opinions, everybody's got one...
Saturday, November 16, 2002
Three Monkey's Uncles
Thursday, November 14, 2002
If you're going to blow a whistle, you might want to do it quietly. That's the advice given by the authors of a guide called "The Art of Anonymous Activism: Serving the Public While Surviving Public Service," who have targeted public employees as their intended audience. The writers of the guidelines come from a trio of interesting looking web sites. There's the Project on Government Oversight (POGO), the Government Accountability Project (Whistleblower.org), and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (Peer).
a reason to believe?
The artifact that may or may not have been the repository of the remains of the brother of Jesus Christ went on display in Toronto today. Is the "James ossuary" what many claim it to be? No doubt exists that it is an ancient burial box. But I find very little incentive for anyone from the Museum to attempt to prove or disprove what is being claimed of the container. Especially with large crowds of potential visitors on their way to the museum. Maybe they can sell advertising space on the box in the areas not marked by the inscription that some claim proves it held the bones of James, brother of Jesus.
from an australian perspective
The Age looks at file sharing and KaZaA, in an article called Singing in cyberspace. Beyond the issue of a US Court trying to control activities beyond its borders, it also raises this question:
The legal issues go far beyond music. A key question is whether there is liability in making it possible to infringe a law. That's a minefield. A decision along those lines might render car makers responsible for speeding fines or video camera companies liable to prosecution for child pornography.I don't believe that the recording industry in America will agree with that perspective. But, it may be a view that they have to entertain and consider as they readjust their business models for a future where online sharing of music happens.
send your comments in
The National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace closes for comments from the public on Monday. The nature of the internet -- the fact that it is so difficult for the government to regulate and control, means that any plan to try to make it more secure requires public input and participation. Siliconvalley.com tries to put the national strategy into perspective and does a decent job. Take a look and see what you think.
Tuesday, November 12, 2002
the courageous act of kindness
Here is an interesting article by a california lawyer/buddhist priest which addresses the stress factors that we face in our legal careers, and an approach to limit the stress as we strive for happiness.
smile, you're on candid camera
This morning's article by Al Mascitti points out the dramatic increase in the use of cameras in public areas in Wilmington. Although I am still shocked by the Supreme Court's 1987 decision in U.S. v. Dunn, the cameras on public streets do not phase me. We have no "reasonable expectation of privacy" with respect to being viewed as we conduct activities on public streets. Similarly, we are "in plain view".
I do, however, find intriguing Al's suggestion that we put cameras in the offices of public officials.
I like this positive expression instead of the beleaguered "loser pays" phrase. When winners win and losers lose, we will have a system that works. Currently, you can win the case and pay money. Did you really win?
A revision of our judicial system to incorporate the correct principles (like many enlightened nations have done since the Roman Empire) is the single most effective way to improve it. Walter Olson has written clear articles explaining the strengths of this improvement in our laws, and he has even testified before Congress. Mr. Olson maintains an informative web log ("blog") entitled Overlawyered. There is a nice topic page for this issue, for quick reference. I wonder if we could get him to speak to the DSBA? I wonder if my colleagues would listen?
Monday, November 11, 2002
enabling underage smoking?
Does the web make it easier for those under 18 to purchase cigarettes? Maybe. Should steps be taken to verify the age of those who purchase online? A senator from New York has a plan on how web sites that sell cigarettes can verify the ages of those who purchase online:
Schumer's plan would require customers buying cigarettes to type in driver's license or other state identification numbers, which the vendor would check against existing databases.Yesterday, the senator had the assistance of his 13 year-old daughter in demonstrating how easy it is for teens to purchase online. She went through the motions of ordering at a site that sells tobacco products, but stopped before the actual purchase because, according to her father, "it's illegal to do." Then again, the reason she didn't make a final purchase may have also had to do with 13 year-olds rarely having credit cards...
I'm not thrilled with the idea of web site owners involved in ecommerce having access to a database of driver's licenses. I don't realistically expect that Federal Express or the UPS will engage in age verification upon delivery.
The Federal Government has advocated an age verification system based upon credit card ownership in legislation such as the Communications Decency Act or the Child Online Protection Act when it comes to pornography. Wired Magazine ran a response to that practice last month called Why Online Age Checks Don't Work?. Credit card companies have been issuing cards to people as young as 16.
Then again, the Senator inadvertently demonstrated another way to regulate the sales of tobacco based upon age when he halted his daughter's purchase because "it's illegal to do."
indian burial sites
Is that hill you've just sliced past on the golf course the site of a sacred indian burial place? It could be if you're playing at the Moundbuilders Country Club in Ohio. A 74 year-old Cherokee woman was recently fined for stopping to pray at the mound near the 10th hole of the Club's course. The Indian Burial and Sacred Grounds Watch site compiles information related to news and campaigns involving indian grave sites. The page's owners also display state laws regarding the protection of burial sites. Here's Delaware's.
22nd out of 50? C'mon Delaware
Delaware was ranked 22nd on digitization by the Center for Digital Government. We should take that as a challenge, Governor Ruth Ann Minner! Ernie the Attorney via Windley led me to this story.