August 2010 Archives

Onion story on opting-out of Google

National Fab Lab Bill, H.R. 6003

On July 30, 2010 Representative Bill Foster (D-IL) introduced H.R. 6003 into Congress. The bill's purpose is to build out a network of community based Fabrication Laboratories across the United States to foster a new generation with scientific and engineering skills and to provide a work force capable of producing world class individualized and traditional manufactured goods.

The bill aims to provide a Fab Lab for every 700,000 people. According to an MIT Fab blog write up, that's about 443 fab labs throughout the USA.   

I love this idea. I am not personally involved with any Fab spaces but believe strongly in the idea of providing access to technology and knowledge. This type of community learning and access is already happening through a grassroots movement that started back in the late 90s as hacker spaces. Their popularity has risen as more and more people turn to engineering, science and all around geekery as a hobby and profession. This community action and learning has popped up through other venues as well such as CrisisCommons, NY Night Owls, and IndyHall. As we turn to the digital age maybe this will be the reincarnation of the local library.  The local hack/fab space, where knowledge can not only be learned from a book but by collaborative, in-person, sharing and immediate application. 

Head over to OpenCongress.org, a project run by the information hackers at the Sunlight Foundation, and find your Congressman. Drop them a letter supporting the bill. Take the 10 minutes to type up, print out, sign, and mail a letter instead of firing off an e-mail, it means more.  

Here...I'll even give you a sample letter to copy and paste:


The Honorable (full name)
(Room #) (Name) House Office Building
United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am writing to ask for your support in moving H.R. 6003, "To provide for the establishment of the National Fab Lab Network to build out a network of community based, networked Fabrication Laboratories across the United States to foster a new generation with scientific and engineering skills and to provide a work force capable of producing world class individualized and traditional manufactured goods," out of subcommittee/committee and into reality. Representative Bill Foster (D-IL) introduced H.R. 6003 on July 30, 2010 and it is currently in the Committee on Science and Technology's Subcommittee on Technology and Innovation. The ideas put forward by this bill are of deep interest to me and I strongly believe these community spaces will help foster the next generation of science and engineering professionals. These spaces provide much needed access to machinery, technology, and collaboration that may otherwise be locked behind university and corporate doors. Through this hands on learning, these Fab Labs may provide the motivation, guidance, and mentoring for the next generation of American scientists and engineers. They will help build a knowledgeable and technically savvy workforce that will ensure America's place as a science and technology world-leader.

Please support Representative Bill Foster's bill as it moves through the legislative process.

Thank you,
(Name)

____________________________________________ (signature)



Cyveillance & Privacy Wonk

Warning: Geeky article ahead.

From time to time, I review the web server logs of privacywonk.net (explained in http://www.privacywonk.net/legal.php) to see what's going on with my site.  Are people hot linking images?  Are people trying to exploit flaws in the Apache web server or the Movable Type platform?  How often am I being hit with spam comments and trackbacks?

For someone who self-administers his website, these are important things to know.  This morning, looking at my logs over a cup of coffee (what do *you* do to wake up in the morning?), I noticed an IP address had indexed my site.  Over my years of IT geekery you start to remember IP addresses of the big companies like google, bing, baidu, and others.  This IP address was strange to me, so I dug a little deeper. 

A brief summation for those who don't want to read the technical tomfoolery:

The strange IP address belongs to a company called Cyveillance, which has a strange business offering and stranger reputation.  According to the website, Cyveillance monitors websites for various risks on behalf of companies and government actors. Clients include the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Movie Picture Association of America (MPAA), corporations for brand protection and confidential information leakage, and government.  So, I ask, why has PrivacyWonk become a target of this company that looks for information leaks, internet activists, and other nefarious actors?

Cyveillance personnel -- if you by chance read this, drop me a line at PrivacyWonk@privacywonk.net and let me know why my site is on your radar.

Warning -------- Warning -------- Warning: Geeky stuff ahead...
Google and Verizon have announced their legislative framework proposal for net neutrality.

PDF without Scribd compulsory login here: http://www.privacywonk.net/download/35599242-Verizon-Google-Legislative-Framework-Proposal.pdf

Original Scribd Link: http://www.scribd.com/doc/35599242/Verizon-Google-Legislative-Framework-Proposal

Cecilia Kang live blog: http://voices.washingtonpost.com/posttech/

Reviewing the proposal now...will update shortly with my thoughts and potential privacy impacts.