Monday, November 15, 2010

Interesting. Sounds like a scare piece to convince students not to download copyrighted works. Why not educate the students? (First let's educate the administration – not all downloads are illegal.)

New software traces illegal downloads on campus

Date: Nov 11th, 2010

VSU has new software that traces student use of illegal downloading systems to individual computers.

Over this past summer, “Ares,” a new P2P program/protocol became popular among college students. Ares allows its users to evade school network controls that limit P2P use.

The University System of Georgia increased efforts to identify the users of this software.

In previous years, VSU’s network could detect P2P software but could not pinpoint individuals. [Software can tell you which machine is being used, but not who sits at the keyboard. Bob]

The rebuilding of VSU’s Hallnet in August abled it to track and isolate individual computers using P2P providers, like LimeWire and FrostWire.

Once individuals are identified, VSU hands responsibility over to police. Users can face felony punishments, including a possible prison sentence of up to five years and fine of up to $250,000 per offense.

As an institution of higher learning, we will take an educational approach to the problem and use approved campus procedures to reach appropriate resolutions,” Joe Newton, director of Information Technology, said.

VSU students caught using P2P software will be discplined by both police and the school.

We are working together, IT, Student Affairs, with the Student Conduct Office to define and propose a process to be approved by shared governance (SGA, etc) that will include sanctions for violation of VSU and USG AUP policies,”Newton said.

These penalties are being met with harsh words from students.

Elizabeth Rugen, sophomore Spanish major, was adamant in her opinion that to call music downloads from LimeWire or FrostWire “illegal” is attacking only one branch of the tree.

People can also download books, and nobody cares if people use copyrighted pictures for their wallpapers, because it’s so easy,” she said.

Ben Skender, junior mass media major, agreed with Rugen’s opinion and didn’t see the problem with downloading at all.

The means of acquiring it may not be right,” he said, “but if you’re just listening to the music and not selling bootleg album copies, then why is there a problem?”

(Related) MakeUseOf runs an article pointing to these freebies every week.

10 Free MP3 Albums To Download [Sound Sunday]

Interesting take. What does justify offering different rates (or prices) to different customers. I'd say credit history is one factor, but what beyond that? When can Behavioral Advertising go beyond selecting a more targeted ad?

Browser Snobbery As Objective Privacy Harm

November 14, 2010 by Dissent

Ryan Calo writes:

UPDATE: As told to Jules Polonetsky over at The Future of Privacy Forum, Capital One was engaging in “totally random” rate changes that were not related to browser type. On the other hand, according to the Wall Street Journal, Capital One was at one point using [x+1] data to calibrate what credit card offers to show.

The other day, I suggested that the facts of the Clementi suicide may perfectly illustrate why no actual transfer of information is necessary for someone to suffer a severe subjective privacy harm. (Thanks to TechDirt and PogoWasRight for the write ups.)

Just now I learned about an allegation against Capital One that the company offered someone a different lending rate on the basis of what browser he used (Chrome vs. Firefox). A similar allegation was made against Amazon, which apparently used cookies for a time to calibrate the price of DVDs.

Here you have a clear objective privacy harm: your information (browser type) is being used adversely in a tangible and unexpected way. It matters not at all whether a human being sees the information or whether a company knows “who you are.” Neither personally identifying information, nor the revelation of information to a person, is necessary for there to be a privacy harm.

Okay, I haven’t had enough coffee yet today and I’m exhausted from a trip to Atlanta, but I’m having a tough time grokking how this situation has anything to do with privacy at all.

I have no doubt that there’s a negative impact of information based on browser or cookie as described above, but are we now equating “information” with “privacy?” People connect to a web site generally understand that the site they visit can detect what browser they’re using and a whole slew of other information. I don’t consider most of that information “private” information. Where you were before you visited the site (referral url) should be private, as should IP (in my opinion, anyway), but the other stuff? I don’t see it.

If someone discriminates against you because they know your race, creed, gender, religion, etc., is that necessarily an “objective privacy harm” just because it is based on a personal factor or characteristic? Don’t we need to distinguish between “personal information,” “private information,” and “privacy?” And if we don’t, then we run the risk of having to conclude that any unequal treatment of people based on any information about them or their belongings is a “privacy harm,” which could make the whole notion of “privacy harm” so broad as to be totally useless.

Ryan, if I’m missing something in your argument, please clarify, but I don’t see where the differential rates based on browser type is *any* type of “privacy harm” even though it is economically disadvantageous or unfair in some sense.

(Related) We come back to: “If you paint your name on your mailbox, do you still have an expectation that it is private?”

