A great way to get lawyers interested in Identity Theft
5,098 New England School of Law alumni have personal information exposed in Google
I haven't seen this in any mainstream media sources (yet), but the New England School of Law has notified New Hampshire that personal information on the school's server that included names, addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers of 5,098 alumni was inadvertently exposed and indexed by Google. The exposure was discovered in mid-October and notification to the state was on Oct. 29.
Source - Notification to NH [pdf]
My students are telling me the same thing
Handling Goofs Cause Many Data Leaks
Since January 2005, there have been 167.7 million records containing sensitive personal information exposed by security breaches, according to a running total kept by the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse.
The question is, How does this information get out there?
Loss or theft of a physical object forms by far the largest hole in data security. According to an analysis (PDF) done recently by David Litchfield of Next Generation Security Software, based in Surrey, England, 43 percent of records lost since Jan. 1 slipped out of organizations on paper, computers, laptops, disks or backup media.
Other researchers put the figure higher for records that were exposed due to lost or stolen computers or media—security expert Chris Walsh has analyzed New York data sets and puts the figure closer to 99 percent.
Source - eWeek
Related - Can we make any sense out of breach reports? (Chronicles of Dissent, blog)
Are you sure it was a French court? They hate everything not French...
Wikipedia wins privacy case
A French court has ruled that Wikipedia could not be held responsible for content posted by its users in a landmark ruling for the internet giant.
Three plaintiffs were each seeking 69,000 euros ($110,000) in damages for invasion of their privacy after their homosexuality was revealed on the website, which is written and edited by thousands of anonymous contributors.
Source - news.com.au
Do you have a perfect driving record, or are you in this database? Why does this even exist? “Osama is a bad driver.”
Federal Driver Database Filled with Security Holes
The Department of Transportation's Inspector General released a report on Wednesday documenting problems with the National Driver Register, a federal database of driving convictions used by state departments to motor vehicles. The $4 million registry maintains files on motorists across the country that contain names, dates of birth, sex, heights, weights, eye colors and the details of any tickets received. About one out of five drivers -- 42 million -- is listed in the database.
The audit found the national driver's license database was filled with security holes, foremost among which was that the network through which state DMVs connect to access this information does not use any form of encryption to prevent unauthorized parties from intercepting the data.
Source - TheNewspaper.com
Related - Audit of Security and Controls Over National Driver Register (Department of Transportation IG, 10/31/2007)
Oooh! This could be interesting.
Oregon Attorney General And University Of Oregon Tell The RIAA They're Not It's Free Investigators
from the can't-just-push-around-students dept
Earlier this year, the RIAA began to focus many of its file sharing lawsuits on college students. The RIAA incorrectly referred to it as an education campaign, when it might more accurately be described as pissing off the very people the RIAA needs to support any future business model (oops, too late for that). While the RIAA tried to force universities to just hand over the names of those it accused of file sharing, it was nice to see at least a few universities fight back. In most cases, this mean telling the RIAA to shove off, as it wasn't the university's job to help serve legal complaints. Eventually though, when subpoenas came through, most universities would hand over the info. However, it looks like the University of Oregon is taking a stand. Together with the Attorney General of Oregon, they've actually filed a motion to quash the RIAA's attempt to identify students at the school. In other words, they're not just refusing to pass on the info, they're actively pushing back against the RIAA's lawsuit.
Specifically, the Attorney General points out that with just IP addresses, it's basically impossible to identify the students that the RIAA is asking the university to hand over: "Plaintiffs' subpoena is unduly burdensome and overbroad. It seeks information that the university does not readily possess." In order for the university to figure out who was associated with those IPs, it would involve a level of investigation that isn't required (and shouldn't be required) under law. In other words, the university isn't there to be the free investigative arm of the RIAA. It doesn't get to just throw some weak evidence over the wall and tell the university to figure out who's responsible. Either it comes up with a better way to find the information itself, or it should stop filing these lawsuits. It should be interesting to see if this works... and if other universities follow suit.
Is it possible that Privacy is becoming a hot topic? (or at least a major field for lawyers?)
Google Hires Gonzales's Privacy Lawyer
Google added the Justice Department's chief privacy officer Jane Horvath to its growing stable of privacy lawyers in September 2007, a hire that comes as regulators are increasingly scrutinizing Google's massive data banks. Horvath's joins Google a little more than a year and a half after then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales appointed her as the first ever DOJ privacy officer in February 2006 .
Source - Threat Level (blog)
Are we approaching a tipping point?
Open source gaining traction in U.S. government
According to a survey by the Federal Open Source Alliance, more than half of all U.S. government executives have implemented open-source software at their agencies
By Grant Gross, IDG News Service November 02, 2007
More than half of all U.S. government executives have rolled out open-source software at their agencies, and 71 percent believe their agency can benefit from open-source software, according to a survey.
