Saturday, October 23, 2010

An interesting summary of the “facts” obtainable on the Internet. How would those using this data direct their Behavioral Advertising? Clink on the image for the full report (PDF)

What the Internet Knows About You

Imagine that a company could use the Web to rate your health, your employability—even your dating appeal. Welcome to the credit score of the future.

Imagine you’re an employer, looking to hire me for a job. You subscribe to a Web site that gives you background information, and this is what you find. Jessica Rose Bennett, 29, spends 30 hours a week on social-networking sites—while at work. She is an excessive drinker, a drug user, and sexually promiscuous. She swears a lot, and spends way beyond her means shopping online. Her writing ability? Superior. Cost to hire? Cheap.

In reality, only part of this is true: yes, I like a good bourbon. But drugs? That comes from my reporting projects—and one in particular that took me to a pot farm in California. The promiscuity? My boyfriend of five years (that’s him above) would beg to differ on that, but I did once write a story about polyamory. I do spend hours on social-networking sites, but it’s part of my job. And I’m not nearly as cheap to hire as the Web would have you believe. (Take note, future employers!)

It will be interesting to see where this goes...

Google Appoints Privacy Director & Adds New Privacy Measures

October 22, 2010 by Dissent

Barry Schwartz writes:

Google has announced they have increased their privacy controls within Google to better secure user privacy. Google has done this in response to them collecting data over wifi via their street view cars.

Google has added three broad changes to help secure private data going forward:

(1) They appointed a director of privacy, Alma Whitten to work on the engineering and product side. She will build controls to ensure privacy within Googles products and internal daily routines.

(2) Google will train all of their employees on Google’s privacy principles and add additional privacy training and security programs.

(3) Google will be ramping up their compliance procedures. Each project leader will have to maintain a privacy design document for each project they manage. The privacy design document will show how people within and outside Google have access to private data and will be reviewed by managers at Google and independent internal audit team.

Read more on SearchEngineLand.


Google Admits To Collecting Emails and Passwords

Posted by kdawson on Friday October 22, @04:30PM

"Alan Eustace, Google's Senior VP of Engineering & Research, just put up an interesting blog post on how Google will be creating stronger privacy controls. Right at the end is an interesting admission: that after Streetview WiFi Payload data was analyzed by regulators, their investigations revealed that some incredibly private information was harvested in some cases. Eustace noted that 'It's clear from those inspections that while most of the data is fragmentary, in some instances entire emails and URLs were captured, as well as passwords.'"

Turnabout is fair play. Some of you Intellectual Property lawyers have asked me technical questions, now I have a legal question for you. This smells like a scam site, yet I have found MakeUseOf to be a valuable resource. I've got to do some more research here. These are movies that are still in theaters – “The Social Network” and “Red” for example. How can I watch (stream) “The Hurt Locker” for free and/or download it for free when their lawyers are suing (extorting money from?) thousands of people for downloading it?

FreeMoviesTheatre: Watch & Download Complete Movies For Free

FreeMoviesTheatre is an excellent resource for watching movies online without all the hassle.

Firstly, the video files indexed by FreeMoviesTheatrer all include complete movies so you don’t have to jump from one part to another after every few minutes. The home page showcases many new and featured movies along with high-quality thumbnails, number of views, rating and the year movie was released. Movies can also be browsed by descending order of their release date and searched using movie titles or keywords.

Once you click on a movie thumbnail, FreeMoviesTheater displays up to 8 different versions of the movie indexed from different sites such as MegaVideo, StageVu, VidReel, WDivx and more. Each movie page also includes a teaser clip embedded from YouTube, HTML code to link and embed the movie on a web page, option to bookmark the movie, send it to a friend, read and post reviews and ultimately a link to download the complete movie for free.

The website also offers link to download complete movies in HD quality.

Well surprise, surprise!

Report: China hijacked U.S. Internet data

A Chinese state-run telecom provider was the source of the redirection of U.S. military and corporate data that occurred this past April, according to excerpts of a draft report sent to CNET by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission.

The current draft of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission's (USCC's) 2010 annual report, which is close to final but has not yet been officially approved, finds that malicious computer activity tied to China continues to persist following reports early this year of attacks against Google and other companies from within the country.

The Supremes are mortal? How depressing...

Supreme Court Chief Justice Admits He Doesn’t Read Online EULAs Or Other ‘Fine Print’

October 22, 2010 by Dissent

We just recently wrote about how circuit court judge Richard Posner had admitted to not reading the boilerplate legalese on his mortgage agreement, and wondered why such things were then considered binding. Taking it up a notch, now Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts has admitted that he doesn’t read the fine print on websites or medicines and that this “is a problem.”

Read more from TechDirt.

Very similar to the reaction Baen Publishing had to the first books they put up on their website for free. “There's no such thing as 'bad publicity?'”

Comic Sales Soar After Artist Engages 4chan Pirates

Posted by kdawson on Friday October 22, @03:02PM

"Steve Lieber, the artist behind the graphic novel Underground, discovered that someone on 4chan had scanned and posted the entire comic. Rather than complaining, he joined the conversation, chatting with the 4channers about the comic... and the next day he saw his sales jump to unheard-of levels, much higher than he'd seen even when the comic book was reviewed on popular sites like Boing Boing."

