Dysmey Post Archive > Pages for 2000 > Mid-February 2000 Edition

Mid-February 2000 Edition

I should warn you right off that this is a page of irritations. This has been a very irritating week. Thankfully the irritations have not come from work, which in fact has been rather good.

Irritation 1: The American Press

Over a period of two days this week major web sites such as Yahoo and Amazon.com have been hobbled by denial-of-service attacks. Hundreds of Internet sites were invaded by crackers, who converted the sites into 'zombie clients' firing hundreds of requests at their targets at preset times.

All this has gotten the attention of the Feds only because the sites lost hundreds of thousands of dollars from being unable to serve visitors. Money speaks real loud to the Feds, I suppose. Naturally, the Feds can do little to prevent future attacks or even to catch the crackers.

What angers me over all this is the journalists.

This sort of misinformation on the part of the press is bound to put the fear in the hearts of the general public. However, it will not keep the public off the Internet (it's so convenient).

Irritation 2: Northwest Airlines

Northwest Airlines have just won from the courts the precedent-setting right to rummage through the home computers of their employees—in this case, flight attendants grappling with the airline in a labor dispute.

On the grounds of business speech is not subject to the same protections as political speech (John Roberts, Minneapolis Internet law attorney), a business, because it is not a political entity, can freely tread on the First and Fourth Amendment rights of its employees by rooting their hard drives like a dog digging through a garbage can.

On reflection, in Northwest's defense, the average American's civil rights are protected only from Congress (and, since the Fourteenth Amendment, the states). It does not protect your rights from such non-governmental gropers as businesses, universities and foundations. It does not even protect you from the federal bureaucracy or the courts, both of which in recent decades have taken on 'legislative' functions undreamed by the nation's founders. Given these Northwest's aggressive legal stance should come as no surprise.


These two irritations—public/governmental overreaction to Internet cracker attacks and the 'right' of businesses to the contents of their employees' computers—have the potential to retard the use of computers and the Internet. They are also the fruits of the erosion of civil liberties over the past thirty years.

And on the local front…

I have discovered today that the Noble Roman's pizzeria in Muncie, which I have been a regular customer for fifteen years, has been closed.

I knew that the company that ran Nobel Roman's was going to close most of its pizzerias, but I thought the Muncie place would be spared because it served Ball State students and was doing well. I guess it wasn't enough for the suits at corporate headquarters, which was losing money overall during the past few years.

I will miss that pizzeria. I will not visit those 'pizza express' places because the food does not taste as good. I hope someone buys out the company before those morons run it into the ground.

Copyright © 2003 by Andy West. All rights reserved. Last updated 3 August 2006.