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See You in Court

Are you posting anonymous comments on websites and blogs? How safe is your identity? Can you remain anonymous when you post a comment? In the state of North Carolina, you may remain anonymous when making contributions to online sites.

However, an Indiana Judge recently offered a ruling on how site visitors’ private information should be handled in the future. The ruling may compel companies to divulge the identifying information of people who post comments on their websites or blogs. For example, a slanderous comment that works itself into court may result in a subpoena, not only for the alleged slanderer, but also for the all of the users in the discussion thread where the defamation occurred. Many anonymous commentators feared this day would come.

In the future, companies may change the way they engage their website visitors when gathering identifying data from the user. Firms may also have to monitor and moderate the posts as they are submitted.

On the other hand, the visitors might change the way they engage a website where user contributions are posted and archived. The users might falsify their identity or they may choose to do business on a different Internet site.

Other states are keeping this case under close watch and consideration. This type of ruling may be coming to your state soon.

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Treasure Hunt

Archaeology is not customarily in the news. Just recently, a group of archaeologists have ventured out to Guatemala on a treasure hunt for Mayan gold. They believe the treasure in buried beneath a lake.

The team is guided by a freshly deciphered book with a treasure map inside. The book mysteriously appeared, was donated to a museum, and was just recently decoded. Sounds like an adventure already. Who would not want to go on this fantastic discovery? Sign me up.

The team is looking for the ruined Mayan capital city of Atlan. The book claims the city was ruined by an earthquake and it was buried under the lake. At the time of the earthquake, Atlan contained 156 gold tablets or eight tons of gold. This book should be pivotal in helping the team find the treasure.

Society, as a whole, needs a real live adventure story to help us escape for just a second or two. If you have the opportunity, read about this story in more detail, strap on a pair of Indiana Jones boots and a hat, and escape for a moment. The archaeology team is packed and set to go.

Bring the heat!

Legislators and the Justice Department are considering ways to arm Federal agents in Mexico. This blogger agrees. BRING THE HEAT!

Jaime Zapata and Victor Avila, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (I.C.E.) agents, were traveling in Mexico on their way to Mexico City on February 15, 2011. They were driving a U.S. Embassy issue diplomatic-marked SUV. The SUV was ambushed and the agents shot down. The ICE agents were unarmed. Zapata was fatally shot and Victor Avila was injured. The shootout must have lasted seconds, but must have felt like an eternity for Victor Avila as a survivor.

 The agents’ safety has increasingly been jeopardized over last few years due to Mexico’s war declaration on drugs. In 1990, an agreement was made between US and Mexico to have the US Federal agents unarmed while in Mexico. The state department must get involved to change this agreement. A treaty would change the 1990 agreement. Our agents need protection while they work. The “game” has changed and the rules need to change as well.

Mexico has made no effort to help wipe out the drug cartels. This attack has come against one of our countrymen helping to protect us. Our borders need to be secured. Our agents need protection.

Stop the Stalking

Facebook recently shut down a cyber stalking application. Dan Loewenherz developed the application, named The Breakup Notifier.

When installed on your Facebook account, the app claims to monitor a person’s romantic relationships and will send you an alert as soon as the relationship status changes. If you have an interest in that person, the “change of status” alarm may be priceless.

Word of the app spread quickly, and it was a big hit. Facebook immediately shut them down, claiming the shut down was due to the popularity of the app, not about issues of information security, privacy, or morality.

Whatever the reason for the shutdown, The Breakup Notifier is not available.  Could it be the Facebook is trying to limit its liability if its members choose to use it for malevolent intent? From another perspective, could Facebook simply be trying to protect its members?

Once again, a tool has been made available to the human race, and people are abusing the tool. Cyber Social networking is the tool. Cyber stalking and identity theft criminals have seized upon the ease the social networking on the World Wide Web.

Analogous to a loaded gun, caution lies in the hands of the end user in this instance. Social network users should use extreme caution when creating online accounts. Security settings should be considered and the content of the accounts must be considered vulnerable.

Below is a video about a phone app that deletes your text messages automatically.

Pajama Protest

Officials announced Friday, February 25 that the Wisconsin state capital would close on Sunday afternoon, February 27, 2010 for cleaning. The protestors’ slumber party will be over, which have been hold up in the building since Governor Walker and the Republican led state congress is presenting a bill that would limit the government service workers from certain collective bargaining privileges. The building, schedule to close Sunday evening, will reopen the next morning at 8 AM.

