Life appears to continue in spite of what the Mayans predicted
At the time of this writing, our office received reports that Australia successfully began December 21, 2012. While reports indicate that the weather is a little breezy, predictions of an extinction level event prove to be incorrect. From our vantage point, most Augustans express relief and joy over the news, although a segment of folks, aka, the Preppers, appear somewhat somber. We’re not sure if it’s because the world didn’t end, or if it’s just the thought of having to put all their Doomsday gear back in storage. Either way, all indications are that life goes on.
Some Privacy, Please — As we move into 2013, the right to privacy will continue to be one of the hottest topics in technology. For various reasons, government bureaucrats who are largely unaccountable to anyone have created systems that accumulate and mine enormous amounts of data on individuals. Lawmakers specifically authorized some of these systems. Others were enabled through regulation. Proposals were made this year to provide greater access to text messages and cell phone calls. Obamacare steers the country toward a common database of all health history. The amount of money we have and the weapons we own are already recorded. Our government probably knows more about its citizens than any other government in history, and it wants more.
The first activity we’ll see this year will be the reauthorization of the FISA Amendments Act. This act codified the method of warrantless wiretapping. Originally started in the period after 9/11, the warrantless wiretap provides national security organizations a CYA when sucking in private electronic communications into their databases. The act is set to expire at the end of the year, and any coverage of it has been dwarfed by the fiscal cliff. Call you congressman and urge a no vote on FISA.
Significant activity on updating the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act should also occur this year. The original law was passed in the good ole days of MS/DOS and the Apple II. No one had any concept of what was coming with regards to the internet and the use of electronic documents. Under the ECPA, your email possesses greater legal protection if you print it out and file it instead of keeping it on your hard drive. An update to this bill is working its way through the Senate. Just this month, the Judiciary Committee added an amendment requiring law enforcement get a probably cause warrant before reading your email! This bill has a long way to go, but everything seems to be going in the right direction.
Augusta… Hack Away! — The year 2012 brought something to Augusta that it hasn’t seen in quite a while… innovation. Technology clubs and groups have existed in the area for many years. Catalyzed by individuals such as Eric Parker and Tony Robinson, these groups are starting to form a critical mass of innovation. The Technology Association of Georgia has started an Augusta chapter. Meetup.com has become a common check-in location for technology events. Most importantly, all of our technology organizations — Hack Augusta, CSRA Makers, Refresh Augusta, Augusta Developers Guild, Augusta Linux Users Group and TAG-Augusta — now have a location to network, share ideas and create the future: TheClubhou.se. If you are into technology, Augusta needs you to plug in! I hope to see you at the next Hackathon!
Have a safe and happy new year. Until next year, I’m off the grid @gregory_a_baker. You Might Also Like: