Daily Archives: January 3, 2008

RIAA: It’s ‘Illegal’ to Rip Your Own CDs to Your Own Computer

Shortnews | Jan 3, 2008

The Recording Industry Association of America has said that an Arizona resident whose computer contains almost 2,000 songs ripped from CDs he bought legally is in violation of copyright law for creating the collection.

Jeffery Howell is accused of sharing the songs, but industry officials said he should not have made the copies from his CD collection onto his computer. The RIAA recently won a $220,000 judgment from a woman who downloaded 24 songs.

Lawyer Ray Beckerman said, “Recently, the industry has been going around saying that even a personal copy on your computer is a violation.” Beckerman, who has experience in such cases, has attacked the RIAA’s position.

Leader of Haditha massacre escapes murder charge

 

Marine faces lesser charges in Haditha deaths

Sergeant will be court-martialed on manslaughter, not murder, charge

MSNBC | Dec 31, 2007

LOS ANGELES – A Marine will be court-martialed on reduced charges in the killings of 24 Iraqi men, women and children in the town of Haditha in 2005, the Marine Corps announced Monday.

Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich, 27, of Meriden, Conn., will stand trial on charges of voluntary manslaughter, aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, dereliction of duty and obstruction of justice. No trial date was set.

More serious charges of unpremeditated murder were dismissed by the Marine Corps.

Wuterich’s prosecution is part of the biggest U.S. criminal case involving civilian deaths to come out of the Iraq war.

Four enlisted Marines were initially charged with murder in the case, and four officers were charged with failing to investigate the deaths. Charges against several of the men have been dropped, and none will face murder charges.

Also Monday, the Marine Corps announced that 1st Lt. Andrew Grayson would face court-martial on charges of making false official statements, obstruction of justice and attempting to fraudulently separate from the Marine Corps.

The killings occurred after a roadside bomb hit a Marine convoy, killing the driver of a Humvee and wounding two other Marines. Wuterich’s squad allegedly shot five men by a car at the scene. Wuterich then ordered his men into several houses, where they cleared rooms with grenades and gunfire, killing unarmed civilians in the process.

At his preliminary hearing, Wuterich said that he regretted the loss of civilian life but that he believed he was coming under fire from the homes and was operating within the rules of engagement when he ordered his men to assault the buildings.

Wuterich’s lawyers did not immediately return calls. Grayson’s attorney had no immediate comment.

. . .

Related

Marines Ordered To Execute Civilians In Nazi-Like Slaughter

‘Marine leader told us to kill everyone’

Survey finds many troops would not report civilian killings

Marine tells of order to execute Haditha women and children

US soldiers: Iraq massacre not exception

Natural causes may account for much of Arctic warming

Natural causes may also play role in Arctic thaw

Studies say energy transfer cycle meshes with man-made global warming

MSNBC | Jan 2, 2008

WASHINGTON – There’s more to the recent dramatic and alarming thawing of the Arctic region than can be explained by man-made global warming alone, a new study found. Nature is pushing the Arctic to the edge, too.

There’s a natural cause that may account for much of the Arctic warming, which has melted sea ice, ice sheets and glaciers, according to a study published Thursday in the journal Nature. New research points a finger at a natural and cyclical increase in the amount of energy in the atmosphere that moves from south to north around the Arctic Circle.

But that energy transfer, which comes with storms that head north because of ocean currents, is not acting alone either, scientists say. Another upcoming study concludes that the combination of both that natural energy transfer increase and man-made global warming serve as a one-two punch that is pushing the Arctic over the edge.

Scientists are trying to figure out why the Arctic is warming and melting faster than computer models predict.

The summer of 2007, like the summer of 2005, smashed all records for loss of summer sea ice in the Arctic Ocean and ice sheet in Greenland. In September, the Arctic Ocean had 23 percent less sea ice than the previous record low. Greenland’s ice sheet melted 19 billion tons more than its previous record.

Upper-atmosphere warming
The Nature study suggests there’s more behind it than global warming because the air a couple miles above the ground is warming more than calculated by the climate models.

Climate change theory concentrates on warming of surface temperatures and explains an Arctic that is warming faster than the rest of the world as mostly because reduced sea ice and ice sheets means less reflecting solar rays.

