Fly the surveillance skies

Schneier on Security: Secure Flight:

My fear is that TSA has already decided that they’re going to use commercial data, regardless of any test results. And once you have commercial data, why not build a dossier on every passenger and give them a risk score? So we’re back to CAPPS-II, the very system Congress killed last summer. Actually, we’re very close to TIA (Total/Terrorism Information Awareness), that vast spy-on-everyone data-mining program that Congress killed in 2003 because it was just too invasive.

Ah, the TSA, high-school drop-outs of the security world, prone to abuse the public trust whenever it occurs to them. When you fly today, your personal information is opened like a book. Society as panopticon is creeping closer.

And if “dignified” isn’t good enough for you, we’ll just ram a nominee down your throats

Bush may bypass Senate and appoint Bolton to UN – Yahoo! News:

The White House signaled on Monday that President Bush may bypass the Senate and appoint John Bolton, his embattled nominee for U.N. ambassador, to the post temporarily as hope faded for a Senate vote on the nomination.

So, even if the Senate doesn’t advise we have him as U.N. Ambassador (they would vote if there was Republican support), we get John Bolton for two years anyway. By then, President Bush may have pulled us out of the United Nations.

In keeping with the previous posting, the White House’s response to the advice and consent of the Senate is “shove it.” We’ve arrived at government by caveat, which is the same thing as government by a single party, an extremist regime.

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By dignified, Bush apparently meant “secretive and misleading”

Roberts Listed in Federalist Society ’97-98 Directory:

Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr. has repeatedly said that he has no memory of belonging to the Federalist Society, but his name appears in the influential, conservative legal organization’s 1997-1998 leadership directory.

The White House is refusing to release memos written by Roberts during his tenure under two Republican presidents and now there is a stark discrepancy between Roberts’ recollections and the printed directory of the Federalist Society, a legal group with a distinctly ideological agenda. When President Bush called for a “dignified” confirmation process was this what you expected? Will you put up with it, even if you did expect it?

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If you have not watched Lance Armstrong’s masterful Tour de France, you have missed something extraordinary.

I’ve seen every stage and not been bored by a moment of it. Next year, when Lance is retired, will be spectacular.


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As predicted….

RED HERRING | Sony Adds Browser to PSP:

Sony Computer Entertainment reportedly plans to offer its own web browser next week for the popular Sony PlayStation Portable, which will enable the multimedia device to access the Internet.

The company will provide the browser as part of a Version 2.0 system firmware update starting July 27, according to reports published by IDG News Service and other sources. With the PSP, users can already play games, listen to music, view photos, and watch videos.

The interesting element of the rumor is that it will enable a streaming video service. Not likely to be a big hit, but it points to an IPTV world that is not so far away. Microsoft still seemed poised to win.

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Now you know how most journalists feel

The Podcast as a New Podium – New York Times:

“Everyone is famous for 15 people.”

Alas, there is the truth of almost all media. The sad truth for almost anyone “famous” is that it is small and fleeting stuff.

Having heard all the damning of “mainstream media” folks, I’d just like you to know that about 15 people will recognize you once you have a big success with podcasting, blogging or a television show. That’s just how it is; there’s nothing particularly new about the “fame” associated with these emerging media, except that a whole new crop of people will learn what it is like to be poorly paid and gratified on the rare occasion someone actually recognizes you.

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My letter to the Senate about Judge Roberts

People for the American Way has a system for sending letters to your senators and the Senate leadership about the review process for President Bush’ Supreme Court nominee, John Roberts. I urge you to use it.

I find it insulting as an American that the subtext of President Bush’s call for a “dignified process” is that his nominee should not be questioned energetically and thoroughly before taking a seat on the most powerful court in the world. A little conflict now will be a very good thing for the country over the next two to four decades that a 50-year-old nominee might serve on the court.

Here is the letter I sent, which asks for a dignified process of diligent review (feel free to use any part of it in support or opposition to the nomination):

Please spend the necessary time and effort to understand the judicial and ideological record of Judge John Roberts before passing judgement on him. That is the “dignity” of the Senate’s role as provider of advice and consent to the President on Supreme Court nominations you are obligated to uphold.

As a voter, I am very concerned that Roberts has expressed his belief that Roe v. Wade should be overturned in a written brief. Likewise, his recent ruling in support for military tribunals in cases of non-military detainees at Guantanamo Bay is not consistent with the Constitution’s guarantee of due process and a quick trial or repeated habeus corpus rulings of the Supreme Court, nor is it in line with the Geneva Convention, which has prevented far more harm for Americans when respected by enemy nations.

We should not weaken the U.S. position on human rights as we carry on a new kind of war, they should be strengthened as a sign of our beliefs and, hopefully, to extend the same protections to our citizens wherever they may be held during this conflict.

Judge Roberts does not seem to understand his duty to the Constitution. Rather, he seems intent in his pursuit of ideological goals and support for his party’s approach to national issues.

Please do not pass Judge Roberts’ nomination in the full Senate without extensive earnest examination of every aspect of his legal judgment and philosophy. I believe you will find him wanting, but I am prepared to hear you ask every question necessary and will support your efforts to take the time required for these deliberations, which will have a deep impact on our nation for decades to come.

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Influence: Seeing through the ends to the conversations

Matt Galloway hits on many great ideas, which I found via Dina.

The gang (it’s growing) at Persuadio is building a company on many of these ideas, focusing on vertical analysis of influence—not just the influentials, but the paths around them, the velocity of ideas, the fact that there are influentials and amplifiers, and more—we will have a real Web site in the next couple weeks as we emerge from stealth mode. The first example of our technology, at, which tracks the social network two degrees around any URL, doesn’t get to any of the influence tracking by topic/theme, but it is available in an enterprise service.

I agree with John Dowdell, who commented on Matt’s posting, that aggregate-by-author will not always work to identify influential bloggers. I agree with Matt that the size of the whole Blogosphere doesn’t matter, nor does the whole Web. When looking at influence, we have to dig very deeply into narrow spectrums of network relationships.

I contend that there are layers of influence based on different interests among writers, but the existing relationships we have with the writer (or podcaster or…) do carry over into areas where they are not necessarily “expert” or consistently writing about. Understanding how those marginal relationships can be amplified is important to seeing into the flow of influence. So, aggregate-by-author must be combined with topic-based aggregation and other analysis to provide real insight into how a conversation is changing, how it is changed by the marketer’s participation or by advertising or other types of messaging, whether a competitor’s or a customer’s.

“Influentials” casts the influencer as an end-point on the network, which simplifies how marketers deal with them; they are, however, conttenuated by the network. Participatory marketing based on increasingly transparent views of the conversation needs to recognize how dynamic influence is—getting an influential talking is only the beginning, not the end, of the process.

We’re building the system that delivers feedback that lets you see into what the process is producing for the marketer; and we’ll do some great things for bloggers, political campaigns, media watchdogs and media companies, too.

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