Are “celebrities” a class more worthy of protection than an average schmo like me?

The Rise Of A New Intellectual Property Category, Ripe For Trolling: Publicity Rights

Recently, we've been highlighting more and more publicity rights lawsuits, because they're becoming quite popular these days. Eriq Gardner has an excellent, long and detailed article all about publicity rights, going over the history of it: which involved some common law/case law rulings, and now (more and more) is being driven by state laws (which are often pushed and passed by the industries who are cashing in on these claims). Basically, these are a form of "intellectual property rights" on almost any aspect of a person -- their likeness, appearance, voice, mannerisms, gestures, etc. -- used for "commercial use," (which we've noted recently is such an ambiguous term these days).

Has anyone registered “Holy Mackerel?” What would the reaction have been to or Investor Sues Company For Lack Of Profit

Posted by samzenpus on Friday October 22, @12:31PM

The board of claims that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than to make money on the domain name, but an angry shareholder disagrees. From the article: "James Solakian filed the lawsuit in Delaware's Chancery Court against the board of for breaching their duty by refusing to sell the site or run the company in a profitable way. The lawsuit cites a valuation done by a potential purchaser that estimated could be worth more than, which recently sold for more than $100 million."

Demographics for my Statistics students and targets for my Ethical Hacking students (Accounts of the Rich but Idle)

Rich people don't like Facebook?

The poll, conducted by SEI Wealth Network, a company that advises the wealthy on how to survive their troubles, revealed that 70 percent of the moneyed had signed up for Facebook and other online homes of social interaction.

This compares very favorably with Pew research that revealed that a mere 61 percent of the great and barely washed were present in the social media sphere.

However, a piffling 17 percent go to these sites daily. This does not reflect social norms, which are reflected in the uplifting Pew statistic that 38 percent of people do, in fact, visit their online social world every single day.

A useful tool?

Sync Files and Access Your PC Remotely with Windows Live Mesh 2011

Formerly in Beta, Live Mesh has now been released to the world under the name of Windows Live Mesh 2011 as part of Microsoft’s ongoing attempt to prove to the world that it can produce useful software application that aren’t overly complicated or part of the Office suite.

… All you have to do to sync a folder with Live Mesh 2011 is click on the “Sync a folder” text near the top of the window on the Status tab. You can then browse your computer for the folder that you’d like to sync. Once you’ve chosen the folder, Live Mesh 2011 will ask you what devices you’d like to sync with. All the PCs that on which you have Live Mesh installed will appear as options, and you’ll also be given the chance to sync the folder with Microsoft SkyDrive.

Access Your Computers Remotely

A new feature added to Windows Live Mesh 2011 is the ability to access any computer you’ve installed the program on remotely from any other computer you own. Remote access has been possible in Windows previously under the name Remote Desktop Services or Terminal Services, but is only enabled in certain versions of Windows and is targeted towards IT professionals and computer enthusiasts rather than the average user.

[from the Wikipedia article:

Windows Live SkyDrive is a file storage and sharing service that allows users to upload files to the computing cloud, then access them from a web browser. It uses Windows Live ID to control access to the user's files, allowing them to keep the files private, share with contacts, or make the files public. Publicly-shared files do not require a Windows Live ID to access.

The service currently offers 25 GB of free personal storage, with individual files limited to 50 MB.

Friday, October 22, 2010

One must evaluate Strategy based on Actions, not Propaganda. Does anyone seriously doubt this is true?

Why Facebook Won't Stop Invading Your Privacy

Posted by CmdrTaco on Thursday October 21, @11:35AM

"Every few weeks, it seems, Facebook is caught again violating users' privacy. A code error there, rogue business partners there. The truth, as InfoWorld's Bill Snyder explains, is that Facebook will keep on violating your privacy, no matter what its policies say, what promises it makes, or how shocked it claims to be at the latest incident. The reason is simple: Selling personal information on its users is how it makes money, and Facebook is above all a business."


FTC Offers Legal Assistance Guide to Help Identity Theft Victims

October 21, 2010 by Dissent

The Federal Trade Commission has created a guide to help attorneys and victim advocates provide legal assistance to identity theft victims.

Geared toward resolving issues out of court, the Guide for Assisting Identity Theft Victims ( describes how advocates can intervene with creditors, credit reporting agencies, debt collectors, and others, as well as self-help measures that victims can take. Victims may need an advocate’s help in a variety of situations: their age, health, language skills, or income prevents them from making effective disputes; they’re being pursued for someone else’s debt; they face uncooperative creditors or credit reporting agencies; or their case is complex.

… The guide also addresses recovery from less common forms of identity theft, such as when a thief commits tax fraud, or obtains a federal student loan or medical services using stolen information.

Is this a “tenure” argument?

Judge Blocks DOE from Releasing Teachers’ Names With Evaluation Data

October 21, 2010 by Dissent

Shayna Jacobs reports:

The city cannot release the names of thousands of city teachers whose performances were rated in a Department of Education assessment until the matter is argued in court next month, a Manhattan judge ordered Thursday.

