It's important to understand that it isn't Congress that must change -- it is us.
Few of us have the self-knowledge and emotional discipline to say one thing while meaning another. If we say something often enough, we come to believe it. We don't usually delude others until after we have first deluded ourselves.
Corporatism, with its promotion of competition between individuals over scarce resources and money, laid the ground for individualism and for a heightened concept of the self.
It's time that citizens articulate a vision for a civic Internet that could compete with the dominant corporatist vision. It's not just geeks and tech-savvy young people who need to think hard about what an alternative civic Internet may look like; for such visions to have any purchase on society, they need to originate from (and incorporate) much broader swathes of the population.
Finding a way to articulate a critical stance on these issues before technology giants like Facebook usurp public imagination with their talk of "frictionless sharing" should be top priority for anyone concerned with the future of democracy.
Cain's gaffe on Libya and Perry's brain freeze on the Department of Energy are not only indicators of bad leadership. They are indicators of a crisis of followership.
Everyone participates in the process of producing the truth every day. Your recommendations matter. You will need to be able to think critically about the range of ideas that you are exposed to and decide which ones make sense.
A federal appeals court in California is reviewing a lower court's definition of "interception" in the digital age.
The case, Bunnell v. Motion Picture Association of America, involves a hacker who in 2005 broke into a file-sharing company's server and obtained copies of company e-mails as they were being transmitted. He then e-mailed 34 pages of the documents to an MPAA executive, who paid the hacker $15,000 for the job, according to court documents.
The issue boils down to the judicial definition of an intercept in the electronic age, in which packets of data move from server to server, alighting for milliseconds before speeding onward. The ruling applies only to the 9th District, which includes California and other Western states, but could influence other courts around the country.
In August 2007, Judge Florence-Marie Cooper, in the Central District of California, ruled that the alleged hacker, Rob Anderson, had not intercepted the e-mails in violation of the 1968 Wiretap Act because they were technically in storage, if only for a few instants, instead of in transmission.
"It could really gut the wiretapping laws," said Orin S. Kerr, a George Washington University law professor and expert on surveillance law. "The government could go to your Internet service provider and say, 'Copy all of your e-mail, but make the copy a millisecond after the email arrives,' and it would not be a wiretap."
This case is a perfect example of how the 4th amendment has been twisted in the context of computer networks by those who have an interest in being able to spy without probable cause.
To be perfectly honest with you, I think this is bunch of fucking bullshit.
The internet is not neutral, and has never been neutral, and none of these people who are arguing about net neutrality are willing to acknowledge what that really means nor do they have any interest in it actually happening!
Around the turn of the decade I used to make (completely futile) arguments that we should have symmetric technologies like IDSL rather than things like cable modems in our homes. They would provide an infrastructure where consumers REALLY had the ability to serve content and peer to peer networks would work well. No one cared. There were no lawyers arguing that the phone companies ought to provide more upstream bandwidth. There was no "grass roots" effort to advocate that symmetric links be made available in the marketplace at consumer prices. I couldn't even convince people in the hacker scene that I was right. Literally, no one cared.
Now, because we built this asymmetric infrastructure, you can't effectively serve content from your home; you have to use a service provider, or you have to buy an artificially expensive symmetric link. You can't even get a static IP address from AT&T for a residential connection at any price! For some people, like me, that want to host a full website, this means we have to spend a lot of money on colocation in a place where static IP addresses and symmetric connections are available. I've spent enough on hosting MemeStreams over the years that I could have bought a car at this point. For others, with, well, more mainstream kinds of content that they want to host, there are services available, like YouTube, Blogger, and MySpace. Those services are making hundreds of millions of dollars selling advertising on the content that their users are creating! And NOW all of a sudden there are all these people who claim to care about "net neutrality."
It is those hundreds of millions of dollars that are funding this "grass roots" effort! All this emotion and advocacy is NOT actually defending network neutrality. Its defending the status quo architecture which is not neutral, to protect the exclusivity of that revenue stream. That video, in then end, leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Its overtly manipulative. Does Vint Cerf think Net Neutrality ought to mean that AT&T is required to sell me a static IP?
Furthermore, have online services like AOL and Compuserve ever been a problem? Are we suggesting that it ought to be ILLEGAL for them to offer a special closed garden specifically to their customers? If not, than what, specifically, are we suggesting? I don't understand the difference between that and most net neutrality proposals. No one can articulate exactly where they draw the line between these two things. The difference seems to be that AOL is OK because it started out that way, but services that currently only provide internet access cannot add closed gardens on to what they are currently offering, particularly if those gardens are constructed by third parties. That doesn't make any sense, but somehow these "grass roots" advocates have managed to convince a large number of people to be very emotional about it.
