A current story on CNET describes a British effort to create a cell phone app that can conduct tests for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs): In an attempt to cut the UK's rising rates of herpes, chlamydia, and gonorrhea, British health officials say that sexually-transmitted infections will soon be able to be diagnosed by placing urine or saliva on a computer chip, plugging it into their cell phones or computers, and getting results within minutes. Leaving aside the issue of whether it's a good idea to ... read more

I've completed the second phase of the Watching the Watchers relaunch, which I began in late May. The site has become a digest of interesting news and commentary from sites that permit redistribution. As you can see, the traffic graph's become a lot more fun to look at lately. The site now includes stories that were published under a Creative Commons license that permits reuse. If you're unfamiliar with Creative Commons, it's a popular way to allow your copyrighted work -- whether it's text, photos, audio or video ... read more

I recently relaunched Watching the Watchers as an Utne Reader-style digest of interesting political news and commentary published on sites that permit redistribution. In the first phase, most of the content is coming from Daily Kos, which has the following license: Site content may be used for any purpose without explicit permission unless otherwise specified. Hundreds of diary entries roll through Daily Kos every day, and a lot of interesting stuff falls through the cracks. I only consider Kos diaries that didn't ... read more

Virgin Mobile in Australia took advantage of the huge repository of photos on Flickr that are licensed for commercial reuse under Creative Commons, incorporating dozens into billboards, newspaper ads and a web site. Unfortunately for the company, the license covers the photographer's copyright but not necessarily the people in the pictures. In many countries, including the U.S. and Australia, you can't use someone's photo commercially without their permission. Shelley Powers puts the blame for this squarely on ... read more

Barack Obama and John Edwards have both written letters this week calling on presidential debates to be released under a Creative Commons license. Edwards' take: The Creative Commons license terms offer an easy way to ensure that the networks' rights are protected. Much of the content on my own campaign web site is available under just such a license. Commercial constraints are severe enough in their effect in diluting the substance of our campaigns. Limiting access to long-form televised debates makes matters ... read more

In March, when I wanted to illustrate why web publishers should support the common feed icon, I put together a graphic showing the ways RSS and Atom feeds have been identified on the web. I just received another media request to use this graphic in a publication, so I'm releasing it under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike license. For publications that can't use a Creative Commons license, send requests in email. ... read more

When former Windows Live RSS developer Niall Kennedy saw that one of his Flickr photos was displayed in a Microsoft Team RSS blog post without the required attribution, he swapped it out with one of the web's most infamous pornographic photos, incorporating the Creative Commons logo to preserve what's left of the subject's dignity. I'm not going to show the soul-scarring original photo, because people would have to bleach their web browsers and RSS aggregators, but Matt Haughey's spoof MasterCard logo should make ... read more