Security vs Privacy is false dichotomy

Jon Stokes, Senior Editor, Ars Technica [reported]( on the following:

> “We have a saying in this business: ‘Privacy and security are a zero-sum game.’ ” Thus spake security consultant Ed Giorgio in a widely quoted New Yorker article on the U.S. intelligence community’s plans to vacuum up and sift through everything that flies across the wires.

Security expert Bruce Schiner wrote a [Wired article]( addressing the false dichotomy between security and privacy:

> I’m sure they have that saying in their business. And it’s precisely why, when people in their business are in charge of government, it becomes a police state.

> The debate isn’t security versus privacy. It’s liberty versus control.

> “Privacy no longer can mean anonymity,” says Donald Kerr, principal deputy director of national intelligence. “Instead, it should mean that government and businesses properly safeguard people’s private communications and financial information.” Did you catch that? You’re expected to *give up control of your privacy to others, who — presumably — get to decide how much of it you deserve*. That’s what *loss of liberty* looks like.

Returning to John Stokes, who [said](

> The story of Fidencio Estrada, a drug runner who bribed Florida Customs agent Rafael Pacheco to access multiple federal law-enforcement databases on his behalf, suggests that when it comes to the government collecting data on innocent civilians for law-enforcement purposes, privacy and security are essentially the same thing.

Read Office 2007 documents on Linux

I’ve had a few occasions where I’ve needed to read Microsoft Office 2007 documents, even though I don’t have Office 2007. There are several approaches.

Office 2007 stores it’s files and a zip archive, with xml files inside. This means that they’re somewhat human readable. I’ve used unzip to extract the file, and poked around until I found the xml file that represented the document (word/document.xml for docx). This works fairly well for Word and Power Point documents, but I’m not so sure that it would be good for Excel files.

Novell has provided a [converter]( that converts Office 2007 documents to Open Office documents, and allows Office 2007 to save in Open Office format. The command line converter appears to work well, in my limited experience. Thanks to [this blog post](, here’s how I installed it on a Fedora/RedHat system:

* “mkdir converter“
* “cd converter“
* “wget“
* “rpm2cpio odf-converter*rpm | cpio -ivd“
* “sudo cp usr/lib/ooo-2.0/program/OdfConverter /usr/local/bin“
* “cd ..“
* “rm -rf converter“

Run it as follows:

* “OdfConverter /i example.docx“

Windows users with MS Word 2000, 2002 or 2003 can install the [Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack]( For those without MS Word, there’s the read-only [word viewer](

Mac OS X Tiger office applications reportedly open Office 2007 documents.

Mac, Linux and FreeBSD users can use an online document conversion service such as []( and []( — with the caveat it may be unwise to submit confidential or proprietary documents to a third party.

Palm TX: There’s more than one way to install an application

When I got my Palm TX, I didn’t realize that the Palm Desktop software wasn’t completely compatible with Windows Vista. For example, I can’t install new palm apps via hot syncing. Here are some alternative install paths:

1. Attach the pdb files to an email, and send it to myself. Use VersaMail to retrieve the message, and install the pdb attachments.
1. Use the web browser to download and install a pdb file.
1. Have someone beam it using the IR interface.
1. Have someone send it using bluetooth.
1. Install from an SD card. I haven’t verified that this works.

While I’m at it, it seems like configuring Linux to hotsync with Palm devices can be a pain. As an alternative, I think I’ll get an SD card and use [nvbackup]( to backup to SD, and then copy the backup from SD to my Linux box and use it with JPilot.

There’s more than one way to do things, especially for a Palm equipped with built-in WiFi, bluetooth and an SD expansion card.