Judge orders Google to deactivate user’s Gmail account, but wait, there’s more…
In a highly unusual move, a federal judge has ordered Google to deactivate the email account of a user who was mistakenly sent confidential financial information by a bank.
The order, issued Wednesday by U.S. District Court Judge James Ware in the northern district of California, also requires Google to disclose the Gmail account holder’s identity and contact information. The Gmail user hasn’t been accused of any wrongdoing.
Some lawyers say the Ware’s order is problematic because it affects the Gmail account holder’s First Amendment rights to communicate online, as well as his or her privacy rights.
“It’s outrageous that the bank asked for this, and it’s outrageous that the court granted it,” says John Morris, general counsel at the Center for Democracy & Technology. “What right does the bank have and go suspend the email account of a completely innocent person?”
He adds: “At the end of the day, the bank obviously screwed up. But it should not be bringing a lawsuit against two completely innocent parties and disrupting one of the innocent party’s email contact to the world.”
Read the full story on MediaPost. One of the provisions in the order was that:
Google shall immediately disclose to Plaintiff and the Court the status of the Gmail Account, specifically, whether the Gmail Account is dormant or active, whether the Inadvertent Email was opened or otherwise manipulated, and in the event that the Gmail Account is not dormant, the identity and contact information for the Gmail account holder. [But first, let's screw this guy by cutting him off! Bob]
But that’s not the end of the story. Google and Rocky Mountain Bank subsequently filed a joint motion stating that the case is now moot and asking the federal district court to vacate the temporary restraining order so that Google could reactivate the email account in question.
The joint motion does not unring the privacy bell on this case, however. Should the court have complied with the bank’s request to invade a Gmail user’s privacy because the bank screwed up?
This is worth a read.
Social Network Site Privacy: A Comparative Analysis of Six Sites
Research by Jennifer Barrigar for the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada compares Facebook, Hi5, LinkedIn, LiveJournal, MySpace, and Skyrock.
This report was prepared for the Office of the Privacy Commissioner by Jennifer Barrigar, a consultant and researcher with experience in both privacy law and developments in internet technology. It was originally commissioned in late 2008, and a final report was delivered to the Office in February 2009.
Social networks frequently make amendments or additions to their privacy policies and protections. As a result, some of the observations made in this report may appear outdated or even incorrect. This is certainly the case with Facebook, one social network that has undertaken successive rounds of privacy amendments in 2009.
This is not the case with many of the other social networking sites identified by Ms. Barrigar. They are among the most popular sites with Canadians, but are largely developed and headquartered outside Canada. As a result, they offer significantly different levels of privacy protection for their users. This report identifies areas where these sites need to improve their policies and take steps to effectively protect the personal information of their users.
Director of Research, Education and Outreach
Don't ya just love these...
Photojournalist sues government over raid
On April 12,2008, Sennett was photographing protests in Washington, D.C. related to the spring meeting of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The protests became violent, and Sennett claims that like others, she ran away after smoke-generating devices went off.
What happened next is the subject of a lawsuit Sennett has filed against the U.S. Department of Justice, Attorney General Eric Holder, the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, Prince William County Police Department, Arlington County Police Department, and two individual detectives who allegedly acted at the direction of these federal entities and under color of federal authority.
Sennett claims that although she was not a target of any criminal investigation and there was never anything connecting her to causing or participating in any violence at the demonstration, the defendants subsequently ordered or conducted a general search of her home and seized and kept Sennett’s work-related equipment, including computer hardware and data, digital cameras and memory cards, a still camera, digital storage devices, and a digital voice recorder. They also allegedly seized and retained work product and documentary materials directly related to Sennett’s profession as a photojournalist, including photographs, other work products, and personal belongings.
Sennett claims that their actions violated the Privacy Protection Act of 1980, and the First and Fourth Amendments to the United States Constitution.
According to the complaint, the authorities did have a search warrant, but the warrant was issued on the basis of false and misleading information purposefully provided by the defendants. Specifically, the affidavit in support of the warrant signed by one of the detectives allegedly failed to state that Sennett was a photojournalist, even though Sennett cites other statements by the defendants that demonstrate that they knew she was a photojournalist engaged in photojournalism at the time they applied for the warrant.
Sennett was never charged criminally nor arrested in connection with either the protest nor any materials obtained via the search or seizure.
The entire complaint can be found here.
Hat-tip, Courthouse News.
Up To 9 Percent Of Machines In An Enterprise Are Bot-Infected
Most are members of tiny, unknown botnets built for targeting victim organizations
Sep 24, 2009 | 03:59 PM By Kelly Jackson Higgins DarkReading
Bot infections are on the rise in the enterprise, and most come from botnets you've never heard of nor ever will.
In a three-month study of more than 600 different botnets found having infiltrated enterprise networks, researchers from Damballa discovered nearly 60 percent are botnets that contain only a handful to a few hundred bots built to target a particular organization.
