Thursday, July 10, 2008

Worst. CLE. Ever.

I am at a CLE, Internet Law Update.

This is the worst waste of time I have ever had the displeasure of sitting through. The speaker on Web 2.0 and the law clearly did not use or understand Web 2.0 technology. In fact, he only spoke about Second Life, which he admitted he doesn't get. The legal issues in discussion are also a couple of years behind the times.

Memo to PBI: let me teach it next year. I know and understand internet life and culture, I actually use a whole host of internet technologies, and I am much more up to date about these issues than any of these speakers. Really. I promise not to speak about things like sweepstakes and contests, or talk about internet gambling, even thought internet gambling was effectively barred by Congress in 2006. I won't get dragged down into a long talk about copyright, because the coming issues will all revolve around Creative Commons.

I even look good in a suit. Seriously.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Does this mean we can have real forks again?

Hat tip to the brilliant (no exaggeration) John Wesley Hall for this. He writes in his Fourth Amendment blog that Homeland Security is considering requiring all airline passengers to wear an electronic ID bracelet with a - wait for it - built in taser. Sarcastic post title aside, this has me seriously ticked off.

This might reveal my September 10 way of thinking, but why should I trust an airline employee with the power to incapacitate an entire flight? Wouldn't this only force the "terrorists" - whoever they may be - to pose as a members of a flight crew? We already put up with airline security measures that range from the sensible (like scanning electronics) to the completely ridiculous (like taking off our shoes). Now, they expect to wear little ID bracelets with the power to injure us?

I try not to get political in this space, but there are clearly legal ramifications about this. It is almost inevitable that these bracelets will malfunction at some point - who will be liable for that? The airline? DHS? The manufacturer? What kind of training will these people have? And how can we trust that these things will only be used to deal with real security issues, and not on some drunk guy who wants an another Tom Collins?

And there are some real constitutional issues here as well. Take it out of the air travel context - could the government force its citizens to wear a portable taser generally? Of course not - so why is air travel that much different? Because it is seems to be the only answer.

This is a slightly ranty post, but I am angry.