Saturday, June 27, 2009

How fragile is the Internet? Imagine what would happen if something truly serious happened. (Interesting charts – compare to the DOS attack on Estonia.)

How Michael Jackson's death shut down Twitter, brought chaos to Google... and 'killed off' Jeff Goldblum

By Claire Bates Last updated at 11:55 PM on 26th June 2009

The internet came alive like never before as people around the world logged on to follow the stunning news of Michael Jackson's death.

The story created such a surge in online traffic that Google returned an 'error message' for searches of the singer's name as it assumed it was under attack.

And just seconds after the story broke on the American entertainment website, messages or 'Tweets' about the singer on the micro-blogging site Twitter doubled, leading to a temporary shutdown of the site.

… By 10.30pm, Jackson-based Twitter traffic had risen to 12.26 per cent and peaked at 11.30pm with 22.61 per cent of all messages dedicated to the star. Nine of the ten most popular topics on Twitter were dedicated to the tragic king of pop by this time.

On YouTube, traffic flowed to music videos of Jackson, while thousands posted videos of themselves sharing their thoughts on the legendary pop star.

Others were using Facebook to organise vigils and celebrations of Jackson. One in San Francisco with nearly 50 confirmed guests hoped to recreate the Thriller dance.

Within a few hours of the news of Jackson's death, his 1982 album Thriller was the No. 1 album on iTunes. Several of his discs were also in the top 10 of the digital store.

How to win friends and influence people.

Amazon Cuts Off North Carolina Affiliates

Posted by ScuttleMonkey on Friday June 26, @02:53PM from the court-of-public-opinion dept. has reportedly cut off all affiliates in North Carolina as a preemptive response to the sales tax change being pushed through the state legislature. The Seattle-based online retailer warned affiliates last week that such a move might be necessary, but the early shutoff seems to be a move in hopes of swaying opinion on the proposed legislation.

"Local affiliates say they were "blind-sided" by the company's action. 'I got this e-mail at 4:30 this morning,' said James Barrett, a technology consultant from Winston-Salem. 'It wasn't saying your account will be shut down. It said it is shut down. That just blew me up right there.' Barrett said that he is frustrated at lawmakers for considering the tax, but equally aggravated with Amazon. 'They're trying to tick off all their associates and get them to call down to Raleigh,' Barrett said. 'I think that is pretty tacky. That's not the way to use people who are referring business to your business.'"

What part of “Big Brother” didn't they get?

The Internet Helps Iran Silence Activists

Posted by Soulskill on Saturday June 27, @08:16AM from the alternative-views dept. censorship communications politics

Hugh Pickens writes

"Over the last couple of weeks, those who believe in the transformative power of technology to battle an oppressive state have pointed to Iran as a test case. However, as Farhad Manjoo writes on Slate, the real conclusion about news now coming out of Iran is that for regimes bent on survival, electronic dissent is easier to suppress than organizing methods of the past. Using a system installed last year, built in part by Nokia and Siemens, the government routes all digital traffic in the country through a single choke point, using the capabilities of deep packet inspection to monitor every e-mail, tweet, blog post, and possibly even every phone call placed in Iran. 'Compare that with East Germany, in which the Stasi managed to tap, at most, about 100,000 phone lines — a gargantuan task that required 2,000 full-time technicians to monitor the calls,' writes Manjoo. The effects of this control have been seen over the past couple days, with only a few harrowing pictures and videos getting through Iran's closed net. For most citizens, posting videos and even tweeting eyewitness accounts remains fraught with peril, and the same tools that activists use can be used by the government to spread disinformation. The government is also using crowdsourcing by posting pictures of protesters and asking citizens for help in identifying the activists. 'If you think about it, that's no surprise,' writes Manjoo. 'Who said that only the good guys get to use the power of the Web to their advantage?'"

I'll ask my statistics class if they can find a connection between “Governors who abandon their post” and Breach Laws.

New Data Security Breach Laws in Alaska and South Carolina

June 26, 2009 @ 4:45 pm by admin Filed under: Breach Laws, Legislation, State/Local

On July 1, 2009, new laws will take effect in Alaska and South Carolina that will require entities that have experienced data security breaches involving personal information to notify affected individuals of the breaches. With these additions, a total of 44 states, plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, will have active breach notification laws in place. There are no breach notification laws in Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico and South Dakota.

Both Alaska Stat. § 45.48.010 et seq. and South Carolina. Code Ann. § 39-1-90 will apply to breaches of unencrypted personal information in both paper and electronic records.

Read more on Privacy and Information Security Law Blog.

My assertion that “Animal House” has more influence on US lawmakers than the Constitution is reenforced yet again. “Double Secret Probation” is the new black! (Anyone want to co-author a law review article?)

FBI justifies gag order — in secret

June 26, 2009 by Dissent Filed under Breaches, Businesses, Court, Govt, Surveillance, U.S.

Leave a Comment

When the FBI uses a national security letter (NSL) to force the cooperation of an ISP or phone company in the surveillance of a suspect, the agency typically slaps a gag order on the service provider to prevent it from revealing the existence of the NSL. Civil liberties groups have successfully challenged the DOJ on these gag orders in the ongoing Doe v. Holder, and last month the Obama administration decided not to appeal a federal court ruling that the FBI must justify these gag orders by meeting a relatively high First Amendment standard.

The implication of the court’s ruling was that the FBI would finally have to justify the gag order that it had placed on the John Doe in the Doe v. Holder case, so that the plaintiff could talk about the NSL. The FBI has now cooperated, and has given the court a justification of the gag order, in secret.

The classified declaration that justifies the gag order can’t even be seen by Doe’s attorneys at the ACLU.

