Archive

Author Archive

Oppose Warrantless-searches of Electronic Communication: An Open Letter to Senator Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander

November 20th, 2012 No comments

Dear Senators Corker & Alexander,
My name is David, and I am an IT and Security Professional working in Chattanooga, TN. As an Infrastructure Engineer and Tier 2 Technical Support Specialist, I cannot support the amendments proposed by Senator Patrick Leahy described by a CNET article to “Grant Warrantless access to Americans’ correspondence to over 22 federal agencies.” Correspondence includes email, Facebook posts, twitter posts, and more (http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-57552225-38/senate-bill-rewrite-lets-feds-read-your-e-mail-without-warrants/).

The Internet is a powerful means of communication, yet most Internet users do not understand the complex security issues surrounding account and password protection and privacy concerns.

While these amendments may sound good in theory, they would grant several government agencies the ability to read private communication between individuals without a search warrant. This is unacceptable.

Additionally, these measures would, in my professional opinion, open up additional security holes into an already insecure Internet.

Password and account protection is necessary in today’s Internet. News of another website hacked is almost a daily occurrence. It is incredibly easy to spoof emails, “sniff” electronic communication between networks and computers, and find users’ data on the Internet.

Used inappropriately or insecurely, these new powers by the over 22 agencies would almost certainly threaten the identity, privacy and security of millions of Americans.

Interestingly, as you may already know, Senator Leahy has already recanted his comments after CNET’s original article was published (c/f http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-57552687-38/leahy-scuttles-his-warrantless-e-mail-surveillance-bill/).

However, the original amendments are still not to be taken lightly. This reminds me of the recent proposed SOPA legislation, which I also opposed.

Further attempts to grant warrantless seizure and control of American’s private data will only undermine the very values we hold dear in the 4th Amendment of our Constitution. They will also undermine the privacy, the identity, and the security of all Americans.

Please vote NO to these most recent amendments and to any future attempt to control & restrict the Internet.

A free and open world depends on a free and open web (https://www.google.com/intl/en/takeaction/).

Sincerely,
David White

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: ,

Soliciting Feedback for my Workshop Presentation at CCDA 2012

July 8th, 2012 No comments

I don’t blog often. Perhaps I “need” to do it more consistently. Perhaps not. But for not, let me go ahead and acknowledge that in the open. However, there are times when I may blog a little more often than normal (and, if you look at the previous blog posts, you’ll notice a pattern).

One of these times that I blog more often is when I’m thinking about the national Christian Community Development Association (CCDA) conference. The CCDA is an annual event that takes place in a different city each time. The mission is “To inspire, train, and connect Christians who seek to bear witness to the Kingdom of God by reclaiming and restoring under-resourced communities.”

I get excited about the CCDA conference, because the mission is close to my heart. I studied Community Development at Covenant College, which is partnered with the Chalmers Center for Economic Development and am a firm believer that “Community Development” should not be a half hearted attempt at “doing something to help the poor.”

The “poor” are people too, who have their own stories, experiences, and ideas. They are less “needy” than we assume! They deserve a level of respect that they don’t often get from outsiders. We tend to assume we know all of the answers. Well-meaning affluent people may actually do more harm than good when trying to assist the poor, as Dr. Bryan Fikkert & Professor Steve Corbett make the case in their book When Helping Hurts.

Poverty is much more complicated than a lack of material things. As Bryant Myers writes in Walking With The Poor, “poverty is a complicated social issue involving all areas of life – physical personal, social, cultural, and spiritual.”

But enough about theory for now.

My desire is to one day provide technology services to nonprofit organizations worldwide that are working in a responsible manner to assist the poor. The mission of my business, which I am currently in the process of building from the ground up, is to provide affordable technology consulting services to nonprofit organizations transforming underdeveloped communities worldwide, and to provide technology education and jobs to members of communities in which these NGOs work.

Part of what I want to do is to present workshops at conferences and for employees at the nonprofit organizations / NGOs where I and my future employees will work. Thus, I submitted my very first workshop proposal to the organizers of the CCDA 2012 conference – and it was accepted! Now I am soliciting feedback on the outline.

The title of this 75-minute presentation is “Essential Technologies for Christian Community Development.” The workshop itself is going to broad topics on purpose, as the goal is to introduce people who may not be tech savvy to some ideas that they can take back to their organizations and build upon.

I’ll be giving an overview of websites, social media, email safety & etiquette, well-known software & services that specifically help nonprofit organizations, technology for fundraising & donor management, and finally, some ways that nonprofits can use technology for community outreach (disaster relief scenarios, a community computer center, mobilizing volunteers, etc…).

What sorts of technology & computing questions do you have, or do you think I should cover?

The Workshop Description and the Outline (which I submitted as part of my proposal) is pasted below. Within the scope of this outline, are there any questions or topics you feel would be important?

Thank you in advance for your feedback.

Workshop Description:
The goal of this workshop is to provide an overview of some of the ways in which NGOs can take advantage of technology to advance their mission. David will explore the costs and caveats for websites, social media, and newsletters. He will cover what websites are good for and what they should not be used for. He will discuss social media platforms including Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. He will also discuss software and services of which nonprofits can take advantage.

With technology advancement comes the need for safety and security. David will give practical advice on what should and should not be done with online fundraising, emailing, and more.

Finally, David will discuss ways in which Christian nonprofits can use technology for community outreach with community centers & computer literacy training, after school programs, disaster relief, and mobilizing volunteers. The workshop will end with an opportunity for questions and discussion.

Workshop Outline:
I. Introductions (10-15 minutes)

II. Essential Technologies for Organizational Management (20-25 min)
a. Websites: Why, how, and how much?
b. Social Media: Do’s and Don’ts with Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn
c. Newsletters & Email: Software, services, etiquette and safety
d. Software & Services for Nonprofit Organizations
i. Google Apps (free for NPOs with less than 3,000 users)
ii. The power of FOSS (Free & Open Source Software)

III. Fundraising & Donor Relations (10-15 min)
a. Pros & Cons of accepting donations online
i. Major security considerations & requirements (PCI Security Standards Council)
b. Donor Management Systems

IV. Using Technology for Community Outreach (20-25 min)
a. Disaster Emergency Management
i. Story: Relief in wake of April Tornadoes in TN
ii. Story: Relief in wake of Hurricane Irene
b. Community Centers
i. Computer training & literacy
ii. After school programs
c. Mobilizing Volunteers
i. Example: ChristianVolunteering.org
ii. Centralizing volunteer information to reduce unneeded work

V. Caveats (5 min)
a. Relationships over Technology (technology is a means to an end, and not the end goal itself)
b. The fall affected everything including computers!

VI. Questions & Discussion (10-15 min)

(End of Outline)
If you have any comments, I would love to see them! Please post them here!

Categories: Conferences Tags: ,