Saturday, January 01, 2011

Identity Theft as an Access Tool. Why steal ID's one at a time when you can download them wholesale?

Law firm’s credentials misused to access Experian database

December 31, 2010 by admin

Experian has a lot of clients and sometimes those clients’ login credentials fall into the wrong hands. That appears to be the case again.

Experian notified the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office on December 22nd that someone using the access login credentials of the law firm of Samuels, Green, and Steel, LLP had accessed an unspecified number consumer credit reports. Those reports typically contain more than enough personal information to commit identity fraud.

Experian has detected a number of these types of situations. In this case, the notification letter does not provide any information as to when the access occurred or how long it took before it was detected. As in other cases, Experian reports that law enforcement has been contacted to investigate and that Experian is working with its client to investigate the breach.

A tool for all you practical jokers out there? “Since we can't investigate everything, we'll just assume the worst – after all, they're only citizens.”

One Tip Enough To Put Name On Terrorist Watch List

"As a result of the US Government's complete failure to investigate credible warnings about 'Underwear Bomber' Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab from none other than Abdulmutallab's father, senior American counterterrorism officials say they have altered their criteria so that a single-source tip can lead to a name being placed on the watch list. Civil liberties groups warn that it is now even more likely that individuals who pose no threat will be swept up in America's security apparatus, leading to potential violations of their privacy and making it difficult for them to travel. 'They are secret lists with no way for people to petition to get off or even to know if they're on,' said Chris Calabrese, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union."

Interesting concept. Perhaps this will evolve into a “virtual judge” accessible via iPhone, who can allow any type of warrant or subpoena instantly. “Courtrooms in the Cloud?”

'No Refusal' DUI Checkpoints Coming To Florida?

"With New Year's Eve only days away, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration expects this to be one of the deadliest weeks of the year on the roads. But now a new weapon is being used in the fight against drunk driving. ... Florida is among several states now holding what are called 'no refusal' checkpoints. It means if you refuse a breath test during a traffic stop, a judge is on site, and issues a warrant that allows police to perform a mandatory blood test."

Failure to properly use “Information Assets” “We don't know who needs what so we're giving everyone everything and hoping they can figure it out...”

December 31, 2010

WaPo: WikiLeaks cable dump reveals flaws of State Department's information-sharing tool

Follow up to previous postings on WikiLeaks, via WaPo's Joby Warrick: "Investigations into the attacks concluded that government agencies had failed to share critical information that could have helped uncover the Sept. 11 plot. Because of that lapse, Congress tasked the Office of the Director of National Intelligence with pressuring key government agencies - including the Pentagon, the Homeland Security Department and the State Department - to find ways to rapidly share information that could be relevant to possible terrorist plots and other threats. The State Department, with its hundreds of diplomatic posts worldwide, was already making tens of thousands of classified cables available to intelligence and military officials with secret security clearances. But in 2005, the DNI and the Defense Department agreed to pay for a new State Department computer database that could allow the agency's cables to flow more easily to other users throughout the federal government. Net-Centric Diplomacy was launched in 2006 and tied into a giant Defense Department system known as the Secret Internet Protocol Router Network, or SIPRnet. Soon, nearly half a million government employees and contractors with security clearances could tap into the diplomatic cables from computer terminals around the globe... The State Department's new database quickly garnered praise as a model of interagency collaboration. The database was named a finalist for an Excellence in Government award in 2006... The flaws did not become apparent until much later. One of biggest problems: Sensitive cables were often dumped willy-nilly into the database regardless of whether they belonged there, according to two department officials familiar with the internal procedures for data storage."

Is this a case of forcing a new technology into an old technology's legal framework? It certainly make it easier for lawyers to (mis-)understand.

YouTube Legally Considered a TV Station In Italy

"Italian newspaper La Repubblica reports that YouTube and similar websites based on user-generated content will be considered TV stations (Google translation of Italian original) in Italian law, and will be subject to the same obligations. Among these, a small tax (500 €), the obligation to publish corrections within 48 hours upon request of people who consider themselves slandered by published content, and the obligation not to broadcast content inappropriate for children in certain time slots. The main change, though, is that YouTube and similar sites will be legally responsible of all published content as long as they have any form (even if automated) of editorial control. The main reason for this is probably that it will force YouTube to assume editorial responsibility for all published content, which facilitates the ongoing € 500M lawsuit of Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi against YouTube because of content copyrighted by Berlusconi's TV networks that some users uploaded on YouTube. Berlusconi's Spanish TV station, TeleCinco, was previously defeated in court on the grounds that YouTube is not a content provider."

Perspective. Africa as an emerging market. (I'll admit, the graphic caught my eye.)

The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be

Mobile phones and 3G service became ubiquitous in Africa so rapidly in part because they never had to compete with landlines. [Arthur C. Clarke wrote about developing countries skipping our “old and embedded” technology and jumping right to the latest stuff. Bob] Kenyans flocked to mobile-phone money transfer services, because they had no consumer banks: now M-Pesa, the largest, handles money equal to a mindboggling 10% of Kenya’s GDP every year. (The US equivalent would be $1.4 trillion/year. By contrast, PayPal handles less than $100 billion/year worldwide, of which mobile-phone payments are but a small fraction.) Now much of Kenya is quickly adopting distributed, flexible, resilient solar power, largely because their monolithic, sclerotic, vulnerable grid doesn’t reach much of the country.

This doesn’t mean they’ll be better off – we’ll be vastly wealthier for some decades yet – but they’re using their blank-slate advantage to evolve far faster. if you want to see the world’s real hothouse of change, or build a business that can change the lives of (or make money from) many tens of millions in the space of a few years, get ahead of the curve and aim at the 70% of humanity who live in Asia, where they already get new smartphones first, or Africa, which despite its Dark Continent reputation is rapidly growing wealthier.

The future of Education? Online, very specific, global access, best possible teacher(?), free to try.

Florida Bar Approves the Blog’s Online Education Program

… The accreditation in Florida was awarded to each of the four Sections that make up our program. We will use that same plan with other states. As explained at, the first Section is offered for free to everyone, everywhere. All you have to do is register. There will only be a charge for this first Section if you later seek to have Bar CLE credits awarded for your studies.

Global Cooling! Global Cooling! Mother Nature repeals the Al Gore Law...

Our Lazy Solar Dynamo — Hello Dalton Minimum?

"Solar maximum is supposed to be occurring, and everything from satellite communications to your toaster or radio could be affected. The only problem is that this just isn't happening, and NASA continues to revise downward the original prediction. In fact, the new forecast for Solar Cycle 24 is a lot smaller, and is now pegged at almost 40% of what was previously predicted. Recently, two scientists at the National Solar Observatory have followed the lead of a prominent Russian scientist, who almost five years ago forecast a dearth of sunspots and the subsequent cooling of Earth for the next several cycles. With Britain currently experiencing the coldest winter in over 300 years, and no new sunspots for the last week, are we heading for a Dalton Minimum, or worse still, yet another Maunder?"

Because I like lists...

A List Of The Best Of The Best Meme Lists Of 2010

Another way for my wife to print life-size pictures of her horse.

Image Print Wizard: Spread & Print Posters on Multiple Pages

Similar tools: Easy Poster Printer, PicSlice, BlockPosters and Rasterbator.

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