I love it when someone mashes up two things that I like but that people don’t usually connect. There’s someone else out there who gets it! Here’s a video of sci-fi spaceships (and other iconic sci-fi stuff, some silly), to the tune of Nicki Minaj’s “Starships”.
Warning: there are a couple lines in here that might offend sensitive co-workers.
(Spotted via David Brin, Science Fiction round-up: from humorous to inspiring to uplifting.)
“PETs Must Be on a Leash”: How U.S. Law (and Industry Practice) Often Undermines and Even Forbids Valuable Privacy Enhancing Technology, forthcoming in the Ohio State Law Journal, just posted to SSRN.
U.S. law puts the onus on the individual to protect his or her own privacy with only a small number of exceptions (e.g. attorney-client privilege). In order to protect privacy, one usually has three possible strategies: to change daily behavior to avoid privacy-destroying cameras or online surveillance; to contract for privacy; or to employ Privacy Enhancing Technologies (PETs) and other privacy-protective technologies. The first two options are very frequently unrealistic in large swaths of modern life. One would thus expect great demand for, and widespread deployment of, PETs and other privacy-protective technologies. But in fact that does not appear to be the case. This paper argues that part of the reason is a set of government and corporate policies which discourage the deployment of privacy technology. This paper describes some of those polices, notably: (1) requiring that communications facilities be wiretap-ready and engage in customer data retention; (2) mandatory identification both online and off; (3) technology-limiting rules; and also (4) various other rules that have anti-privacy side effects.
The paper argues that a government concerned with protecting personal privacy and enhancing user security against ID theft and other fraud should support and advocate for the widespread use of PETs. In fact, however, whatever official policy may be, by its actions the prevailing attitude of the U.S. government amounts to saying that PETs and other privacy protecting technology, must be kept on a leash.
A last-minute update reconsiders the argument in light of the Snowden revelations about the widespread dragnet surveillance conducted by the NSA.
I’ve seen half-a-dozen links to this unique and amazing pleading, but the world will be a better place with one more.
The setup is that the prosecutor wanted the Judge to order the defense “not to refer to the Assistant District Attorney General as ‘the Government’ during trial.” Seems they thought being called “the government” was prejudicial or derogatory or hurt their feelings or something. Defense hits it out of the park. The really good stuff starts at the bottom of page two.
Lawprofs sue over ‘satanic’ raise. Yes, really.
The AAUP Chapter at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law has filed an unfair labor practice charge with the State of Ohio alleging that the law school retaliated against certain faculty in the award of merit raises in 2013 and 2014 because of their union activities. Faculty were placed in four merit raise bands — $5,000, $3,000, $666, and $0 — based on scholarship and scholarly influence (40%), teaching as measured by student evaluations (40%), and service (20%). The complaint alleges that eight AAUP organizers received raises of $0 or $666, despite “exemplary scholarship and teaching scores.” The complaint charges that the $666 raise in effect calls “AAUP’s organizers and AAUP Satan.” In a memo distributed to the central administration and copied to the entire faculty, one of the eight AAUP organizers alleges that:
[The $666 figure] is a universally understood symbol of the Antichrist or Devil — one of our culture’s most violent religious images. Implicitly, but unmistakably and obviously intentionally, [the Dean] used his powers to set faculty salaries as an occasion to brand his perceived opponents as the Antichrist.
The mind boggles. Although a $5000 merit band doesn’t sound bad at all in this economy.