Friday, January 20, 2006

more signs of the apocalypse

A right-wing group has offered UCLA students $100 to spy on faculty.

The group's website,, lists 31 professors whose classes it considers worthy of scrutiny. The professors teach classes in history, African-American studies, politics, and Chicano studies. Their supposed radicalism is indicated on the site by a rating system of black fists. The organisation denies on the website that it is conducting a vendetta against those with differing political views. "We are concerned solely with indoctrination, one-sided presentation of ideological controversies and unprofessional classroom behaviour, no matter where it falls on the ideological spectrum."

The U.S. government is trying to force Google to turn over information about on-line searches.

"The bad news is that Google probably has more information in its data banks than any other search engine. Google may have to give in, but at least they are showing some backbone."

Google stores user information in a single tracking "cookie" that could hold a rich load of data about anything from email, online purchases, addresses, names, searched words, or other terms typed in, Givens said.

Dixon said Google would not be able to filter out personal information from the data demanded by the government.

"That is what is really at stake here, anything you type into that box," Dixon said, referring to the window used by computer users in their searches.

"This will pull down everyone's information, even if they had nothing to do with pornography."

As someone who does frequent searches on cults, this is not a comforting time to be completing a dissertation.