… The bad guys are also finding that deploying a small botnet inside a targeted organization is a more efficient way of stealing information than deploying a traditional exploit on a specific machine. And Ollmann says many of the smaller botnets appear to have more knowledge of the targeted organization as well. "They are very strongly associated with a lot of insider knowledge...and we see a lot of hands-on command and control with these small botnets," he says.
Another “term of art” for my Computer Security students. Sounds like they detect malware and precipitate a denial of service attack at the same time.
Ants Vs. Worms — Computer Security Mimics Nature
Posted by Soulskill on Saturday September 26, @05:14AM from the incompatible-with-raid dept
An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from Help Net Security:
"In the never-ending battle to protect computer networks from intruders, security experts are deploying a new defense modeled after one of nature's hardiest creatures — the ant. Unlike traditional security devices, which are static, these ' wander through computer networks looking for threats ... When a digital ant detects a threat, it doesn't take long for an army of ants to converge at that location, drawing the attention of human operators who step in to investigate. 'Our idea is to deploy 3,000 different types of digital ants, each looking for evidence of a threat,' [says Wake Forest Professor of Computer Science Errin Fulp.] 'As they move about the network, they leave digital trails modeled after the scent trails ants in nature use to guide other ants. Each time a digital ant identifies some evidence, it is programmed to leave behind a stronger scent. Stronger scent trails attract more ants, producing the swarm that marks a potential computer infection.'"
Scraping the bottom of the barrel? (Probably won't make it into those “I'm a Mac. I'm a PC” ads.
Hackers pay 43 cents per hijacked Mac
Russian cyber crime gangs after Apple's Macs, too, says researcher
By Gregg Keizer September 25, 2009 01:58 PM ET
… Mac OS X's security has been roundly criticized by vulnerability researchers, but even the most critical have acknowledged that the Mac's low market share -- it accounted for just 5% of all operating systems running machines that connected to the Internet last month -- is probably enough protection from cyber criminals for the moment.
Samosseiko's paper on Partnerka can be downloaded from Sophos' site (download PDF).
(Related) In fact, from the same paper as the previous article. e-Crime pays!
Viagra spam brings bulging returns of more than $4,000/day
A peek into the world of spam affiliate networks has revealed that there is indeed a lot of money to be made by pushing all those Viagra and Cialis e-mails. Even if only a few people make purchases, it's enough to make spamming worthwhile and guarantee that the rest of our inboxes will remain crowded.
By Jacqui Cheng Last updated September 25, 2009 1:06 PM CT
STUDY: Time Spent on Social Networks Has Tripled
September 25th, 2009 | by Christina Warren
Social networking usage by Americans continues to soar. According to a new report from The Nielsen Company, Americans spent 17% of all their Internet time using social networking sites. This was nearly triple the time spent a year ago.
Sharp lawyering? No one will invoke: “to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor” will they?
CA City Mulls Evading the Law On Red-Light Cameras
Posted by kdawson on Friday September 25, @11:32AM from the wrong-on-so-many-levels dept.
TechDirt is running a piece on Corona, CA, where officials are considering ignoring a California law that authorizes red-light cameras — cutting the state and the county out of their portion of the take — in order to increase the city's revenue. The story was first reported a week ago. The majority of tickets are being (automatically) issued for "California stops" before a right turn on red, which studies have shown rarely contribute to an accident. TechDirt notes the apparent unconstitutionality of what Corona proposes to do:
"The problem here is that Corona is shredding the Sixth Amendment of the US Constitution, the right to a trial by jury. By reclassifying a moving violation... to an administrative violation... Corona is doing something really nefarious. In order to appeal an administrative citation you have to admit guilt, pay the full fine, and then apply for a hearing in front of an administrative official, not a judge in a court. The city could simply deny all hearings for administrative violations or schedule them far out in advance knowing full well that they have your money, which you had to pay before you could appeal."
[From the article:
Since May, the red light cameras in the city of Corona, California have issued a total of 6511 citations worth $2,903,906. [I make that $446 per ticket! And these guys want more? Bob]
… Currently Corona only collects $133.80 out of each $446 ticket.
Lawyers as lobbyists.
Legal Group Says Unlimited Broadband Promotes Piracy
Posted by Soulskill on Saturday September 26, @02:15AM from the not-to-mention-unrestrained-tweeting dept.
"Unlimited broadband plans are all too familiar in many countries; in Australia they're scarce. One ISP offering such a plan between the hours of 8pm and 8am, AAPT, is being looked at as a matter of high interest by a legal group representing the interests of the global film industry, AFACT (the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft). It said AAPT was encouraging users to download copyrighted material. AAPT's advertising states: 'If you want unlimited music, unlimited games and unlimited movies — get unlimited off-peak broadband downloads from AAPT.' AFACT executive director Adrianne Pecotic said: 'In the context of the AAPT promotion, we have a concern that it could be misconstrued to promote illegal downloads [Apparently, it has – but only by lawyers. Bob] and that's something that we'd like clarified.' AFACT is currently involved in what will be a landmark court case with Australian ISP iiNet. It recently claimed in court proceedings that there was a link between iiNet upgrading the service plans of heavy-internet users and the proliferation of film piracy."
