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May 01, 2009

Investigating to Scalia to make a point

Schneier on Security: Googling Justice Scalia

Last year, when law professor Joel Reidenberg wanted to show his Fordham University class how readily private information is available on the Internet, he assigned a group project. It was collecting personal information from the Web about himself.

This year, after U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia made public comments that seemingly may have questioned the need for more protection of private information, Reidenberg assigned the same project. Except this time Scalia was the subject, the prof explains to the ABA Journal in a telephone interview.

His class turned in a 15-page dossier that included not only Scalia's home address, home phone number and home value, but his food and movie preferences, his wife's personal e-mail address and photos of his grandchildren, reports Above the Law. . . .

April 23, 2009

Use Google to easily find torrents

Torrent File Search Using Google Custom Search - Scour the Entire Web for Bit Torrent Files

Maybe if we use this enough the RIAA will go after Google . . .

Please Note: This site is not affiliated with Google, it simply makes use of Google Custom Search to restrict your searches to Torrent files. You can do this with any regular Google search by appending your query with filetype:torrent. This technique can be used for any type of file supported by Google.

The intention of this site is to demonstrate the double standard that was exemplified in the recent Pirate Bay Trial. Sites such as Google offer much the same functionality as The Pirate Bay and other Bit Torrent sites but are not targeted by media conglomerates such as the IFPI as they have the political and legal clout to defend themselves unlike these small independent sites.

This site is created in support of an open, neutral internet accessible and equitable to all regardless of political or financial standing.

April 21, 2009

China finally develops database of citizens, but there is one enormous problem

Name Not on Our List? Change It, China Says - NYTimes.com

Twenty-six years ago, when his granddaughter was born, he combed through his library of Chinese dictionaries and lighted upon a character pronounced “cheng.” Cheng, which means galloping steeds, looks just like the character for horse, except that it is condensed and written three times in a row.

The character is so rare that once people see it, Miss Ma said, they tend to remember both her and her name. That is one reason she likes it so much.

That is also why the government wants her to change it.

For Ma Cheng and millions of others, Chinese parents’ desire to give their children a spark of individuality is colliding head-on with the Chinese bureaucracy’s desire for order. Seeking to modernize its vast database on China’s 1.3 billion citizens, the government’s Public Security Bureau has been replacing the handwritten identity card that every Chinese must carry with a computer-readable one . . .

The bureau’s computers, however, are programmed to read only 32,252 of the roughly 55,000 Chinese characters, according to a 2006 government report. The result is that Miss Ma and at least some of the 60 million other Chinese with obscure characters in their names cannot get new cards — unless they change their names to something more common.

April 19, 2009

America needs more jerks like this

Border Patrol Gets Flummoxed

The video is half an hour long so I'll sum up for the time-poor: a guy on his way to work get stopped at a checkpoint. The cops ask him to pull over for a search of his car and he refuses and gets righteously indignant for a long time. He does everything right: he rolls his window down only a fraction of an inch; he doesn't answer any of the cop's trick questions; he does not let them search his car; he invokes his rights.

It's really hard to pull off, and you'll look like a huge prick doing it, but it's important that we have people like this in a democracy.

April 16, 2009

Megachurch Uses Police to Out Critical Blogger's Identity

Dispatches from the Culture Wars: Megachurch Uses Police to Out Critical Blogger's Identity

A blogger critical of First Baptist Church Pastor Mac Brunson wants to know why his Web site was investigated by a police detective who is also a member of the minister's security detail.

Thomas A. Rich also wants the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office to explain what suspected crimes led Detective Robert Hinson to open the probe into his once-anonymous Web site.

Rich also wants to know why Hinson revealed his name to the church despite finding no wrongdoing. Hinson obtained a subpoena from the State Attorney's Office requiring Google Inc. to reveal the author of the blog.

Rich's unmasking led to an eventual trespass warning banning the longtime member and his wife from First Baptist, despite the fact that Brunson and a top church administrator conceded the blog never threatened violence.