Rune Graversen, the Nature study co-author and a meteorology researcher at Stockholm University in Sweden, said a shift in energy transfer explains the thawing more, including what’s happening in the atmosphere, but does not contradict consensus global warming science.

Oceanographer James Overland, who reviewed Graversen’s study for Nature, said the research dovetails with an upcoming article of his which concludes that the Arctic thawing is a combination of the two.

“If we didn’t have the little extra kick from global warming then we wouldn’t have gone past the threshold for the change in sea ice,” said Overland, of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s lab in Seattle.

Disagreements on global warming
Other researchers said Graversen’s study underestimates the effect of global warming because it relied on older data that stopped at 2001 and wasn’t the most accurate.

Overland and scientist Mark Serreze disagree over which effect — man-made or natural — was the big shove that pushed the Arctic over the edge, but they agreed that overall it’s a combined effort.

“Think of it as a boxer that’s almost going down for the count … and that one blow to the noggin comes and he’s down for the count,” said Serreze, a senior scientist at the government’s snow and ice data center in Boulder, Colo.

. . .

Related

Consensus Shattered As Major Scientific Study Says Global Warming Is Natural
Attempts to reduce CO2 emissions “pointless” as sun is cited as climate change culprit

Bhutto email named killers weeks before assassination

 

Last moment: Bhutto emerged through the sunroof of her car, a minute later she lay dying

Daily Mail | Dec 30, 2007

By SIMON WALTERS

Benazir Bhutto claimed three senior allies of Pakistan’s president General Musharraf were out to kill her in a secret email to Foreign Secretary David Miliband written weeks before her death.

Astonishingly, one of them is a leading intelligence officer who was officially responsible for protecting Miss Bhutto from an assassination.

The second is a prominent Pakistani figure, one of whose family members was allegedly murdered by a militant group run by Miss Bhutto’s brother. The third is a well-known chief minister in Pakistan who is a long-standing opponent of Miss Bhutto.

Miss Bhutto told Mr Miliband she was convinced that the three were determined to assassinate her on her return to the country and pleaded with him to put pressure on the Pakistan government to stop them.

The disclosure is bound to lead to questions as to whether the Foreign Office did enough to safeguard Miss Bhutto.

Her return was organised in close co-ordination with the UK and US governments, which saw her as the best hope of restoring democracy in Pakistan while preventing it from falling into the hands of Islamic extremists.

The email concerning the three alleged would-be killers identified by Miss Bhutto emerged as rival political factions in Pakistan continued to dispute the details surrounding her assassination.


Seconds before the killing the alleged gunman (circled in red) takes aim in the crowd

The Pakistan government said she was killed by Al Qaeda, but her People’s Party dismissed that as “a pack of lies” and insisted General Musharraf’s regime was implicated.

Wajid Shamsul Hasan, Pakistan’s former High Commissioner to the UK and a British-based adviser to Miss Bhutto, said: “She sent an email to the Foreign Office before she returned to Pakistan naming certain people.

“In the email, she said, ‘The following persons are planning to murder me and if any harm comes to me they should be held responsible.'”

Miss Bhutto wrote her prophetic email to Mr Miliband in September, shortly after she met him to discuss her return to Pakistan. She named the same three individuals in a letter to General Musharraf in October.

The Mail on Sunday has been informed of the names but has decided not to publish them.

One is a senior intelligence officer and retired army officer who worked for Pakistan’s sinister Inter Services Intelligence spy agency, which has close links to the Taliban and has been involved in drug smuggling and political assassinations. He allegedly directed two Islamic terrorist groups and reportedly once boasted that he could pay money to hired killers to assassinate anyone who posed a threat to Musharraf’s regime.

He was given another senior intelligence post by Musharraf after his bid to become a senior overseas diplomat for Pakistan failed when the host country refused to let him in because of his past activities.

He was also linked to Omar Sheikh, the former British public schoolboy convicted of kidnapping US journalist Daniel Pearl, who was murdered in 2002 by having his throat cut and being decapitated by Islamic terrorists.

The second individual named by Miss Bhutto is well known in Pakistani political circles and has been involved in a vicious family feud with her for decades.

One of his relatives was said to have been murdered by the militant Al Zulfiqar group run by Miss Bhutto’s brother, Murtaza. The organisation was set up to avenge the execution of Miss Bhutto’s father Zulfiqar Bhutto by ex-Pakistan dictator Zia ul Haq.

