Friday, May 04, 2012

Even terrorists should follow Best Practices.
"If you're running a terrorist organization, it might make sense to encrypt your files. Clearly Osama Bin Laden didn't realize that — as some of the documents seized during the raid on his hideout in Pakistan have been made public for the first time. 17 electronic documents, which were found on USB sticks, memory cards and computer hard drives after US Navy Seals killed the terrorist chief in the May 2011 raid, are being released in their original Arabic alongside English translations by the Combating Terrorism Center, reports Sophos."

Osama may not be the only one who isn't following Best Practices...
U.K. Ministry of Defense tries to play catch up with hackers
The British military's head of cybersecurity, Jonathan Shaw, admitted that there have been a number of successful attacks into the Ministry of Defense's computer systems, according to the Guardian.
"The number of serious incidents is quite small, but it is there," Shaw told the Guardian in a final interview before he retires. "And those are the ones we know about. The likelihood is there are problems in there we don't know about."
He wouldn't say how many attacks there have been, but he did emphasize that it was serious enough to make cybersecurity a top priority for the Ministry of Defense. This is the first time the government agency revealed that its networks have been breached.
Shaw had a few ideas in mind to deal with cybercrime. One was to develop cyberweapons.
… Another idea was to listen to "young" people.
… A final idea was to be creative and look at what tech companies are doing to combat data breaches.

It's wrong, but there are multiple degrees of wrongness. If “attachment” alone is the violation, what will happen when everyone has a “black box” in their car?
May 02, 2012
CRS - United States v. Jones: GPS Monitoring, Property, and Privacy
United States v. Jones: GPS Monitoring, Property, and Privacy, Richard M. Thompson II, Legislative Attorney, April 30, 2012
  • "In United States v. Jones, 132 S. Ct. 945 (2012), all nine Supreme Court Justices agreed that Jones was searched when the police attached a Global Positioning System (GPS) device to the undercarriage of his car and tracked his movements for four weeks. The Court, however, splintered on what constituted the search: the attachment of the device or the long-term monitoring. The majority held that the attachment of the GPS device and an attempt to obtain information was the violation; Justice Alito, concurring, argued that the monitoring was a violation of Jones’s reasonable expectation of privacy; and Justice Sotomayor, also concurring, agreed with them both, but would provide further Fourth Amendment protections. This report will examine these three decisions in an effort to find their place in the body of existing Fourth Amendment law pertaining to privacy, property, and technology."

(Related) Always quick to jump on trendy topics, despite staggering ignorance... “Hey, is it true you guys give information to the police? ...and what exactly is this telly-foney thingie?”
Rep. Markey asks for data from carriers on surveillance requests and revenues
May 3, 2012 by Dissent
Data helps, and Rep. Markey is asking AT&T some pointed questions about their cooperation with law enforcement on surveillance requests.
Responses are requested by May 23.

Watch the watchers?
Gary Kovacs: Tracking the trackers
As you surf the Web, information is being collected about you. Web tracking is not 100% evil -- personal data can make your browsing more efficient; cookies can help your favorite websites stay in business. But, says Gary Kovacs, it's your right to know what data is being collected about you and how it affects your online life. He unveils a Firefox add-on to do just that.
[...and one viewer's comment:
This is not even the best there is... I personally use a Firefox add-on thats called "Ghostery", and it doesn't just show you what trackers are tracking you, but it lets you block them very simply.

(Related) If that made you paranoid, these will really drive you to think)
8 Tools for the Online Privacy Paranoid

Yesterday Europe, tomorrow the world?
"Even as an EU court rules that APIs can't be copyrighted, tech observers are waiting for the Oracle v. Google trial jury to rule on the same question under U.S. law. Blogger Brian Proffitt spoke with Groklaw's Pamela Jones on the issue, and her take is that a victory for Oracle would be bad news for developers. Essentially, Oracle is claiming that, while an individual API might not be copyrightable, the collection of APIs needed to use a language is. Such a decision would, among other things, make Java's open source nature essentially meaningless, and would have lots of implications for any programming language you can name."

Interesting to note that, “Traditional privacy practices are finding their way to the mobile space. ” Or, as I have said repeatedly, each new generation of technology eventually relearns the lessons of earlier technology.
Mobile experts disagree on who should protect privacy
May 4, 2012 by Dissent
Grant Gross reports:
Users of mobile apps need more information about the ways those apps use their personal information, a group of experts agreed Thursday, but they didn’t agree on who is most responsible for protecting user privacy.
Apple and Google can better police their app marketplaces, although both companies have several good privacy protections, said Todd Moore, founder of app vendor TMSoft, during a discussion on mobile app privacy at the State of the Mobile Net conference in Washington, D.C. The operators of the iPhone and Android app marketplaces are in the best position to enforce privacy controls and set rules limiting the amount of information apps can collect, he said.
Read more on Computerworld.

(Related) ...and others are noticing the same thing.
Are Mobile Devices repeating PC History?