Fifty-five percent of respondents said their agencies have been involved or are currently involved in an open-source implementation, according to the survey, commissioned by the Federal Open Source Alliance, a group pushing the use of open-source software in government. The alliance is made up of Intel, Hewlett-Packard, and Red Hat.
In addition, 29 percent of respondents who haven't adopted open-source software plan to do so in the next six to 12 months, the survey said.
"Open source is really gaining momentum in the federal marketplace," said Cathy Martin, director of public sector initiatives at HP. "It really came out loud and clear here. It was a little stronger than I even anticipated."
Wasn't this obvious?
Study Says P2P Downloaders Buy More Music
Posted by Zonk on Saturday November 03, @07:17AM from the not-all-that-kooky dept. Music Businesses The Almighty Buck Politics
An anonymous reader writes "Michael Geist posts to his site about a study commissioned by the Canadian government intended to look into the buying habits of music fans. What the study found is that 'there is a positive correlation between peer-to-peer downloading and CD purchasing.' The report is entitled The Impact of Music Downloads and P2P File-Sharing on the Purchase of Music: A Study For Industry Canada, and it was 'conducted collaboratively by two professors from the University of London, Industry Canada, and Decima Research, who surveyed over 2,000 Canadians on their music downloading and purchasing habits. The authors believe this is the first ever empirical study to employ representative microeconomic data.'"
Videos Demonstrate The Complexities Of Fair Use
from the human-judgment-required dept
On Thursday, Mike noted EFF's Fair Use Principles for User Generated Video Content. I wanted to highlight the "test suite" of fair-use videos they released in concert with those principles. It's a a gallery of videos that EFF thinks constitute fair use of copyrighted works. It includes a number of golden oldies that made the rounds in recent years, including "Ten Things I Hate About Commandments", a video featuring that ridiculous Nixon Peabody song, and a video about fair use constructed by splicing together short Disney Cartoon clips. [I show this one in my Web Site class Bob] It's worth noting that the law is far from settled in this area, so it's far from certain that the courts would find all of these videos to be fair use under copyright law. But in a sense, that's the point: deciding what constitutes fair use requires the exercise of human judgment. The four factors determining fair use include subjective factors like "the effect of the use upon the potential market" and "the purpose and character of the use" that simply can't be determined by an automated algorithm.
“I have an e-dream!”
China's President Hu Talks IT Warfare
Posted by Zonk on Friday November 02, @05:57PM from the reading-dilbert-in-the-trenches dept. The Military Politics IT
narramissic writes "In his keynote speech at the Communist Party Congress in October China's president Hu Jintao was specific in his references to one area of IT: defense. 'We must build strong armed forces through science and technology. To attain the strategic objective of building computerized armed forces and winning IT-based warfare, we will accelerate composite development of mechanization and computerization, carry out military training under IT-based conditions, modernize every aspect of logistics, intensify our efforts to train a new type of high-caliber military personnel in large numbers and change the mode of generating combat capabilities.'"
Surprised they haven't been doing this all along. Given the commercial applications, its even stranger...
DARPA Looks To Adaptive Battlefield Wireless Nets
Posted by Zonk on Saturday November 03, @02:23AM from the was-a-boring-conversation-anyway dept.
An anonymous reader passed us a NetworkWorld link about an effort at DARPA to succeed in combat through networking. The idea is to keep soldiers in a position of informational superiority through a tactical radio network that would 'link' everyone together on the battlefield. "Project WAND, for Wireless Adaptive Network Development, will exploit commercial radio components, rather than custom ones, and use a variety of software techniques and algorithms, many of them only just now emerging in mature form. These $500 walkie-talkie-size radios will form large-scale, peer-to-peer ad hoc nets, which can shift frequencies, sidestep interference, and handle a range of events that today completely disrupt wireless communications ... [right now] 'The average soldier on the ground doesn't have a radio,' says Jason Redi, principle scientist for BBN's network technologies group, and the man overseeing the software work. Radios are reserved for platoon and company commanders, in part because of their cost: typically $15,000 to $20,000 each, with vehicle-mounted radios reaching $80,000."
Question: Are there “news niches” that are of little interest generally but specialists are willing to pay for? I believe so, especially if the information is easily located and “pre-analyzed.” Think Poison database – the only people who need it are those who have been poisoned (or think they have been) but they need it NOW and they are likely willing to pay for it.
Yet Another Newspaper Paywall Dropped
from the not-too-many-left dept
Newspaper paywalls keep coming down. Just a month and a half after the NY Times dropped its paywall for TimesSelect, the Sacramento Bee is freeing its Capitol Alert service. This was actually a more interesting experiment. Launched in January of this year, it wasn't (like most paywalls) about taking content from the newspaper and hiding it behind walls, but creating a separate new service for political insiders. It was pricey, but the idea is that it would be worth it for folks like lobbying firms as it would be information that wasn't available elsewhere. Apparently, though, not enough people really were interested in paying -- especially compared to the prospect of increasing online ad revenues. So, Capitol Alert is ditching the paywall and going ad supported as of next week.