It’s not a privacy ‘breach’ when information about you is out there already

November 14, 2010 by Dissent

Rob Pegoraro writes:

The social network is in the doghouse for the misuse of some users’ data by applications it installed on their pages. The Web-services giant earned itself multiple government investigations – including an inquiry launched by the Federal Communications Commission on Wednesday – for collecting data from people’s wireless networks as part of its Street View mapping project.

Both of these episodes show that we need to upgrade how we think about privacy online – starting with the vocabulary we use.

The Facebook and Google issues have both been called “breaches.” But they’re not. The information at stake in each case was already public by any meaningful definition. It would have remained public no matter how good or evil the two companies had been.

Read more in the Washington Post.

This is a great idea. I wish the author had not just read his talk. This is useful stuff and should be more enthusiastically presented.

Foley & Lardner’s Privacy College–Podcast Number 1

November 14, 2010 by Dissent

Andy Serwin writes:

This is the first in a series of podcasts regarding privacy and information security. This podcast provides an introduction to privacy, as well as a discussion of social media.

Here are links to the podcast, and the slides.

Additional Materials.

There are a number of law review and other articles to read if you are interested in some of the topics that are discussed in the podcast.

Read more on Privacy & Security Source.

Yeah, the rules say you can opt out, but rules are made to be broken made up on the spot.

TSA ejects Oceanside man from airport for refusing security check

November 14, 2010 by Dissent

Robert J. Hawkins reports:

John Tyner won’t be pheasant hunting in South Dakota with his father-in-law any time soon.

Tyner was simultaneously thrown out of San Diego International Airport on Saturday morning for refusing to submit to a security check and threatened with a civil suit and $10,000 fine if he left.

And he got the whole thing on his cell phone. Well, the audio at least.

Read more on SignOnSanDiego

A new compartment of Technology Law?: “You don't really own the things you buy from us. Therefore we can do anything we want.” (Okay, we need a better name for it...)

Windows Phone Permanently Modifies MicroSD Cards, Warns Samsung

Posted by timothy on Sunday November 14, @01:33PM

"Don't put your MicroSD cards into Windows Phones. According to Samsung, doing so is a 'permanent modification' to the card, and it can no longer be used in other devices."

(Related) Disclosing capabilities could frighten customers away, so we don't reveal long term plans. Is “We are not...” the same as, “We can not...” or “We will not...”? I think not...

Kinect’s camera could record data for advertisers

November 15, 2010 by Dissent

Molly McHugh reports:

Microsoft has hinted at the Kinect’s ability to help advertises target its users by feeding them demographic data, but is it just an idea, or will future users be watched?

Everyone who’s attempted any of the dance or sports games for Kinect knows about that horrible part where the game shows you…you. That motion sensor you think you’re controlling? It records everything you’ve been doing, and much to your chagrin, shows you the embarrassing footage.

Apparently it’s more than just embarrassing users, it’s spying on them – or rather, might in the future.

Read more on Digital Trends.

There’s more over on The Escapist:

Microsoft has moved to assuage fears that Kinect might do more than just let you play games.

Microsoft has issued a statement saying that it isn’t using Kinect to collect information about users so that it can personalize advertising content. This comes after Dennis Durkin, who is the COO and CFO of Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business, suggested that that was exactly what the Kinect hardware could be used for.

I am not amused...

WhereMyMoneyGoes: Know Where Your Taxes Go

Where My Money Goes is a simple website that breaks down your annual tax bill and shows where your money is being spent across different government projects.

Similar Tools: VisualEconomics, TaxACT, and CalcMoolator.

A great book requires a bit of research... One of my “most influential” books.

NSA Adds Kahn Collection To Cryptologic Museum

Posted by timothy on Sunday November 14, @11:23AM

"The Baltimore Sun reports that as recently as the late 1960s, the very existence of the National Security Agency was a closely held secret until a New York newspaper reporter named David Kahn published The Codebreakers, a 1,200-page blockbuster that would establish Kahn as the world's leading expert on the history of cryptology, the art and science of making and breaking codes. 'According to my editor, the NSA director flew up to New York to say it would be dangerous to national security, and unpatriotic, to publish it,' says Kahn. Fast forward 43 years and now the NSA has announced it has added the David Kahn Collection to the library of its public anteroom, the National Cryptologic Museum — complete with more than 130,000 pages of original interview notes and 2,800 books. 'For those who care about cryptology — what it is, how it works, where it fits into world history and culture — at some point, [they'd] want to look at the Kahn collection,' says curator Patrick Weadon. 'It's an eclectic cornucopia of all things cryptological.'"

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