Which privacy laws should apply on the global Internet?
May 8, 2010 by Dissent
Peter Fleischer ponders the complexities:
Given the nature of the Internet, all web services are inherently global. All companies doing business on the Internet rely on the collection, storage and analysis of information generated by users, and all of them are confronted by the lack of consistency in the applicability and content of privacy laws across jurisdictions. So, I’ve struggled with the following three questions:
What are the current rules establishing the application of privacy laws around the world?
Do the current rules work?
How could we create clearer rules, to provide greater consistency and certainty?
Read more on Peter Fleischer: Privacy…?
[From the Blog post:
Jurisdiction: Cloud computing is directly affected because the dynamic nature of this practice is at odds with the approach based on where the actual processing happens. Part of its agile functionality enables cloud computing to switch between processing data in one location to another location in order that customers are provided with an efficient, affordable and consistent service.
“We absolutely certain that something going to happen, we just don't know what or when.” Sounds like the predictions of a psychic...
Visa Warns of Fraud Attack from Criminal Group
May 8, 2010 by admin
Brian Krebs reports:
Visa is warning financial institutions that it has received reliable intelligence that an organized criminal group plans to attempt to move large amounts of fraudulent payments through a merchant account in Eastern Europe, possibly as soon as this weekend.
In an alert sent to banks, card issuers and processors this week, Visa said it “has received intelligence from a third-party entity indicating that a criminal group has plans to execute “a large batch settlement fraud scheme.”
Read the alert and more on KrebsOnSecurity.
Is this a “Mormon thing?” Law based on the morals of a specific religion rather than ethics?
Buy a drink; you’re in a government database
May 8, 2010 by Dissent
Bob Barr writes:
In the state of Utah, if you go into a club and purchase a drink, and if you appear to be “35 years old or younger,” a new state law requires the bartender or waiter to electronically scan your driver’s license in order to verify your age. Of course, scanning your license electronically provides a database of who is purchasing alcoholic beverages, where, when and it what quantities; information then available to the government. All this simply because a person decides to have a drink in a club that sells alcoholic beverages.
Read more on The Barr Code.
[From the article:
According to press accounts, some clubs that have been caught visually checking licenses to verify the age of patrons, instead of the more intrusive mandated electronic verification, are opting now to scan licenses for all patrons who “look under 60.” Failure to produce a driver’s license means a person would be refused service altogether.
Is anonymity possible in the Information Age?
The Navigator: Hotels connect the dots between guests and online reviews
May 8, 2010 by Dissent
Christopher Elliott reports:
Hotels want to know who you are. Especially if you’re reviewing them anonymously.
An increasing number of image-conscious properties have begun connecting the dots between unbylined write-ups that appear on such popular travel sites as TripAdvisor or Yelp, and your personal information, such as your loyalty program preferences.
If you write a positive review, you might expect a reward from the hotel — a gift basket or a discount on your next stay. Pan a property, and you could get a concerned e-mail from the general manager asking you to reconsider your review. Or even a black mark against you in the chain’s guest database.
John Baird, a lodging consultant in Jacksonville, Fla., says that hotels now use locations, dates and usernames that appear online to triangulate a guest’s identity. Once they find a likely match, the review is added to a hotel’s guest preference records, next to information such as frequent-guest number, newspaper choice and preferred room type.
Read more in the Washington Post.
(Related) Esoteric math proves “you have no Privacy!”
The Fundamental Limits of Privacy For Social Networks
May 8, 2010 by Dissent
Can math help us understand the limits of privacy for social network sites? From an article in Technology Review this week:
Today, Aleksandra Korolova at Stanford University with Ashwin Machanavajjhala and Atish Das Sarmait [have] worked out a fundamental limit to the level of privacy that is possible when social networks are mined for recommendations.
That’s quite a task given that there are various different approaches to making recommendations. However, Korolova, Machanavajjhala and Sarmait have come up with a general model that captures the essence of the problem.
Their approach is to consider a general graph consisting of various nodes and the links between them. This may be network in which the nodes are books, say, and a link between two nodes represents the purchase of one book by the owner of another. The team consider all these links to be private information.
Korolova, Machanavajjhala and Sarmait then consider an attacker who wants to work out the existence of a link in the graph from a particular recommendation. So given the knowledge that people who bought book x also bought book y, is it possible to determine a purchase decision made by a specific individual?
To do this, Korolova, Machanavajjhala and Sarmait define a privacy differential as the ratio of the likelihoods that the website makes such a recommendation with the using the private purchase decision in question and without it.
The question they then ask is to what extent can recommendaitons be made while preserving this privacy differential.
It turns out that there is a trade off between the accuracy of the recommendation and the privacy of the network. So a loss of privacy is inevitable for a good recommendation engine.
Read more on Technology Review.
[From the article:
Ref: arxiv.org/abs/1004.5600: On the (Im)possibility of Preserving Utility and Privacy in Personalized Social Recommendations
Extending “stress analysis.” A tool for automated Health Care – or for telemarketers?
Computer Software Decodes Emotions Over the Phone
Is there any indication that users are concerned enough about privacy to leave Facebook? I doubt it. But look at the next article to see how Facebook tries to talk you out of leaving...
Yet another Facebook privacy risk. When is enough, enough?
May 8, 2010 by Dissent
Xeni Jardin reports on BoingBoing:
….Facebook base64-encodes your IP address in every emailed event that you interact with.
