Hackers Publish German Minister's Fingerprint | Threat Level from Wired.com
8:22 pm EDT, Apr 1, 2008
To demonstrate why using fingerprints to secure passports is a bad idea, the German hacker group Chaos Computer Club has published what it says is the fingerprint of Wolfgang Schauble, Germany's interior minister.
According to CCC, the print of Schauble's index finger was lifted from a water glass that he used during a panel discussion that he participated in last year at a German university. CCC published the print on a piece of plastic inside 4,000 copies of its magazine Die Datenschleuder that readers can use to impersonate the minister to biometric readers.
While I sat at my desk one day, two of my classmates figured out how to overwrite the entire screen, which seemed kinda naughty at the time. They giggled, did it again, then giggled some more. From curious children, hackers were born.
Someone on Presidential hopeful John McCain’s staff is going to be in trouble today. They used a well known template to create his Myspace page. The template was designed by Newsvine Founder and CEO Mike Davidson (original template is here). Davidson gave the template code away to anyone who wanted to use it, but asked that he be given credit when it was used, and told users to host their own image files.
McCain’s staff used his template, but didn’t give Davidson credit. Worse, he says, they use images that are on his server, meaning he has to pay for the bandwidth used from page views on McCain’s site.
Davidson decided to play a small prank on the campaign this morning as retribution.
This video makes fun of modern newbie computer users. It's from a show called Oystein & Meg (Oystein & I) produced by the Norwegian Broadcasting television channel (NRK) in 2001. The spoken language is Norwegian
The op-ed page of the LA Times solicited commentary from a full slate of futurist technology pundits who, as it turns out, have nothing but good things to say about the year ahead. The future is so bright, I've got to go buy some tech stocks! Most of them are plugging specific products or services; either that, or analysis has devolved into the old tired/wired dichotomy. Aside from the one-phrase bylines, there are no financial interest disclosures here. I thought those had become de rigueur in the business and financial press, but apparently not so for editorials.
Aside from Ballmer, none featured here are in the hardware business. None are in the infrastructure business. Is this a signal? Are we done there? What of Intel, AMD, Motorola, Broadcom, etc.?
I am especially struck by the pundits' more-of-the-same ideas; perhaps this is partly due to the too-near horizon established by the paper. Ballmer is spun up about policy-based ring-tones; what is that, like, a few hundred lines of code? Sherman is touting Second Life. Several are enamored of YouTube and the slow collapse of broadcast. Barry sees nothing but upside -- freedom! -- in having your entire life's "state" on a memory stick; not content to simply ignore the question of risk, he concludes that the lowest risk option is to carry your digital medical records, tax returns, and a lifetime of recorded communications (voice, video, text, other) in something that could drop from your pocket onto the city sidewalk without notice.
Where are the new applications, the new ideas? The "personal genomics kit" is tantalizing, but Brockman offers no explanation. You can find more here and here. I think people might be as much or more interested in a kit of the variety described by Freeman Dyson -- more of a "toy with consequences", along the lines of a high school chemistry set. (I note that there are as yet zero Google hits for that phrase.)
A few thoughts:
The Internet may start to experience some major growing pains in 2007. IPv6 has been stillborn, known routing problems remain unresolved, and the IPv4 address space is nearing its limits. From the consumer perspective, we are nearly at the end of end to end; by the end of 2007, we may see the start of a trend in which residential broadband Internet service ceases to include a public IP address. 2008 could bring the era of double- and triple-NATted networks.
Vista enhancements notwithstanding, and the industry alarmists put aside, Internet security is in a rather dismal state.
In an internal memo last October, Ray Ozzie, chief technical officer, who joined Microsoft last year, wrote, "Complexity kills. It sucks the life out of developers, it makes products difficult to plan, build and test, it introduces security challenges and it causes end-user and administrator frustration."
An amazing statistic I hadn't heard before was that a survey by Big Champagne found that DRM-protected files exclusively released through iTunes typically appear in unprotected form on P2P networks 180 seconds later.
Update: This is actually very old news; here is a reference from 2004 which cites Kazaa and 120 seconds. here is a Cory Doctorow talk from 2005 which repeats the 3 minute figure without specifying a network.
Give us the cell phone number and we will send you the calls made from the cell phone number.
I like this part:
This report is for informational purposes only. This is not for use in court. If you need the records for court, you will need to subpoena the records directly from the carrier.
The whois records are pretty opaque:
Registrant: Ist Source Information ATTN: LOCATECELL.COM c/o Network Solutions P.O. Box 447 Herndon, VA 20172-0447
The site appears to be fairly new; the record was created on September 26 of last year.
UPDATE: You can read a recent Chicago Sun-Times article, "Your phone records are for sale", about Locatecell. This article was posted to the cryptography mailing list, which is probably what prompted the MemeStreams thread.
"This is a person's associations," said Daniel J. Solove, a George Washington University Law School professor who specializes in privacy issues. "... It's a real wealth of data to find out the people that a person interacts with."
The company that operates Locatecell is Data Find Solutions, and they are located in Knoxville, TN.
I like this part of the Locatecell order form:
Phone searches are provided by third party, independent search experts. These experts are independent researchers and Data Find Solutions Inc does not know how they do the research or what databases they access.
It's time to drop the apocalyptic rhetoric about a split root file and start looking beyond the age of a U.S.-dominated Internet. Breaking up is hard to do, but in this case, the alternative would be worse.