Friday Identity Theft notices...
Stolen laptop contains firemens' SSNs
Updated: 1/4/2007 7:04 PM By: Heather Moore
A computer was stolen that contained the personal information of Selma's volunteer firemen.
SELMA, NC -- A stolen laptop in Johnston County has firemen on alert for identity theft. The computer contained the names and social security numbers of volunteer firemen in Selma.
Earlier this week, someone stole a laptop computer from Selma’s Water Treatment Plant. The computer was only valued at about $1,000, but some of the information on it could be priceless. That's because it contained the names and social security numbers of Selma's volunteer firefighters.
“It was a laptop that was kept at the water department because the fire chief is also the water superintendent, so he has his fire department stuff down there,” explained Stan Farmer, Selma’s Town Manager.
Farmer and Joe Price, Selma’s Fire Chief, say firemen aren't worried about the possible security risk associated with having their personal information stolen.
“It was password protected, [Why do people continue to believe this provides protection? Bob] so it’s not like they can just boot it up and see everybody's social (security number),” Farmer said. “I don't think they'll have a lot of luck getting the information off there or anything off there because as soon as it boots up, you have to put in a password.”
But North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper says the firemen -- and anyone else whose personal information is stolen -- should be concerned about identity theft.
“They ought to take additional precautions to make sure their information is protected,” Cooper said. “If you aren't already monitoring your credit report, you should do that.”
The Town of Selma is also taking extra precautions to secure the area around the water treatment plant. [From the video of the plant's gate, anyone could walk in with no effort. Bob]
No need to monitor what happens on our computers...
Computer breach at UNI exposes some personal data
An outsider hid files on a server that contains rec center users' names, addresses and phone numbers.
By ERIN JORDAN REGISTER IOWA CITY BUREAU January 5, 2007
The University of Northern Iowa is contacting students, faculty and staff who use the Wellness/Recreation Center about a security breach in a computer server that stored users' names, addresses and phone numbers.
The breach, discovered Dec. 26, occurred when someone outside UNI stored thousands of music files in a hidden folder on the server so that the music could be accessed from the Internet, said Steve Moon, acting associate vice president for information technology.
"This is a pretty typical breach," Moon said. "People are looking for places to hide large files of music or movies that they can use or sell."
An investigation revealed the music files started appearing in November, but did not reach noticeable size until late December, Moon said. [“Noticeable size?” Interesting term. Bob] An information technology employee saw that a lot of system space had been consumed and found the hidden folder, he said.
The music stored on the server took up more than 100 gigabytes of space, which can hold about 25,000 songs, computer technicians said. Moon said his technician didn't know what type of music was on the server other than that "a 40-year-old man didn't recognize any of the titles."
The computer, used for checking users into the recreation center, contained the names, addresses and phone numbers of students, faculty and staff who use the facility. There is no evidence the intruder accessed the personal information, Moon said. The database does not contain users' Social Security numbers, so there is little fear of identity theft, he said.
"Fortunately, we've moved away from the protected information like Social Security numbers," he said.
Would it have been illegal to look up the number in the phone book and add it to the customer's record?
Save Mart sued over data worries
BY RYAN SCHUSTER, Californian staff writer e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Thursday, Jan 4 2007 7:35 PM Last Updated: Thursday, Jan 4 2007 7:47 PM
A class-action lawsuit filed against Save Mart Supermarkets accuses the company of failing to protect credit card customers from potential identity theft.
Modesto-based Save Mart is accused of presenting credit card customers with forms that included a line for telephone numbers, a violation of state law.
Sacramento law firm Lindsay & Stonebarger, which brought the suit, estimates as many as 300,000 customers may have had their personal information compromised during the yearlong period, between 2003 and 2004, covered in the suit.
I'll bet we could get a piece of this to create a “Privacy Best Practices” site – most areas have training objectives... (See next article)
January 05, 2007
$1.7 Billion Available for Local Homeland Security Programs
Press release: "The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released today fiscal year 2007 grant guidance and application kits for five grant programs that will total roughly $1.7 billion in funding for state and local counterterrorism efforts. With the fiscal year 2007 funding, the department will have invested nearly $20 billion in local planning, organization, equipment, training, and exercises."
