inside the man

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Lessig on libraries

Lawrence Lessig gave the keynote address at the Alberta Library Conference in lovely Jasper, Alberta this morning. He warned librarians that they are in danger of becoming victims in the current copyright dialogue. Kenton Good and Geoff Harder have committed to getting his talk online as a podcast soon. More commentary and pictures to follow...

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Today's public service announcement

The caribou (QuickTime)

Courtesy of the Canadian Wildlife Service.
Alberta privacy commissioner rebukes Edmonton police

You know that you live in a province with strong privacy legislation when the Information and Privacy Commissioner's response to a breach of privacy legislation is limited to strong words.
Infosec: Can you be too paranoid?

Interesting column from Mark Burnett at Security Focus. Here are some examples of Mark's paranoia:

  • I keep my PC's turned around so I can tell if anyone has installed a hardware keylogger.
  • I never check in luggage when I fly.
  • I do my Internet browsing from a locked down VMWare box that has no rights on my network.
  • I use to see what others might be able to see about my home.
  • It takes five passwords to boot up my laptop and check my e-mail.
  • One of those passwords is over 50 characters long.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Today's public service announcement

The American black duck (QuickTime)

Courtesy of the Canadian Wildlife Service.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Cho U wins LG Cup

Cho U (9p) of Japan defeated Yu Bin (9p) of China three games to one to take his first international go title.

British report expected to support the use of OSS in schools

A report due out on May 5, 2005 is expected to demonstrate that Free, Libre, and Open Source Software (FLOSS) is a cost effective alternative to proprietary software. Mark your calendar.

Hubble celebrates 15th anniversary

Breathtaking new images from the soon to be destroyed Hubble telescope.

Today's public service announcement

The racoon (QuickTime)

Courtesy of the Canadian Wildlife Service.
Hushmail hit by DNS attack

The register reports that Hushmail, my personal email provider and favorite secure webmail provider of the security paranoid the world over, was hit by a DNS attack on Sunday. Fortunately, the compromised DNS entry simply redirected hushmail users to a defaced page. No accounts or email were compromised. However, email directed to hushmail users during the period that the DNS compromise was in force, will have been lost.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Today's public service announcement

The canvasback (QuickTime)

Courtesy of the Canadian Wildlife Service.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Canadian file swapping appeal panel adjourns

The three judge appeal panel hearing the CRIA's appeal to a 2004 court decision that denied them the power to demand the identities of file sharers from Canadian ISPs adjourned on Wednesday. I blogged this story here and here. One of the five ISPs named in this action, Videotron, has broken ranks and ceased to fight the CRIA's request. A decision on the appeal is anticipated later this summer.
Today's public service announcement

The woodchuck (QuickTime)

Courtesy of the Canadian Wildlife Service.
Melville's Billy Budd and Security

It seems to be a right of passage for law school students to take a course, or at least write a paper, on Herman Melville's novella "Billy Budd", about a good man falling victim to the machinery of nautical justice. In this paper, Daniel Solove, blogged here recently, departs from the usual discussion of law and morality to examine Billy Budd as a story about law and security. Here is the abstract:

During times of crisis, our leaders have made profound sacrifices in the name of security, ones that we later realized need not have been made. Examples include the Palmer Raids, the McCarthy Era anti-Communist movement, and the Japanese-American Internment. After September 11th, this tragic history repeated itself. The Bush Administration has curtailed civil liberties in many ways, including detaining people indefinitely without hearings or counsel. These events give Herman Melville's "Billy Budd" renewed relevance to our times. "Billy Budd" is a moving depiction of a profound sacrifice made in the name of security. This essay diverges from conventional readings that view "Billy Budd" as critiquing the rule of law. Instead, "Billy Budd" supplies us with a radical and unsettling set of insights about why our leaders often fail to do justice in times of crisis. The novella suggests that by manipulating procedure under the guise of law, Vere gives the appearance of following the rule of law, when, in fact, he is not. This is particularly illuminating, as the Supreme Court in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld has held that normal procedures required by the Due Process Clause can be modified and watered-down for enemy combatants. (This essay was written for a law and literature symposium at Cardozo Law School).

