Blog Ipsa Loquitur

Oslo man’s financial records briefly accessible to all after Norwegian tax website crashes:

In late 2003, the Norwegian government launched Altinn: a web portal that allowed its citizens to access and submit government forms online, as well as get their personal tax information when filing season rolled around. However, users hoping to get an early start on their taxes this year were in for a serious surprise, as Altinn crashed when an influx of Norwegians attempted to access their info.

The service was restored a few hours later, but only a sole individual’s personal information was available — and anyone trying to access the site could see it. Icrontic is reporting that the individual in question is “Kenneth,” a 36-year-old man from Oslo. Aside from his own tax information from the last two years being made public, his wife’s details, as well as information about his employer, were accessible.

via The Verge.

Published on under Gov 2.0

Marco Arment on piracy in the digital age, by way of an absurdly intuitive example I’m stealing immediately to explain to everyone I know.

But there are a lot of people who will pay to get content legally, even if it’s easy to pirate, when getting it legally is easier. (This is now the case, to a large extent, with music.)

Relying solely on yelling about what’s right isn’t a pragmatic approach for the media industry to take. And it’s not working. It’s unrealistic and naïve to expect everyone to do the “right” thing when the alternative is so much easier, faster, cheaper, and better for so many of them.

Read Right versus pragmatic at Marco.org. I should probably stop trying to explain this stuff, and just link to his post every time it comes up.

Published on under The Digital Age

I think it’s hard to not see this sort of thing coming, especially as it’s been in any number of sci-fi movies. Google’s going to sell glasses with computers in them:

People who constantly reach into a pocket to check a smartphone for bits of information will soon have another option: a pair of Google-made glasses that will be able to stream information to the wearer’s eyeballs in real time.According to several Google employees familiar with the project who asked not to be named, the glasses will go on sale to the public by the end of the year. These people said they are expected “to cost around the price of current smartphones,” or $250 to $600.

via Google to Sell Heads-Up Display Glasses by Years End - NYTimes.com.

Published on under The Digital Age

An open letter to Facebook. This fellow does a good job honing in on the actual usefulness of Facebook:

For you, my network can only grow in one direction: bigger. We don’t meet fewer people as we get older. We meet more people! And if we know more people, our “Friends” list should grow accordingly. We don’t forget people do we? If we’ve met them, they belong in our Facebook network.

You seem to think that Facebook is the only network I’ll ever need; that instead of adding and removing people as your features and my real world networks evolve, I should just move them into smaller groups and manage a massive number of impossible-to-understand privacy settings. Because for you, my identity and how I interact with the people that make up my life are as straightforward and comprehendible as the blue in my profile.

via Jake Levine.

Published on under Irreverently Irrelevant

Tom Brady, a football player of some minor renown, led his team to the Super Bowl this year, where they lost (again) to the Giants (again) after only scoring 17 points (ha ha ha). Last year, he led an even more shameful existence: the life of a pirate!

Here are his reported words: “Last year I was rehabbing my foot in Costa Rica, watching the game on an illegal Super Bowl Web site. And now I’m actually playing in the game. So, it’s pretty cool.”

Cool, Tom? Is it really cool to steal from the livelihood of hard-working NFL players like Eli Manning, winner of two Super Bowl rings? Is it really cool to steal a broadcast just because there’s no good legal option? Probably. But read the rest of the earth-shattering confession of Tom Brady: I watched last year’s Super Bowl on illegal site on CNET.

Published on under The Digital Age

Continuing on the SOPA thing, Wil Wheaton makes fun of the MPAA like I did. But he does it better.

When you complain that opponents didn’t “come to the table to find solutions”, do you mean that we didn’t give NINETY-FOUR MILLION DOLLARS to congress like the MPAA? Or do you mean that we didn’t come to the one hearing that Lamar Smith held, where opponents of SOPA were refused an opportunity to comment? Help me out, here, Chris Dodd, because I’m really trying hard to understand you.

Read the rest of the vaguely-titled post Today the US Senate is considering legislation that would destroy the free and open Internet, and have a good laugh. Or cry. Laughcrying is the best medicine.

Published on under The News