PA Laptop Spying Inspires FSF Crowdsourcing Effort
Posted by timothy on Saturday March 13, @08:37AM
"Creeped out by the Lower Merion School District's remote monitoring of students? Check out the Free Software Foundation's response to the laptop spying scandal and help build a wiki listing of school districts that provide students with laptops, so that the FSF can campaign against mandatory, proprietary laptops."
[From the article:
The case of administrators in the Lower Merion School District (LMSD) spying on students through mandatory, school-provided laptops struck a chord with bloggers (Boing Boing, Gizmodo) and traditional news outlets (NPR, Reuters). The most in-depth source on this so far has been Stryde's investigation. We have two reactions (one emotional and one more circumspect) and a plan to fight this trend, for which we'll need your help.
… Our second reaction--the more circumspect one--is that the real scandal here is the mandatory imposition of computers that students don't control. This may not be as lurid a violation of freedom as a remote-activated webcam in a teenager's bedroom, but it is the most central. Once people use computers they don't completely control, that provides both a technical basis and a social/political slippery slope for sleazy sysadmins leering at your kids--or any other violation you can imagine.
How Security is (mis-)managed by the UK's version of the NSA. Note how familiar these “Worst Practices” are...
UK Intel Agency's Missing Laptops Might Contain Sensitive Data
Posted by timothy on Saturday March 13, @06:49AM
"GCHQ lost 35 laptops in one year, potentially containing highly sensitive data. The UK's electronic spy centre was today lambasted by MPs for having a 'cavalier' attitude to data security. The centre is responsible for tracking the electronic communications of terrorists. In a new report, the Commons Intelligence and Security Committee expressed concern that GCHQ appeared to be entirely unaware whether or not the computers, lost in 2008, contained top secret information on people posing an imminent security threat to the country."
[From the article:
The MPs said GCHQ’s “haphazard” monitoring system was the cause of its lack of awareness on what data was on the machines. GCHQ acknowledged “the state of the records” to the Guardian newspaper, but said there was so far no evidence the material had ended up in the wrong hands. [“...and we've been carefully examining the Times' classified ads because we're sure the terrorists will brag about this.” Bob]
With the move to put Health Records “in the Cloud,” we can expect this type of breach from anywhere in the world. Let's form NASCAL (National Association of Serious Class Action Lawyers)before someone else thinks of it! “Gentlemen, start your lawsuits!”
Security breach at Atlanta VA hospital under investigation
By Dissent, March 12, 2010 9:36 pm
Craig Schneider has some more information on the breach at the Atlanta VA Medical Center:
The U.S. Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General has launched a criminal investigation into a security breach of veterans’ medical information at the Atlanta Veterans Administration Medical Center, according to an internal document obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
In late December, the physician assistant revealed to a VA nurse scientist that she had been recording clinical data from patient encounters on her personal laptop, the document said. The worker asked the nurse if she could use the data for “research purposes” not related to the VA.
The nurse replied that such work was not permitted and asked the worker to destroy the data.
“After multiple follow-up conversations and receiving no confirmation from the (physician’s assistant) that she had destroyed the data, the nurse scientist notified the … compliance officer of the issue on 2/8/10,” the document said.
The physician assistant, hired in October of 2009, resigned effective Feb. 28.
Read more in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
[From the article:
The document said there are reportedly two sets of patient information involved -- one that includes more than 18 years of data, and another that includes up to three years of data.
Fuel for conspiracy theorists? My concern is that reaction is building quietly but steadily, like pressure on a fault zone, and at some point we'll have a Major Quake...
Where’s The Outrage Over The Gov’t Brushing Mass Privacy Violations Under The Rug?
March 13, 2010 by Dissent
Mike Masnick comments:
I have to admit that I’ve been a bit in shock over Congress’s decision to simply renew the Patriot Act, recently, without a single safeguard to protect against abuse. That’s because just before all this happened, we wrote about how a report from the government found (not for the first time) that the FBI regularly abused its authority to get phone records it had no right to. This went well beyond earlier reports of abusing National Security Letters. In this case, the FBI didn’t even bother with NSLs. Instead, sometimes it would just use a post-it note. On top of that, reports came out noting that just weeks before this report was released, the Obama administration issued a ruling with a blanket absolution for the FBI’s activities — basically saying that if the President said it was okay, it was fine.
This is not how our government is supposed to work.
Julian Sanchez has a fantastic article that should be a must read, detailing how Obama went from being a candidate who insisted there would be “no more National Security Letters to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime” because “that is not who we are, and it is not what is necessary to defeat the terrorists,” to one who appears to have no problem regularly spying on citizens and covering it up. President Bush was really bad with warrantless wiretapping and retroactive immunity for telcos — and most people figured Obama would at least be marginally better on that issue. But it’s really scary how the entirety of the federal government doesn’t seem to care much about these blatant privacy abuses — and the public and the press has shrugged them off as well.
Read more on TechDirt.
Attention Finance Majors! Learn how the Big Boys do it!
March 12, 2010
Court Appointed Examiner Issues Extensive Report on Lehman Brothers Collapse
New York Times: "It is the Wall Street equivalent of a coroner’s report — a 2,200-page document that lays out, in new and startling detail, how Lehman Brothers used accounting sleight of hand to conceal the bad investments that led to its undoing. The report [divided into 9 volumes], compiled by an examiner for the bank, now bankrupt, hit Wall Street with a thud late Thursday. The 158-year-old company, it concluded, died from multiple causes. Among them were bad mortgage holdings and, less directly, demands by rivals like JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup, that the foundering bank post collateral against loans it desperately needed. But the examiner, Anton R. Valukas, also for the first time, laid out what the report characterized as “materially misleading” accounting gimmicks that Lehman used to mask the perilous state of its finances. The bank’s bankruptcy, the largest in American history, shook the financial world. Fears that other banks might topple in a cascade of failures eventually led Washington to arrange a sweeping rescue for the nation’s financial system."
Related postings on financial system
For my website students and for grabbing videos on the topics I teach...
YouTube Guide: Best YouTube Tips, Hacks & Resources
(Related) Short slide show listing free stuff for teachers (Lists of Free stuff? I'm there!)
Best of the Ed Tech Freebies AMATYC 2009
For my Advanced website students, and a few talented beginners...
An Ecosystem Is Born: Animoto Opens Up API
by Leena Rao on Mar 13, 2010
We’re big fans of Animoto, a website that lets you easily create photo and video slideshows matched to music. The site is constantly innovating its nifty product, most recently adding an iPhone app and the ability to incorporate video. For those not familiar with Animoto, the startup basically allows you to take your images, video and your music and mash them together to create cool videos. What makes the videos cool is the company’s technology that renders the pictures so they’re in-step with the music you’ve chosen, adding nice transition effects. This morning, Animoto is opening up its API, allowing partners to now incorporate Animoto’s compelling technologies into independent sites
Cue the background music! Light the fuse! (Note the SIMPLE message encryption tool.)
ThisMessageWillSelfDestruct.com - Send Secure Messages
Fans of the classic TV show “Mission: Impossible” will be able to relive one of its most-enduring pop culture elements through this service. Named “This Message Will Self Destruct”, this site will empower you to send out an e-mail message that will be deleted upon being delivered and read just once by the recipient.
For my Hackers and my Computer Security students (even if that sounds repetitious and redundant)
The dark side of the web
Posted on 13 Mar 2010 at 14:22
Google sees only a fraction of the content that appears on the internet. Stuart Andrews finds out what's lurking in the deep web