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Today's public service announcement

The killdeer (QuickTime)

Courtesy of the Canadian Wildlife Service.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

A taxonomy of privacy

I was recently at an ISACA breakfast where the guest speaker, Robert Garigue, CSO of BMO Group, surprised me by peppering his security presentation with "soft", unquantifiable concepts such as semiotics, ontologies, taxonomies, knowledge, and meaning throughout his presentation to the assembled group of audit and control professionals. Perhaps my seemingly unrelated interests in religion, library and information science, and information security are related after all? With this thought echoing in my mind, I was interested to see Bruce Schneier's post referencing Daniel Solove's legal paper on the taxonomy of privacy.
Today's public service announcement

The snowy owl (QuickTime)

Courtesy of the Canadian Wildlife Service.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Infallibility, doctrinal change, and the Catholic church

At the centre of the recent history of the Roman Catholic church is the tension between dwindling numbers of church goers in developed countries and the desire to hold fast to traditional church teachings, some of which are of dwindling popularity. This column from the Ottawa Citizen looks at papal infallibility in light of the clash between conservatives and "relativists" in the current papal conclave.
Online go

Two separate international Internet go championships were awarded this week. On April 17, 2005, Kobayashi Koichi (9p) and Hane Naoki (9p), both from Japan, played for the First Pandanet Open Internet World Championship. Hane won by 11.5 points (game record). The very next day, Kobayashi was in another Internet championship. This time he faced Gu Li (9p) of China in the First Igo Internet World Championship. Kobayashi won by 5.5 points (game record).
Today's public service announcement

The ptarmigan (QuickTime)

Courtesy of the Canadian Wildlife Service.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Slashdot coverage of the US elite hacker squad

An interesting announcement from Wired with the usual cheeky commentary from the slashdot crowd. I wonder how the US team stacks up against the North Korean elite hacker squad (mentioned here and here and here)?
Today's public service announcement

The black bear (QuickTime)

Courtesy of the Canadian Wildlife Service.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Vatican on lookout for eavesdroppers

The latest on papal election security measures.
Today's public service announcement

The Canadian beaver (QuickTime)

Courtesy of the Canadian Wildlife Service.
The US Patriot Act drives Canadian privacy reform

As a follow up to my April 12 post on the impact of the Patriot Act in Canada, here is a current summary of the situation by Michael Geist. This article also appeared on One correction to my original post, the BCGEU court challenge was in a The Supreme Court of BC, not the Supreme Court of Canada. It does remain to be seen whether the BCGEU will appeal the decision (pdf).

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Security meets religion: hacking the papal election

Through a couple of accidents of history, information security and religion are two of my favorite things to think about. As a result, I cannot help but note Bruce Schneier's post today about hacking the papal election. The conclusion of the analysis is that the system is rather secure. Further, at the risk of putting words into Bruce's mouth, based on earlier postings to his blog (here and here, for example), it seems to be easier to crack the US presidential election than the papal election. That thought places an ironic smile upon my face.
Baseball and ritual violence in American culture

This is a fascinating look at the meeting of violence, ritual, and New England Puritanism in the Red Sox by Grinnell College professor Darryl Caterine published in the Journal of Religion and Popular Culture.

Boston Red Sox fans once attributed their team's failure to win a World Series to its sale in 1918 of Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees. In the 2004 playoffs and World Series, the Red Sox exorcised the "Curse of the Bambino" by emerging victorious over their rivals. The Curse and its catharsis–which mirror Puritan jeremiads and execution ceremonies, respectively–reveal baseball as a rite of "sacred violence" maintaining social order by regulating aggression. Accentuated rivalry between the Red Sox and the Yankees demythologized the pastoral idealizations of baseball that have figured prominently in its history since the Civil War, finally rendering it a spectacle of ordinary violence for New England fans.
File sharing not responsible for music sales decline in Canada

Canadian law professor Michael Geist published this provocative article at first monday. Here's the conclusion:

Following years of lobbying by CRIA, a new reality is only now coming to light — music downloading is not responsible for the ills of the music industry and Canadian artists have not been harmed by the sales declines that have occurred over the past five years. Although faced with significant pressure to reform Canadian copyright law, it is increasingly apparent that the industry’s ills are not the result of peer–to–peer downloading. Moreover, the Canadian experience with private copying suggests that a levy system may provide an effective alternative to adequately compensate artists for lost royalties that may occur due to the current popularity of file sharing services.
1527 journals on the DOAJ

The Directory of Open Access Journals lists 1527 freely accessible journals and the list is growing. Good news for open access to academic research, but a serious challenge for the thousands of very good traditionally marketed peer reviewed journals out there.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Revisions to the Patriot Act in the works

This article from the International Herald Tribune is an interesting review of the most controversial portions of the US Patriot Act being discussed in hearings currently underway. One such portion is:

