Sunday, August 20, 2006

Twisted Kitty

This is an un-PhotoShopped picture of a friend's cat. She came home from shopping, saw the cat, grabbed the camera and snapped the shot before MuMu got up. I have her permission to share the picture.

Identity theft and warrantless wiretapping

Many supporters of warrantless wiretapping, or other means of mass data gathering by the government, say "If you haven't done anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about."

1) Ever hear of Identity Theft? ID thieves can steal more than your economic data. Data is gathered on you by a company called Choice Point, that claims: "ChoicePoint is the leading provider of identification and credential verification services for business and government." They have information on medical records, legal filings you've made, arrest records you may have. Or someone else has done in your name. Do you know if your records show if you've done anything illegal? Do an Internet search on "Criminal Identity Theft" and be prepared to be horrified. And your credit report will record anyone who's ever used your address. Some guy applied for a job at the local junior college and used my home address. His name now shows up on my credit report as someone who lives at my address. And in some background check somewhere, that can be interpreted as "he lives here." If he gets arrested for something, am I now considered an accessory?

2) Ever hear of Data Entry Error? Anyone who types knows even the best typist makes errors. Anybody who's ever had to deal with massive amounts of data is aware of typographic errors. I heard that a typo in a Nebraska law (I think it was Nebraska) that misplaced a semicolon, made slavery legal in that state until the state legislature could pass a correction. I check my credit reports every year. Every couple of years, someone else's credit data ends up on my report. Since I can't see the underlying data, I assume a transposed set of numbers somewhere. And the above mentioned Criminal Identity Theft can also be caused by "typoed identification numbers into criminal database."

I don't have (much of) a problem with data gathering. It does help track criminal activities. But I'd like to know that someone is guarding the guardians. "Checks and Balances" isn't just a pretty phrase. Sometimes knowing someone is looking over your shoulder is a bloody pain in the ass: Some second-guesser or Monday-morning quarterback is going to nitpick my work. But on the other hand, knowing someone is looking over your shoulder keeps you from taking that first (or second) step down the path to criminality.

So, have you done anything wrong? Or has someone done something wrong in your name and you won't know until the government shows up on your doorstep and takes you away?

When the CIA invests in software...

When the CIA invests in a company that makes identification software, one begins to wonder why. Then again, maybe we don't need to wonder why.

From an eweek article, found at,1895,2004323,00.asp
The following is just a segment of the entire article. It's a short read.

Initiate Systems' IdentityHub software uses a variety of identification protocols to determine whether records stored under similar names in different databases refer to the same or different patients. It also uses such demographic information as birthdays and address to match records to people who have used different names.

The software helps companies find stored information about clients or patients in real time, and it also helps to identify and delete duplicate records. It has also been used to quickly find prescription information when patients enter the emergency department.

. . .

"Working with In-Q-Tel allows us to provide the intelligence community with already proven technology that directly addresses national security needs. The exposure within the intelligence community that we have already experienced as a result of In-Q-Tel's involvement has been tremendous,". . .

The NSA has stated it can't handle all the data coming in from the warrantless wiretapping. The NSA can't correlate it all. It's too much data. Well, this little program may solve that.

Privacy pundits fear RFID because "THEY" will be able to track every move we make. With this correlation software, we can be traced by the tracks we leave in the electronic economy.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Not bad for a Texas oil promoter

Question posed by Jack Cafferty of CNN: What does a federal judge's ruling that the National Security Agency spying program is illegal mean for President Bush?

It means a clean sweep for President-King George III: He ignores and violates the law as stated in the Constitution. He ignores and violates the law as stated by the Congress. And now he can ignore and violate the decision made by the judiciary. (And on other issues, has ignored and violated international treaties signed by the U.S.) Not bad for a Texas oil promoter.

Universal constants

Two constants in our world are 1) every culture has a flat bread and 2) every religiious/belief system group has prayer elements common to all. Please understand that I use the word "every" loosely. I'm sure somewhere there's a culture or group that does things differently. Ditto with the word "prayer." Just suspend your picknits for a bit, ok?

Flatbread: tortillas, pita, pizza crust

Prayer: clearly visualize/verbalize what you want, release the energy into the universe.

Examples are:

Christian prayer: visualize/verbalize what you want and release it to God to deal with

Buddist prayer: visualize/verbalize what you want and release the energy to the universe

Pagan prayer: visualize/verbalize what you want and release the energy to diety of choice

Many, many, many goal setting systems: visualize/verbalize what you want and focus on it to cause the goal to manifest (from the energy of the universe)

Not having studied lots of religious/belief systems, if my readership (such as it isn't right now) would like to point out such a group that doesn't do a variation on this visualize and release, let me know. Or one that doesn't have a flatbred, either.

Most of us read the beginning...

Most of us read the beginning of the Declaration of Independence, its ringing words of freedom. Well, people, it's time to read a little further down the page.

...the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

[sections cut - read the original at Declaration of Independence

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

[sections cut - read the original at Declaration of Independence

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For those of you who support President-King George III, support his violation of the Constitution, support his violation of the rulings of our courts, what say you to the idea of Hillary getting those self same rights? If those rights are inherent in the presidency, the next president gets to do them to you.