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Posted on Techdirt - 26 October 2013 @ 12:00pm

Mark Harrill's Favorite Techdirt Posts Of The Week

from the may-the-force-be-with-you dept

Hi all. I am pretty much a lurker around these parts, generally because when I chime in on the chat, someone starts thinking I used to play a Jedi Knight on the big screen. I’ve been in IT for more than 15 years and currently do project management work at a non-profit focused on public education. In my free time I work as a football official in middle and high school football games in Texas. So enough about me, on to what, in my estimation, are the best posts of the week.

For me the top post of the week focused on the hypocrisy of the US . As a child of the 80s, the notions of democracy and freedom were central to why we would “win” the Cold War. The revelations about the NSA, CIA, FBI and DEA (did I forget anyone?) spying and trampling all over the constitution has just shattered the myth around what the US stands for. You want to believe in the myth that the US stands for freedom and openness when everything we’ve seen since the Snowden leaks began has shown that is no longer, and may have never been, the case. Of course, in the usual tone deaf way of the government as a whole these days, on Friday General Alexander gives an interview in which he insists the problem is the press and not, you know, the surveillance and dragnets.

Working for a non-profit, getting maximum value out of my projects is one of my success factors for any project. Therefore I found the story about the bungled healthcare website implementation of particular interest. For me, I would have approached the folks who built my bank’s or credit card’s website or Google or Yahoo for the job. Instead, it was government as usual and making sure the connections get greased and the campaign coffers filled. The goals of the implementation were all wrong, it wasn’t to get people to sign up for health care in the most efficient manner possible, instead it was to fill bank accounts.

Of course, the health care website and spying agencies weren’t the only government departments with problems this week. The TSA admitted that they were checking on us poor travelers long before they even got invasive with the searches. And that wasn’t even the worst revelation of the week, since they admitted that it's all probably unncessary . Then law enforcement was dealt a smackdown when a judge finally ruled against warrantless GPS devices. Hopefully this means the Constitution isn’t a myth to everyone in the government after all.

What week isn’t complete without appearances from some of the “smart people” like the MPAA and Team Prenda? First the MPPA wants more education while they refuse to learn about how the world is changing around them. Then, sometimes, more education doesn’t help as with John Steele, who can’t seem to learn when to stop digging. Then again, you can be, I assume at least, an educated person who supports a very bad idea.

Hopefully next week will be full of posts of smart people, good ideas and less myth busting. Until then, May the Force be With You.

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