Wednesday, May 16, 2012

It's not that they don't know how to protect data (Best Practices, etc.) it's just that it actually takes effort...
Zero tolerance for human error? Utah governor fires tech director
May 15, 2012 by admin
Heather May reports that at least one head has rolled in the wake of the Utah Department of Health breach in March:
Gov. Gary Herbert apologized to the 780,000 victims of the health data security breach on Tuesday.
To restore the public’s trust, he announced Tuesday that he fired Department of Technology Services director Stephen Fletcher and hired an ombudsman to shepherd victims through the process of protecting their identities and credit.
He said Fletcher was asked to resign, saying the director lacked “oversight and leadership.”
The governor said the status of two other technology employees is also being reviewed. They could be reprimanded or fired.
Herbert declined to give details of what protocols the employees failed to follow that allowed hackers, likely from Romania, to swipe the Social Security numbers and other data from health department servers on March 30. He said they are being investigated, but added that the breach was related to the failure to change a default password.
Read more on Salt Lake Tribune.
[From the article:
Data will now be encrypted while it is on state servers and not just when it is in transit, he said.
… Herbert also terminated a contractor who provided software without encryption safeguards, he said.

(Related) This applies to IP lawyers too.
Dear Executives, Technological Ignorance Is No Longer Acceptable
An article appeared in the New York Times technology section recently about Glenn Britt, the CEO of Time Warner Cable. The story? He doesn’t know what AirPlay is. Of course, many people don’t know what AirPlay is. For those of you who don’t know, AirPlay is a software service from Apple that allows users to play content from one device onto another.
… This is a twofold problem (at least.) If the content holders have no idea what technology consumers are using and what they want in a viewing experience, how can they make good decisions about how to provide and license their content and how can they do anything but respond to new and disruptive technology with lawsuits and awkward diatribes against piracy? I think we are past the point in our culture when we give people a pass for not understanding how technology works – not people who make a living from it and make legislative decisions about it. Part of the reason technology workers and enthusiasts are so put off by attempts to regulate (or not) technology is because these laws and restrictions are so obviously being created by people who don’t know the first thing about the technology they’re dealing with.

Tools for stalkers? Perhaps Rupert Murdock would like a copy too?
If you follow a lot of people on Twitter, you will find tweets in your stream where people mention others and talk to them. Reading only one side of the conversation does not help at all. To help you read both sides is a helpful tool called TweetsBetween.
TweetsBetween is an online tool that helps you read the most recent tweets between two Twitter users. All you have to do is type in the handles of each user into the specified fields and then click on the “Go” button.
… Although Twitter only lets the app search back for conversations up to a week ago, the app also provides you with the option to view specific conversations beyond that period after linking them to a URL.

Think this will go anywhere? Me neither...
Jack Straw: ‘Breach of privacy’ should be in Human Rights Act
May 16, 2012 by Dissent
Paul McNally reports:
The former justice secretary, Jack Straw, has called for the Human Rights Act to be amended to include a new clause on breach of privacy.
Giving evidence at the Leveson inquiry today, Straw said that when the Human Rights Act was passed in 2008 parliament felt the privacy element was best left to the senior judiciary to interpret and apply, but that had now changed.
He told the inquiry: “There is a need now for parliament to amend the law so there is a tort of breach of privacy that applies to everybody.
“I think it is time for parliament to accept the job we passed to the judiciary.”

My car, Big Brother's data?
As Congress Mulls Mandate on Car Black Boxes, Data Ownership Remains Unclear
The term “black boxes” conjures up images of plane crashes for some and inspires conspiracy theories for others. For the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), the automotive black box became a key source of impartial information in the unintended acceleration controversy focused on Toyota vehicles.
That’s partly why Congress now seems set on passing legislation that would make an Electronic Data Recorder (EDR) – the technical name for an automotive black box – required equipment on all new cars. And lawmakers also want to settle who owns the data on the devices, although that issue won’t be nearly as cut-and-dried.
Bill 1813 that mandates EDRs for every car sold in the U.S. starting with the model year 2015 has already passed the Senate. The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to pass a version of the bill with slightly different language. Car and Driver calls the wording of the bills “pretty vague” and notes that the Senate version stipulates that EDRs only “capture and store data related to motor vehicle safety,” and that access to the EDR’s information is only through an “interoperable data access port.”

“Because we can't teach them not to bully, we'll teach them to submit to privacy violations.”
NZ: Principals call to search students’ cellphones, laptops
Principals want the power to search students’ cellphones and laptops to combat cyber-bullying.
The call comes as part of a change in the way schools deal with the problem, with principals shifting away from restorative justice to suspending bullies.
Secondary Principals’ Association president Patrick Walsh said principals were being forced to take a heavier hand to ensure student safety, on the back of a backlash from parents, who say soft approaches don’t work.
The association is working with the Ministry of Education to give principals the power to confiscate phones, laptops and digital devices.
Read more on TVNZ.
Wait until they find communications between a teacher and a student. Then the fun should start as teachers jump into the fray….

