Well Known Biases

Politics, Economics, and the Law

Category Archives: Link Roundup

Link Roundup – 04/25/13

Milo Yiannopoulos has some concerns about Google Glass.

In the future, robots will grade your college essays.

The IRS can probably read your email without a warrant.

The ATF, not wanting to be left out, would like to know more about you, and find it all out more easily.

UC Irvine law dean Erwin Chemerinsky thinks the only way to eliminate inequality is compulsory public schooling, and the outlaw of private schooling.

The NSA data center in Utah will be able to store a truly mind-boggling amount of data. Data on, you know, all of us… But hey, at least it’ll create jobs.

The EU becomes increasingly intolerant of free speech.

The Federalist Society has begun Executive Branch Review, a website keeping tabs on the acts of regulatory agencies (which, fun fact, produce some 90% of laws).

Jonathan Adler takes issue Rickie Solinger’s accounting of the effect of Roe on abortion statistics.

Lawmakers, having decided that what’s good for you is bad for them, are looking to exempt themselves from the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”).

In other stupidity, the Obama administration thinks it would be a rather good idea to do the exact thing that eventually brought us the “economic downturn.”

And finally, in a rare bit of good news, a federal magistrate has refused a government request to compel decryption of a hard drive.



Privacy Link Roundup – 02/09/13

Your password is bad and you should feel bad. Seriously, review your passwords.

Facebook’s ‘Graph Search.’ Making something already horrifying slightly more horrific.

Speaking of Facebook, you do know they monitor, record, and turn over to police the things you write, right? Just making sure.

Your WiFi-enabled smartphone could be used to track where you go in stores, in the not-that-distant future. But maybe it’s not really that bad.

The NSA pinky-swears that there’s no domestic spying.

The DEA would very much like to snoop through the medical records of Oregon residents without the hassle of a warrant.

In a two-page paper, devoid of argument or analysis, the DHS concludes that it may seize travelers’ electronic devices for any reason at all. This power apparently extends 100 miles inland as well, which covers the entirety of Florida, Hawaii, several states in the northeast, and more than a handful of large cities.

Firearms Link Roundup – 02/09/13

Firearms controls don’t work nearly as well as politicians would like.

Moorfield Storey Blog has a couple of articles examining firearm ownership and homicide rates.

It seems a draft proposal for tighter restrictions in New York was draconian enough that a Democratic legislator urged his Republican counterpart to keep the proposal a secret.

San Diego police chief William Lansdowne thinks that with the right laws, Americans could be disarmed within a generation, and that would be just great. I’d suggest he read some Small Arms Survey publications, and see how well that idea has worked in other parts of the world.

The California Senate Democrats seem to be on board with him, though.

On the flip side, various counties and cities are looking to nullify any bans.

And enforcement might require an IT overhaul.

Wyoming legislators are looking to criminalize any enforcement of a federal ban.

And finally, in home-state news, right-to-carry reforms are advancing through the Kansas legislature.

Drone Link Roundup – 02/09/13

Charlottesville, Virginia becomes the first U.S. city to ban drones, though they admit the move is essentially symbolic.

The Oregon Senate aims for somewhat less symbolic regulation, but the FAA may well take issue with a claim of state control of airspace.

The Volokh Conspiracy rounds up more drone memo reactions.

Use drones to try and keep those pesky illegals out? Sure, why not. Will it be effective? Probably not.

Ilya Somin’s take on the drone memo.

Constitutional Originalism and Drone Strikes.

Link Roundup – 06/28/12

IT World has an article about web tracking, and who’s doing the most of it.

Facebook is being sued for $15 billion over their privacy practices.

Wired reports on legislation in New York to ban anonymous online speech.

Rhode Island has just repealed a 1989 law which made lying online illegal.

The CBSA has been directed to put on hold their plans to monitor Canadians’ at airports with cameras and microphones.

Iran is again blaming the U.S. and Israel (And the U.K. as well, why not?) for computer attacks and disruptions of the nuclear program.

Senator Charles Schumer is concerned with Google and Apple’s attempts to survey the world for their mapping services. Is it the invasion of privacy? Why, no. He’s concerned that Terrorists™ will use this information to do terroristy things.

Foreign workers are being advised to keep their papers on them when in Arizona.

American fundamentalist Christian schools are using the Loch Ness Monster to prove evolution is an evil secularist lie perpetrated by godless scientists, or something like that. I’m confident they’re proving something, but I don’t think it’s what they think they are.

Netflix may be compelled to provide closed-captioning on all their programming.

Jimmy Carter states what should be obvious: The United States’ policy of drone warfare, with its regular and numerous collateral victims, is a violation of various human rights, and undermines any claim we might have as a beacon of morality.

Link Roundup – 06/18/12

PC Pro has an article speculating that the U.S. government has planted agents inside Microsoft. Their take is that Microsoft was an unwitting pawn. My take is, should this be true, it’s as likely as not that they were in on it.

The Air Force’s X-37B has returned to Earth.

Now more than ever, governments (U.S. included) are peeking in on your Google data.

Katrina vanden Heuvel writes an op-ed concerning the Obama administration’s “kill list.”

$20 a month for secure communications? Sounds tasty.

The U.K., which I consider the “mineshaft canary” for the U.S., is contemplating alarmingly sweeping communications monitoring. They pinky-swear this won’t include anything like reading your postcards. No, really.

