Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Google is still denying India access to g-mail, but I wonder if that protection will last long.

RIM buckles on India’s Blackberry encryption pressure

December 21, 2010 by Dissent

Research in Motion has bowed to the Indian government at last. It told the home ministry that it will comply with the 31 January deadline to provide a “final solution” – you what!? – for lawful access to its data services.

This will be done by giving ministers access to the records over a cloud based system which will not involve an “overseas data path.”


Something for my Computer Security students to consider...

The smartphone that spies, and other surprises

The invasion of consumer-oriented smartphones and now tablets into business is old news. But we're beginning to see unintended consequences of the adoption of such devices that users, businesses, and mobile platform providers should pay attention to. For example, the U.S. Army has begun educating soldiers on how to turn off the often automatic location-detection capabilities in their smartphones and digital cameras so that they don't inadvertently reveal their locations to enemy fighters or spies.

The easy reaction would be to ban such devices to eliminate the risks, but of course, that also eliminates the benefits.

… The U.S. Army's measured reaction is a better example of how to address the issue; the Army realizes that letting soldiers stay in touch with loved ones when away from home is good for morale

… Most of the problematic devices are designed primarily for consumer usage, and today that usage is biased toward unfettered sharing.

… More and more social networking apps, such as Foursquare and Facebook, track and publish your current location -- courtesy of your smartphone -- so that your online friends can know where you are,

… The use of mobile management tools can help, as they can disable cameras and so forth on several popular devices. The catch is that the devices have to be actually managed -- a person who brings in a personal device and never accesses the corporate network won't ever get managed by IT's mobile management tool. Plus, even for managed devices, the tools today aren't sophisticated enough to, say, disallow use of the camera within the employer facilities but allow it elsewhere, to prevent only problematic photo-taking.

Mobile device makers should play a stronger role. Although the devices may have been intended for consumer use, the lines between personal and business have all but disappeared, and device makers should design their wares with that merger in mind. Most don't even think about the business implications, as they consider the devices to be consumer electronics.

TX: KISD coaches outed student – lawsuit

December 22, 2010 by Dissent

James Draper reprots:

The mother of a Kilgore High School senior is suing the school and several of its employees in federal court, alleging that her daughter’s right to privacy was violated when she was forced to disclose her sexual orientation.

The Texas Civil Rights Project, based out of Austin, is handling the suit pro bono and filed on behalf of Barbara Wyatt for her daughter, Skye, with the U.S. District Court in Tyler on Monday.


For the complete text of the lawsuit, visit

Read more in the Kilgore News Herald. There seem to be two main issues – how the student was “interrogated” by staff about her sexual orientation and then the fact that the staff disclosed the orientation to the student’s parent.

[From the article:

According to the lawsuit, the coaches questioned the girl about her sexual orientation and her relationship with a girl from another school. Later, the suit claims, the coaches informed Barbara Wyatt that her daughter was a lesbian. They told her, she said, teachers are required by law to notify parents of the sexual orientation of their children [“I am required to inform you that your child is a practicing heterosexual.” Really? Bob]

You don't have to be a teacher...

Grapholite: Free Flowcharting Program Online

Grapholite is a free to use website that helps users create a wide variety of drawings and diagrams. Through its numerous tools you can easily create flowcharts; there are built-in shapes and other objects that particularly assist flowchart creation.

The drawing tools and different color options provided can be used to not only create flowcharts, but other diagrams as well, such as floor plans. You can save the diagrams on your computer in Grapholite’s own GRL file format and load them up later for further editing; alternatively you can export the diagrams to a PNG or JPG file.

Similar tools: Cacoo, SimpleDiagrams, Creately, Diagramo, ModelXtractor, LovelyCharts and Depicter.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

7 Visually Appealing Ways to Publish Documents Online

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