Monday, December 13, 2010

A taste for subversion

A hacker broke into Gawker's commenter database over the weekend, and now I and hundreds of thousands of other people have to change their passwords, not just on their site but on other sites where the passwords might have been used.

Even though I was inconvenienced by this, you know what? I don't really mind. When someone manages to highlight a security vulnerability, that's just a wakeup call. Maybe I shouldn't have been using the same medium-strength password on more than one or two sites (though I use different, longer passwords for more critical applications like banking, email and so on). Live and learn.

I felt the same way about the WikiLeaks release of U.S. diplomatic cables. A, they didn't release any critical secrets, and B, shame on the U.S. for not keeping things more secure. Aren't you glad they didn't release anything that was actually important? Aren't you glad we're having this conversation now, before something like this happened again?

As for the strained outrage among Republicans and others (Gingrich: Assange should be classified an "enemy combatant"; McConnell: Assange is "a high-tech terrorist"), these are not thoughts emanating from real people. Listening to these Republican panjandrums is like listening to Principal Skinner on "The Simpsons."
Bart: Hey, what's this?
Principal Skinner: Oh, that's my old unit from Vietnam. I was their sergeant, they were my loyal troops. (photo shows Skinner saluting and his men scowling at him.) That photo was taken shortly before I was shot in the back, which was very strange because it was during a Bob Hope show. I was trying to get Joey Heatherton to put on some pants, for God's sake.
A little subversion is good from time to time.

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