Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

Recently in the Privacy Category

A few weeks ago I was asked to make some remarks at the MIT-Harvard Conference on the Uyghur Human Rights Crisis. When the student organizer of the conference, Zuly Mamat, asked me to speak at the event, I wasn't sure what I would say because I'm definitely not an expert on this topic. But as I dove into researching what is happening to the Uyghur community in China, I realized that it connected to a lot of the themes I have run up against in my own work, particularly the importance of considering the ethical and social implications of technology early on in the design and development process. The Uyghur human rights crisis demonstrates how the technology we build, even with the best of intentions, may be used to surveil and harm people. Many of my activities these days are focused on the prevention of misuse of technology in the future, but it requires more than just bolting ethicists onto product teams - I think it involves a fundamental shift in our priorities and a redesign of the relationship of the humanities and social sciences with engineering and science in academia and society. As a starting point, I think it is critically important to facilitate conversations about this problem through events like this one. You can view the video of the event here and read my edited remarks below.

Edited transcript.

Hello, I'm Joi Ito, the Director of the MIT Media Lab. I'm probably the least informed about this topic of everyone here, so first of all, I'm very grateful to all of the people who have been working on this topic and for helping me get more informed. I'm broadly interested in human rights, its relationship with technology and our role as Harvard and MIT and academia in general to intervene in these types of situations. So I want to talk mainly about that.

One of the things to think about not just in this case, but also more broadly, is the role of technology in surveillance and human rights. In the talks today, we've heard about some specific examples of how technology is being used to surveil the Uyghur community in China, but I thought I'd talk about it a little more generally. I specifically want to address the continuing investment in and ascension of the engineering and sciences in the world through ventures like MIT's new College of Computing, in terms of their influence and the scale at which they're being deployed. I believe that thinking about the ethical aspects of these investments is essential.

I remember when J.J. Abrams, one of our Director's Fellows and a film director for those of you who don't know, visited the Media Lab. We have 500 or so ongoing projects at the Media Lab and he asked some of the students, "Do you do anything that involves things like war or surveillance or things that you know, harm people?" And all of the students said, "No, of course we don't do that kind of thing. We make technology for good." And then he said, "Well let me re-frame that question, can you imagine an evil villain in any of my shows or movies using anything here to do really terrible things?" And everybody went, "Yeah!"

What's important to understand is that most engineers and scientists are developing tools to try to help the world, whether it's trying to model the brains of children in order to increase the quality and the effectiveness of education, or using sensors to help farmers grow crops. But what most people don't spend enough time thinking about is the dual use nature of the technology - the fact that technology can easily be used in ways that the designer did not intend.

Now, I think there are a lot of arguments about whose job it is to think about how technology can be used in unexpected and harmful ways. If I took the faculty in the Media Lab and put them on a line where at one end, the faculty believe we should think about all the social implications before doing anything, and at the other end they believe we should just build stuff and society will figure it out, I think there would be a fairly even distribution along the line. I would say that at MIT that's also roughly true. My argument is that we actually have to think more about the social implications of technology before designing it. It's very hard to un-design things, and I'm not saying that it's an easy task, and I'm not saying that we have to get everything perfect, but I think that having a more coherent view of the world and these implications is tremendously important.

The Media Lab is a little over 30 years old, and I've been there for 8 years, but I was very involved in the early days of the Internet. The other day, I was describing to Susan Silbey, the current faculty chair at MIT, how when we were building the Internet we thought if we could just provide a voice to everyone, if we could just connect everyone together, we would have world peace. I really believed that when we started, and I was expressing to Susan how naïve I feel now that the Internet has become something that's more akin to the little girl in the Exorcist, for those of you who have seen the movie. But Susan, being an anthropologist and historian said, "Well when you guys talked about connecting everybody together, we knew. The social scientists knew that it was going to be a mess."

One of the really important things I learned from my conversation with Susan was the extent to which the humanities have thought about and fought about a lot of these things. History has taught us a lot of these things. I know that it's somewhat taboo to invoke Nazi Germany in too many conversations, but if you look at the data that was collected in Europe to support social services, much of it was later used by the Nazis to roundup and persecute the Jews. And it's not exactly the same situation, but a lot of the databases that we're creating to help poor and disadvantaged families are also being used by the immigration services to find and target people for deportation.

Even the databases and technology that we use and create for the best of intentions can be subverted depending on who's in charge. So thinking about these systems is tremendously important. At MIT, we are, and I think that Zuly mentioned some of the specifics, working with tech companies that are working directly on surveillance technology or are in some way creating technologies that could be used for surveillance in China. Again thinking about the ethical issues is very important. I will point out that there are whole disciplines that work in this, STS, science technology in society, that's really what they do. They think about the impact of science and technology in society. They think about it in a historical context and provide us with a framework for thinking about these things. Thinking about how to integrate anthropology and STS into both the curriculum and the research at MIT is tremendously important.

The other thing to think about is allowing engineers more freedom to explore the application and impact of their work. One of the problems with scholarship is that many researchers don't have the freedom to fully test their hypotheses. For example, in January, Eric Topol tweeted about his paper that showed that of the 15 most impactful machine learning and medicine papers that had been published, none of them had been clinically validated. Many cases, in machine learning, you get some data, you tweak it and you get a very high effectiveness and then you walk away. Then the clinicians come in and they say "oh, but we can't replicate this, and we don't have the expertise" or "we tried it but it doesn't seem to work in practice." We're not providing, if you're following an academic path, the proper incentives for the computer scientists to integrate with and work closely with the clinicians in the field. One of the other challenges that we have is that our reward systems and the incentives that are in place don't encourage technologists to explore the social implications of the tech they produce. When this is the case, you fall a little bit short of actually getting to the question, "well, what does this actually mean?"

I co-teach a course at Harvard Law School called the Applied Challenges in Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence, and through that class we've explored some research that considers the ethical and social impact of AI. To give you an example, one Media Lab project that we discussed was looking at risk scores used by the criminal justice system for sentencing and pre-trial assessments and bail. The project team initially thought "oh, we could just use a blockchain to verify the data and make the whole criminal sentencing system more efficient." But as the team started looking into it, they realized that the whole criminal justice system was somewhat broken. And as they started going deeper and deeper into the problem, they realized that while these prediction systems were making policing and judging possibly more efficient, they were also taking power away from the predictee and giving it to the predictor.

Basically, these automated systems were saying "okay, if you happen to live in this zip code, you will have a higher recidivism rate." But in reality, rearrest has more to do with policing and policy and the courts than it does with the criminality of the individual. By saying that this risk score can accurately predict how likely it is that this person will commit another crime, you're attributing the agency to the individual when actually much of the agency lies with the system. And by focusing on making the prediction tool more accurate, you end up ignoring existing weaknesses and biases in the overall justice system and the cause of those weaknesses. It's reminiscent of Caley Horan's writing on the history of insurance and redlining. She looks at the way in which insurance pricing, called actuarial fairness, became a legitimate way to use math to discriminate against people and how it took the debate away from the feminists and the civil rights leaders and made it an argument about the accuracy of algorithms.

The researchers who were trying to improve the criminal risk scoring system have completely pivoted to recommending that we stop using automated decision making in criminal justice. Instead they think we should use technology to look at the long term effects of policies in the criminal justice system and not to predict the criminality of individuals.

But this outcome is not common. I find that whether we're talking about tenure cases or publications or funding, we don't typically allow our researchers to end up in places that contradict the fundamental place where they started. So I think that's another thing that's really important. How do we create both research and curricular opportunities for people to explore their initial assumptions and hypotheses? As we think about this and this conversation, we should ask "how can we integrate this into our educational system?" Our academic process is really important and I love that we have scholars that are working on this, but how we bring this mentality to engineers and scientists is something that I'd love to think about and maybe in the Breakout Sessions we can work on that.

Now I want to pivot a little bit and talk about the role of academia in the Uyghur crisis. I know there are people who view this meeting as provocative or political and it reminds me of the March for Science that we had several years ago. I gave a talk at the first March for Science. Before the talk, when I was at a dinner table with a bunch of faculty (I won't name the faculty), someone said, "Why are you doing that? It's very political. We try not to be political, we're just scientists." And I said, "Well when it becomes political to tell the truth, when being supportive of climate science is political, when trying to support fundamental scientific research is political, then I'm political." So I don't want to be partisan, but I think if the truth is political, then I think we need to be political.

And this is not a new concept. If you look at the history of MIT, or just the history of academic freedom (there's the Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure) you will find a bunch of interesting MIT history. In the late 40s and 50s, during the McCarthy period, society was going after communists and left wing people out of the fear of Communism. And many institutions were turning over their left wing Marxist academics, or firing them under pressure from the government. But MIT was quite good about protecting their Marxist affiliated faculty, and there's a very famous case that shows this. Dirk Struik, a math professor at MIT, was indicted by the Middlesex grand jury on charges of advocating the overthrow of the US and Massachusetts governments in 1951. At the time MIT suspended him with pay, but once the court abandoned the case due to lack of evidence and the fact that states shouldn't be ruling on this type of charge, MIT reinstated Professor Struik. This is a quote from the president at the time, James Killian about the incident.

"MIT believes that its faculty, as long as its members abide by the law, maintain the dignity and responsibility of their position, must be free to inquire, to challenge and to doubt in their search for what is true and good. They must be free to examine controversial matters, to reach conclusions of their own, to criticize and be criticized, and only through such unqualified freedom of thought and investigation can an educational institution, especially one dealing with science, perform its function of seeking truth."

Many of you may wonder why we have tenure at universities. We have tenure to protect our ability to question authority, to speak the truth and to really say what we think without fear of retribution.

There's another important case that demonstrates MIT's willingness to protect its faculty and students. In the early 1990s, MIT and a bunch of Ivy League schools came up with this idea to provide financial aid for low income students on a need basis. The Ivy League schools got together to coordinate on how they would assess need and how they would figure out how much financial aid to give to students. Weirdly, the United States government sued the Ivy League schools saying that this was an antitrust case, which was ridiculous because it was a charity. Most of the other universities caved in after this lawsuit, but Chuck Vest the president at the time said, "MIT has a long history of admitting students based on merit and a tradition of ensuring these students full financial aid." He refused to deny students financial aid, and a multi-year lawsuit ensued, in which eventually MIT won. And then this need-based scholarship system was enshrined in actual policy in the United States.

Many of the people who are here at MIT today probably don't remember this, but there's a great documentary film that shows MIT students and faculty literally clashing with police on these streets in an anti-Vietnam War protest 50 years ago. So in the not so distant past, MIT has been a very political place when it meant protecting our freedom to speak up.

More recently, I personally experienced this support for academic freedom. When Chelsea Manning's fellowship at the Harvard Kennedy School was rescinded, she emailed me and asked if she could speak at the Media Lab. I was thinking about it, and I asked the administration what they thought, and they thought it was a terrible idea. And when they told me that I said, "You know, now that means I have to invite her." I remember our Provost Marty saying, "I know." And that's what I think is wonderful about being here at MIT: the fact that the administration understands that faculty must be allowed to act independently of the Institute. Another example is when the administration was deciding what to do about funding from Saudi Arabia. The administration released a report, which has a few critics, that basically said, "we're going to let people decide what they want to do." I think each group or faculty member at MIT is permitted to make their own decision about whether to accept funding from Saudi Arabia. MIT, in my experience, has always stood by the academic freedom of whatever unit at the Institute that's trying to do what it wants to do.

I think we're in a very privileged place and I think that it's not only our freedom, but our obligation to speak up. It's also our responsibility to fight for the academic freedom of people in our community as well as people in other communities, and provide leadership. I really do want to thank the organizers of this conference for doing that. I think it's very bold, but I think it's very becoming of both MIT and Harvard. I read a very disturbing report from Human Rights Watch that talked about how Chinese scholars overseas are starting to have difficulties in speaking up, which I think is somewhat unprecedented because of the capabilities of today's technology. And I think there are similar reports about scholars from Saudi Arabia. The ability of these countries to surveil their citizens overseas and impinge on their academic freedom is a tremendously important topic to discuss, and think about both technically, legally and otherwise. I think it's also a very important thing for us to talk about how to protect the freedoms of students studying here.

Thank you again for making this topic now very front of mind for me. On the panel I'd love to try to describe some concrete steps that we can take to continue to protect this freedom that we have. Thank you.


Transcription and editing: Samantha Bates

I've seen a number of posts about AOL giving access to information about its customers to the Department of Homeland Security. The posts seem to be citing an article from October 3 by Martin McKinney in "The Financial Reporter (U.K.)". The quote refers to a Department of Commerce report. I can't find the original Martin McKinney post or the DoC report. Does anyone have the original sources? Also, is AOL giving the DHS any MORE information than other consumer Internet companies in the US of that size? It seems to me that we should ASSUME that everyone is giving "unfettered access" to DHS when/if requested.

Most of the blog posts seem to lead to this post on

via Scott via kellee's blog

US teens 'reject' key freedoms

A significant number of US high-school students regard their constitutional right to freedom of speech as excessive, according to a new survey.

Over a third of the 100,000 students questioned felt the First Amendment went "too far" in guaranteeing freedom of speech, press, worship and assembly.

Only half felt newspapers should be allowed to publish stories that did not have the government's approval.

It's a bit scary when "normal" shifts like this.

Here is an old Encyclopedia Britannica Films video clip from 1946 (I think) about despotism that they showed to children in schools. Amazing how things have changed. I wonder what kids would think now watching this clip.

Via Greg Elin

I realized that I haven't made a new PGP key in a while. I just installed the new PGP and made a new key. I've signed it with all of the old keys that I can remember the passwords for and revoked the second to the oldest one. The most recent one still works, but please switch to this one as soon as you can.

Here is the public key: joi.asc and here is the fingerprint: B652 199B 6996 219B 62AE 6364 E349 8387 783D 4E0A

I keep wondering if I should make expiring keys, but it seems like it would be inconvenient as well. What do you all do?

AP via Yahoo
Man Killed in London Not Linked to Blasts

By PATRICK QUINN, Associated Press Writer Sat Jul 23, 7:16 PM ET

LONDON - Police identified the man who was chased down in a subway and shot to death by plainclothes officers as a Brazilian and expressed regret Saturday for his death, saying they no longer believed he was tied to the recent terror bombings.


The man shot at the Stockwell subway station was identified as Jean Charles de Menezes, 27. Witnesses said he was wearing a heavy, padded coat when plainclothes police chased him into a subway car, pinned him to the ground and shot him in the head and torso.


Police initially said the victim attracted police attention because he left a house that was under surveillance after Thursday's bungled bombings, in which devices planted on three subway trains and a double-decker bus failed to detonate properly. Stockwell is near Oval station, one of those targeted.

"He was then followed by surveillance officers to the station. His clothing and his behavior at the station added to their suspicions," police said Friday.

Adds new meaning to "false positive". He attracted attention, behaved in a way that added to their suspicions, and was pinned to the ground and shot in the head and torso. Police express regret. I don't know the details, but I sure hope the this isn't just swept under the rug. It reminds me of a particular line from Kofi Annan's speech in Madrid in March. "Upholding human rights is not merely compatible with a successful counter-terrorism strategy. It is an essential element in it."

And speaking of false positives, I read in an aviation magazine today that the US is proposing to force all flights that fly through US airspace to require clearing their passenger manifests with the notoriously noisy and full of false-positives US no-fly list even if the flights do not take off or land in the US. Obviously, some airlines are upset.

Note to self: Don't wear baggy clothes in London, don't associate with people who have names that might sound scary, and don't go to flight school.

via Boris

Ethan Zuckerman @ Global Voices Online
Second draft of Anonymous Blogging Guide

I posted, some weeks back, the first draft of a technical guide to anonymous blogging. I've gotten great feedback from folks all over the world and have just posted a second draft of the guide on the Global Voices wiki, inviting collaborators to help me improve it. If you're interested in the suject of anonymous blogging, please visit the guide and lend a hand in improving it.

(If you're going to participate in editing this document, two requests: One, create an account on our wiki, so we can keep track of your contributions. Two, keep in mind the audience for this document - we're hoping to write a document that's fun, readable, technically correct, translatable, and aimed at activists in developing nations. We're not trying to write a document aimed at cypherpunks.)

Thanks for your help!

As regular readers of my blog will know, I am a strong advocate for anonymity and anonymous free speech. Ethan et al have done a great job on getting this started. If you can contribute to the document, I urge you to participate in the editing on the wiki.

Today was the City of Yokohama Committee for the Protection of Identification Information Committee meeting. I was appointed to this committee in 2003 in the wake of their decision to allow their citizens to opt out of the Japanese Basic Resident Code database. I was reappointed again today. I joined a number of these government committees to try to help protect rights, prevent stupid decisions and change bad laws, but I am increasingly frustrated by the Japanese bureaucracy and the ability to cause any change through these committees. (Although local government committees are clearly more sincere than central government committees.) I think part of it is because I am spending more and more time outside of Japan where board positions or public debate appear to have more direct effect. Generally speaking, Japanese government committees allow you to say what you feel, but it is very unclear exactly what effect what you say has. (One exception was when I think I did permanent damage in a committee to the stupid idea of Japan trying to do a version of the Clipper chip when it was in vogue in the US.)

