Saturday, May 12, 2012

If you were not at the Privacy Foundation Seminar yesterday, shame on you. Nothing beats having the people who are actually involved with the topics under discussion exchanging information. It was probably educational but definitely amusing – what could be more fun than watching lawyers argue hypothetical scenarios that involve technology they almost understand.

(Related) This is one of the Privacy related topics debated at the seminar... It's interesting to see that the NJ judge reached the same conclusions as some of the lawyers on the panel.
Judge: Cellphone password off-limits
A tractor-trailer driver allegedly found with 364 pounds of marijuana in his rig in Mount Olive cannot be forced to reveal the password to unlock his Nextel BlackBerry phone, a judge ruled Thursday.
State Superior Court Judge Stuart Minkowitz, sitting in Morristown, found that suspect J. Arturo Vergara’s Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination would be violated if authorities compelled him to testify, in effect, by disclosing the password to his BlackBerry.
… The judge noted that, under certain circumstances, a person could be required to give up a password or decrypt a computer hard-drive for police. But those circumstances involve proof that the device absolutely belongs to the suspect and independent information that makes it a “foregone conclusion” that evidence will be found on the device.

Perhaps they can “notify” users by changing their “Status” from “Mr. Friendly” to “Stalker”
Facebook Fleshes Out Privacy Policy To Comply With Data Protection Audits, Will Hold Q&A On Monday
May 12, 2012 by Dissent
John Constine reports:
Today Facebook will start sending the first of three billion notices to users about proposed changes to its privacy policy, which were made to comply with a Spring deadline for implementing recommendations from an audit by the Irish Data Protection Commissioner. The three biggest changes Facebook’s Chief Privacy Officer for Policy Erin Egan told me about when we spoke this morning are several clarifications of existing but sometimes vague policies:
  • A clarification regarding Facebook’s existing policy that it may use your data to serve you ads outside of while you’re on other websites
Read more on TechCrunch, while I mull over Facebook’s “clarification” that it can follow you around on other web sites to serve you ads based on your data.
Kash Hill has more on this on Forbes.

Another “audit failure”
May 11, 2012
DHS OIG - U.S. Customs and Border Protection Privacy Stewardship
  • "CBP has made limited progress toward instilling a culture of privacy that protects sensitive personally identifiable information. This is in part because it has not established a strong organizational approach to address privacy issues across the component. To strengthen its organizational approach to privacy, CBP needs to establish an Office of Privacy with adequate resources and staffing and hold Assistant Commissioners and Directors accountable for their employees’ understanding of and compliance with their privacy responsibilities. In addition, CBP needs to improve its compliance with Federal privacy laws and regulations. Specifically, it needs to develop a complete inventory of its personally identifiable information holdings, complete privacy threshold analyses for all systems, and develop accurate system of records notices for its systems. CBP also needs to ensure that privacy impact assessments are conducted for all personally identifiable information systems."

This should not be a surprise. They took the money for rural phone access and did nothing there either.
AT&T, Feds Neglect Low-Price Mandate Designed to Help Schools
At the dawn of the Internet era, Congress set out to avert a digital divide between rich and poor students. In a landmark bill, lawmakers required the nation’s phone companies to provide bargain voice and data rates to schools and to subsidize the cost of equipment and services, with the biggest subsidies going to the schools with the most disadvantaged children.
More than a decade later, as schools struggle for funding amid widespread budget cuts, there is growing evidence that the program’s crucial low-price requirement has been widely neglected by federal regulators and at least one telecom giant.
A decade after the program started, AT&T was still not training its employees about the mandatory low rates, which are supposed to be set at the lowest price offered to comparable customers. Lawsuits and other legal actions in Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan and New York have turned up evidence that AT&T and Verizon charged local school districts much higher rates than it gave to similar customers or more than what the program allowed.

Of course they do. And of course they must deny or “no comment” the relationship.
Court Upholds Google-NSA Relationship Secrecy
A federal appeals court on Friday upheld the National Security Agency’s decision to withhold from the public documents confirming or denying any relationship it has with Google concerning encryption and cybersecurity.
That’s despite the fact that Google itself admitted it turned to “U.S. authorities,” which obviously includes the NSA, after the search giant’s Chinese operation was deeply hacked. Former NSA chief Mike McConnell told the Washington Post that collaboration between the NSA and private companies like Google was “inevitable.”

