Tuesday, May 22, 2007

RFID Security In The News Again

Since I took so much time with my EMT class, I'm just now catching up on some news items I bookmarked during the semester. Here are a couple regarding RFID technology, which I regard as a potential security nightmare if not implemented right.

Larry Seltzer has a very good item which was posted to eWeek.com back in March: Uncle Sam's Got an RFID Jones.

Larry hits some very good points both for and against RFID technology using the new, voluntary test program in Washington State where drivers licenses are offered with RFID technology. In the Washington test, the license's RFID chip would only store a unique code which would be linked to the user's personal information stored in a central database. Although using RFID in this way may be safer for those who use it, it's still not a fool proof way to safeguard a persons information. Better implementation? Yes. Totally secure? No way.

I am a realist about computer security. Any data stored anywhere can be exploited given the proper circumstances. Still, I hold my opinion that RFID opens up a security hole big enough to drive a truck through. I agree with Larry on one point: bar codes on licenses can do pretty much the same things RFID can do. Bar codes are not as convenient, but they are a lot easier to safeguard.

Another item I found, also on eWeek.com, was RFID Feared as Possible Terrorist Target by Lisa Vaas. She brings up information on a study by the British Royal Academy which points out that RFID technology could be used to aid terrorists who want to target a particular person or group. In this scenario, the terrorists would plant a bomb somewhere they knew their target would be, set the RFID reader to react when the targeted person came within range of the reader and set off the bomb. In this instance, even if the person's personal data were stored elsewhere and the RFID tag in his/her identification were only encoded with a unique identifier, that unique identifier could be the thing which would set off the bomb.

For now, I'm going to hang on to my opinion that RFID can be useful, but that incorporating it into a system for identification is not a good use for it.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Yeah, What He Said

Ted Nugent: Independence is a beautiful thing; dependency isn't

A while back I entered a blog entitled "The Government Ain't Your Daddy" which spelled out my opinion that the Federal Government is already too big and that socialism in whatever form is a bad thing. Here is a column by Ted Nugent spelling out a similar opinion in his own, unique way.

Our freedoms are slipping away inch by inch as we cede more power to the government. The lack of leadership in our country is pathetic. Politicians on both side of the aisle are not leading at all, but pandering to those groups from which they think they can get the most votes by either giving away people's money or offering to take less away in the form of lower taxes.

(It galls me to hear leaders of the Democrat Party go on about how they got a mandate from the people in the last election even though they barely have over 50% of the seats. That's not a mandate, people.)

Dependence on government is not the hallmark of Freedom. Going out and making your own way and participating in the American Dream is - "Independence" as Ted put it. There are endless opportunities out there for anyone who wants to work hard and make things happen. I just don't understand why anyone would want to limit themselves to what they can glean off the government.

If you're a working American, then you are footing the bill for all government programs. You need to stop thinking about it being "the government's money" and start thinking about it as your money, because that's what it really is.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Your Pants Are Too Small For You!

/* Beginning of rant */

There's the joke stereotype of the plumber, electrician or handyman who goes around wearing pants which are too small for his butt and showing his "butt crack" every time he bends over. I think we need to add teenage and early-20s girls to that stereotype, too.

I know many young ladies want to attract attention to themselves and wear tight, revealing clothes. It's been the trend over the past couple of years to show a bit of belly; and, that trend has been towards more belly and less clothing.

Yesterday, I saw something which really set me off. I parked my car and came around the corner of my townhouse building and saw the teenage next-door neighbor girl sitting on the sprinkler control box outside her front door talking on the phone. The control box is about 4 inches high, and with her back to me, I could see she was sitting on the waist portion of her pants. If she was sitting on the waistband of the pants, then those pants were way too small for her.

My 16-year-old son said to me when we were on an outing not long ago, "Dad, I like looking at girls, but some of them are showing way too much." I take that as an indication the style trend has gone too far.

Parents of young ladies: TAKE YOUR DAUGHTER OUT SHOPPING AND BUY SOME CLOTHES WHICH FIT HER! You are contributing to a bad trend in design if you don't go and get some decent clothes for your kids. And don't give me the "That's all they make" excuse. Somewhere out there are decent-fitting clothes for young ladies. FIND THEM! If the stores you like to shop don't have them, COMPLAIN TO THE MANAGEMENT or SEND AN EMAIL TO THEIR HEAD OFFICE.

Your daughter may complain about having to wear uncool clothes. BE A PARENT AND TEACH HER SOME MODESTY. She isn't going to learn it from the media, their pop star idols, her friends nor anyone else. She has to learn it from you.

/*End of Rant*/

Anyone Remember Sir Graves Ghastly?

I'm really "digging" up some stuff up from my childhood in the Detroit area.

A few days ago I was thinking about a Saturday afternoon show where a "vampire" host named Sir Graves Ghastly would show old '50s and '60s horror movies. I remember spending many a cold winter Saturday afternoon watching Sir Graves and his cast of characters (all played by Lawson Deming). I think I saw the original "The Mummy" at least a dozen times in those years. I also remember thinking Boris Carloff was in every horror movie ever made.

The man who played Sir Graves, Lawson Deming, passed away just last month. Other than Bozo or Oopsy the Clown, I don't think there is another celebrity who was more popular amongst kids who grew up in the Detroit area in the '70s.