The meeting today was open to the public and there was one reporter and two citizen observers. The city officials reported on the status of the system. 836,654 or 23.78% of the people are opted out of the system and only 15,503 people have asked to be issued national ID cards. After the report, we were asked to discuss issues generally.

My opinion was that because of all of the commotion that we made around the security issues of the system, the security of the core system itself is fairly good, but the local government networks that it connects to are still a mess. Also, my main concern has always been the risk of the data being collected and abused OUTSIDE of the core network and these issues have not been addressed. There have been some fraudulent cards, but major crimes have not been committed. I warned that this is because barely anyone is using the network. If the government comes up with some useful application for the ID system, I'm sure fraud will increase. I also pointed out that at this level of usage, it can't be making any financial sense for the local governments who have installed and are running the system. Yokohama is one of the largest cities, but in small towns, there are still only dozens of users. I added rather bluntly that considering the cost and the potential risk because of the ill-conceived architecture, I still think they should shut the whole thing down and start from scratch building something useful using modern privacy technology to address specific needs rather than continue to use this expensive and pointless system. The system was basically a product of the e-Japan initiative to make Japan #1 in IT and fuel it with government spending. Of course building a national ID system would be a great way to spend a lot of money. Anyone who has run a business knows, that you shouldn't invest good money after bad. Just because it cost a lot to build doesn't mean we need to keep investing.

I doubt, of course, that my opinion will change anything, but at least it's on the public record.

Donna Wentworth @ EFF: Deep Links
It's Official: TSA Lied

Two government reports confirm what EFF and other privacy advocacy organizations have long known: the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) lied about its role in using airline passengers as guinea pigs for testing "Secure Flight" - the latest version of a fundamentally flawed passenger-profiling system for screening terrorists. And not only did TSA lie, it lied repeatedly, to everyone.

A DHS report [PDF], released this past Friday, reveals that TSA misled individuals, the press, and Congress in 2003 and 2004. A GAO report [PDF], released Monday, also shows that Secure Flight has failed to meet 9 out 10 conditions the GAO set for giving the program the go-ahead. These conditions include providing adequate protection for passengers' privacy and ensuring the accuracy of the data it would use to classify people as terrorist risks.

Passenger records contain detailed personal information, such as your name, address, phone number, travel itinerary -- even your credit card number. Yet the DHS report says TSA shared passenger information with outside contractors while neglecting to "inquire whether the data used by the vendors had been returned or destroyed."

"This is worse than ChoicePoint," says EFF Senior Privacy Attorney Lee Tien. "It reflects an attitude toward the privacy of Americans that falls well below what people are up in arms about in the commercial data industry. These people have a public trust and they're abusing it."

For additional information, see Bruce Schneier's GAO's Report on Secure Flight; for background, see TSA and CAPPS II -- Anatomy of a Cover Up.

As Donna says, this just confirms things that we all sort of figured were going on, but this is quite an official acknowledgment. I wonder if there will be any followup action on the part of the US government.

The US doesn't have a monopoly on this stuff of course. I've been fighting very hard for privacy in Japan. What we ended up with was a privacy bill that allows the government to strictly enforce privacy rules for businesses, but leaves the government quite free and exempt from similar oversight, focusing more on the "ethics of civil servants." Of course there is also a carve out for "the media" so they don't scream about it too much. Unfortunately, in the case of the Japanese privacy bill, "the media" includes only TV and newspapers and not magazines and of course not bloggers. Although I agree that privacy violations by businesses is a problem and a threat, I'm still much more concerned about abuse by governments, particularly when there isn't a good oversight process. The US is lucky it has the GAO.

It should be noted that as with fingerprinting, some countries MAY demand similar action from our citizens entering their country.


------ Forwarded Message
From: rose
Date: Fri, 11 Mar 2005 08:49:32 -0800 (PST)
To: dave
Subject: "1984" has arrived! DHS demanding on site acccess to email accounts of selected incoming aliens

Hi Dave,

As an attorney, practicing in the areas of international business and immigration law, it has come to my attention through discussions with other attorneys, that DHS is pulling aside "selected" aliens at entry checkpoints and bringing them into a separate room which contains a DHS computer connected to the internet. The aliens are told to bring up their various email accounts on the screen and enter their passwords. DHS then reads the emails for information pertaining to possible unauthorized work or other matters and questions the aliens on these findings. Of course, no attorney can be present at these interrogations! People travelling to the U.S. should be aware that a possible search of them by DHS now also means a search of their email accounts!


Rose Robbins, Esq.

This means that I should probably be careful not to have any suspicious looking email on my computer either. This also creates a vulnerability for aliens entering the US because someone could send them a bunch of sketchy email that would get them in trouble when they are about to enter the US...


From: Kevin Murphy
Date: Fri, 11 Mar 2005 12:38:08 -0500
To: dave
Subject: RE: [IP] comments "1984" has arrived! DHS demanding on site access to email accounts of selected incoming aliens

I find this very difficult to believe.

How many people can remember the hostname, IP address or URL used to access their email, without the benefit of bookmarks or an preconfigured mail client? How many can even remember their password? For most people, their account and client would be set up by their employer or their ISP. They boot up Outlook and it just works. I know I couldn't provide this information, particularly after a long-haul flight, nicotine withdrawal, and standing in line at passport control for an hour.

And how would DHS know what email accounts you have, anyway?

Kevin Murphy

US Bureau Chief
San Francisco, CA 94103

Donna Wentworth @ Copyfight
Your ISP Knows You're a Dog

Fred von Lohmann, in a column on the importance of preserving anonymous speech on the Internet: "[R]emember, on the Internet, your ISP knows you're a dog, and your adversary is only a subpoena away from compromising your constitutionally protected right to bark anonymously."

Anonymity is a very important issue in the context of terrorism and the Internet and will be on the agenda for the Internet track of the International Summit on Democracy, Terrorism and Security that I am co-organizing. This is also an important issue in the context of ICANN's position on the importance of privacy and the whois database (the database of domain name owners and contact points). I still believe that there are definitely costs to anonymity, but stifling anonymous speech is a huge cost to democracy.

It's not only the EFF and people like myself who believe in anonymous free speech. The American Association for the Advancement of Science came out on the side of anonymity and said that, "this is not a fruitful area of regulation for now or in the future." Of course this was back in 1999. (Wired article on this report) As Fred says in his article, the founding fathers of the US published the Federalist Papers anonymously and were acutely aware of the necessity of protecting anonymity and tried to build that into the constitution. Today we are all chipping away at this right with the fear of copyright infringement, terrorism, child pornography and a variety of boogymen leading the charge.

tins ::: Rick Klau's weblog
Bonus goofy news item of the week: Paris Hilton’s Blackberry was hacked.

Quoth the source for this bombshell:

“It’s one thing to have people looking at your sex tapes, but having people reading your personal e-mails is a real invasion of privacy.”

Clearly, different people have different definitions for invasion of privacy.

"The bill, which President Bush is expected to sign, would make it a crime to videotape or photograph the naked or underwear-covered private parts of a person without consent when the person has a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Conviction could lead to a fine of not more than $100,000 or imprisonment for up to one year, or both."

via Emily at Smart Mobs

I wonder what they're going to do about mobloggin' Aibos...

On a more serious note, although "it carves out exceptions for law enforcement, intelligence and prison work," what does this mean exactly? How about private security cameras? I remember hearing about ISPs where the sysadmin had parties where they would drink beer while reading user email. I'm sure there is a security camera version of this.

In Airport 'Pat-Downs' and Fear of Retaliation, Dan Gillmor links to a New York Times story about U.S. airport screening and women who are humiliated but afraid to retaliate. This is how profiling and lists will begin to inhibit our actions and free speech. What's your national ID # again?

Donna Wentworth @ EFF Deep Links
Govt. Responds; Indymedia Seizure Order May Have Come from Italy

The US government has responded (PDF) to EFF's motion to unseal the mysterious government order that resulted in the seizure of two servers hosting more than 20 Independent Media Center (IMC) websites. The reply, which argues that the order should remain secret, contains details that suggest that the order may have originated in Italy.

In the reply, the government contends that the seizure order should be kept sealed because (1) EFF and our Indymedia clients lack standing to contest the seizure, (2) the request for confidentiality came from an unnamed foreign government pursuant to a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT), trumping the Bill of Rights, and (3) disclosure would imperil "an ongoing criminal terrorism investigation."

EFF strongly disagrees.

So do I. Read the entire EFF post for lots of good details. I have been fighting against MLAT and other transborder law enforcement treaties for years arguing that cases just like this would occur. Most of the arrangements seem to assume that all law enforcement can be trusted and call for special powers to combat cybercrime because it is particularly multinational. These special powers often trump local laws, including in the case above, the Bill of Rights. I can imagine a future where agencies "share" databases of citizen activities and use these databases to create profiles for immigration border protection purposes. That's one of the reasons why I am so against the National ID in Japan. There are people who believe the government should have more central databases of consumer transactions for things like tracking down tax fraud. The risk to the people is that a centralized database would be a very obvious target for foreign agencies. The point is the government can't "share" what it doesn't have.

I'm going to Israel this month and South Africa next month. I've heard from a few people that both Israeli stamps and South African stamps in your passport make it very difficult when traveling to Arab countries. Does anyone know if this is true? Is there any way to ask them NOT to stamp your passport? Is THAT a cause for being hassled?

Anil points out that Microsoft Passport seems to have withered away silently.

Electronic Frontier Foundation
No "Fishing License" for the RIAA

This just in: the Supreme Court has denied cert in RIAA v. Verizon, the case in which the recording industry initially won the right to unmask an anonymous KaZaA user with a special non-judicial, PATRIOT Act-like subpoena under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The DC Circuit reversed (PDF) that ruling, but the RIAA appealed. Now the Supreme Court has declined to hear the case.


Said EFF's Wendy Seltzer, who worked on the case, "The Supreme Court's refusal to take the case leaves the DC Circuit's well reasoned opinion as law: The DMCA doesn't give the RIAA a blank fishing license to issue subpoenas and invade Internet users' privacy."

I love it when the good guys win. Congratulations EFF!
The Feature
Encouraging Cameraphone Use -- For Less Than Encouraging Reasons

Instead of banning them, Chinese authorities have creatively adapted cameraphones as yet another tool to control its citizens, if the latest allegations prove to be true. Authorities there reportedly threatened pro-democracy radio talk show hosts, after which they all quit. This didn't involve cameraphones until new reports emerged that authorities have contacted the families of callers to these shows still living on the mainland. They have been told to convince their relatives to vote for pro-Beijing candidates and then snap a picture of their ballots with a cameraphone to send back proof.

Of course we should all have seen this coming. I remember when I got my first camera phone, I got one for Mizuka and myself. Our relationship was still pretty "fresh". That week, I went on an trip to Kyoto with a small group of older Japanese businessman friends. "So... where are you? Can you send me a picture?" "Ummm... sure. OK. Here." Yes, there are simple ways to get around this by preparing photos or doctoring stuff, but it's obvious that the privacy issue for camera phones isn't just the subjects being photographed, but the owners of the phones as well.

The US Transporation Security Administration (TSA) announced that CAPPS II, the controversial passenger profiling system is back looking a bit more shy and sporting a new name, "Secure Flight." It still sounds bad and they'll start testing it within the next 30-60 days.

via Kevin @ EFF: Deep Links

Donna Wentworth @ EFF Deep Links
Army Okays Computer Spying

JetBlue ignited a huge privacy scandal when the news broke that the airline secretly provided more than 5 million passenger records to Torch Concepts, a military contractor. Yet the Army Inspector General Agency concluded [PDF] that JetBlue did not violate the Privacy Act. The reason: Torch never looked up individuals by name, but instead used a computer to dig through and analyze their private information.

This is quite disturbing. I guess this means that taking massive amounts of data and crunching through them to create "profiles" is OK. I wonder how small the clusters can be? Can they, for instance, profile companies, race, occupation, address or other kind of groupings for profiling?

There was a case in Japan where the Japanese government kept a list of Freedom of Information Act requesters in a list on a network with their backgrounds and this was found to be "legal".

I don't know enough about the JetBlue case to make a judgment on just how bad I think it is, but it seems to be part of a larger trend pushing the limits of the law.

Cryptome is one of my primary sources of documents that get released to the public through a variety of sources. I link to it quite often from my blog. ABC News questions the value of the public's right to know, vs the risk of "helping the enemy." I have a feeling that terrorists are pretty good at using the Internet and probably already have access to most of the stuff on Cryptome. I think that it could be argued that they are helping terrorists by making the information so easy to find, but I personally think that Cryptome and other sites like it are important in fighting against the natural tendency to hide behind secrecy.

Declan McCullagh
Sheriff misusing FBI computer can't be sued

A federal appeals court said this week that the sheriff of Shawnee County, Kan., could not be sued for snooping through an FBI database for dirt on political enemies.

Oh yay. The FBI's Interstate Identification Index (III) he abused has 50.5 million people. I wonder what happens when they have even better information on people. So much of the law protects the police and assumes they are "good". In Japan, when I talk about the possibility of cases like this, people laugh.

Information collected about people by the government is and will be increasingly used for political ends. We need to work on measures to investigate and punish such abuses and fundamentally reconsider the cost benefit of creating such databases prone to abuse.

via Dan Gillmor

A great flash animation by the ACLU simulating a pizza delivery call in a future where they're "plugged-in" in a Total Surveillance Society.

via Dan Gillmor

Japan: Schoolkids to be tagged with RFID chips

Japanese authorities decide tracking is best way to protect kids

The rights and wrongs of RFID-chipping human beings have been debated since the tracking tags reached the technological mainstream. Now, school authorities in the Japanese city of Osaka have decided the benefits outweigh the disadvantages and will now be chipping children in one primary school.

This reminds me of the lyrics to the Suicidal Tendencies song Institutionalized, "Wait, what do you mean, what are you talking about, we decided!? My best interest?! How can you know what's my best interest is? How can you say what my best interest is?"

I know people are going to scream "tin foil hat" at me again, but I really don't like the idea of tagging people and the idea of national ids. It really is a slippery slope which will always look rather innocent at the beginning but will lead to a stifling of freedoms and an ability to profile and control people. I believe this is true especially in Japan, there are not enough people who argue against the "oh it's going to just be so convenient" side of the argument.

Interestingly, the "oh so convenient" national ID card that I was protesting has only had a 0.2% uptake by the population in Japan so I guess if you give people a choice, they'd rather not waste their time, money and privacy.

I originally saw this article in the IHT, but found it online on E-Commerce News.

Howard W. French
China's Web Police Send Mixed Message

...Internet cafe users in China have long been subject to an extraordinary range of controls. They include cameras placed discreetly throughout the establishments to monitor and identify users and Web masters, and Internet cafe managers who keep an eye on user activity, whether electronically or by patrolling the premises.

The average Internet user, meanwhile, neither sees nor, in many cases, suspects the activities of a force widely estimated to number as many as 30,000 Internet police officers. Experts on China's Internet say the officers are constantly engaged in a cat-and-mouse game with equally determined Web surfers, blocking access to sites that the government considers politically offensive, monitoring users who visit other politically sensitive sites and killing off discussion threads on Internet bulletin boards.


Asked if the privacy of Internet users could be infringed, the official said that the Shanghai government had noted the issue, but added that "Internet bars are public areas, and some experts say that what one says in a public area should not be considered private."

"Some experts say".. ;-) Some experts will say anything.

Seriously though, I can only see how this will get worse for both sides. Obviously the "arms vendors" will make money in the cat-and-mouse game, but can China afford to ramp up the Internet police force as China gets more and more wired/wireless. I wonder how long this "control" can continue and how much it's going to cost them. I guess that for now, they believe the control is worth the price.

Bruce Schneier has written an interesting article discussing the accusation of Ahmed Chalabi of informing Iran that the US had broken its codes and when Iran knew that the NSA was cracking their codes. He digs into the history of Crypto AG, the NSA and Iran. He links to an article about Hans Buehler, the Crypto AG salesman who was arrested by Iran in 1992 on suspicion that Crypto AG had installed back doors in its encryption machines. There is no conclusion, but this story reminds me of Crytonomicon and the interesting world of information, misinformation and spying.

Japan Today
Chips may be implanted in imported dogs to prevent rabies

TOKYO — Japan plans to implant microchips under the skin of imported dogs in order to prevent rabies from making inroads into the country, government officials said Tuesday.

The plan intended for strict individual recognition of imported dogs was confirmed the same day at a meeting on the nation's quarantine system against rabies of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, the officials said. (Kyodo News)

via Louis

I wonder when we'll be start getting records in our chips instead of stamps in our passports...

Cory @ Boing Boing
Enron traders gloating about screwing California

CBS has got hold of tapes of conversations between Enron employees during the California rolling blackouts. The conversations are amazing, basically a bunch of crooks gloating about the savage rogering they're giving to the people of California and how much money they're making. This has put fresh fire into the bellies of lawmakers who have renewed their vows to decapitate Enron's management and stake their heads on pikes outside of every polling place before election day.

Employee 1: "All the money you guys stole from those poor grandmothers in California?