The ruling came after an emergency lawsuit was filed by the teachers union in an attempt to block the DOE from releasing “Teacher Data Reports” evaluating individual teacher performance.

The DOE apparently planned to provide the New York Post and other publications with the full reports on Thursday, but the city instead consented to delaying the release of the records after a private conference between city and UFT lawyers with Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Cynthia Kern on Thursday afternoon.


[From the article:

The UFT adamantly opposes the release of the names, claiming the data has proven to be "misleading" and "unreliable." [No indication why that is so. Bob]


Evaluating Teacher Effectiveness: How Teacher Performance Assessments Can Measure and Improve Teaching

Does this raise the punishment to the “Cruel and Unusual” level? (Does the punishment fit the crime?)

Bicycle Thief Barred From Using Encryption

Posted by timothy on Thursday October 21, @01:40PM

"A teenager found in possession of a stolen bicycle was given probation, with a whole bunch of computer-related restrictions. He wasn't allowed to use social networks or instant messaging. He wasn't allowed to use a computer that had 'encryption, hacking, cracking, scanning, keystroke monitoring, security testing, steganography, Trojan or virus software.' The kid appealed, noting that the restrictions on social networking seemed overly broad, and restricting him from using a computer with a virus was difficult since viruses and trojans and the like tend to try to stay hidden, so he might not know. While the court overturned the restrictions on social networking, and changed the terms of computer restrictions to include the word 'knowingly,' it did keep the restriction on against using any computer with encryption software. Remember, this isn't someone convicted of malicious computer crimes, but of receiving a stolen bicycle. So why is perfectly reasonable encryption software not allowed? And what computer these days doesn't have encryption software?"

Just think of it as another flavor of convergence... The Internet goes Orbital. Computer Law and Space Law merge?

Pirate Parties Plan To Shoot Site Into Orbit

Posted by samzenpus on Thursday October 21, @10:56AM

"It is almost four years ago that The Pirate Bay announced they wanted to buy the micronation of Sealand, so they could host their site without having to bother about copyright law — an ambitious plan that turned out to be unaffordable. This week, Pirate Parties worldwide started brainstorming about a similarly ambitious plan. Instead of founding their own nation, they want to shoot a torrent site into orbit."

An old industry learning new tricks? Pay attention USPS and RIAA This combines demographic and geographic data and uses the mail as a delivery vehicle.

Google Is Going Postal In Sweden

Posted by timothy on Friday October 22, @05:00AM

"Google will start to collaborate with the Swedish Postal Service (Swedish original) to sell direct marketing to small businesses, both in the form of fliers (delivered by the Swedish Postal Service) and keyword advertising in Google Search. The area of distribution for the fliers is selected in Google Maps. Google will also will provide templates for the design of the fliers. The idea was concieved within the Swedish Postal Service."

What will the RIAA do to keep this out of the US?

Google’s Piracy-Fighting Music Search Engine For Indian Users Now Live

Yesterday, the WSJ reported that Google was planning to launch a music service in India to help users search for legal online streams and downloads and fight digital piracy, which reportedly runs rampant in the nation.

We’ve just gotten word that the service is now available at

Update: official Google India blog post is up.

Currently only covering songs in Hindi, the music search engine promises that users can search for and instantly listen to thousands of full songs, which are delivered by Google’s partners in India (, saavn and saregama).

For my geeks. We can beat this in the lab, but are we ready to test it campus-wide?

Google Testing High-Speed Fiber Network At Stanford Res Halls

Posted by timothy on Thursday October 21, @05:18PM

"Google has reached an agreement to build its first ultra-high speed broadband network near Stanford University, the search giant announced on Thursday. The agreement with Stanford means the university's residential subdivision will be the first place to test Internet speeds up to one gigabit per second, more than 100 times faster than the typical broadband connection in the US. The plan is to break ground early next year."

That might just be worth $50,576 per year to have.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

This is still a relatively small breach, but the inclusion of the “we know exactly where we lost it” double talk rates inclusion.

Health insurers say data on 280,000 Pennsylvania clients may be compromised

October 20, 2010 by admin

Jane M. Von Bergen reports:

Keystone Mercy Health Plan and AmeriHealth Mercy Health Plan said Tuesday that a portable computer drive containing the names, addresses, and health information of 280,000 Medicaid members in Pennsylvania has been lost.

The affiliated companies together insure 400,000 people on medical assistance in Pennsylvania.

The companies said the portable computer hard drive, used at community health fairs, was lost within the companies’ corporate offices. [Wishful thinking or pure speculation. If you knew where it was, it wouldn't be lost. Bob] Keystone’s headquarters is in Southwest Philadelphia and AmeriHealth Mercy’s is in Harrisburg.

The computer drive included members’ health plan identification numbers and some of their health information, the insurers said.

Also stored on the drive were the last four digits of 801 members’ Social Security numbers, plus complete Social Security numbers for seven others.


(UPDATE) Turns out they may have said the data was “missing from the corporate offices” not “missing in the corporate offices”

Medical-data breach said to be major

… The insurers said the drive was missing from the corporate offices on Stevens Drive in Southwest Philadelphia. It noted that the same flash drive was used at community health fairs.

"That seems grossly irresponsible," said Dr. Deborah Peel, a Texas psychiatrist who heads Patient Privacy Rights, an advocacy group.

