World Without Oil: the online game

“Play it – before you live it”

There’s a “very real possibility” that someday soon people will wake up worrying how they’ll get to work . . . because the world ran out of oil the night before. If you want to know how you and your neighbors will react, tune into the web. An “interactive month-long alternate reality event” is underway to explore every aspect of how prepared, or unprepared, society is to face a World Without Oil. The event began April 30.

The participation architect for this project is Jane McGonigal, who was named by MIT in the Fall of 2006 as one of the top 35 innovators changing the world through technology. read more

Save Internet Radio. Act Now!

Internet Radio in Danger

A ruling by an obscure regulatory agency threatens to silence Internet radio. After intense lobbying from the recording industry, the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) is about to mandate exponential increases — by as much as 1,200 percent — in royalties paid every time webcasters stream a song online.

If these unfair rules are allowed to go into effect on July 15, many public, independent and smaller Internet radio stations will have to shut down. At stake is the diversity of musical choice that the Internet has come to represent for more than 50 million listeners. read more

My National Security Letter Gag Order

Article published in the Washington Post 2007 03 23

It is the policy of The Washington Post not to publish anonymous pieces. In this case, an exception has been made . . . The Post confirmed the legitimacy of this submission by verifying it with the author’s attorney and by reviewing publicly available court documents.

The Justice Department’s inspector general revealed on March 9 that the FBI has been systematically abusing one of the most controversial provisions of the USA Patriot Act: the expanded power to issue “national security letters.” It no doubt surprised most Americans to learn that between 2003 and 2005 the FBI issued more than 140,000 specific demands under this provision — demands issued without a showing of probable cause or prior judicial approval — to obtain potentially sensitive information about U.S. citizens and residents. It did not, however, come as any surprise to me. read more

Does your email belong to you?

Did the government have the right to examine Steven Warshak's private emails without a search warrant? Email privacy is an issue much larger than the Warshak debate. The EFF [Electronic Frontier Foundation] informs us that companies which offer both internet search and email storage can collect a massive amount of personal information about users . . .

Cease and Desist Letters

If someone misuses your name and wrongfully uses it to promote their product or service, you probably ought to send a “cease and desist” letter naming every entity and person associated with this misleading bit of information. Include in it a threat to take every possible legal action in order to “protect my privacy and protect me from the misleading insinuation that I am in any wise associated with or endorsing your product, which it is specifically not my intention to do.” read more

Steal an election, courtesy Diebold

Princeton University researchers show how easy it is to steal votes using Diebold software in an electronic voting machine. In this fascinating video, we see how a substitute memory card can be installed in under a minute containing software which steals votes from one candidate and gives them to another – and then deletes itself so the vote-stealing cannot be detected.

Full story and research data at

The fastest and easiest way to insert the contaminated memory card in a Diebold machine is by opening the machine’s security door with a key. Installing a card with the vote-stealing software takes less than a minute. The very same security door key is used in every Diebold voting machine, so there are thousands of keys in circulation, and, “any locksmith will make a copy.” But just in case a malicious hacker didn’t have free access to a copy of his own, Diebold posted a picture of the key on its website. It’s easy to get 3D keys made from the picture. It’s been done. Diebold removed the picture of the key from its website but Digg reports you can still see a screenshot of it on the Brad Blog. read more