Employee 2: "Yeah, Grandma Millie man.

Employee 1: "Yeah, now she wants her f-----g money back for all the power you've charged right up, jammed right up her a—for f-----g $250 a megawatt hour."


(via Making Light)

Sometimes I worry about privacy and security. Sometime I wonder if it is good that Japan does not have "discovery" (in the legal sense). Then I see stuff like this and I'm glad we have investigative journalism and they have the right to make such things public.

Dan Gilmor blogs about this too.
Rumsfeld bans phone cameras

London - Cellphones fitted with digital cameras have been banned in US army installations in Iraq on orders from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, The Business newspaper reported on Sunday.

Quoting a Pentagon source, the paper said the US defence department believes that some of the damning photos of US soldiers abusing Iraqis at Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad were taken with camera phones.

"Digital cameras, camcorders and cellphones with cameras have been prohibited in military compounds in Iraq," it said, adding that a "total ban throughout the US military" is in the works.

via Smartmobs

The increasing reliance of this administration on secrecy is really disturbing. When your government starts to strip the people of their privacy and civil rights and consistently marches forward with a variety of efforts to hides its own movements, you know you're in real trouble.

I've worked on whistleblower protection bills and thought a lot about the importance of the ability for people to come forward outside of the chain of command. It is an essential protection measure against coverups and corruption. I can understand arguments about why allowing random photos could be bad, but I'm sure the importance of having "eyes on the ground" outside of the "main channel" out-weigh the risks.

UPDATE: There are many media sites and blogs running this story, but they all seem to quote the same source. We still have no corroborating original sources. Please see comments on this entry for more.


This morning, I asked a Defense Department spokesperson whether or not the reports of a phonecam ban were true. This spokesperson said that these reports were technically inaccurate -- that the Pentagon is not issuing a new ban on camera phones per se, but that a Directive 8100.2 was issued on April 14 establishing new restrictions on wireless telecommunications equipment in general. The text of this directive is available online here in PDF format: Link. The intent of this April 14 directive, and how commanders in the field will be expected to enforce it, are matters I'll be reporting on in more detail for the NPR program "Day to Day," later this week.

Somewhat scary, but pretty interesting Orkut datamining. An Orkut density map and a Orkut Personal Network GeoMapper. Here's a map of my network. It doesn't seem to map my complete network. It's also too bad it's not global yet.

Via Sanford

This should be a cool event. I'll be participating remotely in some way, but if you can make it, you should. I'm on the program committee.

Subject: Int'l Workshop on Inverse Surveillance: Camphones, 'glogs, and eyetaps

Call for Participation:
International Workshop on Inverse Surveillance:
Cameraphones, Cyborglogs, and Computational seeing aids;
exploring and defining a research agenda

Date: 2004 April 12th.
Time: 12:00noon to 4pm, EST (a working lunch will be served)
Location: Colony Hotel (1-866-824-9330), 89 Chestnut Street, Toronto


* Camera phones and pocket organizers with sensors;
* Weblogs ('blogs), Moblogs, Cyborglogs ('glogs);
* Wearable camera phones and personal imaging systems;
* Electric eyeglasses and other computational seeing and memory aids;
* Recording experiences in which you are a participant;
* Portable personal imaging and multimedia;
* Wearable technologies and systems;
* Ethical, legal, and policy issues;
* Privacy and related technosocial issues;
* Democracy and emergent democracy (protesters organizing with SMS camphones);
* Safety and security;
* Technologies of lifelong video capture;
* Personal safety devices and wearable "black box" recorders;
* Research issues in "people looking at people";
* Person-to-person sharing of personal experiences;
* End of gender-specific space (e.g. blind man guided by wife: which restroom?);
* Subjectright: ownership of photograph by subject rather than photographer;
* Reverse copyright: protect information recipient, not just the transmitient;
* Interoperability and open standards;
* Algebraic Projective Geometry from a first-person perspective;
* Object Detection and Recognition from a first-person perspective;
* Computer Vision, egonomotion and way-finding technologies;
* Lifelong Image Capture: data organization; new cinematographic genres;
* New Devices and Technologies for ultra miniature portable cameras;
* Social Issues: fashion, design, acceptability and human factors;
* Electronic News-gathering and Journalism;
* Psychogeography, location-based wearable computing;
* Augmented/Mediated/Diminished Reality;
* Empowering children with inverse surveillance: Constructionist learning, creation of own family album, and prevention of both bullying by peers and abuse by teachers or other officials.

IWIS 2004 will be a small intimate discussion group, limited to 25 participants.

Email your name, the name of your organization, and what you might add to the meeting, as part of a one page extended abstract, outlining your position on, and proposed contribution to the theme of inverse surveillance. Submissions should be sent by email to hilab at Alternatively, authors may email up to four pages, in IEEE two column camera-ready format that address the theme of inverse surveillance. Prospective participants wishing to submit a full paper may also contact the workshop facilitators prior to submission.

All participants (accepted papers or extended abstracts) will have the opportunity to contribute to the published proceedings.

There is no workshop registration fee. There is no submission deadline; reviews will continue until there are sufficient numbers of high quality theme-relevant contributors.

* Dr. Jim Gemmell, MyLifeBits (lifetime data storage) project with Gordon Bell; author of various publications on lifelong personal experience capture.
* Joi Ito, Japan's leading thinker on technology; ranked among the "50 Stars" by Business Week; commended by Japanese Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications; chosen by World Economic Forum as one of the 100 "Global Leaders of Tomorrow"; Board member of Creative Commons;
* Anastasios Venetsanopoulos, Dean, Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering, University of Toronto; author on hundreds of publications on image processing.
* John M. Kennedy, Chair, Department of Life Sciences, UTSC; author of Drawing and the Blind: Pictures to Touch.
* Dr. Stefanos Pantagis, Physician, Hackensack University Medical Center; Geriatrician, doing research on wearable computers to assist the blind, and clinical work on brainwave EyeTap interfaces for Parkison's patients.
* Steve Mann, author of CYBORG: Digital Destiny and Human Possibility in the Age of the Wearable Computer; 30 years experience inventing, designing, building, and wearing devices and systems for personal imaging.
* Douglas Schuler, former chair, Computing Professionals for Social Responsibility (CPSR); founding member SCN.
* Stephanie Perrin, Former Chief Privacy Officer of Zero-Knowledge Systems; Former Director of Privacy Policy for Industry Canada's Electronic Commerce Task Force; responsible for developing domestic privacy policies, new technologies, legislation, standards and public education; recipient of the Electronic Frontier Foundation Pioneer Award.
* Dr. Jason Nolan, Senior Fellow, Mcluhan Program in Culture and Technology
* Dr. Nina Levent, art historian, Whitney Museum; works with visually impaired; collaboration on using EyeTaps and wearcamphones in museum education.
* Elizabeth Axel, founder, Art Education for the Blind, Inc. (AEB); collaboration on using EyeTaps and wearcamphones in museum education.

ORGANIZERS: S. Mann; S. Martin (; and J. Nolan.
IWIS 2004 arises from planning over, the past 2 years, at Deconference 2002/2003.

ADMINISTRATION: PDC, 416-978-3481 or toll free 1-888-233-8638

Future Now
Black boxes for taxis

According to dottocomu, Japanese taxi firm "Nihon Kotsu has announced it is to introduce "flight recorders" to its fleet--a device that will record video as seen from the driver's seat for 18 seconds spanning before and after an accident."

via Ross

Seth says he wants to banish anonymous communications.

Seth Godin
Virus writers are always anonymous.

Vicious political lies (with faked photoshop photos of political leaders, or false innuendo about personal lives) are always anonymous as well.

Spam is anonymous.

eBay fraudsters are anonymous too.

It seems as though virtually all of the problems of the Net stem from this one flaw, and its one I’ve riffed on before. If we can eliminate anonymity online, we create a far more civil place.

I disagree. Although most vicious attacks I have received have been anonymous, I still believe there is a role for anonymity and that the value outweighs the cost.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science has a project on anonymous communication on the Internet. They list a few of cases where we might need anonymous communication on the Internet.

Case 1 - The Crimesolvers Website
Case 2 - Chatting Online About Addiction
Case 3 - The Case(s) of the Hot News Tips
Case 4 - An Anonymous Computer Hotline: Is it Worth the Costs?
Case 5 - Terror in Elb!
Case 6 - Good Communication Gone Bad
Case 7 - His Word Against Whose?
Remember that the Internet is one of the few tools for a variety of people who are at risk including whistle-blowers and human rights workers. It is very difficult or impossible to "fix" the Internet without breaking it for others.

I was talking to Peter yesterday about the risk of accidentally getting on weird lists or being profiled as a threat. Hanging out with, or communicating with the wrong people online or on the phone could land you on a list that might get you hassled at the airport or worse. They apparently used social network theory to find the person who would know where Saddam was. Similarly, I could see people using all sorts of social network theory to figure out who to wiretap or hassle. The thought was that if you hang out with enough people, you might be able to confuse such analysis or profiling. Name-dropping on my blog is a form of social chaff since connections to random nodes must be confusing to analysis. I can see the gapingvoid card, now: "I'm just talking to you because you're social chaff". (Chaff is the strips of foil that fighter-planes drop to confuse radar as countermeasures to tracking.)

I just heard from Paul Martino, the CTO and Founder of, that they were working on FOAF and RSS support for Tribe. Cool. There are going to be a lot of issues such as privacy, but I think that having companies like Tribe seriously working on FOAF will bring these issues front and center and make some of these theoretical discussions very concrete and productive.

Roger Clarke, one of my favorite privacy experts, rips apart the Australian Government's attempt to make their face recognition technology trial look good. Face recognition systems have not been found to work well and are very intrusive. Here's another attempt to make them look better than they are.

As a former student, I sure wish I had had (via Seb) when I was in school. I would have had a lot to say and I would have felt justified. Maybe I wouldn't have had to start our underground newspaper. On the other hand, I can see how this might be abused. There are some thoughtful comments from many people about the "Adopt A Reporter" idea over on PressThink. This is not a new issue, but an old issue that continues to accelerate. As Loic points out, blogging helps you manage your own identity instead of leaving it up to others. Having said that, any notion that you can "control" your identity is a myth.

Over at Chanpon, someone blogged about a teacher from my high school who passed away. Some students posted some allegations in the comments. Obviously, since the teacher was dead, he couldn't defend himself. On the other hand, the students obviously felt justified and there are very few opportunities for students to speak up about their teachers. We ended up removing the entry and the comments. It was a very difficult decision, but we did what we thought was right. Blogs and other forms of publishing come with a great deal of responsibility and it is very difficult to judge what is right and wrong. That is why we need to think about justice and how we can make the institution of blogs and the Internet just. The technology influences what we can do and how people use it. Having said that, just as with politicians, we get what we deserve. Unless we have a strong sense of justice and speak up, we'll end up with bad technologies in the same way we end up with bad politicians.

Bruce Schneier
Slouching toward Big Brother

Rarely do we discuss how little identification has to do with security, and how broad surveillance of everyone doesn't really prevent terrorism.

Bruce writes about how security is a trade-off and how what we're giving up is not worth what we're getting in the war on terror through surveillance in the United States.

I remember when everyone shouted into their cell phones and thought that their batteries drained faster when they made long distance phones. I remember when people (who now have cell phones) swore to me that they'd never have a cell phone. I remember when cell phones looked more like military radios. I think it's fine to gripe about technology, but I would warn those people who swear they'll never use a technology. Technology evolves and so do social norms.

We've been having a dialog recently about the relationship between social norms and technology. I think this is part of the same dialog. New technologies disrupt our habits and our norms and what we feel comfortable with. I am an early adopter type who uses every technology possible and I try to wrap my life around it all. Some people try the technology and point out the tensions. Some people ignore the technology. Technology evolves along with the social norms. When it works well, we end up with a technology that contributes to society in some way and becomes a seamless part of our social norms. When it doesn't work well it either damages society or does not integrate and is discarded.

Being the techno-utopian optimist that I am, I think that writing off Skype and IM as annoying is a big mistake. They are what military radios were to the cell phones of today. I think it's important to take what David Weinberger and danah have to say about the tensions they create and thinking about how to make presence more granular, how to make it easier to manage the emission of your presence information and control access to you. What DOES free VoIP really mean? Can it be a background thing that allows us to continue to focus on our work instead of being an interruption? I am very excited by IM and VoIP and think that the tensions and the annoyances they are creating is a good a reason as any to dive into the privacy, identity, presence and interop issues that we've been talking about for so long. The more annoying it becomes, the more people will care about these issues.

I'm giving a speech about the future of the Internet tomorrow afternoon from 2:30pm-3:30pm JST. The speech will be at the Rakuten New Year party. (Rakuten acquired Infoseek Japan and I am now on the Portal Group advisory committee.) I'll try to stream it, but it will be in Japanese. My slides are in English and I've put my outline on my wiki. Please feel free to add comments or links to examples on the wiki. The outline just lists the topics I will cover, but not what I'm going to say. ;-)

I'll be giving live demos of #joiito and IM so if you're around, I might ping you.

I'll be using keynote exported to QT inside of Safari with my examples loaded in tabs.

The latest version of the Keynote QT is here.

GRIPE : Keynote doesn't let you put hyperlinks in presentations. They should either figure out some way to embed Safari inside of a Keynote presentation or allow hyperlinks. Apple Computer presentations use two machines, one for browsing and one for Keynote. Doh. Not very user-friendly.

I will be streaming this if I have enough bandwidth. Copy and paste this URL into QuickTime rtsp:// (Warning. Japanese.)

UPDATE: Sorry folks. Didn't have a Net connection so couldn't connect to IRC or get Hecklebot working.

Mikitani, CEO of Rakuten, Masuda, CEO of CCC/Tsutaya and me. Photo by Ms. Noumura.

danah has a good rant in response to Cory's thoughts on technologists that create technologies which cause awkward social situations.
danah boyd
So, in fleshing out Cory's call to technologists, i'd ask all technologists to consider not only what problems a technology solves, but what new ones could emerge. Start thinking like a writer or an abuser of technology. Imagine how people could misuse a technology to hurt others. Consider who gains and loses power from such technology. It's a fascinating exercise and far more fulfilling than just thinking about who benefits from something. And besides, then you won't always be thinking "but the users shouldn't do THAT with this technology."
I commented on her blog.
Joi Ito
I agree with your point danah. On the other hand, a lot of the consequences of technology are not predictable and emerge as the technology develops and is adopted widely. I think that in addition to trying to have a vision about the negative effects of technology (which I agree is important) and trying to design around the issues, I think that identifying tensions as they arise and providing feedback to the toolbuilders is important. One of the problem of commercial enterprise is that technologists are often forced to sweep these tensions or problems under the carpet for the better good of profits or commercial interests. Also the cost of changing a design or an architecture often makes such change difficult. I think designing systems to assume they will need to be changed is important. This does get difficult as technologies mature. This is why I think the social software / blog space is interesting. We can still change a lot of the basic architecture of this space. So although I agree it is important to call our to technologists to think, I think that the dialog between technologists and people like you and Cory is more important.
In response to my thoughts on people inadvertently collapsing context because of a lack of understanding of the technology, Wendy Seltzer blogs about Technology and Norms of Publicity.
Wendy Seltzer
I wondered at first if privacy tensions would ease as more people became more technically sophisticated, but I'm inclined to think that gaps in understanding will just move with the tech, and social norms will follow still further behind.
When I am posting a photo album, I think about the situation, the people and decide whether to post a picture, ask permission or not even bother. I'm making a very deliberate decision based on my understanding of the technology and the social norms. The technology and the norms are evolving and the understanding of both is spotty. We WILL have tensions. I guess the key is to identify the critical irreversible risks and work just as hard in developing social norms as we are in developing technical solutions.

How many people who blog know that many blogs automatically send trackbacks or send pings to pingers sites like How many bloggers know that these pings trigger services like Technorati to include their posts in an index and that any mention of my blog in their private diary cause a link to their diary to show up in my sidebar within minutes? One of the things that some of us forget is that it's not all about attention. Most people want a little more attention than they get, but they usually want it from the right people and only when they feel like it. One of the problems of using the "big time bloggers" to design the technology is that we often forget that many people would rather NOT have their contexts collapsed.

I've recently had the experience of receiving inbound links from people who write very personal diaries. I struggled when trying to decide whether I should comment, link to them or otherwise shed attention on a conversation or monologue that appeared to be directed at someone other than me or my audience. A lot of people will say at this point that posting on the "world wide web" is publishing to the public and information wants to be free, yada yada... I would disagree. The tools are just not good enough yet. Live Journal has a feature that allows you to post entries that only your friends can see. I would love to be able to add special comments interspersed in my blog posts for only my close friends.

I know the point is to keep it as simple as possible, and I can already hear the arguments, but wouldn't it be useful if there was a way to manage your audience better on a blog by blog or a post by post basis? It might also make sense to be a bit more explicit to new bloggers/journalers about what the consequences of pinging/trackbacking is.

