Apr 17, 2001

Anti-UCITA sentiment growing
4/17/2001; 11:20:16 AM

'LEGISLATORS IN THE states of Iowa, New York, North Dakota, and Oregon have introduced anti-UCITA bomb shelter legislation, designed to negate the effects of the software licensing law on residents of those states.'

I can't find any good overviews of the details of these "bomb shelter" bills. I'd be surprised if these states can simply negate UCITA. Perhaps they can only mitigate certain provisions? I don't know, there's no details.

Apr 17, 2001

National Governments and the Internet?
4/17/2001; 9:19:04 AM It's somebody's homework problem, but the discussion is interesting nonetheless. Read the highly-ranked comments for some interesting tidbits about how various countries are handling the Internet.

Apr 17, 2001

Futzing with design again
Administrative4/17/2001; 8:04:53 AM I'm futzing around with the design again, still trying to make this place look more attractive and trying to move away from large swathes of white.This means that in the meantime, things will look a little ugly. Please bear with me, it should look good when I'm done.I intend to follow in the footsteps of A List Apart and create a completely compliant site that degrades tolerably in Netscape 4. I actually use Netscape 4 a lot to access my site personally, but I'll still benefit... Netscape 4 hates these nested tables. With a standards compliant, table-free site, Netscape will render a lot faster.While I'm talking about something other then news anyhow, I'd like to say I'm gratified, if somewhat surprised, to be used as an example in the Globe and Mail column ''Firms underestimate the power of blogging''. Thanks.

Apr 15, 2001

FBI turns to private sector for data
Surveillance and Privacy from Government
4/15/2001; 9:19:14 PM

'From their desktop computers, 20,000 agents at the IRS have access to outside data on taxpayers’ assets, driving histories, phone numbers and other personal statistics. Using a password, FBI agents can log on to a custom Web page that links them with privately owned files on tens of millions of Americans. And with just a few keystrokes, the U.S. Marshals Service can find out if a fugitive has recently rented a mailbox or acquired a new phone line.

'Behind such high-tech tools are ChoicePoint Inc., a publicly held Alpharetta, Ga., company and other commercial “look-up” services. ChoicePoint and its rivals specialize in doing what the law discourages the government from doing on its own — culling, sorting and packaging data on individuals from scores of sources, including credit bureaus, marketers and regulatory agencies.'

You probably saw this story earlier. I didn't post because I didn't really think it had much to do with the Internet, per se. However, after further consideration, I figured the interaction between buying private data and the systematic collection of all manner of online data is quite interesting.

You would not believe the kind of correlations that become possible when enough data is collected, and if the government gets ambitious enough and correlates enough private stores of data, you would simply not believe the accuracy of the profiles the government will be able to assemble. Remember, there is a qualitative difference between the government knowing something about you and some company knowing something about you. This should probably be made illegal.

Apr 14, 2001

Yahoo! is pornmonger no more
Free Speech
4/14/2001; 8:27:52 PM

Haven't been posting this one since I didn't consider it that interesting, but The Register did draw an interesting comparision between Yahoo!'s recent decision to stop selling porn and the France vs. Yahoo! Nazi memorbilia case, after the "Porn No More" heading.

'However you dress it, portals are not simply blind common carriers, in the manner of the telcos - even in the US.'

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