Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I get mail

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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Death from Above?

 One of the excellent legacy policies inherited by the Obama administration was the public assertion of the right of the US Government to hunt down and kill, you know, evildoers.  In the excellent tradition of using technology to distance ourselves from messy problems, the US has been (for the better part of a decade) been using unmanned drones to hunt and kill said evildoers.  Or people who look like them.  Or people near them.  Or other folks who happen to be there.  Or folks targeted by accident.  Or accidents, lies or misrepresentations.  But I digress.

Don't think that being a US citizen will help you either, since the US government is an equal opportunity killer.

Well, the ACLU got it in their heads that we as citizenry have the right to be informed about the actions of the military due to that whole "civilian control" thing, and filed a FOI in January asking about the pesky legal basis for such killings. 
In particular, the lawsuit asks for information on when, where and against whom drone strikes can be authorized, the number and rate of civilian casualties and other basic information essential for assessing the wisdom and legality of using armed drones to conduct targeted killings.
"The public has a right to know whether the targeted killings being carried out in its name are consistent with international law and with the country's interests and values," said Jonathan Manes, a legal fellow with the ACLU National Security Project.

"The Obama administration should disclose basic information about the program, including its legal basis and limits, and the civilian casualty toll thus far."
The Defense Department has ignored the FOI request and hence won the right to be sued by the ACLU.

I am dumbfounded that we are even having this discussion, but in a time and place where torture is not denied, but redefined and used on non-persons held outside of legal captivity, it should not really surprise me.  That is a topic for a much longer rant.

But the way, the quote above is from the "" web site which titled it U.S. Civil Liberties Group Questions 'Legal Basis' Of Using Drones To Kill and filed it under International News.  That pesky 'Legal Basis'.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

MySpace takes your lunch money

Just a data point to keep in mind as we plug away in our web-bound semi-anonymous persona's: MySpace has jumped into "bulk user data sales".  This means that if you happened to post any of the following: user playlists, mood updates, mobile updates, photos, vents, reviews, blog posts, names and zipcodes for the sales period, it will be available to anybody.

For what it is worth, this does not include friend lists...

In case those Facebook and Twitter users are feeling smug abut now think again.  There is absolutely no reason why they will not do the same since anything you have ever posted - every letter and image - is owned whole cloth by the respective service provider.  It is not like something as quaint as morality has ever gotten in the way of the bottom line.