Loretta Sanchez, a California Democrat in the House of Representatives, is proposing a bill requiring Homeland Security to issue rules governing searches and seizures so that they are no longer able to operate completely in the dark and without standards. Glenn Greenwald describes DHS seizures of cellphones and computers, often not returning them, in an article that includes an interview with Rep. Sanchez. He says her bill doesn’t go far enough, but might be a good first step. However it’s unlikely to pass in the Republican-controlled House.

that underscores one amazing point: the right-wing of the Republican Party and its “Tea Party” faction endlessly tout their devotion to limited federal government powers, individual rights, property rights, and the Constitution. If they were even minimally genuine in those claims, few things would offend and anger them more than federal agents singling out and detaining whichever citizens they want, and then taking their property, digging through and recording their most personal and private data — all without any oversight or probable cause. Yet with very few exceptions (a few groups on the Right, including religious conservatives, opposed some excesses of the Patriot Act, while the small libertarian faction of the GOP oppose many of these abuses), they seem indifferent to, even supportive of, the very policies that most violently injure their ostensible principles.

Texas Government 2.0 Camp

Collaborative Conference to Explore Open Government Best Practices

AUSTIN, Texas, January 10, 2011 – In collaboration with local and state government officials, advocacy groups and private industry, the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs and EFF-Austin will present Texas Government 2.0 Camp (TXGov2.0Camp): Making Transparency Work on Jan 28 and 29 at the Austin Community College Eastview Campus.

TXGov2.0Camp will bring together leading thinkers from all levels of government, academia, media and industry to explore the best ways to make open government in Texas work for everyone.

Organized in part by LBJ School of Public Affairs graduate students, this conference will serve as an extension of a previously existing LBJ School policy research project on state finance and online transparency.

The policy research project was designed to analyze what is and should be available online regarding state government finances in the United States,” said Sherri Greenberg, LBJ School lecturer, former Texas state representative, and faculty sponsor for the project. “This conference offers an excellent opportunity for my students to interact with the people on the ground on this issue, to be involved directly with advocates, government officials and members of the media as they champion and work towards a mutual goal of a transparent government.”

The first day of the conference will include a student panel where members of the state finance and online transparency course will present their research. Evan Smith, CEO and Editor-in-Chief for the Texas Tribune, will deliver the keynote address from 1 to 2 p.m.

The first afternoon panel, titled Transparency and Open Government, will include Dustin Haisler, Director of Government Innovation for Spigit and Jon Lee of the Texas Department of Information Resources. The second panel, titled Social Media and Government, will feature Julia Gregory and Lydia Saldana of Texas Parks and Wildlife and Jon Lebowsky of Plutopia Productions.

The second day of the Texas Government 2.0 Camp will be an “unconference” event building on the presentations and panels from the day before. Where a conference is a formally structured event with an agenda set in advance, an unconference is a more loosely structured event where the participants determine the agenda collaboratively.  Anyone can volunteer to lead a session on any relevant topic. Examples of sessions already suggested are the implications of Wikileaks, open Internet, government use of technology and community technology.

Tickets are $10, which covers lunch on the first day, and can be purchased online at http://txgov20.org/. Wireless Internet will be available. For those following the event or twitter or those who would like to tweet about the event, the hash tag for the event is #TxGov20.

EFF-Austin advocates establishment and protection of digital rights and defense of the wealth of digital information, innovation, and technology. EFF-Austin also promotes the right of all citizens to communicate and share information without unreasonable constraint as well as the fundamental right to explore, tinker, create, and innovate along the frontier of emerging technologies.

For more information on the event, including an agenda and registration information, please visit: http://txgov20.org/

Jay Unger at IIW11

Jay Unger’s IIW11 slides are a very helpful introduction to the 36 page National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace document produced by Deloitte last year. Also, during the session, Jay shared some things he had heard from the Department of Homeland Security such as “expect the ecosystem to be private sector led” and suggested that this initiative was leading towards commerce (“reading between the tea leaves”). It seems Jay was right and it seems to me that the main catalyst here, although not clearly defined as a vision, was stated in the White House blog post on NSTIC this week.

we can…cut costs for businesses and government by reducing inefficient identification procedures.

Think about how much money businesses and government could save for each customer it can convert from doing things by phone and mail versus online. “Money is what jumpstarts this” is among my notes from the IIW session.

So, it seems a good question to ask about trusted identities is “trusted by who?” If the goal is to reduce costs which is desired by business and government, who truly needs to trust them are we, the people. This seems to be a matter of changing our perception about the security of doing our business online. Of course, there will still be security vulnerabilities and privacy compromises. We just need to perceive that NSTIC is fixing those. Therefore, I agree with Kaliya Hamlin’s sentiment that We Shouldn’t Freak Out About NSTIC.

Update 1/11: Here is the video of last Friday’s Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research event with Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Howard Schmidt and ID Commons post-event conference call notes. To keep updated with these calls, check here.

IIW11 was held November 2-4, 2010. IIW12 is is May 3-5, 2011 in Mountain View, California.