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Showing posts from May, 2007
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US toddlers tuning in for a Disney cartoon in the state of New Jersey this week got more than they bargained for, when the local cable company mistakenly started broadcasting hardcore pornography.(AFP/Illustration)

Mommy, what is Mickey doing to pluto??

Walt Disney World: The Government's Tomorrowland?

Karen Harmel, Laura Spadanuta
Wed May 16, 8:00 PM ET

Walt Disney World, which bills itself as one of the happiest and most magical places anywhere, also may be one of the most closely watched and secure.

Walt Disney World, which bills itself as one of the happiest and most magical places anywhere, also may be one of the most closely watched and secure. And control over park entrances is getting even tighter: the nation's most popular tourist attraction now is beginning to scan visitor fingerprint information.

For years, Disney has recorded onto tickets the geometry and shape of visitors’ fingers to prevent ticket fraud or resale, as an alternative to time-consuming photo identification checks.

By the end of September, all of the geometry readers at Disney’s four Orlando theme parks, which attract tens of millions of visitors each year, will be replaced with machines that scan fingerprint information, according to industry experts familiar with the technology.

“It’s essentially a technol…

The Future of Spying

Beth Davidz
Wed May 16, 8:00 PM ET

A relatively unknown branch of the CIA is investing millions of taxpayer dollars in technology startups that, together, paint a map for the future of spying. Some of these technologies can pry into the personal lives of Americans not just for the government but for big businesses as well.

The CIA's venture capitalist arm, In-Q-Tel, has invested at least $185 million in startups since 1999, molding these companies' products into technologies the intelligence community can use.

More than 60 percent of In-Q-Tel’s current investments are in companies that specialize in automatically collecting, sifting through and understanding oceans of information, according to an analysis by the Medill School of Journalism. While In-Q-Tel has successfully helped push data analysis technology ahead, implementing it within the government for national security remains a challenge, and one of In-Q-Tel’s former CEOs, Gilman Louie, has concerns about whether privacy and…

A Sinking Presidency

By Kenneth T. Walsh
Mon May 7, 2:47 PM ET

President Bush's admiration for Abraham Lincoln knows no bounds. In a recent meeting at the White House, Bush told visitors how Lincoln (whose portrait he has installed in the Oval Office) persevered in the Civil War despite many defeats on the battlefield, tens of thousands of casualties, and doubts among Northern voters that the conflict could ever be won. As the campaign of 1864 approached, Bush related, Lincoln admitted privately that he didn't think he would be re-elected, but pursued his policies anyway. Bush also described how Lincoln pressed on despite his grief when his beloved 11-year-old son Willie died in February 1862. The visitors came away with the conviction that Bush sees himself in Lincoln's mold more deeply than ever.

To Bush's critics, the incident is unsettling. Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, noting that the president has also compared himself to Harry Truman, told U.S. News: "This is…