Facts for those (who should be) studying new media

The Simpsons Worth More Per Viewer On Hulu Than On Fox

Posted by Soulskill on Friday June 26, @07:21PM from the ay-caramba dept. tv media money internet

N!NJA writes with this excerpt from PCWorld:

"A tectonic shift has taken place for the digital age: ad rates for popular shows like The Simpsons and CSI are higher online than they are on prime-time TV. If a company wants to run ads alongside an episode of The Simpsons on Hulu or, it will cost the advertiser about $60 per thousand viewers, according to Bloomberg. On prime-time TV that same ad will cost somewhere between $20 and $40 per thousand viewers. Online viewers have to actively seek out the program they want to watch, so advertisers end up with a guaranteed audience for their commercial every time someone clicks play on Hulu or Online programs also have an average of 37 seconds of commercials during an episode, while prime-time TV averages nine minutes of ads." [So it's not worth fast-forwarding past the commercial. Bob]

They likely have a point...

Google's real YouTube strategy

Meet the new boss

By Telco 2.0 Posted in Music and Media, 26th June 2009 14:44 GMT

There is an ongoing debate about the size of the losses at YouTube and for how much longer the parent, Google, can afford to fund its errant child’s excessive lifestyle. Credit Suisse put a high price on it; Brough Turner criticised their analysis; RampRate decisively debunked it.

The debate has focused upon YouTube as a standalone service and little attention has been given to the spin-off benefits accruing to the parent. Google controls a significant and growing share of the means of production of the entire internet industry. [Workers of the Internet, ARISE! Bob] We argue that ownership of YouTube is a crucial ingredient for Google’s control of the economic rent that Google extracts from the whole of the Internet value chain.

[I particularly like reason five:

  1. YouTube positions Google very powerfully for a key role as a gatekeeper in the copyright world.

My job as a Math teacher is secure! (I also learned that if you organize a revolt on Twitter, you gather the twoops!)

AT&T's Bad Math Strikes MythBusters' Savage

Posted by Soulskill on Friday June 26, @10:05PM from the do-they-know-he-has-explosives dept. cellphones communications humor

etherlad writes

"MythBusters' Adam Savage got a bill charging him $11,000 for 'a few hours' of Web surfing while in Canada, using his AT&T USB Mercury modem. AT&T gave him a quote on the data rate: '.015 cents, or a penny and a half, per kb.' Looks like AT&T didn't learn from Verizon's inability to do math. AT&T is also claiming Savage downloaded over 9 GB, which he calls 'frakking impossible.' Savage's huge following on twitter got him a speedy response by AT&T."

Tools & Techniques Some people find email too impersonal. Are they worth $1.29? Would a business model that did not limit you to an iPhone be viable? (How about valentine postcards from Loveland, CO?)

Using Body Language is an encyclopedic collection for those wishing to go into the very details. - Print Your Life And Go Postal

There are many ways to show your friends how much care for them and you can do it by giving them a call, sending an email, as well as sending postcards.

This site gives you information about and application that is very simple and easy to use. will give you the chance to create and mail a physical, personalized postcard to the people you love.

In addition to your relatives or friends you can use this service for business purposes and you can send a business postcard to your associates directly from your iPhone.

After you take the picture you need to add a personalized message, and select a recipient from your address book. Simple and clear, you can give your give your friends a nice surprise with a postcard you have tailored for them. This service can be used through the U.S. Mail no matter what state you want to send your cards.

This solution works with both the iPhone and the iPod Touch but you will have to email or import the photos to the Touch before you can create a postcard due to its lack of camera.

Tools & Techniques “Dear Student, Bob did get your email. He will answer it when and if he feels like answering it. Meanwhile, study hard! (signed) Bob's AI”

Kukoo: Email Autoresponder With Customizable Reply Rules

If you are always looking to reply an email as soon as possible so that the sender doesn’t think you are ignoring him then Kukoo would prove to be a great help to you. It helps you create email reply rules and provides you with an autoresponder email adders which lets the sender know instantly when he should be expecting a reply from you.

You can start by creating an account and claiming your email address with them. Once you verify that address, you get a new auto-responding email address which is created by adding to your existing address. You can create separate reply rules for each day of the week and hence be more productive in handling your emails.

Tools & Techniques Can your email do all this?

Gmail Tips: Four Degrees Towards Becoming A Gmail Ninja

Jun. 26th, 2009 By Saikat Basu

What’s with Google? Googlers seem to never put down their thinking caps and out comes this little nugget of a page called Gmail Tips.

A few posts back, I had put up something on 10 Little Known Google Pages worth a Second Look. Now, here’s another section of Google which is far more useful and worthy of a bookmark.

… The Gmail Tips page is an effective course for someone new to Gmail. But even old hands can pick up a tip or two.

Here at, we aren’t doing too badly either with ways to make the most of Gmail. Whether it’s the Ultimate GMail Collection of over 80 Tools and Tips or How to Stay Connected with Gmail , our complete list of posts on Gmail covers quite a lot of ground

How to signal your displeasure without speaking a word.

How To Read and Interpret Body Language: A Quick Guide

Jun. 26th, 2009 By Tina

… Understanding body language and using that knowledge can give you a huge advantage over people who don’t pay attention. [i.e. Most people... Bob]

Bodycom has a short quiz that will give you an idea whether you’re instinctively able to read and interpret body language. Once your score is good enough, you’ll receive a complimentary diploma.

2KnowMySelf has an excellent set of articles explaining everything about How to know if someone is lying to you. Similarly, What’s This? has three comprehensive articles on The Art of Lying, which explains body language in part two.

The article How to Command Respect at Even Happier explains how you can use posture, things you’re looking at, the way you are sitting, your head, face, and hands to air confidence and competence. A similar article also telling you what not to do can be found on InsideCRM - Leadership 101: How to Command Respect through Body Language.

The website Persuasive has a Persuade Someone in 5 Steps guide that makes body language its primary point. In fact, it’s a tool to positively step into the conversation.

The Adult Dating Body Language and Attraction Blog has an article that provides you with 33 Ways to Tell She’s Definitely Interested In You. And wikiHow features an article called How to Make the First Move, which also explains how to react to signs and express your own interest.

Marc and Angel Hack Life has an excellent list on 25 Acts of Body Language to Avoid, which can serve as a quick reference as to what behavior you have to stop immediately.

Using Body Language is an encyclopedic collection for those wishing to go into the very details.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Today it seems the theme is: “We don't know how to succeed in our own industry, so it must be someone else's fault!.”

