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The Courts

Journal Journal: Computer Crime Disparity

There's a little bit of a soap opera going on around here (Philadelphia), wherein one insecure anchor (Larry Mendte) spied on the other (Alycia Lane) by traipsing through her Work e-mail account, and two personal accounts. In a bid to rid himself of the competition - his own coworker - it has come out he's leaked details of her personal life to a local reporter, the last of which was her run in with the law in New York. (Other episodes include infamous bikini pics to NFL Network anchor Rich Eisen. [alas! No pics!])

Normally celebrity news bores me, but something caught my eye:

The details of Mendte's spying are spelled out in a federal information charging him with a single felony count of accessing e-mail without authorization, to which he is expected to plead guilty. A hearing is set for Aug. 22(emphasis mine)

This really frosts me since Mendte accessed multiple accounts 537 times - and is only being charged with one count! When the feds seized his computer in June, it was noted he used a keylogger to grab her yahoo password, and pass along personal information that ultimately got her fired - essentially a crime worth thousands to Lane.

I know from reading here, and elsewhere, that many times prosecutors would go ahead and charge younger people [read: students] with a crime for each access, as well as wire-tapping statutes for the keylogger. So, for 537 illegal accesses to someone else's computer, the potential jail time could be in the dozens of years. Also, there is the fact the servers are across the country from each other, so this adds a layer of interfering with interstate communications, and I find myself wondering about this disparity between how Mendte is being treated compared to others who have had many more charges from essentially the same thing.

This one count thing really burns me when I see younger kids being stupid - changing grades, say - and getting multiple federal charges, and being likened to international terrorist and criminals while here Mendte, a "celebrity", no doubt being able to afford a good lawyer, getting off scot-free by comparison.

So, my question is this: Am I over reacting, or do others feel the same way? I"ve been contemplating making a stink about this, so I'd really like to know if I should put out the effort or let it die here.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Can This Fruit Be Saved? - Popular Science

I was just reading about this oncoming banana disease, and flowing through my tiny little head were questions about how bananas will be handled by U.S. law.

The details: We're all eating the same kind of banana, the Cavendish, which are all essentially a clone of the same damn thing. Along comes this disease, which wiped out another variety years ago, ready to wipe out our Cavendishes leaving a dearth of bananas for us to consume.

A race is on, the article says, to find a replacement—which means breeding a new genetic copy.

So, my questions are: how do you think the patent rights of bananas will shake out if the Cavendish is eliminated and a mega-corp scores a genetic patent and;

Do you see the banana, an entrenched, cloned, monoculture as an eerie model of what the Windows world can expect in years to come?

Begun, the clone war has!


Journal Journal: Need help with a monitor selection

Well my venerable NEC FE700 has started that slow decline toward death. Before it fails completely I figure I'd better get a new monitor. Here's my requirements:
  • minimum 17" — I do a lot of photographic work and like the size. 19" would be ideal for the space I have to work in, but the ultimate arbiter is my wallet (which leads to the next criteria)
  • Cathode ray — I've heard that besides being cheaper CRT is better for color fidelity. Is this true? Either way, at the prices CRTs are going for, and the lightness of my bank account, it looks like CRT is the way to go.

If you have any suggestions, or warnings, I'd love to hear from you.


Journal Journal: Cashing in on Wikipedia

You know, the more I think about wikipedia the more I think it could easily be paid for by the likes of Brittanica, etc.
"Verified Pages"
Duplicate Entries in the Wikipedia that are checked by professionals then "frozen". The "Edit" buttons are either grayed out or point to the latest 'unverified' update.
Content providers--Those that do edit pages 'upward,' improving accuracy, can 'sign up' where their work is tracked (anonymously, if they wish). Those who 'score high' in accuracy, and wish to try their hand at professional quality control, can sell edited articles of their interests to verified content providers.
Perhaps they could click on the afore mentioned "Verified Content Provider's" edit button and be directed to an affiliated account where their work can be tracked by the company. Their work is 'free content, with weight' until frozen, creating 'paid, guaranteed content.'
The Verified Content Provider gets competitive market where the writing and editing jobs go to those that prove their mettle, lowering their production costs while raising quality.
Those in all educational pursuits, professionals, enthusiasts, students and teachers, benefit from a system that helps raise the bar in quality information.
Is this doable? Am I covering old ground, or is this the elephant in the room?

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