|Ken Novak's Weblog
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Monday, April 04, 2005
Patriot Act Changes to Be Proposed: "In addition to the provision on business records, critics are likely to focus on measures that loosened standards for secret intelligence warrants and on a permanent provision that allows delayed notification of searches -- known by critics as "sneak-and-peek warrants." In the latter case, the Justice Department released statistics yesterday showing that investigators have used such warrants 155 times since October 2001. ..
Patriots to Restore Checks and Balances [is] an ad hoc alliance that includes groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union and the American Conservative Union. The group was formed last month in an effort to seek changes in the Patriot Act." 10:39:23 PM
Sneaking and peeking: FBI admits secret searches of Mayfield's home:
"In a recent letter to Mayfield's attorneys, the Justice Department admitted that FBI agents conducted secret searches of Mayfield's house under a particularly Orwellian provision of the Patriot Act. .. Brandon Mayfield is the Portland attorney whose life became a screeching nightmare last year after he was jailed in connection with train bombings in Spain. He was released two weeks later after the FBI admitted that it had wrongly accused Mayfield of complicity. ..
During those searches, agents took 10 DNA samples preserved on cotton swabs and removed six cigarette butts for DNA analysis. They took 335 digital photographs of Mayfield's personal effects, his house and property. They inventoried his safe-deposit box. They seized a book that chronicled the history of al-Qaeda, two guns and material that agents say related "to U.S. weapons systems" but that Mayfield's attorneys say was a U.S. Army manual from Mayfield's time in the military. They seized three computer hard drives. They wiretapped his home.
If the Justice Department could so brazenly violate Mayfield's Fourth Amendment right to protection against "unreasonable searches and seizures," it can do the same to other citizens under the Patriot Act. In fact, it probably already has. ..
Mayfield's name was among 20 produced by a computerized fingerprint match, and he says he was singled out because he is a Muslim. .. The FBI did all this under the Patriot Act's "sneak and peek" provision. It allows federal investigators to search suspects' homes and businesses without informing them that the searches have taken place. It's one of several deeply flawed provisions of the Patriot Act that expire at the end of this year and that Congress should eliminate. " 10:33:09 PM
U3 - New USB memory/device standard: "U3 makes the promise of anywhere, anytime, any PC computing a reality. By combining the widely adopted storage capabilities of today’s UFDs (USB Flash Drives) with the ability to transport and run applications from a small UFD, U3 ensures truly personal and portable computing. The U3 standard enables developers to create easy to use applications that minimize the complexities of today’s digital life. From your own email folders to healthcare history to fully functional work applications, U3 makes everything available anywhere without having to access multiple devices or lug around a laptop."
Memorex, Kingston, and Verbatim have promised products: "Called a smart USB flash drive, these drives enable consumers to carry all of their personal computer settings, applications and data for use on any PC wherever they go. The new Verbatim smart Store ‘n’ Go USB flash drives will be availabe worldwide [in 2005]. .. The U3 platform includes three components. U3’s hardware specification gives manufacturers the core technology to build their smart USB flash drives. The U3 software developer kit includes sample code, a standard set of application programming interfaces (APIs), and thorough documentation. The U3 Launchpad is a friendly graphical user interface that is used to access and run applications."
This could improve the utility of internet cafes: users can keep an offline personalized environment and secure information store for a small purchase price. Many of today's UFDs play and record sound; with U3, they could rapidly download and upload voice mail at an internet cafe to extend VOIP services (e.g., in developing countries). The U3 could be added to an entertainment device, like an MP3 player, radio, game machine or camera, making the net cost per user negligible. 9:58:25 AM