What Is Sarah Palin Hiding in her Yahoo e-mails

Sarah Palin’s Yahoo email account was apparently hacked by the Anonymous gang of internet pranksters. Glenn Greenwald is amused that the Rethuglicans suddenly care about privacy.

crime plus 8 mailbox

Still, it’s really a wondrous, and repugnant, sight to behold the Bush-following lynch mobs on the Right melodramatically defend the Virtues of Privacy and the Rule of Law. These, of course, are the same authoritarians who have cheered on every last expansion of the Lawless Surveillance State of the last eight years — put their fists in the air with glee as the Federal Government seized the power to listen to innocent Americans’ telephone calls; read our emails; obtain our banking, credit card, and library records; and create vast data bases of every call we make and receive and every prescription we fill and every instance of travel andother vast categories of information that remain largely unknown — all without warrants or oversight of any kind and often in clear violation of the law.

The same political faction which today is prancing around in full-throated fits of melodramatic hysteria and Victim mode (their absolute favorite state of being) over the sanctity of Sarah Palin’s privacy are the same ones who scoffed with indifference as it was revealed during the Bush era that the FBI systematically abused its Patriot Act powers togather and store private information on thousands of innocent Americans; that Homeland Security officials illegally infiltrated and monitored peaceful, law-abiding left-wing groups devoted to peace activism, civil liberties and other political agendas disliked by the state; and that the telephone calls of journalists and lawyers have been illegally and repeatedly monitored.

And the same Surveillance State Worshipper leading today’s screeching —Michelle Malkin — spent the last several years deriding those who objected to the President’s illegal spying program as “privacy crusaders” and “constitutional absolutists” and “civil liberties absolutists”

Shouldn’t these same people be standing up today and insisting that if Sarah Palin has done nothing wrong, then she should have nothing to hide? If Sarah Palin isn’t committing crimes or consorting with The Terrorists, then why would she care if we can monitor her emails? And if private companies such as Yahoo can access her emails — as they can — then she doesn’t really have any “privacy” anyway, so what’s the big deal if others read through her communications, too? Isn’t that the authoritarian idiocy that has been spewed since The Day That 9/11 Changed Everything — beginning with the Constitution — to justify vesting secret and unchecked surveillance powers in our Great and Good Leaders?

[Click to read more of this great rant: What does Sarah Palin have to hide in her Yahoo e-mails? – Glenn Greenwald – Salon.com]

Privacy and IE 8

Unfortunately, much of the internet, especially the ‘free‘ internet1 relies upon cookies, and upon tracking users and click streams. That said, IE 8 and its touted much-improved privacy controls will most likely benefit everyone. Not to mention that Firefox (via the Adblock plugin) and other browsers already have these privacy options, and have had them for years.

Microsoft’s newest browser is still only in beta, but it already has the advertising world in a tizzy. Its “InPrivate” set of features on Internet Explorer 8 out this week has publishers, marketers and industry advocates worried that it could block their ability to distribute, track and even monetize what the Interactive Advertising Bureau values as a $21.2 billion-plus internet-ad industry.

[From Latest Microsoft Browser Fuels Fear – Advertising Age – News]

Computer Consultants

IE’s default settings have InPrivate Blocking turned off, but some advertisers are already worried:

For instance, the InPrivate Browsing feature — already slang-termed “porn mode” — only allows a user to hide single browsing session activities from “over the shoulder” viewers such as family members. It does not block ads from being served to the user or from advertisers counting views or clicks.

It works, and got its nickname, by letting users surf porn sites (or any other content, for that matter) without caching any content such as a list of URLs visited, cookies or other data. That could mean no cookies on your computer — as well as no cookies for future use by marketers or publishers, although only during selected InPrivate sessions.

However, it is the InPrivate Blocking feature that seems potentially more worrisome for advertisers. InPrivate Blocking acts to inform users about sites that consistently track and collect browsing histories. In fact, when a user opts into an InPrivate session, it will automatically block third-party content if it detects that the third party has “seen” the user more than 10 times. So, for instance, if the third party is advertising.com and it is serving ads across 10 sites a user has visited during an InPrivate session, it will begin to block advertising.com tracking codes and possibly content on the 11th website.

Mike Zaneis asks:

“With IE’s market share, will so many people activate that so that it could affect the revenue side of the industry?” he asked. “Any content from anywhere that appears as third parties, whether advertising or stock tickers or news feeds, all appear as third parties, and in theory their content could be blocked.

“And if you’re blocking all third parties, you’re also going to block all analytic companies,” he said. “You’d be blocking the companies that do the auditing of ad delivery.” He’s particularly concerned about the potential disruption to the entire accounting system of internet advertising.

[Microsoft Internet Explorer general manager Dean] Hachamovitch concedes that IE 8 has no way of knowing if the content is an ad, a stock tracker or a newspaper column. It can only tell if it is third-party content. So that does mean that any content, say, ads, analytics and more, can be blocked.

Will the great internet gold-rush come to an end? Will DoubleClick have to change their policies? Stay tuned…

  1. for instance, how many of you really click on the ads at this site? Not many, I presume, though Google still keeps track of you, and of our site’s content to theoretically serve targeted advertising []

Chertoff Misleads on Laptop Searches

Surprising nobody, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Mike Chertoff mouthed statements that could be considered misleading in polite company, or out and out lies here in the Big Potato. Senator Russ Feingold calls Chertoff on Chertoff’s bs.

Pip and his MBA

[Pip investigates a laptop]

Secretary Chertoff’s description of the newly published DHS policy on laptop searches was not just misleading – it was flat-out wrong. In an interview with Wired.com, the Secretary stated that “[w]e only do [laptop searches] when we put you into secondary [screening] and we only put you into secondary [screening] … when there is a reason to suspect something.”

But the actual policy that DHS published says the exact opposite. It does not even mention secondary screening, let alone limit laptop searches to those cases, and it expressly states that Americans’ laptops may be searched “absent individualized suspicion.”

Secretary Chertoff’s blatant mischaracterization of the DHS policy contradicts his claim to be engaging in greater “openness and transparency” on this important issue. His statements make it clearer than ever that as we work to protect our national security, Congress must also act to protect law-abiding Americans against highly intrusive searches.

[From Chertoff Misleads on Laptop Searches, Feingold Charges | Threat Level from Wired.com]

I’m glad Senator Feingold didn’t run for President – he wouldn’t have won, and instead he can concentrate on doing good in the Senate.

bonus, and totally unrelated, except in a vague sort of totalitarian way:

How to properly pronounce the Chinese capital, Beijing.


Lawmakers Make Web-Advertising Inquiries

Worth noting.

Senior lawmakers are launching an investigation into potential privacy problems stemming from companies that tailor Internet advertising to consumers’ Web surfing.

Four top Democrats and Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee sent letters to 33 companies asking detailed questions about how they serve Web ads to customers and whether they collect or store data on people’s Internet searches.

The letters went to large companies such as Comcast Corp., Time Warner Cable Inc., AT&T Inc., Verizon Communications Inc., Google Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Yahoo Inc. as well as smaller companies such EarthLink Inc.

The letters were signed by John Dingell (D., Mich.), Joe Barton (R., Texas), Edward Markey (D., Mass.) and Cliff Stearns (R., Fla.).

[From Lawmakers Make Web-Advertising Inquiries – WSJ.com]

Two Republicans, two Democrats. Hmm, apparently non-partisanship can occur, if need be.