The third individual is a chief minister who has repeatedly denounced Miss Bhutto – and faced political annihilation if she won the elections scheduled for next week. He made an outspoken attack on her only hours before her death.

A senior source said: “She knew the risk she was taking when she decided to go back but also took the precaution of informing the British Government of the names of those she thought presented the biggest danger to her.

“She hoped Mr Miliband would use his influence with General Musharraf to remove certain people from positions where they were able to plot against her. She gave the same names to General Musharraf but she knew there was only a limited possibility of any action being taken.

“She had to rely on Mr Musharraf and countries such as Britain and America, who supported her return and have close connections with Mr Musharraf’s government, to take her concerns seriously.

“Events have shown she was right to be worried. If any of the three people she named turn out to have been involved in this assassination, there will be serious repercussions.”

The Mail on Sunday has also learned that after an earlier attempt to assassinate her in October, the Foreign Office told Miss Bhutto to stop making wild allegations against Musharraf – or face greater danger.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: “Miss Bhutto had a series of meetings with the Foreign Secretary and other officials. She raised her concerns about particular people and we raised them in turn with the authorities in Pakistan and asked them to put in place more strict security measures to protect her.”

. . .

Related

Bhutto murder blamed on Pakistan intelligence agents

Hillary: Pakistan troops might have killed Bhutto

Al-Qaeda strongly denies role in Bhutto assassination

Anglo-American Ambitions behind the Assassination of Benazir Bhutto and the Destabilization of Pakistan

Bhutto party accuses government

Islamists within ISI may have aided Benazir assassination, analysts fear

Bhutto said she would hold Musharraf ‘responsible’ for her death

‘Surge’ Of US Special Forces Expected In Pakistan In Early 2008

Did Pakistan’s ISI Kill Benazir Bhutto?

Fulcrum of Evil ISI – CIA – Al Qaeda Nexus

Clinton closes gap with Bush as nation’s ‘Most Admired Man’

 

Good buddies yuk it up for the cameras

CNN | Dec 28, 2007

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Looks like all of Bill Clinton’s time on the campaign trail this year for his wife Hillary may be paying off in the polls for more than one member of the family.

Sitting presidents usually top Gallup’s list of the country’s most admired man, and this year is no exception: President Bush leads, as the choice of 10 percent of those polled. But in this survey, he’s in a statistical tie with former President Bill Clinton, at 8 percent. In the last survey, there was an 8-point margin of separation, with Bush leading 13 to 5 percent, and a 17-point difference in a 2004 poll.

Former Vice President Al Gore, who won several high-profile awards in 2007 for his work to raise awareness about climate change, also shot up in the poll — now in third place with 6 percent — 5 percentage points higher than last year.

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama nudges out the Rev. Billy Graham and Nelson Mandela for fourth place with 5 percent. Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, John McCain, and Rudy Giuliani also make the list — all at 1 percent.

Hillary Clinton tops Gallup’s most admired woman list, with 18 percent. But popular talk show host Oprah Winfrey, who has campaigned for Obama, Clinton’s chief rival, is statistically tied with the New York Democrat at 16 percent. Both have gained in this year’s poll: Clinton was at 13 percent in 2006 while Winfrey was at 9 percent.

The poll surveyed 1,011 Americans December 14-16, and carries a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Canadian retailer removes toxic plastic containers from store shelves

Bisphenol A Concerns Spark More Retailer Action

News Inferno | Dec 26, 2007

Worries about hormone-mimicking BPA used in sports bottles led a major Canadian retailer to remove Nalgene and other polycarbonate plastic containers from store shelves in early December.  BPA—or bisphenol A—mimics the effects of estrogen in cells and some researchers and environmentalists revealed it can be toxic and cause several types of cancer (breast and prostate) as well as developmental, neural, behavioral, and reproductive harm (miscarriages and other reproductive failures), and obesity and hyperactivity in animals.  Fred vom Saal, professor of biology at the University of Missouri and one of the study’s chief authors said the panel reviewed 700 published articles on BPA, practically all published in the last 10 years, yet US health and environmental regulators “are pretending they’re still in the dark.”