Secret Searches: Section 213, the "sneak and peek" provision, lets the government search a person's home and delay telling him about it. These delayed-notification searches fly in the face of the strong American tradition that the government must announce when it is entering a home. Section 213 clearly goes too far. At the very least, it should apply only to terrorism cases, and not, as it now does, to all investigations. It should also have clear guidelines for how long notice can be delayed.

eWeek has a more business focused view of the current hearings.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Canadian government outsourcing and the Patriot Act

Just to avoid any lack of editorial clarity, I am not a big fan of what the US Patriot Act means for civil liberties (see the ALA on the Patriot Act, The EFF on the Patriot Act, the ACLU on the Patriot Act, and in contrast, the Bush administration on the subject), or any legislation passed in two days, regardless of the events of the day. Now on with the story.

It is not new news that the British Columbia Government and Service Employees' Union has challenged the BC government's outsourcing of its Medical Services Plan data base to an American firm, Maximus Inc. (see the BCGEU campaign site). The argument is that this contract would bring British Columbian's personal information under the the US Patriot Act. The Patriot Act lets the FBI secretly search information held by companies operating in the US without any form of judicial review or notification of parties whose information has been disclosed. In response to this legal challenge, the BC goverment made ammendments to provincial privacy legislation to address this concern. Critics say these ammendments do not go far enough. The BC Information and Privacy Commissioner published this 150 page review (pdf) in October.

You can be certain that all other public jurisdictions in the country are thinking about this while they read the BC Commissioner's report and await the decision of the Supreme Court.
Chinese repression of Uighur Muslims

A recent Human Rights Watch report covers China's repression of the Uighur Muslims, a Turkish speaking minority of about 8 million people in Xinjiang. The Uighur tranditional homeland has seen the arrival of 1.2 million ethnic chinese settlers in the past decade. Is this the new Tibet?
The 18th Fujitsu Cup is well underway

Following two rounds of play, we are down to eight players, only one of whom is Japanese (O Meien 9p). The quarter final round takes place on June 4th in South Korea. My favorite player, Lee Sedol of South Korea, a former Fujitsu Cup world champion, is in the running after defeating the formidable Yoda Norimoto of Japan.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Digital Copyright Canada

This great website advocating for user rights during the current Canadian copyright law review has recently been slashdotted. If you are a Canadian citizen, there is a user rights petition that you can sign.
Chinese People's Daily critiques US protectionism with go analogy

"Other US trade experts believe that the US textile industry is a declining one that is not worthy of protection. There is a saying when playing Chinese chess of go (weiqi) that 'instead of loving chess pieces in order to seek survival, it is better to give up the ones that are not as good in order to get advantages'. It is not wise for the US to 'love' the 'chess piece' in its textile manufacturing industry. It is the best policy to for the US accelerate the industry's restructuring."
Chinese People's Daily critiques US protectionism with go analogy

"Other US trade experts believe that the US textile industry is a declining one that is not worthy of protection. There is a saying when playing Chinese chess of go (weiqi) that 'instead of loving chess pieces in order to seek survival, it is better to give up the ones that are not as good in order to get advantages'. It is not wise for the US to 'love' the 'chess piece' in its textile manufacturing industry. It is the best policy to for the US accelerate the industry's restructuring."

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Japanese privacy legislation goes into force

Japan's Personal Information Protection law, similar to Canada's PIPEDA legislation, requires companies operating in Japan to protect the personal information of employees and customers. While this is a bold move for Japan, I am skeptical of its effectiveness as fines appear to be limited to 300,000 Yen (US$2,804).

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Bengali writer sued for defiling idol

Sunil Gangopadhyay, 71 years old, is being sued by a retired policeman after being quoted in Anandabazar Patrika saying that "he had kissed an idol of Saraswati to satisfy his desire."

Monday, April 04, 2005

Battle obesity with a video game!

DDR (aka Dance Dance Revolution) is the centre of a study on fighting child obesity. Of course, this is no normal video game, you actually dance on a plastic mat hooked up to a game console. Halo 2 may not have the same weight loss characteristics.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Rabbi backs India's 'lost Jews'

The BBC reports that Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar has informed members of north-east India's Bnei Manashe community that they are indeed decendents of one of the 10 lost tribes exiled from Israel in the 8th Century BCE. The community will now be formally converted to Orthodox Judaism and allowed immigration to Israel.

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About Me

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Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Returned to working as a Management Consultant, specializing in risk, security, and regulatory compliance, with Fujitsu Canada after running the IT shop in the largest library in the South Pacific.

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