L. Merion to let parents see secretly snapped photos
By John P. Martin and Dan Hardy Inquirer Staff Writers Posted on Sat, Apr. 17, 2010
The president of the Lower Merion school board said Friday that investigators had retrieved "a substantial number" of photos secretly snapped by laptops the district gave its high school students, and that officials were arranging for parents whose children were photographed to see the pictures in private.
In his strongest terms since the furor began over the laptop-tracking program two months ago, board president David Ebby also said district officials "deeply regret the mistakes and misguided actions" that have given rise to a lawsuit, a federal criminal inquiry, a call for new privacy legislation, and a wave of national publicity.
But Ebby said Lower Merion's continuing internal investigation had found no evidence that its employees used the technology for "inappropriate" purposes. [“mistakes and misguided actions” are appropriate? Bob]
… And U.S. Attorney Michael Levy, in a letter sent Friday, asked the judge presiding over the Robbinses' civil case to let FBI agents start analyzing the district's computers and the photos they collected. U.S. District Judge Jan E. DuBois has previously ruled that only lawyers for the Robbinses and the schools should see such evidence.
… In his latest motion, the Robbins family's attorney, Mark S. Haltzman, said that during two weeks in the fall, the tracking system on the Apple MacBook that Robbins took home captured more than 400 images of the 15-year-old and his family members - including shots of Blake asleep in bed. [Is there a legal definition of “enough?” Or any guidance provided by the school, state or federal law, or even common sense? Bob]
Judge restricts access to L. Merion laptop photos
By John P. Martin Inquirer Staff Writer Posted on Thu, Apr. 15, 2010
… The order was faxed to 17 lawyers - a reflection of how the case has grown
… Once turned on, the camera - intended to track lost or stolen laptops - secretly snapped a photo, captured an image of the computer's screen, [First time I've seen that... Bob] recorded the laptop's Internet address, and repeated these events every 15 minutes until it was turned off.
… District officials have not said exactly how many students were photographed or monitored, or how often. [A good question because (if the laptops were stolen) one would hope no students appeared in the photos. Bob]
Now you too can violate student/employee rights! FOR FREE!
Prey helps you locate your missing laptop by sending timed reports with a bunch of information of its whereabouts. This includes the general status of the computer, a list of running programs and active connections, fully-detailed network and wifi information, a screenshot of the running desktop and — in case your laptop has an integrated webcam — a picture of the thief.
Most of these are small. But if you're “on the list” it would have been nice to have been contacted. What
excuse criteria did they use to ignore the breach notification requirements?
100 more breaches you probably never knew about in 2009
95 new breaches in 2010 that didn’t make the news
Well here's a truly vague, non-monetary not-quite-penalty! Let that be a lesson to ya – no need to protect data if your lawyer is a better negotiator than the AG. (Actually, it is almost impossible to protect data from an authorized insider. Detection is all you can guarantee.)
Attorney General Reaches Settlement with Certegy Check Services over Data Breach
April 16, 2010 by admin
Attorney General Bill McCollum today announced a settlement with a financial services company over allegations the company did not provide adequate data security for consumer records. Certegy Check Services, Inc., a St. Petersburg-based company, experienced a massive data breach which exposed personal identification information from approximately 5.9 million consumer files. Under the settlement, the company will ensure that safeguards are in place to protect consumer data.
Certegy Check Services, Inc., a related company, Fidelity National Card Services, and subsidiaries of Fidelity National Information Services, Inc., reported in July 2007 that customer data had been stolen by a former company employee.
… In addition to the compliance standards, Certegy will contribute $125,000 to the Attorney General’s Seniors vs. Crime Program for educational, investigative and crime prevention programs for the benefit of senior citizens and the community and will pay $850,000 for the state’s investigative costs and attorney’s fees.
Police have bureaucracies too.
Recovered: Stolen data on 3 million student loan borrowers
April 16, 2010 by admin
Paul Walsh reports:
Stolen personal information on more than 3 million student loan borrowers was recovered in connection with the discovery in a Minneapolis alley of two safes containing CDs and floppy discs and sat in a police evidence room for weeks before authorities knew just what they had, state officials said Friday.
The 200-pound safes, pried open, were found March 22 in a residential alley in the 3500 block of Knox Avenue N. by a landlord in the neighborhood and then taken by police to the department’s evidence room for later inspection, said Andy Skoogman, spokesman for the state Department of Public Safety. All 650 or so CDs and floppy discs, still in their original packaging, were found in the trash nearby.
Read more in the Star Tribune.
