Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Privacy Foundation brochure for their seminar on the “Legal Implications of Internet Advertising” has been added to their website:

Identity theft: “So easy, even a politician can do it?” I wonder if this will be the basis for yet another “Attack ad?”

MA: Court papers allege Cahill camp laptops stolen

October 13, 2010 by admin

Dave Wedge reports on allegations that laptops containing personal information of campaign donors were stolen for political purposes:

Laptops containing personal information of Tim Cahill donors were reported stolen from aides to Paul Loscocco just days before the supporters received requests for contributions to the Charlie Baker campaign, a top Cahill aide claims in new court papers.

Read more in the Boston Herald.

What kinds of personal information were on the stolen laptops? Was there any donor credit card information on them? Were they left unattended? Have they been recovered? Anyone know or have the court papers?

You can't manage it if you don't know it exists...

Feds Discover 1,000 More Government Data Centers

Posted by CmdrTaco on Wednesday October 13, @10:54AM

"The US government has 2,094 data centers, nearly 1,000 more than previous estimates, according to an updated inventory by federal agencies. The finding underscores the scope of the challenge facing the Obama administration as it seeks to streamline the government's IT infrastructure in a massive data center consolidation."

Dilbert continues the Master's level class on Privacy and Identity Theft

Now this could become an interesting Ethics case. Should you not sell technology directly to a “repressive regime” (definition left to politicians and media companies?) even if they can buy the same technology off store shelves and “customize” it themselves?

Holding Nokia Responsible for Surveilling Dissidents in Iran

Eddan Katz of EFF issues this call to action in a case mentioned previously on this blog:

EFF has long pointed out that technology companies are complicit in human rights violations when they knowingly sell customized human surveillance technologies to repressive regimes that are then used to target people for arrest, torture, and disappearance. Now a lawsuit filed recently against Nokia Siemens in Virginia by Isa Saharkhiz, an imprisoned Iranian dissident, and his son Mehdi Saharkhiz, brings this issue to the fore. The lawsuit accuses the Nokia Siemens Network of:

“knowingly, negligently and willfully provid[ing] the infamous, abusive and oppressive Iranian government with sophisticated devices for monitoring, eavesdropping, filtering, and tracking mobile phones.”

It doesn't take many stories like this to give an industry a bad name...

Debt collector broke the law by using MySpace photo to intimidate consumer

October 14, 2010 by Dissent

Evan Brown recaps a recent court decision in Minnesota:

Plaintiff fell behind on her car payments. The lender turned the debt over to a collection agency that used technology and some remarkably poor judgment in an attempt to get paid.

The first bad decision was to use a caller-ID spoofer to make it look like the collection call was coming from plaintiff’s mother in law. The next not-smart use of technology was to access plaintiff’s MySpace page, learn that plaintiff had a daughter, and to use that fact to intimidate plaintiff.

Read more about Sohns v. Bramacint on Internet Cases.

For my (future) Stalking 101 class and my Ethical Hackers

Need a new identity? Just steal someone else's

An opportunistic new website by the name of should serve as a wake-up call to Foursquare and other social network users about the potential risks to their privacy and security - especially those who are crazy enough to publish such personal details as their home address. uses publicly-available information posted on social networking site Foursquare to find locations where a number of women are gathering -- from nightclubs to coffee shops. When it finds there's a correlation amongst a number of female Foursquare users it shows where they are and displays their Foursquare profile pictures so would-be stalkers - sorry admirers - can decide if it's worth turning up to 'meet' them.

It also sends the news out over a Twitter feed, for instance: "Bunch of ladies in yoga pants at The New Nail on Chestnut. They are talking about needing to find a man. Jackpot." Indeed.

… By way of illustration, I searched Foursquare for people who had "checked in" their home address -- telling the world exactly where they live and also displaying it on a handy map. I soon found an attractive 20-something year-old advertising agency executive, who had posted the address of her London flat. She had also "checked in" at her workplace, so I also knew where she worked and for whom.

She hadn't posted her full name on Foursquare, but I quickly found that on her Facebook page, along with her date of birth, which University she went to and what she studied. I also found that she likes house and trance music, her favourite film is Sex and the City 2 and she watches Louis Theroux and Come Dine With Me on telly.

I know from her Twitter feed about the trip she made to Paris for a couple of days last week, and where she goes to gym. I know, in fact, what she eats for breakfast, which bus she takes to work and when she is running late. I know that today she's at home in bed, with a heavy cold.

Now why would they want to keep your messages forever...

Facebook users can no longer delete chat history

October 13, 2010 by Dissent

Athima Chansanchai writes:

It’s starting to feel like anyone with anything to hide needs to find better hiding spots. For instance, people trying to keep their Facebook chats from prying eyes best find another IM program, because they can no longer erase chat history.

I discovered this while chatting the other day. Anyone who’s ever IM’d knows those conversations can go all over the place, and frankly, I like to think of each conversation as a fresh start.

Read more on MSNBC.

(Related) ...Oh, now I get it. (They even have the entire PowerPoint presentation in the article.)

Inside the Government’s Facebook Spy Operation

October 13, 2010 by Dissent

Ryan Tate writes:

Federal agents are infiltrating social networks via sneaky friend requests and monitoring them via a special command center, according to documents obtained by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Who cares? Well, prospective citizens, for one.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services published a memo, below, encouraging agents to exploit the “narcissistic tendencies” of Facebook users and to “friend” prospective citizens on the social network, hoping targets wouldn’t realize they’d let a federal agent investigate their profiles for evidence of fraud, like a sham marriage.

Read more on Gawker.

Very interesting response.

Big Media Wants More Piracy Busting From Google

Posted by samzenpus on Wednesday October 13, @07:03PM

"Last month, executives from two music-industry trade groups, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), asked Google if it could provide a means to help them track down pirated material more efficiently. Typically, copyright owners are responsible for finding pirated links and alerting Google, which is required by law to quickly remove the links. But Google's response raised eyebrows at some of the labels. James Pond, a Google manager, wrote in a letter dated September 20, that Google would be happy to help — for a price."

For my Ethical Hackers

Interesting Facts You Might Not know About SPAM [Infographic]

For my Ethical Hackers – So maybe the homework project was impossible. Okay, I'll change your grades.

The US electrical grid is too crappy to be vulnerable to terrorist attack, say physicists

Basically, the grid was set up so haphazardly that you'd have to take out a major node before you'd affect the entire thing. (Want to see a map of the US electrical grid? Check out this one on NPR.)

Science Daily sums up:

[The] electric grid is probably more secure that many people realize — because it is so unpredictable. This, of course, makes it hard to improve its reliability (in another line of research, Hines has explored why the rate of blackouts in the United States hasn't improved in decades), but the up-side of this fact is that it would be hard for a terrorist to bring large parts of the grid down by attacking just one small part.

Think this will work?

CarWoo Takes the Cheap Suit Out Of Car Sales

Here’s how it works. Shoppers pay a fee to CarWoo and select the car they want. Depending upon which plan they choose, CarWoo will facilitate quotes from two to five nearby dealerships. Buyers are free to negotiate the final price, but rather sitting in some cubicle while the saleman makes repeated trips to “talk to the manager,” it all happens anonymously online. The process is transparent, and both the buyer and the dealers involved see all of the offers that come in.

Think of it as eBay in reverse.

Buyers indicate how much they’re willing to pay and sellers decide whether the offer is acceptable. Dealers can see the negotiations in real time and — if they are able — can undercut their competitors directly to offer the best price. Company spokeswoman Renee Blodgett said CarWoo has about 3,200 dealers participating nationwide, with 50 more added each week.

For my Math classes... And the Accounting students. Produce some very interesting graphics too.

5 Free Calculator Apps If You Aren’t Happy With The Windows Calculator

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