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Category: Privacy and self ownership

Owning our own information and telling Big Brother to get lost

A Saturday compilation of useful, useless, and generally interesting stuff

Just going through the motions. Even more moronic than we thought. (Tip o’ hat to Joel and Jim B.) But they sure do seem to enjoy their jobs. Man lets house go into foreclosure over $25 fee. Cutting off face to spite nose? Or method to his madness? Me, I think it’s clear he’s not doing it over the fee, but for the principle of the thing: because the bank did him wrong and now won’t even acknowledge him as a human being and a customer. Companion piece: Just when you thought you understood mortgage securitization. A few months ago,…


TSA backing off — sorta (also a book update & request for a favor)

Well. That’s something. TSA administrator John Pistole tells Matt Lauer that children under 12 will not be groped. (Video; the comment comes about 4 minutes in.) Your 13-year-old daughter, OTOH … I’m not entirely hopeful the TSA will stick to this policy, or that all those infamously uninformed screeners will follow it. I also notice that Pistole utters not one word about exempting children from pedophile porno-scoping. One thing for sure: even if they do stop molesting the youngest children, let’s hope the public stays angry-angry-angry to the point of resistance. ADDED: Reason TV prepares us for next year at…


Lazing on a Sunday afternoon

Millions long for immortality who don’t know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon. — Susan Ertz It’s one of those days that isn’t exactly rainy, but not exactly not rainy, either. Mists swirl between here and the hills. The pavement gleams. A raincoat might be a good idea during a dog walk. Or maybe not. (No unbrella, of course. People in the NorthWET don’t do umbrellas. We may own them, but when you see somebody actually using one, you know they’re foreigners.) After a good, but semi-hectic week, I promised myself a sabbath day. I’m just…


Weekend miscellany

Just when you think a killer cop might actually get something more than a slap on the wrist … There are Nepalese soldiers? In Haiti??? This has nothing to do with the earthquake. But possibly everything to do with the cholera outbreak that’s sickened thousands and killed hundreds. The world. It’s a very strange place. Nepalese “peacekeepers.” In Haiti. But the world can be a strangely moving place. What sweet people. Hm. You don’t really suppose execs at MSNBC thought Keith Olbermann was unbiased, do you? This is the way some libertarians think the Internet should operate. Uh uh. Not…


TSA porno-scanners: what they’re really looking for

The following is from a blog reader and frequent flyer who wishes to remain anonymous. —– “Male, anomaly, right thigh.” “Female, anomaly, right arm” “Male, clear.” It’s just after 6 AM. I’m sitting at a gate at Boston’s Logan airport. I had noticed a long line at the checkpoint, and saw that it was because they were using the porno scanners. As a frequent traveler who lives in the Boston area, I know Logan. I went to another checkpoint where I walked through the magnetometer without incident, then made my circuitous way back to my flight’s gate. I hadn’t realized…


Moving the immovable. Yes, with a simple letter.

NOTE: At the bottom of this article are links to lots more intellectual ammo against the porno-scanners and the TSA’s new “enhanced” pat-downs — a technique designed (as far as I can tell) to persuade fliers that they’d find life easier if they submitted to radiation and porn, rather than opting out. Use that info for your own letter writing or send your less-aware friends here for an eye-opener. —– Last week, I picked up on Arthur M. M. Krolman’s idea and suggested a “Letter to Disney” campaign against the TSA’s porno-scanners. The idea was (and is) threefold: Write a…


Oppose the porno-scanners. Write a letter (but not to Washington).

I have a friend — very non-political — who loves to travel. But even she, who basically trusts government to do the right thing, was nervous about the porno-scanners now being deployed for the benefit of the security industry and peeping Toms in the TSA. Somehow this topic came up while she and I were on a long drive Friday. She said she longed to return to her favorite country in Asia but “didn’t want anybody looking at my boobs hanging halfway down to my waist.” But! Then she recently saw a news item on TV that included video footage…


“We’re going to make this much more difficult for you if you don’t cooperate.”

Maybe you remember seeing the strange query and the photo via The story of the California student who found a tracking device on his vehicle. Well, faithful blog reader Sam just found the follow-up. The FBI fetched back their device and, even though the young man was reportedly completely cooperative already, an agent told him, “We’re going to make this much more difficult for you if you don’t cooperate.” I know that any empathetic person, especially one who’s been observing the onward march of the jackbooterie, can imagine how it feels to be on the receiving end of those…


Uh oh. Here it comes again (only worse)

According to the New York Times (boldface and sarcastic remarks mine): Federal law enforcement and national security officials are preparing to seek sweeping new regulations for the Internet, arguing that their ability to wiretap criminal and terrorism suspects is “going dark” as people increasingly communicate online instead of by telephone. … Essentially, officials want Congress to require all services that enable communications — including encrypted e-mail transmitters like BlackBerry, social networking Web sites like Facebook and software that allows direct “peer to peer” messaging like Skype — to be technically capable of complying if served with a wiretap order. The…