[From the article:
… stolen sometime over the March 20-21 weekend
… The Star Tribune reported the burglary March 27 in a front-page story
… Despite that publicity, Minneapolis police didn't realize until April 12 that they had recovered the data, officials said.
… The BCA lab in St. Paul is looking at the safes and their contents for additional evidence. When that analysis is complete, the U.S. Department of Education office of inspector general will review the digital media as a precaution to definitively determine whether data was compromised. [This is not possible. If they make a statement to that effect, can a victim sue their pants off? Bob]
Another legal first!
Spam Suspect Uses Google Docs, FBI Happy
April 16, 2010 by Dissent
Kevin Poulsen reports:
FBI agents targeting alleged criminal spammers last year obtained a trove of incriminating documents from a suspect’s Google Docs account, in what appears to be the first publicly acknowledged search warrant benefiting from a suspect’s reliance on cloud computing.
The warrant, issued August 21 in the Western District of New York, targeted Levi Beers and Chris de Diego, the alleged operators of a firm called Pulse Marketing, which was suspected of launching a deceptive e-mail campaign touting a diet supplement called Acai Pure. The warrant demanded the e-mail and “all Google Apps content” belonging to the men, according to a summary in court records.
Read more on Threat Level.
“Write you password on a sticky-note and leave it where students can find it” is not a Best Practice. (Interesting that a teacher can't change grades...)
Police called after 9-year-old steals password
By Robert McMillan April 16, 2010 08:06 PM ET
IDG News Service - A few weeks ago, officials at Fairfax County Public Schools thought they had a hacker on their hands.
Someone was changing teacher passwords on the Falls Church, Virginia, school district's Blackboard system, which is used to give teachers, students and parents a way to communicate and stay on top of homework assignments and class announcements over the Web.
Local police were called; they investigated and traced the incident to the home of a 9-year-old student at the school. Although police initially thought that the Blackboard system had been hacked, it turned out that a Fairfax student -- who has not been identified -- had simply taken a teacher's password from a desk and used it to change enrollment lists and other teachers' passwords.
"This was a case where an individual ... got hold of a teacher's password, and the passwords had administrative rights," said Paul Regnier, a school board spokesman.
The student was able to enroll teachers in classes, and when he did so he could modify their passwords on the Blackboard system, but there wasn't much more he could do, Blackboard representatives said. The intruder couldn't, for example, change grades or access other machines on the school's system.
… . "It was actually not a hack, unless you consider the fact that the 9-year-old took the teacher's username and password from the desk a hack," said Michael Stanton, Blackboard's senior vice president of corporate affairs.
Password Tattoos To Keep Pacemakers Safer From Hackers
Some pacemakers are accessible wirelessly for reprogramming, but the trouble is that this easy access could be abused maliciously. [Attention hacking students! Bob] Sure, passwords would keep the devices safer from such intrusions, but the patient could forget or lose those. Solution? Password tattoos.
By tattooing passwords onto patients with ink that can only be seen under a UV light, doctors would have an easily accessible password in case of an emergency and patients would have an additional layer of security protecting their medical gadgets.
Sour grapes – but at least there is no troublesome precedent...
Yahoo Beats Feds in E-Mail Privacy Battle
By David Kravets April 16, 2010 1:52 pm
Yahoo prevailed Friday over Colorado federal prosecutors in a legal battle testing whether the Constitution’s warrant requirements apply to Americans’ e-mail.
Saying the contested e-mail “would not be helpful to the government’s investigation,” (.pdf) the authorities withdrew demands for e-mail in a pending and sealed criminal case. For the moment, the move ends litigation over the hotly contested issue of when a warrant under the Fourth Amendment is required for Yahoo and other e-mail providers to release consumer communications to the authorities.
Now mom & dad can be Big Brother too!
McGruff SafeGuard – A Free Spy Software Download To Monitor Your Kids
Would this be an issue if people occasionally paid attention to their security?
ClamAV Forced Upgrade Breaks Email Servers
Posted by kdawson on Friday April 16, @01:35PM
An anonymous reader writes
"A couple of weeks ago Sourcefire announced end-of-life for version 0.94 of its free ClamAV antivirus package (and in fact has been talking about it for six months). The method that Sourcefire chose to retire 0.94 was to shut down the server that provided its service. Those who had failed to upgrade are scrambling now. Many systems have no choice but to disable virus checking in order to continue to process email. I am very glad I saw the announcement last week!"
To doubt Climate data is to doubt that government is spending you tax dollars wisely. Of course you will be
Now being a skeptic will expose you to police investigation?