Industry maintains BPA is not dangerous, citing studies from government agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that containers manufactured from polycarbonate do not pose health risks to humans.  Meanwhile, Vancouver-based Mountain Equipment Co-Op (MEC) became the first major Canadian retailer to stop selling BPA-containing products and is waiting for Canadian health regulators to finish a preliminary review.  The consumer cooperative is Canada’s largest with 2.7 million members.  In response, the FDA reiterated that “BPA has been used in consumer products for over 50 years.  In that time, there has been no evidence that BPA is harmful to humans, either as the result of dietary intake or industrial worker exposures.”  Patagonia Inc., another outdoor-gear retailer based in Ventura, California, pulled polycarbonate water bottles from its 40 stores worldwide in December 2005.  A month later, organic foods chain Whole Foods Markets stopped selling polycarbonate baby bottles and child drinking cups.  Norway and the European Union are also reviewing BPA; Japanese manufacturers stopped making products using polycarbonate plastic years ago.

Everyone agrees BPA can disrupt the hormonal system; however, scientists differ widely on whether low doses are harmful.  The FDA sides with the plastics industry that BPA-based products pose no health risk; however, an expert panel of researchers reported at a U.S. government conference that the potential for BPA to affect human health is a concern and more research is needed. The panel cited evidence that Americans have higher BPA levels than those found to cause harm in lab animals.

Nalge Nunc International, a division of Waltham, Massachusetts-based Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. employs about 900 people at its Rochester plant.  “Rarely has a chemical been the subject of such intense scientific testing and scrutiny.  And still, important agencies across the globe agree that there is no danger posed to humans from polycarbonate bottles,” Tom Cummins, a Nalge Nunc research director, said.  Highly durable and lightweight, resistant to stains and odors, and able to withstand extremes of hot and cold, screw-cap Nalgene bottles are marketed as an environmentally responsible substitute for disposable water bottles.

With over six million pounds produced in the United States each year, BPA is found in dental sealants, the liners of food cans, CDs and DVDs, eyeglasses, and hundreds of household goods.

Light shed on mysterious night-shining clouds

One of the first ground sightings of noctilucent clouds in the 2007 season, as seen above Budapest, Hungary, in June. [Note the strange symmetrical checkerboard grid pattern in these “clouds” that probably contain aluminum oxide explaining the high reflectivity. Global warming? Sure…whatever you say – PW]

AP | Jan 3, 2008

HAMPTON, Va. (AP) — A Hampton University professor is shedding new light on night-shining clouds that might be affected by climate change. Jim Russell is the lead scientist for the NASA-funded AIM satellite, the first to study the wispy “noctilucent” clouds, which only appear above Earth’s poles.

Russell, an atmospheric science professor, has found that the clouds get brighter and stretch farther as the uppermost atmosphere gets colder. He thinks that the changes might be caused by human-generated global warming.

The Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere satellite is providing the first global mapping of the cover and structure of these clouds, which coalesce as icy dust particles about 42 to 60 miles above the Earth’s surface.

The mapping showed that the clouds are more sensitive to changes in the upper atmosphere than was previously thought, as they are changing in brightness and reach.

Scientists say that’s why people as far south as Colorado and Utah have spotted the clouds in recent years.

Previously, they had only been visible to people in regions of northern Europe and Canada.

AIM is funded through NASA’s Small Explorers program. It has a $140-million budget through May 2009, but Russell hopes to get funding to extend the research.

The satellite is now studying the clouds at the South Pole. Noctilucent clouds form only in the summer of the respective hemispheres, when, somewhat counter-intuitively, it is coldest at the highest reaches of the atmosphere.

“We want to look at long-term changes,” said Russell, who presented his first batch of results at a recent meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco. “We have such great sensitivity that we really want to get a long-term database.”

Russell said the connection to climate change may involve changes in temperature and water vapor.

As the Earth’s surface-level climate warms up, the coldest region of the atmosphere, where these clouds exist, actually gets colder. The colder it gets, the farther the clouds reach.

. . .

Related

AIM reveals unprecedented view of mysterious clouds

Vatican, Muslims Plan ‘Historic’ Meeting

AP | Jan 2, 2008

By NICOLE WINFIELD

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Catholic and Muslim representatives plan to meet in Rome in the spring to start a “historic” dialogue between the faiths after relations were soured by Pope Benedict XVI’s 2006 comments about Islam and holy war, Vatican officials said.