Can the phone companies do wrong? Yes, of course they can. Blocking or degrading service to existing customers who have already agreed to pay for "Internet" access should not be legal. But if they want to bring up a new low latency link to a particular online video provider I don't see what is different about that than that provider dropping a local copy of their content on the network via a service like Akamai. Are these net neutrality advocates saying that Akamai ought to be free? Why weren't they saying that 9 years ago when Akamai was being created?
Katie Hafner puts Virgil on the front page of the Sunday New York Times.
The site, wikiscanner.virgil.gr, created by a computer science graduate student, cross-references an edited entry on Wikipedia with the owner of the computer network where the change originated, using the Internet protocol address of the editor’s network. The address information was already available on Wikipedia, but the new site makes it much easier to connect those numbers with the names of network owners.
WikiScanner is the work of Virgil Griffith, 24, a cognitive scientist who is a visiting researcher at the Santa Fe Institute in New Mexico. Mr. Griffith, who spent two weeks this summer writing the software for the site, said he got interested in creating such a tool last year after hearing of members of Congress who were editing their own entries.
Mr. Griffith said he “was expecting a few people to get nailed pretty hard” after his service became public. “The yield, in terms of public relations disasters, is about what I expected.”
Mr. Griffith, who also likes to refer to himself as a “disruptive technologist,” said he was certain any more examples of self-interested editing would come out in the next few weeks, “because the data set is just so huge.”
The original version of this episode won a Peabody award in 2006.
The right of habeas corpus has been a part of our country's legal tradition longer than we've actually been a country. It means that our government has to explain why it's holding a person in custody. But now, the War on Terror has nixed many of the rules we used to think of as fundamental. At Guantanamo Bay, our government initially claimed that prisoners should not be covered by habeas—or even by the Geneva Conventions—because they're the most fearsome enemies we have. But is that true? Is it a camp full of terrorists, or a camp full of our mistakes?
From the Peabody web site:
This report, about the denial of habeas corpus to terrorism suspects, focuses on the stories of two former Guantanamo Bay prisoners and explains why the right is so fundamental in American law.
You can stream the new episode and download the original one.
For theater on a grand scale, you can’t do better than the audience-participation dramas performed at airports, under the direction of the Transportation Security Administration.
Of course, we never see the actual heart of the security system: the government’s computerized no-fly list, to which our names are compared when we check in for departure. The T.S.A. is much more talented, however, in the theater arts than in the design of secure systems. This becomes all too clear when we see that the agency’s security procedures are unable to withstand the playful testing of a bored computer-science student.
I guess Matt Blaze hasn't had much occasion to be impressed with his charges since he left industry for academia:
"If a grad student can figure it out," he said, "we can assume agents of Al Qaeda can do the same."
"Protect the children." Over the years that mantra has been applied to countless real and perceived threats. America has scrambled to protect its children from a wide variety of dangers including school shooters, cyberbullying, violent video games, snipers, Satanic Ritual Abuse, pornography, the Internet, and drugs.
Hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars have been spent protecting children from one threat or other, often with little concern for how expensive or effective the remedies are—or how serious the threat actually is in the first place. So it is with America’s latest panic: sexual predators.
Eventually this predator panic will subside and some new threat will take its place. Expensive, ineffective, and unworkable laws will be left in its wake when the panic passes. And no one is protecting America from that.
The situation in Iraq has been evolving, and U.S. forces have adjusted, over time, from major combat operations to counterterrorism, to counterinsurgency, to dealing with death squads and sectarian violence.
In my view it is time for a major adjustment. Clearly, what US forces are currently doing in Iraq is not working well enough or fast enough.
This memo is, frankly, strange. A wide assortment of contradictory options are sort of spread about without any apparent preference or analysis. Do we really make strategic decisions this way? Or was this memo created for public disclosure. Bush could very well pin this to a dart board.
A network analysis of committees in the US House of Representatives [PDF]
Topic: Politics and Law
3:15 pm EDT, Jun 6, 2005
Network theory provides a powerful tool for the representation and analysis of complex systems of interacting agents. Here, we investigate the US House of Representatives network of committees and subcommittees, with committees connected according to "interlocks," or common membership.
Analysis of this network reveals clearly the strong links between different committees, as well as the intrinsic hierarchical structure within the House as a whole.
We show that network theory, combined with the analysis of roll-call votes using singular value decomposition, successfully uncovers political and organizational correlations between committees in the House.