Six months. That's how long Comcast keeps its records that allow it to track the activity of a Comcast Internet subscriber. At least that's what Comcast's Cable Law Enforcement Manual, which somebody liberated and got into the hands of Secrecy News, says.
Because Comcast’s system of allocating IP addresses uses Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP), its subscribers are not assigned a single, constant or static IP address. Instead, a dynamic IP address is assigned and has the potential to change several times throughout the course of a month. As a result, it is necessary to include in all requests for information the specific date and time of incident when an IP address was alleged to have been used.
Comcast currently maintains its IP log files for a period of 180 days. If asked to make an identification based upon an IP address that was used more than 180 days prior to receipt of the request, Comcast will not have information to provide.
Paul E. Steiger, who was the top editor of The Wall Street Journal
for 16 years, and a pair of wealthy Californians are assembling a group
of investigative journalists who will give away their work to media
The nonprofit group, called Pro Publica, will pitch
each project to a newspaper or magazine (and occasionally to other
media) where the group hopes the work will make the strongest
impression. The plan is to do long-term projects, uncovering misdeeds
in government, business and organizations.
But I'm just as interested by the dilemma it will present traditional media: how will they assess this content? Cue Bill Keller making a typically idiotic comment that demonstrates what I mean:
Bill Keller, executive editor of The New York Times, said The Times
would be open to using work from an outside source, “assuming we were
confident of its quality,” but that “we’ll always have a preference for
work we can vouch for ourselves.”
How is it that an entire industry of people paid to write and think critically cannot imagine how they would go about assessing the quality of a text they didn't write themselves? How is it that Bill Keller, with a lifetime career in journalism, couldn't look at an investigative article and assess whether it was great or was crap? How is that Bill Keller, who presided over Judy Miller's demise and has been saddled with Michael Gordon's credulous reporting of late, puts so much stock in the NYT's ability to vouch for themselves the quality of journalistic work.
That's a way to make you feel good about blogging, huh? To be attacked by both Dick DeVos and KayBee Hutchison?
DeVos is suing 30 anonymous bloggers and YouTube users because he believes they are among a group for former distributors who sued Amway and were put under a gag order by the judge in the suit.
In the lawsuit filed this past week in Ottawa County Circuit Court,
Quixtar seeks an injunction and damages of more than $25,000 against
the posters, identified only as John Does.
Quixtar believes the videos and other postings are part of an
organized effort by former distributors who unsuccessfully sued Alticor
and are under court order not to disparage the company or disclose
proprietary information, according to the lawsuit.
Quixtar plans to ask for permission to subpoena various online
companies to figure out who posted the materials, spokesman Rob Zeiger
According to the Grand Rapids Press, an Alticor representative said
the court action was merely to identify anyone who might be associating
with those under court order, rather than expressing their own personal
Zeiger told the paper that his company was not interested in
pursuing people not associated with the former employees, and would
even reimburse their legal fees if there was no connection. "An
individual who is expressing their own opinion, we don't have a problem
with that," he said. "They're not doing anything wrong."
I thought at first this might be an attempt to neutralize the power of anti-DeVos blogs, which had been really effective against him in the last governor's election in MI. I need to see the complaint here, because I'm not sure the allegations made in the YouTubes actually relate to the failed lawsuit against Amway. So DeVos risks amplifying the blog material which appears like it may be factually correct: that is, that Amway's online division Quixtar, sucks. (Full disclosure, I have a family member who was a Quixtar believer before he became a Southern Baptist.) That'd be nice, huh? If in pursuit of a bunch of people who tried to bust the pyramid scheme, DeVos actually informed more people that Amway is a big hoax?
KayBee Hutchison, for her part, is complaining about bloggers
because--wait for it--they don't follow the esteemed principles of
ThinkProgress got the email that Mitch McConnell's staffer claimed he had not sent out.
Seen the latest blogswarm? Apparently, there’s more to the story on the
kid (Graeme Frost) that did the Dems’ radio response on SCHIP. Bloggers
have done a little digging and turned up that the Dad owns his own
business (and the building it’s in), seems to have some commercial
rental income and Graeme and a sister go to a private school that,
according to its website, costs about $20k a year ‹for each kid‹
despite the news profiles reporting a family income of only $45k for
the Frosts. Could the Dems really have done that bad of a job vetting
Gosh. You think maybe the mainstream press, which claims to pride itself on its accuracy, will admit that this smear was not solely blog-driven?
The NYT manages to understand that the Republicans went overboard with their attacks on Graeme Frost. But there's something else they don't seem to understand.
In recent days, Graeme and his family have been attacked by
conservative bloggers and other critics of the Democrats’ plan to
expand the insurance program, known as S-chip.
But Michelle Malkin, one of the bloggers who have strongly
criticized the Frosts, insisted Republicans should hold their ground
and not pull punches.
“The bottom line here is that this family
has considerable assets,” Ms. Malkin wrote in an e-mail message.
“Maryland’s S-chip program does not means-test. The refusal to do
assets tests on federal health insurance programs is why federal
entitlements are exploding and government keeps expanding. If
Republicans don’t have the guts to hold the line, they deserve to lose
As for accusations that bloggers were unfairly
attacking a 12-year-old, Ms. Malkin wrote on her blog, “If you don’t
want questions, don’t foist these children onto the public stage.” [my emphasis]
You see, according to the NYT, if someone does something so far beyond the pale that all sane people would object, that person must be a blogger.