(Related) What might teachers find on student devices?
Ca: Top court to decide if data on work computer is private
May 15, 2012 by Dissent
Angela Mulholland reports:
How much privacy Canadians can expect when they use work computers for personal use will be under a microscope when the Supreme Court begins hearing arguments this week in a case that could have wide implications for many employees.
The case before the Supreme Court of Canada involves a high school teacher in Sudbury, Ont. who was charged with possession of child pornography, after nude pictures of a student were found on his work-issued laptop.

I read this as a firm, “We can't tell...”
May 15, 2012
Outsourcing and Insourcing Jobs in the U.S. Economy: Evidence Based on Foreign Investment Data
Outsourcing and Insourcing Jobs in the U.S. Economy: Evidence Based on Foreign Investment Data, James K. Jackson - Specialist in International Trade and Finance, May 10, 2012
  • "Broad, comprehensive data on U.S. multinational companies generally lag behind current events by two years and were not developed to address the issue of jobs outsourcing. Many economists argue, however, that there is little evidence to date to support the notion that the overseas investment activities of U.S. multinational companies play a significant role in the rate at which jobs are created in the U.S. economy. Instead, they argue that the source of job creation in the economy is rooted in the combination of macroeconomic policies the nation has chosen, the rate of productivity growth, and the availability of resources. This report addresses these issues by analyzing the extent of direct investment into and out of the economy, the role such investment plays in U.S. trade, jobs, and production, and the relationship between direct investment and the broader economic changes that are occurring in the U.S. economy."

Slick. Add our service and we give you a second line, free!
Comcast’s Non-Denial Denial On Traffic Prioritization And Net Neutrality

People Click on About One of Every 2,000 Facebook Ads They See
… One indication comes courtesy of this infographic that these marketers created showing the differences between Facebook and Google's ad networks. It contains three remarkable stats about clickthrough rate (CTR), which is the percentage of the time a user clicks on an online advertisement. The average, these marketers say, is about 0.1 percent. Facebook's CTR is below average at 0.051 percent and Google's is above average 0.4 percent.
While these differences are meaningful and say something powerful about Google and Facebook, let's do the math on those percentages to see how relevant the ads you're seeing really are. For Google, people are clicking on about 1 of every 250 ads they see while searching. For the average, it's 1 out of every 1,000 ads. And for Facebook, people are only clicking once every 1,961 ads they see.

For my researching students
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
This afternoon I discovered a new feature in Google Documents (now a part of Google Drive) that could prove to be handy for students to use while writing research papers. Google Docs now has a search function built-in. This feature allows users to search the web without having to leave the document they're viewing. To access the new feature open the "tools" menu then select "research" while you have a document open. The search box will appear on the righthand side of your screen.
Once you have opened the search sidebar there are some great features to take advantage of. If you find a web result that you want to use in your writing, click on the "insert link" and "cite" buttons to have that link included in your document. Google Docs will automatically insert a footnote citation for that link. The same concept is applied to image searches. When you find an image that you want to use in your document, drag it into place and Google Docs will automatically include a citation for you. The only problem with the image search is that I couldn't tell if the images were Creative Commons licensed or not without going to the actual source in a new tab. Finally, there is a quotation search function that allows you search for famous quotes to include in your writing. Again the automatic citation function kicks-in if you find a quote that you want to you use.
… To learn more about Google Documents and Google Drive, download my free 57 page guide to Google Drive and Docs for Teachers.

For my Statistics students: It's so unfair that people would actually have to get out of bed to vote. Perhaps we could base everything on the newspaper and TV polls. (Or, Twitter, just to be a bit more up-to-date)
Why Fewer Voters Can Mean Better Elections
… Two separate research initiatives—one from a pioneering cryptographer and a second from a team based at Stanford University—have proposed a return to this purer, Athenian-style democracy. Rather than expect everyone to vote, both proposals argue, we should randomly select an anonymous subset of electors from among registered voters. Their votes would then be extrapolated to the wider population. Think of it as voting via statistically valid sample. With a population of 313 million, the US would need about 100,000 voters to deliver a reliable margin of error.

(Related) On the other hand...
Sorry, Mr. Obama: You Can't Use Twitter to Predict Election Results
… Election forecasting with twitter is a particularly trenchant example of the cocktail of hubris and naïveté that is widespread in social-media prediction work. For instance in a particularly well-cited 2010 paper titled "Predicting Elections with Twitter: What 140 Characters Reveal about Political Sentiment," researchers in Germany argued that Twitter is a "valid real-time indicator of political sentiment'' in which "the mere number of tweets mentioning a political party" has predictive power that rivals traditional polling. However, this paper, which claimed to have matched traditional polling's error rates for the 2009 German Parliamentary Elections, is indicative of many of the problems with such predictive studies.
Strong early detection work is seriously grounded in the offline social dynamics and phenomena that would lead someone to express a related sentiment online. Work on "predicting" election outcomes is not. Public-opinion polling -- the contemporary gold standard of election forecasting -- involves incredibly sophisticated sampling procedures to identify "likely voters" as opposed to "registered voters," often stratifying by various populations of interest that might otherwise be under-represented. This is a means of grounding the work in the real social dynamics of voting. Only by building into the predictive model a view of what will actually get which people to the polls, is it possible to translate the loosely held public political sentiment of the moment into something that relates to actual outcomes on election day. In Twitter prediction to date there has been no such subtle inclusion of the dynamics of participation and how these map to real world action.

No comments: