Wednesday, October 20, 2010

This is simply “Behavioral Advertising” (I know it is difficult to believe that politicians are that smart, but their consultants are.)

A Tea Party-Backed Senate Candidate Attempts to Data-mine His Way To Victory in Utah

October 19, 2010 by Dissent

Kashmir Hill of Forbes picks up on a campaign’s use of technology that may irritate privacy-centric voters in Utah:

For the 2010 elections, a Utah Republican running for U.S. Senate may get the nod for most ingenious use of technology. Mike Lee, a corporate lawyer and former Supreme Court clerk for Justice Sam Alito, nailed down the Republican primary with help from the Tea Party. In hopes of winning the election in November, he’s sought help from public information databases.

Lee has generated a little controversy in Utah for data-mining various voter information banks in order to compile a list of names, contact information, and email addresses of people likely to vote for him in November who don’t usually turn out to vote in midterm elections.

Read more on Forbes.

(Related) Politicians are already “self regulating” so why not everyone else?

FTC To Recommend Self-Regulation, Not New Laws Says Commission Member

October 19, 2010 by Dissent

Wendy Davis reports that online ad companies may have escaped government regulation for now:

The Federal Trade Commission’s upcoming report about behavioral advertising will include suggestions for how online ad companies can better protect consumers’ privacy, but won’t recommend that Congress enact new laws, commission member Julie Brill said on Tuesday.

“The Commission isn’t calling for regulation right now,” she said in a speech Tuesday at a privacy conference held by the law firm Proskauer. “We’re talking about a new self-regulatory framework.” [“We call it the “sieve of privacy” Bob]

Read more on Media Post.

(Related) It doesn't look like India has a solution either.

Article: Balancing Online Privacy in India

October 19, 2010 by Dissent

Apar Gupta has an article in Indian Journal of Law and Technology (Vol. 6, pp. 43-64, 2010). Here’s the abstract:

There have been disturbing press reports and articles on the Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008. These accounts broadly wallow about the increase in the police powers of the state. They contend that the amendment grants legal sanction to online surveillance inexorably whittling down internet privacy. This article seeks to examine this prevalent notion. It discovers that legal provisions for online surveillance, monitoring and identification of data have been inserted in a narrow and defined class of circumstances governed by tenuous procedures. At first glance it may seem that these procedures and safeguards by themselves increase the right to privacy. However, on a deeper study it is revealed that they are found wanting due to the nature of internet communications. The article takes a comprehensive look at the state of online privacy in India arising out of the Information Technology Act, 2000.

You can download the full article from SSRN.

Measuring the target? How would anyone find anything in this volume of data without automating the process?

6.1 trillion text messages to be sent in 2010

(Related) Another InfrGraphic

A Visual Look At A Day In The Internet [Infographic]

Once more, Science Fiction predicts the future...

Stealth Android Enterprise Startup 3LM’s $1.5 Million Seed Round And 3 Laws Of Mobility

3LM stands for the Three Laws Of Mobility, which is a play on Isaac Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics, except they are applied to mobile phones instead of robots. The Three Laws of Mobility are

  1. Protect your user. A mobile device may not harm its user or, through inaction, allow its user to come to harm though malicious code or content.

  2. Protect yourself. A mobile device must protect itself and the integrity of its data and secured communications.

  3. Obey. A mobile device must let the user use the device freely, as long as such usage does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

“We've got to DO something,” a siren call for vendors of the “perfect technological solution.”

When it doubt, throw more cameras at it

October 20, 2010 by Dissent

Dean Herbert reports:

A network of secret car number plate recognition cameras could be expanded across Scotland in a bid to combat terrorism, it emerged yesterday.

Ministers are considering plans to hand police more surveillance equipment to counter the “emerging threat” of terrorist attacks.

Plans to increase the use of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras, which were used to track suspects in the Glasgow Airport bombings, come just a day after Prime Minister David Cameron warned that Britain faced a major threat from terror groups such as Al Qaeda.


Big Brother's favorite branch of government?

ACLU VT back in court over warrantless cell phone surveillance

October 19, 2010 by Dissent

From the ACLU of Vermont:

There is a high wall protecting the secrecy of police investigations, and it can be breached in only very limited circumstances, argued a lawyer for the Vermont Attorney General’s Office in Superior Court in Montpelier on Monday.

But if Vermonters can’t get information about how police are conducting investigations, how can citizens make sure investigations are on the up-and-up and constitutional violations aren’t occurring?

That was the gist of the ACLU-VT’s response to the state’s motion for summary judgment in a case over law enforcement use of cell phone data. Since January we’ve been seeking records that might show whether police are tracking individuals’ whereabouts through location data generated by cell phones.

The AG’s office twice denied administrative requests for the records, prompting our lawsuit.

While the state continues to insist records on cell phone tracking data are secret, the superior court has refused to allow a list of the records (a so-called “Vaughn index”) to be sealed, granting the public the first acknowledgment that state law enforcement officers are tracking people’s location via their cell phones without first obtaining a warrant. Instead, an arcane investigation tool called an “inquest” is utilized by prosecutors to issue a subpoena. [Aren't all laws (and legal procedures) “arcane?” i.e. “Known or understood by only a few” Bob] An inquest is secret; the public can’t find out what happens in the proceeding. No jury is present, as at a grand jury proceeding.

Judge Geoffrey Crawford made no ruling on Monday. Instead, he listened to arguments from each side, and took the matter under consideration.

He noted that recently there have been a series of public records requests in the news, and that it appeared the administrative branch of government [i.e. The “Shadow Government” Bob] — not the courts — was deciding where the balance between public and confidential records lay.

He also suggested that the ACLU had already won the case when he ordered a Vaughn index of cell phone data requests be made public. “What more do you want to know?” he asked.

What the ACLU still wants to know is how the determination is made that investigators may access phone records that are otherwise private. There is no guarantee of consistency — no standard for judicial review — governing the granting of access.

Court documents related to ACLU v. Office of the Attorney General are online in the legal docket section of our Web site:

The two documents that the AG failed to have sealed are these:

And we also have online the order from Judge Crawford denying sealing.

For my Ethical Hackers.

Hacker Business Models

Posted by CmdrTaco on Tuesday October 19, @11:56AM

"The industrialized hackers are intent on one goal — making money. They also know the basic rules of the business of increasing revenues while cutting costs. As hackers started making money, the field became full of 'professionals' that inspired organized cyber crime. Similar to industrial corporations, hackers have developed their own business models in order to operate as a profitable organization. What do these business models look like? Data has become the hacker's currency. More data, more money. So the attack logic is simple: the more attacks, the more likely victim — so you automate ..."

(Related) An example of “automated crime”

Judge Clears CAPTCHA-Breaking Case for Criminal Trial

… The case targets a ring of defendants who used various means to bypass CAPTCHA — the squiggly letters and numbers websites display to prove a visitor is human — in order to automatically purchase thousands of tickets from online vendors and resell them to premium customers.

The defendants have been charged with wire fraud and with violating the anti-hacking Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, in an elaborate scheme that allegedly used a network of bots and other deceptive means to bypass CAPTCHA and grab more than 1 million tickets for concerts and sporting events. They made more than $25 million in profits from the resale of the tickets between 2002 and 2009.

Prosecutors alleged that bypassing CAPTCHA constituted unauthorized access of ticket seller servers.

Lawyers for the defendants had filed a motion to dismiss the charges on grounds that the government was trying to turn what should be a breach-of-contract civil matter into a criminal case, potentially increasing “exponentially” the universe of federal crimes.

“This Indictment does not seek to punish computer fraud, it inappropriately tries to regulate the legal secondary market for event ticket sales through an overreaching prosecution,” the defendants argued in their motion.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation filed an amicus brief (.pdf) also urging dismissal of the case.

'cause it's a big world.

October 19, 2010

LC: Help Finding Comparative and International Law

Via Shameema Rahman, Legal Reference Specialist, Library of Congress Public Services Directorate: "The Law Library’s Multinational Collections Database is now the Global Legal Information Catalog (GLIC). GLIC is a research tool for the Library of Congress Collections that interfaces with our library catalog. Why do you need to use it? Say you are looking for the law of a particular country and you had searched the library’s catalog. If you type the jurisdiction and subject as the key terms, your search will only retrieve materials exclusively written on that jurisdiction. However, there are publications on comparative law and publications that include the laws of multiple jurisdictions available at the Law Library. Just using a library catalog search will not retrieve those items. A benefit of GLIC is the list of jurisdictions included. Do you want to know about publications that cover Canadian law? Just click on Canada. Interested in a different jurisdiction? You can then select the jurisdiction of interest. You can also browse by all subjects available. Remember, you can limit your search by subject and/or, author/authors. You can search multiple subjects and multiple jurisdictions at the same time."

For no particular reason.

October 19, 2010

Israel Antiquities Authority, Partner with Google R&D Center in Israel – To Make Dead Sea Scrolls Available Online

News release: "As part of the celebrations on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of its establishment, the Israel Antiquities Authority is launching a unique project – The Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library – to document the entire collection of the Dead Sea Scrolls. A major lead gift from the Leon Levy Foundation, with additional major funding from the Arcadia Foundation and the support of Yad Hanadiv Foundation, will enable the Israel Antiquities Authority to use the most advanced and innovative technologies available to image the entire collection of 900 manuscripts comprising c. 30,000 Dead Sea Scrolls fragments in hi-resolution and multi spectra and make the digitized images freely available and accessible to anyone anywhere in the world on the internet. This is the first time that the collection of Scrolls will be photographed in its entirety since the 1950’s...Click here to download high resolution pictures."

This makes perfect sense if the goal is to monopolize education rather than to educate students. Is the Teachers Union getting more Capitalistic?

Universities pen harsh words to note-selling site

California collegians may be getting a lesson on the limits of sharing.

Students at California state universities are expressing frustration following news that the university system sent a cease-and-desist letter to a new Web site that lets pupils sell their class notes--in violation of California law, the chancellor's office says.

On NoteUtopia, students from about 100 colleges and universities around the country can buy, sell, or simply share their original class notes and reports, as well as handouts, exams released by the professor, [This might be a Copyright issue. Bob] and completed study guides. Students, who can join the 2-month-old site for free, can also collaborate with peers on homework assignments and directly communicate with professors who opt in to the service.

But last month, California State University's Chancellor's Office sent a letter telling 22-year-old NoteUtopia founder and president Ryan Stevens to "immediately cease and desist from selling class notes in California" in accordance with section 66450 (PDF) of the state's education code, which prohibits "any business or person from selling or otherwise distributing or publishing class notes for a commercial purpose."

NSA's child education efforts must have amused someone. See the “annotated” poster at the end of the article...

NSA’s Newest Recruiters: Cartoon-Leopard Twins

An InfoGraphic for my geeks...

The Evolution of the Geek

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