"Why would you be hauling around private patient information to a health fair," she said. "I can't imagine what they were thinking, taking this data out of a locked room at company headquarters.

The companies said that as of Tuesday, there had been no reports of anyone trying to use the information stored on the drive. [Typical PR spin. “Up to the time we announced the breach, no one has contacted us to complain about the breach they didn't know had occurred.” Bob]

The affiliated companies have been tight-lipped about the breach, which they said occurred Sept. 20.

Until The Inquirer asked for information, the company had not disclosed the data breach to affected members, most of whom live in Philadelphia and nearby counties.

Did privacy concerns keep this from happening before? Wouldn't that greatly increase liability? Another reason for “open journals?”

Researchers who fake results should be named, academic panel urges

October 21, 2010 by Dissent

Margaret Munro reports:

A blue-ribbon panel says Canadian academics found to have faked data, plagiarized and engaged in serious misconduct should be named publicly. In a report to be released Thursday, the panel said action is needed to fill serious gaps in how Canada deals with misconduct involving research and studies paid for by taxpayers.

It calls for creation of a Canadian Council for Research Integrity to foster more honesty and accountability and said the research community needs to be more open and transparent about bad behaviour that does occur.

The report deals with the privacy and reputation concerns:

Although the panel recognizes the importance of maintaining the privacy of individuals during an investigation, investigative findings should be reported and made public if an individual or institution is found guilty of research misconduct,” reports the panel, made up of 14 academics and researchers brought together by the Council of Canadian Academies, a non-profit corporation that assesses public policy issues.

“Similarly, the fact that an allegation is under investigation should be reported if an individual who is subject to an allegation resigns (either by mutual or unilateral decision) before the end of the investigation,” the panel says. “Even if an individual resigns, any investigation initiated prior to the resignation should be completed and the findings reported.”

Read more in the Edmonton Journal.

I agree that those found guilty of research misconduct should be named publicly. If doctors are to rely on research, then it’s important for us to know when research is untrustworthy and also when we might want to rethink any other studies published by a particular investigator.

Here in the U.S., many states have publicly available web sites where you can find out if a particular professional has ever had disciplinary action taken against them in their licensed or registered capacity as a provider. Those lists might not include research misconduct, though, because the state board in charge of professional misconduct may not be the board conducting the investigation on research misconduct.

A recent article in The Atlantic by David H. Freedman highlights the growing problem with untrustworthiness in published research and journals. If you think this doesn’t apply to you, think again, as the medications you are prescribed or the treatment options you have depend, in part, on what’s in the journals and what doctors are being told in what are often BigPharma-funded talks.

For my Ethical Hackers (and stalkers?)


Qwerly is a whois for Twitter. For every Twitter user that is looked up on our site, we generate a simple profile with links to that person's other profiles on sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Flickr,, Delicious and many, many more. This way, you can discover where your friends and other interesting people hang out online.

Interesting that elected officials can not talk the bureaucracies out of their techno-spying – in the UK or the US. (Who is in charge?)

Every email and website to be stored

October 20, 2010 by Dissent

Tom Whitehead reports:

Every email, phone call and website visit is to be recorded and stored after the Coalition Government revived controversial Big Brother snooping plans.

It will allow security services and the police to spy on the activities of every Briton who uses a phone or the internet.

Moves to make every communications provider store details for at least a year will be unveiled later this year sparking fresh fears over a return of the surveillance state.

Read more in the Telegraph.

[From the article:

The plans were shelved by the Labour Government last December but the Home Office is now ready to revive them.

It comes despite the Coalition Agreement promised to "end the storage of internet and email records without good reason".

… The information will include who is contacting whom, when and where and which websites are visited, but not the content of the conversations or messages.

The move was buried in the Government's Strategic Defence and Security Review,

I sure this will work...

Australian Visitors Must Declare Illegal Porn To Customs Officers

Posted by samzenpus on Wednesday October 20, @03:57PM

Australian Justice Minister Brendan O'Connor has advised visitors to take a better safe than sorry policy when it comes to their porn stashes, and declare all porn that they think might be illegal with customs officers. From the article: "The government said it changed the wording on passenger arrival cards after becoming aware of confusion among travellers about what pornography to declare. 'People have a right to privacy and while some pornography is legal and does not need to be disclosed, all travellers should be aware that certain types of pornography are illegal and must be declared to customs,' Mr O'Connor said."

You would think that somewhere before the ninety ninth time this is reported, someone in charge would notice...

Report criticizes FBI on computer project

The FBI's effort to move from paper to electronic files took another hit Wednesday when Justice Department auditors issued their latest, and perhaps most critical, report to date on the long-troubled Sentinel project.

"Sentinel is approximately $100 million over budget and 2 years behind schedule," the report from Justice Department Inspector General Glenn A. Fine said, and still lacks common features of personal computers and ordinary word-processing software, such as search functions, spell-checking and automatic document saves.

Worse, the IG said, the FBI had spent almost 90 percent of the $451 million currently budgeted for the entire program, "but it will have delivered only two of the program's four phases to its agents and analysts."

