Response to “Occupy Wall Street: How Should it be Covered Now“.
To: Arthur S. Brisbane
Public Editor of the New York Times
I find it amazing that these pundits, looking at a crowd of people carrying signs, come away scratching their heads asking, “what specifically do OWS demonstrators want?”
The conspiratorial questions about “who is the leader, who is really behind it” also show how far out of touch, and indeed, clueless, these members of the chattering classes truly are.
Let me tackle the first part of Tim Kelly’s list:
Who are the protesters?
A few groups are here.
1. Old New Leftists, now part of the establishment, going once more unto the breach.
2. First-time protesters, most idealistic young people.
3. Ideological extremists (a small, but visible minority).
4. War veterans, now home and un- or under-employed.
Who are the leaders?
The internet is the leader. There is no person who can be described as leading the movement. Intellectually, the movement is led by Noam Chomsky, probably more than any one other living figure.
Who’s really behind all this?
Adbusters started it. I think it amazed them and has long since left their control.
Who’s going to pay for the cleanup?
Presumably this will fall primarily to municipalities.
What do they hope to accomplish?
Reducing wealth and income inequality.
Enhancing civil rights.
Holding the richest and most powerful to account.
What can citizens do to take part in the protests, or avoid them?
Really? A former newspaper editor has no idea how to Google about “occupy wall street” plus (name of town) and either go there or not go there?
What is happening inside the camps?
I have been to the Boston settlement twice and I have found it peaceful, clean and orderly, with many thought-provoking discussions, books, tracts, and signs.
This degree of confusion and inability to observe the plainly obvious makes me think that, as in the story, “The Emperor’s New Clothes”, that these wealthy pundits and apologists for the plutocratic class quoted above, see only that which they wish to see and nothing more.
Copyright © 2011 Henry Edward Hardy
Response to ‘Netbooks: our modern-day Tower of Babel’
Dear Ashley Dresser,
I am writing to comment on your column, Netbooks: our modern-day Tower of Babel, published 9/13/2009 at http://www.mndaily.com/2009/09/13/netbooks-our-modern-day-tower-babel
I am the former senior systems administrator for One Laptop per Child (OLPC). I am speaking only for myself.
When I worked for OLPC, it had about 23 employees. How do you realistically propose that we would have provided individual training, “One Trainer per Child” as you put it, to over 700,000 users? That is the job of the country or nonprofit managing the deployment, not OLPC.
Each country and region has its own culture and pedagogical standards and methods. OLPC cannot dictate to Mongolia, Peru, Uruguay, Nepal, etc. how they should use the laptops or how they should teach.
You say, “American customers often experience delays in receiving their laptops and among delivery to those in need, several thousand orders have been reported lost or stolen.”
There are no American customers aside from some local deployments. The Give One, Get One promotion ended nine months ago. Did you not know this?
You say that several thousand orders have been reported lost or stolen. Where and when? If this happened, how is it the fault or responsibility of OLPC?
Why are you so hostile and ill-informed toward such a wonderful and brilliant program? You could do better, I suppose?
I am very proud of the time that I spent at OLPC, and I have never met a more brilliant, caring, hard-working, and committed group of people anywhere. They, and the world’s children, deserve better from you.
I will be posting this letter, and your response should you care to provide one, on my blog at https://scanlyze.wordpress.com .
Henry Edward Hardy
Copyright © 2009 Henry Edward Hardy
Guardian inaccurate article: Alleged credit card scam raises new web security fears
To the Guardian Tech Editor:
published Tuesday 18 August 2009 20.43 BST
incorrectly describes the computer vulnerability, or “exploit” allegedly used by one Albert Gonzalez and unnamed others to allegedly steal and sell credit card information from several companies. The article also mis-characterizes the legal procedure used to bring the charges.
The article says,
“The charge sheet says that Gonzalez, along with two others who “resided in or near Russia”, in December 2007 injected “structured query language”, a computer programming language designed to retrieve and manage data, into the computers of companies such as Heartland, one of the world’s biggest credit and debit card payment processing companies.”
Structured Query Language is not a computer language such as C or FORTRAN. It cannot be “injected” anywhere. It is a format or language for querying or posting information to a computer database.
It sounds like your reporters read “SQL injection”, didn’t understand what that meant, and made up a likely sounding (but wrong) explanation.
A more correct description would be that the alleged fraudsters illegally accessed corporate databases, and inserted fraudulent information into them in order to gain access to those or other systems.
SQL injection is a well-known and preventable vulnerability, see http://cve.mitre.org/cgi-bin/cvename.cgi?name=CVE-2006-1804
Your writers apparently could not even be troubled to look up the defendant on wikipedia, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Gonzalez
The article refers to a “charge sheet”, the correct term in this case is “indictment”, see http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/ma/Press%20Office%20-%20Press%20Release%20Files/IDTheft/Gonzalez,%20Albert%20-%20Indictment%20080508.pdf
A “charge sheet” in US usage refers to the daily written record of events in a police station, it has little or nothing to do with Grand Jury proceedings. In the Commonwealth, it may refer to a final police report. It is not the same as an indictment brought by a Grand Jury. Confusing charges brought by police and charges brought by a Grand Jury is a fundamental error.
The most newsworthy item overlooked in this rather poor excuse for an article is the question of liability. Both the “wardriving” and “SQL Injection” attacks are well-documented and generally preventable. Thus there is the question of the liability of the companies allegedly victimized as they may have failed to take even the most basic computer security precautions with this sensitive data. Further, how was the defendant able to carry out the alleged attacks while at the same time allegedly acting as a consultant or informant to the US Secret Service? To what degree is the Secret Service liable for failing to prevent, or even possibly enabling, these attacks?
The article’s confusion of the acting US attorney for New Jersey, Ralph Marra, with the “acting US Attorney General” further detracts from the accuracy and reliability of your reportage. The Attorney General of the United States is Eric Holder. There is no “acting US Attorney General.” Your reporters should certainly have known this if they were even moderately well-informed. Basic fact-checking by your editors should have caught and prevented this error from being published.
In the future, please don’t have articles written by people who A) have no idea what they are writing about in either the legal or technical sphere and B) don’t do even a basic job of research and fact-checking. Editors must fact-check and verify all references to technical descriptions, legal proceedings, and offices held by public officials.
Henry Edward Hardy
The subtitle refers to “‘Biggest ever’ case involves 130m cards”
Who says it is the “biggest ever” case? This unattributed quote appears nowhere in the article, which does not state anything of the kind. Was it simply made up by a copy editor?
I would also note that the title of the Guardian article claims that the incident “raises new web security fears.” This is bullocks. Wardriving and SQL injection are neither new issues nor are they web-dependent; how to defend against them is well-understood and documented; and fear-mongering about them isn’t warranted or appropriate.
Copyright © 2009 Henry Edward Hardy