How Casey Anthony is like Spam

2011-07-28 23:48:35 by chort

Unless were living under a rock, you're aware of some public outrage over the acquittal of Casey Anthony on the most serious charges against her. As is usually the case when someone widely believed to be guilty is not convicted, there are all kinds of demands for new laws, criticisms of the jurors, etc. Everyone is so concerned with trying to prevent cases from falling through the cracks that they don't stop to think about how well the system actually does work in general, particularly how rare it is that people are wrongly convicted (rare, but sadly not impossible). It strikes me that this issue is very similar to one I know a lot about.

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My Complaint Letter to the TSA

2010-11-23 15:45:54 by chort

Surrendering my 4th amendment rights should not be a condition of travel within the United States.

With strengthening of cockpit doors and revised flight procedures to restrict cockpit access, the likelihood of a hijacking being leveraged to use an aircraft as a weapon has been drastically reduced. Couple that with passengers' realization that compliance with terrorists is not in their best interest, the probability of any future airline attack causing more casualties than the passengers and crew on board is near nil.

This means that airplanes are not unique from sports stadiums, shopping malls, trains, buses, subways, cinemas, or scores of other kinds venues where inflicting hundreds of casualties is possible.

We cannot create a police state where every citizen must be viewed naked or sexually groped in order to venture into public places. Stop the Security Theater with airplanes and the inconvenience to millions of people who must fly for their jobs every week.

Sincerely,
Brian Keefer

You may send your own complaint to the TSA here.

PS Of the last 3 terrorist attempts vs. aircraft going to the United States, only 67% were against passenger planes, none of them were hijackings, and none of them went through TSA security. Given those facts, do you really think drastic and invasive escalations against US citizens are necessary?

Update: Thanks to @georgevhulme for pointing out several typos. Also thanks to @mckeay for reminding me that money talks--I've stopped flying short trips (as of last year) due to TSA hassles, and have been driving instead. That takes money away from airlines, pollutes more, and (statistically speaking) causes more deaths. How is this "security" helping again?

Striking a Balance on Airport Security

2010-11-16 23:44:30 by chort

There has been a lot of press and grass-roots coverage of the TSA recently, specifically revolving around the increased usage of backscatter x-ray devices and more invasive physical inspections. Various DHS and TSA officials have made statements to the effect that they're sympathetic to the complaints, but the new measures are "necessary" and they're "striking a balance" between constitutional rights and security.

When I hear someone say "strike a balance" I visualize a see-saw, or a scale of justice, where the two sides are equally weighted in order to balance them. If we were to take the comments by Janet Napolitano and John Pistole at face value, we might reasonably think they're trying to find a middle ground somewhere between completely acceptable (say, passing through a magnetometer) and totally unacceptable (like cavity searches). The problem is that there is no balance. The scale is so far tilted to the side of violating constitutional rights that even a former Director of TSA Security Operations, Mo McGowan, actually admitted these measures violate the 4th amendment.

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Cyveillance IP list updated

2010-01-26 11:53:28 by chort

A while back I noticed Cyveillance, Inc were aggressively spidering my site. I found quite a few other references on the web to their anti-social behavior, including links to the recording industry's heavy-handed and borderline illegal tactics. In order to block them from my network, I compiled a list of their IPs.

It's been some time since I've actively monitored my firewall and over time the list had grown stale. I'd also previously been stymied on doing more research by my inability to figure out the nuances of some RWHOIS systems. Happily I made a breakthrough this week and I've been able to update my list, which I'll share for the good of humanity. The link above has the same list.

# Cyveillance @ Cogent
38.99.209.176/30
38.100.3.128/28
38.100.19.8/29
38.100.21.0/24
38.100.41.64/26
38.104.29.36/30
38.104.29.156/30
38.105.71.0/25
38.105.83.0/27
38.105.109.168/29
38.105.109.192/29
38.112.21.140/30
38.118.25.56/29
38.118.42.32/29

# Cyveillance @ Verizon (incomplete?)
65.213.208.128/27
65.222.176.96/27
65.222.185.72/29

# Previous(?) Cyveillance IPs
#63.146.13.64/27
#63.148.99.224/27
#63.213.208.128/27
#65.118.41.192/27

I'll try to update the text file over time to match current reality as best I can, but this blog post will go stale. I'm only putting the IPs here for spiders to find. If you want to use the list on your firewall, download the linked version. The list is admittedly incomplete since I haven't been able to reliably query Verizon for IPs (let alone other possible providers).

Updated 2010-03-28 to add 65.213.208.128/27, which came to me via a comment. Thanks for the tip!