aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Sunday, January 29, 2006
Barnes’ Bush volunteered to go to Viet Nam
DR: What about the president’s own service in the military?
FB: Well, he didn’t shirk. He joined the national guard. At one time, it’s reported--I don’t know whether--I have not myself personally confirmed this--that he volunteered for Vietnam and was turned down. He volunteered--
DR: Turned down?
FB: He was a flier. Well, he wasn’t in a unit that would get him over there or something. It’s been, it’s been widely reported--
DR: Fred, where’d that come from? I’ve never heard that before.
FB: Oh sure. What? That he’d--
DR: That he volunteered to go to Vietnam.
FB: He volunteered for Vietnam duty and didn’t get there. I don’t think I’m making this up.
DR: Can you cite me some evidence on that?
FB: I thought it was quite widely known.
DR: Never heard that one before.
FB: Really? Well, I’ve heard it many, many times.
Barnes is out flacking his the-president-has-no-warts-at-all book. Read John Dickerson’s review.
Back-door draft continues
Volunteers enlist and sign a contract thinking they know when they’ll be home. But some are compelled to stay for up to an additional 18 months:
The U.S. Army has forced about 50,000 soldiers to continue serving after their voluntary stints ended under a policy called “stop-loss,” but while some dispute its fairness, court challenges have fallen flat.
The policy applies to soldiers in units due to deploy for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The Army said stop-loss is vital to maintain units that are cohesive and ready to fight. But some experts said it shows how badly the Army is stretched and could further complicate efforts to attract new recruits.
Logging IP addresses. So what?
Xeni points to Adam Fields explanation of why it matters that search engines log IP addresses. I’ve read it; if you’re interested you should too. It hasn’t changed my thinking about the Google subpoena.
I’m glad we’re now on to defining what “personally identifying information” is. Google and the other search engines claim that IP addresses are not personally identifiable information. I don’t have a problem with that. I understand that my IP address may have been with me for a good long while and I know that they can match it to the name and billing information on my ISP account. Still I say, so what?
I’m not claiming expertise in all of the areas that come together here. Rather, I’d like to identify with the average person using the Internet and get to what a reasonable expectation of privacy might be. The model I’ll look to for that comparison is the telephone and the comparison I’ll make is to the phone number. I’d like the same expectation of privacy using the Internet as I have using the telephone, and absent any contrary information I’ll assume that would suffice for the average Internet user.
When I call someone, the phone company logs that call. Is that “personally identifying information?” It is a darned good clue that narrows down the range of folks it possibly might be, but in and of itself and all by itself, it doesn’t identify me. The same goes for the IP address. I do acknowledge that the phone company doesn’t collect an equivalent to search terms, but it does collect significant information including incoming and outgoing calls, the length of those calls and, for cell phones, location information.
Now if our claim is that the vast majority of folks using the Internet think it is more anonymous than it actually turns out to be, and that this Google incident has brought attention to that, well swell. But what I see and hear from people all around me is a broad public misunderstanding, a belief that in fact the Google privacy invasion is much greater than it is.
It’s my belief that this kind of confusion gets in the way of our focus on, and building support for, the important privacy issues that are worth worrying about.
My design has been good to me, but as we approach the aTypical Joe one-year anniversary, I figure it’s a good time for a change. Today I will be experimenting with color. Tomorrow, who knows.
So, if things look a little odd as I find the right palette for the new me, please bear with me. I’m sure to settle on something soon. With any luck it will be good. Let’s hope I got the gay gene for color!
UPDATE: 5 hours later and I’m quitting for the day. Not precisely what I had in mind, but close. I’ll sit with it for a couple days, and welcome feedback from those of you who visit.