Sunday, August 22, 2010

You gotta have two standards! One for real citizens and one for people who don't write laws or carry guns.

ACLU challenges Illinois eavesdropping act

August 21, 2010 by Dissent

Becky Schlikerman and Kristen Mack report:

It’s not unusual or illegal for police officers to flip on a camera as they get out of their squad car to talk to a driver they’ve pulled over.

But in Illinois, a civilian trying to make an audio recording of police in action is breaking the law.

“It’s an unfair and destructive double standard,” said Adam Schwartz, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois.

On Wednesday, the ACLU filed a federal lawsuit in Chicago challenging the Illinois Eavesdropping Act, which makes it criminal to record not only private but also public conversations made without consent of all parties.

Read more in the Chicago Tribune.

Carlos Miller also covers the case and related cases on Photography is Not a Crime.

These folks invented “Papers, please!” ...and no one cared much for the extra baggage that came with it. So do you just hammer the chip, or re-write it to “prove” you are the Propaganda Minister?

Germany To Roll Out ID Cards With Embedded RFID

Posted by Soulskill on Sunday August 22, @05:17AM

"The production of RFID chips, an integral element of the new generation of German identity cards, has started after the government gave a 10-year contract to the chipmaker NXP in the Netherlands. Citizens will receive the mandatory new ID cards starting from the first of November. The new card allows German authorities to identify people with speed and accuracy, the government said. These authorities include the police, customs and tax authorities and of course the local registration and passport granting authorities. There are some concerns that the use of RFID chips will pose a security or privacy risk, however. Early versions of the electronic passports, using RFID chips with a protocol called 'basic access control' (BAC), were successfully hacked by university researchers and security experts."

Capabilities When RFID replaced bar codes, we'll be able to identify every bit of garbage – so we can automate the ticketing process. Failure to purchase recyclable products is no excuse.

High-tech carts spy on your trash

I know that the Green Goosesteppers mean well.

… You see, according to, the city has decided to make an offer that your refuse cannot refuse. It has embedded chips in carts, so that those nice people who take away the trash can monitor how often your recyclable cart has been brought to the curb for servicing.

Should you fail to wheel out your nice, no doubt green-colored, bin for a few weeks, the trash collectors will dig into your regular trash to see whether it might contain more than the magic number of 10 percent of material that might be actually worthy of recycling. Should your trash show an 11 percent figure, you may be fined $100.


“Where were you on the night of the 14th?”

“Well, according to my GPS records, I was in Denver and LA and San Francisco and Cleveland and Buenos Aires .”

Gaming Foursquare With 9 Lines of Perl

Posted by Soulskill on Saturday August 21, @11:25AM

"With the recent launch of Facebook Places, the rise to prominence of Foursquare and GoWalla, and articles in the New York Times about the increasing popularity of 'checking in' to locations using GPS-enabled mobile phones, a number of businesses are wondering how to reward frequent patrons. But exactly how susceptible are these 'location based services' to being abused? A researcher at the University of Illinois at Chicago shows how easily Foursquare can be gamed in 9 Perl statements, and invites readers to submit more succinct versions of the code to game the system."

An anonymous reader contributes a link to a similar article about spoofing Facebook Places to create an alibi.


Real-Time, Detailed Face Tracking On a Nokia N900

Posted by Soulskill on Saturday August 21, @08:33PM

"Researchers at the University of Manchester this week revealed a detailed face tracker that runs in real-time on the Nokia N900 mobile phone. Unlike existing mobile face trackers (video) that give an approximate position and scale of the face, Manchester's embedded Active Appearance Model accurately tracks a number of landmarks on and around the face such as the eyes, nose, mouth and jawline. The extra level of detail that this provides potentially indicates who the user is, where they are looking and how they are feeling. The face tracker was developed as part of a face- and voice-verification system for controlling access to mobile internet applications such as e-mail, social networking and on-line banking."

“It's for the children! They are much less surly when they don't know their teachers are incompetent. “

Union Boycotts LA Times Over Teacher Evaluation Disclosure

Posted by timothy on Saturday August 21, @09:02AM

"According to Newsweek, the local teachers union is infuriated over the disclosure of teacher performance metrics. Quoting: 'Do parents have the right to know which of their kids' teachers are the most and least effective? That's the controversy roaring in California this week with the publication of an investigative series by the Los Angeles Times's Jason Song and Jason Felch, who used seven years of math and English test data to publicly identify the best and the worst third- to fifth-grade teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School District. The newspaper's announcement of its plans to release data later this month on all 6,000 of the city's elementary-school teachers has prompted the local teachers' union to rally members to organize a boycott of the newspaper.' According to the linked Times article, United Teachers Los Angeles president A.J. Duffy said the database was 'an irresponsible, offensive intrusion into your professional life that will do nothing to improve student learning.'" [Unless of course, the information causes them to seek and education elsewhere... Bob]

I've already reserved the new book. I read The Mythical Man-Month for one of my graduate classes and found it brilliant.

Master Planner: Fred Brooks Shows How to Design Anything

The Design of Design. It’s a collection of essays that extends his ideas into the fields of architecture, hardware systems, and leadership.

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