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Saturday, June 25, 2005

recruiting grandma

in a critical follow-up to this post about the pentagon targetting teenagers with private-industry marketing firms, we have an interesting development from arkansas…

Granny chooses not to be a Seabee [ap via, 2005.06.24]

MAGNOLIA, Ark.— At age 81, Fola Coats might seem a little old to join the Navy. But the great-grandmother recently received a letter inviting her to enlist in the Seabees of the Naval Reserve.

“I laughed when I got (the letter),” she said. “I told (my family), I can’t wait to get my uniform.”

Coats’ husband served in World War II and two of her sons were in Vietnam.

“I guess they figured we were a great military family,” she said.

The letter suggests she should volunteer for the Seabees, supporting Navy construction needs with a specialty rating of builder, construction electrician, construction mechanic, engineering aide, equipment operator, steelworker or utility worker.

Coats said the letter has been good for laughs for her whole family.

“And the worst part of all of this is I don’t even like water,” she said. “I won’t even go swimming. That would be a little difficult when I get on that boat and get way out in the ocean.”

remember, i said something about military precision? there you have it.

posted by roj at 11:53 pm  

Thursday, June 23, 2005

the pentagon target list

and we’re not talking about terrorists and secret bunkers… we’re talking about children in american high schools.

i remember filling out the “selective service registration” paperwork, and that was awkward on its own, but now, it seems the pentagon’s decided that that information isn’t quite specific enough, and they’ve enlisted help from companies that do america best – marketing companies.

Pentagon Creating Student Database [washington post, 2005.06.22]

The Defense Department began working yesterday with a private marketing firm to create a database of high school students ages 16 to 18 and all college students to help the military identify potential recruits in a time of dwindling enlistment in some branches.

School systems that fail to provide that information risk losing federal funds, although individual parents or students can withhold information that would be transferred to the military by their districts.

Under the new system, additional data will be collected from commercial data brokers, state drivers’ license records and other sources, including information already held by the military.

The Pentagon’s statements added that anyone can “opt out” of the system by providing detailed personal information that will be kept in a separate “suppression file.” That file will be matched with the full database regularly to ensure that those who do not wish to be contacted are not, according to the Pentagon.

trust us. we’re from the government.

truly a gem, since we were promised a quick and clean war and… no draft, right? not even considering.

if you’ll allow me a moment to comment on that comment – i think it’s the pentagon’s job to plan for wars. i’d much rather have the pentagon planning wars the conducting wars. i’d like to think that aside from the whiz-bang technology gadgets we buy with pentagon money that somewhere in that budget is enough money to cook up, consider and come up with a strategy for every concievable war situation… including the draft.

the new draft won’t be called a draft. it will precisely target (with military precision) vulnerable, under-employed individuals that are not contributing enough to the domestic economy, and bludgeon them with sales pitches about the glory of military service.

update: picked up in slate (and unfortunately, they picked up the link before i fixed the typos). no worries; sorry about the url. hi slate.

posted by roj at 2:51 pm  

Tuesday, November 2, 2004

poplar bluff high school student id

High School ID Badges Prompts Complaints [ap via abc news, november 2, 2004]

A new policy at a high school requiring students to wear identification badges has prompted some parents to complain and students to protest the move as an infringement on their rights.

ok, just another blip on the “your papers, please” trend… but then if you scratch the surface… interesting… but not terribly so, until we get a quote on this…

High School ID Badges Prompts Complaints [ap via abc news, november 2, 2004]

“We need to be able to identify people without having to walk up to them and ask if they are a student or a teacher,” said Sheldon Tyler, an assistant principal at the high school in this town of 16,700 about 150 miles south of St. Louis.

according to the poplar bluff r-1 schools Annual Public Report, 2002-2003, there were 1345 students in the high school in 2002-2003, so i imagine it’s still close to that this year. combine that with a 21-students-per-teacher ratio and a 229-students-per-administrator ratio, and we have 1345 / 21 = 64 teachers and 1345 / 229 = 6 administrators in the building.

i just have to say that if the assistant principal can’t identify 70 staff people in a school without id badges, they need a new assistant principal. i’m sure they expect the teachers to be able to recognize all the students in their classes.

now, i wonder why all this fuss over a little town in missouri?

This young century will be liberty’s century. By promoting freedom at home and abroad, we’ll build a safer world and a more hopeful America. We’ll reform our systems to help our people, to help people realize their dreams.

the president visited the school. nahh.. no connection.

posted by roj at 11:54 am  

Friday, October 1, 2004

chipping for drinks and children

confluence of sightings this evening… chipping kids and barflies.

from our good friends at the bbc, we find a story about a little bar in barcelona that has an rfid approach to running a tab…

and from our good friend joichi, we find a story about chipping schoolkids for safety.

so, there’s the state of the art rfid-for-humans as of today: it’s either the “ultimate in membership cards” or it’s the logical response to “rising concerns about student safety.” or both, probably.

posted by roj at 12:25 am  

Tuesday, August 3, 2004

your plastic please – the british id card plan

The official committee report says ID cards can make a significant contribution to fighting crime and coordinating access to public services.