The project could cost $350 million more and take six years to complete, the auditors said. [Any IT project planned to take more then six months would get you tossed out of most MBA programs. Bob]

"We found that while Sentinel has delivered some improvements to the FBI's case management system, it has not delivered much of what it originally intended," the report said.

Because the system lacked an auto-save capability, "several users lost partially completed forms and hours of work while using Sentinel," the IG said.

"Users also found the lack of an integrated spell checker unacceptable because most current word processing software includes this feature." On Sept. 16, FBI technology officials had briefed the auditors, telling them how the bureau had mended its ways, throwing out approaches that hadn't worked and instituting new ways to get the mission accomplished.

But the auditors did not sound impressed. It may be too late, the inspector general said, to keep refining Sentinel.

"Regardless of the new development approach, it is important to note that Sentinel's technical requirements are now 6 years old, and there have been significant advances in technology and changes to the FBI's work processes during that time."

(Related) Maybe governments can't manage IT

Open slather for hackers on official databases

October 20, 2010 by admin

Brian Robins follows up on the NSW Auditor-General’s report, released yesterday:

Computer hackers could gain access to personal information held in government databases as state departments routinely ignore government edicts that tighter security be imposed.

The government rarely discloses when its computer security systems have been breached, although in a report yesterday, the NSW Auditor-General, Peter Achterstraat, confirmed the Jobs NSW website was hacked last year, with email addresses of job applicants stolen and the applicants spammed by the hackers.

Similarly, RailCorp’s computer networks were infected with the Conficker virus last year. This disabled security services in its network, with data vulnerable to theft or modification by hackers

Read more in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Another IT project doomed to failure?

US Elections Dominated By Closed Source. Again.

Posted by CmdrTaco on Wednesday October 20, @12:28PM

"Another American election is almost here, and while electronic voting is commonplace, it is still overwhelmingly run by closed source, proprietary systems. It has been shown that many of these systems can be compromised (and because they are closed, there may be holes we simply cannot know about). Plus they are vulnerable to software bugs and are often based on unstable, closed-source operating systems. By the inherent nature of closed software, when systems are (optionally!) certified by registrars, there is no proof that they will behave the same on election day as in tests. The opportunities for fraud, tampering and malfunction are rampant. But nonetheless, there is very little political will for open source voting, let alone simple measures like end-to-end auditable voting systems or more radical approaches like open source governance. Why do we remain in the virtual dark ages, when clearly we have better alternatives readily available?"

Maybe the only place you can be found is on Facebook...

Man Served Restraining Order Via Facebook

Posted by samzenpus on Wednesday October 20, @10:10AM

"An Australian man has been served a restraining order via Facebook, after unsuccessful attempts by police to reach him by phone and in person. The man was a 'prolific Facebook user' who had allegedly threatened, bullied and harassed a former partner online. He was served both interim and final intervention orders by Facebook, after a local magistrate upheld the interim order indefinitely."

If you are smart enough to know technology can help, you should be smart enough to know your should be watching the people who use it in your name. Especially if you are running on your skills as a manager!

Meg Whitman Campaign Shows How Not To Use Twitter

Posted by samzenpus on Wednesday October 20, @07:36PM

"California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman's campaign team attempted to share with her Twitter followers an endorsement from a police association. Unfortunately, the campaign press secretary entered an incorrect or incomplete URL in the Tweet, which took clickers to a YouTube video featuring a bespectacled, long-haired Japanese man in a tutu and leggings rocking out on a bass guitar. And for whatever reason, the Tweet, which went out on the 18th, has remained active through today."

Good news! We can take pictures of public places! (We're not all terrorists!)

October 20, 2010

NYCLU Settlement Ends Restriction on Photography Outside Federal Courthouses

News release: "In settling a lawsuit filed by the New York Civil Liberties Union, the federal government [October 18, 2010] recognized the public’s right to take photographs and record videos in public spaces outside federal courthouses throughout the nation. The settlement comes after the NYCLU sued the federal government in April on behalf of a Libertarian activist who was unlawfully arrested by federal officers after exercising his First Amendment right to record digital video outside of a federal courthouse in Lower Manhattan."

(Related) Bad news! Not everyone agrees.

All Your Stonehenge Photos Are Belong To England

Posted by samzenpus on Thursday October 21, @12:32AM

"English Heritage, the organization that runs and manages various historical sites in the UK, such as Stonehenge, has apparently sent letters to various photo sharing and stock photo sites claiming that any photo of Stonehenge that is being sold violates its rights, and only English Heritage can get commercial benefit from such photos. In fact, they're asking for all money made from such photos, stating: 'all commercial interest to sell images must be directed to English Heritage.' As one recipient noted, this seems odd, given that English Heritage has only managed Stonehenge 'for 27 of the monument's 4,500 year old history.'"

More for the “Why lawyers are loved” file? An interesting and profitable model!

Accused pirates to indie filmmakers: Sue us

The independent film studios suing thousands of alleged file sharers for copyright violations may soon face their own version of Jammie Thomas-Rasset.

Attorneys representing some of the people accused of illegal file sharing told CNET yesterday that several have refused to settle with the indie studios--which is what Thomas-Rasset did when she was accused of illegal file sharing by the music industry. By taking this stance, the accused film pirates are challenging the filmmakers to take them to court.

