Two seemingly unrelated events, and yet their implications are entwined. First, over the weekend we visited our our friends, John & Kate Kaup, in Washington DC. Kate is on a one-year sabbatical from Furman, and serving as a Congressional something-or-other having to do with China. During the visit, she expressed concern about some information on a Chinese website that was linked to her department’s site. First, was the information on the site valid, and secondly, could the Chinese government gleen sensitive information from them by their having simply visited the site. I assured her that unless she downloaded some virus, state secrets were still secret. The validity of the data, on the other hand could not be verified.
The question was really about whether or not a site could present one set of data to a specific set of visitors. Of course. I described how scripting could do this quite easily based either on the visitor’s IP address, linkback site, or some cookie dropped on the machine. Not to hard to imagine from a paranoid government like China.
The second event was the publication of a new article by my friend and colleague Gary West. In his latest blog entry, Gary takes aim at the South Carolina Organization for Responsible Government, which supports Governor Sanford’s “Put Parents In Charge” fiasco. Gary provides links in his article to a section of SCORG’s site that attacks him personally. I pointed out to Gary that his links weren’t working in his article, and that they only take me to the organization’s front page. Furthermore, their “site search” feature returned no hits with his name. As it turns out, SCORG is just as paranoid and engages in the same tactics as our friends the Chinese Communists. They apparently have a script running that redirects any links from Gary’s site to their main entry page, thus creating a bit of misdirection and confusion.
As a favor to Gary, I’ve posted the links below. I don’t have the readership or rile things up as much as Gary, so I doubt they will misdirect my insignificant site. However, should that happen, just copy the URL text and paste it into your browser. Should work fine.