02 Apr

Sunlight Foundation – House Violates 72 Hour Pledge Again

Two weeks ago the House of Representatives violated a pledge made by Speaker John Boehner to provide a 72 hour window for all legislation to be viewed by the public before it is brought to the floor for debate by voting on a bill to defund National Public Radio. Today, the House majority is again violating that pledge by voting on the Government Shutdown Prevention Act.

The Government Shutdown Prevention Act, a bill that deems the budget cutting bill passed by the House earlier this year to have passed Congress without the Senate’s assent, was introduced on March 30 at 1:13 pm. At the present moment, this bill has not been available for even 48 hours.

The House majority sent the bill to be approved for floor debate by the House Rules Committee under emergency rules. The NPR defunding bill was also considered by the House Rules Committee in an emergency session.

It’s worrying that the majority would repeatedly evade a pledge that they made to the American people to make the House a more transparent body. It is especially worrying that the majority would do this on two votes that are clearly not emergencies.

How was the defunding of National Public Radio an emergency requiring the circumvention of normal Rules Committee procedures and the 72 hour pledge? The current Continuing Resolution to fund the government expires on April 8. Why can’t the majority wait until Monday to vote on this bill?

The 72 hour rule is needed to give the public not only a chance to read the bills, but a chance to voice their opinion. This is especially important when bills are crafted and pushed forwards for political purposes. The public needs to be involved, but the majority is blocking that involvement for nothing other than the pursuit of quick political wins and message control. This is very disturbing.

via Sunlight Foundation – House Violates 72 Hour Pledge Again. De-funding a valuable public resource and usurping democracy, all emergencies and all in a days work for Republicans. Side note: totally in favor of the 72 hour pledge, it’s a great rule for transparency within the government.

11 Dec

The Economist – Another WikiLeaks inkblot: American exceptionalism, American hypocrisy

The more plausible that line of thought sounds to you, the more WikiLeaks will strike you as something akin to a terrorist enterprise. But the more you see a hegemonic America as a problem and not a solution, the more WikiLeaks will strike you as a welcome check on a dangerous, out-of-control hyperpower drunk on its own good intentions. In that case, it may seem that the American political establishment and the collaborating media has grown blind to the hypocrisy so clearly apparent to others in its approach to WikiLeaks because it has forgotten that freedom and democracy have meaning apart from their role in justifying the operations of the far-flung secret-shrouded state.

via The Economist – Another WikiLeaks inkblot: American exceptionalism, American hypocrisy. This is probably the best explanation as to why the Wikileaks story is so polarizing.

17 Oct

Freedom to Tinker – Hacking the D.C. Internet Voting Pilot

The specific vulnerability that we exploited is simple to fix, but it will be vastly more difficult to make the system secure. We’ve found a number of other problems in the system, and everything we’ve seen suggests that the design is brittle: one small mistake can completely compromise its security. I described above how a small error in file-extension handling left the system open to exploitation. If this particular problem had not existed, I’m confident that we would have found another way to attack the system.

None of this will come as a surprise to Internet security experts, who are familiar with the many kinds of attacks that major web sites suffer from on a daily basis. It may someday be possible to build a secure method for submitting ballots over the Internet, but in the meantime, such systems should be presumed to be vulnerable based on the limitations of today’s security technology.

via Freedom to Tinker – Hacking the D.C. Internet Voting Pilot. Internet voting, yeah it’s a bad idea in theory and bad in practice.