UPDATED 20160227: The California DMV did what?

A while ago I did the usual song-and-dance with the California DMV to renew the registration of my vehicle, as one does periodically. Due to the fact that I live in a fairly high-infrastructure area (not quite New York City, but certainly not as underdeveloped as Pittsburgh or the part of the DC metropolitan complex I used to reside in are in this respect) it's actually kind of rare that I need to actually drive anywhere. If I can't walk to it in half an hour or therabouts I can take BART and not think much of it (usually because …

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Virginia Prescription Monitoring Program compromised - 8 million records held for ransom.

Yesterday morning, word got out through the Internet Storm Center that the web server of the Virginia Prescription Monitoring Program was compromised by an unknown attacker. The VPMP is tasked with recording all of the pharmaceutical prescriptions filled in the state of Virginia for the purpose of data mining to determine who may or may not be abusing prescription drugs, and probably who may or may not be selling their prescriptions on the street. Given that Virginia enacted some annoying laws a couple of years ago that require a photo ID to get hold of Sudafed and placed limits on …

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Spooks, dirty tricks, and creative linguistics.

It seems that the US federal government has been busy lately - a pair of news articles released last week show the lengths they're going to so that they can get their way while seeming to be on the up and up. As you'll recall, back in July of 2005 the city of London, England was rocked by a number of explosions which were placed by suicide bombers to maximally disrupt the public transportation system of the city. The British government probably asked the FBI to assist in the investigation (as suggested by a number of documents obtained through the Freedom …

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