Overview: FY 2007 Homeland Security Grant Program (PDF, 10 pages)
Clearly, some people need guidance...
Wanted: for crimes against common sense
Escapes: 13 convicted murderers have absconded from Sudbury open jail in the past two months
A Chief constable was accused of 'madness' last night after refusing to release pictures of two escaped murderers amid fears it might breach their human rights.
Derbyshire's top policeman David Coleman claimed the killers posed 'no risk' to locals, while the force said it had to consider the Human Rights Act and data protection laws when asked to publish 'wanted' photographs of the two men.
See? Not everything started happening last year...
Gerald Ford: Privacy's Godfather
Robert Ellis Smith 01.05.07, 6:00 AM ET
Amid the obituaries of former President Gerald Ford last month, you did not read about his intense involvement in privacy-protection policy. Privacy was the issue that most involved Ford in his nine months as vice president, and he maintained his interest when he brought decency and decisiveness into the presidency.
Featured Story: 2006 Privacy Year in Review
Friday, January 05 2007 @ 08:35 PM CST - Contributed by: PrivacyNews - Other Privacy News
Congress returns to Washington this week and privacy issues are likely to get renewed attention with unresolved questions about the President's domestic surveillance program, the future of Real ID, and the growth of the data broker industry. Meanwhile courts will consider sex bloggers and the media will try to sort through the increasingly complicated world of surveillance technology.
Here are the Top Ten Privacy Stories of 2006 and Ten Privacy Issues to Watch in 2007 from the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)
Details on San Francisco's Free Wifi
Posted by Zonk on Saturday January 06, @01:19AM from the both-the-wi-and-the-fi-are-free dept.
FrenchSilk writes to mention that the San Francisco Chronicle has more details on the previously discussed Earthlink/Google municipal wifi project. The paper confirms that access will be free to everyone, with higher bandwidth and more reliable tiers also available. The article touches on a number of related subjects, such as security, reliability, and privacy.
International Patchwork of Media Laws Can Be a Minefield for Online Publishing
Charles J. Glasser Jr. and James F. Haggerty The National Law Journal January 8, 2007
As sports fans around the globe became transfixed last summer by the World Cup, a U.K. libel case featuring Ashley Cole, a top British footballer, captured the attention of many of the world's media lawyers. Cole reached a settlement in a libel suit against two British publications that never actually mentioned him by name: Cole's attorneys argued that readers could easily surmise his identity from Web sites that picked up the story and provided further detail.
Virtualization... Where does “free speech” end?
The legal rights to your 'Second Life' avatar
By Daniel Terdiman Story last modified Fri Jan 05 15:33:34 PST 2007
A Second Life land developer has convinced YouTube to pull down an off-color video of her virtual self being harassed during an interview, raising novel questions about the legal rights of virtual world participants.
Last month, Anshe Chung Studios demanded that YouTube delete the recording, citing the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, which generally requires Web sites to remove material that infringes on copyright laws. The controversy stemmed from video taken during an interview with Anshe Chung, the virtual world's biggest land owner, conducted by CNET News.com in its Second Life bureau last month.
During the interview--which took place in a digital theater in front of dozens of audience members' avatars--a group intent on sabotaging the event attacked it with 15 minutes of animated penises and photographs of Anshe Chung's real-life owner, Ailin Graef, digitally altered to make her look like she was holding a giant penis.
Security Bites Podcast: Beware of hostile PDF links
By CNET News.com Staff Published: January 5, 2007 4:31 PM PST
Listen Now Download mp3
Another nail in the RIAA coffin?
