Bad News Day, part 3: Draft the Middle-aged Hackers

Agency initiates steps for selective draft

The government is taking the first steps toward a targeted military draft of Americans with special skills in computers and foreign languages. [...] The agency already has a special system to register and draft health care personnel ages 20 to 44 in more than 60 specialties if necessary in a crisis. According to Flahavan, the agency will expand this system to be able to rapidly register and draft computer specialists and linguists, should the need ever arise. [...]

A Pentagon official familiar with personnel issues stressed that the armed forces are against any form of conscription but acknowledged that the groundwork is already under way at the Selective Service System.

On Capitol Hill, Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., has introduced a bill that would reinstate the draft. The legislation has minimal support with only 13 House lawmakers signing on as co-sponsors. A corresponding bill in the Senate introduced by Sen. Fritz Hollings, the outgoing South Carolina Democrat, has no co-sponsors.

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Bad News Day, part 2: E-Votes Could Flip Napa Race

Lost E-Votes Could Flip Napa Race

Napa Registrar of Voters John Tuteur said they discovered the problem on Thursday while conducting a manual recount of 1 percent of precincts, to verify accuracy, a statewide practice. Tuteur said after counting a sample of 60 paper ballots from one precinct, officials discovered that the number of votes did not match the number of votes the machine recorded for that precinct. [...]

"If the problem had occurred with their electronic ballots or with the tabulation software (that sits on the county server) they would have been hard pressed to reconstruct their election," she said. "Or they might not have ever known there was a problem at all. If they were doing the manual count on the electronic ballots there would be no record to look at to determine what the accurate vote count should be."

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Bad News Day, part 1: FBI adds to wiretap wish list

FBI adds to wiretap wish list

A far-reaching proposal from the FBI, made public Friday, would require all broadband Internet providers, including cable modem and DSL companies, to rewire their networks to support easy wiretapping by police.

Legal experts said the 85-page filing includes language that could be interpreted as forcing companies to build back doors into everything from instant messaging and voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) programs to Microsoft's Xbox Live game service. The introduction of new services that did not support a back door for police would be outlawed, and companies would be given 15 months to make sure that existing services comply.