Hacking your car

As we move into the “internet of things”–objects and devices connected to the internet–we are learning that those things can be hacked.  This is especially true of late-model automobiles, which are packed with computers and online connections.  Hackers can access your car via OnStar, navigation systems, diagnostic programs, bluetooth connections, etc., etc., whereupon they can unlock your doors, start your engine, turn your steering wheel, and shut off your brakes, among other kinds of havoc.

Craig Timberg has written a fascinating article on how all of this is done and the little that automakers are doing to stop it. [Read more...]

The epic cybersecurity fail

A hacker–probably connected to the Chinese government–has hacked into the databases of the Office of Personnel Management, stealing personal records on some 21 million federal employees.  The stolen information includes the results of security clearances, as well as coercion material on people with security clearances, meaning that this is an intelligence disaster.  Nebraska freshman Senator Ben Sasse, perhaps my highest-ranking personal acquaintance, has written perceptively about this in Wired Magazine, no less.  Excerpt and link after the jump.

(HT to Anthony Sacramone, whom you should also read on the subject.) [Read more...]

Making online ‘trolling’ illegal?

New Zealand has passed a law that would punish “harmful digital communication”–harassing, bullying, or indecent internet postings–by up to two years in prison, plus a $50,000 (NZ) fine.  It’s being described as a law against trolling.  It passed parliament by a margin of 116 to 5. [Read more...]

Should we have the right to be forgotten?

As we blogged about last year, the highest court of the European Union ruled that Google must implement “the right to be forgotten,” requiring the search engine to strike out embarrassing about individuals upon their request.  There is now a movement to bring that right to the United States.

Read about it after the jump.  Would this be a blow for internet privacy?  Or an effort to censor the internet?  Would it be a salutary method of covering up old mistakes?  Or an attempt to remake history by implementing an Orwellian “memory hole”? [Read more...]

Crashing technology

Yesterday, the New York Stock Exchange was shut down for four hours because of a systems crash.  A little earlier, computers went down at  United Airlines, grounding flights nationwide.  Also, the Wall Street Journal website went down.

Tech people say the day of disruptions in business, finance, and media was not caused by hackers or a foreign cyberattack, just a series of unrelated glitches.  But it illustrates how dependent we have become on a sometimes fragile technology. [Read more...]

The Royals play the National League All-Stars

Voting for baseball’s All-Star team used to involve going to a game and then, between innings, punching out the chads next to the player you thought was best at his position.  But then some of the voting went online.  This year all of the voting is online.  You don’t have to go to a game and you get to vote up to 35 times.

So fans of the Kansas City Royals (the team that first got me interested in baseball) have been stuffing the virtual ballot box.  Yes, the Royals are having a great year.  But that doesn’t mean all of its starters are the best at their positions.  And yet, as of last week, the voting would mean that Royals players would start at all positions in the All-Star game except for one slot in the outfield, which is being taken by Angels superstar Mike Trout.

Now it’s likely that fans of bigger-market teams might wake up to what is happening and vote their players in.  But, people, you are supposed to vote for the best player, not just vote for the members of your team! [Read more...]


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