Joe the Plumber case still dripping
Friday, November 14 2008 @ 05:45 PM EST Contributed by: PrivacyNews
The election is over, but the Joe the Plumber case is not.
Ohio Inspector General Tom Charles said his office is now looking at a half-dozen agencies that accessed state records on Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher.
The Beacon Journal has learned that, in addition to the Department of Job and Family Services, two other state offices — the Ohio Department of Taxation and Ohio Attorney General Nancy Rogers — conducted database searches of Joe the Plumber.
Source - Ohio.com
Two reports in one.
Fed Blotter: MySpace Sex Offender Charged With Running Fake Internet Church
By Kevin Poulsen November 14, 2008 6:43:22 PM
A convicted pedophile who turned up in MySpace's 2007 purge of sex offenders faces new charges of bank fraud for allegedly running counterfeit checks through a bank account he established for his online church, TruthOfGodMinistries.org. [Technology makes 'conversion' easy, but traceable. Bob]
Big bucks were also allegedly on the mind of Eric Andrew Hamberg, a former computer technician with the South Carolina Employment Security Commission.
When Hamberg was terminated from his job in October, 2005, after five years of service, he hacked back into the state agency's computers and stole its massive database of South Carolina citizens, according to an indictment (.pdf) handed down last week in federal court in Columbia. [Some traces seem to take longer than others... Bob]
Trivial but local. Does anyone believe such self-serving statements?
Garfield County (CO) sends notifications of a lost disk
Technorati Tag: Security Breach Date Reported: 11/07/08
"GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado — A Garfield County Department of Human Services employee took a data disk containing the Social Security numbers of almost 300 people home last month and later lost it."
... A statement from Lynn Renick, the county’s human services director, said the disk contained a spreadsheet providing “a tracking system for social services program applications” and that it also contained limited personal information.
Neither the disk or its files were identified as Human Services information. [Disingenuous at best. Bob]
... they say it would be hard to match the numbers to any names [Evan] Really? How hard? As hard as following across the row in the spreadsheet? [Sic 'em Blogmeister! Bob]
... the 267 Social Security numbers were raw data and would be hard to locate on the disk, much less tie to a name.
... there's "very little risk, if any" of the data being accessible
... Renick said the Human Services department is contacting all individuals with any information copied on the disk.
About 7,000 letters have been mailed out notifying those who may have information on that disk. [Up from the 300 reported earlier... Bob]
Here is a bit more honesty, (after the initital release) even if it won't make the victims feel any better.
NC: State failed to encrypt private data (follow-up)
Friday, November 14 2008 @ 07:48 AM EST Contributed by: PrivacyNews
The state Department of Health and Human Services violated security policies by not properly protecting residents' personal information, including their Social Security numbers, on an agency laptop that was stolen last month.
The theft of the laptop, which contained personal information about 85,045 people, was the latest in a string of DHHS laptop thefts this year that have put North Carolina residents at risk of identity theft.
In addition to the most recently reported theft, at least one other DHHS laptop containing personal information has been stolen this year, according to a memo this month from George Bakolia, state chief information officer. In addition, two other laptops that may have contained personal information were reported stolen, he wrote.
In a Nov. 6 memo to DHHS Secretary Dempsey Benton, Bakolia referred to 10 laptops stolen from DHHS this year.
Source - News & Observer
[From the article:
In a Nov. 6 memo to DHHS Secretary Dempsey Benton, Bakolia [State CIO Bob] referred to 10 laptops stolen from DHHS this year.
"Failure to encrypt the hard drive on the laptop was a violation of State Security Standards," Bakolia wrote. "Additionally, DHHS may have been in violation of other standards regarding due diligence in safeguarding information regarding the type and quantity of data stored on a laptop."
... The laptop was password protected. But a citizens advocacy group on personal privacy said passwords offer little protection from knowledgeable thieves.
"Even a teenager could hack into a password protected computer," [a pro wouldn't even bother with the password. We'd pull the hard drive and attach it to another computer. Bob] said Paul Stephens, director of policy and advocacy at the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse in San Diego.
Using encryption alone isn't enough! You must control everyone who has the data. (No indication WHY the contractor had live data.)
UK: Children’s contact details stolen
Friday, November 14 2008 @ 05:40 PM EST Contributed by: PrivacyNews
A laptop containing personal data, including addresses and telephone numbers, of 7,800 children who use school transport in Surrey has been stolen from a car.
