Monday, October 23, 2006

Free Open-Source On-The-Fly Encryption

TrueCrypt is another way to protect your data and actions from whomever is threatening you (remember, it isn't really paranoia if they are after you!). The biggest advantage I could see with a lot of this is protecting thumbdrives and other mobile media that you could accidentally leave behind in internet cafes and such. Those silly things are almost designed to be lost I think. Anyway, the worry I have with most of this stuff is that I will forget the codephrases or other access parameters and not be able to access my data.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Religious Freedom Catch 22

Perusing the news, I found this story on the New York high court's decision against Catholic Charities. Catholic Charities objects to providing contraception to its female employees, as the CC sees these avenues as sinful in alignment with the Catholic church. The court chose to see CC as more of a business than a religious institution, thus stripping them of legal protection for not providing employees with contraception. They said that it was not legal for CC to impose its beliefs on its non-Catholic employees. I contend that if CC attempted to restrict its hiring to only Catholic employees they would quickly be sued for discrimination. So what are their possibilities? The court was quoted as saying that they were attempting to protect the state's "interest in fostering equality between the sexes". Now perhaps I am just completely blind, but how exactly is forcing CC to provide contraception to its female employees "fostering equality between the sexes"?? Talk to me.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Judges under fire?

This NPR story caught my eye, or rather my ear. I was listening in the car when I heard this report concerning Proposition E in South Dakota. Now, I have to admit that although I listen to NPR, it is with a rather cautious attitude and suffice it to say that rather often I disagree with their opinions, but appreciate the news coverage. But this may be something that NPR and I can actually agree on.
Supposedly, there is a proposition on the ballot for the upcoming election in South Dakota that will allow people unhappy with their result in the judicial system to take their case before a board of jurors specifically chosen to listen to such cases. If the board finds that the person's case has merit and agrees that the person was treated unfairly, the person is then given the right to sue the judge in question for damages. This does not negate or overturn the judge's initial decision, but opens the judge up for civil lawsuits concerning professional decisions. This is bizzare. How many cases end up with at least one party, if not both, dissatisfied with the judge's decision? Also, there is no appeals process for this amendment. If the board finds in favor of the individual, the judge has no option but fight a lawsuit. I really can't see how this is a good idea. It seems to being gaining opposition from many angles. Businessmen, lawyers, farmers, educators and many others are coming out to speak against this movement. It does have its supporters, but I am guessing that at least some of its early support was gained by misrepresentation and subterfuge. Arguments like "Aren't you tired of crooked judges abusing the judiciary system at their own whims?" and "Do you believe that common people like yourself should be able to have some method of making sure judges don't kowtow to special interests and power groups?" that are followed with rousing assertions of "Then, my friend, you are FOR Prop E, which puts the power back into your hands and out of the hands of power mongering crooked judges!". I will freely admit that the previous situation is complete conjecture on my part and I have no basis for it other than my own experience with human nature, but I could easily see situations like that happening. But now, with it gaining exposure, Prop E is being seen for what it really is; a push by a minority of people unhappy with the current state of affairs to enable them to address their grievances at higher levels than needed and skip the systems built-in and very sensible protections. But, that is just my rambling $0.02, what do you think?