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Gov't Computers Used to Find Info on "Joe the Plumber" 793

After Joe Wurzelbacher of Ohio gained fame as "Joe the Plumber" in the course of the current presidential campaign, it seems that he's drawn more than idle curiosity from people with access to what should probably be confidential information. An anonymous reader writes with a story from The Columbus Dispatch that "government insiders accessed Joe the Plumber's records soon after the McCain-Obama debate. 'Public records requested by The Dispatch disclose that information on Wurzelbacher's driver's license or his sport-utility vehicle was pulled from the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles database three times shortly after the debate. Information on Wurzelbacher was accessed by accounts assigned to the office of Ohio Attorney General Nancy H. Rogers, the Cuyahoga County Child Support Enforcement Agency and the Toledo Police Department.' Welcome to 1984."

U.S. Service Personnel Data Stolen 343

BStrunk writes "I was reading the news this morning on Reuters, when I stumbled across this article: U.S. Service Personnel Personal Data Stolen In the article, an official violated policy by taking the detailed personal information of thousands of active and reserve troops to his personal home, storing it on a personal computer, that was later stolen. In an age where domestic phone calls are monitored, a government employee was allowed to walk out of a government installation with the data on thousands of American citizens to store on an insecure personal computer? Doesn't that seem strange to you? This is a real failure, in my opinion, in government protection of its citizens. Layers of encryption and protected access was successfully bypassed to make the theft of this information as simple as stealing a home pc. Now, not only do service personnel currently serving have to worry about IEDs and being fired upon, but they are now subject to possible identity theft. A real failure. After this, how could one have faith enough to serve an inept institution?"

Dvorak on Our Modern World 420

DigitalDame2 writes "If people from the 1920s suddenly landed in the here and now, they'd probably find modern technology a bit weird. Take digital cameras for instance. Nobody would have predicted that most people would now take pictures by holding the camera out in front of them and look at the preview screen to frame a shot. Then there's the iPod phenomenon. Is anyone's music collection that interesting? How many people are being deafened by these things, and what kind of a public health disaster is this? Take a stroll through our modern world with John C. Dvorak's hilarious take."

Sun Says Java Source Already Available 304

mjdroner writes "In an InfoWorld article, Java CTO James Gosling says that source code for Java has been available for 10 years. Gosling claims Java is close to an open source model, though discounts Sun joining the Eclipse Foundation. He goes on to say that Eclipse's endorsement of the standard widget toolkit destroyed interoperability, saying it's based on the windows API, making it problematic to run on other platforms."

Aero To Be Unavailable To Pirates 630

An anonymous reader writes "Users thinking of pirating the next version of Windows may have a surprise in store: no Aero for you. The upcoming Microsoft OS will run a check to ensure the copy was legally purchased. If it comes up short, the shiniest part of the OS will not be available." From the article: "At first an optional program, the piracy check eventually became mandatory for many types of Windows XP downloads, but was not required to run any aspect of the operating system itself. Microsoft has identified reducing piracy as a key way for the company to grow its sales of Windows, which is already used on more than 90 percent of personal computers. But it's not just pirates who will be blocked from Windows' fanciest graphics. The Aero display also won't be available to those who buy Windows Vista Basic, the low-end consumer version of the operating system."

Comment Re:Good. They shouldn't be. (Score 5, Insightful) 401

Mr. Rather? Is that you? How's the effort going to break that story about the fake memos?

Or maybe you're thinking of the famous Walter Duranty and his stories about how Stalin's famines weren't really happening. Accountability didn't mean he couldn't keep his Pulitzer.

Or maybe you're thinking of the recent coverage about Hurricane Katrina where the cable and network news shows went from saying, "The media is back, baby!" to saying "Most of what we told you was wrong," without even a pause for breath.

I'm not real anxious to create any protected class of "journalists" who aren't subject to campaign speech restrictions that affect everyone else. I'd rather we all just had freedom of the press.

The value of a program is proportional to the weight of its output.