Dracil’s BlogJournal

January 15, 2009

Eightmaps

So eightmaps is a site that shows all the people who donated to Prop 8.

So some people are really worried about their privacy because of this.

Except all this information has always been public knowledge.  The moment you donate, you lose your right to privacy because you’ve gone beyond merely voting.  The political system requires transparency to ensure that there isn’t corruption going on.

But no, Yes on 8 people want special treatment.  Sorry, that’s not how it works.

Others have called for a map of No on 8 donors so they can boycott business and stuff.  I say go right ahead.  I’d like to see you boycott Google and Apple.

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July 9, 2008

Obama disappoints on telecom immunity

’nuff said

Even McCain did better by not voting. That’s how shameful this is.

June 25, 2008

Photographers’ Rights

Filed under: Controversy, photography — Tags: , , , , — dracil @ 11:02 pm

One thing that’s come up a few times when I or people I know have been out taking pictures is whether we are actually allowed to do so.  Apparently, in the US, the answer is YES most of the time.  Note, this is purely in the legal sense.  Using common sense and possible ethical dilemmas are another matter.

Situations that I’ve personally encountered so far are:

1) Whether it’s ok to take a picture of a “haunted” house even if the owner is willing to call the cops on you
2) Whether movie theaters have the right to confiscate your stuff if they find you taking pictures inside the theater
3) Whether you can take pictures of people in general even if they object.

The answers to these three questions appear to be yes, no, yes.

In the first case, as long as you’re not on their property, they cannot do anything.  You’re not trespassing and that’s really the key point.  In the second case, nobody can take your stuff without a warrant basically.  If they do, they set themselves up for criminal charges.  The third case is probably the most complicated, because the context matters, during when the picture is taken, and whether or not (or how) the photo is published.  Generally, if the person is in a public place (even on private property) and cannot expect privacy, they’re fair game.  However, you cannot reveal private information about the person or misrepresent them in any way.

Two documents I’ve found quite useful are listed below:

http://www.kantor.com.nyud.net:8080/blog/Legal-Rights-of-Photographers.pdf
http://www.krages.com/ThePhotographersRight.pdf

Now, again, this is just the legal stuff.  It’s not going to stop a thug from breaking your camera (or your neck) or protect you from being lynched when some overly paranoid people decide you’re a pedophile because you took some pictures of kids.  So common sense is still a necessity.  :P

June 7, 2008

Presidential candidates’ views on tech issues

I had original planned on blogging this on Thursday, but for got and ended up writing that shot blurb about Zon instead.

Anyway, I think this is a really good article about how Obama, Clinton, and McCain plan to handle important tech issues.

NET NEUTRALITY: Both Obama and Clinton support this.  They actually co-sponsored the Internet Freedom Preservation Act.  McCain is against it.  Hence he fails.

BROADBAND AVAILABILITY: Clinton and Obama favor improving access.  Obama and McCain both favor raising the definition of broadband (currently 200kbits/s, which is 25kB/s to regular people :P).  I guess I prefer Obama’s stance as it would do more.

H-1B VISAS: Clinton and McCain both support increasing the cap.  Clinton will raise fees though.  Obama suggests changing the system to be less reliant on those with foreign degrees.  Between Clinton and McCain, I would prefer McCain’s policy better though Clinton’s proposal would be more likely to pass.  Obama’s more of a wildcard.  For my personal situation, Obama’s plan would probably benefit me the most since I got my degrees in the US, but it would certainly hurt foreign nationals in general.  Of course anything proposed by any of these three would most likely be useless to me by the time I could use it.

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY PROTECTION: Clinton wants to force other nations to respect imaginary property.  Obama would rather try to get them to cooperate.  McCain seems to have the most hands-off approach (and thus most likely to succeed)

PRIVACY: Both Obama and Clinton have good policies.  Obama is more offensive and about going after phishers/scammers.  Clinton’s is more defensive, and attempts to protect consumer rights.  McCain of course, is an idiot here, and wants to provide wiretapping immunity to the telecom companies.

May 27, 2008

Welcome to 1984. Welcome to the 2008 Beijing Olympics

That’s right, your ticket to the 2008 Beijing Olympics now includes a free bonus gift!  A mandatory tour of George Orwell’s 1984!

Some of the many attractions of this brand new amusement park include:

  • “Tickets for the opening and closing ceremonies are embedded with a microchip containing the bearer’s photograph, passport details, addresses, e-mail and telephone numbers.”
  • “Thousands of closed-circuit TV cameras”
  • The very real possibility of identity theft
  • A cool game you can play with friends called, “Guess which ticket is whose?” with hilarious penalties like “Denied Admission” or “Standing in a huge long line”
  • If you’d prefer something with a bit more thrill, you can even play “Spot the undercover security officials”

Don’t lose or throw away your tickets either.  That’s a heckuva lot of information on them for random strangers to have.

Man, I can’t wait to go to the Olympics!  Oh, wait, I’m not going.  :(

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