Monthly Archives: June 2013

Oh Dear, Miami

Eye on Miami has the scoop on Goodbye, Miami, Rolling Stone’s big Miami story due out tomorrow. It’s a recounting of Miami’s difficult future if/when sea levels rise, and the ostrich-like head-in-the-sand approach to planning by local, mostly Republican, elected officials. There’s also a major cameo by our local power executives, who not only have aging nuclear reactors in a future flood zone but want to build more.

Even though, as EoM notes, none of this is news if you’ve been paying attention, that doesn’t make it any less of a likely/possible mess. But as most of the most likely scenarios put the really serious stuff more than 20 years out, that puts it outside the time horizon of Miami’s endlessly short-term planners.

May I suggest a soundtrack for reading the Rolling Stone article? Try Róisín Murphy’s ‘Dear Miami’, my favorite Miami-themed song. And very appropriate, as it includes the lyric “Dear Miami, you’re the first to go, disappearing under melting snow”.

Posted in Global Warming, Miami | Leave a comment

Obama 2013 vs. Biden 2006 on NSA Data-Collection

Biden looks awfully good compared to Obama here.

Posted in Civil Liberties | 2 Comments

Innovative Thinking Could Save Law Schools $$$

Although not directed primarily at law schools, the innovative suggestions in Forget MOOCs–Let’s Use MOOA could easily be used to save most US law schools a very large chunk of change. Perhaps this should be in our next strategic plan?

(Spotted via Naked Capitalism.)

Posted in Completely Different, Law School | 4 Comments

Happy Flag Day

Harold Wasserman has a nice Flag Day post, celebrating the 70th anniversary of West Virginia State Bd. of Educ. v. Barnette. He calls it “a high point in U.S. Supreme Court history.”

Posted in Law: Free Speech, Law: The Supremes | Leave a comment

The Wages of Allowing Federal Spying on Your Customers

Thousands of technology, finance and manufacturing companies are working closely with U.S. national security agencies, providing sensitive information and in return receiving benefits that include access to classified intelligence, four people familiar with the process said.

— according to Bloomberg, U.S. Agencies Said to Swap Data With Thousands of Firms.

Turns out what the firms are getting is not data on customers — nor in the main is that what they are giving. Rather the firms are giving advance info on vulnerabilities in their systems that could be used to by the TLA’s1 to get information from vulnerable systems. Plus some of the firms are allowing the feds to install monitoring equipment on their networks, ostensibly to protect against hacking, but in at least some cases with the ability to spy on message traffic.

In exchange, the firms are getting information about who, especially from abroad, is trying to hack them, and some help and advice on defending themselves.

I have no problem with the feds helping US corporations defend themselves against foreign (or domestic) hackers. I do have a problem if the price of that defense is allowing the feds access to customer data.

My first instinct is that I wouldn’t have a problem with firms like Microsoft giving advance warning about vulnerabilities to the feds — whether it is so they can harden their own systems or even if it is so they can take advantage offensively to hack into foreign targets. I would feel that way, however, only so long as I believed the program had adequate safeguards to prevent its misuse against US persons, whether at home or abroad. And, unfortunately, there is no particular reason to believe that to be the case. There is at present a lack of accountability.

  1. TLA == Three Letter Agencies []
Posted in Civil Liberties, Law: Privacy | 1 Comment

We Predicted This One Years Ago

Accused bank robber wants NSA phone records for his defense

One of the exceptionally odd things about about the revelations about the NSA metadata and phone records revelations is that I, not to mention various other Cypherpunk fellow travelers, predicted all this 15 years ago.

In fact, we predicted it so long ago, that almost no one seems to remember we did.

I have to say, though, that this is the first story I’ve seen on the subject that made me smile. So that’s something.

Unfortunately, this may not be the perfect test case:

Prosecutor Michael Gilfarb told the judge that even if the information is available, it may be irrelevant depending on whether Brown carried a phone.

Brown’s wife, Vesta Murat Brown, who testified for the prosecution Wednesday morning, told jurors that her husband didn’t have a cellphone at the time but sometimes borrowed phones from her, other family members or friends.

But even if it isn’t, it won’t be long:

Local lawyers said they anticipate there will be many more requests for this kind of information now that defense attorneys know the information may have been preserved.

Posted in Law: Privacy | 2 Comments