Chad Perrin: SOB

30 May 2008

Security Advocacy + Political Agitation

Filed under: Liberty,Profession,Security — apotheon @ 05:56

What is probably my most politically-charged article at TechRepublic’s IT Security Weblog to date has now been published: Security alarmism helps the bad guys win.

The teaser:

In what many call the “post-9/11 world”, the word “security” often has new and dramatic meaning. This is also the post-SQL-Slammer world, and a world in which identity fraud via digital means is a constant bugbear lurking in the dark shadows of our minds every time we open up a Web browser. The more dangerous the world becomes, the more important it is to keep our heads.

I bring up the destruction of Napster, the current undermining of the doctrine of fair use, the effective elimination of the power of the courts to issue a Writ of Habeas Corpus, the banning of so-called “hacking tools” (in Germany, England, and parts of the US), the restriction of development security technologies in the name of copyright enforcement, the FBI kiddie porn entrapment scandal, and (in a circumspect manner) some of the negative effects of our governments spying on law-abiding citizens, among other things.

Give it a look. Comment on it if you have a TR account (or are willing to register) — I’m technically supposed to kick-start discussion myself as part of my “job” as a writer there, but I’ve got to go to my state’s capitol to participate in the processes of “democracy” today.

Update (17:47 30 May):

There are two comments there already, so I didn’t have to come up with something when I got home. Still . . . go read it if you’re interested in how I tied these (not so) disparate subjects together.

29 May 2008

a great day for democracy

Filed under: inanity,Liberty — apotheon @ 06:44

Do you need some more evidence that the Land of the Free has died — that any hope of peaceful recovery is pretty much gone? I’ll probably talk about the supposed freedom-lovers of the US in a later entry here at SOB, and how they’re the biggest piece of the problem we have. For now, though, let’s just look at one more piece of evidence that the problem exists:

North Carolina Superior Court Judge Robert Hobgood ruled “there is no fundamental right for a voter to vote for the party of their choice. By extension, then, it would be entirely appropriate for North Carolina (or any state, for that matter, that doesn’t have language in its constitution asserting such a right) to reduce the options on the ballot to one, sole, single candidate in each position, all in the name of alleviating voter confusion:

“The more parties there are that are recognized by the State and that place candidates on the ballot, the greater the chance there is for ballots that are so long as to be unwieldy and to risk voter confusion and frustration of the electoral process,” Judge Hobgood wrote.

You’ll vote for who they tell you to vote for, dammit, or you’ll go to bed without your dinner. If we gave you more options, you’d just be confused and pick the wrong candidate. We can’t have you picking the wrong candidate, now — can we?

Compare this with recent Iraq elections, in which Iraqi citizens were deemed smart enough to vote using ballots listing hundreds of candidates. I guess Americans are stupider than Iraqis. Well, perhaps we are, if we let this kind of crap go on in our government. As H. L. Mencken famously said:

Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.

I guess it’s a great day for democracy, after all.

PS: If you live in North Carolina, it looks like your best option for voting this November is to vote with your feet. Move somewhere your vote still counts — where you can vote for who you like, rather than who the gray-haired party bosses choose your votes for you.

Holy Famous Physicists, Batman!

Filed under: Geek — apotheon @ 12:49

How many of these people would you like to meet?

Older Posts »

All original content Copyright Chad Perrin: Distributed under the terms of the Open Works License