Matt C. at Binary Intelligence Blog explains that Facebook’s automated email notifications (which go out when, say, a friend comments on your status or sends you a message) appear to contain the IP address of the user who caused that Facebook email to be sent:
The email headers contain a line similar to:
X-Facebook: from zuckmail ([MTAuMzAuNDcuMjAw]) Copy this line out and feed it to this page: http://www.myiptest.com/staticpages/index.php/trace-email-sender
You will get the IP address of your friend and clicking on it will get a geolocation-based map. This will also show you if your friend used their cell phone to post and who they use as their service provider.
This information is great when a fugitive is taunting law enforcement through their Facebook page, but not when a wife is trying to hide from an abusive husband and assumes Facebook is the best form of communication.
Thanks to the reader who sent in this link..
Elsewhere, the New York Times invites readers to submit privacy questions for Facebook which they will submit to Facebook and then publish Facebook’s response.
And Ryan Singel of Wired declares that Facebook has gone rogue, and calls for an open alternative to Facebook.
The FTC is reportedly taking a complaint filed by 14 privacy groups against Facebook seriously. Because this site is published pseudoanonymously, PogoWasRight.org was not a signatory to the complaint, but this site also calls on the FTC to take firm action against Facebook for its deceptive practices and for unilaterally changing users’ privacy controls without allowing adequate notice and time to consent or not consent to such changes. But even if the FTC does take firm action, perhaps the most effective consequence still resides with users. When enough users start deleting their profiles and stop using the service, maybe then Facebook will “get it.”
(Related) Interesting technique to keep 'customers' Can only happen if you have “friends”
What Happens When You Deactivate Your Facebook Account
Interesting that one industry has been given the Okay to change the operation of your hardware. Could this lead to control of your computer?
FCC lets movie industry selectively break your TV
Software only, not other “goods” What implications for the Cloud?
In AU, Court Rules Downloaded Software Is Not "Goods"
Posted by Soulskill on Friday May 07, @03:24PM
"A court decision ruling that the supply of software through a digital download mechanism is not a supply of 'goods' has been upheld in the Supreme Court of New South Wales in Australia, setting a precedent that software downloaded via the Internet is not protected by the Sale of Goods Act, reports ZDNet. It's a court decision that lawyer Patrick Gunning said attorneys had been waiting to have clarified for some time. What this meant was that 'people who purchase software will have more legal rights if they buy over the counter rather than downloading,' Gunning said."
[From the article:
He [The judge Bob] added that draft legislation amendments to the consumer protection provisions of the Trade Practices Act to the definition of "goods" would soon specifically include computer software, but said that this wouldn't apply to businesses, only consumers.
For a more detailed legal explanation read Gunning's blog about the case.
(Related) Understanding Facebook seems to be an advantage in certain jobs...
Ca: New privacy boss went after Facebook
May 7, 2010 by Dissent
Rob Shaw and Lindsay Kines report that British Columbia has a new Information and Privacy Commissioner:
Canada’s assistant privacy commissioner, whose investigation into Facebook forced the social networking site to improve its privacy policies, has been selected as B.C.’s new privacy watchdog.
Elizabeth Denham was appointed Information and Privacy Commissioner yesterday, after a vote by provincial politicians in the legislature.
Read more in the Times Colonist.
Law Professors Developing Patent License For FOSS
Posted by Soulskill on Friday May 07, @04:49PM
Julie188 writes with this quote from a Networkworld article:
"Two law professors from UC Berkeley have come up with a novel idea to protect open source developers from patent bullies. They call it the Defensive Patent License. They hope the DPL can address the objections FOSS developers have with patents the way the GPL addressed them for copyright. The DPL is similar to the concept of a defensive patent pool, but is not the same. The DPL is a bit more radical. It requires a bigger commitment from its members than the typical toe-in-the-water kind of pool, says Jason Schultz, former staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. 'The perception is that bigger companies only commit their least-effective, least-important patents to a patent pool,' he says. Schultz isn't pointing fingers at any particular pool. However critics of IBM's open source patent pledge often said it didn't cover the patents most relevant to the FOSS community."
For my Computer Security students (Okay, the hackers too) Two minute Video
Force your browser to always start in private mode
Geeky stuff. This might fit into my model for leasing computers to the technologically impaired. It would allow better maintenance and control of the operating system.
Diskless Booting For the Modern Age
Posted by timothy on Saturday May 08, @05:08AM
An anonymous reader writes
"Ever wonder what happened to PXE? Intel's popular standard for diskless booting hasn't been updated since 1999, and has missed out on such revolutions as wireless Ethernet, cloud computing, and iSCSI. An open source project called Etherboot has been trying to drag PXE into the 21st century. One of their programmers explains how to set up diskless booting for your cloud, using copy-on-write to save space."
In keeping with the 3D craze Avatar started, I've decided to use this site to convert all my lecture notes...
ZooBurst is a digital storytelling tool that is designed to let anyone easily create their own customized 3D pop-up books.
There's a joke in here somewhere...
In 20 Years
This site will let you upload a picture of your face and have it processed into what it will look like in either 20 or 30 years. And the results are too accurate to be comfortable.
For my website class
jQuery Image Galleries & Sliders – Best Of
Cheap is good, free is better!
Top 5 Resources To Get A Discounted Windows 7 Download