Tag: big brother

  1. Well, the watchword of the day seems to be 'ow', as in "Ow, ow, ow, dammit!"

    31 January 2007

    As part of my New Year's resolution to get in better shape I've started to work out twice a week, and discovered once again that my body isn't as young as I wish it was. It's been two days now, and most of the major muscle groups are firing off error messages as fast as they possibly can because they've put in a lot more duty time than they're accustomed to doing for a professional geek. I still can't walk without pain for long periods of time, and let me tell you, maneuvering in this state with a rather heavy …

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  2. Network monitoring en masse.

    31 January 2007

    Well, it seems that Carnivore DCS-1000 isn't enough to feed the gaping information maw of the FBI. Rather than sniff the traffic associated only with a single IP address they've decided to record ALL of the traffic for a given netblock and analyze it offline. For my readers who don't understand how this might apply to them (you know that I'm headed for the Fourth Amendment already), here's a quick rundown of the principle. IP addresses are organised into contiguous blocks that make them easy to manage. If your DSL provider assigns you the IP address 192.16.10.42 …

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  3. Radiomedicine trips covert radiation detectors at public events.

    30 January 2007

    Something that a lot of people might not know: Radiation detection equipment is being deployed more and more in government facilities and major public events (such as the Superbowl) to detect people that might be carrying radioactive materials or even nuclear weapons (the latter is highly improbable for many reasons, most of which have to do with how heavy fissile materials are and the requisite size of nuclear warheads). The reason this is now known is because radiotherapy patients are tripping those alarms in public and are being questioned as a result. Geiger counters are in use at this time …

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  4. Maine tells the REAL ID Act to go take a hike.

    26 January 2007

    Remember the REAL ID Act of 2005, which mandates that every US citizen must be issued a national ID card that fits certain federal standards, is electronically readable, and most importantly will be necessary if you ever want to get a job, open a bank account, or fly. They are also supposed to be damn near impossible to copy or counterfit, though the usual rules of sitting at the console when attacking apply. Well, the state of Maine flat out rejected it and asked Congress to repeal the REAL ID Act, and Georgia, Massachusetts, Montana, and Washington state are also …

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  5. "The Constitution.. it does not mean what you think it means."

    25 January 2007

    This should be enough to give anyone pause: Alberto Gonzalez, the Attorney General of the United States of America argued before the Senate Judiciary Committee that the Constitituion does not grant habeas corpus rights, but only says that they can be suspended. Let's think about this a little: Saying that a right can be suspended implicitly states that there is a right that can be suspended to begin with. Senator Arlen Specter, who headed up the committe, nearly went into a fitof apoplexy when he heard this after asking if Gonzalez's logic took a wrong turn at Albequerqe: "The Constitution …

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  6. Confiscation of laptops entering the United States.

    23 January 2007

    Just when you thought travelling by air couldn't get any more harrowing, along comes confiscation of laptop computers when re-entering the United States. Some are never seen again; from anecdotal evidence, the hard drives are imaged for analysis. US Customs has the authority to detain people carrying portable computers and confiscate the hardware without giving a good reason, or any reason at all, for that matter. The matter of what, exactly, happens to proprietary information contained therein (encrypted or not) is still up in the air. The standard advice here is to encrypt any sensitive data, but if the folks …

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  7. It's open season on laptops at the border.

    23 January 2007

    There's been another disturbing development pertaining to the Forth Amendment recently, in that laptop computers may be seized for inspection without a warrant. This isn't the first time this has been in the news, but now a couple of precedents have been set in court, which is doubly worrisome; this was from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (United States v. Ziegler), and upholds statements in employment contracts that state that you have no privacy whatsoever if you're at work and using their equipment, and most of the time you don't have any privacy if you're using your own equipment …

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  8. Warrantless wiretaps now have a court overseeing them.

    18 January 2007

    George W. Bush has deceed that all warrantless wiretaps now have to go through an independent court for review before they can be enacted. Congress seems to be of two minds about this: While they are no doubt relieved that there is now a control on this power, they also hastened to add that Bush still has the authority to order wirtaps regardless. It is also not yet known if the order covers all such surveillance actions or arbitrary ones to be named later. The legal body that will review all such orders is the FISC, the Foreign Intelligence Service …

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  9. Attorney General decides that federal judges and national policy don't mix.

    17 January 2007

    Alberto Gonzalez has decreed that federal judges can't decide on matters of national policy, and though he didn't name any names he certainly made a couple of references that those in the know will get. In essence doing so is activism, and he's gone to great lengths to give his opinion of 'activist judges', which he seems to think are those who don't always agree with him.

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  10. US government using credit history pulls without court authorisation.

    17 January 2007

    I don't really see how this is much of a surprise: The Pentagon and CIA have been pulling the credit records of US citizens without telling them.. Frankly, this is SOP these days. Anyone with $30us to spend can buy the credit history of anyone in this country without even a second glance. It's mostly legal to do so because information brokering companies are in the business of selling information, with the understanding (usuall enforced by a click-through agreement) that the information will not be abused. It has been a reasonably common practice for at least the past ten years …

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