We don't know what to do to keep all the users Google sends us.”

According To WSJ, Google Not Just A 'Thief' But A 'Digital Vampire'

from the oh-please dept

There's an absolutely huge business out there of folks trying to get more traffic from Google, called Search Engine Optimization. It's a big deal. Traffic to your website is the lifeblood of most internet business models, and so any way to get more traffic is a good thing. Except if you're in the newspaper business for some reason. Lately we keep seeing odd stories of newspaper business folks complaining about the fact that Google sends them traffic. The latest? Dow Jones CEO Les Hinton, who called Google a "digital vampire" claiming that it's "sucking the blood" out of the newspaper industry (found via Mathew Ingram). He then goes on to suggest that at least some of this is the newspapers' own fault for giving "Google's fangs a great place to bite."

So, uh, Mr. Hinton, here's a suggestion: there's a little thing called robots.txt. You can block Google from indexing your websites. Then everyone's happy, right? That stops the bloodflow right there.

Except, perhaps the real issues is that, as everyone in every other business seems to recognize, traffic is important, and it's up to the website receiving that traffic to capitalize on it. So, either Hinton doesn't know this, or he's simply lying. Neither one makes Dow Jones look particularly smart.

(Related) Oh look, Microsoft is admitting they were wrong! Or perhaps they never really looked at the corporate market beyond all those desktops?

Microsoft-Backed Firm Says IBM Is Anticompetitive

Posted by timothy on Friday June 26, @08:15AM from the ibm's-suffered-under-the-antitrust-whip-before dept. microsoft ibm supercomputing government business

BBCWatcher writes

"Microsoft has long claimed that the mainframe is dead, slain by the company's Windows monopoly. Yet, apparently without any mirror nearby, Microsoft is now complaining through the Microsoft-funded Computer & Communications Industry Association that not only are mainframes not dead, but IBM is so anticompetitive that governments should intervene in the hyper-competitive server market. The Wall Street Journal reports that Microsoft is worried that the trend toward cloud computing is introducing competition to the Windows franchise, favoring better-positioned companies including IBM and Cisco. HP now talks about almost nothing but the IBM mainframe, with no Tukwila CPUs to sell until 2010. The global recession is encouraging more mainframe adoption as businesses slash IT costs, dominated by labor costs, and improve business execution. In 2008, IBM mainframe revenues rose 12.5% even whilst mainframe prices fell. (IBM shipped 25% more mainframe capacity than in 2007. Other server sales reports are not so good.) IBM mainframes can run multiple operating systems concurrently, including Linux and, more recently, OpenSolaris."

At last Apple is getting into a truly innovative industry (and then getting out again...)

Porn Comes to the iTunes App Store

By Charlie Sorrel Email Author June 25, 2009 9:12 am

Apple has finally allowed pornography into the iTunes App Store. The application, called Hottest Girls, costs $2 and includes “2200+ images of topless, sexy babes and nude models”.

UPDATE: TechCrunch is reporting that Apple has pulled the app from its App Store, stating, “it appears someone over at Cupertino [has] ultimately decided to reject the first such app.” However, the removal of the app is only a temporary one, according to the app’s developer, who states the he made the decision to stop distributing the app himself.

It is always amusing to note that everything that we know isn't quite true. Access to large amounts of data and reasonable analysis tools (and asking the right questions) seems to be changing “common knowledge,” if we would only listen...

Myths and realities of teen media trends

by Dave Rosenberg June 25, 2009 4:51 PM PDT

Nielsen is out with a new report on media consumption by teens and the results are counter-intuitive to what we commonly believe to be the norm. According to the How Teens Use Media report (PDF), "teens exhibit media habits that are more similar to the total population than not."

Key takeaways from the report:

  • Teens are not abandoning TV for new media: In fact, they watch more TV than ever, up 6 percent over the past five years in the U.S.

  • Teens love the Internet, but spend far less time browsing than adults: Teens spend 11 hours and 32 minutes per month online. Far below the average of 29 hours and 15 minutes.

  • Teens watch less online video than most adults, but the ads are highly engaging to them: Teens spend 35 percent less time watching online video than adults 25-34, but recall ads better when watching TV shows online than they do on television.

  • Teens read newspapers, [Do newspapers write for teens? Bob] listen to the radio, and even like advertising more than most: Teens who recall TV ads are 44 percent more likely to say they liked the ad.

  • Teens play video games, but their tastes aren't all for the blood-and-guts style games. Just two of their top five most-anticipated games since 2005 have been rated "Mature."

  • Teens' favorite TV shows, top Web sites and genre preferences across media are mostly the same as their parents: [Well, not everything can be positive. Bob] For U.S. teens, American Idol was the top show in 2008, Google the top website and general dramas are a preferred TV genre for teens around the world.

(Related) Is this true, or just “Yellow Bird” journalism?

Sesame Workshop: Video games good for kids

by Dave Rosenberg June 25, 2009 5:03 PM PDT

A new report (PDF) published by the Joan Ganz Clooney Center at Sesame Workshop discusses the potentially positive effects of video games in educating children and promoting their physical well-being. (And if you can't trust the fine people at Sesame Workshop, who can you trust?)

Studies that look at the effects of video games on kids have been mostly positive of late, with a focus on safe virtual worlds, and devices such as the Nintendo Wii that encourage physical activity.

(Related) “All that is not mandatory is forbidden.”

Australian Web Filter To Censor Downloaded Games

Posted by timothy on Thursday June 25, @03:03PM from the we've-already-got-these-cool-filters-in-place dept. censorship games

Xiroth writes

"The Australian Federal Communications Ministry has confirmed that they intend to use the planned filter to block the download of games that have been refused by Australia's classification authority, the OFLC. As an Electronic Frontiers Australia spokesman noted, 'This is confirmation that the scope of the mandatory censorship scheme will keep on creeping.'"

So, what have we learned?