The scheme will change the relationship between citizens and the state, but potential benefits outweigh such concerns, it says.

the full report [pdf] is available from the bbc.

this is apparently a big story for our friends across the pond, with substantial coverage on everything from the cost of implementing the plan to the privacy implications to the behind-closed-doors development of the plan.

national id cards are sold as protection from terrorists and criminals. i think it’s just another example of a technology solution to a human problem.

posted by roj at 5:15 am  

Tuesday, August 3, 2004

credit report security freeze

Credit Firms Resist Anti-ID Theft Measure [ap via abc news, august 1, 2004]

Little by little, a weapon against identity theft is gaining currency but few people know about it. It’s called the security freeze, and it lets individuals block access to their credit reports until they personally unlock the files by contacting the credit bureaus and providing a PIN code.

i’m ok letting a few more people know about this security freeze thing. it is your credit report. right now, you can request a security freeze in california or texas (but you have to be a victim before you can do it in texas). coming up next year, louisiana and vermont. you might want to talk to your state legislators if you’re somewhere else.

posted by roj at 4:48 am  

Friday, July 30, 2004

census bureau tells dhs where to find arabs

i’ll need to come back to this to make appropriate comments, but this was important enough that i thought i should get it “out there” fast.

The Census Bureau has provided specially tabulated population statistics on Arab-Americans to the Department of Homeland Security, including detailed information on how many people of Arab backgrounds live in certain ZIP codes.

it will be interesting to see if trust can be restored by 2010, or if that census data is already compromised.

update: also covered at brown equals terrorist.

posted by roj at 5:56 am  

Friday, July 16, 2004

chipping kids

just before i ran away at the beginning of the week, this story broke, and it’s gotten some serious legs [slashdot] since then. it seems that most of the news is about the japanese school kids [the register] that are getting chipped. it made and (of course), joi got in on it too.

joi, of course, is polishing his tin foil hat, but he has little to fear, since he’s already one of the most closely monitored humans on the face of the planet….

the lesser-reported, but still widely available chipping story this week is about the mexican attorney general and several of his staff. this, also picked up on slashdot.

based solely on a meta-analysis of the slashdot coverage, chipping kids is worth 492 comments, while chipping attorneys general is only worth 284. that makes sense to me.

a lot of the comment-content seems to be that this is a big development, but i think it’s not such a big development. we saw news about chipping princes almost a year ago, and chipping school kids in america back in october.

it’s not quite the same, but worth throwing into the mix, since this seems to be “chipping week” (in contrast to “drm week”)… we’ll tag the old people too.

i’m not completely opposed to rfid – in fact, i rather like the idea of doing it backwards.

posted by roj at 12:13 am  

Thursday, June 24, 2004

please step out of the country for a moment

unintended consequences?

according to a state department media note, persons residing in the united states on e, h, i, l, o, and p visas will be required to leave the country to renew their documents.

the note says this is because new visas require biometrics, and only foreign embassies will be equipped to handle that little feature in time for an october legislative deadline – i guess our domestic department of state offices around the country won’t be, unless, of course, you’re on an a, g or nato visa.

lots of letter mumbo-jumbo, so let me translate a bit for you:

you can stay here and get your new biometric visa if you are an ambassador or foreign official (a), or foreign government representative to an international organization (g), or to nato (nato).

on the other hand, you have to “go out and come back in to stay” if you are a treaty trader or investor (e), a temporary worker (h), media (i), an intracompany transferee (l), a worker with extraordinary ability (o), or an althlete or entertainer (p).

posted by roj at 4:47 am  

Monday, June 21, 2004

links for drm week

since this is such a popular subject right now, and i’m overwhelmed a bit with trying to invent financial models for things that should happen, i’m just going to drop a bunch of “to comment on” links related to drm here, and let the meta-roj readers do their own commenting for a while…

for background, start with drm destroys value [kevin marks, september 5, 2003] and why microsoft should get out of drm [cory doctorow, june 17, 2004] [wiki, audio]. (and, of course, the whole meta-roj blog, or at least the stuff in here, and here and here and here and here 🙂 )….

now, onto the busy newsy stuff…

Distributed Computing Industry Association Urges Motion Picture Association of America to Serve Consumers by Licensing Peer-to-Peer Digital Distribution Channel and Embracing Consumer File-Sharing [pr newswire, june 17, 2004]
Digital music protection improves, but it’s still not perfect [iht, june 21, 2004]
Permissions on Digital Media Drive Scholars to Lawbooks [new york times, june 14, 2004]
P-Cube offers DRM application [rcr news, june 15, 2004]
Biometric DRM is ’empowering’ says iVue maker [the register, june 11, 2004]
Biometric DRM [slashdot, june 6, 2004]
DRM? Dude, that stuff will mess you up… [good morning silicon valley, june 18, 2004]
Beastie Boys 5 Boroughs DRM flak [p2pnet, june 20, 2004]
Cory Doctorow on Digital Rights Management [slashdot, june 18, 2004]
Managing digital content [express computer, june 21, 2004]
Toshiba to launch new Gigabeat hard-disk audio players [pc world, june 21, 2004] (toshiba embraces microsoft drm)

Q&A with Philips’ Gottfried Dutiné [business week, june 21, 2004]

Q: How about Hollywood?

A: People are afraid of change. Back in the 1920s, when the first AM radio stations were appearing, people were worried about the livelihood of musicians. Hollywood is only now waking up. They have ignored the impact of digitalization for years. One thing that’s waking them up now is the role is Microsoft (MSFT ): They’re saying, ‘If they control [digital-rights management], we’re in deep s–t!'”

The challenge is to create solutions that benefit the entire value chain, from creators to consumers. Digital-rights management is absolutely key. We have lots of patents, including on DRM and watermarks. [Philips is a co-owner, with Sony (SNE ), of InterTrust, which just settled a lawsuit with Microsoft.] We’re practically in the driver’s seat on this, and that’s why we’re negotiating with everybody.

posted by roj at 4:02 am  
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