DNA might not be as strong evidence as you've been led to believe. Of course, if you can understand the math in this article, you're probably too smart to survive the jury selection process anyway. (H/T to schneier for the link) Tags: DNA, If You Only Knew, Public Confidence
The NSA has been working on their public image and trying to market itself as a cool place to work partially with their "Cryptokids" campaign. Their goal is to teach kids about what the NSA does in a fun, kid-friendly way. But that's not what I'm posting about. I ran across this interesting comic about the unpopular little-know cryptokid, Y.R. Tap, the NSA domestic spying fly. The fly shows the Cryptokids what can happen when civil liberties are violated.
Make sure you find and click the "Next Comic–>" link at the bottom to see all of themTags: Big Brother, Public Confidence
Amazon.com has been closing accounts that have "too high a percentage of returns" or "[ship] to too many different addresses". I've never liked Amazon.com's policies but this kind of anti-customer activity is even worse than Yahoo. To be fair, there's not much detail on which accounts have been closed and what counts as abuse to them, but this sounds a lot like the customer profiling that Best Buy has been doing. Tags: Amazon.com, Public Confidence
Schneier covers the recently released US policy for laptop seizure:
The U.S. government has published its policy: they can take your laptop anywhere they want, for as long as they want, and share the information with anyone they wantOy. So what does it take to end this horrible trend? Obama? McCain (not likely)? Or something else entirely, and, if so, what? Tags: Bushiness, Public Confidence
Warning! Warning! You have found a RANT. Articles in this section are sounding boards for my frustrations. They usually (more like always) lack impartiality and may include arguments and "facts" that may not be supported.With time I may calm down and make this a real article, but for now, you have been warned...Breaking news, Congress is full of quarter-witted imbeciles and corrupt sychophants. Wait… we knew that already. What is new is that now we have a roster of the members of the House who either have no clue about what's going on or have gone to the dark side (cue Darth Vader-like breathing). Yesterday the House passed a FISA amendment act which includes a provision shielding telecommunications companies from any liability. In the coverage of the situation by Ars Technica, they were able to quote Nacy Pelosi as being an idiot:
(Bold text in parenthesis is mine)
The most extended apologia came from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who urged that the compromise be judged by comparison with the Senate bill, which she characterized as the only realistic alternative (So we can't ask for a good law, only a less bad one? That's a great standard to live to). She outlined several ways in which the current legislation is preferable to the Senate's version. First, the compromise bill reasserts that FISA is the "exclusive means" for conducting electronic surveillance, which would require the president to ignore such language twice in order to launch an extralegal surveillance program, rather than only once, as under traditional FISA rules (So if the President breaks the law, now it would violate two laws instead of just one. The next time someone breaks a law, I wonder if it will result in jail time if it only breaks the law "once"). Second, it preserves prior judicial review of surveillance authorizations, except in "very, very rare" circumstances, such as when the attorney general asserts that waiting for a judge would entail delay (I think that recent history has shown how much we can trust to the "rarity" of the Attorney General approving anything a president might ask. Has she even been awake in the last decade?). Third, it contains specific provisions barring the use of authorizations targeting parties abroad as a pretext for targeting U.S. persons, presumably to be enforced by a board of psychics. Finally, it provides for an internal investigation of the extent of past surveillance, which Congress will act upon with the same legendary zeal for civil liberties it has displayed over the past seven years (Brilliantly summarized. Ars has some great writers.).So in one day, the House voted to expand powers of the Judicial branch that they didn't need and shield their conspirators from liability against justice. Don't get me wrong, if I got a letter from the Attorney General of the United states that required my company to do something and my lawyers said to do it, I would have and maybe that's what happened to the telcos. But if there is no accountability for the Attorney General, the President, and the involved Agencies, then the whole things tastes like Congress cooked us up some chili made of poo. Tags: Big Brother, Bushiness, Public Confidence, Utter Failure
Reunion.com is using a deceptive marketing strategy where they pretend to be someone you know who is inviting you to Reunion. If you go to Reunion.com to see who it is, sign up, and make the horrible gross mistake of giving them your e-mail address password, they will automatically send out false e-mails to all the people in your contact list. Two things are going horribly wrong here. One is that Reunion.com is using false and deceptive practices and is doing nothing less than what a virus or hacker would do. I hope the hammer of law hits them hard and fast The second thing is that people somehow believe it's ok to give up their e-mail address password which is a huge no no. (H/T to The Consumerist for the link) Tags: E-mail, Public Confidence
Another breach. Who'd have guessed*? (*sarcasm)
The company is aware of about 1,800 cases of fraud reported so far relating to the breach.Surprising that they'd admit that. Now I'm just waiting for them to recommend credit freezes to all their customers. Still waiting… Hmm… Tags: Identity Theft, Public Confidence
A British company has developed a camera that can see through clothes, but unlike Backscatter, it doesn't provide pornographic photos of the target.
Depending on the material, the signature of the wave is different, so that explosives can be distinguished from a block of clay and cocaine is different from a bag of flour.It shoots some rays at the target and reads the response. It's more like a sonar device than a camera and it if works, this will be not only more effective at detecting threats, but also much better for personal privacy. (H/T to schneier for the link) Tags: Public Confidence
The agencies that are supposed to protect us turned against us. It’s depressing that more hasn’t been done about this and sooner. Of course, you know why Bush isn’t defending them the same way as some other agencies? Because he didn’t authorize it and therefore doesn’t need to shield them to cover his own butt. That’s my guess anyway. Tags: Bushiness, FBI, Public Confidence
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