Benedict proposed the encounter as part of his official response to an open letter sent to him and other Christian leaders in October by 138 Muslim scholars from around the world. The letter urged Christians and Muslims to develop their common ground of belief in one God.

Three representatives of the Muslim scholars will come to Rome in February or March to prepare for the meeting, the head of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, told the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano this weekend.

He did not give a date for the larger meeting, except to say it would take place in the spring.

Pope John Paul II kissing the Koran

The agenda, he said, would cover three main topics: respect for the dignity of each person, interreligious dialogue based on reciprocal understanding, and instruction of tolerance among the young.

“The meeting with a delegation of some of the 138 Muslims, planned for Rome next spring, is in a certain sense historic,” Tauran was quoted by L’Osservatore as saying.

Benedict angered Muslims with a speech on faith and reason in September 2006 in Germany in which he cited a medieval text that characterized some of the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad as “evil and inhuman,” particularly “his command to spread by the sword the faith.”

The pope later said he was “deeply sorry” over the reactions to his remarks and that they did not reflect his own opinions. The Vatican has been working ever since to improve relations with moderate Islam.

Thirty-eight Muslim scholars initially wrote to Benedict soon after his 2006 speech, thanking him for his clarifications and his calls for dialogue. But the Vatican never officially responded to that initiative, and a year later the number of signatories of a new letter had swelled to 138.

In the letter, the Muslim scholars, muftis and intellectuals draw parallels between Islam and Christianity and their common focus on love for God and love for one’s neighbor. They also note that such a focus is found in Judaism.

“As Muslims and in obedience to the Holy Quran, we ask Christians to come together with us on the common essentials of our two religions,” the letter says. “Let this common ground be the basis of all future interfaith dialogue between us.”

Noting that Christians and Muslims make up an estimated 55 percent of the world population, the scholars conclude that improving relations is the best way to bring peace to the world.

Church leaders and analysts have praised the initiative, and Benedict met with one of the 138 signatories in October, when they both attended an interfaith peace meeting in Naples.

But that meeting was somewhat soured when some Muslim participants complained in a communique that Benedict had neglected to comment publicly on the open letter, and over published comments by Tauran about the unwillingness of Muslims to critically discuss the Quran.

The Vatican No. 2, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, followed up within a month with a formal letter on behalf of Benedict to one of the 138 signatories, Jordan’s Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad bin Talal, inviting representatives of the scholars to meet with the pope.

The prince, who is a special envoy to Jordan’s King Abdullah II, responded by confirming the agenda of the meeting and saying three representatives of the scholars would travel to Rome in February or March to lay its groundwork.

“Privacy meltdown” feared in Google’s acquisition DoubleClick

New technologies pose online privacy uncertainties, Rotenberg claims

Computerworld | Jan 2, 2008

Privacy advocate says that much remains unknown about how collected data will be used

by Patrick Thibodeau

January 02, 2008 (Computerworld) — Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), spoke recently with Computerworld about online privacy issues. In an initial installment of the interview, Rotenberg said he fears that a “privacy meltdown” will result from Google Inc.’s planned acquisition of online ad-serving vendor DoubleClick Inc., a deal that was given the green light last month by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. In this second installment, he gives his take on how young people view privacy and discusses the privacy ramifications of shopping courtesy cards, radio frequency identification (RFID) tags and bar-coded driver’s licenses.

Some privacy advocates argue that the younger generation of Internet users – the Facebook and MySpace users – are less guarded about data privacy. Is this younger generation in the vanguard of a new way of thinking about privacy, or are they just naïve? Younger people today have a different way of thinking about privacy. I think it’s a mistake to believe that they value privacy less [than other users do]. And in many respects, that’s actually the experience we’ve often had in this country: notions of privacy evolve based on what technology makes possible. But I think the mistake that people sometimes make is to believe that because kids have a different expectation of privacy, somehow it’s a diminished expectation.

Do you think, though, that young users are sharing more information about themselves in public environments than they should be? I think the interesting issue, and where the privacy debate begins, is when the information that they make available to their friends – for example, on a social network site – is gathered surreptitiously and used for marketing purposes. And there, I think there really is a [valid] debate about whether people, and kids in particular, understand what’s going on and if it’s really fair.