I remember a message board where activists were preparing to march in protest against the wiretap law in Japan. This message board showed up in search engine results. A well-meaning policeman dropped into the message board and mentioned that they might want to get a permit. The community was in flames about being "wiretapped". So this isn't a new problem. Just bigger. What technology actually does and what people expect it to do are very different so the "technically speaking" answer is not always the real answer. Also, the tensions caused by the technologies should be viewed as opportunities for the innovators.

The governor of Nagano ordered an security audit of their network with a focus on the Basic Residents Registry system of the central government. I was asked to take a look at the audit and provide a 3rd party opinion. Since I am on the central government panel working on the security of the Basic Residents Registry, my letter has become a bit controversial and apparently my phone is ringing off the hook right now in Tokyo. Lucky for me I'm in the US...

I'm not looking forward to returning to Tokyo.

The central government denies security problems and I am going to have to deal with this when I return to Tokyo...

The audit is not yet completed and my audit of the audit is an opinion based on incomplete information. I will be meeting with both sides when I return to Tokyo and will probably be required to write another opinion after the final results of the audit have been submitted and I have heard the arguments from the central government.

Mainichi reports some of this in English

Here's the letter.

December 11, 2003 Governor Yasuo Tanaka

Dear Governor Tanaka:

I have reviewed in detail the security audit that your outside auditors conducted on three towns in Nagano. I reviewed their process, data and analysis. I also interviewed the key members of the team for several hours and discussed their methodology and conclusions.

Generally speaking, the security level at the sites was below average and a variety of personal information about your citizens is at risk of being stolen and modified.

The team conducted audits from the Internet and from inside the local government offices. The team was given very limited time to conduct their audits. The penetration test from the Internet was not successful. The tests from inside the government offices were quite successful. The audit was limited to computers inside the local government offices, so the Jyukinet was not attacked directly. However, the computer that connects directly to Jyukinet, the “CS server” and the “Reams server” which is inside the local government network both have databases of the Jyukinet data of the citizens living in the city. Both of these servers were vulnerable and the audit team was able to take control of them. This would theoretically allow them to edit, delete and create new citizen records. It was not tested, but it is likely that editing this database would cause these false records to be sent to the central Jyukinet system.

In addition, there were numerous files containing sensitive personal information unrelated to Jyukinet accessible on the local government network with no protection.

Although it was not possible to penetrate the local government network from the Internet, there were dialup accounts for remote offices that allowed users to connect to the local government’s network. It is possible that these dialup accounts could be exploited to allow someone to dial into the network. In addition, the library in one city was directly connected to the network. As anyone can use the library’s machines or connect their computer to the network, anyone can download the sensitive files being “shared” on the machines without any “hacker skills”.

Breaking into the CS Server and the Reams server, which contained Jyukinet data for the local citizens, was quite easy. They were running systems that had not been properly updated with security patches. The passwords were very obvious on the system as well as on the database and were quickly cracked. The software running on the server was written with “buffer overflow” vulnerabilities that show a lack of understanding of security by the developer of the code. I recommend a third party security audit of the software running on these systems. A computer engineer using freely available tools would be able to exploit any of these vulnerabilities to gain access to the Jyukinet data.

In summary, I believe that the security level of the networks were below average and any average computer network engineer could break into and steal or damage a variety of personal information including Jyukinet information. The people working in the office and in particular, the vendors providing the system security are not sensitive to security and privacy issues. The servers have not been maintained properly and the selection of passwords (many had default passwords or easily guessable passwords) was irresponsible and showed a complete lack of attention to security. I strongly urge that the priority on security for privacy purposes be increased significantly, both in local government offices and vendors providing solutions to these local governments. I believe that the citizens and the people responsible for protecting their information are significantly at risk.

Best regards,
Joichi Ito

I just received an email from one of my best friends urging me to stop fueling disinformation and anti-Americanism. He also urged me to stop comparing the US to Nazi Germany. I've also had some private email exchanges with some conservatives about some of the issues I've written about lately. I've started feeling like a politician trying to keep my liberal and conservative friend happy by mostly posting questions, posting notes of other people's comments and quoting people. Now that I'm being urged from both sides, I guess I should clarify my own position.

Here is where I stand. What I'm mainly against is the conservative media in the US and the right wing one-liners like "bomb Iraq to democracy" which I saw on a lot of conservative web sites before the invasion of Iraq. I remember very clearly Colin Powell's speech at the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos. I was moved by the speech. He made me feel like maybe it was the right decision to go into Iraq... but he hung his whole argument on WMD. I still have not been convinced that the invasion on Iraq was the right decision, but I'm probably willing to hear arguments more than my more liberal friends.

What disturbs me the most about this administration is the drift towards secrecy, the Patriot Act and profiling with the assistance of advanced technology. I think that is REALLY BAD and I am not convinced that profiling really works.

Regarding my quote of Pastor Martin Niemöller... I'm not comparing the US to Nazi Germany. It's an eloquent statement about the necessity to look out for human rights, even those of people who are not in your tribe. I think human rights are at risk globally. It's easy to see abuses and say things about human rights abuses in other countries, but I'm just urging American to watch out for the stuff happening right under your noses.

Although I am a liberal, I find some of the anti-American stuff a bit over-board and I find some of the conservatives arguing convincingly on many issues. I may become emotional at times, but I'm trying to keep my thinking above the emotional level. I will try to present what I believe is a balanced view here and I want to thank all of the people who have posted here and sent me thoughtful disagreements and urgings. (Although some of the disagreements have been not-so-thoughtful.)

Many of the old men I know are cranky. They are often cranky because they've been fighting long battles. Battles about technology, battles about politics, battles about education, all kind of battles. Most old men have their hot buttons that trigger a rush of memories of these battles. When most old men talk to each other, they sense these hot buttons and generally avoid each other's hot buttons. The rule about avoiding religion and politics as dinner topics comes from the fact that there are many hot buttons in these areas.

Last night I was one of these cranky old men. We were talking about terrorism and profiling. I am a veteran of many battles on privacy and security. I didn't realize how much of a cranky old man I'd become until a friend of mine last night kept pushing that hot button with the opinion that profiling was a good thing and that a few false positives were worth the cost to protect America. I got completely emotional and ruined the tone of the friendly dinner conversation. The problem with a dinner conversation is usually there is some alcohol involved which clouds memory (access to facts stored in cranky old brain) and logical thinking, and you can't page slap people with your previous arguments. As a cranky old man last night I realized how difficult it was for me to have casual conversation about a hot button topic and how difficult it was to have a rigorous discussion about complicated topics when I didn't have access to a method of providing context. I felt like I was just beating my chest to show I felt strongly about the issue...

I think this issue of having difficulty engaging in a discussion with someone on a topic you understand well where you have a strong opinion is an issue that many academics face. This forces them to climb their ivory towers and engage in esoteric debates in an esoteric language with their peers and not reach down to the average person. This is also why many academics avoid publishing in popular media.

I wonder if there is a solution to this problem. I think layers of blogs is one thing that helps. I consult with a number of academic sources to come up with my somewhat simplistic assertions about certain issues. Others write about it even more casually on their blogs. If things are attributed correctly, one can usually drill down to the source (although many academics sources are still not online). Sometimes it works the other way around. I write about something casually and accidentally trigger a bunch of hot buttons which ends up providing more context and rigor.

The scary thing is, I can see myself starting to want to only have discussions with people where we read each other's blogs, a sort of blogademic.

Maher Arar, a dual Canadian-Syrian citizen was arrested at a stopover in JFK in New York and deported to Syria by the US government. It seems to be unclear how they decided he was a "suspected terrorist" but it took close to a year in a prison in Syria and a lot of torture for them to decide that he was OK to be sent back to Canada. Obviously, it's probably easier for a Syrian national to get on a "list" than a Japanese, but this really scary. They say he had had a relationship with another suspected terrorist who is also being imprisoned and tortured now in Syria. He says he barely knew the guy.

So what does this mean for us? If we meet someone, we should not "become friendly" with them until we are certain that they are not a suspected terrorist. What does this mean? We need to make sure they don't hang out with other suspected terrorists. So if you believe in six degrees, it's likely at some point you will be a suspected terrorist.

How do they know if you hang out with someone? Friendster? LinkedIn? Your email? We need to be VERY careful about the privacy of not just the content of our communication, but the privacy of who we are in touch with, often called sigint, or signal intelligence.

Seriously though, this will cause a chilling effect on meeting, calling, emailing or otherwise "being in touch with" anyone who you don't know very well that could land you on the "suspected terrorist" list.

For articles about the Maher Arar case, just do a google news search. The article where he finally talks to the media directly is here.

The Associated Press
U.S. Unveils ID System

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The public got its first look Tuesday at fingerprinting and photo equipment that will be installed at 115 airports and 14 seaports to check identities of millions of foreign visitors.

The equipment, which goes into use Jan. 5, will allow inspectors to check identities of visitors against those on terrorist watch lists.
The system consists of a small box that digitally scans fingerprints and a spherical computer camera that snaps pictures. It will be used for the estimated 24 million foreigners traveling on tourist, business and student visas who enter through an airport or seaport.

I wonder what they're going to use this data for? I wonder if they are going to "share" it with other governments. If they start putting these things all over the place, the risk to someone getting on some "list" will not be limited to just being harassed entering the US.

The Japan Time
'REGAINING PUBLIC SAFETY' - Cops to sniff out illegal foreigners in Tokyo


Immigration authorities, police and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government said Friday they will take joint action to halve the number of foreigners without visas in the capital within five years.

The Justice Ministry's Immigration Bureau, the bureau's Tokyo branch, the metropolitan government and the Metropolitan Police Department issued a joint statement saying they would cooperate more closely toward this goal.

They believe that half of the estimated 250,000 undocumented foreigners in Japan live or work in Tokyo.

"An increasing number of visaless foreigners engage in serious crimes, and it is pointed out that the problem is closely linked to organized crime by foreigners," Justice Minister Daizo Nozawa asserted during Friday's news conference.

This is all part of Governor Ishihara's ethnic cleansing of Tokyo thing. He's blaming all of the horrible crimes on "foreigners" and using that to ramp up police force and will probably lead to increased intrusions of privacy.

I do know that there have been increased activity of foreign organized crime groups in Japan, but his talking about "criminal DNA" in foreigners is horrible and will just help justify people in looking away when heavy handed police tactics are used on foreigners in Japan. Bad bad bad...

Lauren Weinstein, Co-Founder of People For Internet Responsibility (PFIR) and the moderator of PRIVACY Forum just started a blog. He's not sure whether blogs are a good thing yet, but lets hope he keeps it up. He's one of the important mailing list guys that I've been try to convert to blogging. Dave Farber and Declan are two others. ;-)

Internet News
Report: ISPs Block 17 Percent of Legit E-mail By Brian Morrissey

Top Internet service providers blocked 17 percent of legitimate permission-based e-mail in the first half of the year, according to a report issued by Return Path.

via Scott Mace

I pronounce email officially broken. If 17 percent of legit email is being blocked by spam filters, it's not officially working. No wonder I'm using blogs, IRC and IM for my primary modes of connecting with important people these days.

I don't care what excuses people give. The people who made smtp should have thought more about host authentication and the people who made IPv4 should have made longer IP addresses. My guess is that there were people who were voicing concerns who had more vision.

I have a feeling we are going to be kicking ourselves in the same way when we realize we "forgot" to put privacy into ID systems.

Yesterday, I gave a talk to approximately 150 IT vendors who will be installing the national ID systems at the local government offices and will the the "privacy advisors" to the local governments.

Almost a year ago, I was handing out leaflets and protesting with a megaphone in Ginza to try to stop the national ID. Then the bill passed and I joined the oversight committee for the national ID to try to increase their awareness of security and privacy issues. Then I started working with the local governments who "opted out" of the national ID. Now that the system is in place full swing, I am working hard to increase the awareness of the people who will be installing and training the people who are in charge of one of the weakest links in the system, the point of entry into the database. At the same time, I am working on educating the ministry and the awareness in the public so that we can prevent "function drift", or the use of the national ID # beyond the scope of its original intent, which is to use it only for government services.

I am supportive of my colleagues who are still working on protesting the system and local governments resisting it, but I am focusing my attention on future systems that the government is planning to implement and to try to do what I can to improve the security and privacy of those systems that have already been deployed or will imminently be deployed.

There is a lot of talk about identity these days. You MUST remember that identities are like names. You are NOT your identity. Your identity points to you. Everyone has multiple identities. Roger Clark describes this as the difference between entities and identities. You are an entity. Your name, your role in the company, your relationship with your child, they are different identities. Multiples identities isn't just about having more than one email address or chat room nym. A multitude of identities is an essential component in protecting privacy and interacting in an exceedingly digital world.

When the privacy guidelines of the OECD were created, (over 20 years ago) we had main frames and no Internet and most of the personal information was collected and kept by governments, banks and very large institutions in big central computers and data mining this data was expensive and clunky. The notion of "data protection" and "control" made sense back then. They no longer do. With ubiquitous computing, decentralize databases, information stored and disseminated everywhere, it is exceedingly important to know that 1) once information is created, it exists forever and can not be "erased", 2) data mining will become cheaper and easier, 3) transborder data flows will become seamless, 4) profiling will become a common way for businesses and governments to efficiently focus their attention on people and groups that meet certain criteria.

What does this mean? The risk now is that you can be profiled and categorized in a variety of ways that can hurt your ability to travel, get a job, get insurance, get married, etc. for things that match a profile that increases risk to the establishment even if only in a statistical way. Interaction with radicals or reading of radical material could get you in this profile so the chilling effect on dissent will be real. It means that trying to "control information" once it is created is nearly impossible. The trick is to create as little information as possible and to make it as difficult to data mine as possible. If you need to prove you are old enough to drink, there should be an ID that does just that. The library doesn't need your national ID, just a membership card with a picture so they can authenticate you. If you're doing a cash/cash foreign exchange transaction, you should only need to prove that you have the cash or the underwriting of an institution with the cash to complete your end of the transaction. (Don't get me started on why I think money laundering laws are stupid. I'll do that in another post.)

My point is. We should have different ID's for our different roles. Each of these ID's will have a different bit of authentication and collateral attached to it.

If you deconstruct the different types of ID (got this from Eric Hughes) you get 4 basic types. Your physical ID (doctors knows this best), your network ID (phone number or IP address), financial ID (your bank has this info), and your legal id (government, school. IE are you married? A citizen? A graduate?) Different transactions require different attributes. If you're getting married, you probably care most about whether they are married to someone else. If you're doing a financial transaction, you are probably most concerned about whether they can cover their end of the transaction. If you are trying to identify a blogger, you probably care if they are the owner of the URL. You don't care if my real name is Joi Ito or where I live exactly. As a blog reader, you probably care if it is the same blogger that has posted all of the other blog entries on this blog.

That's why I have a problem with central ID systems. If some gives me a certificate from Verisign that says, "I Verisign assert that this is Joe Shmoe from the Canary Islands and I Verisign do not guarantee or offer any liability coverage if he hurts you or even if it turns out that he's not REALLY Joe Shmoe." How much use is that? Even if he IS Joe Shmoe, I don't care where he lives if I can't do anything about it. I'd much rather see a link from a blog that I know saying, "this Joe Shmoe and I vouch for him!" Or go to a party and have everyone say, "you should meet Joe Schmoe, I've know him for years and I think he's great." Or if I'm trying to have a financial transaction, have his bank provide my bank with a guarantee. You get the idea. The only people who need access to your "entity" are people who have the power to throw you in jail or need to collect on long term contracts and liabilities. for MOST transactions, your physical location is not relevant or useful.

The other important thing from a privacy perspective is that you don't want all this stuff getting linked together. Organized crime is already using personal information to blackmail people. One common "query" is, "find me all company directors who are in debt and have families." They buy these liabilities and "collect" using blackmail. Your "I'm a papa" ID and your "I've borrowed money" ID and your "I am a board member of Foo. Co." ID don't necessarily need to be linked. Life would go on without these links. Yes, it would slow down projects like TIA and yes central id's are convenient, but traditional investigative crime fighting has more tools than ever before without making it so easy that criminals can use it and political groups in government can abuse it.

In Japan there is a left-wing newspaper called Akahata. The list of subscribers is tracked by the police and leaked to big company HR divisions. If you subscribed, you often can't get a job at a big company. If your parents subscribed, you can't become a public prosecutor. Now imagine that they do this by hand now. Imagine what would happen if they could instantly come up with "negative profile queries" and "filter." What you read today, write today, who you meet, have lunch with, post on your blog and later erase, where you wandered, who you rented your apartment too. They could ALL cause you children to be "filtered".

There is another issue. Identities are easy to forge. You can make the technology as robust as you want, but the chain is as weak as the weakest link. Biometrics on a ID card only prove that you're the one that the card was issued to. It doesn't prove that the issuer issued it to the right person. (Good article in The Register about this. Thanks Peter.) The point of data entry is still VERY weak in most systems. Over 10% of Canadian SS#'s are fake. These centralized ID systems to be used for "everything" increase the value of compromising the point of entry into the database. The better architecture is a variety of ID's suited and designed for specific types of transactions and interactions with a distributed network of authenticators and points of data entry.

If you need an id with biometrics and for financial transactions, a bank and a hospital should jointly issue ID's. This would be much more robust than some biometric ID issued at some government office.