Listening Post by Eliot Van Buskirk and Sean Michaels Friday, 5 January 2007
Ropeadope Label Goes 100% Digital
Ropeadope, a seven-year-strong record label that has released albums from DJ Logic, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Medeski, Martin, & Wood, King Britt, Jazzanova, the Skerik's Syncopated Taint Septet (my guess is that their sound is "neither here nor there"), and more, has announced that it is going 100% pure digital. Every release will be available on ropeadope.com in the MP3 format, as well as the major online music retailers.
In addition to online-only distribution, the label also plans on a simple/modernized approach to business dealings with its artists, who will retain the rights to their masters, which rules. Royalties will be based on a straight profit share, and there's no advance to recoup. The program starts in February with digital releases from seven bands (Aunt Jessica, DJ Klock, Electric City, The Frequency, Skip Heller, Larval, and Reminder/Josh Abrams) with at least 18 more to come during the remainder of 2007.
I asked Ropeadope founder Andy Hurwitz why he's taking his label digital, and what he expects the pluses and minuses to be.
"Why digital? It's funny, I almost feel like this is what they asked Rykodisc back in the '80's when they started going exclusively with CDs over vinyl. [Digital is] not just the future, it's the present, at least amongst our fans. We've seen our traditional sales plummet and our digital sales skyrocket. But on top of a purely economic decision, it's an amazing opportunity for us to find and expose tons of great music and fantastic artists.
"Advantages? We now make money on every single project from record one. We don't have to deal with returns and reserves, we can sign and release a new band in a matter of weeks, and it helps bring traffic to our website.
"Disadvantages? I'm really searching for some here. I guess the only disadvantage is the learning curve--folks are still trying to understand why we're doing this and how it works. But once we're up and running I think it will become obvious."
Somehow, this doesn't seem right. Will I eventually need the government's “permission” to read articles criticizing Bush?
Call for State e-mails for pupils to fight online abuse
From:ireland.com Saturday, 6th January, 2007
Every school pupil in the State should be provided with a Government-supplied e-mail address as a way of verifying their age when using social networking websites such as Bebo.com, according to the website's chief security officer. John Downes reports.
Interesting argument. (Tell me again why I should get second or third class service?)
A Case for Non-Net-Neutrality
Posted by Zonk on Friday January 05, @04:48PM from the i-like-my-internets-biased dept. Networking The Internet
boyko.at.netqos writes "Network Performance Daily has an in-depth interview with Professor Christopher Yoo from Vanderbilt University Law School on his opposition to Net-Neutrality policies. While some might disagree with his opinions, he lays out the case for non-neutrality in an informed and informative manner. From the interview: 'Akamai is able to provide service with lower latency and higher quality service, because they distribute the content. This provides greater protection against DoS attacks. It's a local storage solution instead of creating additional bandwidth, and it's a really interesting solution. Here's the rub ... Akamai is a commercial service and is only available to people who are willing to pay for it. If CNN.com pays for it, and MSNBC.com does not, CNN.com will get better service.'" [Isn't that how America works? Bob]
Truth is stranger than fiction...
Australian bank issues credit card to cat
Thu Jan 4, 1:53 AM ET
SYDNEY (AFP) - An Australian bank has blushingly admitted issuing a credit card to a cat. Messiah, a ginger tom, was given a credit limit of 4,200 (3,300 US) dollars.
Doh! I suppose it's better than waiting for the DNA tests to come back...
Jan 4, 2007 6:19 pm US/Mountain
Police: Bank Robber Leaves Behind Wallet
(CBS4) LONGMONT, Colo. Longmont police arrested a suspected bank robber who left behind the key piece of evidence at the crime scene.
Police said George Martinez, 34, left his wallet behind at a US Bank in the 400th block of Coffman St.
"When someone leaves behind their wallet, that really helps us out," Longmont police detective Stephen Desmond said. [“We figured out who he was in just a few days!” Bob]
For all you “Power-shoppers” out there...
Price Protectr - Get your money back
Price Protectr monitors prices on items you buy from stores like Amazon, Best Buy, Target, and more, and emails you when the price drops so you can take advantage of their price protection policy. It's free and easy money. How often do you get that offer?