The computer belonged to an employee of Trapeze, a software contractor. The information had been given in encrypted form by the council to the contractor, but the data on the laptop was not encrypted, in breach of Trapeze policy. The employee has been suspended. The stolen information included the contact details of children in mainstream and special needs schools.
Source - Times Online
Consequences. Still seem erratic to me.
PA: 18-year term in identity theft (follow-up)
Saturday, November 15 2008 @ 05:59 AM EST Contributed by: PrivacyNews
A federal judge has sentenced a 36-year-old Philadelphia man to 212 months - nearly 18 years - in prison for his part in a multistate bank-fraud and identity-theft ring that targeted bank customers between February 2004 and November 2005. The total loss from the schemes exceeded $400,000, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
... According to federal officials, the theft ring went after customers of Commerce Bank, PNC Bank, Wachovia Bank and M&T Bank.
Crawford provided fake IDs and counterfeit driver's licenses in the names of bank customers to the two ringleaders, who then gave them to check runners.
Source - The Philadelphia Inquirer
Ivy League swindler gets 4 years in Pa. ID fraud (follow-up)
Saturday, November 15 2008 @ 05:58 AM EST Contributed by: PrivacyNews
An Ivy League graduate must serve four years in prison for a brazen identity theft scheme that netted him and a glamorous ex-girlfriend more than $100,000 in trips, dinners and luxury goods.
Edward Anderton, 25, of Everett, Wash., earned a one-year break compared to co-defendant Jocelyn Kirsch because she continued to commit crimes after their December arrest. Kirsch, 22, is serving a five-year sentence
Source - SouthCoastToday.com
The Clickocracy [Humorous, but inaccurate? Bob]
The YouTube Presidency
By Jose Antonio Vargas
The White House has gone YouTube.
Today, President-elect Obama will record the weekly Democratic address not just on radio but also on video -- a first. The address, typically four minutes long, will be turned into a YouTube video and posted on Obama's transition site, Change.gov, once the radio address is made public on Saturday morning.
One of our favorite agencies. Seriously.
New Report On NSA Released Today
Posted by kdawson on Friday November 14, @01:20PM from the some-of-the-secrets-some-of-the-time dept. Government Encryption
"George Washington University has today released a three-volume history of NSA activities during the Cold War (major highlights). Written by agency historian Thomas R. Johnson, the 1,000-page report, 'Cryptology During the Cold War, 1945-1989,' details some of the agency's successes and failures, its conflict with other intelligence agencies, and the questionable legal ground on which early American cryptologists worked. The report remained classified for years, until Johnson mentioned it to Matthew Aid, an intelligence historian, at an intelligence conference. Two years later, an abstract and the three current volumes of the report are now available (PDF) from GWU and the National Security Archive. Aid, author of the forthcoming history 'The Secret Sentry: The Top Secret History of the National Security Agency,' says Johnson's study shows 'refreshing openness and honesty, acknowledging both the NSA's impressive successes and abject failures during the Cold War.' A fourth volume remains classified. Johnson says in an audio interview: 'If you are performing an operation that violates a statute like FISA, it's going to come out. It always comes out.'"
And reader sampas zooms in on a section in Document 6 about the growth of NSA's IT: their first Cray purchase in 1976, the growth of circuits between facilities, and internal feuds over centralized IT development vs. programmers-in-departments.
"A young systems engineer named [redacted] was urging NSA to look at some technology that had been developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). In 1969 DARPA had developed a computer internetting system called ARPANET... NSA quickly adopted the DARPA solution. The project was called platform."
If this works even moderately well, it could be the next “killer app.” At minimum it will be the next “app that gets you killed” as even more people start talking loudly to their cell phone at inappropriate times and places.
Google is Taking Spoken Questions
Posted by ScuttleMonkey on Friday November 14, @04:18PM from the a-sentence-is-worth-a-thousand-search-results dept.
The New York Times is reporting that Google has added a voice interface to their iPhone search software. Expected to make its debut as early as Friday, users will be able to speak into their phone and ask any question they could type into Google's search engine. The audio will be digitized and results will be returned via the normal search interface.
"Google is by no means the only company working toward more advanced speech recognition capabilities. So-called voice response technology is now routinely used in telephone answering systems and in other consumer services and products. These systems, however, often have trouble with the complexities of free-form language and usually offer only a limited range of responses to queries."
