02 February 2003

From Harper's Index, December 2002:

  • Number of names on the State Department's list of "suspected terrorists" : 70,000
  • Number of times George W. Bush has said Osama bin Laden's name in public since July 8 : 0
  • Rank of Israel and Turkey among nations in violation of the largest number of U.N. Security Council resolutions : 1, 2
  • Minutes that service on two New York subway lines was halted this fall after a Sikh worker was seen emerging from a hatch : 92
  • Minimum percentage change since last year in Afghanistan's opium production : +1,000
  • Pounds of weapons-grade uranium reported to have been seized in September from a taxi in Turkey : 33
  • Ounces of black sand that the container--labeled "primarily youranuom"--actually contained : 0.2

10:39:44 PM  #   your two cents []
From Boing Boing Blog: Privacy Commissioner: Less privacy != more security. Canada's Privacy Commissioner's annual report is a stirring damnation of the opportunists in the Parliament (and, by extension, Congress, Brussels, and elsewhere) who have exploited the 9-11 tragedy to erode privacy without improving safety.
The Government is, quite simply, using September 11 as an excuse for new collections and uses of personal information about all of us Canadians that cannot be justified by the requirements of anti-terrorism and that, indeed, have no place in a free and democratic society.

As of the date this Report went to press, January 17, the Government has shown no willingness to modify these initiatives in response to privacy concerns. Whether the Government's awareness of the imminence of this Report will have brought about any change by the time the Report is tabled, I cannot foresee.

I wish to emphasize at the outset that I have never once raised privacy objections against a single actual anti-terrorist security measure. Indeed, I have stated repeatedly ever since September 11 that I would never seek as Privacy Commissioner to stand in the way of any measures that might be legitimately necessary to enhance security against terrorism, even if they involved some new intrusion or limitation on privacy.

I have objected only to the extension of purported anti-terrorism measures to additional purposes completely unrelated to anti-terrorism, or to intrusions on privacy whose relevance or necessity with regard to anti-terrorism has not been in any way demonstrated. And still the Government is turning a resolutely deaf ear. Link

Karlin's Irish note: the Canadian Privacy Commissioner who wrote this report is in Dublin Monday and Tuesday; I will be interviewing him, most likely for Friday's paper. He's also giving a lecture Monday night (Feb 3) at UCD at the Institute for the Study of Social Change Building - Room B003/004  - the building is behind Parking Lot 5. The topic is "The Balance Between Privacy and Security". I believe this is open to the public but call UCD to check if you wish to attend.

10:20:26 PM  #   your two cents []
Silicon Valley to Vote on Tech. A Silicon Valley county's plan to replace an archaic punch-card system with computerized voting is drawing howls of protest from some of its most tech-savvy residents.  [Wired News]
10:17:06 PM  #   your two cents []

apollo17_earth.jpg A salute to those seven souls who bravely journeyed into space on the shuttle Columbia, and this weekend lost their lives. The Internet Tourbus has a comprehensive and thoughtful list of links for coverage of this tragedy: Nasa and Nasa TV, the newspapers local to the two space centres involved in this flight, and more.

"I submit to you that if a man hasn't discovered something he will die for, he isn't fit to live."
Martin Luther King Jr., Speech in Detroit, June 23, 1963

10:16:35 PM  #   your two cents []
Making a Virtue of Vice City. The Design Museum in London has put Grand Theft Auto: Vice City on its short-list of nominees for the Designer of the Year award. But its sexual and violent content mean organizers won't show the game at the award's exhibition.  [Wired News]
10:07:07 PM  #   your two cents []
Embrace file-sharing, or die. A record executive and his son make a formal case for freely downloading music. The gist: 50 million Americans can't be wrong. [Salon.com]
10:05:37 PM  #   your two cents []
Net ranks as top information source. A UCLA study reveals Americans who go online rank the Internet as the most important information source, outpacing TV, newspapers and radio.  [CNET News.com]
10:05:08 PM  #   your two cents []