“Shiny app syndrome” and Gov 2.0 – O’Reilly Radar

This was sent to me by a coworker–the entire article is really great but the person interviewed in this video makes some excellent points about the dangers of requiring specific devices to access services. This is bad from the standpoint of freedom and technology in general, vendor lock-in, etc., but is absolutely horrible when it comes to government services.

Unless they’re developed by a third party completely independent of any particular government agency, citizens fund the development of the applications that make the promise of letting them interact more directly and more effectively with their government. By limiting access to a specific device, it’s like simultaneously spitting in the face of the citizens that fund the development and handling Apple a check.

With the decreasing cost and increasing availability of technology the digital divide was supposed to get smaller, not bigger, but by requiring citizens to buy one of the most expensive phones on the market and sign up for an expensive data plan through one specific wireless carrier, we’re making it far, far worse and the conspiracy theorist in me has to wonder if something nefarious is going on behind the scenes.

Thankfully there’s a simple solution to this problem. First, follow the “just give us the data” mantra of Gov2.0 advocates, and second, build apps with standards that don’t lock people into any one device. There is absolutely no reason any publicly developed application should only be available on one particular device, and if there aren’t any rules in government that mandate cross-device compatibility as a requirement, there should be.

Guest Column: On TSA Laptop Searches | GamePolitics

Domestic travelers have become familiar with intrusions and searches at Transportation Security Administration security checkpoints. But as the ACLU has recently discovered, international travelers are not only having their laptops seized and searched by Customs and Border Protection, but agents are making copies of files and giving them to third-party agencies. The ACLU filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the government, which turned over hundreds of pages of documents revealing startling information about how much access—and how little oversight—agents have to your gaming laptops when you travel.

I’m not quite sure why this is even remotely acceptable in a free society. Maybe I’m being naive, but from a legal standpoint why can’t people simply say “hell no” if some jackass from the TSA starts copying files from your hard drive to give to a third party? Have we really lost this much freedom?

Princeton Researcher Faces Legal Action if He Tests Voting Machine Security

This is just horrendously disturbing. What the heck do these people have to hide? Makes ya think, don’t it? I hope this guy does it anyway–more attention needs to be brought to this situation.


Really interesting…it certainly does make you think. I think we should just push for open source voting software. Just as the Declaration of Independence is openly readable as well as all the laws, why not how our voting software works. It’s not like it should be proprietary or anything.

Posted by Kyle Hayes @ 3/19/08 8:14 PM

Apparently this particular voting machine can’t even do basic math correctly:


Posted by Matt Woodward @ 3/20/08 7:36 AM

Yeah, that’s pretty scary.

Posted by Chris Vigliotti (hibiscusroto) @ 3/20/08 10:05 AM

I re-read this article recently, and found it disturbing as well–and relevant to this type of article


Posted by Keith Woods @ 3/25/08 3:39 AM