Geek Toys: I could easily mount his on my pickup and no longer worry about road rage! Or use it as a home “garbage and bad neighbor disposal system!”
Northrop Grumman Markets Weaponized Laser System
Posted by Soulskill on Friday November 14, @08:08PM from the hoping-for-a-bulk-discount dept. The Military Technology
"Northrop Grumman is making available for sale the FIRESTRIKE weaponized laser system. The solid-state laser unit weighs over 400lbs, sends/receives instructions and data via an RJ-45 jack and can be synchronized with additional units to emit a 100 kW beam. It looks like some piece of stereophonic amplification equipment out of the 50's. Or Fallout 3. The press release suggests that FIRESTRIKE 'will form the backbone of future laser weapon systems.'"
Gee, I thought they made a LOT more money...
November 14, 2008
OPEC Revenues Fact Sheet
OPEC Revenues Fact Sheet (11/13/2008): "Based on projections from the EIA November 2008 Short Term Energy Outlook (STEO), members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) could earn $979 billion of net oil export revenues in 2008, and $595 billion in 2009. Through October, OPEC has earned an estimated $884 billion in net oil export earnings in 2008. Last year, OPEC earned $671 billion in net oil export revenues, a 10 percent increase from 2006. Saudi Arabia earned the largest share of these earnings, $194 billion, representing 29 percent of total OPEC revenues. On a per-capita basis, OPEC net oil export earning reached $1,137, a 8 percent increase from 2006."
See also Short-Term Energy Outlook November 2008 (11/12/2008): "Short-term energy projections for supply, demand, and price for the major fuels through 2009 for the U.S. Global oil forecasts are included."
Forensic geeks: Another tool for building an ironclad alibi. “As you can see in my home video, the 10 O'clock News in playing behind me. I couldn't have murdered Col. Mustard, even if my fingerprints are on the candlestick.”
Scientists Create Easier Way To Embed Objects Into Video
Posted by ScuttleMonkey on Friday November 14, @02:48PM from the advertising-agency-wet-dream dept. Media Technology
Ashutosh Saxena writes
"Stanford artificial intelligence researchers have developed software that makes it easy to reach inside an existing video and place a photo on the wall so realistically that it looks like it was there from the beginning. The photo is not pasted on top of the existing video, but embedded in it. It works for videos as well — you can play a video on a wall inside your video. The technology can cheaply do some of the tricks normally performed by expensive commercial editing systems. The researchers suggest that anyone with a video camera might earn some spending money by agreeing to have unobtrusive corporate logos placed inside their videos before they are posted online."
It's always good to have list of free stuff.
PGG.co.za - Free Software Directory
It is always useful to have a resource like this at hand. Basically, PGG collects together links to free software that is available on the World Wide Web in the same spot. The software is also reviewed and commented upon. In addition to that, the webmaster makes a point of keeping all the software he includes up-to-date, and whenever an upgrade is available the pertinent information is included.
As well as including salient tools and applications that can be procured at no cost, you can read a list of recommended blogs and web-based resources where you can inform yourself about the latest products that are released, and read about the latest industry news.
toy useful resource for my website class.
20 Great Online Image Editors
mashable.com — The online image editing space has grown rapidly in the past year, providing great free and subscription-based options for users of all levels. These well-rounded services let you import images from your social networks, touch up photos, promote your work, and more.
Yet another example of the benefits of a classical education! You can plagerize from the origianl Greek!
Dead Parrot Sketch Is 1,600 Years Old
Posted by samzenpus on Friday November 14, @03:32PM from the he-prefers-kipping-on-his-back dept. thumbnail
"Monty Python's 'Dead Parrot sketch' — which featured John Cleese — is some 1,600 years old. A classic scholar has proved the point, by unearthing a Greek version of the world-famous piece. A comedy duo called Hierocles and Philagrius told the original version, only rather than a parrot they used a slave. It concerns a man who complains to his friend that he was sold a slave who dies in his service. His companion replies: 'When he was with me, he never did any such thing!' The joke was discovered in a collection of 265 jokes called Philogelos: The Laugh Addict, which dates from the fourth century AD. Hierocles had gone to meet his maker, and Philagrius had certainly ceased to be, long before John Cleese and Michael Palin reinvented the yarn in 1969."