Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Repost Redux: Special SXSW Edition

Having read a few additional commentaries, I began to think some more on two issues I posted about earlier.

Greg Abbott vs. The County Clerks
Mordaxus at Emergent Chaos says we need to chill, which made me wonder if there was less to this issue than I previously thought. The more I think of it, thought, the less appealing the whole mess appears. The clerks routinely sell the data in their charge to data brokers. The Open Records Act (Texas' FOIA) allows the clerks to charge for the records. By redacting the confidential parts, the data would be less attractive to the brokers, and the clerks revenue stream might dry up.
The clerks are digitizing and distributing information on the Internet beyond the scope of its original purpose, and counter to Texas law. I don't have a problem holding these folks accountable to the law and their duty as custodians of the data. I will be having a beer or three at SXSW, though, probably at the Yard Dog and at Woody's.

The Hacker vs. The Corporation
Both Emergent Chaos and ArsTechnica have things to say about the study I posted about yesterday. EC posted a link to the study, but after reading it, I don't think I've changed my mind. I am, in fact, more confused about the purpose of the study than before. The distinction between "hacker" and "corporate malfeasance" does not strike me as interesting as the distinction between "stolen" and "lost." The question for me as a consumer remains a question of risk. Am I more likely to suffer damage to my reputation or finances if my personal data is "lost" or if it is "hacked"? No doubt frequency is part of the equation, but so are the capabilities and intention of the threat.

Photo of the Casting Couch in action by me.

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