Kaspersky gets “good samaritan” immunity

June 26, 2009 by Dissent Filed under Court, Internet, U.S.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals filed its opinion in Zango v. Kaspersky yesterday. Zango had sued Kaspersky Labs because Kaspersky’s software blocks Zango’s software. Kaspersky claimed that it was immune to lawsuit under the safe harbor provision of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 § 230.

The district court had granted summary judgment in Kaspersky’s favor, but Zango appealed. The Court of Appeals agreed with the district court and affirmed (pdf) their decision.

(Related article)

Kaspersky blocks Zango in court case that raises big question about Web filtering

Posted by Brier Dudley

… But one judge said the case raises questions about vague language in the act that could enable computer security and filtering companies to abuse their immunity, blocking competititors without informing users, for instance.

Zango had argued that Kaspersky Internet Security (KIS) disabled the Zango toolbar that displays ads related to a user's Web searches. Whenever Zango's software tried to access the Internet, KIS would display a warning and ask users if they wanted to block the program.

Big news for data analytics! Also for Privacy!

IBM Claims Breakthrough In Analysis of Encrypted Data

Posted by timothy on Thursday June 25, @02:13PM from the scrambled-in-the-shell dept. encryption ibm math security

An anonymous reader writes

"An IBM researcher has solved a thorny mathematical problem that has confounded scientists since the invention of public-key encryption several decades ago. The breakthrough, called 'privacy homomorphism,' or 'fully homomorphic encryption,' makes possible the deep and unlimited analysis of encrypted information — data that has been intentionally scrambled — without sacrificing confidentiality."

Reader ElasticVapor writes that the solution IBM claims

"might better enable a cloud computing vendor to perform computations on clients' data at their request, such as analyzing sales patterns, without exposing the original data. Other potential applications include enabling filters to identify spam, even in encrypted email, or protecting information contained in electronic medical records."

[From a Comment:

The abstract for Gentry's article can be found at: []

Tools & Techniques?

Google Voice: 5 Reasons to Use It, 5 Reasons to Think Twice

Google is opening the gates to its long-awaited Google Voice phone management service this week. Here are some things to consider as you decide whether the service is right for you.

JR Raphael, PC World Jun 25, 2009 7:00 pm

After weeks of anticipation, Google is finally accepting a limited number of new users into its Google Voice phone system. Google Voice allows you to unite all of your phones under a single number and then use a powerful set of controls to determine how calls are handled. It packs plenty of other impressive functionality, too, including voicemail-to-text transcribing and advanced call-screening.

At the same time, though, adopting Google Voice as your communications commander introduces some potential negatives, ranging from privacy-related concerns to questions about reliability. Here's a breakdown of five pros and five cons to help you determine whether the service is right for you.

This could be an amazing tool for Statistics.

Seeing Statistics

Seeing Statistics ® is a new approach to teaching statistics using the World Wide Web.

Most of the graphs and figures in this textbook are dynamic and under the control of the reader. Interacting with the graphs allows you to see the important statistical principles in action.

(Related) This one looks interesting too. I need to explore it a bit more. - A Different Way To Do Statistics

Created by two self-defined “data geeks”, this application came about because they believed that people would use statistics more if only statistics software was not as unfriendly as Doctor Gregory House when he hasn’t taken his Vicodin for three days.

This application is aimed both at experienced analysts and those who are just beginning to grasp such concepts. It employs a new Microsoft technology that goes by the name of Silverlight that turns it into a tool which can be virtually run on any browser and any computer.

Some available features include crosstable analysis, chi-square tests and descriptive statistics in order find relationship in data. You can also figure out how accurate you were by testing hypotheses using the resulting data.

The site includes comprehensive information as regards pricing, and a free trial is included for you to see if it delivers or not. In any case, remember that this new service is still in beta so bear with the programmers and do not write it off if something is where it shouldn’t.

Tools & Techniques Becauseweneverhaveenoughtime.

PodShifter: Speeds Up Podcasts For Faster Listening

… It can easily make podcasts up to 2 or even 3 times faster.

To speed up podcast simply enter the RSS feed of a specific podcast into provided field, customize speed (from 0.6x to 3x) and click “shift it”.

Pure amusement

Tuxpi: Make Your Own Wanted Poster

If you ever wanted to make your own WANTED poster just like in old Western movies, head to All you need do is upload a picture from your computer, preview and modify the caption, reward lines as you see fit, and then download generated file to your computer.

Similar tools: FunPhotoBox.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

At some point, management should realize that computers store data and that some data should actually be protected. Perhaps using day-glow orange laptops with “Sensitive data” stickers and motion detecting chips that set off an alarm if the computer is moved more than 10 feet would be the minimum allowable protection?

Ca: Laptops with patient information stolen from hospital

June 24, 2009 @ 2:46 pm by admin Filed under: Breach Incidents, Healthcare Sector, Non-U.S., Theft

The University of Alberta Hospital is reporting that a burglary occurred earlier this month resulting in two laptops containing patient information being stolen. Alberta Health Services said the theft happened on June 4th, in the hospital’s Provincial Lab Information Technology room.

Two laptops with health information of more than 300,000 people were stolen. Information on the laptops are said to include names, birth dates, personal health numbers and lab test results for communicable and reportable diseases.

The hospital said the laptops are protected by a security program that requires multiple passwords to be entered before information is made accessible.

Read more on CTV News.

We all assume that the thief is the only bad actor in the story.

Jp: Former securities company manager arrested over huge data leak

June 25, 2009 @ 5:52 am by admin Filed under: Breach Incidents, Financial Sector, Insider, Non-U.S.

Tokyo police Thursday arrested a former manager at a brokerage who was fired for stealing personal data on nearly 1.5 million customers and selling some of the information to mailing list companies.

Hideaki Kubo, 44, a former acting manager at Mitsubishi UFJ Securities Co.’s systems department, has admitted to the allegations of theft and illegal computer access, police said.

Police said they will investigate the sloppy handling of information at the company.

According to police, Kubo used the ID of a female temporary staff employee at a subsidiary to illegally access the customer database on Jan. 26.


Violators of the fraudulent access prevention law can be sentenced to a maximum one year in prison or a fine of up to 500,000 yen.

