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OpenMarket: Privacy and Cybersecurity

  • Online gambling opponents play the Abramoff card

    April 16, 2010
    Gambling as an activity for fun has been around since the dawn of human civilzation. When man first discovered fire, there were probably cavemen huddled at a distance, wagering on how long it would stay aflame. Yet, it seems that some in congress think combining this innate human desire for risk and reward with Internet technology could hearken the end of  life as we know it and they'll use any possible weapon to ban Internet gambling.cave-roulette1 As more states increase regulated and taxed gambling activities, an online gambling draws closer to an...
  • Republicans Will Lose Many Seats in Congress Due to Right-Wing Paranoia About the Census

    March 31, 2010
    Republicans will lose many seats in Congress due to right-wing paranoia about the census and refusal to fill out Census forms, gloats the liberal web site Daily Kos. The number of congressional districts a state gets is based on how many of its citizens return completed Census forms.  Because voters in conservative states are completing and returning Census forms at lower rates than voters in liberal states, conservative states will lose many seats in the House of Representatives that they would otherwise gain due to increases in their population.

    Republican-leaning "Red States" will also lose out on billions of dollars in federal funds, which are apportioned based largely on population.

    Unlike many things the federal government...

  • National ID Plan Insults Americans

    March 19, 2010
    President Obama recently gave his thumbs-up to an immigration compromise plan formulated by Chucky “Why Am I So Annoying” Schumer (D-NY) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) that includes a national biometric ID card for all Americans.  I already outlined here some of the major objections to any national biometric ID but the government is moving forward with the plan anyway. I expected this proposal to be terrifying, but I wasn’t prepared to be personally insulted.  As was reported here: “The cards would include biometric information designed to prevent counterfeiting -- but the senators said the information would not be stored in a government database.” I don’t believe in conspiracies, but when the government says they are going to set up a national biometric ID card BUT not store all of our information in a database, it smells fishy.  Sure . . . (wink-wink) the national biometric ID won’t...
  • Human Achievement of the Day: Beam me up, Scotty?

    March 10, 2010
    Today's achievement doesn't quite put us on the final frontier, but the successful transmission of atoms via teleportation by scientists at the University of Maryland is a quantum leap toward significant advancements in technology...maybe even human teleportation someday. Brace yourselves; this post gets a little esoteric.
    "For the first time, scientists have successfully teleported information between two separate atoms in unconnected enclosures a meter apart - a significant milestone in the global quest for practical quantum information processing."
    From what I've tried to learn, and I'm not pretending to understand all this, quantum physics theorizes that reality acts differently upon particles based on...
  • The cut-and-paste Splinternet

    March 8, 2010
    The way Ben Kunz in a new Business Week artcle puts it, "Each device contains its own widening universe of services and applications, many delivered via the Internet. They are designed to keep you wedded to a particular company's ecosystem and set of products." I like Ben's article a lot because it recognizes that "walling off" and "widening universe" are not mutually exclusive. If only policymakers and regulators acknowledged that. They can't fail to know it; it's just that admitting it means acknowledging their limited relevance to consumer well-being and a need to step aside. So everyone pretends. Many claim to worry about the rise of proprietary services (I, as you can probably tell, often doubt their sincerity) but I've always regarded...
  • TSA Security Playset

    January 14, 2010
    The Playmobil Security Check Point has experienced a new surge in popularity (so much so that it is currently out of stock) on Amazon in a response to nationwide security talks concerning the attempted bombing of Northwest Airlines Flight 253 on December 25, 2009 by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. Daniel Solove over at Concurring Opinions offered (from 2005) a humorous review of the product:
    I was a bit...
  • Regulation of the Day 97: Full Body Scans and Child Protection Laws

    January 7, 2010
    Sometimes, when two regulations love each other much, they get together and have little baby regulations. This is happening right now in Britain.
  • The Big Business of Illegal Gambling

    December 16, 2009
    Tonight at 9pm CNBC will investigate the horrors of illegal gambling . It will doubtlessly delve into the shady underground economy of gambling, where billions of dollars flow from hand to hand and international borders, where "contracts" are enforced with violence, and innocent small fish are victimized with no legal protection available. I just hope that the report takes note of why illegal gambling is dangerous and I certainly hope that the report highlights why illegal gambling is shady and why victims have no legal protections, namely because the activities *are illegal*. When the report makes its way to discussing online gambling, which they'll undoubtedly claim is illegal despite the fact that there are no...
  • DOJ Asks For News Site's Visitor Info

    November 16, 2009
    Declan McCullagh is reporting that earlier this year the Department of Justice subpoenaed the left-of-center news aggregation site Indymedia.us for information including visitor lists and IPs, then issued a gag order forbidding them to talk about it unless authorized to do so. From CBSNews.com:
    The subpoena (PDF) from U.S. Attorney Tim Morrison in Indianapolis demanded "all IP traffic to and from www.indymedia.us" on June 25, 2008. It instructed Clair to "include IP addresses, times, and any other identifying information," including e-mail addresses, physical addresses, registered accounts, and Indymedia readers' Social Security Numbers, bank account numbers, credit card numbers, and so on.
    This gag order presents a particular problem for any news organization in a nation...
  • Government Incompetence Costs Woman Her Job

    November 2, 2009
    Wired reports that a Maryland woman recently lost her job due to an error in the FBI's criminal database. Eschol Amelia "Amy" Studnitz, formerly a senior accountant for Corporate Mailing Service, was required to undergo a background check after CMS won a contract to handle mail for the Social Security Administration. She was fired from her job after the FBI's criminal database deemed her "unsuitable" for level-1 security clearance. Studnitz was not given any details regarding her background check. Two weeks later, the SSA sent a letter to CMS saying that Studnitz had in fact passed the background check, and that an "unspecified" computer error caused the false report. Unfortunately, CMS is under no legal obligation to re-hire her. In this tight labor market, she's been having a rough time finding employment and has fallen...

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