No more “Papers, Citizen!” Perhaps we can inject a chip under your skin at birth... “Bits, Citizen?”
"On Wednesday, the European Commission published a strategy document aimed at setting up systems to protect children online. In the document — but not in the accompanying press release nor the citizens' summary — the Commission mentioned that it will soon propose a 'pan-European framework for electronic authentication,' full details will be announced on 30th May. The launch of the strategy follows a push to strengthen internet security in the EU. It also outlined legal measures to make it easier for people to use a single e-ID for online services across borders, which would underpin a move toward a pan-European framework for electronic identification, authentication and signature (Pefias) framework."

Interesting, but not too much foresight required. (See following article)
Infographic: Features your next smartphone may have

The future is arriving on Track 2... Security by facial recognition.
Samsung Galaxy S III Tracks Your Eyes, Knows When You’re Ready to Call
One new feature, Smart Stay, uses eye-tracking technology to put the phone to sleep (and wake it up again) as needed. Specifically, the S III’s front-facing camera registers when you’re looking at the device. If the phone recognizes your mug, its screen will turn on and remain active as long as you’re using it.

(Related) Security for those of us with no smartphone?
"Tom Jacobs has a very cool little story about an Israeli research team introducing a novel way of verifying a computer is being operated by its rightful user. Its method, described in the journal Information Sciences, 'continuously verifies users according to characteristics of their interaction with the mouse.'"

(Related) Touch the cookie jar and hear “Do you really need another 300 calories?”
Touché Teaches Objects To Sense Your Touch
Researchers at Disney and Carnegie Mellon University have created an interesting new technology using Swept Frequency Capacitive Sensing that allows nearly any object to sense multiple points of contact on its complex service. This would allow, for example, doorknobs to understand when to lock and unlock based on your finger position and environmental controls based on the user’s current body position. Lying down? The lights go out. Feet on the floor? The lights go up.

"According to Symantec's annual Internet Security Threat Report, religious and ideological websites have far more security threats per infected site than adult/pornographic sites. Why is that? Symantec's theory: 'We hypothesize that this is because pornographic Web site owners already make money from the Internet and, as a result, have a vested interested in keeping their sites malware-free — it's not good for repeat business,'"

Study: 37% Of U.S. Teens Now Use Video Chat, 27% Upload Videos
According to a new study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, 37% of teens now regularly use Skype, Apple’s iChat and startups like Tinychat to video chat with each other.

Don't they make you leave your phone in a basket before entering their X-ray machine?
Radioactivity Counter is a new application for Android devices. The function of the app is to help you measure radiation in your surroundings. Interestingly, the app makes use of your smartphone’s camera.
If you cover the camera with black tape, then the radiation in your surroundings will be registered as specs of white light in the CMOS sensors in the camera that come equipped on the phone. Through this method you can primarily measure gamma radiations and a few higher order beta radiations.
For a demonstration of the app, check out the following video:
Similar tools: Wikisensor.

Get smart, cheap!
Making use of this helpful service is easy. Just visit the website and look below for courses that are currently available. Choose one, and click on the button that says “Enroll”. You can then make an account or sign up with your Facebook account to access the course. The courses are conducted through video lectures, slides and PDFs.

There is money in online education...
Smart Education: How Hit $70M In Revenue Without A Penny From Investors
That’s why the story of has such relevance in today’s landscape. Founded in the ’90s, the company is, compared to the slew of year-old edtech startups, an old-hand. For those unfamiliar, offers a virtual video library of over 1,200 educational, how-to videos. Unlike the awesome Khan Academy, Lynda’s video courses are taught by industry experts, working professionals, and veteran teachers, served up in installments for a monthly subscription fee of about $25.
… For educators and teachers, part of the appeal of Lynda is that they’re guaranteed a paycheck for the content they help produce. Since Lynda is a veteran of the publishing industry, Lynda’s compensation model is not unlike book deals. Once teachers are vetted (and the co-founders told me they find more than 50 percent of the time that authors don’t necessarily make great teachers), they’re given an advance for their work. From there, the company offers a cut of revenues depending on the popularity of their videos.

While you are thinking about how much to invest...
This Story Contains Forward-Looking Statements
There are those investment titans who will be receiving a visit from Mark Zuckerberg and his band of roadshow colleagues flogging their 337.4 million shares in Facebook. That doesn’t include most of us. Fortunately, the Facebook team has kindly ginned-up a video for everyone else.
The 30-minute video, dubbed the Retail Roadshow, covers the basics of the massive Facebook offering in five easy sections. Think of it as the cheat-sheet for the S-1.

For my students (and a new Legal field?)
The Government Would Like You to Write a 'Social Media Will'
By some estimates, nearly a half a million people with Facebook accounts passed away last year, leaving family and friends to navigate what to do with those pages. Leave the account open? Shut it down entirely? Convert it to an official Facebook memorial page? What would you want for your own Facebook profile? And forget Facebook, what do you want to become of your email account?
If you want any say in such matters, you might want to consider creating a social-media will, as the US government is now recommending as part of its advice on estate planning. As per their blog:
If you have social media profiles set up online, you should create a statement of how you would like your online identity to be handled. Just like a traditional will helps your survivors handle your physical belongings, a social media will spells out how you want your online identity to be handled.
Like with a traditional will, you'll need to appoint someone you trust as an online executor. This person will be responsible for closing your email addresses, social media profiles, and blogs after you are deceased.
Sounds good, but legally it's tricky territory.

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