 

Protestors have been living and sleeping inside the capitol building, around the rotunda. Signs are glued all over the capital building’s walls and a daycare center has been set up outside lawmakers’ office space. Some threatened to hold out during the cleaning by not picking up their belongings and leaving the building. Officials announced the grounds are available to the demonstrators.

The protestors’ demonstration makes the claim that their unions should retain their right to collective bargaining for employee benefits such as pensions.  The demonstrations have now gone to a lengthy 12 days as of Saturday, February 26.

The sleeping bags’ soft insulation may not create the ring loud in the ears of the world that the protestors intended. The slumber party does not seem to be helping their cause.

In addition to the union-sponsored capital campout, the Democrat Wisconsin Senators of Wisconsin have fled the state, avoiding a vote on the Republican’s attempt to trim their state’s budget. This blogger is disappointed in their lack of leadership.  What a sorry example for the youth of their state. Conflict is never resolved by avoiding conflict. The Democrat Senators cannot run from their obligations.

Do the protestors feel that democracy and the Wisconsin republic have failed them? Why do the workers feel like they are entitled to more when the state is failing financially? What are they doing to sacrifice for their community?

Are the Senators advocating for anarchy rather than respecting the rule of law, which is the foundation of a functioning republic?

Tweet Revolution

A recent uprising (A.K.A. attempted revolution) in Egypt has presented some challenges for the ruling Egyptian government. The government attempted to calm the protestors and riots by shutting down the Internet and cell phone services. The government hoped to limit protest leaders from organizing and communicating with the demonstrators.

After the reports of the technology services not being available, communication found a way.  Google engineers collaborated with Twitter to develop a piece of software that would take plain voicemail and convert the voicemail into text that posts as a Tweet. They named this software Speak2Tweet. The phone numbers for the voicemail were shared across Egypt and the world could hear Egypt again.

How has technology changed the landscape of the typical revolution? After this chapter of Egyptian history is written, will historians be able to quantify the role played by technology?

As of February 4th, protestors logged 2000 tweets. Did these tweets assist in organizing the demonstrators? The mob psychology theory was raised by another blogger who says “An individual’s cost in participating in a revolution is s function of how many other people are involved.”  For example, a 2010 snowball fight at UNC-Chapel Hill was organized via Facebook. UNC students showed up for the snowball fight to have fun and socialize with friends. Facebook was simply a tool used to help orchestrate the event for the people.

Did the tweets simply serve to keep the Egyptian protestors voices “on the world stage”, which gave them leverage to apply further pressure on their governmet leaders?

We may lose tangibles, but courage, faith, love, joy, and honor can never be stripped from us.

Airline Stowaway – First in 39 years

In a recent story reported by WBTV in Charlotte, NC we read of an airline stowaway and a pending lawsuit. The parents of the stowaway have consulted with a lawyer to consider a lawsuit against the airport.

In November, 2010 Delvonte Tisdale, a Charlotte teen, breached security at Charlotte airport and allegedly climbed into the wheel well of a commercial airliner and became a stowaway. He was the first airline stowaway since 1972. His mangled body was later found near Boston, Massachussetts.

Speculations have been made as to the reason for his security breach in order to board the plane. Regardless of the reason, a security violation occurred.

This blogger is perplexed by the family considering a lawsuit. One cannot imagine being the owner of a car, having it stolen, the perpetrator dies in an auto accident in the stolen car, and the perpetrator’s family sues the owner of the car for wrongful death. If this case ever sees the light of a courtroom, this blogger prays that the laws of North Carolina are set up correctly and that it would be a trial-by-judge, not jury. Emotions will definitely run wild in a trial-by-jury case.

On another note, this blogger would like to speak to the national security implications of this story. Why was this story not nationally noted and publicized? In my opinion, the TSA was trying to avoid scrutiny and widespread panic during the holiday travel season. The airline was trying to maximize its profits for it shareholders. Finally, the national news media were probably more concerned with other stories, such as full body scanners.

The security of our nation’s airways was breached by a trespasser. Plain and simple. TSA, airlines, national media do your job; close the gap. Reward his family we should not.

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