Monday, January 12, 2004

And YES!, please send me periodic updates about the war on terror from the U.S. government and our trusted partners

I needed an updated database driver for my PC today, so I went out to the net to fetch it. And in addition to the standard-type End User License Agreement, I was presented with these conditions to agree to before downloading:

• I am not a citizen, national or resident of, and am not under the control of, the government of: Cuba, Iran, Sudan, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Syria, nor any other country to which the United States has prohibited export.

Yes, I'm a U.S. citizen and don't live in any of those places, but the whole under the control of smacks of an X-Files episode. How do I really know Fidel Castro isn't the one who let the Little Black Dog loose on my street for us to find and take in? God knows the wife and I are under the control of that little f*cker.

• I will not download or otherwise export or re-export the Programs, directly or indirectly, to the above mentioned countries nor to citizens, nationals or residents of those countries.

Man, that's a lot to avoid. I have to not export - or re-export directly or indirectly to people who may not live in those countries but who may just be from those places? Jeez. So if Samir from Sudan lives in New Jersey and hacks in to my PC looking for MP3s and ends up downloading this file, I go to jail?

• I am not listed on the United States Department of Treasury lists of Specially Designated Nationals, Specially Designated Terrorists, and Specially Designated Narcotic Traffickers, nor am I listed on the United States Department of Commerce Table of Denial Orders.

Um, I don't think I'm listed in any of those things, but can you ever be sure about something like that? I Googled the Specially Designated Nationals list and found no reference to Cap'n Ken among Usama, the Taliban, etc. (although I have to say it would be tempting to join The Horror Squadron if not for the software ban). Nor am I on the Specially Designated Nacotic Trafficker list (sneaking Maker's Mark into the Sugar Bowl past the Air Force MPs doesn't count, I guess) or in the Commerce Department's Table of Denial Orders. So I guess I'm clean there.

• I will not download or otherwise export or re-export the Programs, directly or indirectly, to persons on the above mentioned lists.

Now I have to keep updated copies of those lists on me?? Jesus. I think I'd get a clue if the vice president of The World Islamic Front for Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders came up and wanted to borrow my database driver, but I'm supposed to know not to give it to the Atlanta branch manager for Technology and Development Group of London? That's a lot to ask, dude.

• I will not use the Programs for, and will not allow the Programs to be used for, any purposes prohibited by United States law, including, without limitation, for the development, design, manufacture or production of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons of mass destruction.

OK, assuming you're not Usama, the Taliban, The Horror Squadron, The World Islamic Front for Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders or Technology and Development Group of London, I can let you borrow my driver disk unless you want to use it to build a database of those marijuana plants you have growing in your basement?

Of course, I clicked the little "I Accept" box next to each of those conditions. But now I feel this huge responsibility to keep the database driver safe from terrorists.

I was tempted to click Continue with the box about the watch lists unchecked, but I got the feeling if I did that John Ashcroft would be waiting for me at my desk in the morning.

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