L. Merion, insurance firm spar over webcam costs
By John P. Martin Inquirer Staff Writer Posted on Sat, May. 29, 2010
The Lower Merion School District argued Friday that the district's insurer should pay what could be a million-dollar tab to resolve a lawsuit over its now-disabled laptop tracking program.
… As the district launched an investigation and prepared to defend the lawsuit, it asked its insurer to cover the bills and any settlement or award.
But Graphic Arts balked, contending that its policy covered only personal injury or bodily harm, not the kind of damage that Robbins and his family alleged.
… How high the school district's bills will go is unclear. In the six weeks after Robbins and his parents filed their suit in February, the Ballard Spahr law firm and L3, a computer forensics company, submitted more than $550,000 in invoices for their services to Lower Merion.
District spokesman Doug Young said this week that those bills had been paid, but that the district was waiting for new bills from the firms for their work since then. It was not clear whether the district or insurer had paid those bills.
School board president David Ebby said last month that he expected at least $200,000 more in invoices before the case was over.
(Related) Might be an interesting read...
Someone Is Watching: The Peril and Promise of School Surveillance
by Campbell Scribner
Torin Monahan, Rodolfo D. Torres, eds. Schools under Surveillance: Cultures of Control in Public Education. Critical Issues in Crime and Society Series. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2010. vi + 264 pp. $72.00 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-8135-4679-7; $24.95 (paper), ISBN 978-0-8135-4680-3.
… Read in light of the Lower Merion incident, what is most shocking is the public's lingering capacity for shock. The surreptitious use of laptop cameras was already underway in a Canadian classroom fifteen years ago, and in the decade after the Columbine shooting and the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, school administrators have cast an ever-widening net of observation and control over their pupils, raising important questions about safety, privacy, and student rights
I think we're all getting a little disgusted seeing the same failures over and over and over...
Missing records on stolen laptop from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital
May 28, 2010 by admin
Pardon me while I spit.
Peggy O’Farrell reports (emphasis added by me):
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center is beefing up its computer security after a laptop computer containing more than 61,000 patient records was stolen.
The laptop was stolen from a hospital employee’s personal vehicle while it was parked outside the employee’s home in late March. Cincinnati police were notified of the theft.
The missing records were password-word protected, but not encrypted.
An investigation found that the records on the computer contained some personal information about patients, including names, medical records numbers and services provided, said hospital spokesman Jim Feuer.
Feuer stressed, though, that the records did not contain Social Security numbers, credit card numbers or telephone numbers.
Read more on Cincinnati.com.
The hospital issued a statement today, linked from its homepage.
[From the Hospital statement:
The theft occurred from an employee’s vehicle parked at his residence sometime between March 27 and 29, 2010. [So it seems the employee wasn't working on the data at home Also amazing is the data of May 28 on the statement!!! Bob]
… Since this event, Cincinnati Children's has strengthened its encryption practices to ensure no PC laptop computers are issued unless the encryption process is initiated. Additionally, it has improved its process for tracking the encryption of these laptops. [That's a lot to accomplish in no time at all Perhaps Steven Hawking is consulting? Bob]
This answers at least part of the “Why are there so many breaches” question
Poll: Canadian businesses unconcerned about privacy breach risk
May 28, 2010 by admin
Most Canadian companies aren’t concerned about data breaches involving their customers’ personal information — even though these same companies report they are collecting and holding more personal information than ever before, according to the results of a poll released today.
The poll conducted by EKOS for the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada found that 42 per cent of businesses surveyed are not concerned about security breaches.
Are we reaching a consensus on patient rights?
WPF comments on possible changes to HIPAA privacy rule; requests more patient access to audit logs
By Dissent, May 29, 2010 6:02 am
Oops — I missed this announcement last week from the World Privacy Forum:
The World Privacy Forum filed comments with the US Department of Health and Human Services today in response to its Request for Information about possible changes to the HIPAA health privacy rule. WPF strongly supported patients’ current right to request a history of disclosures of their medical files, and requested an expansion of this right. WPF noted in its comments to HHS that “An individual cannot fully protect his/her privacy interest in a health record (and most other records) unless he/she has a right of access to the record, the right to propose a correction, and the right to see who has used the record and to whom it has been disclosed. Each of these elements is essential.”
If organizations discover new ways to use your personal data, should they tell you about it? Perhaps the proper way to evaluate the risks to your data is to assume that everything will be gathered together and made available to people whose job it is to make your life miserable...
Mobile Data: A Gold Mine for Telcos
May 28, 2010 by Dissent
Tom Simonite reports:
Cell phone companies are finding that they’re sitting on a gold mine–in the form of the call records of their subscribers.
Researchers in academia, and increasingly within the mobile industry, are working with large databases showing where and when calls and texts are made and received to reveal commuting habits, how far people travel for public events, and even significant social trends.
