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OpenMarket: Privacy and Cybersecurity

  • FreeRoots

    October 31, 2008
    Some of the brightest minds in the online conservative movement — John Hawkins, Patrick Ruffini and Mark Tapscott — are discussing what it would take to build a "rightroots" movement, aimed at replicating the political activism of the left "netroots." As Patrick makes clear in a further post, this is not about building a partisan shilling machine (if it was, the effort would deserve to fail), but about a grassroots-driven...
  • My apologies to the Swiss (hold firm against OECD meddling)

    October 29, 2008
    Last week, the German government said that Switzerland should be placed on the international blacklist for tax havens. Really? That is, according to Peer Steinbruck (German finance minister):
    Speaking to reporters in Paris after a conference on measures to combat tax avoidance, Steinbrück said Switzerland deserved to be on the list being drawn up by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development because Swiss investment conditions encouraged some German taxpayers to commit fraud.
  • Stopping "Badvertising" at Yahoogle.

    October 15, 2008
    As an indicator of how perverse wealth-draining antitrust policy has become, have a look at the "concessions" being squeezed out of Google and Yahoo on their proposed advertising collaboration. In the communications realm, it used to be that the heavy-metal infrastructure companies were regarded as monopolistic or potentially so. Then, wise regulators feared the Windows desktop surely was an essential facility to which competitors deserved access. Now, "mere" content companies are the monopolies. Think about it; websites--code!!--are being regarded as something regulators must oversee, as if our left-mouse-button no longer works...
  • Italy Criminally Charges Google

    July 25, 2008
    The Times reports:
    Google is to face criminal charges in Italy over a video which appeared on one of its sites showing a disabled teenager being taunted by his peers. Italian prosecutors have indicated that they will press charges against four Google executives over a video which was posted on one of the search giant's Italian sites in 2006, which showed four youths making fun of a disabled teenager in a classroom in the northern city of Turin. Magistrates who have recently ended a two-year investigation into the incident claim that the airing of the 191-second clip, which showed the youths...
  • Feds Can Search Your Laptop Without Cause

    June 13, 2008
    Ars reports on a Ninth Circuit ruling that allows border police to search citizens' laptops without cause. The decision treats laptops as the same as suitcases, which have long been subject to search at borders. This in spite of the fairly clear language of the Fourth Amendment, which reads:
    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
    A laptop fits pretty clearly into the category of "papers and...
  • Some things are supposed to be private....

    March 26, 2008
    Anti-biotechnology activists managed to leverage sunshine laws in Europe to get the EU government to release research information that was supposed to be confidential. Now the activists are trying to do the same thing in India, but for now the Supreme Court are debating the issue. The research information is submitted to the government under the premise of confidentiality. The government has access to the information so it can review the safety and efficacy of new products, but it has made a promise to keep the information confidential for a time period. The sunshine laws was never meant to give competitors access to proprietary business research, it was meant to give insight into the day to day workings of politicians and bureaucrats. Using it to break down corporate...
  • Does Municipal Wi-Fi Have the Incentive for Security?

    August 7, 2007
    USA Today reports that most are unaware of the dangers facing them at public Wi-Fi hotspots, which brought to mind an interesting question about municipal Wi-Fi. What incentive is there for municipalities to provide encryption and other security technologies? The article mentions that AT&T and T-Mobile are the largest providers of free Wi-Fi hookups in the country and although the Wi-Fi itself is unsecured, both companies encourage the use of freely provided encryption software. The incentives for both companies seem fairly obvious. If people are going to be Wi-Fi users they need to feel safe and encryption technology is a way to do this. Customers stay safe and continue to use the service, making AT&T, T-Mobile and other providers money. Do municipal setups have...
  • Radio Frequency Your Way to Good Health

    June 27, 2007
    AFP reports on a new study by the American Medical Association recommending the implantation of RFID tags to carry medical information in case of an emergency. This, of course, is an excellent idea, especially for people with particular allergies or medical conditions which could complicate emergency care. There are some practical questions to work out - such as how you keep something the size of a grain of rice from moving around under your skin - but in general, the technology is ready to be deployed widely and start saving lives. Naturally some patients have privacy concerns, especially about "active" versus "passive" tags, but these also need to be put into perspective. Particularly if you are contemplating a stripped-down version of a medical RFID tag with, say,...
  • EFF Wrong About iTunes Privacy Concerns

    June 13, 2007
    The Electronic Frontier Foundation, in a story published by the Associate Press last week, says that Apple's new DRM-Free tracks available through iTunes are raising new privacy concerns. That's because although DRM (Digital Rights Managment) has been removed from the songs, making it easier to move them between multiple music players and computers, Apple does include customer names and account information in the digital music music files they sell. Privacy advocates claim that by embedding customer names and account info into songs that it exposes to a greater risk of theft of that private information. However, the only way in which only these music files could be copied or otherwise examined would be through illegal file sharing. Attacks on a system that allowed access to music...


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