Anyway, I rant and rave about this stuff in my "privacy experts" circles, but I realized that I hadn't ranted here recently. So as we think about FOAF, cameras pointing at my face, location moblogging, it is essential not to forget that WE need to be in control of what information we create and how this information is tagged stored and authenticated. Peer-to-peer / end-to-end thinking is essential for privacy as well. Make client software that collects information from catalogs and locally recommends stuff to you, not central servers of user profiles. Empower the people, not the merchants and the governments.

Got the idea for the title of this item when acrobat told Anita that she wasn't Anita, but that was her name. ;-)

On June 11, we released a report on privacy technology and legistlation that was the product of a great deal of work by experts around the world. It was funded by the Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications of Japan. I am urging them to make this an ongoing effort with annual updates. If you read the report and found it useful, please email me or post something here so I can pass on the praise to the Ministry. ;-)

The report can be found on my wiki.

We received funding from the Japanese government to produce a global report on privacy technology and legislation. The report is called "A Report of Research on Privacy for Electronic Government." We tried to get the best experts around the world to help us on this report. Please take a look at it. It is available for download in its entirety under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 1.0 license.

Wiki Page on Privacy Report

I was just appointed committee member of the Committee for the Protection of Identification Information for the City of Yokohama. I was appointed by Hiroshi Nakada, the mayor of Yokohama. Yokohama is one of the most active opponents of the Japanese Basic Resident Code system and has made it optional for the residents of the City of Yokohama. Mayor Nakada argues (rightly) that the current Basic Resident Code law is illegal because there is not sufficient privacy protection as originally mandated in the law. This argument is quite valid until the privacy bill passes. The privacy bill is being deliberated in the Diet at this moment. I believe, and have said publicly, that this privacy bill currently being drafted is too strong on business and too lenient on bureaucrats and would not constitute strong privacy vis a vis the issue of National ID.

Currently of the 3,450,000 residents of Yokohama, 845,000 people have opted out of receiving national ID's. When the privacy bill passes, it is likely that Yokohama will have to hook its network up to the national network. Yokohama has passed a local bill and created this small committee of five people to advise the mayor who has made it clear in the bill that Yokohama would disconnect their local system from other prefectures and the national system in the event that there was evidence of privacy failures in the system. The bill states that the mayor will seek the advice of the committee to judge whether such privacy breaches have occurred and what they should do about it.

The press conference just ended so there is no press yet, but I will provide links if there is any press coverage.

Mayor Nakada is 38 year old, young for a Japanese mayor. He was selected as a Global Leader for Tomorrow by the World Economic Forum this year.

Village Voice via Lisa Rein
Ashcroft Out of Control Ominous Sequel to USA Patriot Act By Nat Hentoff for the Village Voice.

Under the proposed Ashcroft bill reversing that court decision, for the first time in U.S. history, secret arrests will be specifically permitted. That section of bill is flatly titled: "Prohibition of Disclosure of Terrorism Investigation Detainee Information." In Argentina, those secretly taken away were known as "the disappeared."

Moving on, under Section 501 of the blandly titled Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003, an American citizen can be stripped of citizenship if he or she "becomes a member of, or provides material support to, a group that the United States has designated as a 'terrorist organization,' if that group is engaged in hostilities against the United States."

The day before yesterday, I was in the inquiry committee for consumer protection and I explained that privacy had far reaching effects. One example I gave was GRID.

Selected to Manage Database That Will Aid Financial Institutions In Tracking Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Other Criminal Activities
The Global Regulatory Information Database (GRIDSM) is a unique solution for financial institutions to conduct automated and enhanced due diligence on entities, individuals and transactions as mandated by federal law. Among other federal and international rules, the recently passed USA PATRIOT Act requires financial institutions to undertake stringent verification processes for existing and new accounts. The GRID database is the first unified attempt by financial institutions to comply with the Act's requirements through a comprehensive database.

Information collected in Japan about Japanese citizens could easily be handed over to GRID by the Japanese government as a gesture of good faith to the US that the Japanese government seems so happy doing these days. GRID will be a global database and will grow to include all kinds of information. For those of you who are unaware of this, money laundering law makes it illegal to hide your money flow from the government, even if you are not doing anything else illegal. So, a warning to those Japanese who have recently sent money to a friend in Iraq, visited Afghanistan, donated money to Greenpeace or had dinner with a human shield... beware of international travel. You may be on a list that you won't know how to get off of. As a non-citizen of the country you are visiting, you will not even have the rights that US citizens have. These lists are based on profiling, so many things that you do could be construed as: "becomes a member of, or provides material support to, a group that the United States has designated as a 'terrorist organization,' if that group is engaged in hostilities against the United States." Better not to say, do our buy anything if you plan on visiting to the US any time soon.

U.S. plan: Threat level for every flier ACLU objects, calls background checks unconstitutional

Friday, February 28, 2003 Posted: 1:55 PM EST (1855 GMT)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Civil liberties groups are objecting to a government plan for a new system that would check background information and assign a threat level to everyone who buys a ticket for a commercial flight.

This affects everyone in the world.

There already exists a Global Regulatory Information Database (GRID) which tracks potential criminals globally based on a variety of profiling techniques. It would be seem natural to expand this international database.

Recently, the US and Canada have created the Advance Passenger Information and Passenger Name Records (API/PNR) database on "high-risk travelers" traveling between US and Canada. The API/PNR system will in place Spring 2003. Citizens won't know how they get on this list so they won't know how to get off. You don't have to be a criminal to get on this list. You just have to fit the profile.

As the world starts to create blacklists based on various profiling techniques, the databases held by a variety of countries will contain data about citizens from other countries, who by default, have no rights Even if you have rights in your own country, this doesn't help you much when you find yourself at some airport in some other country on some blacklist for some reason which you have no access to.

I wonder if this blog post increases my "threat level"...


tia.jpgGood show US democracy! Now if you can just shut down that war of yours.

Is there still a pulse in the badly injured body of American democracy? Cynics will say that it will go underground, but I choose to believe that the US Congress has succeeded in shutting down the ultra-panoptic Total Information Awareness program -- the scheme to protect Americans from tyranny through total dataveillance of our every move. I say yay. Maybe those telephone calls you and I made to our Congressional representatives made a difference.
Virtually without dissent, the House conferees accepted a bipartisan Senate provision written by Charles Grassley, an Iowa Republican, and Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, stipulating that the program cannot be used against American citizens. The conferees also agreed to end research on the program — in effect shutting it down — in 90 days unless the Pentagon submits a detailed report on the program's cost, goals, impact on civil liberties and prospects for success against terrorists. What this means, in effect, is that if the program continues at all, it will be as a low-intensity research project under close Congressional supervision.

Nobuo Ikeda has recently been attacking me. I wrote about this before. He recently wrote an email to Dave Farber's list attacking me again. This attack seems to have more substance so I have tried to address his points. I wonder if this is the "critical debate" I've been fighting for. ;-p

My comments are in italics.

-----Original Message-----
From: IKEDA Nobuo
To: Dave Farber
Subject: Re: [IP] revolution in Japan
Date: Thu, 06 Feb 2003 20:58:40 +0900

I can't understand what Jo Ito means by "revolution", but I am afraid that he is preventing the evolution of the Internet in Japan. Yesterday we had a symposium titled "E-Governmet for Whom?"

I don't think anyone other than Ikeda-san thinks I'm am preventing the evolution of the Internet so I won't address this point directly. If he would elaborate, I will happily defend my position. (in Japanese)

We discussed the National ID problem, to which Ito is opposing strongly.

His colleague is arguing "I don't want to be a number". We concluded that it was a non-probelm whether people become numbers or not, because they are already numbered and could be searched by their names and addresses. Try Google.

Universal numbers are more dangerous than name/address combinations. Anyone trying to merge databases knows that it is very difficult and much more expensive to merge databases that don't have unique serial numbers. Google is useful, but there is very little information about me on Google that I have not made explicitly available. The government has ID information of whistle blowers, FOIA requesters, people who subscribe to subversive newsletters, face recognition data for blacklists for a variety of government agencies and arrest records (including people who were not charged). This information is often leaked. A universal numbering system will make it much easier for this information to be abused. The numbering system has been passed without clear guidelines about the government use of personal information. Also, privacy enhancing technologies and better architecture could have significantly reduced he risk of personal information being leaked by the government, but such suggestions were ignored and the system set up before thorough public debate. For instance, since the ID cards will be smart cards, why were 11 digit human readable numbers chosen instead of longer non-human readable numbers? Why were static numbers chosen instead of some sort of session key based authentication system?

Ito insists that Japanese govt should strengthen the privacy bill to enforce "self-information control rights" to allow everybody to control all data that contain his/her name. In our symposium, we agreed that it was very dangerous to empower everybody to "censor" the personal data. Even the notorious EU directive is not enforcing such a strong restriction.

I would like to clarify that I think that the privacy bill regulating non-government entities is fine or in some ways too strong. My primary issue with the privacy bill is that it has much weaker restrictions on the use and cross-refrencing of personal information by the government. There is no watch-dog organization which oversees privacy violations by the government, the bill is VERY loose about the government's use of personal information. The Japanese government in notoriously abusive of information about individuals.

Yesterday I discussed it with a Microsoft official, and today I talked about it with an Intel official. They encouraged me to stop such a dangerous "privacy" bill that regulates the Net.

Again, I think that self-regulation and disclosure of privacy policies by commercial enterprises is sufficient. My main concern is the abuse by the government. The government watches us, but who watches them?
Ikeda, Nobuo
Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry

The New York Times
State Department Link Will Open Visa Database to Police Officers

January 31, 2003

WASHINGTON, Jan. 30 - Law enforcement officials across the country will soon have access to a database of 50 million overseas applications for United States visas, including the photographs of 20 million applicants.
Critics also point to what they call the unwelcome precedent of foreign-intelligence sharing with local law enforcement, even if the intelligence community's initial contribution to the new system may seem somewhat innocuous. That component is the Open Source Information System, a portal where 14 agencies pool unclassified information. Such material in the new system will includes text articles from foreign periodicals and broadcasts, technical reports and maps.

Cool. Ranger Joe will be able to read my blog on his PDA!

This sort of thing is difficult to "turn off" once it gets going. I think you should read "Law Enforcement officals across the country" to mean "just about anybody willing to bribe a cop." Scary scary scary.

I appears that one blog, DynaWeb was the concern of the Chinese government (I read this first on Dave Winer's Weblog) which had information about how to get around the government filters. According to the DynaWeb site, Blogger/Blogspot seems to be available again with only DynaWeb's DNS being screwed up by the government poinpointing the target. According the DynaWeb, it was an article in Forbes by Juliana Liu that pushed the Chinese government to remove the filter on Blogspot.

OK I thought it was kind of cool to be censored by the Chinese and even bragged about it on TV, but I just got an email from Jason and I think it's time we get serious and get all hands on deck trying to fix this silly situation. You can start by reading the entry in Jason's blog. If anyone from China is reading this and has a good idea about how to get blogspot uncensored, email or post something here. I know some people, but don't know exactly which buttons to push...

Saw this first on Boing Boing

Well, you know you're onto something BIG when China bans what you're doing...

Blogistan, 2000[GMT] 10 January, 2003:

"Bloggers" from all over China are reporting that they are unable to access their on-line journals or "blogs".

Journals hosted at and other blog providers have joined a growing list of sites blocked by Chinese authorities.

found this on Smartmobs

iSee is an inverse surveillance application for wireless devices and web-browsers that enables users to monitor and avoid CCTV surveillance cameras. iSee users are presented with an interactive map showing the locations of known CCTV cameras in public space. Users click on the map to specify a point of origin and destination, and iSee employs artificial intelligence algorithms to determine a path of least surveillance between the two points that avoids as many cameras as possible.
So Cool! I want iSee built into my phone. I guess we could just write an i-Apli Java script to do it on our Docomo phones... hmm...

code.jpegA bureaucrat that with whom we have had numerous debates suddenly visited my office today wanting to talk. Gohsuke had told him to read Lawrence Lessig's book, Code. The bureaucrat read the book over the holidays and wanted to see me right away to tell me about it. (Today is the first day of work after the Japanese holidays. He said he, "got it." He liked the book very much and finally realized the scale and the context of the issues we had been debating and now understood what we were talking about. This story has several lessons... Focusing on specifics before you share a framework is futile; a well written book by an important person (the bureaucrat insisted on confirming the social status of Lessig) can change everything; the "meta-discussion" is less threatening than specific issues with responsibilities and associated budgets. ;-) Anyway, thanks Larry!

As I struggle to prepare my thoughts for the Davos Blueprint for Japan 2020 panel, I keep ending up at the conclusion that Japan is not a functioning democracy. Although it is a loop, the lack of transparency, the lack of an open function market, the lack of a free and independent media, the lack of a functioning judiciary... All of these things point to the fact that we don't have a democracy. I'm not blaming anyone for this and I think that many people are sincerely trying to reform Japan, but I do believe that it is much deeper than just some stimulation packages and lip service to transparency.

Larry talks about the "Framers" in "The Future of Ideas" and what he says about them sounds pretty good. It sounds like the "Framers" really tried very hard to structure a democracy that is robust against corruption and able to self-correct. So, I decided to ask Professor Lessig about democracy. (It sure is nice having a comparative constitutional law professor in the neighborhood. ;-) )

Professor Lessig gave me some great things to think about which I thought I would share. (This may not be very new to people who don't live in a totalitarian state... if there is such a think these days...)

The first thing he said that made a lot of sense is that a democracy requires multiple points of authority to criticize and check power. This may seem obvious and is the spirit behind the separation of the three branches of government, but it goes beyond that. It's giving power to the states. (In Japan's case, the governors.) It's a free media. It's a bunch of different points of authority which structurally allow a competition of ideas and well-regulated criticism. For this, authorities with a strong sense of the ethics of independence are necessary.

Professor Lessig defined democracy as a competition of ideas. I think he is right on.

So this is where blogging comes in. We both agreed that there is a sense of well-regulated critical discussion about politics and other important topics on blogs. Blogging has been around for awhile now, but is still in its infancy. If we can develop the Internet into a method that enables a competition of ideas and a well-regulated critical dialog, we may be able enable one of the key factors missing from many non-democracies. A public dialog which engages the people. (By the way, the "press" when the Framers were writing the Constitution were individuals with printing presses, not the massive media companies.)

Sorry about this sloppy entry. I just wanted to get this out before I forgot. I'll post more over the holidays as I prepare my presentation, but the key lesson of today's lunch was: Focus on the "competition of ideas" and MAYBE everything will follow. Maybe it's a blog-enabled public and a league of powerful governors that will lead Japan into the next stage...

I'm sure it's bad everywhere, but the struggle for privacy is very tough in Japan. The privacy bill as it is currently written has the risk of limiting the freedom of journalists in collecting information. For this reason, privacy advocates have been at odds with the mass media generally and journalists in general tend to be negative about privacy issues. (Although some journalists have been doing a great job covering stuff.) Privacy debates in Japan tend to be rather emotional without dealing with the technical issues very much. It's kind of like arguing in court without an understanding of the law. Since I began protesting the national ID in Japan I have found that I am now able to convince most technical people about the merits of having privacy built into the system and it is now mostly non-technical and "interested parties" arguing...

Having said that, there are people who ought to know better, who are probably our greatest enemies.

disclosure: this is tainted with a personal issue

Mr. Nobuo Ikeda who used to be a reporter at NHK (the biggest broadcast company) and is now at RETI (a government affiliated research organization) is an outspoken opponent of securing adequate privacy. (On the issue of spectrum, he is on the right side of the argument I believe.) Hiroo got into a scrape with him after publishing the following comment about him in the afterward of the translation of The Future of Ideas.

Hiroo Yamagata's Translator's Notes for The Future of Ideas
And then there's the reverse problem, although it's not Lessig's fault. There were people who read CODE as an endorsement of ALL regulations. We've already started to see the same thing happen with this book. It goes something like this; "As Lessig argues, too much claims of rights on the net hampers its development. In Japan, we have idiots who oppose the national id asking for too much privacy, or bureaucrats refusing to disclose information using privacy as an excuse. So privacy is questionable. And privacy may be an illusion in the first place, because all information runs freely on the Net anyway. So people arguing for too much privacy is doubly misguided." Ikeda Nobuo promotes this sort of argument. Amazing. What can I say? Lessig himself wouldn't have expected to have his argument used AGAINST privacy (he didn't, he told me). It's true that privacy gets to be used as a sorry excuse in many cases. But that's a far cry from denying privacy itself. The value of not being search has been argued in CODE, and the importance of privacy is well described there. Just because some regulations are good, not all regulations are good. Likewise, just because some free commons is desirable, it doesn't follow that everything should be in the commons. This book incessantly stresses "Balance", and that's what we need to look for.
I have to agree totally with Hiroo on this.

