Thoughts, information and reflections about technology


Discussions about the role of Federal, State and Local governments in technology and eCommerce.


New York to try to charge sales tax on Intenet Purchases

New York State is trying to make online retailers collect sales tax from purchases made by New York residents.

Given the state of the Internet right now, this is going to be a nightmare for online merchants. Currently they say they are only going after ‘large retailers’. In truth, given the way that government is known to work, they will require all online retailers to collect NY Sales tax (remember that politicians buy votes by confiscating money from one group of people and handing that money out to other groups of people. Their appetite for taxes is insatiable) Continue reading

You Vill Let us search your Laptop – SCHNELL!!!

Apparently the feds can poke through your laptop, cellphone and other devices at will according to a wired article. OK, so it’s good to bust child porn purveyors and those who believe in clothing by DuPont. However, allowing your laptop, cellphone or camera to be arbitrarily searched is a bit disconcerting. Continue reading

Click on a link, any link – Get busted and go to Jail

Declan McCullough has been writing on tech stuff for quite a while. He recently posted an article about FBI Entrapment about a situation where the FBI posted some links on a message board that appeared to be links to obviously illegal pictures and video that were to an FBI run site. Some guy clicked on the links and a couple of days later got a visit from the feds, was thrown on the ground, handcuffed, tried by a jury of morons… er his peers and convicted. His attorney is trying to get things reversed. (by the way, “Hundreds” of people were nailed with this particular sting)

OK, Great, they busted some scumball. Child porn is illegal and repugnant. It’s much much worse than a sitting prez nailing an intern a year older than his daughter. So, no problem if you are a good upstanding citizen, right???

WRONGO BONZO- Go straight to jail, do not pass “GO”. Do no collect $200.

The fundamental flaw in this that was outlined in the article was that it appeared that the Feds were simply looking at the IP of the person who clicked, not the referrer. IOW, They saw that someone clicked on the link and followed it. They don’t know what link they really clicked.

For example, they might have clicked the links on the FBI post that read something like OK, so that person should know they are venturing into possibly illegal territory. Note the stress on possibly.

Now, here is the problem where the FBI is using the “Kill them all, let God sort them out approach”. It has to do with the way anchor text works.

There are two parts to an HTML link, (1) the actual address that the link points to and (2) the text that is displayed for the user. Therein lies the problem and a huge potential that would allow people to ruin the lives of others. This has been widely known for some time. The whole Google bombing that led to Google showing a page on President Bush for the search term “miserable failure” is a result of just this type of manipulation.

Continue reading

New Jersey Kommisar of Nannyism Subpoenas Records of Social Site

Some people’s feeewings might have been hurt so the Attorney General of New Jersey has to come to the rescue.

A social networking site, was set up in Nevada. Ok, so the site is a place where people say not nice things about other people. Guess what folks, the real world is like that. People will get nasty. Just look at politics, Dina McGreevey starts saying nasty things about Eliott Spizter and then it comes out that Ms. McGreevey, the ex NJ Love Gov and their driver were having steamy three ways which might involve NJ taxpayer’s funds. Oh, and no sooner does the new New York Gov get in to replace the disgraced Spitzer that we find out he was cheating on his loving wife and seeing ho’s in a hotel (Guess that’s why it’s called that) again, possibly using taxmoney from his state’s citizens. Continue reading

GREAT NEWS- Botnet operators arrested…!!!!

Well, this is great news.. The FBI has arrested ‘several’ ‘botherders. These are the people who use malicious software to gain control of home, business and institutional computers. Their task is made easier by the millions of small businesses and home users who do not keep their computers adequately secured. Continue reading

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