Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

So, does anybody still wonder why I'm protesting our National ID in Japan? It makes it SO much easier to collect random data from things like stolen PC's and aggregate them into a database if every record has a conveniently simple 11 digit ID number tagged onto it...

Thanks for this link Sen!

Audit Shows More PCs At the IRS Are Missing
By Albert B. Crenshaw, Washington Post Aug 16 2002 6:40AM

The Internal Revenue Service has lost to thieves or has misplaced another batch of computers, adding to the thousands already missing from that and other government agencies.

In the latest case, there are fears that some of the missing machines might carry private taxpayer information and Social Security numbers.

An audit released yesterday by the Office of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration found that the IRS cannot account for an unknown number of the 6,600 laptop and desktop computers it lends to volunteers who assist low-income, disabled and senior citizen taxpayers in preparing their returns.

Earlier audits found that the Customs Service couldn't account for about 2,000 computers and the Justice Department for about 400. Earlier this summer, the inspector general reported that about 2,300 computers were unaccounted for in other areas of the IRS.
SecurityFocus HOME News: Audit Shows More PCs At the IRS Are Missing

It appears that the war on Iraq has already begun. According to the Israeli web site called DEBKAfile who claim, "We Start Where The Media Stop," the war has been slowly onfolding "salami style" in small slices. Where is the Western press coverage of this? I remember that warnings of terrorists attacks on US targets were rumored to have been written about in Israeli press before 9/11. Maybe I should start reading the Israeli underground press more for my military news! Attached is a quote from their web site.
Thanks for this link MG.

First US Military Steps

1. Tuesday August 6, at 0800 hours Middle East time, US and British air bombers went into action and destroyed the Iraqi air command and control center at al-Nukhaib in the desert between Iraq and Saudi Arabia. The center contained advanced fiber optic networks recently installed by Chinese companies. DEBKA-Net-Weekly's military sources say the raid made military history. For the first time, the US air force used new precision-guided bombs capable of locating and destroying fiber optic systems. The existence of such weaponry was hitherto unknown.

Following the destruction of the facility, about 260 miles (415 kilometers), southwest of Baghdad, waves of US warplanes swept in from the Prince Sultan air base in Saudi Arabia and from US aircraft carriers in the Gulf and flew over the Iraqi capital.

The Iraqi air force and anti-aircraft system held their fire on orders from above. This deep air penetration told the Americans that the early warning radar system protecting Baghdad and its environs from intrusion by enemy aircraft and missiles was inactive.

2. Two days later, on Wednesday night, August 8, Turkey executed its first major military assault inside Iraq. DEBKAfile's military sources learn from Turkish and Kurdish informants that helicopters under US, British and Turkish warplane escort flew Turkish commandos to an operation for seizing the critical Bamerni airport in northern Iraq. This airport, just outside the Kurdish region, lies 50 miles north of the big Iraqi oil cities of the north, Kirkuk and Mosul. With the Turkish commandos was a group of US special forces officers and men. Bamerni airport was captured after a brief battle in which a unit of Iraqi armored defenders was destroyed, opening the airport for giant American and Turkish transports to deliver engineering units, heavy machinery and electronic support equipment, which were put to work at once on enlarging the field and widening its landing strips.

The American unit, reinforced, went on to capture two small Iraqi military airfields nearby.
DEBKAfile, Political Analysis, Espionage, Terrorism Security

I just got the following email from Louis:

This report may be true, but DEBKA is a _notoriously_ unreliable source, equivalent basically to a fantasy news source (like fantasy baseball). You should know.


So, now I don't know whether to believe this, but I'm going to keep digging for more coverage.

First spotted on Slashdot.

I once made a comment at a conference in Hong Kong that more than half of the Internet would soon be Chinese and that China may end up running Internet protocols before long. Everyone liked that comment (in China) and it ended up in the paper. ;-P

In protesting the Japanese government's security weaknesses, we often talk about the issue of the government's love of Microsoft products. We often talked about China's push into open source and Linux.

I think that from a security perspective and a "leap frog the West" perspective, making open source a national initiative in China makes obvious sense.

LinuxWorld Expo: Chinese government raises Linux sail
By Matt Berger
August 13, 2002 10:56 am PT

SAN FRANCISCO -- A government-sponsored software development group in China unveiled a version of the Linux operating system it has developed that it said will eventually replace Windows and Unix on all of its government PCs and servers.
Infoworld Article - LinuxWorld Expo: Chinese government raises Linux sail

Read and Release at just sent me email about this site. This is very cool. It is a book club with 60,000 readers and 30,000 books. The idea is that when you finish reading a book, you tag it and leave it on a street corner, coffee shop or what ever and post it on the site and the next person can find it and read it. When you find books and read them, you add journal entries which become part of a huge database of over 10,000 reviews and recommendations. Sounds pretty cool to me. I'm going to sign up today. This reminds me a bit of, the gps scavenger hunt site...

From the Cato Daily Dispatch
August 14, 2002

The American Bar Association voted yesterday to oppose the Bush administration's secret detention of foreign nationals after the Sept. 11 attacks, urging that their names be disclosed and they be given immediate access to lawyers and family members, Reuters reported.

The nation's largest lawyers group joined civil libertarians and others who have criticized the government's policy of secret and prolonged detentions.

In "Breaking the Vicious Cycle: Protecting Our Liberties While Fighting Terrorism," ( ) Timothy Lynch, associate director of Cato's Center for Constitutional Studies, argues that government officials have typically responded to terrorist attacks by enacting "antiterrorism" legislation designed to assuage public fears by making "the dubious claim that they can prevent terrorism by curtailing the privacy and civil liberties of the people."