece of software code licensed to Skype by a company called Joltid. For months, Joltid and Skype have been scrapping over the legal rights to the code – and now, the battle has gotten serious enough that eBay, which owns Skype, is getting worried. If Skype loses the right to the software code, “Skype’s business as currently conducted would likely not be possible,” eBay said in a quarterly filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.