Police will also seek a theft charge against Kubo over the 65-yen [Roughly 65 cents Bob] CD taken from the company supplies.

A theft conviction can result in a 10-year prison term or a fine of up to 500,000 yen.

Read more in Asahi Shimbum. Previous coverage here.

Ooo! I feel safer already!

New cyber chief to protect against computer attacks

Prime Minister creates security post after warnings of electronic espionage

By Kim Sengupta and Nigel Morris Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Britain is to appoint its first national cyber security chief to protect the country from terrorist computer hackers and electronic espionage, Gordon Brown will announce tomorrow.

Comes up in my Computer Security class and in “Intro it IT”

Survey: Teens "sext" and post personal info

by Larry Magid June 24, 2009 3:54 PM PDT

An Internet safety study (PDF) just released by Cox Communications shows that teens may be a bit more safety conscious than previously thought.

The survey, which was done by Harris Interactive, asked 655 13- to 18-year-olds about their online and cell phone behavior, specifically addressing issues of cyberbullying and sexting. The study was in partnership with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and "America's Most Wanted Host" John Walsh.

For the purposes of the study, cyberbullying was defined as "harassment, embarrassment, or threats online or by text message," while sexting referred to "sending sexually suggestive text or e-mails with nude or nearly-nude photos."

There is something to this...

IT and Health Care

Posted by samzenpus on Thursday June 25, @02:36AM from the broken-by-design dept. database medicine it

Punk CPA writes

"Technology Review has some thoughts about why the health care industry has been so slow to adopt IT, while quick to embrace high technology in care and diagnosis. Hypothesis: making medical records available for data analysis might expose redundancy, over-testing, and other methods of extracting profits from the fee-for-service model. My take is that it might also make it much easier to gather and evaluate quality of care information. That would be chum in the water for malpractice suits."

Probably not related to the story above, but the strategic goals are identical,dwp_uuid=9c33700c-4c86-11da-89df-0000779e2340.html?nclick_check=1

China blocks Google website

By Kathrin Hille in Beijing and Richard Waters in San Francisco Published: June 24 2009 16:22 | Last updated: June 25 2009 05:57

Google’s global website was blocked in China on Wednesday night, marking an escalation in Beijing’s unprecedented crackdown on the world’s leading search engine company.

Attempts to access and Gmail from different computers in Beijing started failing after 9pm local time, but the websites could be accessed through proxy servers – normally a sign that a website is being blocked by internet censors. The service in Beijing at least was back after two hours.

This is the opposite of the “DNA extracted after tasering a suspect” reported earlier this month.

Forcible DNA extraction violated the Constitution

A Las Vegas detective violated an inmate’s constitutional rights by “forcibly extracting” his DNA without a warrant while he was shackled and chained to a bench, the 9th Circuit ruled on a 2-1 vote.

The extraction was requested by Deputy District Attorney Elissa Luzaich, who wanted to put Kenneth Friedman’s DNA sample into a cold-case data bank.


On appeal, the defendants cited a Montana law that purportedly allowed them to take the DNA swab. Friedman had previously pleaded guilty to a sex crime in Montana, served his time and was released before moving to Las Vegas.

But the Montana statute doesn’t apply across state lines, the San Francisco-based federal appeals court noted in tossing this argument.

The court similarly rejected the claim that the swab search was “reasonable.”

“The warrantless, suspicionless, forcible extraction of a DNA sample from a private citizen violates the Fourth Amendment,” Judge Thomas wrote. “The actions of the officers were not justified under the ’special needs’ exception, reliance on an extraterritorial statute, or on general Fourth Amendment principles.”

Read more on Courthouse News.

Could this be another definition of Privacy? (If not, why not?)

EU Commission investigates right to ‘chip silence’

The European Commission is to investigate whether or not people have the right to disappear from the ever-more pervasive digital networks that surround them.

The Commission has expressed concern about the privacy implications of personally-identifying technologies such as radio frequency identification (RFID) chips. It said that it is important to discuss whether or not people should be able to disappear from networks.

“The Commission will launch a debate on the technical and legal aspects of the ‘right to silence of the chips’, which has been referred to under different names by different authors and expresses the idea that individuals should be able to disconnect from their networked environment at any time,” said a Commission consultation paper.

Read more on The report, Internet of Things — An action plan for Europe, can be found here (pdf)

(Related) Why is disconnecting important?

Chipped phones can track consumers

RFID stories seem to come in threes. This one, from Threat Level, is about how mobile phones will be chipped — for better or worse:

An Ericsson executive says all new mobile phones sold in 2010 will include an RFID chip that will allow owners to open their car or house door with their phone. A handy feature, no doubt, for some people. But the executive says the chip might also be used by credit card companies to track the location of cardholders to cut down on fraud.

Håkan Djuphammar, vice president of systems architecture for Ericsson, speaking at a conference in Stockholm this week, said credit card companies could make use of mobile user location data and IP mapping to determine if the owner of a card is in the same location where a card transaction is taking place.

Read more on Threat Level.

I use video a lot in my classes, so easy search is important.


Online service that lets search and browse YouTube with a stylish image flow interface and most importantly, play multiple videos in one browser. You can open and play as many videos as you like and easily scale them to your desired size

When you need information in real time...

Twitter search sites: The three best, and all the rest

by Rafe Needleman June 25, 2009 4:00 AM PDT

For my hackers... Several sites listed...

Find Totally Free Unlimited Internet Access Almost Anywhere

Jun. 24th, 2009 By Guy McDowell

This is no joke. There are still Internet Service Providers (ISPs) out there offering free service. We’re going to look at a few ways to find totally free unlimited Internet access, legitimately and legally.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

This seems to have been resolved quite quickly. I wonder how? (and for less than one day's sales?)

TJX reaches settlement with states attorney general

June 23, 2009 @ 11:32 am by admin Filed under: Breach Incidents, Business Sector, Hack, ID Theft, U.S.