The data set is a collection of call detail records, or CDRs–the standard feedstock of cell phone data mining. A CDR is generated for every voice or SMS connection. Among other things, it shows the origin and destination number, the type and duration of connection, and, most crucially, the unique ID of the cell tower a handset was connected to when a connection was made. [The network illustration also breaks the data into the language being spoken. How would they know that without listening in? Bob]
Research in this area is typically focused on aggregate information and not individuals, but questions remain about how to protect user privacy, Blondel says. It is standard to remove the names and numbers from a CDR, but correlating locations and call timings with other databases could help identify individuals, he says. In the MIT study, for example, the team could infer the approximate home location of users by assuming it to be where a handset was most located between 10 p.m. and 7a.m., although they also lumped people together into groups by zip code.
Read more in the MIT Technology Review.
A push toward small, pirate/hacker-oriented ISPs?
Ofcom Unveils Anti-Piracy Policy For UK ISPs
Posted by timothy on Saturday May 29, @05:01AM
"Under plans drawn up by Ofcom, UK ISPs are going to draw up a list of those who infringe copyright, logging names and the number of times infringement took place. Music and film companies will then be allowed access to the list, and be able to decide whether or not to take legal action. '"It is imperative that a system that accuses people of illegal online activity is fair and clear," said Anna Bradley, chair of the Communications Consumer Panel.' The Panel, in partnership with Consumer Focus, Which, Citizens Advice and the advocacy body the Open Rights Group, has released a set of principles it believes should govern the code of practice. The principles say sound evidence is needed before any action is taken, consumers must have the right to defend themselves, and the appeals process must be free to pursue. The code shall come into practice by 2011, and only initially applies to ISPs with 400,000 customers or more."
No doubt this will requier prosecutors to check if you have ever accessed Google Maps...
High-Tech Burglars May Get Longer Sentences In Louisiana
Posted by Soulskill on Friday May 28, @03:08PM
"Burglars and terrorists should be careful not to use Google Maps if they plan on committing crimes in the state of Louisiana. Nola reports that a bill approved 89-0 by the Louisiana House will require that judges impose an additional minimum sentence of at least 10 years on terrorist acts if the crime is committed with the aid of an Internet-generated 'virtual map.' The bill, already approved by the Louisiana Senate, defines a 'virtual street-level map' as one that is available on the Internet and can generate the location or picture of a home or building by entering the address of the structure or an individual's name on a website. If the map is used in the commission of a crime like burglary, the bill calls for the addition of at least one year in jail (PDF) to be added to the burglary sentence. The House measure is now being sent back to the Senate for approval of clarifying amendments made by a House committee."
Facebook Leads in the Top 1,000 Sites
According to Google’s AdPlanner stats, Facebook is the number one most-visited destination on the web. Weighing in at an unfathomably heavy 570 billion page views [That's a 'per month' figure Bob] and 540 million users, the ubiquitous social network outranks every other non-Google site, taking more than 35% of all web traffic measured.
… When it comes to non-Facebook social media properties, Twitter ranks 18th with 5.4 billion page views, Flickr (Flickr) is 31st with 1.8 billion views and LinkedIn (LinkedIn) sits in 56th place at 1.7 billion views.
… Bank of America and PayPal also made the list, coming in at 93rd and 39th, respectively. And in the news category we find the BBC, which was ranked 43rd with 2.5 billion hits, followed by The New York Times’s website, which ranked 83rd with 600 million views.
Another confirmation of the “My opinion is better than your facts” syndrome. Note that this also explains politicians who wish to pass legislation making Pi equal to 3.
The "Scientific Impotence" Excuse
Posted by Soulskill on Friday May 28, @02:25PM
"I've had the feeling for a long time that people refuse to listen to scientists. The following is from an article on Ars Technica: 'It's hardly a secret that large segments of the population choose not to accept scientific data because it conflicts with their predefined beliefs: economic, political, religious, or otherwise. But many studies have indicated that these same people aren't happy with viewing themselves as anti-science, which can create a state of cognitive dissonance. That has left psychologists pondering the methods that these people use to rationalize the conflict. A study published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology [abstract here] takes a look at one of these methods, which the authors term "scientific impotence" — the decision that science can't actually address the issue at hand properly.' The study found that 'regardless of whether the information presented confirmed or contradicted [the subjects'] existing beliefs, all of them came away from the reading with their beliefs strengthened."
Another attempt to eliminate lawyers? Not according to the site.
The easiest way to make agreements online
An interesting talk (video) on how business find value in the tech world.
Video: Evernote CEO Phil Libin Shares Revenue Stats (And How To Make Freemium Work)
by Jason Kincaid on May 28, 2010
Last week at the Founder Showcase, a quarterly event put on by Adeo Ressi’s TheFunded, Evernote CEO Phil Libin gave a presentation discussing some of the startup’s key revenue numbers and strategy. During his talk, Libin outlined some of the ingredients in making the freemium model work, and how long-term users actually become more valuable over time.
# Users have grown more valuable over time. New users convert to premium at a rate of .5%. But of the users that signed up two years ago and are still active, 20% have become paid customers.
# Evernote’s cost per user is around 9 cents per active user per month. It makes around 25 cents per user per month. The site reached break even a year and a half ago.
Make an effort now, save time forever.
How To Set Up Email Filters In Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo