Friday, March 10, 2006

Long Post with Lots of Goodies

As the title implies, I have a bit to talk about today. Site news first, then more fun/interesting stuff. RSS 2.0 should be working. It will register as an outside feed if you search the site with Sage in Firefox. Atom is still in play as well, so this should about cover the range of feeds. Ok, now that my computer geekdom is satisfied I can move on to legal geekery.

This first link is for all the legal types out there that may, for some reason or another, be interested in high resolution pictures of the documents that provided the basis for the founding of our government. This page includes digital photos of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and all the subsequent amendments as well.

Second, this little concept is the way of the information future. So much for telecom arguments that bandwidth will cost too much to be feasible.

Third, Wired broke a story detailing the web based security troubles of iBill, known for hosting the financial end of a large number of porn sites. While there has been a surge in the number of incidents where web based business looses the records of its customers. Be wary, ladies and gentlemen, especially if you use a debit card for your on-line transactions. The burgeoning business of e-commerce is something that legislators have not been keen on directly addressing. What raises more concern, though, is the rise of debit card fraud Specifically, you retain more rights if you buy something on-line with a credit card than you do with a debit card. In the age of weakening consumer rights and security protections, use your money to your advantage. I know from now on I certainly will.

Now, with more news from the world of porn, a panel of 9th Circuit Judges determined today that paying visitors to porn sites may have their computers legally searched by the police. Before you jump out of your skin, the ruling specifically limits its self to child pornography, which we all know violates any number of laws, as it should. It stands to reason that the Court assumed visiting such a site would establish sufficient probable cause to search. That sounds perfectly reasonable given the situation, but what of recent events where the federal government has insisted upon its right to get other information from a citizen's computer without such a showing of any kind of law violation? How about a situation where a party to a civil action, say violation of copyright, might want to get at similar information via subpoena? While I am not defending, in any way, the deplorable acts of the defendant in this case; as citizens, we should be concerned about the ability of the legal system to invade the privacy of our computers under the auspice of the legal discovery power. My concern is how far this could go, not how far it has already come. Food for thought, there are really eyes on the net watching your every move.

Finally, as if any of us were concerned about the possibility of a third run at the presidency for the big W, the Republicans are apparently looking for a candidate for the 2008 election. Thank god the proposed abolition of the 22d Amendment didn't go through.

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