So, that is what the studios will do, according to their attorney, Thomas Dunlap.

Dunlap is one of the founders of Dunlap, Grubb & Weaver, a Washington, D.C. law firm that has made news this year by overseeing the litigation campaign on behalf of the indie studios, a group that includes the makers of the Oscar-winning film "The Hurt Locker." [I haven't seen that one yet, perhaps I'll have my Ethical Hackers download it for me... Bob]

The way Dunlap goes after alleged file sharers is by first filing complaints against unnamed "Doe defendants." He subpoenas the Internet service providers of each person to obtain their name. Dunlap then withdraws the suits against the Doe defendants and refiles the claims against those who decline to settle--only this time he names them. [Anything new here? Bob]

… In the next few weeks, at a minimum, you will see three or four individuals taken to court in different states."

These cases could be pivotal to copyright owners and file sharers alike. Ever since Dunlap began filing the suits, critics wondered whether the law firm could afford to bankroll potentially drawn out and costly litigation against someone who refused to settle. [How many checks have they received from those too intimidated to risk a law suit? Bob]

Cindy Cohn, legal director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, predicted this week that serious legal challenges would drain all the profit out of litigating against individual file sharers and could discourage copyright owners from pursing lawsuits as an antipiracy strategy. [But they get to choose how many suits they file. Bob]

In the case of Thomas, considered by some to be the Joan of Arc of file sharing, her case has dragged on for nearly five years. The Recording Industry Association of America has won favorable decisions, but the cost of trying it dwarfs whatever amount the music labels will get out of Thomas, who works on an Indian reservation in Minnesota. [If he had downloaded the films on the Reservation, would their copyright laws apply? Perhaps this is a new revenue source beyond casinos and cigarettes... Bob]

Dunlap said the cases against those who refuse to settle likely won't cost much. He plans to farm out the litigation to other law firms.

(Related) News organizations to join together for copyright protection?

AP Proposes ASCAP-Like Fees For the News

Posted by CmdrTaco on Thursday October 21, @09:27AM

"Techdirt directed my attention to an article where the AP discussed pressure from new devices and mediums today giving them cause to create a clearinghouse for news — much like the music industry's ASCAP — to 'establish an enforcement and payment system.' You'll notice that the story I am linking to and quoting is an AP story ... would Slashdot then be required to pay these fees? We have seen DMCA take down notices and fee discussions before from the AP."

(Related) In my mind anyway... How will the copyright cops distinguish between a download and a one-time stream (since I can capture the stream using software on my computer) I see this model as a trend, by the way.

MusicLink: Listen To Complete Albums Before Buying

There are sites that let you preview all the songs in an album for 20-30 seconds but thats hardly enough to make a buying decision. Meet MusicLink, a tool that lets you listen to complete albums before you make a decision to buy it.

Moating the ivory tower? Dis will makes edjucasion gooder!

Virginia school AP History class bans curiousity, independent study, Internet

Cory Doctorow at 10:00 PM Wednesday, Oct 20, 2010

Fairfax County, VA's Westfield High has a curious set of requirements in three of its AP History class:

"You are only allowed to use your OWN knowledge, your OWN class notes, class handouts, your OWN class homework, or The Earth and Its Peoples textbook to complete assignments and assessments UNLESS specifically informed otherwise by your instructor.''

That was not all. Students could not use anything they found on the Internet. They were not permitted even to discuss their assignments with friends, classmates, neighbors, parents, relatives or siblings.

What about complete strangers? The teachers had thought of that. "You may not discuss/mention/chat/hand signal/smoke signal/Facebook/IM/text/email to a complete stranger ANY answers/ideas/questions/thoughts/opinions/hints/instructions." The words were playful, but the teachers were serious. Any violations, they said, would mean a zero on the assignment and an honor code referral.

Fundamentally, these teachers have prohibited doing any kind of outside work, having any productive discussion with your friends and family that might connect the history you're learning with the world you're living in. They have reduced education to absorbing and regurgitating a specific set of facts, divorcing it from any kind of critical thinking, synthesis, or intellectual rigor.

Parents have complained to the principal, who "will decide soon whether these rules are okay."

I wonder if this will be available to smaller customers? I also wonder what it took to get Microsoft to do this?

Microsoft Unbundles Software For NY City

Posted by samzenpus on Wednesday October 20, @07:02PM

"Microsoft has agreed to sell individual pieces of software to NY City workers, rather than forcing each seat to buy a full suite of software. The city has created three classes of users based on which pieces of software they need to perform their job, and Microsoft will sell software packages tailored to each class at a reduced price."

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

This is simply “Behavioral Advertising” (I know it is difficult to believe that politicians are that smart, but their consultants are.)

A Tea Party-Backed Senate Candidate Attempts to Data-mine His Way To Victory in Utah

October 19, 2010 by Dissent

Kashmir Hill of Forbes picks up on a campaign’s use of technology that may irritate privacy-centric voters in Utah:

For the 2010 elections, a Utah Republican running for U.S. Senate may get the nod for most ingenious use of technology. Mike Lee, a corporate lawyer and former Supreme Court clerk for Justice Sam Alito, nailed down the Republican primary with help from the Tea Party. In hopes of winning the election in November, he’s sought help from public information databases.

