Security flaw gets prisoners early parole

Here’s an interesting case of errors in an unchecked data-input process, discovered by the Michigan State Auditor General. The story appeared on The Register, which was kind enough to link to the original news story posted by WLNS.com:

“A flaw in computer programming caused State jails to release 8 prisoners anywhere from 39-161 days early, prisoners who were doing time for everything from embezzlement and drugs to bad check writing…A followup study by the Department of Corrections found 15 more prisoners who were either let out early or late.”

From there I found the actual audit document itself on the Michigan Office of the Auditor General, available as Report Number 47-591-04

As it turns out, Michigan’s Auditors are on a roll. A BNA report published earlier this year noted that Michigan voter and drivers’ license databases were improperly secured for seven years:

“The Michigan Auditor General found, in a report issued March 18, that the state’s security methods were not effective in protecting voting and driver’s license databases from potential hackers between 1997 and June 30, 2004 (Mich. Aud. Gen. Report No. 23-591-04)”

McDonalds posts fat facts

Why would McDonalds bother?

The Chief Exec is quoted by the BBC: “We’ve given them what they asked for and then people take responsibility about whether they add it up or not add it up.”

Did consumers demand this information prior to “Fast Food Nation” and “Supersize Me”, or more importantly prior to the lawsuit that claimed fast food companies are liable for customers with eating disorders? Does the corporation perceive more risk now (from not providing the information) compared to when they first adopted the current recipes/ingredients?

Little black helicopters from space

It might seem overly tongue-in-cheek at first glance, but the Register’s ongoing coverage of Google satellite imagery has some interesting implications for privacy and information control. In general I think it good that we have better navigational aids, but clearly there will be some issues for anyone who is trying to fly below radar, so to speak. It actually reminds me of sand dunes in Baja that do a poor job of hiding Mexican military equipment from ground view, yet from the sky…

On a slightly-related note, the flashearth site has a nice view of what future interfaces couold look like. I wonder if anyone at Google is working on (or cares about) flat map distortion characteristics?

the poetry of information security