Wednesday, April 18, 2012
The picture comes into focus...
What local cops learn, and carriers earn, from cellphone records
April 18, 2012 by Dissent
Bob Sullivan reports:
The war on drugs has gone digital; but is it also a war on cellphone users?
That’s just one of the questions raised by an msnbc.com investigation into use of cellphone tracking data by local police departments across the nation. Msnbc.com built a database of thousands of invoices issued by cell phone network providers to cities after cops asked for caller location and other personal information between 2009-2011. The invoices were first obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union and released to the public earlier this month.
The database offers perhaps the first blow-by-blow accounting of several cities’ use of cellphone tracking as a crime-fighting tool and the potential blow to civil liberties that the requests represent.
Read more on Red Tape. It really gives a sense of what might be going on around the country as well as how carriers bill – or don’t bill – for services and how most requests do not involve warrants.
“What happens at school, stays at school?”
FL: Pasco school board to consider limiting student photos on Facebook
April 17, 2012 by Dissent
Ronnie Blair reports:
Pasco County students who use cellphones or other electronic devices to snap photos of classmates, teachers or anyone else at school would need to ask permission under planned revisions to the student code of conduct.
They would also need to ask the person’s permission before posting those photos on social network sites or other Internet sites.
The same prohibitions would apply to video.
Read more on the Pasco Tribune.
So you can’t take a picture of a school concert and upload it without getting every student’s permission just to even take the picture?
You can’t snap photos of a high school football game and upload it without getting every player’s permission before you can even take a picture?
Prohibiting the taking of pictures in some settings such as locker rooms, bathrooms, or the nurses’s office makes some sense, but how far does this prohibition go?
[From the article:
Alfonso said the photography issue raises some questions, especially regarding what constitutes consent.
"Whose consent is it?" he asked. "Is a 10-year-old student going to be able to consent over his parents' consent?"
Ever more knowledgeable and well known people are being ignored...
Tim Berners-Lee speaks out against U.K. surveillance bill
The man credited with inventing the World Wide Web has come out against the British government's contentious plans to monitor all Internet communication.
In an extensive interview with U.K. newspaper the Guardian, Tim Berners-Lee said the type of surveillance that the government was proposing was tantamount to the "destruction of human rights" and "the most important thing to do is to stop the bill as it is at the moment."
I am amazed that a motorcycle gang would stoop so low as to admit an IP Lawyer... (My God! You don't think they're all IP Lawyers, do you?)
FBI: Motorcycle Gang Trademarked Logo to Keep Narcs at Bay
We’ve always considered trademarking as a way to protect a company’s intellectual property and to aid consumers in identifying trusted products and services.
But on Tuesday, we stumbled on a novel use of intellectual-property law put into play by an alleged organized crime syndicate founded in Southern California.
The Vagos Motocrycle Club, which the Federal Bureau of Investigation has declared an outlaw motorcycle gang, has trademarked its jacket patch, replete with the trademark registration symbol, “in an effort to prevent law enforcement agencies from inserting undercover officers into their organization,” according to an FBI memo that surfaced on Tuesday.
The 2011 “law enforcement sensitive” memo (.pdf), unearthed by the Public Intelligence blog, warns infiltrating law enforcement officers that they “may be placing themselves in danger” if they don’t have the registration symbol at the bottom of the 600-member club’s patch, which is an insignia of Lokia, the god of mischief. [The patron saint of lawyers? Bob]
Amazon’s Secretive Cloud Carries 1 Percent of the Internet
Amazon’s cloud computing infrastructure is growing so fast that it’s silently becoming a core piece of the internet.
That’s according to an analysis done by DeepField Networks, a start-up that number-crunched several weeks’ worth of anonymous network traffic provided by internet service providers, mainly in North America.
They found that one-third of the several million users in the study visited a website that uses Amazon’s infrastructure each day.
… It’s popular with companies that see big spikes and drops in computing demand. Netflix uses it to handle the back-end of its streaming service, which is in hot demand on Sunday nights and then gets quiet a few hours later. And a supercomputing company called Cycle Computing even managed to build one of the world’s 50 most powerful supercomputers on the Amazon cloud.
… The company operates several data centers — it calls them “availability zones” — in Virginia, the West Coast, Singapore, Tokyo and Europe and, clearly, they have been growing fast in the past few years.
According to data compiled by Adrian Cockcroft, director of cloud architecture at Netflix, Amazon has increased the number of IP addresses assigned to servers in those data centers more than fivefold in the past two years — from just over a quarter-million IP addresses in February 2010 to more than 1.7 million last month.
That could show that Amazon’s business is growing even faster than most people realize (Gartner pegs its growth rate at about 30 percent year over year) or it could mean that Amazon is simply loading up on IP addresses in anticipation of future growth.
"Yet another move by IBM out of end-user hardware, Toshiba will be buying IBM's retail point-of-sale systems business for $850M. Is it really a good idea for a company defined by good (and in this case, high-margin) hardware to sell it off in favor of nebulous consulting stuff? 'Like IBM's spin-offs of its PC, high-end printer, and disk drive manufacturing businesses to Lenovo, Ricoh, and Hitachi respectively in the past decade, IBM is not just selling off the RSS division but creating a holding company where it will have a stake initially but which it will eventually sell.' Is there really no money in hardware anymore? "
For my “starving students” – worth a look. (Also suggests what the 'missing parts' must cost)
9 Bargain-Bin Gadgets for the Struggling 99 Percent
"A gigabyte here, a gigabyte there, pretty soon, you're talking big data" (with apologies to Everett Dirksen)
If you are an Internet user, it is more than likely that you store some of your content in the cloud be it Facebook, Google Docs, Dropbox or others. ZeroPC allows you to connect all your cloud storage in one single space and navigate through it seamlessly. The services supported are Box.net, Dropbox, Facebook, Twitter, Evernote, Flickr, Google Docs, Instagram, Picasa, Sky Drive and Sugar Sync.
The “Fast Food University” model? “Over One Billion educated?”
Coursera, the Other Stanford MOOC Startup, Officially Launches with More Poetry Classes, Fewer Robo-Graders
Last fall, 3 Stanford classes were offered free, online, and open to the general public: Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Intro to Databases. Their popularity far exceeded the university’s initial expectations from what I can gather – hundreds of thousands of students in a class’ll do that, I suppose.
… And now, two other Stanford professors, on leave but still affiliated with the university, are officially unveiling their startup, Coursera.
… I covered Coursera earlier this year. But today the startup is pulling back the curtain on its plans, announcing that it’s raised $16 million in funding from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and New Enterprise Associates. It has also secured partnerships with four universities – Princeton, Stanford, the University of Michigan, and the University of Pennsylvania – which will offer open online courses through the Coursera platform.
Over 1 million students have already signed up for the initial courses that Coursera’s had posted on its website.