To be fair, the first known attack on the Frost family came from a Freeper. And Michelle Malkin did use her blog, among other outlets, to attack the Frosts. And a lot of conservative bloggers piled on. So it is absolutely fair to say that bloggers were among those that attacked the Frosts.
But Malkin is much more than a blogger--she pulls regular gigs at Fox News, and was a syndicated columnist (you know, NYT, in newspapers?) long before she every started a blog. And Rush, who piled on top of all those bloggers to attack the Frosts? Offensive, certainly, but not a blogger. Furthermore, there are signs that the whole campaign was coordinated by that McConnell staffer who is now relieved he didn't release a press release on the Frosts. Senate staffers are not primarily bloggers, they're political operatives. And rather than explain all these things--rather than note that Saint Rush joined the fun of attacking a 12 year old kid--the NYT just used shorthand that, conveniently for them, distances this kind of behavior from anything that would show up in dead tree (or cable or radiowave) media. That way, the NYT doesn't have to look too hard to find the logic of the attacks, it can just blame it on stinking bloggers.
This is not new, of course. But it's something I've become more attuned to lately, partly because I just explained to a bunch of lawyers that most of the lefty blogosphere finds Malkin's "ethics" just as reprehensible as any journalist does, and partly because of a spat I had with a local journalist who makes similar errors.
It's a good think I chose Comcast's oligopoly service for broadband internet service and not AT&T (my two easy choices for real broadband). That's because I tend to point out that our government is becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of AT&T. And AT&T just changed its acceptable use policy to prevent you from using AT&T's Toobz to tell others about the bad things AT&T is doing (via boing boing).
Failure to observe the guidelines set forth in this AUP may result in
AT&T taking actions anywhere from a warning to a suspension of
privileges or termination of your Service(s). When feasible, AT&T
may provide you with notice of an AUP violation, via Email or
otherwise, and demand that such violation be immediately corrected.
AT&T reserves the right, however, to act immediately and without
notice to suspend or terminate Service(s) in response to a court order
or other legal requirement that certain conduct be stopped or when
AT&T determines, in its sole discretion, that the conduct may (1)
expose AT&T to sanctions, prosecution or civil action, (2) cause
harm to or interfere with the integrity or normal operations of
AT&T's network(s) or facilities, (3) materially or repeatedly
interfere with another person's use of AT&T's Service(s) or the
Internet (4) damage or disparage the reputation of AT&T or its
Service(s), or (5) otherwise present a risk of harm to AT&T or
AT&T's customers , employees, officers, directors, or agents.
You are prohibited from engaging in any other activity, illegal or
not, that AT&T determines in its sole discretion, to be harmful to
its subscribers, operations, network(s), reputation, goodwill, or
This telecommunications thing is really heading to a really nice place, where we can't use the Toobz to discuss how the Toobz are being used to watch over what we do and say. But I guess we should have anticipated that.
This isn't meant to be a criticism of Hillary Clinton in particular. But it's going to end up that way, because she's the only one of the sitting Democratic Senators running for president who voted for the Kyl-Lieberman amendment the other day.
But I say that this isn't about her in particular because I think there are a lot of Democrats in Congress who make one of the component errors that I think she made in making her decision, even if they eventually come down in opposition to resolutions and amendments like this one.
What do I mean? Well, I just got a look at Senator Clinton's statement on her vote on the Kyl-Lieberman amendment that passed the Senate the other day, and this part grabbed me:
In February, after troubling reports about the possibility of military action against Iran, I took to the Senate Floor to warn that President Bush needs Congressional Authorization before attacking Iran. Specifically, I said it would be a mistake of historical proportion if the Administration thought that the 2002 resolution authorizing force against Iraq was a blank check for the use of force against Iran without further and explicit Congressional authorization. Nor should the President think that the 2001 resolution authorizing force after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, in any way, authorizes force against Iran. If the Administration believes that any use of force against Iran is necessary, the President must come to Congress to seek that authority.
Nothing in this resolution changes that.
Things I'm going to get in trouble for saying publicly at Duke:
That 80% of what is out in the blogosphere is crap. Hodding Carter had said half was. But I wasn't thinking about anyone in this corner of the blogosphere.
That we bloggers were parasites on the legal teams of the mainstream media, who pay lawyers a lot of money to make sure things like the Libby grand jury recording gets released to the public.
Other than that, nothing too earthshattering newswise. I learned that the WaPo did get beat up by Lurita Doan's lawyers for releasing the draft of the report on her Hatch Act violations. Which set off a very interesting discussion about whether publishing PDFs of draft documents would and should affect the WaPo's reputation.
My buddy Pinch Sulzberger wrote me today. He said:
We are ending TimesSelect, effective today.
The Times's Op-Ed
and news columns are now available free of charge, along with Times
File and News Tracker. In addition, The New York Times online Archive
is now free back to 1987 for all of our readers.
Why the change?
we launched TimesSelect, the Web has evolved into an increasingly open
environment. Readers find more news in a greater number of places and
interact with it in more meaningful ways. This decision enhances the
free flow of New York Times reporting and analysis around the world. It
will enable everyone, everywhere to read our news and opinion - as well
as to share it, link to it and comment on it.
Shorter Pinch: We thought we could live without the Dirty Fucking Hippies. But it turns out we needed them more than they needed David Brooks.
Though having learned to live without Brooks, I say we just treat him like the troll he is and continue to ignore him.