Ikeda also writes that Barlow says, "we don't need privacy." I talked to Barlow at the EFF party about this I think that Barlow's position is quite different from the way Ikeda portrays it. Barlow believes in an utopia of full transparency. In such a world, privacy doesn't exist. Barlow DOES NOT however believe we should not fight for privacy as long as there are institutions that are not transparent trying to control us. Why do you think he co-founded the EFF? Barlow was quite suprised to hear that his rather ideological argument had been simplified to, "Barlow says we don't need privacy." ;-)

The reason this is personal is that in a review of a book I helped write Ikeda says that I am a second generation Japanese who doesn't read Japanese and that I know nothing about Japan. He portrays me as someone who is trying to scare the Japanese with examples of risks from the US and trying to make money selling things to the frightened Japanese. He says that any country which allows people like me "whose only skill is the ability to speak a foreign language" to have influence is a third world country. Anyway, you get the idea. The interesting thing is that he tries to convince you not to read the book without refering to the content of the book.

Having said that, I'm in good company. He calls EPIC a fanatical organization.

I apologize for venting my personal frustration here. I should remember The Godfather's advice, "It's business. It's not personal." The reason I write about this is because Ikeda is an influential guy who often says smart things with regard to broadcast and spectrum. He has interviewed many people and I think people hold him in fairly high regard. That's why I am speaking up. At least on the issue of privacy, I think he is wrong. He may be trying to present a balanced view, but when he says that the extent of privacy risk in Japan is receiving junkmail and should not be compared to the US, I think he is being very naive.

We are starting to have more and more arguments about what Larry actually meant. (The difficulty of trying to present a balanced view.) So I think there might be a business in WWLS (What would Larry Say) blogstickers. ;-)

The Asahi reports (in Japanese) that Ministry of Finance has installed hidden cameras in Narita and Kansai international airports. They were installed for the World Cup but are now used to automatically match your face against a database consisting of their blacklist as well as blacklists from other ministries. It appears that the cameras are installed in the passageway after people get off of the plane and are on their way to baggage claim and customs. The Asahi points out that people are constitutionally protected in Japan from being photographed secretly by the government except in special circumstances and it is unlikely that this would qualify. The Japanese government is notorious for being sloppy with sensitive information often leaking secrets to foreign governments and personal information to criminals. Recently a tape containing records from the National ID system were stolen from a car. My question is, WHY WERE THEY IN THE CAR IN THE FIRST PLACE. The procedure for handling the destruction of the tapes in the airport is still a black box. I assume this is a security measure. bah!

Thanks for this link Tai

This is a picture of Suguru Yamaguchi smiling when I told him I'd blog him.
Today was the 4th NPA Security Council meeting. This is a committee focused on studying computer network related risks and countermeasures. We talked about last year's report and what we will do moving forward. This is one of the more interesting groups I am in since most of the people involved are fairly down-to-earth. There are people from Microsoft, Rakuten, Yahoo, JPCERT, Police, Foreign Ministry, the Cabinet Office, etc. I particularly enjoy these meetings because Yamaguchi-san who runs JPCERT is a very outspoken and intelligent guy who doesn't pull any punches.

I said that the US is taking a very different stance towards security since 9/11 and that many of the new security measures that the US are taking may in the long run end up hurting national security since a great deal of privacy is being breached, agents are being allowed to work with shady characters for short term gains which may end up being long term losses and the whole TIA thing may not work. I suggested that we do an extensive analysis of the US anti-terror measures and identify whether each of the measures are 1) things we should copy, 2) things we should ignore, and 3) things that are bad for the Japanese people. I urged everyone not to allow Japan to get suckered into doing something stupid in response to US pressure. In particular, I pressured the person from the Foreign Ministry to be aware of these risks.

There is a chart that the NPA (Japanese pdf) produced showing which countries many of the portscans and pings were coming from. Yamaguchi-san pointed out that this didn't necessarily reflect the source and I concurred.

I talked a bit about the financial services sector problems with organized crime and hacking and that we should focus on and analysis of organized crime rather than do general surveys of smaller crimes and hacker rings.

saw this first on Dave Winer's weblog

The whistleblowers at WorldCom, Enron and the FBI, Cynthia Cooper, Sherron Watkins and Colleen Rowley won the honor from Time Magazine this year. This is great. They deserve it. They must be protected and honored.

You can't have whistleblowers without privacy and the whistleblower protection bill that I am working on is also an important component. I've missed the last few meetings and I feel guilty. I see the bill headed towards bureaucratic mumbo-jumbo that won't help anyone. Mental note to myself to make comments on the current draft which I don't agree with. I wonder if the day will come when Japan honors whistleblowers like this. Time says, " They took huge professional and personal risks to blow the whistle on what went wrong at WorldCom, Enron and the FBI—and in so doing helped remind us what American courage and American values are all about." I hope that some day I can say this about Japanese values. Today, I don't think I can.

I just uploaded my PGP Key because Cyrus mentioned that I didn't have one my web page. It's quite an old key that I created in 1997. The good thing is that it's signed by many people. The bad thing is that since it has been sitting around for a long time, It's more likely to have been stolen. So I'm trying to figure out whether I should dump the key and start using a new one. I have made a new one, but no one has signed it and I never end up using it. It's also kind of a pain for people when you have multiple keys...

Panelists: Cory Doctorow, EFF; Sean Ryan,; Morgan Guenther, Tivo; Media Venture Advisors

Cory is talking about the broadcast flag issue that he has been quite active in resisting. He blogged about it on Boing Boing, but it is basically a flag that can be set in broadcast video to prevent redistribution of it on the Net. The idea is to get commodity hardware and software companies to implement this. The broadcast flag is part I in a three part plan. Part II is to force all analog to digital converters to have technology to sense for watermarks and disable the conversion of anything that had a copywritten watermarks. Part III is to redesign the Internet so that every packet is examined for infringement and discard them.

Sean thinks that the media industry has been bashed so much recently that things are much better than the past. He thinks that there is a viable model that allows people to rip and discover music...

Morgan says that Tivo will be profitable next year... Customers are "happy as clams..." Morgan is talking to the advertising industry about how to use the "real estate" in the living room where families in the US spend 7 hours a day. Wrestling with lots of issues such as copying content between Tivo's. The idea of attacking this without support of the industry didn't make sense to Tivo.

Japan Times
The Japan Times Online Microsoft to reveal source code to Japan, which has eyed Linux

Microsoft Corp. will disclose the source code of the Windows operating system to the Japanese government in line with the government's e-Japan project, company officials said Wednesday.

I recently made a public comment on the record at the oversight committee for the National ID about Microsoft and trying to get them to open up the source code. I wonder if this had any effect. I guess we must all have had an effect. I assume many people have been saying this. It's a great step forward, even if it is just MS trying to keep Linux out.

Roger Clarke, one of my favorite privacy experts and the person I learned the notion of separation of "entities" and "identities" has written a paper about the problems with ENUM. I wrote about ENUM when Australia announced their initiative. I am on a mission to make sure that Japan doesn't try to link ENUM with the national ID...

Roger Clarke
From: Roger Clarke
Subject: Glitterati: ENUM: Case Study in Social Irresponsibility

I've just finished a paper on a proposed Internet scheme that will have extremely serious implications if it's implemented:

ENUM - A Case Study in Social Irresponsibility

As always, constructively negative feedback much appreciated.


ENUM is meant to provide a means of mapping from telephone numbers to IP-addresses: "today, many addresses; with ENUM, only one", as its proponents express it.

Any such capability would be extremely dangerous, providing governments, corporations, and even individuals, with the ability to locate and to track other people, both in network space, and in physical space. The beneficiaries would be the powerful who seek to manipulate the behaviour of others. It would do immense social, sociological and democratic harm.

The astounding thing is that the engineers responsible for it are still adopting the na・e position that its impact and implications are someone else's problem. With converged computing-and-communications technologies becoming ever more powerful and ever more pervasive, engineers have to be shaken out of their cosy cocoon, and forced to confront the implications, along with the technology and its applications.


Outline Description of ENUM
The Context
Implications of ENUM
Responses by the ENUM WG

Roger Clarke

Heavy bloggers will have already seen this article. As we push for more privacy in Japan and I try to get the Japanese government to take a serious look at the value of anonymity, this sort of thing makes it difficult. It looks like a the group of experts were about to be "looks like co-option" fodder, but managed to make enough noise to get word out. I wish I had collaborators like these on my study groups in Japan.

New York Times

Agency Weighed, but Discarded, Plan Reconfiguring the Internet

he Pentagon research agency that is exploring how to create a vast database of electronic transactions and analyze them for potential terrorist activity considered but rejected another surveillance idea: tagging Internet data with unique personal markers to make anonymous use of some parts of the Internet impossible.

The idea, which was explored at a two-day workshop in California in August, touched off an angry private dispute among computer scientists and policy experts who had been brought together to assess the implications of the technology.

The plan, known as eDNA, called for developing a new version of the Internet that would include enclaves where it would be impossible to be anonymous while using the network. The technology would have divided the Internet into secure "public network highways," where a computer user would have needed to be identified, and "private network alleyways," which would not have required identification.

I saw it first on Werblog

Putting The Boots In — Photo Lab Grasses Up Pot Growers found on BBC News written by holgate, edited by John (Plastic)

A house in Leith, near Edinburgh, was raided by police, leading to the arrest of five people, and the seizure of marijuana plants 'valued' at £15,000, after receiving a tip-off from photo-processing staff at the local branch of Boots. It's believed that a lab technician identified the plants when developing a set of prints, and got on the phone to the boys in blue.

"While you can understand photo-labs wishing to protect themselves from obscene images, given that there are specific laws prohibiting the possession and reproduction of such images, it's another thing entirely to call in the police, based solely upon the perception that photographs record something illegal: that is, recognizing a few tell-tale leaves. Undoubtedly, the pot-growers in question weren't the sharpest knives in the box, but is the knowledge that random people may take moral outrage at your photographs another reason to add that digital camera to the Christmas list?"
Yup. Exactly why I first got into digital cameras. I remember one lab which was part of a franchise. I knew the owner fairly well. Anyway, the owner once thanked me for using their service, even though I hadn't told anyone. Also, I had several rolls of film where I had visited the same place several times. The photos of the place were arranged together instead of in the order they appeared on the negatives. It really hit me that someone was "looking" at my pictures... Which makes sense if you think of how a lab works. Now I generally focus on landscape on film. ;-)

I'm sitting on the inquiry committee where we are revising the consumer protection law. We're discussing provisions to protect whistleblowers. I'm very passionate about this issue. I think that with increasing ability to track people and profile them, we need to protect the identities of whistleblowers. I am proposing that anonymity and pseudonymity using privacy technology should be considered when writing the new law. Certain types of interactions with the government should be allowed in an anonymous way. Currently all whistleblowing and FOIA is on a fully disclosed ID basis without clear protection of the "list" that is created as a result...

The press are here in numbers. Probably because whistleblowing is more common in Japan these days and it is quite clear that they need to be protected.

I can't believe Japan is #29. I think it should be lower... but I guess they don't kill reporters in Japan... they just co-opt them. I guess it depends on what you call "press freedom"...
Reporters Without Borders
Reporters Without Borders is publishing the first worldwide press freedom index
Reporters Without Borders is publishing for the first time a worldwide index of countries according to their respect for press freedom. It also shows that such freedom is under threat everywhere, with the 20 bottom-ranked countries drawn from Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe. The situation in especially bad in Asia, which contains the four worst offenders - North Korea, China, Burma, Turkmenistan and Bhutan. The top end of the list shows that rich countries have no monopoly of press freedom. Costa and Benin are examples of how growth of a free press does not just depend on a country's material prosperity. The index was drawn up by asking journalists, researchers and legal experts to answer 50 questions about the whole range of press freedom violations (such as murders or arrests of journalists, censorship, pressure, state monopolies in various fields, punishment of press law offences and regulation of the media). The final list includes 139 countries. The others were not included in the absence of reliable information.
Rank Country Note
1 Finland 0,50
- Iceland 0,50
- Norway 0,50
- Netherlands 0,50
5 Canada 0,75
6 Ireland 1,00
7 Germany 1,50
- Portugal 1,50
- Sweden 1,50
10 Denmark 3,00
11 France 3,25
12 Australia 3,50
- Belgium 3,50
14 Slovenia 4,00
15 Costa Rica 4,25
Rank Country Note
- Switzerland 4,25
17 United States 4,75
18 Hong Kong 4,83
19 Greece 5,00
20 Ecuador 5,50
21 Benin 6,00
- United Kingdom 6,00
- Uruguay 6,00
24 Chile 6,50
- Hungary 6,50
26 South Africa 7,50
- Austria 7,50
- Japan 7,50
29 Spain 7,75
- Poland 7,75

Spotted on David Farber's IP

Australian IT
Phone system could have your number
Kate Mackenzie
OCTOBER 07, 2002

A SINGLE telephone number doubling as an email address could soon be available in Australia despite fears the technology could become a de facto identification number.

Under the ENUM system being analysed by the Australian Communications Authority, one number could track down a person via a home or mobile phone number, or an email or website address.

This is SOOO bad. Where is my favorite Australian privacy expert Roger Clarke?

In Japan the Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications (who brought us the National ID system I've been protesting) also controls all of the phone numbers. This is yet another stupid idea that links identity to some sort of government number. Why can't we all have a variety of screen name/email addresses and dump phone numbers all together. Why don't we just phone email addresses? This whole idea is backwards...

I can understand the desire to trace everything to a physical body, but don't they understand that it means that ANYONE with a PC and a brain will be able to trace stuff back to us? The risks, I believe, outweigh the benefits.

The EFF is one of the few organizations fighting on the issues of copyright and privacy in the US courts. They need our support more than ever. I just sent my contribution. If you care about the Net shouldn't you?

I had asked Gosuke to ghost write a short article for the Tokyo Shimbun (newspaper) based on a discussion with me. It was about the problems with the National ID. (I DID review it.) Then, I was asked to write an blurb in a book about the National ID so I asked Gosuke to add some more of my thoughts to the aritcle and we gave it to the publisher. Before I knew it, with the mere contribution of a 2 page ghost-written article, I was the co-author of the book, my name on the front of the book as if I had done something important. Luckily, the co-author is Yoshiko Sakurai who I respect deepy. All of the royalties go to the protest movement. So, I guess some people are trying to make sure I don't look too co-opted by the government. ;-)

I'm blogging this a bit late, but Marko, Ilkka, Shu and Martti from Nokia Ventures Organization visited last week. We talked about the future. Their mission is to do a lot of long term thinking about Nokia. I blabbed about blogs, privacy and all of the other things I love. Howard was the one that got us hooked up. Marko worked on setting up Aula, a project in Finland that I love. I had met Jryi and some others from Aula when they visited Tokyo and have been a fan ever since. Aula is this great space in Finland that is kind of a new space/community/incubator... You should go look at their site to learn more.

Marko Ahtisaari was born in Helsinki, Finland and grew up in Helsinki, Dar es Salaam and New York. He studied economics, philosophy and music at Columbia University in the City of New York where he subsequently lectured in logic, philosophy of economics and the history of thought. He went on to be the leader of the mobile practice at the design consultancy Satama Interactive. Currently Marko works in the Nokia Ventures Organization. In the in-between moments he makes music.

Tallking to Marko reminded me of talking to Jyri which involved getting really excited and a feeling sorry that we ran out of time. Marko's team at Nokia gets to do some really long term thinking and we all agreed blogs on mobile phones made sense.

I tried to get them to increase priority on privacy.

Marko Ahtisaari

I suppose public persons, whether by choice or accident, don’t have the luxury of the distinction between what Joi Ito calls entifying and identifying (following Roger Clarke). Talking to Joi has convinced me to start thinking harder about privacy.

So I've been helping Justin try to get his Journalist Visa for Japan. I wrote a letter and helped him get one which got taken away the when he left Japan last time. Now he is applying for another one and I've written another letter.

Justin Hall

Update: They asked my sponsor, Joichi Ito, to call (because he is Japanese, he might "understand the nuance" they suggested). He did, from Europe. Nice of him. He reports, "They didn't ask me anything, but told me that the Tokyo office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was reviewing your case and that they would then consult the MOJ. That's all they said. They said this is not necessarily standard procedure, but also not uncommon. Maybe the "nuance" they wanted to convey was that they are wrapped up in a bureaucratic mess..."

He needed to come to Tokyo for the game show so he snuck back in. (I don't actually know if he did anything illegal, but it sounds sneaky.) He posted it his sneaking on his web page. In wonder if immigration reads his page. Hmm... I wonder if they read my blog. ;-)
Justin Hall

I had half a breath held at immigration but my two-day-old passport was free of incriminiating stamps or damamge and so I was permitted to enter Japan without a second glance. Adventure can be created by concern, my worry that I was bound to be kept back. So having that relieved made me nearly ecstatic, restraining a loud yell in the airport.

Immigration is the most aweful thing that I ever have to deal with in my life. It impacts taxes, travel and basic human dignity. You have no rights, they don't tell you anything and basically sucks. Anything not to have to deal with immigration is great. That's what is wonderful about traveling in Europe. I RARELY have to every show my passport and have never had a bad experience.
As we all know, the US is terrible. They throw people into little cells and strip search people regularly. At least Justin is unlikely to have that done to him in Japan. (Even if they do see his picture on his site and keep an eye out for him the next time he comes through Narita...)