Expect straight A's. How could I not? My computer writes my papers. (Note: This only works in English. It will take years to translate it to “Amurikin”)
Computers To Mark English Essays
Posted by Soulskill on Saturday September 26, @12:19AM from the i-fear-the-day-scantron-wakes-up dept.
"According to The Guardian, computers are to be used in the UK to mark English examination essays. 'Pearson, the American-based parent company of Edexcel, is to use computers to "read" and assess essays for international English tests in a move that has fueled speculation that GCSEs and A-levels will be next. ... Pearson claims this will be more accurate than human marking. 'Can computers now understand all the subtle nuances of language, or are people going to have to learn an especially bland form of English to pass exams?"
For my Forensics students
Sept. 25, 2009
Digital Fingerprints Led Feds to Zazi
Investigators Followed a Digital Path to Track Down the Incriminating Evidence on Suspected Terrorist
… As you read the indictment and order for permanent detention you can almost picture the various connected databases and monitoring techniques at work. Simply put, Internet surveillance and information technology sleuthing played a big role in the Zazi case. FBI agents arrested Zazi in Colorado.
Jeffrey Knox, an assistant U.S. attorney, tells the tale in the permanent detention document.
For my statistics students. NOW do you see why I used that test question? (and yes, it is the auditor in me!)
Math Indicates Pollster Is Forging Results
Posted by Soulskill on Friday September 25, @08:25PM from the lies-damned-lies-and-statistics dept.
An anonymous reader writes
"Nate Silver suggests the political pollster Strategic Vision is 'cooking the books. And whoever is doing so is doing a pretty sloppy job.' Silver crunched five years worth of their polling data, and found their reported results followed a suspicious pattern which traditionally suggests fraud. The five-year distribution of the numbers 'is not random. It's not close to random.' The polling firm had already been reprimanded by the American Association for Public Opinion Research for failing to disclose their methodology, though the firm argues they did comply with the organization's request. Their response to Silver's accusation? ' We have a call in to our attorney on this and fully intend to take action that will vindicate us.'"
[From the article:
Blogger Nate Silver crunched over four years of data from the firm's polls -- and says he's discovered the pollster's most-commonly reported numbers end in either a seven or an eight. "Over a sample of more than 5,000 data points, such an outcome occurring by chance alone would be an incredible fluke," Silver argues, "millions to one against."
It's not all free, but any site with 152 listings for “covert surveillance” has to be worth a look.
GetABest.com - Find & Download Software Online
Are you looking for free Web 2.0 software downloads and don’t know exactly where to head to in order to achieve that aim? If that is so, then this site will most likely point you in the right direction. In principle, it acts as a directory of such software, split into a wealth of categories including “Business”, “Home & Hobby”, “Education” and so forth.
Most interesting. I'd like to see this applied to our online class “Forums” to organize the comments. Be sure to watch the video!
Washington Post Develops Visual, Web-like Commenting System
Posted by Patrick Thornton at 6:15 AM on Sep. 1, 2009
Washingtonpost.com has developed a new commenting interface dubbed "WebCom" that arranges comments in a web based on which ones are most-liked by readers and spur the most discussion.
I need to work with this, but if it will allow me to store cites in APA Style, I'm hooked!
iCyte: Capture Web Pages And Highlight Text In A Flash
Sep. 25th, 2009 By Dean Sherwin
… iCyte is a browser add-on that allows you to capture web pages, highlight text and save it to your account.
… Go to the web page you would like to save. If there is text on the page of particular relevant to you then highlight it using the mouse as you would if your were going to Copy & Paste. While the text is highlighted, click the iCyte button along the top of the browser in the iCyte toolbar. A window will open.
He invented global warming, no reason he shouldn't make a buck on it... (...and no doubt the Fins can develop a car easier and better than Detroit.) Anyone want to “develop” a golf cart for commuting?
$529M Gov't Loan To Develop $89,000 Hybrid Sports Car
Posted by Soulskill on Saturday September 26, @10:16AM from the please-tell-me-it-has-lasers dept.
"The WSJ reports that a tiny car company backed by former VP Al Gore has just gotten a $529M US government loan to help build an $89,000 hybrid sports car in Finland. The award this week to California startup Fisker Automotive follows an earlier $465M government loan to Tesla Motors, purveyors of a $109,000 British-built electric Roadster. Fisker's other investors (PDF) include the Al Gharaffa Investment Co., a Cayman Islands corporation."