Lee has generated a little controversy in Utah for data-mining various voter information banks in order to compile a list of names, contact information, and email addresses of people likely to vote for him in November who don’t usually turn out to vote in midterm elections.

Read more on Forbes.

(Related) Politicians are already “self regulating” so why not everyone else?

FTC To Recommend Self-Regulation, Not New Laws Says Commission Member

October 19, 2010 by Dissent

Wendy Davis reports that online ad companies may have escaped government regulation for now:

The Federal Trade Commission’s upcoming report about behavioral advertising will include suggestions for how online ad companies can better protect consumers’ privacy, but won’t recommend that Congress enact new laws, commission member Julie Brill said on Tuesday.

“The Commission isn’t calling for regulation right now,” she said in a speech Tuesday at a privacy conference held by the law firm Proskauer. “We’re talking about a new self-regulatory framework.” [“We call it the “sieve of privacy” Bob]

Read more on Media Post.

(Related) It doesn't look like India has a solution either.

Article: Balancing Online Privacy in India

October 19, 2010 by Dissent

Apar Gupta has an article in Indian Journal of Law and Technology (Vol. 6, pp. 43-64, 2010). Here’s the abstract:

There have been disturbing press reports and articles on the Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008. These accounts broadly wallow about the increase in the police powers of the state. They contend that the amendment grants legal sanction to online surveillance inexorably whittling down internet privacy. This article seeks to examine this prevalent notion. It discovers that legal provisions for online surveillance, monitoring and identification of data have been inserted in a narrow and defined class of circumstances governed by tenuous procedures. At first glance it may seem that these procedures and safeguards by themselves increase the right to privacy. However, on a deeper study it is revealed that they are found wanting due to the nature of internet communications. The article takes a comprehensive look at the state of online privacy in India arising out of the Information Technology Act, 2000.

You can download the full article from SSRN.

Measuring the target? How would anyone find anything in this volume of data without automating the process?

6.1 trillion text messages to be sent in 2010

(Related) Another InfrGraphic

A Visual Look At A Day In The Internet [Infographic]

Once more, Science Fiction predicts the future...

Stealth Android Enterprise Startup 3LM’s $1.5 Million Seed Round And 3 Laws Of Mobility

3LM stands for the Three Laws Of Mobility, which is a play on Isaac Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics, except they are applied to mobile phones instead of robots. The Three Laws of Mobility are

  1. Protect your user. A mobile device may not harm its user or, through inaction, allow its user to come to harm though malicious code or content.

  2. Protect yourself. A mobile device must protect itself and the integrity of its data and secured communications.

  3. Obey. A mobile device must let the user use the device freely, as long as such usage does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

“We've got to DO something,” a siren call for vendors of the “perfect technological solution.”

When it doubt, throw more cameras at it

October 20, 2010 by Dissent

Dean Herbert reports:

A network of secret car number plate recognition cameras could be expanded across Scotland in a bid to combat terrorism, it emerged yesterday.

Ministers are considering plans to hand police more surveillance equipment to counter the “emerging threat” of terrorist attacks.

Plans to increase the use of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras, which were used to track suspects in the Glasgow Airport bombings, come just a day after Prime Minister David Cameron warned that Britain faced a major threat from terror groups such as Al Qaeda.


Big Brother's favorite branch of government?

ACLU VT back in court over warrantless cell phone surveillance

October 19, 2010 by Dissent

From the ACLU of Vermont:

There is a high wall protecting the secrecy of police investigations, and it can be breached in only very limited circumstances, argued a lawyer for the Vermont Attorney General’s Office in Superior Court in Montpelier on Monday.

But if Vermonters can’t get information about how police are conducting investigations, how can citizens make sure investigations are on the up-and-up and constitutional violations aren’t occurring?

That was the gist of the ACLU-VT’s response to the state’s motion for summary judgment in a case over law enforcement use of cell phone data. Since January we’ve been seeking records that might show whether police are tracking individuals’ whereabouts through location data generated by cell phones.

The AG’s office twice denied administrative requests for the records, prompting our lawsuit.

While the state continues to insist records on cell phone tracking data are secret, the superior court has refused to allow a list of the records (a so-called “Vaughn index”) to be sealed, granting the public the first acknowledgment that state law enforcement officers are tracking people’s location via their cell phones without first obtaining a warrant. Instead, an arcane investigation tool called an “inquest” is utilized by prosecutors to issue a subpoena. [Aren't all laws (and legal procedures) “arcane?” i.e. “Known or understood by only a few” Bob] An inquest is secret; the public can’t find out what happens in the proceeding. No jury is present, as at a grand jury proceeding.

Judge Geoffrey Crawford made no ruling on Monday. Instead, he listened to arguments from each side, and took the matter under consideration.

He noted that recently there have been a series of public records requests in the news, and that it appeared the administrative branch of government [i.e. The “Shadow Government” Bob] — not the courts — was deciding where the balance between public and confidential records lay.

He also suggested that the ACLU had already won the case when he ordered a Vaughn index of cell phone data requests be made public. “What more do you want to know?” he asked.

