Saturday, May 05, 2012

Can you think of a worse way to show how much you care about your patients?
By Dissent, May 4, 2012
Lance Williams reports on a case previously covered on this blog:
A Prime Healthcare Services hospital in Redding broke state law when it publicized a patient’s confidential medical files in an effort to discredit a California Watch news report, state regulators say.
The state Department of Public Health on Tuesday issued five “deficiencies” against Shasta Regional Medical Center for what were described as repeated breaches of patient confidentiality last year.
At one point, the hospital CEO sent an e-mail to 785 people – virtually everyone who worked at the hospital – disclosing details from a 64-year-old diabetes patient’s confidential files, state investigators found.
Read more on California Watch.
Back in January, I suggested that SRMC should probably shut up and not continue to try to defend its actions. The ruling by the state comes as no surprise to me. Nor, however, am I surprised to read that SRMC is appealing the finding.
Do I expect to see fines over this one? You betcha. A “good faith belief” only cuts you some slack, not all.

Interesting set of facts. The investigator stole the Logon ID of a third party to access the girls “private” Facebook pictures. Isn't that third party the victim?
Outraged Dad Says Law Firm and Insurer Snooped on Injured Girl’s Facebook Page
May 4, 2012 by Dissent
Kevin Koeninger reports:
A father claims in court that a law firm and an insurer hired an investigator to pose as the Facebook friend of his 12-year-old daughter, who had been hurt in a dog attack, “for the purpose of examining and printing all of the postings and pictures contained” on her Facebook profile.
Nelson Cope sued two people and three businesses on behalf of his daughter, in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas.
Read more on Courthouse News.
Okay, you’re probably thinking that Dad needs to wake up to the reality that whatever you post on Facebook is fair game, right? But what if the investigator acquired the friend’s Facebook login and used that to access to the daughter’s page? What then? It would seem to be a Facebook TOS violation, but are there grounds for any civil claim against the investigator and his clients?

This type of change would make their job easier. No need for warrants or other pesky (hated) paperwork. And, my Ethical Hackers get to use the backdoor for their own (purely academic) purposes! (Remember, I get 1%)
FBI Wants Backdoors in Facebook, Skype and Instant Messaging
The FBI has been lobbying top internet companies like Yahoo and Google to support a proposal that would force them to provide backdoors for government surveillance, according to CNET.
The Bureau has been quietly meeting with representatives of these companies, as well as Microsoft (which owns Hotmail and Skype), Facebook and others to argue for a legislative proposal, drafted by the FBI, that would require social-networking sites and VoIP, instant messaging and e-mail providers to alter their code to make their products wiretap-friendly.
… Under the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, or CALEA, passed in 1994, telecommunications providers are required to make their systems wiretap-friendly. The Federal Communications Commission extended CALEA in 2004 to apply to broadband providers like ISPs and colleges, but web companies are not covered by the law.
… The news comes on the heels of another FBI plan that began kicking around in 2010 that would require backdoors in encrypted communication systems. That proposal, which would revisit the encryption wars of the 1990s, has failed to gather administration backing.

DOJ Official: Any Privacy Protection is Too Much Privacy Protection for Cell Phone Tracking
May 4, 2012 by Dissent
Hanni Fahoury writes:
Jason Weinstein, a deputy assistant attorney general in the Department of Justice’s criminal division, told a panel at the Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee’s “State of the Mobile Net” conference yesterday that requiring a search warrant to obtain location tracking information from cell phones would “cripple” prosecutors and law enforcement officials. [That's why we could never solve a crime until cellphones were invented. Bob] We couldn’t disagree more.
The problem with the DOJ’s position is that it fails to take into account privacy. The only way to ensure “fairness” and “justice,” is to demand that our Fourth Amendment rights not be violated by law enforcement working closely with cell phone providers to access your location information without your knowledge. We’ve already seen that despite the ruling in Jones, law enforcement and the wireless industry are finding ways to continue their pre-Jones practices of warrantless surveillance amid a stunning lack of transparency. We’re slowly seeing legislative action in the right direction on these important issues. On the federal level, Senator Ron Wyden (D-Or) has proposed the GPS Act, that would require law enforcement to obtain a search warrant to access location information. In California, we sponsored a bill with the ACLU of Northern California, to require law enforcement to get a search warrant anytime it wants location information about another person in California. And earlier this week, Representative Ed Markey (D-Mass) sent a request (PDF) to the biggest wireless carriers, demanding information about their relationship with law enforcement.
Read more on EFF.

May 03, 2012
FAS: Counterintelligence Surveillance Under FISA Grew in 2011
Secrecy News, Steven Aftergood: "In 2011, the US Government submitted 1,745 applications to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for authorization to conduct electronic surveillance or physical searches under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), according to a new annual report to Congress. Of these, 1,676 included requests for authority for perform electronic surveillance, the report said. That compares to 1,579 such applications in 2010 (including 1,511 for electronic surveillance). As is usually the case, the FIS Court did not deny any electronic surveillance applications in whole or in part last year, though it made modifications to 30 of them. The new report says that the government filed 205 applications for business records (including “tangible things”) for foreign intelligence purposes last year, compared to 96 in the previous year."

There are some very interesting conclusions in this article. Not sure I believe all of them, but definitely worth thinking about.
The Newsonomics of Pricing 101
When the price of your digital product is zero, that’s about how much you learn about customer pricing. Now, both the pricing and the learning is on the upswing.

Who is promising to keep student load rates low?
May 04, 2012
TRAC: Recent Rise in Federal Suits to Recover Student Loans
"The latest month-by-month data from the federal courts shows that in March of this year the government reported that it had sued 279 individuals in order to seek recovery of defaulted student loans. According to the timely case-by-case case civil enforcement information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), this count was 25.7% higher than the previous month when 222 cases of this kind were filed. Relative to its population, the Eastern District of Michigan (Detroit) led the nation with prosecution rates ten times the average for the country. The Central District of California (Los Angeles) led the nation in the number of suits filed, accounting for 140 out of the 279 suits in March."

For my Geeks...
New Start Up CodeNow.Com Lets You Build And Test Code In Real Time, In Your Browser
Trying new APIs is tricky. You can spend hours setting things up, gaining permissions, and learning syntax before you even get to write one line of code. That’s why is cool. In short, it allows you to try APIs before you invest too much time into them and, as an added bonus, it acts as a code repository.
The site is currently in private beta but it’s accepting users tonight.

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