Archive for October, 2010

Government Internet snooping is “tail wagging the dog”

If the federal government has its way, the vast array of social networking sites and other communications technologies such as Facebook, BlackBerry, and Skype, to name a few, would be forced by law to incorporate technology enabling the government easily to eavesdrop on all such communications.  Under a proposal being pushed by the Obama Administration, existing federal law dating back to the 1994 “Communications Assistance to Law Enforcement Act” (”CALEA” for short), would be expanded to include all technologies that have developed since that law took effect a decade and a half ago.  In fact, if such law were to become effective, certain technologies, such as Skype, which use encryption to ensure that computers assisting in “peer-to-peer” connections cannot “listen in,” would be illegal because the encryption thus employed could not be surveilled by the government (or at least, not readily surveilled).

The fact is, this latest government proposal is a solution to a …

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It’s official — U.S. is fattest nation

Obesity has found a new nemesis.  Beware the OECD.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) was formed five decades ago in Paris, France.  The United States is one of 33 nations belonging to this international body; but just what the OECD does that benefits or even affects the average American has, until now, been difficult to say.  Its mission is high-sounding enough, to be sure; to “bring together the governments of countries committed to democracy and the market economy .  .  .  to raise living standards, maintain financial stability,” and other entirely laudable goals.

To this exciting list of goals can now be added another – to save the world from obesity; to shrink an overweight industrialized world; to strike a blow for skinniness!  Yes, the OECD has entered the fray to battle obesity everywhere, but in the United States especially.

The new anti-obesity manifesto is laid out in a recently-published study by the OECD, entitled …

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Hey Mable, is that a terrorist in the bushes?

One of the latest federal government publications released for “Official Use Only,” but widely available to the public, is a pamphlet issued by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), “Identifying Homegrown Violent Extremists Before They Strike — An Information Needs Review.”  If this is the best the billions of dollars spent by Homeland Security with its tens of thousands of employees can produce, then we’re all in trouble. 

I understand that the Department produces far more detailed, technical and sophisticated documents than this silly pamphlet (at least I hope they do).  But one has to ask, why waste any time, money or effort drafting and publishing a document that tells fellow law enforcement officers to be on the lookout for someone who is “advocating criminal or terrorist activity,” or who exhibits “new or increased advocacy of violence?”  I mean, Duh, yeah, Dude, someone who “travel[s] overseas to attend violent extremist institutions or paramilitary training …

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