If I understand this correctly, the state ineptly left personal information about employees embedded in the HTML source of publicly accessible pages, and… the governor is now threatening to prosecute the reporters who discovered this for “hacking”?
This is utterly ludicrous. Looking at HTML source is not hacking. Every Web browser has a “view source” button. And… you’ve ALREADY “accessed” the source code of every Web page you look at. That’s what the server sends to your browser!
This does not make any of this any less stupid, and the legal theory here is still absolute nonsense. Apparently the personal information (SSNs) embedded in the page source had to be decoded or translated in some way. But that’s not “hacking” or “unauthorized access.”
Decoding information *you have already downloaded to your own computer* is not an “unauthorized access”. All the “accessing” has already happened at that point, and it was clearly authorized! It cannot be “hacking” to *decode data on your own computer.*
If I spell out my credit card number in Pig Latin in the source code to my publicly accessible webpage, and it turns out you know how to click “view source” and read Pig Latin, that does not make you a hacker. It makes me an idiot who has recklessly disclosed personal data.
Here’s the St Louis Dispatch writeup. The state should be thanking the reporters for drawing their attention to their own shocking incompetence, not threatening absurd legal action that would get laughed out of any court. stltoday.com/news/local/edu…
Ike-May Arson-Pay Is-Ay Umb-Day. Be warned that if you turn the previous sentence into ordinary English in your brain, this is an UNAUTHORIZED ACCESS and I will have you prosecuted for l33t haxx0r activities in Missouri.

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More from @normative

15 Oct
Recently binged a few debates on the historicity of the Gospels between New Testament scholar Bart Ehrman & various apologists, and kept thinking how much less plausible so many key apologist arguments sound in the age of QAnon.
It is, incidentally, a meaningless but grimly amusing coincidence that scholars have long referred to a presumed lost source for the synoptics as “Q” (from the German “Quelle” for “source”).
A lot of apologetics on this front boil down to the idea that it’s wildly implausible that people would spread unfounded stories or sheer fabrications with such speed and conviction, often at substantial personal cost. And yet…
Read 9 tweets
13 Oct
This is such an astonishingly self-destructive threat it suggests he’s genuinely living in a total fantasy land where Republicans could somehow magically restore him to the White House if only they clapped hard enough.
I *guess* it could be this? Set a task it’s impossible for them to complete as a show of clout? Or even as a bid to replace electeds he’s shown to be “disloyal” (because they couldn’t impossibly reinstate him) with even more pliable stooges?
Or maybe, since they can’t actually “solve” it, just force them to keep talking up his election fraud lie, since it’s the only way they can attempt to abase themselves, but an explicit demand to merely keep talking about it would sound weak?
Read 4 tweets
13 Oct
Here’s why it’s not going to work. A court’s unlikely to find criminal liability until a judge has disposed of Bannon’s spurious executive privilege claim—as long as he can say, however disingenuously, that he’s prepared to comply once it’s been legally clarified that he must.
So the threat of criminal penalty is unlikely to scare him into preemptive compliance. But litigating the privilege claim would take—extremely optimistically—many months, and quite possibly years. So in practice he’s going to be able to stall out the committee.
Bannon’s lawyer: "We will comply with the directions of the courts, when and if they rule on these claims of both executive and attorney client privileges.”
Read 4 tweets
4 Oct
One fascinating thing about this as a libertarian is the wild disconnect between the values Williams is avowedly concerned about and the things he views as core threats to them. theatlantic.com/politics/archi…
You’re concerned we’re drifting away from a shared commitment to limited government, federalism, checks & balances? Me too! And the most pressing threat to those values is… woke anti-racism? Really?
I mean, yes, if all the most extreme things Ibram Kendi has ever proposed became federal law, I too would disapprove of that… but on the real world list of things I’m worried about, that’s hovering somewhere around “Borg invasion.”
Read 4 tweets
30 Sep
One of the most fun parts of my job is getting to rewatch awesome movies & TV series I love, then BS about them for an hour… For Work. Also a lot of the conversations end up being pretty interesting. Check ‘em out if you haven’t. Even some of the ones without me turned out OK.
The most recent I did is one of my favorites. I assume it did shit traffic because Coppola’s “The Conversation” is a pretty niche film, but both the movie and the episode are pretty good.
Also good: John Carpenter’s “They Live” with @notjessewalker
Read 6 tweets
29 Sep
We have an information ecosystem increasingly centered on platforms that are maximally advantageous to Gish Gallop/One-Way Hash arguments, and I have no idea how we go about reversing this trend, because evidently people like these formats a lot.
Noam Chomsky used to argue that television was inherently (small-c) conservative because if a TV hit gives you 5 minutes of total speaking time, you can’t really articulate a view very far outside the mainstream consensus without sounding crazy…
But it seems like something like the opposite is true when you toss the gatekeepers and shorten the average time even more. You can make a crazy view sound plausible if people are thinking in 30 second increments.
Read 6 tweets

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