This Day in Blogging History: Text adventure interview with Zork creator; Plane crash kills White House alternate email creator; Amazing week in EFF history


The Connell story still interests me. And I wonder exactly what he did, there. Because in 2004, I was contracting at a DHHS agency. Then-Director Tommy Thompson demanded that I cancel my vacation plans in order to fake his having placed all agencies under a single domain as he had promised. The promise had been made months earlier, but then he did nothing about it. It was a big joke around the office then, and today I’m embarrassed to say I complied.

So, what did Connell really do? Seeing what I saw, I wouldn’t even bet it was a real domain hosting any actual email servers. Was there a back-up stashed somewhere? Most likely. That’s the standard practice - although, where I was, they were still using giant tapes and not sending it off-site for extended periods, as they claimed. FOIA requests made later went to exactly 1 lower-level staffer who laboriously ran the required searches. But it wasn’t necessary to actually have that separate domain available because the whole thing was a programmatic fake-out in the first place…hmmmm.

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I realize it’s been 5 years, but still spooky in context that all the links in that article are dead.

I mean 404 style dead, not “guy on Cheney’s bad side” dead.

Probably all in the Wayback Machine? I doubt there’s much in the way of technical explanation there, though I’d love to know… but probably most of the more general coverage.

Connell’s story sure makes me think Snowden was right on to run, though! I hope he’ll get free of the threat, but it might take him a few years. Something else happened at that same agency I mentioned earlier - one contractor merely asked a question of the Director, and was immediately hauled into the office and threatened with termination. And he wasn’t the only one. People spoke of those things only in whispers after that. Having seen how they practice intimidation, I can see why Connell didn’t want to speak up publicly.

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