Electronic Frontier Foundation:
Imagine that every time you printed a document, it automatically included a secret code that could be used to identify the printer — and potentially, the person who used it. Sounds like something from an episode of “Alias,” right?
Unfortunately, the scenario isn’t fictional. In an effort to identify counterfeiters, the US government has succeeded in persuading some color laser printer manufacturers to encode each page with identifying information. That means that without your knowledge or consent, an act you assume is private could become public. A communication tool you’re using in everyday life could become a tool for government surveillance. And what’s worse, there are no laws to prevent abuse.
Zachary M. Seward:
Richard Branson’s ever-expanding Virgin Group is considering a foray into the newspaper business with a free daily publication in New York City, according to an individual familiar with the company’s plans.
The newspaper, which would focus on show business and entertainment, is still in the preliminary stages of planning at Virgin, the source said. It would be sponsored by the company’s entertainment division, which includes the Virgin Megastores.
Free newspapers have flourished, though not always profited, in major metropolitan areas over the past decade. New York is already home to two such papers, am New York and Metro, though both feature general interest news.
I think we’ll see more of this. The daily paper will be free (ad supported), then some will go weekly only.
Phil Brinkman summarizes the implications of the recently signed State budget on the City of Madison:
Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk said the limit on counties is “very comparable” to one she has insisted Dane County abide by in its budget. She predicted it wouldn’t affect county operations.
But Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz said the budget will force hard choices in Madison, which will be limited to increasing its levy to no more than 4 percent next year, below the 5.7 percent average of the last 15 years (emphasis added).
The city faces $9.5 million in increased costs to continue existing services next year, Cieslewicz said, but will be limited under the cap to collecting about $6 million more in property taxes.
Although the city is growing, police, fire, streets and other agencies would have to cut their budgets 2.1 percent from what it would cost to maintain the same level of services, Cieslewicz spokesman George Twigg said. The city could also raise fees and fines, as it has done before, or dip more deeply than usual into its “rainy day fund” to help cover the gap.
Madison’s 5.7% average levy increase over the past 15 years is not sustainable, given the State’s generally slow economy. City leaders need to start thinking different, rather than continuing with a “same service” approach.