Thursday, April 13, 2006

Why I'm not as scared about terrorists as I used to be

The first word:
Recently, postings on jihadist Web sites have expressed increasing concern about spyware, password protection, and surveillance on chat rooms and instant-messaging systems.
"Recently"? What you're telling me is that there are probably spammers out there with al Qaeda's credit card information. And why haven't we actually caught them using these tools?
There is no evidence that Internet companies such as Google, Yahoo and Microsoft have cooperated with federal spy agencies to monitor terrorist communications. But privacy groups point out that it would be fairly easy for the federal government to subpoena any of these companies' records or issue a national security letter to them, essentially requiring them to turn over the data. In those instances, the companies would be precluded from disclosing publicly what they turned over to federal officials.

Yahoo and Microsoft's MSN are quiet about how much user data they save, and for how long, but Google makes clear that it wants to store more and more user data on its servers, said Daniel Brandt, founder of a privacy-advocacy Web site called Google Watch.

"From a jihadist perspective, they are absolutely right. They should avoid Google like the plague," Brandt said.
I don't know why that makes me laugh, but it does.

Update: Apparently gangs do it, too. I imagine that we're in for another round of "hard edged urbanism" in blogging, now, just as it's hit most other genres of art and literature: extremism, imitators, gnashing about "art expressing reality or influencing youth to commit violence," and finally.... commercialization and whinging about 'authenticity'. I gotta say, though, the juxtaposition of hard-core bangers and geekdom is pretty striking... until you remember the correlation between gangs and other forms of technophilia -- cars, guns, video games. If it's worth doing, it's worth being extreme!

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