Benlog

crypto and public policy

Archive for June, 2004

Proud to be American

Posted: Tuesday, June 29th, 2004 @ 12:53 pm in General | Comments Off

This week is giving me back a much-needed amount of faith in the American system. Fahrenheit 9/11 is out in many, many theaters. I’ve got issues with Moore, especially with the way he presented “facts” in “Bowling for Columbine.” I’m sure many people out there have much bigger issues with him. Whatever one’s political beliefs, [...]

Software Code of Ethics

Posted: Thursday, June 24th, 2004 @ 11:02 am in Security & Crypto | Comments Off

Slate has a simple but particularly on-the-mark article about how “the entire software industry has been designed around our computer illiteracy.” The article blames this setup for the widespread spyware problem. There’s a lot of truth in that. One could say that “designing around illiteracy” is appropriate for just about any complicated consumer product: cars, [...]

Jon Stewart – The Last Real Journalist

Posted: Tuesday, June 22nd, 2004 @ 1:46 am in General | Comments Off

Two quotations from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (2 days ago): “You have to hand it to Bill Clinton: his integrity is at its highest when the situation is at its most hypothetical.” “If I’m thinking of a despot who is (1) developing weapons of mass destruction, (2) harboring terrorists, (3) violating international law, [...]

The End Of Innovation

Posted: Friday, June 18th, 2004 @ 4:52 pm in Policy | Comments Off

Senator Hatch is about to unleash a new bill that would make criminals out of those who “induce” copyright violations. So, if you build any tool that could be used to violate copyright, you’re liable. A computer that can copy songs? Illegal. A VCR that can record a movie? Illegal. A photocopier that can photocopy [...]

Blackmail: When Unions Go Too Far

Posted: Thursday, June 17th, 2004 @ 12:58 am in General | Comments Off

Today, the French electrical company intentionally shut down power to the Eiffel Tower and the French President’s home (and to the American and British embassies, and to the Prime Minister’s home, etc…). No one will be arrested. No one will answer for these actions. Here’s why. The French government is working on privatizing parts of [...]

Voting Observable By All: Open-Source Not Required

Posted: Monday, June 14th, 2004 @ 7:04 pm in Policy | Comments Off

The debate on voting machines is raging. We’ve moved from pen and paper and physical levers to touch screen machines running Windows, and people are understandably worried. Who’s making sure the software counts the votes correctly? Do we really need to trust the voting machine vendors? One argument is whether open-source software should play a [...]

WIPO: when bad intellectual property law goes worse

Posted: Wednesday, June 9th, 2004 @ 6:30 pm in Policy | Comments Off

WIPO, the World Intellectual Property Organization, is currently debating a new treaty to protect broadcasters of content. Sounds like a good idea, right? Here’s what the treaty would do, among other things: make computers as we know them illegal, because they might be used to copy protected content. suddenly give broadcasters control over content in [...]

Honoring True Genius: Alan Turing

Posted: Tuesday, June 8th, 2004 @ 11:36 am in General | Comments Off

50 years ago today, Alan Turing killed himself by eating an apple he had previously laced with cyanide. It’s difficult to overestimate his contributions or the tragic circumstances surrounding his death. Alan Turing conceived of and designed the first digital computer. He explored the theoretical boundaries of what a computer would and wouldn’t be able [...]

Expect the Unexpected: Voting and Security

Posted: Monday, June 7th, 2004 @ 3:07 pm in Security & Crypto | Comments Off

“You have to expect the unexpected. Of course, if you expect the unexpected, then it’s not really unexpected anymore. And that leaves you open and vulnerable to the truly unexpected.” – Joe Blake, played by Bruce Willis in “Bandits” Security is an intriguing field. While everyone else is trying to make things happen, security folks [...]

Do as we say… not as we do

Posted: Friday, June 4th, 2004 @ 11:35 am in General | Comments Off

I’m not one to generally trust “Le Monde” because of what I consider to be truly excessive bias. That said, some articles are worth mentioning. It seems the US is about to transfer 4 French nationals from Guantanamo to French authorities. This makes sense. One wonders how Americans would feel if the French kept an [...]