Monday, April 02, 2007

"All Your Files Are Belong To Us"

I can't take credit for that awesome title. It comes from an article at TPMmuckraker regarding one Julie MacDonald, an assistant undersecretary in the Department of the Interior, who apparently sent internal government documents for review to a kid she'd met playing an online role-playing game.

A kid. Who she met in an online RPG. Who apparently didn't even have his own e-mail address, because she had to send it to him through his father's address.

For the uninitiated, it is quite common for people to lie about themselves in these games, the standard example being the fifty-year-old fat guy claiming to be a nineteen year old college co-ed. There's an element of wish fulfillment in RPGs and some choose not to restrict this to the character they are playing but to who they actually claim to be.

So, clearly, people you meet in an online role-playing game are the perfect people to trust with internal government documents. No chance they'll fall into the wrong hands that way.

One of the comments to the above-linked article is priceless:
I wonder if she traded the internal document for a Dwarven Iron Helm of +3 Mana

Which, of course, p'shaw, would be about the worst trade ever! She shoulda gotten at least a +3 Bow of Heartseeking. Sheesh.

Another astute comment:
In light of efforts being made to avoid WH controls over phones and emails, and folks getting excited that they now have a shiny new RNC-paid for BlackBerry so they can "really talk". When do you think that the staff is going to turn to World of Warcraft, Halo or Second Life to have conversations out of the reach of Congress and a newly re-focused Dept of Justice?

That's pretty funny, too. Can you imagine government officials logging onto WoW or EverQuest to discuss policy and then getting attacked by other players? "N00bs! Pwned!!!11!!11"

Which touches on one of the big ironies of all this: while the Bush regime is sending internal documents to online role-playing game acquaintances and getting special RNC BlackBerries so that their e-mails can't be subpeonaed, they're also conducting domestic wiretapping and looking at what library books we're checking out.

The regime seems to believe in Bizarro-world democracy, where what the government does is secret and unaccountable, but the citizens must be watched at all times. Conservatives always parrot that old saw when liberals complain about civil rights violations, that "if you aren't doing anything wrong then you don't have anything to worry about."

Why, exactly, does that apply to private citizens but not to the White House?

I think we all know the real answer to that question.


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