April 16, 2010 by Dissent
Donna Bowater reports:
The university embroiled in the scandal over leaked climate change emails has sparked outrage by handing the personal details of climate change sceptics (sic) to police.
The University of East Anglia claimed it had been deluged with requests from sceptics under the Freedom of Information Act shortly before hacked emails were published which appeared to show scientists manipulating climate change data.
But the university has angered privacy campaigners after passing on the details of those asking for information to Norfolk Police, which is investigating the alleged email theft with the National Domestic Extremism Unit.
Another, businessman Sebastian Nokes, said he had been called by a detective who “wanted to know what computer I used, my internet service provider, and also to which political parties I have belonged, what I feel about climate change and what my qualifications in climate science are. He questioned me at length.”
Read more on Express.co.uk
[From the article:
Detectives are interviewing all those who legally used the FOI Act to request information from the Climatic Research Unit, questioning them about their scientific and political beliefs.
Headlines will now read: “REDACTED found guilty!”
Missouri considers restricting access to court records
April 17, 2010 by Dissent
Chris Blank reports:
More information about people involved in the court system could be kept private under new rules being considered by a committee of Missouri judges.
The changes would cover civil and criminal cases and affect the release of personal information through the state court system’s online Casenet public database.
Under the proposed rules, online case records would show only the city, state and ZIP code for criminal defendants and those involved in civil lawsuits. Currently, those records contain full addresses.
Read more on KansasCity.com.
(Related) Compare the previous article to this one.
Illinois makes millions by selling personal records
April 17, 2010 by Dissent
Chris Essig reports:
This year’s census has some citizens fearing they are giving away too much personal information to the federal government.
But in Illinois, state officials already sell personal information to insurance companies, federal and state government agencies and others, raking in millions of dollars along the way.
Personal information found on driver’s licenses, driving records, vehicle registration and insurance documentation is available to not only law enforcement, but other outlets as well. The Secretary of State’s office holds the information and charges a fee of $12 per record to companies who wish to look at the data.
Last year, the state made $61.1 million selling personal information. In 2007, the Secretary of State’s office received $64.3 million, while in 2008 it brought in $63.9 million.
The majority of the income comes from insurance companies that primarily request information to determine if they wish to cover someone and what rates to set, said Henry Haupt, spokesman for the secretary of state’s office.
Read more in the Quad-City Times.
Politically, I suspect it would be difficult to reverse software patents – if for no other reason than the great reduction in campaign contributions.
Is the Tide Turning On Patents?
Posted by Soulskill on Friday April 16, @05:05PM
Glyn Moody writes
"The FSF has funded a new video, 'Patent Absurdity: how software patents broke the system,' freely available (of course) in Ogg Theora format (what else?). It comes at a time when a lot is happening in the world of patents. Recent work from leading academics has called into question their basis: 'The work in this paper, and that of many others, suggests that this traditionally-struck "devil's bargain" may not be beneficial.' We recently discussed how a judge struck down Myriad Genetics's patents on two genes because they involved a law of Nature, and were thus 'improperly granted.' Meanwhile, the imminent Supreme Court ruling In re Bilski is widely expected to have negative knock-on effects for business method and software patents. Is the tide beginning to turn?"
DU ranks 18th in “Part Time Law” – For a second there I thought that meant their graduates were law abiding only some of the time... You know... Politicians!
April 16, 2010
U.S. News and World Reports Ranks Yale Law School Number 1
Best Law Schools: A career in law starts with finding the school that fits you best. With U.S. News’s rankings, narrow your search by location, tuition, school size, and test scores. Plus, see the top schools in specialties such as environmental law, intellectual property law, and tax law."
(Related?) I wonder if there is a relationship between the school these folks graduated from and its ranking. More likely, where they teach is closely related to ranking.
April 16, 2010
National Law Journal Report The Decade's Most Influential Lawyers
"For our annual Most Influential Lawyers special report, the editors of The National Law Journal have selected 40 attorneys in a dozen key legal areas whose work between Jan. 1, 2000, and Dec. 31, 2009, was so consequential that it helped to push the profession, an industry or a practice area substantially forward. The lawyers were selected through our staff's reporting, as well as from more than 100 nominations submitted by the legal community. Associate Editor Leigh Jones valiantly spearheaded the effort, sifting through mounds of material to help us come to our difficult, final decisions."
Your government in action
Ten Thousand Commandments: An Annual Snapshot of the Federal Regulatory State
Federal regulations cost a whopping $1.187 trillion last year in compliance burdens on Americans.