What the ACLU still wants to know is how the determination is made that investigators may access phone records that are otherwise private. There is no guarantee of consistency — no standard for judicial review — governing the granting of access.

Court documents related to ACLU v. Office of the Attorney General are online in the legal docket section of our Web site:

The two documents that the AG failed to have sealed are these:

And we also have online the order from Judge Crawford denying sealing.

For my Ethical Hackers.

Hacker Business Models

Posted by CmdrTaco on Tuesday October 19, @11:56AM

"The industrialized hackers are intent on one goal — making money. They also know the basic rules of the business of increasing revenues while cutting costs. As hackers started making money, the field became full of 'professionals' that inspired organized cyber crime. Similar to industrial corporations, hackers have developed their own business models in order to operate as a profitable organization. What do these business models look like? Data has become the hacker's currency. More data, more money. So the attack logic is simple: the more attacks, the more likely victim — so you automate ..."

(Related) An example of “automated crime”

Judge Clears CAPTCHA-Breaking Case for Criminal Trial

… The case targets a ring of defendants who used various means to bypass CAPTCHA — the squiggly letters and numbers websites display to prove a visitor is human — in order to automatically purchase thousands of tickets from online vendors and resell them to premium customers.

The defendants have been charged with wire fraud and with violating the anti-hacking Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, in an elaborate scheme that allegedly used a network of bots and other deceptive means to bypass CAPTCHA and grab more than 1 million tickets for concerts and sporting events. They made more than $25 million in profits from the resale of the tickets between 2002 and 2009.

Prosecutors alleged that bypassing CAPTCHA constituted unauthorized access of ticket seller servers.

Lawyers for the defendants had filed a motion to dismiss the charges on grounds that the government was trying to turn what should be a breach-of-contract civil matter into a criminal case, potentially increasing “exponentially” the universe of federal crimes.

“This Indictment does not seek to punish computer fraud, it inappropriately tries to regulate the legal secondary market for event ticket sales through an overreaching prosecution,” the defendants argued in their motion.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation filed an amicus brief (.pdf) also urging dismissal of the case.

'cause it's a big world.

October 19, 2010

LC: Help Finding Comparative and International Law

Via Shameema Rahman, Legal Reference Specialist, Library of Congress Public Services Directorate: "The Law Library’s Multinational Collections Database is now the Global Legal Information Catalog (GLIC). GLIC is a research tool for the Library of Congress Collections that interfaces with our library catalog. Why do you need to use it? Say you are looking for the law of a particular country and you had searched the library’s catalog. If you type the jurisdiction and subject as the key terms, your search will only retrieve materials exclusively written on that jurisdiction. However, there are publications on comparative law and publications that include the laws of multiple jurisdictions available at the Law Library. Just using a library catalog search will not retrieve those items. A benefit of GLIC is the list of jurisdictions included. Do you want to know about publications that cover Canadian law? Just click on Canada. Interested in a different jurisdiction? You can then select the jurisdiction of interest. You can also browse by all subjects available. Remember, you can limit your search by subject and/or, author/authors. You can search multiple subjects and multiple jurisdictions at the same time."

For no particular reason.

October 19, 2010

Israel Antiquities Authority, Partner with Google R&D Center in Israel – To Make Dead Sea Scrolls Available Online

News release: "As part of the celebrations on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of its establishment, the Israel Antiquities Authority is launching a unique project – The Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library – to document the entire collection of the Dead Sea Scrolls. A major lead gift from the Leon Levy Foundation, with additional major funding from the Arcadia Foundation and the support of Yad Hanadiv Foundation, will enable the Israel Antiquities Authority to use the most advanced and innovative technologies available to image the entire collection of 900 manuscripts comprising c. 30,000 Dead Sea Scrolls fragments in hi-resolution and multi spectra and make the digitized images freely available and accessible to anyone anywhere in the world on the internet. This is the first time that the collection of Scrolls will be photographed in its entirety since the 1950’s...Click here to download high resolution pictures."

This makes perfect sense if the goal is to monopolize education rather than to educate students. Is the Teachers Union getting more Capitalistic?

Universities pen harsh words to note-selling site

California collegians may be getting a lesson on the limits of sharing.

Students at California state universities are expressing frustration following news that the university system sent a cease-and-desist letter to a new Web site that lets pupils sell their class notes--in violation of California law, the chancellor's office says.

On NoteUtopia, students from about 100 colleges and universities around the country can buy, sell, or simply share their original class notes and reports, as well as handouts, exams released by the professor, [This might be a Copyright issue. Bob] and completed study guides. Students, who can join the 2-month-old site for free, can also collaborate with peers on homework assignments and directly communicate with professors who opt in to the service.

But last month, California State University's Chancellor's Office sent a letter telling 22-year-old NoteUtopia founder and president Ryan Stevens to "immediately cease and desist from selling class notes in California" in accordance with section 66450 (PDF) of the state's education code, which prohibits "any business or person from selling or otherwise distributing or publishing class notes for a commercial purpose."

NSA's child education efforts must have amused someone. See the “annotated” poster at the end of the article...

NSA’s Newest Recruiters: Cartoon-Leopard Twins

An InfoGraphic for my geeks...

The Evolution of the Geek