TJX announced that it has settled with 41 Attorneys General over its massive data breach that they disclosed two years ago. In its statement, TJX denied that it broke any laws, saying, “TJX firmly believes that it did not violate any consumer protection or data security laws.” Under the terms of the settlement, as described in their press release, TJX will:

– Provide $2.5 million to establish a new Data Security Fund for use by the States to advance effective data security and technology;

– Provide a settlement amount of $5.5 million together with $1.75 million to cover expenses related to the States’ investigations;

– Certify that TJX’s computer system meets detailed data security requirements specified by the States; [This could be major! Can we get copies of the requierments? Bob] and

– Encourage the development of new technologies to address systemic vulnerabilities in the United States payment card system.

[The Press Release:

“Much” older than TJX, CardSystems is the “Father of them all”

Pointer: Analysis of Savvis’ motion to dismiss lawsuit

June 23, 2009 @ 9:42 pm by admin Filed under: Breach Incidents, Business Sector, Commentaries and Analyses, Financial Sector, Hack, Subcontractor, U.S.

David Navetta has written a clear and helpful analysis of Savvis’ motion to dismiss Merrick Bank’s lawsuit against Savvis, arising out of the CardSystems Solutions breach.

On Privacy Jury questionnaires, socialized medicine, and the Census.

How much information can the government demand from us?

By Bookworm June 24, 2009

,,, When it's the government demanding your information, you have no leeway to say "no!"

The problem I see is that some day (soon) this too will be “primitive” technology.

GPS Ruling Challenges N.Y. Law Enforcement

By David Frey New York Law Journal June 24, 2009

On May 12, 2009, the Court of Appeals issued People v. Weaver, 2009 NY Slip Op 03762. This article provides a brief summary of the opinion and goes on to discuss some of the concerns it raises with respect to its effects on law enforcement.

… What Weaver did not know was that police had magnetically attached a GPS device to his car three days earlier.

Weaver was found guilty of the burglary after a jury trial. The Appellate Division, Third Department, upheld his conviction 3-1.

He appealed to the Court of Appeals, and the court, in an internally controversial 4-3 decision, reversed his conviction, remanded it for a new trial, and found that the police needed a warrant to attach the GPS to his car's undercarriage.

… The court went on to review the leading U.S. Supreme Court case, United States v. Knotts, 460 U.S. 276 (1983), in which a "mere beeper" was used to do exactly the same thing as the GPS device in the case before them. The court distinguished the "beeper" from a GPS device with the following line: "[W]e must now, more than a quarter of a century later, recognize [the beeper] to have been a very primitive tracking device."

Didn't the Democrats block this under Bush? What makes this version different?

June 23, 2009

Defense Secretary Announces Creation of Unified U.S. Cyber Command

WSJ: "Defense Secretary Robert Gates created a new military command dedicated to cyber security on Tuesday, reflecting the Obama administration's plans to centralize and elevate computer security as a major national-security issue. In a memo to senior Pentagon officials, Mr. Gates said he intends to recommend that Lt. Gen. Keith Alexander, director of the National Security Agency, take on the additional role as commander of the Cyber Command with the rank of a four-star general."

Now I'm embarrassed to be Dutch. But perhaps I should have expected it from a country that supported the “oldest profession” I wonder if they tax manufacturers to support “hunter-gatherers?”

Dutch Gov. Wants To Tax Online Media To Fund Print

Posted by kdawson on Tuesday June 23, @04:54PM from the reverse-robin-hood dept. media internet

Godefricus writes

"Outrage ensued among Dutch techie and media websites, after a government report advised that the dwindling print media industry should be financially supported by the online industry (Google translation; Dutch original here). The idea is to help the old media fund 'innovative initiatives.' The suggested implementation of the plan is by taxing a percentage of each ISP subscription, and give the money to the papers. The report, which was solicited by the Dutch parliament and written by a committee of its members, specifically states that 'news and the gathering of news stories is not free, [Did they charge for this press release? Bob] and the public must be made aware of that.' The report is not conclusive, but from here it's just one step toward a legislative proposal. Both industries are largely privately owned in The Netherlands, and the current government is center-left wing. Who needs an RIAA if you can build one into your government? And hey, why invest in the future if you can invest in the past?" [Amen! Bob]

Bloggers beware?

MN: Posting online can be invasion of privacy, Appeals Court rules

In a case that seems like deja vu all over again, the Minnesota Court of Appeals held that posting someone else’s embarrassing personal information on the Internet can be a legal invasion of privacy, regardless of how many people view the site. In this case, the personal information concerned a woman’s sexually transmitted disease that was posted to a MySpace page (see an extremely similar case in Hawaii: Woman Posted Online HIV Patient Record).

The Star Tribune reports that in this case, a lawsuit was filed by a Twin Cities woman diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease after a post about her showed up in 2006 on a MySpace page that displayed her picture and said she cheated on her husband and was addicted to plastic surgery.

… Significantly, the court also held that HIPAA does not prevent the woman from recovering damages under a Minnesota law. [I didn't know this was an issue. Bob]

Social Media is evil!

AP Issues Strict Facebook, Twitter Guidelines to Staff

The Associated Press is adopting a stringent social-networking policy for its employees, informing them to police their Facebook profiles “to make sure material posted by others doesn’t violate AP standards.”

The policy (.pdf) comes weeks after an AP reporter was reprimanded for posting a comment to his own Facebook profile criticizing the Sacramento-based newspaper chain McClatchy, whose stock has become nearly worthless after a string of costly acquisitions.

Read more on Threat Level.

Comment: So AP thinks it can limit its employees’ First Amendment rights when they are on their own time and on their own computers? Isn’t there something hypocritical about a press association that fights for free speech doing this? The workplace has to send [End? Bob] somewhere, sometime. People have a right to life outside of work.

[From the article:

Reporters for The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post, for example, have been told not to”friend” confidential sources, Editor & Publisher columnist Joe Strupp wrote this month. Reporters at the New York Times are urged to show “common-sense.” Other publishers, including, have no formal policy.

… But the most contentious element in the new policy, which the union also decried as “vague,” gives this instruction to employees using Facebook: “Monitor your profile page to make sure material posted by others doesn’t violate AP standards: any such material should be deleted.”

(Related) Social Media is good!

Secretary Gates and Admiral Mullen on Social Networking

During a Defense Department briefing, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mullen talked about the importance of utilizing Twitter, Facebook and other on-line social networking media to communicate information of national importance. From C-Span, via YouTube:

(Related) “We don't need no stinking iPhone!” Just “Add-on” a Twitter app.

How To Twitter Quickly from Firefox, IE, Opera and Chrome

Jun. 23rd, 2009 By Saikat Basu

Tools & Techniques I might require this. Then there are no excuses like “It was there last night!”

iCyte: Highlight Text On A Webpage & Save It Online

If you are researching a topic online, probably you simply bookmark the relevant visited pages as a way to store and organize the necessary information. While this is the common way to do things, it is not the most efficient way.

Enter iCyte. It is an add-on for your browser that lets you highlight text on a web page and save only the highlighted portion, annotate it, add relevant tags and save it online. You may also organize these bookmarks into separate projects and share them with others.

Similar tools: Ibrii, Markkit and AwesomeHightlighter.

Tools & Techniques Might make an innovative student project, I'll have to work something up... - Get Your Students Blogging

Quite a useful service, 21 Classes aim to let teachers and students have a space where they can meet outside the classroom and communicate with each other. This way, a more realized learning experience can hopefully be achieved. Teachers can review entries as well as making important announcements, whereas students can receive feedback almost instantly. A nice touch is that students do not need to disclose information such as their e-mail addresses in order to get going.

As regards the actual setup and layout, the teacher can customize the headers as well as choosing a suitable template for his students to feel comfortable with. CSS editing is fully taken into account, too.

This service is essentially free, although it is always possible to upgrade to a paid plan. Features of this on-demand upgrade option includes a bigger number of student blog accounts (up to 100 – the free edition supports only 10), as well as the ability to use a domain of its own. All in all, a very well-focused service that I am certain can further education by giving teachers and students more channels for interaction.

Tools & Techniques Geeky! Is this a better idea than the $100 laptop? Might be interesting to see if you could get companies to donate their old machines for “rejuvenation.”

OLPC Fork Sugar On a Stick Goes 1.0

Posted by Soulskill on Wednesday June 24, @08:52AM from the one-easily-lost-usb-stick-per-child dept. education linux

Marten writes

"It was more than a year ago that Walter Bender left OLPC and started Now, the first version of the new project has been released. Sugar on a Stick is a USB-drive that runs on Mac and PC-style hardware. 'The open-source education software developed for the "$100 laptop" can now be loaded onto a $5 USB stick to give aging PCs and Macs a new interface and custom educational software.' Bender said, 'What we are doing is taking a bunch of old machines that barely run Windows 2000, and turning them into something interesting and useful for essentially zero cost. It becomes a whole new computer running off the USB key; we can breathe new life into millions of decrepit old machines.'"

Tools & Techniques I WANT ONE!

Touchwall Demo

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Worth you time to read...

Privacy Requires Security, Not Abstinence

Simson Garfinkel has written a commentary on the state of privacy and security in Technology Review. Here’s a bit from his conclusion:

For more than 100 years, American jurisprudence has recognized privacy as a requirement for democracy, social relations, and human dignity. For nearly 50, we’ve understood that protecting privacy takes more than just controlling intrusions into your home; it also requires being able to control information about you that’s available to businesses, government, and society at large. Even though Americans were told after 9/11 that we needed to choose between security and privacy, it’s increasingly clear that without one we will never have the other.

We need to learn how to protect privacy by intention, not by accident. Although technology can help, my belief is that such protections need to start with clearly articulated polices. Just as Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency to protect our environment, we need some kind of Privacy Protection Agency to give our rights a fighting chance. Our piecemeal approach is no longer acceptable.

[From the article:

The fact that a dusty Harvard Law Review article corresponds so closely with the online privacy problems we face today suggests that even though technology is a driving factor in these privacy invasions, it's not the root source. The source is what sits in front of the computer's screen, not behind it.

… Wiretapping was employed by both sides during the Civil War, prompting some states to pass laws against it. [Pre-telephone Bob]

… Here's a kōan for the information age: Why do so many privacy activists have Facebook pages?

Originally conceived as a place for Harvard undergraduates to post their photos and cell-phone numbers--information that Harvard, because of privacy concerns, wasn't putting online back in 2003--Facebook has grown to be the fourth-most-popular "website" in the world...

… I believe that we will be unable to protect online privacy without a strong electronic identity system that's free to use and backed by the governments of the world--a true passport for online access.

Simple, we transfer their data to the terrorist watch list! (The alternative would be to allow anyone with a card that looks like a Clear card to skip through security.)

Verified Identify Pass Shuts Down "Clear" Operations

Posted by timothy on Tuesday June 23, @08:55AM from the will-you-also-clear-the-database dept.

torrentami writes that Verified Identity Pass, operator of the "Clear" program, which allowed pre-screened passengers faster access to US airport gates,

"sent out emails to its subscribers today informing them that as of 11 p.m. PST they will cease operations. Clear was a pioneer in speeding customers through security at airports and had planned on expanding to large events. The service, where it was available, offered a first class security experience for travelers willing to fork over $200 a year and their biometrics. Customers are now left holding their Flyclear cards with encrypted biometrics. The question now becomes, what happens to all that information? This is not the first time Clear has been in the news. A laptop containing customer records was reportedly missing from the San Francisco International airport recently but then turned up shortly thereafter. Another casualty of the recession's downturn in business travel."

Is this an Ethical decision or merely Cost Cutting?

White House to Abandon Spy-Satellite Program

The Obama administration plans to kill a controversial Bush administration spy satellite program at the Department of Homeland Security, according to officials familiar with the decision.

The program came under fire from its inception two years ago. Democratic lawmakers said it would lead to domestic spying.

The program would have provided federal, state and local officials with extensive access to spy-satellite imagery — but no eavesdropping capabilities— to assist with emergency response and other domestic-security needs, such as identifying where ports or border areas are vulnerable to terrorism.

