U.S. Marine Base Probes Missing Laptop
Oct 7, 12:07 AM EDT
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A laptop computer loaded with personal information on 2,400 residents [not clear if this is the Marine assigned to the housing or the entire family... Bob] of the Camp Pendleton Marine Corps base has been lost, authorities said Friday.
The computer was reported missing Tuesday by Lincoln B.P. Management Inc., which helps manage base housing.
The company and Camp Pendleton are investigating. As of Friday, investigators had not found evidence that the data had been accessed, the base said in a statement.
Authorities would disclose what kind of information was on the computer. [Doesn't anyone proofread any more? Bob]
Lincoln B.P. officials were notifying residents.
"We take this matter very seriously and are working closely with Lincoln Properties to find out what happened and to safeguard the personal information of our Marines, sailors and their families," said Col. James B. Seaton III, the base's commanding officer.
Camp Pendleton is the Marine Corps' largest West Coast expeditionary training facility, located north of San Diego.
Interesting because Florida was actively promoting these records. Do you suppose the bank's legal department was asked to review the purchase? (Shouldn't Fla. Share some of the blame?)
Bank to Pay $50 Million for Buying Personal Data
Fidelity Federal Bank and Trust is ordered to pay $50 million for buying the personal information of thousands of drivers.
By K.C. Jones, TechWeb September 30, 2006
Fidelity Federal Bank and Trust (West Palm Beach, Fla.) has been ordered to pay a $50 million settlement for buying more than half a million names and addresses from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), which filed an amicus brief in favor of the plaintiffs in the case, announced the decision in late August.
EPIC said the $4 billion-asset bank bought 565,600 names and addresses for use in direct marketing, claiming that the purchase violated the Drivers Privacy Protection Act. The federal law was enacted in 1994 to prevent the distribution of drivers' personal information.
Yet another example of the need for “Virtual Lawyers” -- the legal specialty not synthetic lawyers. Although now that I think of it...
Weblo's world: a crazy online economy
October 6, 2006 5:53 PM PDT
Weblo is an interesting online game that mirrors a few financial aspects of the real world. You can buy virtual real estate (like cities) and collect taxes on developments on your land. You can buy virtual properties on these virtual properties. You can set yourself up as the agent of the virtual version of a real-world celebrity. And you can buy .com domain names inside Weblo's universe.
You buy, of course, so you can sell later, hopefully at a nice multiple to what you paid. Why would somebody want to buy your properties to begin with? So he or she can sell it to the next person, of course. Weblo is a trading game, with a currency of real U.S. dollars. Fortunately prices for Weblo analogs of real-world items are not comparable. For example, I created a record for the CNET building and bought it for about $1.50 (the price included a few pennies of tax, paid to the owner of San Francisco).
I said at the top of this post that Weblo is a game, because that's what it feels like to me. But others would consider it a market, and indeed you can make real money here. Some people, apparently, have bought properties at Weblo's startup prices and flipped them for thousands of dollars. You can cash out of Weblo whenever you want, and transfer your earnings into your PayPal accont.
Because there is nearly a world full of untapped resources on Weblo right now, there's the potential for a real land-grab to start on the system. Un-purchased addresses (like CNET) are less than two bucks. I bought both Adak, Alaska, and Peterborough, New Hampshire, for $5 each. I also tried to buy Alsace, in France, but Weblo figures the prices of states and cities by using an algorithm that incorporates real-world population. Alsace is priced at $1568, well over the $100 that the Weblo PR team fronted me.
If you own a Weblo property, like a building, a state, a site, or the rights to represent a celebrity, you can also develop it -- you can build a Weblo Web page to support it, drive traffic to it from your other Weblo pages or even the "real" Internet. Weblo runs advertising on every page and you'll get a cut of the ad revenues from your properties, as well as a percentage of all properties developed on your real estate (if you're the mayor of a city, you get a taste of all the revenues generated in it). How big a cut you get depends on which of the five Weblo membership levels you're signed up for. Free accounts get 10% of revenues. Top-tier "VIP" accounts ($30 a month) get 50%; paid accounts also pay less for unpurchased Weblo resources.
CEO Rocky Mirza has plans to introduce new resource types. He thinks fantasy sports teams and leagues would be a great fit for his world.
Unfortunately, right now the Weblo site itself is slow, which is not what you want in an online market. When there are fluctuating prices and real money on the line you really need instant response.
I poked around in Weblo and found it strangely rewarding to buy virtual real estate. I'm not holding my breath that I'm going to make any money on these purchases, though. Basically, I think the whole Weblo concept is insane. Mirza has invented an economy from whole cloth. Apparently that's not stopping commerce from occurring, although before investing real money in this economy, I'd want proof of that. And if people are indeed buying into Weblo, that makes Mirza brilliant, not crazy. But I don't know about the rest of us.
See also: Red Herring's take on Weblo.
Allofmp3 Doesn't Really Care If Russia Joins The WTO Or Not
from the try,-try-again dept
The US (thanks mostly to RIAA lobbyists influencing politicians) has been putting pressure on Russia to shut down the infamous Allofmp3.com as a condition of being admitted to the WTO. However, there's still the same old problem that Russian authorities don't really see Allofmp3 as violating local laws. The company itself has finally put out a statement on the matter basically saying that Russia's position in the WTO is of no concern to them, and they're just going to keep selling music as they've always done. In fact, they've picked up on the idea that all this anger over their existence is helping them on the marketing side (just as every other attempt to shut down online services has done). An Allofmp3 spokesperson is quoted as saying: "[US Trade Representative] Susan Schwab markets us so effectively -- she could already be our press secretary." They then reiterated that they're in complete compliance with Russian law, and that the complaint is really anger over them being a better, cheaper competitor.
Hacker tools (with video) Take a peak! Also a good way to gather evidence?
Released on HAK.5 Episode 2x03 -- The USB Hacksaw is an evolution of the popular USB Switchblade that uses a modified version of USBDumper, Blat, Stunnel, and Gmail to automatically infect Windows PCs with a payload that will retriev documents from USB drives plugged into the target machine and securely transmit them to an email account. Proof of concept code shows how to deliver the payload instantly with a U3 autorun hack borrowed from the USB Switchblade on Windows 2000 or higher computers running as administrator or guest. Automatic propogation to other USB devices is possible however was not shown on Episode 2x03.