McCain the E-tard

Crazier-than-batshit Senator and Presidential hopeful John McCain is up to no-good again. Mr. “Iron Triangle” is once again embarking on a quest to protect teenagers from the evil internet. How is he going to do this? By introducing legislation that is impossibly expensive for ISPs and content providers to comply with, the cost of which will of course be passed on to the consumer. Declan McCullagh from CNet reports:

A forthcoming bill in the U.S. Senate lays the groundwork for a national database of illegal images that Internet service providers would use to automatically flag and report suspicious content to police.

The proposal, which Sen. John McCain is planning to introduce on Wednesday, also would require ISPs and perhaps some Web sites to alert the government of any illegal images of real or “cartoon” minors. Failure to do would be punished by criminal penalties including fines of up to $300,000.

Why should we be worried?

Civil libertarians worry that the proposed legislation goes too far and could impose unreasonable burdens on anyone subject to the new regulations. And Internet companies worry about the compliance costs and argue that an existing law that requires reporting of illicit images is sufficient.

The fact that this man is a Senator is disturbing enough. The possiblility of him being elected President is downright frightening. If the worst does happen then we can only hope that he’ll blow a head gasket during one of his infamous temper tantrums. That and hopefully that he picked a decent running-mate.

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ISP Snooping Law Revived by Republicans

Bad legislative bills don’t die they just wait a year.  Declan McCullagh reports at CNet:

All Internet service providers would need to track their customers’ online activities to aid police in future investigations under legislation introduced Tuesday as part of a Republican “law and order agenda.”

Employees of any Internet provider who fail to store that information face fines and prison terms of up to one year, the bill says. The U.S. Justice Department could order the companies to store those records forever.

“Law and Order” is legislative code for bend over and take it like a citizen.

The FBI’s Vacuum Cleaner Approach to Internet Surveillance

Declan McCullagh at ZDNet reports on the FBI sucking down large amounts of internet traffic data and databasing it for later mining. This new method is even more indiscriminate and intrusive than the Carnivore system that stirred a backlash from privacy advocates years ago. The Carnivore system at least used a filter to try and limit data collection to interesting sources while the new system just takes everything on the pipe and archives it.

The FBI appears to have adopted an invasive Internet surveillance technique that collects far more data on innocent Americans than previously has been disclosed.

Instead of recording only what a particular suspect is doing, agents conducting investigations appear to be assembling the activities of thousands of Internet users at a time into massive databases, according to current and former officials. That database can subsequently be queried for names, e-mail addresses or keywords.

Such a technique is broader and potentially more intrusive than the FBI’s Carnivore surveillance system, later renamed DCS1000. It raises concerns similar to those stirred by widespread Internet monitoring that the National Security Agency is said to have done, according to documents that have surfaced in one federal lawsuit, and may stretch the bounds of what’s legally permissible.

Read the entire ZDNet article here.

Encrypting Instant Messaging Conversations

Whenever you talk online with your instant messaging (IM) client of choice, your conversations can be, and in all probability are, recorded, monitored, and read. Any data which travels over a network can be viewed using programs known as packet sniffers, with some specially crafted programs..

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Review of Konqueror – web browser and file manager for KDE

Konqueror was developed to be a universal file manager, web browser and file viewer for the K Desktop Environment (KDE). It was released to the world on 14 June, 2000. At that time, it was described as “the next generation web browser, file manager and document viewer”. This isn’t very far from the truth. Read a review by Softpedia.

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The Mozilla Scandal: What can happen to Debian and Ubuntu?

Now that Debian is not allowed to use the Firefox name without showing every patch to Mozilla, people are boycotting Firefox. That is not all that will come of this though. How will this affect Ubuntu? Could Mozilla turn into a Microsoft, only caring about trademarks? This article attempts to clear things up about the Mozilla trademark situation.

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6 Tips To Protect Online Search Privacy

Concerns over privacy and the use of online search are at an all-time high. Here’s how to create a strong shield for privacy.

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