Read more on WSJ.

[From the article:

It would have expanded an Interior Department satellite program, which will continue to be used to assist in natural disasters and for other limited security purposes such as photographing sporting events. [Does the NFL know they are spying on “The Big Game?” Bob]

Interesting. Will this study be cited when government wants to justify reading all our emails? (Nah.. They'll just do it, justification be damned.) Still, we could create an index based on this research which the Board of Directors and/or the outside auditors might find useful.

How smart IT workers know when their company's doomed

by Chris Matyszczyk June 22, 2009 3:50 PM PDT

… A couple of researchers at the Florida Institute of Technology seem to be in the e-mail study camp. Or perhaps there was simply nothing better to think about in Melbourne, Fla., recently.

In any case, they took it upon themselves to examine the e-mails sent at Enron, specifically, how the e-mailing patterns changed as Enron was revealed to be channeling the spirit of Bernie Madoff, rather than Bernie Mac or Bernie Kosar.

The researchers, Ben Collingsworth and Ronaldo Menezes, concluded, according to a report in New Scientist, that e-mailing patterns just might be a rather accurate barometer of your company's innards.

… They simply looked at who sent e-mails to whom and how many were sent.

What they discovered was that a month before Skilling fell on his letter-opener, the number of active e-mail cliques--the researchers defined them as e-mail groups in which every member had direct e-mail contact with each other--rose from 100 to 800.

Here's the other characteristic that seemed to foreshadow the spilling of corporate o-positive: more messages were sent within these groups to the exclusion of anyone else in the company.

“Greed is good!” G. Gecko

ASCAP Wants To Be Paid When Your Phone Rings

Posted by kdawson on Monday June 22, @06:20PM from the don't-even-think-about-whistling-the-beatles dept.

gerddie notes a piece up on the EFF site outlining the fairly outlandish legal theories ASCAP is trying out in their court fight with AT&T.

"ASCAP (the same folks who went after Girl Scouts for singing around a campfire) appears to believe that every time your musical ringtone rings in public, you're violating copyright law by 'publicly performing' it without a license. At least that's the import of a brief (PDF, 2.5 MB) it filed in ASCAP's court battle with mobile phone giant AT&T."

The new threat of self-incrimination.

Facebook ‘Fans’ Claim Hack Exposes Private Profile

FBHive, a new site covering news and opinions about Facebook started by ‘two twenty-something guys’ who are self-proclaimed ‘avid fans’ of the social networking service, is launching today with a bang. According to the website owners, a security loophole allows anyone to view private profile information even if that information has been shielded off by privacy settings.

Think FBHive is touting this hack simply to draw attention to the new site? Think again.

As a challenge, I asked them to tell me some things about me that they could only find on my Facebook account, which is protected from public viewing and should only be accessible to my networks and friends. Almost immediately, they replied with my birth date, the name of my hometown, the name of my fiancé and my political views. That’s scary (and more proof is available if you click the link below).

Read more on TechCrunch. FBHive updated their site to report:

Update: Facebook have now fixed this exploit, and have also ask we remove the pictures of proof below. We’re going to comply with their request, but expect a follow up story shortly on how we did it.

[From the article:

Update: statement from Facebook:

We have identified this bug and closed the loophole. We don’t have any evidence to suggest that it was ever exploited for malicious purposes. [Does that mean they couldn't even detect the 'proof of concept' hack documented above? Bob]

Where does liability lie if a non-profit fails to recognize a crime in progress? Looks like a lot of downside here.

Lancaster, Pa., keeps a close eye on itself

Lancaster, Pennsylvania — the historic town where America’s founding fathers plotted during the Revolution and Milton Hershey later crafted his first chocolates, now boasts another distinction. It may become the nation’s most closely watched small city. The Los Angeles Times reports:

Some 165 closed-circuit TV cameras soon will provide live, round-the-clock scrutiny of nearly every street, park and other public space used by the 55,000 residents and the town’s many tourists. That’s more outdoor cameras than are used by many major cities, including San Francisco and Boston. [Hard to believe Bob]


Unlike anywhere else, cash-strapped Lancaster outsourced its surveillance to a private nonprofit group [Is there a business model here? Bob] that hires civilians to tilt, pan and zoom the cameras — and to call police if they spot suspicious activity. No government agency is directly involved.

Perhaps most surprising, the near-saturation surveillance of a community that saw four murders last year has sparked little public debate about whether the benefits for law enforcement outweigh the loss of privacy.

Commentary: This story is disheartening. I used to live in Lancaster and it was a great place to live where strangers helped each other and you could leave your car engine running and your car unlocked while you ran into a store for something — and still find it there when you came out. [“You can't go home again.” “You can't step in the same river twice.” Small towns are breeding grounds for clichés. Is this a cliché in the making? Bob]

Interesting capsule summaries of the players. More interesting, who they can't find pictures of...

June 22, 2009

National Journal Profiles Key Players in Obama Administration

Obama's Team: The Face Of Diversity, by James A. Barnes | "Excluding Bush holdovers, white men fill just under half of senior posts."

Tools & Techniques For those times when you absolutely positively want to be overwhelmed by search results. Might be a useful tool for my website students too.

Limmz: Start Page With Multiple Search Engines

Limmz acts like a search engine start page that provides links to a huge list of search engines and websites. Enter your query in the search box and click on the desired search engine. [Click on the column headings and it opens all the search engines at once... Bob] It then opens in a new tab showing the results. The search engines are neatly categorized under web, image, video, news, music and more. Hence it lets you comprehensively search a term across different search engines from one page.

If only I had time to increase my productivity... Not the best guide but one my students might benefit from.

A Computer Geek’s Smart Productivity Guide [PDF]

Jun. 22nd, 2009 By Simon Slangen

… proudly presents A Computer Geek’s Productivity Guide, written by fervent MUO contributor, Stefan Neagu from

In this free twenty-paged PDF, Stefan will show you the most common productivity mistakes, as well as a number of applications to improve your touch typing, your time organization, and your global workflow.

If you enjoyed this release, you should also check out other available MakeUseOf manuals.