Somewhat closer to home, in Ottawa, equipment is being installed at airports and border crossings that will eventually record your conversations. If you’re bothered by this, then presumably you’re either a terrorist, smuggler, or child predator.

But at least we’re not in Ethiopia, where VoIP services have been made illegal, punishable by 15 years in prison.

Link Roundup – 06/14/12

The USAF’s X-37B shuttle will soon come down from orbit. What they’ve had it doing for the best part of a year is a bit of a mystery.

James Freedmon has written a paper, appearing in Stanford Law Review, offering a strategy to help the U.S. government clamp down on organizations such as Wikileaks: Assert copyright over the documents.

The Megaupload case is going nowhere slowly. The U.S. government is now asserting that former Megaupload users may access their files, so long as they pay for it.

Senator Chuck Schumer hast gotten his undies all in a bunch concerning Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin’s plans to become a resident of Singapore, after renouncing his American citizenship. He has introduced S. 3205, which would amend the tax code to allow for a 30% capital gains tax on anyone “renouncing citizenship for a substantial tax avoidance purpose”, as well as barring them from reentering the United States. The text of the bill is worryingly vague. The statue is written to apply to pretty much whomever the government wishes for it to apply. I’m always deeply unimpressed when legislators craft law expressly for the purpose of settling a score with a specific party.

New York and California would like to force gun makers to microstamp the firing pins of their firearms, in an effort to make it easier to track down guns used in crimes. The New York Times has a piece concerning this pipe dream. There are quotes in the article from industry reps, explaining why this is a pointless idea. Which is nice, because it means I don’t have to repeat them.

Link Roundup – 05/07/12

Does the FBI routinely act as agents provocateurs? Of course they do. David Shipler, at the New York Times, writes an op-ed on the practice.

New York City is Thinking of the Children™, and has banned teachers from ‘friending’ students on social media sites.

Of course, NYC hardly has a monopoly on this, and it appears the UK may also be Thinking of the Children™, and going forward with the notion to filter those pesky interwebs, and force users to opt-in for porn.

And holy crap almighty! The European Union will also be Thinking of the Children™!

Russia is less than thrilled about any planned missile defense system.

The federal government seized a hip-hop music site for over a year while it sat around waiting for proof of any crime.

Not content with arrangements such as that, the FBI is politely asking everyone not to get their panties all up in a bunch over a proposed law to force tech companies to provide built-in backdoors for government snooping. I would, however, encourage you to bunch up your collective panties to an incredible degree. RT’s take here.

NYC may have to defend its “stop and frisk” practices in court.

RT reports on the alleged existence of current U.S. Army procedures for interring American citizens in camps. Sounds like business as usual.

More about the American military’s proposed replacement bomber.

Link Roundup – 05/01/12

All apologies. The blog has been placed firmly on the back burner for a couple of weeks now, while I’ve been tied up with other pursuits. I’ve got some links that have been getting moldy, so I’ll put those here, and should be back with something more substantial in the next couple of days.

A very interesting piece on how regulation and “boutique gasoline” has contributed to current high fuel prices.

Broadcom has unveiled a chip that can determine pretty much exactly where you are. Shall we use this for good, or ill? Probably both.

The FBI says that American universities are chock-full of spies.

A TSA screener discusses how the “virtual strip search” body scanners are profoundly useless. Oh, security theatre…

And in other TSA news, they’re planning on rolling out new identity verification machines. Which will surely not be somehow circumvented.

Nick Merrill is planning to launch an ISP that will be built from day one with customer privacy as a core concern. I’m excited about this project, just as I’m excited about any new service that will shield people from government peeking.

I recall this coming up some time ago, but I never heard what came of it. Apparently the idea of making UK internet users opt-in to be able to view porn is still kicking around in Parliament.

Kim Dotcom may have been improperly extradited, and there may never be a trial on the matter. I’m sure the FBI is less than amused.

The 2012 Olympics: Now with insane levels of brand protection and media control!

It seems that new cars, from 2015 onwards, will be required to include data gathering components.

Government info-ops creating disinformation? If so, I’d be shocked. Shocked!

The Iranian government is claiming that they’re copying the U.S. drone they acquired.

There is legislation in the works (“still,” “again”?) to ban employers from asking for the login information for employees’ social networking profiles.

The threat of “cyber war.” Just another money grab?

An enlightening writeup of how the online black market functions.

Link Roundup – 03/29/12

A bill in the House would require almost all video games to carry a warning label concerning aggressive behavior.

Sweden may well be on its way to being a cashless nation. Sebastion Anthony, at ExtremeTech, has some thoughts on the topic.

Tennessee has approved legislation allowing public school debate over evolution, and providing for the display of the Ten Commandments. In New York City, officials have taken a somewhat different approach, banning all references on test materials to anything that might be controversial or create negative feeling.

French president Nicolas Sarkozy has proposed that visitors of “extremist websites” be put in jail.

The U.S. government plans to levy a 5% tariff on Chinese-made solar panels.

New NHTSA guidelines could essentially kill navigation systems.

Iran, it seems, has been purchasing U.S.-made surveillance equipment and software from Chinese firms.

Speaking of China, a study has found that internet censorship is quite common. I’m shocked. Shocked! Well, not that shocked…

A Brazilian city has embedded tracking chips into their school uniforms.