Archive | Meet The New Boss
CJR talks to two experts on problems with Freedom of Information Act requests:
It’s hard to figure out how to say this, but it often feels like the way that the Obama administration is handling FOIA requests is worse than the Bush administration. And it’s hard to know if that’s because we were so excited by Obama’s and Holder’s statements on transparency at the beginning of the administration—then it was business as usual. In my opinion, there definitely hasn’t been any change. It hasn’t gotten any better. The Obama administration has held on to a lot of the justifications that the Bush administration used to withhold records. The agencies are still applying the exemptions pretty liberally to try to withhold as much information as they can.
The headline on a recent Daily Beast story was “Are we really done with Iraq?” I doubt it, even though Barack Obama is saying our involvement there will end in a few months. Interesting that Obama conveniently left out the fact that the U.S. is withdrawing its remaining forces reluctantly, after a breakdown in negotiations with the Iraqi government:
It was in the final months of George W. Bush’s presidency that the United States negotiated an agreement to withdraw its troops from Iraq by the end of 2011.
In his first year as commander in chief, Obama promised to adhere to the timeline, even though many US and Iraqi military leaders said some American forces should remain in the country. The US position on the 2011 date changed this year, however. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and his predecessor, Robert Gates, said publicly that some US troops should remain in the country after the withdrawal. The conflict has claimed 4,200 American lives.
Proponents of remaining in Iraq argued that the smaller US footprint would be needed to train the Iraqi military on new American equipment – and as a trip wire if sectarian tensions flared up again and threatened to plunge the country into another civil war.
This song came to mind regarding Facebook because of the lyric:
You can check out any time you like,/
But you can never leave!
I wrote last month that Mark Zuckerberg seems to have the mind of an old Stalinist, because he seems dead-set on destroying the very concept of privacy in social networking. Here’s more evidence that millions of Facebook users shouldn’t assume Zuckerberg’s invention is just a good way to make friends:
The Electronic Frontier Foundation cites a September 25th, 2011 blog post by hacker and writer Nik Cubrilovic that proved Facebook’s session cookie was not being deleted upon log-out. Facebook responded with a “fix-it,” but it raises serious concerns about whether one can effectively log-out of Facebook and whether or not Facebook can track users without the benefit of cookies.
According to Cubrilovic, he waited for a year to hear from Facebook on this privacy issue that he discovered, emailing them and reaching multiple dead-ends.
Two days later, on September 27th, Cubrilovic noted, “In summary, Facebook has made changes to the logout process and they have explained each part of the process and the cookies that the site uses in detail … They want to retain the ability to track browsers after logout for safety and spam purposes, and they want to be able to log page requests for performance reasons etc.”
EFF, however, is unequivocal in stating, “Facebook can track web browsing history without cookies.”
“Facebook is able to collect data about your browser – including your IP address and a range of facts about your browser – without ever installing a cookie. They can use this data to build a record of every time you load a page with embedded Facebook content,” added the EFF.
This ability to track users outside of Facebook is particularly troubling.
EFF states, “It’s clear that Facebook does extensive cross-domain tracking, with two types of cookies and even without. With this data, Facebook could create a detailed portrait of how you use the Internet: what sites you visit, how frequently you load them, what time of day you like to access them. This could point to more than your shopping habits – it could provide a candid window into health concerns, political interests, reading habits, sexual preferences, religious affiliations, and much more.”
That Facebook keeps this data on file for 90 days (before it’s discarded or made anonymous) is a legitimate privacy concern and it could certainly be useful in the event U.S. intelligence services desires to build a profile of a particular user’s web browsing…
If the protests on Wall Street were organized by the “Tea Party”, not only would there be abundant, and largely positive,media coverage, but the police would be there to protect the protestors’ free speech rights.
Deeper thought: if these protests are meaningless and silly exercises, as the New York Times told us yesterday, why are the police beating up and arresting these people in an effort to stop them?
I am not a Bowie fan, but this seems to resonate: “…And these children that you spit on as they try to change their worlds, they are immune to your consultations, they’re quite aware of what they’re going through…”