Wednesday, January 26, 2011

How does a government deal with a social network inspired protest?

Egypt slams lid on protests, Twitter

The Egyptian government has banned further protests against the long rule of President Mubarak and shut off access to Twitter after a day of violent protests left three people dead.

… Twitter said, at about midnight UK time: "We can confirm that Twitter was blocked in Egypt around 8am PT today. It is impacting both & applications."


Why Twitter is mum on Egypt block

… But when CNET contacted Twitter for comment to find out whether they could say if Twitter was blocked in Egypt, no statement was provided--just a link to an evidently new Twitter account, @TwitterGlobalPR, which in turn directed those interested in finding out about an alleged block to consult a site called HerdictWeb.

HerdictWeb, run by Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet and Society under the auspices of digital academic Jonathan Zittrain, keeps a crowd-sourced log of reports about which sites are inaccessible in which countries. According to HerdictWeb around 11 a.m. PT on today, seven reports of Twitter inaccessibility in Egypt had been logged.

The @TwitterGlobalPR account, which seems to have been freshly launched on Tuesday, explained more later in the day. "We're not the experts on how Twitter is being used in highly developing situations 1000s of miles from our comfortable HQ in SF," it explained. "The experts are those using Twitter on the ground and those coordinating with them around the world."


After Blocking Twitter, Egypt Reportedly Starts Restricting Access To Facebook

All carrot, no stick? Not sure I agree (so what else is new?)

The Federal Trade Commission and Privacy: Defining Enforcement and Encouraging the Adoption of Best Practices. (Version 2.0)

January 25, 2011 by Dissent

An updated working paper by Andy Serwin:

The Federal Trade Commission and Privacy: Defining Enforcement and Encouraging the Adoption of Best Practices. (Version 2.0) Andrew B. Serwin


This article examines the history of privacy enforcement by the Federal Trade Commission, including the FTC’s jurisdiction under Section 5, and its privacy enforcement matters, as well as the FTC’s recently issued report, “Protecting Consumer Privacy in an Era of Rapid Change: A proposed Framework for Businesses and Policymakers”, in which the FTC examines past enforcement models, noting their failings. In light of the FTC’s examination of past enforcement models, this article then analyzes these models, including the accountability-centric model that has previously been utilized in the United States, as well as the FTC’s proposed solution to the privacy problems of the Web 2.0 World–the adoption of best practices, including a “privacy by design” framework. The article then argues that the method to achieve the FTC’s goal of voluntary adoption of best practices is to focus on proportional protection for data based upon the sensitivity of the data in question, and to create a “safe harbor” from enforcement for businesses that choose to adopt the framework. This proposed framework could be linked in a meaningful way to existing EU processes, such as Binding Corporate Rules or the existing EU Safe Harbor program. By combining these elements, the FTC can achieve meaningful and focused self-regulation and provide appropriate protection to consumers, while giving business an incentive to adopt best-practices, and also increase the level of international cooperation regarding privacy.

Download the full article from SSRN.

[The paper's conclusion:

Whatever nomenclature is used to describe Privacy 1.0 and 2.0, it cannot be questioned that these models have failed and the FTC’s Report raises legitimate questions about prior privacy enforcement models and their value in a Web 2.0 world. Given the current business models of the Internet, privacy models must change in order to create the appropriate incentives for business to adopt best practices and protect consumer privacy in an appropriate way. If change is truly desired, then we must turn away from prior failed models, such as enforcement-centric models that have not worked and have been criticized by many scholars. The new path must be provide appropriate incentives to business to adopt best practices that are proportional to the sensitivity of data. In short, Privacy 3.0 must be based upon the Principle of Proportionality.

(Related) “We own our users.”

Facebook Will Be Using Your Face in ‘Sponsored Stories’ Ads (And There’s No Opting Out)

January 25, 2011 by Dissent

Okay, so within hours of me posting a blog entry that is actually complimentary to Facebook, Kashmir Hill reminds me why I will never have a Facebook account:

Facebook users will be the stars of the social network’s latest advertising product. The site will soon launch “Sponsored Stories.” Companies will be able to pay for users’ endorsements to show up as ads on the site. If you’ve used Facebook to check into a particular store or if you’ve “liked” the page of a particular coffee shop (Starbucks gets lots of shout-outs in the video and promotional material describing the service), that company can pay to have your interaction with their brand show up on your friends’ pages.

Read more on Forbes. Kashmir doesn’t see this as a big privacy issue but notes that users may be upset at not being compensated for the use of their image for advertising.

But what if a user just checks into a store and posts something on their page like, “At Macy’s now.” without saying whether they liked it or not? Could the store still use their image for advertising? Or what if they post, “At Macy’s now and they have a great selection of pots and pans!” but 10 minutes later, post “Yikes – Macy’s is so over-priced compared to BBB!” Could advertisers just use or continue to use only the first post? I think we need more clarification on how this will work before concluding that there is no real concern other than lack of compensation.