A point in the technical/legal debate yesterday. If everyone is using location services, can they argue that they didn't know they could be tracked?
May 11, 2012
Pew - Three-quarters of smartphone owners use location-based services
  • "A new report finds that 74% of smartphone owners use their phone to get real-time location-based information, and 18% use a geosocial service to “check in” to certain locations or share their location with friends. Over the past year, smartphone ownership among American adults has risen from 35% of adults in 2011 to 46% in 2012. This means that the overall proportion of U.S. adults who get location-based information has almost doubled over that time period, from 23% in May 2011 to 41% in February 2012. The percentage of adults who use geosocial services like Foursquare has likewise risen from 4% in 2011 to 10% in 2012."

I wonder if they are more concerned with the hackers or the politicians reaction to the hackers...
More Americans Worried About Cybarmegeddon Than Terrorism, Study Finds
More Americans want the presidential candidates to focus on protecting the government and the electrical grid against hackers than fighting terrorism groups.
That’s according to a new security study by Unisys (.pdf), which found that the three highest priorities for Americans when it comes to security issues in the presidential campaign are:
  1. Protecting government computer systems against hackers and criminals (74 percent)
  2. Protecting our electric power grid, water utilities and transportation systems against computer or terrorist attacks (73 percent)
  3. Homeland security issues such as terrorism (68 percent)

Tools for teachers?
Video Collaboration Service TenHands Launches Free Browser-Based WebEx Competitor
As the capabilities of modern browsers expand and developing standards like Google’s WebRTC initiative for real-time communications slowly find their way into most popular browsers, we’ll likely see more video collaboration software that’s currently still client-based move to the browser as well. TenHands, which is launching its private beta today (you can request an invite here) wants to be the first out of the gate in this market and sees itself as a direct competitor to Cisco’s WebEx, Microsoft Lync and other incumbents in this space. The service offers free video conference calls, screensharing, as well as built-in support for sharing documents from your desktop and
As for pricing, TenHands’ COO and co-founder Jack Blaeser told me earlier today, the company is planning to use a freemium model after the beta phase ends. Users will get three free hours of usage per month and will have to pay $10/month if they need more time.

Interesting. “Learn anywhere, pay for credit here.” One possible “Future of education?”
Groups Team Up to Turn Free Online Courses Into Cheap College Credit
The Saylor Foundation has been building an online catalog of free, self-paced college courses since 2010. But students who completed those courses could not typically earn credit toward a degree, since the nonprofit group is not an accredited institution. Saylor’s new partnership with the online course-provider StraighterLine seeks to change that, giving students an inexpensive way to earn academic credit using freely available materials.
The collaboration, announced today, will give students two different ways to save money when pursuing academic credit. Beginning in the fall, students can study free courses on and then enroll at StraighterLine to take an exam. After passing, they will receive American Council on Education recommended credit. Students could also enroll in a StraighterLine program, using Saylor’s free course materials as they go along.

You still need more artistic talent than I have...
Infographics are all over the web right now because they can be great for displaying and sharing information. If you have wanted to try making infographics or try having your students make them, but were worried that you needed to possess some talent for design, you need to try
… provides a canvas on which you can build your own infographic by dragging and dropping pre-made design elements. You can use a blank canvas or build upon one of's themes. If doesn't have enough pre-made elements for you, you can upload your own graphics to include in your infographic. Your completed infographic can be exported and saved as PNG, JPG, PDG, and SVG files. Watch the video below for an overview of

Did you ever smack yourself upside the head when you realized you missed a great opportunity? (Far greater than “I could have had a V8”) This one nearly gave me a concussion!
GoGoFantasy Is A New Kinkstarter For Porn
GoGoFantasy is a patent-pending system for crowdfunding porn. Folks with fetishes, grandmas with groin urgings, and couples into copulating can create projects and request cash in return for filming certain acts. For example, one young lady will mount two cameras in a small plane and film her activity in the cabin. And she won’t be reading her Kindle and eating peanuts, if you catch my meaning.
… the creators of GoGoFantasy have patented their idea so expect to see some delightful lawsuits in the future

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