Tracking stuff is just about to get easier

A new thinner-than-paper-thin RFID (radio frequency identification) chip has been developed by Hitachi Ltd. “Ten or more times thinner than a sheet of paper” (shouldn’t that be 1/10 the thickness?), it is 0.15mm x 0.15mm x 0.01mm. Paper is .08mm-.1mm thick so the new chip could actually be used as a watermark.Applications could easily include enhanced document security. The chip could be embedded in optical media (would RFID interfere w/ electronic media?) such as DVD, CD, etc. What about embedding in clothing, jewelry and watches, etc. Making the tracker inconspicuous raises the possibilities.

Rumsfeld on Openness

From WSJ via FAS Secrecy News is the following:

"I have long believed in the importance of granting the public greater access to information about their government–the good and the bad," wrote Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in a Wall Street Journal opinion article this week, noting that he had co-sponsored the Freedom of Information Act as a member of Congress in 1966.

He wrote of the challenges of informing the public in "this new Information Age," and observed that "a healthy culture of communication and transparency between government and the public needs to be established."

"This openness, however, does not obviate the necessity of protecting the secrecy of confidential information that, if revealed, could harm the security of the U.S."

"While I have long believed that too much material is classified across the federal government as a general rule, an increasingly cavalier attitude towards sensitive information in various quarters can put the lives of our troops at correspondingly increasing risk."

During Secretary Rumsfeld’s tenure, a growing quantity of formerly public information has been withdrawn from public access. has the complete 18 July 2005 article.

Millions not a couple of dozen Americans “sucked into the vacuum”

ABC’s Nightline had an NSA whistleblower alleging illegal spying (the link has the Nightline video) could have eavesdropped on millions of Americans. As the source for the NY Times article blowing the cover of the operation (thoughts and implications here), he is apparently the target of rage by the Administration on the leaking of the program.

The damage to domestic and foreign credibility may be severe,
although not to those who feel "no holds barred" is the name of the
game. "Do as we say, not as we do" is not a good motto for a role model.

Meanwhile, Opinio Juris notes a number of "prominent law scholars and attorneys" rejected the Administration’s claims to have the right to conduct this surveillance in a letter:

The letter critiques the Department of Justice’s legal justifications
for the NSA wiretapping program, in particular, the U.S. government’s
reliance on the Sept. 11 Resolution authorizing military force, to
circumvent or avoid the restrictions created by the Foreign
Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Of course it is well-crafted,
reasonable, and persuasive. It takes a couple of unnecessary shots at
John Yoo, I think, but it is still very sensible in focusing on the
statutory rather than constitutional arguments. But while I am halfway
persuaded, I do wonder if the law prof letter relies too heavily on a
FISA provisions limiting wiretaps to 15 days after the declaration of

The argument against the right to do anything hinges on what the authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) comprises:

[E]ven where Congress has declared war—a more formal step than an
authorization such as the AUMF—the law limits warrantless wiretapping
to the first fifteen days of the conflict. Congress explained that if
the President needed further warrantless surveillance during wartime,
the fifteen days would be sufficient for Congress to consider and enact
further authorization. [footnote omitted] Rather than follow this
course, the President acted unilaterally and secretly in contravention
of FISA’s terms. The DOJ letter remarkably does not even mention FISA’s
fifteen-day war provision, which directly refutes the President’s
asserted "implied" authority.