Now I'm sitting on a panel sponsored by the government about security. The panel is focused on the security of government networks. I am sitting on the far left and the guy in favor of the national ID is sitting on the far left. I just talked about the importance of privacy and the fact that privacy is different from security. I talked about how privacy is not only a right of citizens, but a necessary element for demcracy. I talked about how the OECD guidelines for privacy were written before the Internet and that we needed to look at the future. I talked about Roger Clarke's distinction between entity and identity and the fact that Privacy Enhancing Technologies can make the same networks much more robust from a privacy perspective and that this was a different way of thinking about architecture than just security...

Chris Goggans (aka Erik Bloodaxe) spoke yesterday. I wish I could have heard him. I heard it was a good talk. He is the one that got me invited to this panel. Pretty funny. One of the most famous hackers from American invites me to a government sponsored panel in Japan...

The mic cables look shielded... I wonder if I can stay connected even when I talked on the mic...

Found this on David Farber's IP

This is crazy, but very typical. Japanese schools have banned home pages of students because of "privacy concerns"... I guess students will be banned from using blogs in order to protect them from themselves... ;-p

Use a blog, go to jail?

One of the Leoville Town Square regulars, BEACHTechie, aka Sam, is a high school student in Virginia Beach, VA. He recently got busted by the school administration for blogging, of all things. They seem to think blogging from school is a violation of their acceptable use policies. Perhaps it is. Sammy will be blogging from home from now on. But it seems to me that instead of discouraging blogging they should encourage each student to create one. After all, most writing classes encourage their students to keep journals, and that's exactly what a blog is.

I've posted a message of support in Sam's blog, I hope the school reads it.

Ignorance breeds fear. This is why I consider it so important to educate everyone on the value of computers and the Internet. I hope his school's administrators take the time to learn about blogging. I think they'll see that it's no threat.

Sakiyama-san is a co-founder of the Japan chapter of CPSR and one of the few privacy activists in Japan. He mentioned this issue at the last CPSR meeting, and I've been meaning to look into it. The perp of this whole thing, the Electronic Network Consortium, merged with the Internet Association of Japan (IAJ). I WAS a Councilor of the Internet Association Japan and was on their web page the when I check at the CPSR meeting, but I just checked and noticed that I am no longer on their web page. Hmm... I was going to threaten to quit if they didn't do something about this, but maybe I have already been fired. (or maybe I quit and didn't know it) In that case, threatening to quit is a pretty idle threat. ;-)

In any case, I will call the IAJ and let them know that I think this censorware project is a BAD IDEA and the way that they have been dealing with the criticism is also pretty poor.

Nobuo Sakiyama

Censorware funded by the Japanese Government

Recently, censorware - content filtering software becomes widely used in Japan, particularly on schools, offices, and public libraries. There are already many criticisms against censorware, so I don't repeat the same discussion.

Here in Japan, several commercial censorware products developed in the U.S. are localized and used, but in this article, I focus on a censorware product funded by the Japanese Government. That censorware is developed by an auxiliary organization of the Government and funded by the Government, and its rating database is operated by another industry-based organization which represents Internet Industry in Japan, and the operation business is fully funded by the Government. The feature of the censorware lacks transparency, and the operating organization plainly ignores the accountability. In this August, I released a tool which decrypts the rating labels in the censorware right after the release of the new version of the censorware, because its license did not prohibit reverse-engineering. Now a minor-upgraded version of the censorware was released. That is not compatible with the previous version, and the new license prohibits not only reverse-engineering but also any criticism against the product.

The government-funded censorware project does prohibit criticism by users of the product! So I decided to write a whole story in my poor English.

stewart.jpgStewart Alsop (who I met recently at the Fortune Brainstorm 2002) writes in his column in Fortune Magazine about GoodContacts.

When Barak was visiting a few weeks ago, he was raving about it as well. GoodContacts is basically a contact management package that talks to Outlook or Act! and spams them with email and asks people to update their info. The good thing about GoodContacts is that they don't keep your contact list, they just enable you to spam from your computer. That's why I thought about using it until I realized I would have to switch to Outlook. (and why I am still drooling) It is viral, useful and cool. It triggered a "flashbulb moment" for Stewart.

Stewart Alsop

And that leads me to the flashbulb. Imagine that we all have one phone number and one e-mail address that knows where we are. Imagine that the network keeps track of our location and our personal data, and automatically updates anyone who might be interested. Imagine that we don't have to think about whether the right phone number or address is stored in the network or our PC or our PDA or our phone. Imagine that all these little details of personal life are just handled. Yeah, yeah, I'm dreaming. But if that stuff happens, it will start with dumb little programs like GoodContacts. That's enlightening.

boldface added by Joi for emphasis

I have great respect for Stewart and all this SOUNDS good, but the lightbulb that flashed for me was. OUTLOOK? PERSONAL DATA? Ack! I would like something with similar functionality. It would be great, but I still can't imagine using a Microsoft product for contact management considering all of the security and privacy problems they have. I also would HATE for all of this information to ever end up not being local. Be careful when you ask "the network" to do stuff for you. I envision something similar, but a much different architecture.

Think IM buddy lists. Everyone should be able to have identities that are separate from their "entities". (see my paper about for more thoughts about this) You should be able to have multiple identities for the various roles. Each identity would be attached to different attributes such as memberships, age, corporate roles, or writing pseudonyms. Locally, you would be able to attach current information such as shipping address, home address, current phone, voicemailbox, etc. to each of the identities, being able to manage which identity was "active" or capable of routing to you at any given time. At work you would want your personal phone calls screened, your business contacts on. At home, you could reverse them.

Managing our identities and personal information in this age of privacy destruction will be essential. I truely believe that privacy underpins democracy and that "viral" solutions that give people like Microsoft or their software, access to our contact info should be watched carefully. Peer to peer, multi-vendor, multi-id, hash/digital signature based connectivity is much more interesting for me.

But maybe Stewart was going to get to the architecture next. I think it's a great idea, but the architecture discussion has to happen NOW.

I am on the inquiry committee working on rewriting the basic consumer protection law. We are discussing enforcement. I mentioned the FTC action against MS Passport. We talked about how something like the FTC is essential in Japan. Currently the privacy bill being contemplated doesn't link with the consumer protection law and there is no body that can attack a problem like the MS Passport issue from the fair trade, consumer protection and privacy aspects as the FTC did in the US. I have 45 minutes left until the end of the meeting so if anyone has anything that I should mention here, please comment on my blog.

I'm practicing blogging during government committees. One problem... my wireless access card interferes with the microphone in a big way. Pretty embarassing... when I tried to talked, I emitted a BIG howl.

Japan has a process where they make boards and inquiry panels to discuss important issues with experts and the public. These inquiry panels are defined by law and are supposed to be an important part of the law making process, but in fact they are often used to diffuse public pressure and just act like they care. I am often asked to join such panels and I find I learn a lot about what is going on and can usually influence the direction ever so slightly. I usually feel this is better than not doing anything, but I am often citied as having been co-opted. In the past, the issues haven't been so important or public so it hasn't really mattered. This time it does.

A month or so ago, the Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications which is in charge of the National ID that I have been protesting approached me and asked me if I could organize a panel to review the privacy issues around the National ID. I consulted with our protest movement we decided that if the results were made public and we could fund some privacy research, this was probably a good thing. We are now in the process of organizing a global survey of privacy technology, privacy commissioners and other things that would be useful in considering how to set up the Japanese government privacy policy. We hope to create a recommendation about what Japan should do in creating new system as well as what we can do to minimize privacy invasiveness in the current system. So far so good.

Now I have been contacted again, but this time the request is to be on the board of the National ID committee and be in charge of privacy! Apparently this is a request from the minister. (Very interesting since I practically called him a liar on a live national news program where we debated against each other and I think he called me something that sounded a lot like "stupid." Anyway...) It is probably a move to try to co-opt me. I replied saying that I have no intention of stopping my anti-National ID activity or becoming "quiet." I said I would consider taking the post if I was allowed to be completely open and public about what we discussed in the meetings and if I were allowed to continue to protest the National ID. I think that if I were to take such a post, it would negatively impact the movement. Having said that, as we all know from Karl Auerbach's ability to really be a pain in the ass to ICANN as a board member, I think co-opting doesn't work when one is able to be public with one's comments. So I'm thinking about this. If they come back and tell me that I have to stop protesting or I have to keep the meeting discussions confidential, I will obviously say, "No." On the other hand, if I am able to blog everything that is going on inside, I wonder if they will be able to co-opt me. Anyway, this may end up being quite an interesting test for this medium and my blog...

On the other hand, (since I know my investors, board members and employees are now reading my blog...) I probably don't have to time to do the job properly considering the fact that I have a REAL JOB and this whole thing was supposed to be just a hobby... hmm.... And if I focus my REAL JOB too much on my hobby, it compromises my independence... hmm... All this is SO difficult.

I just got a call from a Kyodo News reporter asking for a comment about the Ministry of Finance (MOF) leaking (accidentally?) financial metrics on their web page before the official annoucement date. They are apparently going to make some announcement about their mistake and he wanted a quote from me to run in the story. I can't seem to find anything on the web about this. Does anyone know anything? (I thought it was the FSA, but it was the MOF)

Anyway, the comment I made was that comparing Nippon Ham vs. Worldcom the CFO of Worldcom is taken away in handcuffs and in Japan apologies and some shifting around (although I would agree Worldcom is probably worse than Nippon Ham.) is all that happens at Nippon Ham. When US agencies leak information risking national security, it is treason. In Japan, it is just a breach of a confidentiality agreement and the guy might lose his job. When Yamaichi went bust, the CEO cried and the Ministry of Finance which really guided Yamaichi down their path to death, shook their finger at them instead of taking responsibility. My feeling is that accountability in Japan is weak and that the government's use of IT just increases the damage they can cause. Although The Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications is creating the National ID, the risk is to be taken at the local government level. I will be interested to see who takes the blame for this FSA botch up. It probably won't have a huge impact on the economy, but releasing numbers before the official announcement date could impact the market.

Since I've started bashing the National ID publicly, every time there is a government screwup in IT, the reporters call me for comments. That's how I find out about the incidents early. Now that I have a blog, I can scoop them. ;-)

This is scary in many ways. On the one hand, the Chinese are trying to "cleanse Yahoo". On the other hand, the RIAA is trying to cleanse the US of Chinese copyright pirates. The RIAA is attacking the Internet backbone. Andy Oram and I talked before about the idea that the Internet may break up into a bunch of networks, each with different rules and much less end-to-end connectivity. It feels like it is starting to happen.

Maybe the great push for connectivity is going change to the great push for division. I guess alternative networks may emerge in the way that alternet emerged to carry the Usenet "alt." traffic, but I suppose this is much harder to do in a transnational context. I have a feeling that the Net may turn into a bunch of separate networks. On the other hand, most of the traffic in China is local within each province, I heard, so maybe it doesn't matter to most people. This push for dividing the Internet may be one of the main hurdles for our push for personal publishing, like blogs who don't have the political power to push through transborder doors when the filters come crashing down. Maybe only Time-Warner will be able to "get into" China in the future... And even then, they get banned every once in awhile.

For Immediate Release: Monday, August 19, 2002
Recording Industry Attacks Internet to Stop Chinese Pirates
Lawsuit Would Extend Great Internet Firewall of China to US

Electronic Frontier Foundation Media Release

New York, NY - The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) asked a court Friday to order four Internet Service Providers (ISPs) who maintain the Internet "backbone" to prevent access to a Chinese website that provides unauthorized copies of copyrighted music.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) opposes the RIAA action because it seeks to establish a precedent that anyone alleging piracy could shut down access to parts of the Internet, resulting in inappropriate shutdowns, undue administrative burden for ISPs, and imperiling the basic principle of unfettered exchange of information on the Internet. "This latest lawsuit, along with the recently proposed Berman bill, demonstrates that the major record labels have declared war on the infrastructure of the Internet in their campaign to stop the digital music revolution," said EFF Senior Intellectual Property Attorney Fred von Lohmann. "The Business Software Alliance and software industries, who have for years battled overseas pirates, have never resorted to lawsuits against Internet backbone providers that is both pointless and dangerous to innocent bystanders."

"We shouldn't be copying the Great Firewall of China here in the United States," noted von Lohmann. "Offering U.S. consumers a compelling, fairly-priced alternative to the black market will stop illicit traffic to Chinese websites far more effectively than dragging ISPs into 'whack-a-mole' Internet blocking efforts."

EFF expresses its concern that attempts to shut down parts of the Internet will spread to "proxy services," like, which are crucial to privacy and free expression online.

EFF Media Release: Recording Industry Attacks Internet to Stop Chinese Pirates

As I struggle to get gnupg working on my XP box, this is great news! Thanks for pointing this out Sen.

The Register - PGP is back!
By Andrew Orlowski in London
Posted: 19/08/2002 at 13:20 GMT

Phil Zimmermann's PGP is back in the hands of an independent company, after Network Associates agreed to sell the technology it mothballed back in March to a start-up specially created to market PGP.

Jon Callas, the former PGP chief scientist, becomes the CTO of the new company, PGP Corporation. Will Price, former Director of Engineering at NAI, becomes VP of engineering.

found on Slashdot
An article in Popular Science about what a national ID would look like and contain. On the issue of social security numbers on ID card, they mention that even though social security numbers on ID cards have been rejected by the federal government, "it's a good guess the Department of Homeland Security would manage it".

On smart card technology, they say:

For example, an ER doctor could view medical information and enter data about treatment (if the card's data storage device is read-write capable), but could not see security-related data (such as a traveler's flight history, or a non-citizen's visa status) that an airport or INS official might require. But how secure are smart cards? Detailed instructional hacking sites can be found on the Web, many focusing on European cards. And the more data on a card, the more valuable the card becomes to an identity thief.
Yup. This is definitely a risk. I wonder how many terrorists would actually use un-forged ID cards when traveling?
Popular Science | Your ID Please, Citizen

found on POLITECH. My comments in italics

NASA plans to read terrorist's minds at airports
By Frank J. Murray

Airport security screeners may soon try to read the minds of travelers to identify terrorists.

Officials of the National Aeronautics and space Administration have told Northwest Airlines security specialists that the agency is developing brain-monitoring devices in cooperation with a commercial firm, which it did not identify.

Space technology would be adapted to receive and analyze brain-wave and heartbeat patterns, then feed that data into computerized programs "to detect passengers who potentially might pose a threat," according to briefing documents obtained by The Washington Times.

Now this is scary... oops. That thought would probably set off a alarm... Aren't these polygraph sort of technologies notoriously inaccurate? Linked with all of the horrible things we are hearing about treatment in airports and the new database of fingerprints and photos they are making, are we going to end up with a database and a jail full of all of the people who would be nervous about having their brains scanned?

NASA wants to use "noninvasive neuro-electric sensors," (Sounds like an oxymoron.) imbedded in gates, to collect tiny electric signals that all brains and hearts transmit. Computers would apply statistical algorithms to correlate physiologic patterns with computerized data on travel routines, criminal background and credit information from "hundreds to thousands of data sources," NASA documents say.

The notion has raised privacy concerns. (duh...) Mihir Kshirsagar of the Electronic Privacy Information Center says such technology would only add to airport-security chaos. "A lot of people's fear of flying would send those meters off the chart. Are they going to pull all those people aside?"

NASA plans to read terrorist's minds at airports -- The Washington Times

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."


I got my national ID in the mail today. Setagaya-ku used an outside agency and we got ours later than other wards. Now I have to figure out what to do. I personally think that asking to change the number or sending it back sends a political message, and maybe I should do that, but for real change I have to push and lobby closer to where the decision are being made. Maybe I'll try to meet with the mayor of our ward and explain to him why I am unhappy.

I wonder how open people will be about telling people their ID #'s. Unlike social security numbers in the US, the national ID hasn't proliferated widely so people are still feeling pretty secretive about their numbers. I think that suddenly receiving it in the mail has been a shock for many people as well. I wonder if it would be cool to start calling people by their ID #'s. Proably not. I wonder if that's illegal...

Atrocities in american airports, a London Daily Alert

A Brazilian man wrote about an incident where he was extremely abused by INS in LA. It has gotten a lot of airplay on the Net so you may have seen it, but in case you haven't, here it is.

Brock Meeks confirms with the INS that the incident actually occured although the details are unclear.

Brock Meeks is a respected journalist and a google on Ricardo Abude will give you some references. He is aparently a real person.

If this story is true, it's very scary. I recently met someone from Israel who was strip searched coming into the US and in transit althought there was no apparent reason other than the fact that she was from Israel. She wasn't bitter about it though. I think with the increased security, the risk of the "police" becoming un-naturally brutal is a great risk and something we should all keep an eye on. I remember feeling very unfairly treated when I lived in Michigan when "Japan Bashing" was "in" by a variety of official personnel and those memories still haunt me.

Atrocities in American Airports

By Ricardo Abude

If you, or someone from your family, have any plan to visit the US in a near future, I strongly suggest you to continue reading this text, where I describe the experiences I had in LA International Airport, late Feb 24, 2002.

