Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Bruce Schneier Interview

Our guest on September 16 was the well known security expert Bruce Schneier. We talked about the state of security in the country, five years after everything changed.

- Listen to the Interview -

Monday, September 18, 2006

LAPD Knows Where You Drive

Last Thursday, NPR's All Things Considered broadcast a feature on a new system being installed in LAPD cruisers. It is designed to scan license plates as the police drive around. It's being promoted (and reported) as a way to find stolen vehicles much more efficiently. Whereas in the past a police officer had to manually call in the plates of suspicious vehicles and wait for results, the new system does it all automatically, increasing the number of possible license plate inquiries from one or two per minute, to hundreds or thousands.

But well into the interview we find that all the license plates scanned are recorded, not just those of stolen vehicles. Along with the license plate, the time and location (via GPS) are also recorded. The detective being interviewed said this is so authorities can look and see where a vehicle was previously, should there ever be a problem in the future. While the NPR interviewer made a quick reference to Big Brother, he quickly moved on.

The detective also noted that the system could search based on other criteria, not just stolen vehicles, but also those involved in other activities, crimminal or otherwise. While not mentioned in the interview, it's obvious this system can also be installed at intersections, freeway overpasses, parking structures, and other locations.

So it seems the LAPD, and presumably other law enforcement agencies will soon be recording the location of every car they can scan with this system, and storing away the time and location of the vehicle for later use, regardless of whether the vehicle is, or ever has been, involved in a crime in any way.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Segway Recalls 23,000+ Scooters

Segway Inc. is recalling more than 23,000 of its Personal Transporters because of a problem which might cause wheels to suddenly reverse direction. So far there have reportedly been six accidents resulting in injury. The company is saying it's because of improper operation of the vehicle. It is suggested that current owners immediately stop using the device and call the company for details on the recall.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

HP Chair to Step Down

Hewlett Packard Chairwoman Patricia Dunn will step down from that position in January. This following last week's news that possibly illegal tactics were used by investigators for the company in tracking down leaks.
Dunn was angry about the media leaks and commissioned an unnamed outside firm to identify their source. They used Social Security numbers and other personal information to get phone companies to turn over detailed logs of home phone calls of reporters and board members.

She plans to remain on the board of directors. HP President and CEO Mark Hurd reportedly will become chairman.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Cameron Parkins Interview

Our guest on September 9 was Cameron Parkins, founder of the USC chapter of, which is having it's first meeting tonight. We talked about the purpose of Freeculture in general, and what Cameron is hoping to accomplish with this new chapter.

- Listen to the Interview -

Sunday, September 03, 2006

UK Co. Won't Sell 'Net to Old Folk

Carphone Warehouse advertises itself as "Europe's leading independent retailer of mobile phones and services", but apparently not if you are a septuagenarian. The company has admitted that they may not sell their services to people over 70 years old unless they are accompanied by a young person.
"Later a young lady said company policy is that anyone over 70 might not understand the contract. She said, 'If you would be prepared to go to the shop in town and take a younger member of your family we might give you a contract.'"

via BoingBoing

Back Next Week

Digital Village took the week off for the Labor Day holiday, giving the Car Show an extra hour for their Len Frank special. We will be back next week.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

VMA Viewers Down, Streamers Up

The broadcast ratings for this year's VMA awards plummeted 28% from last year, and were less than half what they were at their highest. But traffic at MTV's online Overdrive site soared 200% over last year, setting a record. It seems to support the notion that more and more music fans are getting their fix online.