Thursday, January 29, 2009

AGAIN wit' da Gummit


In today's mail, I got another one of the goofy-ass "American Community Survey" thingies from the U.S. Census - despite the fact that I have tried to let them know that I didn't have any interest in providing them with anything, which didn't work particularly well.

Carefully reading the "We're from the Government, we're here to help" bullshit accompanying the survey, and doing a little checking, I find that there are, in fact, penalties for not participating:

From 13 USC {that's Title 13 of the United States Code, for those of you that might be less than familiar with lawyer-speak), courtesy of Cornell University Law :

§ 221. Refusal or neglect to answer questions; false answers

(a) Whoever, being over eighteen years of age, refuses or willfully neglects, when requested by the Secretary, or by any other authorized officer or employee of the Department of Commerce or bureau or agency thereof acting under the instructions of the Secretary or authorized officer, to answer, to the best of his knowledge, any of the questions on any schedule submitted to him in connection with any census or survey provided for by subchapters I, II, IV, and V of chapter 5 of this title, applying to himself or to the family to which he belongs or is related, or to the farm or farms of which he or his family is the occupant, shall be fined not more than $100.
(b) Whoever, when answering questions described in subsection (a) of this section, and under the conditions or circumstances described in such subsection, willfully gives any answer that is false, shall be fined not more than $500.
(c) Notwithstanding any other provision of this title, no person shall be compelled to disclose information relative to his religious beliefs or to membership in a religious body.
Loverly, innit?

I certainly don't want to break the law by refusing to comply mit Das Direktive (I gave them my name, the date, my phone #, and that it's just me, just like they asked on the very front of it), and I'd never dream of outright lying to them. I guess the only option they leave open to me is to respectfully decline to provide anything, in accordance to (c).

If they think I'm bullshitting, they're certainly welcome to PROVE it -- if they can.

Gee, so sorry...

Monday, January 26, 2009

And if THAT isn't enough...

Courtesy of The Register ("Biting the hand that feeds IT"), here's some more good news:

Infections as a result of the infamous Conficker (Downadup) worm have peaked at around the 10m PC mark.

Variants of Conficker use a variety of methods to spread, including exploiting the MS08-067 vulnerability in the Microsoft Windows server service patched by Redmond in October. Once it gets a foothold within corporate networks, Conficker is programmed to spread across local area networks. The worm also spreads between infected USB sticks and Windows PCs.

Compromised Windows PCs are turned into drones in a botnet, programmed to phone home through a changing series of servers. It's this latter behaviour that has allowed F-secure to track the progress of the worm over the last two weeks or so. Its latest educated guess of the size of the botnet is 10m strong as of Friday, 23 January, 1m up on the 9 million of the week before.

Thank you, Microsoft.

The End is Nigh...

I fear that we are about to witness the end of Civilization as we know it -- thanks to Microsoft.

Watch this, and see if you don't agree...