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03:35 PM

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The Longest-Running Internet Breach Ever?
State Assemblyman Dave Jones, D-Sacramento, has accused California of "selling an identity theft starter kit on the Internet" after he discovered a gaping security hole on the secretary of state's Web site. The site had been posting uniform commercial code filings, voluntarily provided by banks, with "enough information to open a credit card in someone else's name." The state has to accept the filings, but it doesn't have to make the information so easy to access online. --Patricia Keefe

In my opinion, the government shouldn't be placing any personal information on the Internet, period. Historically, the government has demanded that business and commerce go overboard to protect personal information, but when it comes down to following its own rules, it has taken the easy way out. Then data gets lost or stolen or compromised, and it's always the other guy's fault.

What good does it do to create and pass laws to protect personal data when there's no possible way to enforce them, either because the authority to do so was not extended by the law or because the technical merits of the law are so complex that a single case cannot be built in the context of that law?

The current administration has sold away any personal protections and privacy due to its butchering of the Patriot Act for its own agenda. Did George Orwell rightly predict the coming of the present state of affairs, or was his book used as the model for our future? --Mark

It is absolutely malicious and irresponsible for the government to be giving over any personal information short of a court order to do so. If financial institutions want our personal data, they should be required to ask for it. Giving a few dollars for such sensitive information is selling our security for a quick buck. The governmental units that did so should be held responsible. Shame on them. I hope they get deported. --Redhochipe

Posting useful business information on the Internet is an important convenience for any business that interacts with the government frequently. I manage court cases, and without Web access to the case information this would be a much more expensive process. The question is not only what should be posted, but what should be posted publicly. Only essential information should be posted, and that should only be made available to parties who have a need to know and who can be properly authenticated through a logon process.

Taking this one step further, in the interest of national security it should be illegal for any government entity to offshore the processing of private information. The next terrorist attack may be financial. --Glenn Burton

New Certificates And Neo-Nomads
The technological revolution is attracting a wide range of reactions from various groups. Industry organizations are planning to offer certification for "digital home technology integrators." An increasing number of tech workers are enthusiastically embracing a rootless, home-is-where-your-hard-drive-is lifestyle. It's not a bad lifestyle. It's independent, creative, and social. But it's also limited to certain types of workers and is dependent on the availability of technology. --Barbara Krasnoff

Smart companies will look at this trend and start using it to staff their IT departments, especially with the 9s and 10s of the tech field. The benefit to companies is that they can find good people to fit the needs of projects. The benefit to the "nomads" is that they can support multiple companies, thereby increasing their job security; they don't have all their eggs in one basket. --Paul

I must count myself among the wandering legions of nomadic technologists. I have been servicing the masses since 1998 as a SOHO/LAN consultant. I used the money I earned and the flexibility the neo-industry provided to put myself through college. I still sideline as a freelance consultant and programmer.

Certification only serves one purpose. When an intellectual market first emerges as a business model, the scene is reminiscent of an Old West town. Many different faces come from miles around to see if there's gold in them thar hills. Many more come to turn a quick buck out of the township's citizens' pockets. Now there's a new need, a sheriff. Enter CompTIA and CEA, which will provide a merit badge of sorts to weed out the forked-tongued, sidewinding snakes from the honest, knowledgeable specialists. --Robert

In the late '60s John Brunner wrote "Shockwave Rider." At the time, I thought the book was very far-fetched. Now I live that life, including dealing with all the bad Web-based life forms. Being "rootless," like any lifestyle, has two sides to it. I have friends all over the world and have visited many strange lands. On the other hand, other than my wife, I have no attachments in my hometown. I do have to say that carrying all the tools of my trade in a backpack kind of reminds me of being an itinerate tradesman of yore. --Tony

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