The courtesy cards that retailers issue to customers to qualify for discounts can be used to record everything that someone like me buys. How can that information be used? And as a consumer, should I worry about it? I generally think that being worried is a helpful way to talk about privacy. In terms of how businesses collect and use personal information, the right approach is really to ask the question, “Are companies being fair with what they do with the data they collect?” If they aren’t, then we need some rules in place.

Do you think that retailers are being fair about how they use the purchasing information they collect? I think it’s a very serious issue. One of the big paradoxes about privacy is that the companies that collect and use so much information about consumers tend to be very secretive about their own practices, and as a result, it’s just very difficult for people to really know what’s happening to the data that is provided to [the companies]. So typically, when we talk about privacy laws, one of the main things we’re arguing for is simply making companies more accountable in the collection and use of data that they collect.

At an IBM conference that I was at recently, the ID badges for attendees included RFID tags that automatically tracked what sessions people attended. IBM’s conference organizers had a reasonable explanation: instead of scanning people’s badges as they went into sessions, they just RFID’ed them. But where can this all go if things like driver’s licenses or library cards get RFID tags? Your story is very interesting, and in fact, [IBM’s] analogy is imperfect. When you scan a card, there’s a moment when the card is removed, it’s turned over to a reader and the person is aware of the fact that the card is being read. The problem, of course, with an RFID tag is that it can be read at any time by anyone who is in possession of a reader – whether or not the person knows that their card is being scanned. And this is precisely the debate we are having right now with the Department of Homeland Security over many of the identity schemes.

How do you think the DHS is going to use RFID tags? We know that they are adopting a standard that a lot of people, not only in the privacy community but also in the security community, are not very happy about. It’s the so-called vicinity read or contactless read RFID tag. It’s designed precisely to prevent the ability of people to know when the data on the tag is being read. That violates a central principal of [personal] security, and that is basic access control – you want people to know when information about them is being requested by others, if for no other reason than to be able to make sure that it’s being requested for an appropriate purpose and not a purpose that might create a problem.

Can you illustrate how the contactless RFID technology might be misused? In lots of ways. A lot of hackers have done a pretty good job showing the problems with the remote RFID tags. You can pull credit card numbers, if [companies] haven’t encrypted the numbers. You can get medical information. You can pull information on U.S. travelers overseas. The U.S. State Department’s proposal for the e-Passport, for example, had to be significantly revised when people realized that there was going to be a problem with the RFID tag being remotely read on U.S. citizens as they traveled overseas. There are real concerns here.

How do you think this issue will turn out? The Department of Homeland Security is playing a leading role right now in putting forward many of the new proposals for border control, [personal] identification and video surveillance, and EPIC has probably been the group most critical of these proposals. Part of the concern is also that these proposals haven’t been really well-thought-out, and I think the best example of that is the federal national identity card known as Real ID. There has been a real push-back from the states regarding that proposal, and a real concern that it will create some new security risks if it were to be implemented.

The Real ID plan sets national identity card standards – it requires a bar code and a digital photograph. What are some of the other things that it requires, and why is it so toxic to some people? I can’t give you a precise answer because the federal government still hasn’t issued the final regulations, which is really amazing when you think about it. The law was passed in February of 2005, and the states were expected to comply with the federal regulations within three years, and we’re creeping up on the three-year anniversary of the law [being approved], and the Department of Homeland Security still hasn’t issued the final rules. This is an example, I think, of the problems with these proposals when they are not thought out very well and when there are a lot of underlying security problems.

My new Washington, D.C., driver’s license has a bar code on it. I have no idea what information is on that bar code. How do you think that information stored there could be used? From our perspective, the key to good systems of identification – to secure systems of identification – is to ensure that they are only used for their intended purpose. The big risk with the state driver’s license, particularly when you start adding mag stripes, bar codes and some other functionality, is that it makes it easier for the private sector to pull information off of a license and use it for other purposes.

Here’s a classic example: You go into a bar, the bar owner wants to make sure that you are 21, you present the license. But if he swipes the license and pulls your name and address, birth date, sex, eye color and height off of the license, now he’s got a lot more information than he’s really entitled to. In response to that specific problem, a number of states have limited the ability of merchants to take information from driver’s licenses.