As always, I think these things need to be opt-in. In this case, not only is it not opt-in, there’s seemingly no opt-out.

Bad, Facebook. Bad, bad.

Controlling Facebook – or not. Not being in Germany, I can't opt-out and Facebook can still use my e-mail address to entice new users?

Facebook settles with Germany over Friend Finder issue

January 25, 2011 by Dissent

Jeremy Kirk reports:

Germany is stopping short of legal action against Facebook after reaching a 14-point agreement on Monday over how the site handles data from non-Facebook users.

Hamburg’s Data Protection Authority took issue with Facebook last August over its Friend Finder feature, which imports e-mail addresses from user contact lists on other e-mail services and then sends out invitations to non-Facebook users to join the site.

Read more on PCWorld.

[From the article:

Under the agreement, Facebook will allow those non-Facebook users to opt-out of further invitations. Those targeted users will also be told why they have been sent an invitation and how Facebook is allowed to use their e-mail addresses for additional friend finding.

For my Computer Security students

PayPal Most Phished, Facebook Most Blocked

"OpenDNS released statistics about which websites were commonly blocked — and which websites users were frequently given access to — in 2010. The report additionally details the companies online scammers targeted in 2010, as well as where the majority of phishing websites were hosted. Facebook is both one of the most blocked and the most allowed websites, reflecting the push/pull of allowing social sites in schools and the workplace. On the other hand, 45 percent of all phishing attempts made in 2010 were targeting PayPal."

Are all those Twits crazy?

TweetPsych: Twitter Psychological Profiling Tool Online

If you want to get more info about the person behind a Twitter handle, TweetPsych is a new psychological profiling online tool is here to help. Just enter the handle of any public Twitter account and TweetPsych will create a psychological profile based on a variety of factors.

The tool analyzes the tweets of that user for certain categories and then compares the frequency with an average user to create a profile. The categories include positivity, emotions, self-reference, media, time, work, social, learning, past, numbers, anxiety, sex, negativity, constructive, control and more.

The tool also creates an easy-to-read colorful bar chart to give you a quick overview of that person’s profile. Even though the tool provides a good insight into a users tweets, it should be taken with a grain of salt as results can be a bit skewed based on things like retweets.

For my Computer Security students

Ten years of scams and Malware - McAfee looks at the past

McAfee recently released a report examining scams and Malware from the previous decade. Essentially, McAfee says that the explosion of users online can be tied directly to the amount of crime that we sometimes face. [Quelle surprise! Bob]

Very interesting introduction to Cloud Computing.

7+ Popular Desktop Apps You Can Run From Your Browser Using Spoon

We have seen the magic of virtualization programs, in particular, the open-source VirtualBox, which allows you to install entire operating systems in an environment and use them in conjunction with its seamless mode. You don’t even have to be installing other OS’s because you can, in fact, clone your current OS for virtualization purposes. If installing a whole OS sounds like too much for you but you still would like to try Windows software without compromising the state of your registry, Spoon might be of interest.

… Spoon is a revolutionary virtualization tool that lets you run applications that you would normally need to download to your desktop by just using your web browser and a plugin. Once you’ve created an account and downloaded the plugin, you can select from a variety of applications in its directory, which features a number of the more popular software.

Office Suites

OpenOffice and OxygenOffice Professional are both available


… there are times when you just really need to use a more established browser other than your favorite one. … you’ll have the options to run either Firefox 4 Beta, 3.5, 3 and 2, as well as Safari 5 and Opera 10.

Useful Productivity Programs

Foxit Reader (PDF viewer)

Abiword (word processor)

Notepad++ (text editor for programmers)


Pidgin/Trillian: Two popular multi-protocol IM clients, which you can even use to tweet.

Skype: A highly convenient VoIP and video-call service.

Audacity: A great audio editor

Irfanview: One of the very best and most lightweight image viewers, converters and optimizers

Blender: An open-source animation suite and video editor

GIMP: image editor

Paint.NET: More advanced than Windows Paint

VLC player: media player


Google Adds an Education Category to the Apps Marketplace

Learn more about the education section of the Google Apps Marketplace in the video below.

For all my students: Better research!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Good List of Google Search Tricks

Today, I'd like to share with you a list of 100 Google Search Tricks. The list, compiled by Online College Courses, includes tips for refining searches using the tools built into Google and some tips for using operator words. Not all of the tricks are "new" or "secret" tricks, but I'm sure most readers will find something new to them on the list.

(Related) What are they saying locally?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

10,000 Newspapers On Google Maps

Newspaper Map is a new tool for locating and reading newspapers from locations all around the world. Newspaper Map claims to have geolocated 10,000 newspapers. To find a newspaper you can browse the map then click on a placemark to open the link within to read a newspaper. You can also locate newspapers by using the search boxes to locate a newspaper by title or location. Along with links to the newspapers, Newspapers Map provides links to translate the newspapers you find on the map.

No comments: