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Archive for the ‘privacy’ Category

So Boingboing, among several others, tells me that the Pentagon wants to take their ball back:

In a briefing at the Defense Department, Pentagon Spokesman Geoff Morrell ordered Wikileaks to remove classified documents and return them to the U.S. government.

For reals?  I might be wrong here*, but I’m pretty sure that’s not how the internet works.  See, e.g., the Tom Cruise scientology video saga for just one example of what happens when powerful people with expensive lawyers decide to attack random people on the internet.  And if you think the Department of Defense is more web-savvy than the Church of Scientology, I suppose you’re entitled to that opinion… but short of nuking Iceland, what are they going to do?

I pose that question in all seriousness.

This isn’t about being “nice” or some kind of contest between DoD and Wikileaks about the meaning of “the right thing” in this context.  It’s almost universally accepted that the U.S. government is spending a ton of money  to murder innocent people in Afghanistan for no reason that can be articulated.   Wikileaks, majorities of the American public, and most of the rest of the world clearly wants it to stop.  To the extent that words like “good” or “right” have meaning here, any action that moves U.S. policy towards an end of the occupation is unquestionably “the right thing,” and so far Wikileaks has done more towards that end in just a few short weeks than the US military apparatus has been able to accomplish in nearly ten years.  DoD has significantly less credibility than Wikileaks does at this point- agents of the US government are in no position to be making demands.

The ultimatum the DoD has issued here, “Do the right thing and return our files…[implied OR ELSE!]” is essentially nonsense.  Even if Wikileaks wanted to comply (they don’t) or were going to try to comply (they won’t), what does it even mean to “return” a digital file?  I’m put in mind of those people who send emails via Outlook and then try to “recall” them… by sending a second email.  Exchange server might work like that, but *email* doesn’t.  And pretending that it does just makes the pretender look silly.  Or stupid.  Once something is on the web, you can’t take it back.

Over the last five years or so, we’ve witnessed the birth of that awareness in the collective consciousness of our more intelligent political leaders.  As applied to politicians, the long memory of the net is a positive- any tools that help the electorate to screen out people who are crazy or habitual liars are a good thing.  I guess this sample of DoD’s ideas about their power over the net is an indicator that the bureaucracies haven’t quite figured it out yet.

* I’m not wrong.

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Arizona turns off its photo ticket contract.

The cameras, which included 76 units either mounted near the shoulder or operated from vans, were adept at snapping speeders as they whizzed past sensors, but getting offenders to pay after the tickets were mailed to them was another matter. Less than a third of the 1.2 million tickets issued were paid, and the state collected $78 million, far below the projected $120 million annual revenue. Some of those tickets, typically $181 apiece, no doubt were lost in the mail…

no doubt.

… others no doubt were not paid as violators tested a legal theory that they needed to be served in person.  Process servers who were supposed to follow up could hardly keep up with the load.

Oh.  That’s much more likely.  Wonder what it costs to hire a cut-rate process server in Arizona?  $80 per attempt?  $50?  What with the vendor’s rake-off for running the system, I bet nobody did the math to figure out whether they’d ever break even.
But WTF is this about?

Lawmakers at the hearing were concerned with more than just accident statistics. State Representative Andy Biggs (R-Gilbert) was also upset to learn that the Redflex freeway cameras have been recording video twenty-four hours a day to track the movements of drivers not accused of any crime. Last September, TheNewspaper first reported the plan to link all continuously recording photo enforcement cameras into a nationwide surveillance network.

Jesus on fishhooks.  Sometimes when I read stuff like this I wish I was actually MORE paranoid than I am.

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You might think that the people who have been running the US operation in Afghanistan for the last few years would show a bit more maturity than a bunch of fourteen-year-old valley girls.

You’d be wrong.

On Friday, however, officials close to McChrystal began trying to salvage his reputation by asserting that the author, Michael Hastings, quoted the general and his staff in conversations that he was allowed to witness but not report.

“You said you wouldn’t tell anyone!  You pinky-swore!  I thought we were friends!  I’m never going out to the movies with you ever again!”

Oh, and this:

A U.S. military spokesman in Kabul, Air Force Lt. Col. Edward T. Sholtis, acknowledged that Hastings, like other reporters who have interviewed McChrystal over the past year, was not required to sign written ground rules. “We typically manage ground rules on a verbal basis,” Sholtis said. “We trust in the professionalism of the people we’re working with.”

Ground rules?!  What the fuck are you talking about “ground rules?”  You assholes are using my tax money to murder innocent people in a country halfway around the world for no goddamn reason at all, and you’re openly slagging your boss in front of a MAGAZINE REPORTER for christsakes, and the reporter went and REPORTED your borderline-treasonous insubordination, and now you have the fucking gall to whine about “ground rules?”

Here’s a ground rule for you, you worthless bag of guts: be happy you haven’t yet been charged with committing war crimes, and shut the HELL up before someone corrects the oversight.

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The Wall Street Journal reports that venture capitalists are becoming more interested in businesses concerning privacy.

via Privacy Lives » Blog Archive » Wall Street Journal: Funds Invest in Privacy Start-Ups.

That might actually be a really good fit for me.

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WTF?  I can’t understand how this happened in the first place, let alone that it would take 2 years to get it straightened out.  There has got to be more to the story than what G&M is telling us.. .

The legal nightmare began when Noah was vacationing with his stepfather in small-town Oregon, while his mother and younger sister remained at home in Canada.

The boy was riding his bike without a helmet when he was stopped by police, but had trouble answering questions. He has severe attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, but maintains an A average in school. Officials checked out his background and found an open social services file in Canada, which was the result of his special needs assistance, and that he was in the U.S. without his mother, his legal guardian and deemed her note permitting care by his stepfather wasn’t enough.

Noah was taken into custody to protect his welfare, although Oregon’s Department of Human Services won’t talk about the case citing privacy rules.

Noah’s mother, Lisa, and stepfather, John, who now resides with the family in Calgary and is the father of Noah’s sister Mia, (he and his wife for a time lived in different cities) have been fighting to be reunited with Noah ever since.

Last month, Oregon’s Lane County Circuit Court Judge Kip Leonard ruled that he might be open to sending the boy back to Canada when the school year ends, but there was no guarantee.

via U.S. judge rules boy can return to Calgary after nearly two years in foster care – The Globe and Mail.

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It was only a matter of time:

An attorney representing a 19-year-old Chinese college student who was shocked in his apartment by a Eugene police officer’s Taser stun gun has formally notified city officials that the teen and his roommate will file a civil rights lawsuit in the controversial case.

If I was Pete Kerns, I’d be pushing the city to settle this as quickly and quietly as possible.

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Well, duh.

In a unanimous vote, the seven-member Eugene Civilian Review Board said Warden was wrong in using a Taser on the Chinese student, who had been mistakenly identified as a trespasser in his own apartment.

… the board majority said the board has the authority under the city charter to call for a new investigation.

Of course the police don’t need to respond to that call. And they won’t. But now everyone can say they’ve done their part, and there won’t be any need for embarrassment when they bump into each other over dinner at Chili’s in the Valley River Mall.

That is, until the inevitable lawsuit gets filed.

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