My name is Ricardo Abude E. Da Silva, I'm an Electronic Engineer graduated in 1982 and today am managing our family's businesses in the farming sector. My email is

Throughout my 42 years of age I've travelled several times to the US, both on business and tourism. Late Feb 23 I embarked in Rio heading to LA, in possession of my third Visa to the US, issued in November 1999, and valid until November 2009.

I was aware of the increased airport security for US trips, due to Sep 11 attacks, and in Rio International Airport one can already notice the routine change, but I could have never imagined what would happen next.

From now on I describe, step by step, the horrendous and unimaginable nightmare that I went through :

Saturday Feb 23 21:50 hrs I depart from Rio with Varig flight RG 8836, going to LA.

Sunday Feb 24 07:00 hrs I arrive in LA and proceed towards passport control. The officer looks at my Passport for about five minutes, and asks me to proceed towards an INS office known as Secondary One. It is the first time something like that happens to me, but I imagine I危 going to be interviewed for additional information concerning my stay. Extra safety measures.... I thought.

Sunday Feb 24 07:30 hrs A Second officer asks me to collect all my luggage and accompany him inside Secondary One. ...the interview is going to be in there... I thought again. All of a sudden, I am brutally pushed inside a 2x2 yd cell, all my luggage, money, documents and personnal belongings are confiscated, and they take away my belt and shoe strings.

As I protest against the unexpected treatment, the two officers respond with loud screams and threats of beating me and keeping me confined. I am violently pushed against the wall, they frisk me from head to toe, and all my personnal belongings are searched.

Again I'm pushed against the wall, my picture is taken, I'm fingerprinted and am finally thrown into a filthy, stinky, unventilated hall, already crowded with people. I notice, by their looks, that they've gone through the same ritual, and even though I am still stunned by the long flight, the jet lag, and mainly by the violent, outraging disrespect of civil and human rights, I face the crude fact of life ...there's no such thing as interviews. I'm a prisoner.

Sunday Feb 24 09:00 hrs - The scene resembles a Greek tragedy, a 4x4 yd room, filthy chairs, a stinking black carpet, no ventilation, huge 50 TV turned on all the time volume blasting. Tired, hungry people, sick people, people throwing up....worried about a friend, who was waiting for me outside the airport I ask for a phone call.

- Shut up! No phone calls. - They answered.

Sunday Feb 24 10:00 hrs - Arrested, hungry, thirsty, no communication, and without the slightest ideia of what was going to happen next, I noticed the continuos flow of tourists coming to our cell and I face the degrading scandal the very same treatment is given to women, teenagers, children even elderly people - a truly barbarian act!

Revolted, I witness two INS officers disputing the priviledge of frisking the prettiest ladies, without any concern of hiding their sickening lust from their respective fathers, husbands or brothers, doing their commentaries, invitations, and obscene declarations right on their faces.

- I've just frisked a disgusting it's my turn to frisk this Italian fox! - stated an Officer to his coleague, refering to the wife of an Italian tourist. The blunt disrespect made my stomach churn in revolt....

Kicking, pushing, screaming, threathening, heavily armed bullies displayed their brutallity, prejudice, and arrogance upon the constant flow of tourists coming into our cell, getting more and more crowded by the minute, holding an unbearable stench....

Sunday Feb 24 14:00 hrs - After seven hours of ordeal, I'm finally taken to an almost surrealistic interview with Officer Sanchez, and Officer Lee, both subordinate to Officer Green, from INS. He explains to me that since all my papers and my Visa were in perfect order, he would kindly give me two options:

- The first was to sign a document in which I requested the withdrawal of my Visa, returning to Brazil in the first available flight.

- If I refused to sign the hoax I'd be arrested for an undetermined period and he'd start a compulsory deportation process, sending me back to my Country thus.

A important detail on the deal - while I refused to sign the document I'd not receive any food, or water. What would you choose? Oh well, me too.

Sunday Feb 24 16:00 hrs - I am taken, with another five prisoners, to a different cell. We are all handcuffed, and escorted by armed officers, we are made to stroll through the airport lounge. The terrified tourists make way, frightened by the grotesc scene. They take us all to a Van, parked outside the terminal, and transfer us to the other cell. The humiliation is suffocating ....

- Sunday Feb 24 17:00 hrs - Apparently, they have forgotten to make me sign a few forms at the Secondary One, so I'm taken again for a couple of strolls ( going there and coming back ) in the Airport Lounge. Those strolls remember? With cuffs and escorts?

Sunday Feb 24 18:00 hrs - Due to my unceasing protests, they finally allow me to make a phone call. I contact a Lawyer in LA, in the hope he'd get me out of that hell, but the information I get from him is even more surprising, and disheartening:

- Ricardo, the INS grounds at the Airport are not legally considered American soil, so I cannot invoke any civil right to take you out of there.... he tells me. How about that ???

In other words: I realize I'm in a no-man's land, a lawless place, arrested by arbitrary Nazis in the guise of INS Officers, that, due to this legal technicality, have the power to do whatever they please with you - and what is worse - with your family. I start to dream of the moment of catching a plane back home to Brazil.....however, before that, I'd still go through the worst night of my life.....

Night of Sunday to Monday Feb 25 I start to dread the moment in which tiredness is going to win the battle and make me lie down on those filthy chairs. It寄 very cold, but even so, the prospect of using the slimy blankets is not at all attractive.

Five officers are in the night shift, and feeling bored, they pass time kicking disgusting Chinese's , cursing stupid niggers, threatening filthy latinos. Our uneducated officers are unable to articulate three consecutive words without using the F.. word, and we spend the night immersed in this sea of racial prejudice, brutallity, violence, arrogance and cowardice.

A curious note: our cell had two immense posters hanging on the walls. Look at that - one was a huge map of Brazil, and the other was a picture of Ouro Preto - a historical city in Central Brazil. Both seemed to convey a silent, but eloquent invitation .....

Monday Feb 25 13:00 hrs - After the worse 30 hours of my life, two armed officers escort me to my plane ( Varig flight RG 8837 ) and deliver my passport to the stewardess. They set guard by the plane door until take off. Just a last minute humiliation I guess....

Tuesday Feb 26 07:30 hrs - I arrive tired, but immensely happy in Cumbica International Airport, in SP. I call my girlfriend Sarah in Belo Horizonte. After her recovery from the initial shock and the necessary explanations I invite her to celebrate our unexpected meeting with a trip - to Ouro Preto - of course!

I relate this unfortunate episode hoping to bring these facts to light, to a wider number of people. Maybe those who, like me, were planning an innocent trip to this country might think twice before permitting their wifes, parents and children to be subjected to this infamous tribe of uncivilized barbarians.

Daily, in every American Airport, hundreds of people from the four corners of the world are falling into the claws of these arrogant, racist, brutes, barbarian Nazis, and I think every single citizen of the globe shall contribute in whichever way they can to end this grotesc stain from the face of the free world.

The terrorists put down WTC's twin towers, but they will achieve a far greater victory if they succeed in bending down the spirit, the values and ideals that guided America since it's very birth as an independent Nation.

Having visited the US so many times, and knowing with reasonable depth the history of this Country, I must say that the attitudes and methods of the INS Officers do not reflect the way of being and thinking of the majority of the American People, and surely do not reflect the values and ideals I referred to above.

However, the overwhelming majority of the thousands of tourists that are going daily through this sad experience in American Airports do not have this perspective, and they are going back to their countries carrying in their hearts the seeds of hatred, violence and intolerance that end up germinating in tragedies such as Sep 11.

To Mr G. Bush one suggestion: in the attempt to erradicate the World of terrorism and it's Evil Axis, start at home - in the American Immigration and Naturalization Service - INS.

A very important note: this narrative would not be complete without doing justice to Victor - one of the INS officers. He came into our cell Monday morning. Right when I lay my eyes on him I noticed a different glow, quickly explained by his attitudes: he'd take care of one of us, feed and give water to another, he was always ready to help, at least send a smile, say a friendly word....

He moved like a star, shedding light into the darkness. I had the priviledge to talk with him for a few minutes, when I had the chance to convey my admiration, respect and gratitude for what he was doing for all those people, brutally subjected to such a painful experience.

Son of Mexican Immigrants, educated in India, and possessing a spirituality impossible to hide behind such shinning eyes, this man, who represents so well the best of the East and the West told me simply .. Ricardo, I don't do much, all I can do is try to transmit to these people a little compassion, a little love....

May God always guard you and bless you Victor, as you guard and bless so many.... A last suggestion to the US President consider promoting Victor to the post of Foreign Relations Minister, what he deserves more than anyone. I'm certain that, in a very short time, he'd reverse the already beaten up image of the US with the rest of the world.

His attitude reflect perfectly the spirit and the values that have created America, and proves that one cannot possilbly combat terrorism by becoming himself a terrorist one should employ that ancient technique - turning the other cheek.

Finally, I want to say that I have already done the following :

1. Filed a formal complain at the American Embassy in Brasilia.

2. Filed a formal complain at the Brazilian Foreign Affairs Ministry

3. Send a copy of this text in Portuguese and in English to the Internet, newspapers, magazines, websites, and Human Rights International Institutions.

I hereby authorize any individual or corporation to divulge or reproduce this text partially or in its entirety, making it a public domain, as I believe this case is.

May God bless us all.
Ricardo Abude E. da Silva

From David Farber's IP Mailing List

From: Lauren Weinstein
Date: Tue, 06 Aug 2002 12:46:38
To: David Farber
Subject: Freedom Ad from the Ad Council


A marvelous video spot is starting to appear, sponsored by the Ad Council. It's worth watching for.

It begins with a teenager who approaches the help counter at a library. He tells the librarian that he can't find the books he has on a list, which he hands her. She looks them up in the computer, and replies, "These books are no longer available... may I have your name, please?" When the kid walks away from the counter without giving his name, he's approached by two men in suits (one of whom takes his arm) appearing from behind some shelves, who "just have a couple of questions" for him. Meanwhile, the librarian is watching with a look of sadness and concern.

A tagline appears: "What if America wasn't America?
Freedom. Appreciate it. Cherish it. Protect it."

Definitely one of the most chilling (and unfortunately appropriate) ads I've ever seen.

Lauren Weinstein
Co-Founder, PFIR - People For Internet Responsibility -
Co-Founder, Fact Squad -
Co-Founder, URIICA - Union for Representative International Internet Cooperation and Analysis -
Moderator, PRIVACY Forum -
Member, ACM Committee on Computers and Public Policy

So my Brainscan (the 3 minute blurb that we give in front of everyone) was something like the following:

I'm the only Japanese at this conference of over 100 people. I guess it is an acknowledgement to the 2nd largest economy but a sign that everyone is saying, "call us when you figure it out." I'm on the China panel today so maybe that means that everyone thinks Japan is soon going to be part of China. Anyway...

The Japanese economic problem is based on the dysfunctional market and the lack of a working democracy. At this conference everyone has been blaming the US for stuff so I'll do that too. The US left the gangsters and the bureaucrats in power to fend of communism. If Japan had been allowed to become a democracy, we may have become a communist nation so maybe that made sense. Anyway, we need help transforming our Japan into a true democracy.

The Internet is an incredible tool and an incredible risk.

The printing press created public opinion that forces politicians and corporations to be accountable. Blogs, personal publishing, instant messaging and other Internet tools could transform the public into a much more active force.

On the other hand, privacy technology is essential to protect the right of people to transact, communicate and not be profiled. Privacy underpins democracy. Without privacy, there is no public debate, there is no dissent, there are no revolutions. Privacy is about data structures and architectures which are extremely political. The US will work to protect the privacy of its own citizens, but they are not incentivized to protect the privacy of citizens of other nations. All nations must focus on and cause privacy to be protected since privacy will not be driven by purely market forces at this stage and once privacy is lost, it is impossible to un-do disclosure of your personal information.


Quoted from Slashdot (I quoted the whole thing since it is short. Thanks for finding this Sen!)

Posted by timothy on Tuesday July 09, @06:36PM
from the private-enterprise dept.
davecl writes: "The off-shore datahaven, HavenCo, is doing well, according to the BBC. HavenCo is based on a WW2 gunnery platform several miles of the English coast. In the 60s it was outside the 3 mile territorial waters, and a retired Army officer moved there and proclaimed it the independent state of Sealand. In the 80s territorial waters were extended to 12 miles. Sealand's nation status is this unclear, but this hasn't stopped HavenCo setting up their data haven. Customers are largely gambling sites, but an increasing number of political groups, such as the Tibetan Government in Exile, are based there in an effort to escape government censorship. More regulation of the web means more customers, and business is booming. Wonder if others will see this as a way of making money out of beating censorship?" We've mentioned Sealand several times before -- it's great to hear they're defying the skeptics.

I was one of the early investors in Havenco and a great fan of the concept. I was also one of the first customers. I have a Sealand flag in my office...

Glad to hear they are doing well.

etoy also have a server on at Havenco.

I gave a presentation at the RSA Japan 2002 conference. The talk was about privacy. Here is the presentation in pdf format.

Some thought I wrote to a discussion online about privacy based
on our discussion yesterday. (12/20/2001)

A lot of this taken from the EPIC Privacy Law Sourcebook

Privacy is a very difficult word to define, Justice Brandeis of the US Supreme Court said that privacy was the "right to be left alone." In Japan, Ruth Gavison says privacy has three elements, secrecy, anonymity and solitude. Article 13 of the Japanese constitution says:
All of the people shall be respected as individuals. Their right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness shall, to the extent that it does not interfere with the public welfare, be the supreme consideration in legislation and in other governmental affairs.

You can break down privacy into four concepts,

Information Privacy or "data protection"

Bodily privacy such as drug testing and cavity searches

Privacy of communications (Article 21 of the Japanese constitution: Freedom of assembly and association as well as speech, press and all other forms of expression are guaranteed. 2) No censorship shall be maintained, nor shall the secrecy of any means of communication be violated. )

Territorial privacy such as intrusion, searches and ID checks. (Article 23 The right of all persons to be secure in their homes, papers and effects against entries, searches and seizures shall not be impaired except upon warrant issued for adequate cause and particularly describing the place to be searched and things to be seized, or except as provided by Article 33. 2) Each search or seizure shall be made upon separate warrant issued by a competent judicial officer. )

20 years ago, the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) develop 8 guidelines for governments and companies to follow regarding privacy. These guidelines serve as the basis of privacy discussion today.

Collection Limitation Principle
There should be limits to the collection of personal data and any such data should be obtained by lawful and fair means and, where appropriate, with the knowledge or consent of the data subject

Data Quality Principle
Personal data should be relevant to the purposes for which they are to be used, and, to the extent necessary for those purposes, should be accurate, complete and kept up-to-date.

Purpose Specification Principle
The purposes for which personal data are collected should be specified not later than at the time of data collection and the subsequent use limited to the fulfilment of those purposes or such others as are not incompatible with those purposes and as are specified on each occasion of change of purpose.

Use Limitation Principle
Personal data should not be disclosed, made available or otherwise used for purposes other than those specified in accordance with Paragraph 9 except: (a) with the consent of the data subject; or (b) by the authority of law.

Security Safeguards Principle
Personal data should be protected by reasonable security safeguards against such risks as loss or unauthorised access, destruction, use, modification or disclosure of data.

Openness Principle
There should be a general policy of openness about developments, practices and policies with respect to personal data. Means should be readily available of establishing the existence and nature of personal data, and the main purposes of their use, as well as the identity and usual residence of the data controller.

Individual Participation Principle
An individual should have the right: (a) to obtain from a data controller, or otherwise, confirmation of whether or not the data controller has data relating to him; (b) to have communicated to him, data relating to him (i) within a reasonable time; (ii) at a charge, if any, that is not excessive; (iii) in a reasonable manner; and (iv) in a form that is readily intelligible to him; (c) to be given reasons if a request made under subparagraphs (a) and (b) is denied, and to be able to challenge such denial; and (d) to challenge data relating to him and, if the challenge is successful, to have the data erased, rectified, completed or amended.

Accountability Principle
A data controller should be accountable for complying with measures which give effect to the principles stated above.

I think these priniples are generally very good, but there are several technological changes that make things quite different from when these guidelines were originally written. Data is no longer stored in large mainframes and are distributed so "destroying" or "protection" information is almost impossible.

Security is also impossible to assure.

ID can be forged and it is very difficult to make sure that only authorized people can have access to the data.

Therefore, I believe that they key to protecting privacy in a networked environment is to limit the amount of information we create. This can done by created limited or ID subsets such as pen names or the ability to have anonymous transactions. Marketing and profiling can be conducted locally, for instance.

This is where the Japanese kokumin bango issue comes in. One of the big problems with the current law is that there is an IC card/ID card associated with it. Germany has decided that a national ID like this is unconstitutional. Korea has recently stopped it as well. Althought there is a lot of data about us on the network, (we should try to create less) the new law makes it very difficult not to carry a picture ID with your number on it around with you. Although it is not written in the law, lawmakers are already contemplating tagging of genetic information, medical records, arrest records (even if you are not guilty) etc.

One last point is that abuse by commerical interests, individuals and government are also very different. One of my main fears is that broadly defined laws that allow the government to collect data without a mechanism for anyone to check what it is being used for has the possibility of abuse without the ability to monitor.

I'll give some more examples of things that might happen later...