This is Wiretapping?

We should have a reasonable expectation of privacy when we are in a private place. Say our home, in our car with the windows closed, etc.
There is no way, though, that police should ever have any expectation of privacy while performing duties on behalf of their public employers. It is pretty ludicrous that in one jurisdiction police have charged someone with wiretapping when he recorded them while being investigated for drunk driving:

Police say they were patrolling the downtown area at 2:54 a.m. when they discovered Christopher A. Power of 52 Chestnut St. sitting in the driver’s seat of a vehicle with its motor running at the Rochester Common.
After speaking with Power, police began investigating him for driving while intoxicated and arrested him. During the arrest an audio recording device was discovered.
“During a search after the arrest an audio recorder was discovered on the driver’s seat cushion,” Capt. Paul Callaghan said. “The officer noticed that the recorder was recording.”
Power was charged with driving while intoxicated and wiretapping, which is a Class B felony.

Perhaps they were doing their investigation via cell phone. Or perhaps they live in an alternate universe where wiretapping means something very different.
That aside, police must always expect to be audio- or videotaped when they are on duty.

Via Balko.

Here’s One Good Reason Not to Buy Window’s Vista

Microsoft can deactivate your Vista installation remotely. As Elliotte says:

He’s worried about piracy. I.e. what happens if somebody else “borrows” your key, so Microsoft cuts you off through no fault of your own. I’m wondering what happens when the U.S. Government leans on Microsoft to cut off the keys to the latest alleged seeker of Weapons of Mass Destruction.

Of course this attack isn’t just a threat to foreign countries. It’s a threat to anyone the U.S. Government or Microsoft doesn’t like. I figure it’s a tossup whether this power will be used first to go after child pornographers or copyright pirates. It probably depends on who fires first, private industry or the government.
Either way, look for this attack to be rapidly expanded to tax cheats, deadbeat dads, drug dealers, individual citzens who support unpopular^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hterrorist organizations, drunk drivers, individuals criticizing corporations, lawyers who defend these folks, and anyone else the government or a big company don’t like.

First, exactly when did our governments grant to Microsoft the roles of police, judge, jury and executor? Recovery of alleged stolen property should happen through a recognizable public process.
Second, if Microsoft can turn of your software remotely what else can they do remotely? You don’t have to go far beyond Elliotte’s rather mild paranoia to find an entire building in Redmond Washington, DC., full of MS contractors scurrying to do the bidding of fbi, dea or homeland security flunkies wanting to read keystrokes and hard drives remotely. I can already see these guys salivating
Unfortunately, many folks will have to succumb to the steamroller. Heck,I’ll probably have at least one Vista machine at home though I plan to have Linux, Mac and ? as well. Computer diversity will be a really good thing!

I look forward to the independent side of the techie world coming up with many interesting and varied counters to this kind of potential nastiness.

Make the Spammers Pay

Oh joy, paying bills today.
There are a bunch of spam snail mails in the inbox and this seems like a great time to join Corsair the Rational Pirate in a reasonable campaign to make the spammers pay a bit more for intruding into our lives:

Whenever you get junk mail promising you a new credit card and it comes with one of those postage paid return envelopes, go ahead and send it back in. Just the envelope, I mean. You can also fill the envelope with the credit card offers from the other companies that you got on the same day since you, like me probably get more than one per day.

This also moves this crap from your waste stream back into theirs.

f you really want to hurt them, and you should, use cash as often as possible. Everytime you do this the financial companies lose money and there is one less entry for you in various databases.

Breastfeed the Military?

Sure, I know that she’s using it as a metaphor but surely most members of the military would vomit or have some similar reaction, maybe like PZ’s, to the idea of sucking on w’s nips.
Noonan, in the same column, seems pretty reasonable in her take on the posturing around the recent congressional time wasting with the flag desecration amendment.

On the other hand she bashes the NY Times for reporting about the bushies privacy abuses which were also covered in her own paper when she really should be bashing the SWIFT folks for apparently providing this information to the administration without proper warrants.