Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Local boy goes east... Will he be able to explain Privacy to the FCC? OR will he fall victim to Potomac Phever? Stay tuned!
Paul Ohm to Join FTC Targeting Web, Mobile
May 21, 2012 by Dissent
Julia Angwin breaks the great news:
Paul Ohm, a law professor and privacy expert at the University of Colorado, is expected to join the Federal Trade Commission in August as a senior policy adviser focusing on Internet and mobile markets, according to people familiar with the situation.
The appointment signals the agency’s continued commitment to bringing privacy and technology related cases. In the past year, the FTC has forged 20-year privacy agreements with Internet giants Google, Facebook and MySpace.
Ohm is a former federal computer crimes prosecutor and an expert in information privacy. His 2010 paper, “Broken Promises: Responding to the Surprising Failure of Anonymization” sparked a global reassessment of privacy standards.
Read more on WSJ.
[From the article:

You only need to read a few of these articles to become an expert on BYOD (more knowledgeable than 0.00001 percent of all computer security managers)
Overcoming BYOD Security Challenges with Flow-Based Monitoring

...and when we're not arresting all those Mormon drug dealers, we can look for guys driving down the highway followed by six cars full of wives.
"Everyone driving on Interstate 15 in southwest Utah may soon have their license plate scanned by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. The DEA and two sheriffs are asking permission to install stationary license plate scanners on the freeway in Beaver and Washington counties. The primary purpose would be to catch or build cases against drug traffickers, but at a Utah Legislature committee meeting Wednesday, the sheriffs and a DEA representative described how the scanners also could be used to catch kidnappers and violent criminals. That, however, wasn't the concern of skeptical legislators on the Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Interim Committee. They were worried about the DEA storing the data for two years and who would be able to access it."

It seems everyone thinks of Privacy only in passing (if at all)
Our privacy may be worth more to Facebook than the courts
May 21, 2012 by Dissent
If you thought your privacy didn’t mean much to businesses, wait until you hear what a court thinks it’s worth.
Today was the sentencing hearing for Dharun Ravi, the former Rutgers student who was convicted of invading Tyler Clementi’s privacy via web cam and then letting others know via tweets. Clementi was humiliated and a few days later, committed suicide. Ravi was not charged with causing Clementi’s death, but the elephant in the room throughout the entire trial was that if Ravi had not done what he did, Clementi would not have killed himself.
There may be more to that part of the story than came out in court, however, as today, both the defense counsel and Ravi’s father alluded to non-public information that would presumably call into question any causal relationship between Ravi’s actions and Clementi’s suicide.
In any event, the sentencing was to be for the counts on which Ravi was convicted, which included invasion of privacy, bias intimidation, and attempting to destroy evidence and tamper with witnesses to cover up the crimes.
So what’s all that worth in terms of serious jail time? Well it seems that:
If you criminally invade someone’s privacy – and even attempt to do it again…. and
If you’re found guilty of invasion of privacy… and
If you not only invade privacy but broadcast what you’ve learned to others…. and
If the person whose privacy you invaded is in a protected class and you are convicted of a bias crime… and
If you lie to prosecutors and attempt to cover up your crime….
Then you get 30 days in jail, 300 hours of community service, and a $10,000 fine to be used to assist victims of bias crimes.
So if we extrapolate from Judge Berman’s sentence today, you can commit a whole bunch of crimes and the grand total of jail time will be 30 days. Note that you could have gotten up to 10 years and possible deportation.
In explaining himself, Judge Berman didn’t even spend that much time discussing the privacy invasion aspect. He focused more on the bias aspect, the attempt to cover up the crime, and Dharun Ravi’s failure to offer satisfactory apologies to the people who were hurt by his actions. .
Indeed, the judge’s lack of emphasis on privacy may have led Danielle Citron to claim that
For his conviction on witness- and evidence-tampering and lying to the police, Ravi will serve 30 days in jail. For the hate crimes charge and sentence enhancement, Ravi was sentenced to three years’ probation, 300 hours of community service, counseling on cyber bullying and alternative lifestyles, and payment of $11,000 to a group that helps victims of bias crimes.
In her entire blog post on the sentencing, Danielle didn’t mention privacy once. And that’s somewhat understandable because Judge Berman did not seem to focus on it, either.
Judge Berman had a chance to send a strong message about privacy. And if he wanted to temper justice with mercy, he could have sentenced Ravi to taking a course on privacy and not just one on cyberbullying or bias. His failure to fully address the implications of privacy violations was disappointing, to say the least.
What a shame privacy was the poor cousin in the court today.

Companies may not be willing to fight to a subpoena to protect customer privacy, but do they need to be so eager to comply?
"In one of the mass 'John Doe' cases based on single BitTorrent downloads of films, Malibu Media v. Does 1-13, a pro se litigant made a motion to quash the subpoena. The Court granted a stay of the subpoena, pending its decision on the motion to quash. Unfortunately for John Doe, Verizon had turned over its subscribers' identities 5 days BEFORE the response was due, thus possibly mooting both the stay and the motion to quash. Fortunately for John Doe, the Judge wasn't too happy about this, ordered the information sealed, directed plaintiff's lawyers to destroy any copies, and ruled that they can't use the information unless and until the Court denies the motion to quash."

Not a surprise, is it? They have to keep trying until they get a law that covers what they are already doing.
Wyden: White House-backed cybersecurity bill sacrifices privacy
May 21, 2012 by Dissent
Brendan Sasso and Andrew Feinberg report:
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) warned on Monday that the Senate’s cybersecurity legislation is an “overreaction” that would undermine Americans’ right to privacy.
He said the legislation, which is supported by the White House, shares some of the same “defects” as the House’s Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA).
He said both the House and Senate bills “subordinate all existing privacy rules and constitutional principles to the poorly defined interest of ‘cybersecurity.’”
Read more on The Hill.

Google to respond in a few weeks...
May 21, 2012
EU Announces Preliminary Conclusions on Google Antitrust Investigation
News release, JoaquĆ­n Almunia Vice President of the European Commission responsible for Competition Policy: "In November 2010, the Commission launched an antitrust investigation into allegations that Google had abused a dominant market position. This followed a number of complaints. We have looked at those complaints and at others we received since the opening. And we have conducted a large-scale market investigation... Our investigation has led us to identify four concerns where Google business practices may be considered as abuses of dominance...[snipped]
  • first, in its general search results on the web, Google displays links to its own vertical search services.
  • Our second concern relates to the way Google copies content from competing vertical search services and uses it in its own offerings. Google may be copying original material from the websites of its competitors such as user reviews and using that material on its own sites without their prior authorisation.
  • Our third concern relates to agreements between Google and partners on the websites of which Google delivers search advertisements.
  • Our fourth concern relates to restrictions that Google puts to the portability of online search advertising campaigns from its platform AdWords to the platforms of competitors."

YouTube Users Now Uploading 72 Hours of Video Per Minute

Perspective (For my lecture on unbiased statistics)
"Despite continued pressure on business users to buy legitimate software, the Business Software Alliance (BSA) reports that the campaign seems to be failing. Well over half (57%) of users surveyed in a global survey admit to using pirated software. That's a big increase from the same survey last year — when 43% admitted to using pirated software. The BSA surveyed 15,000 people in 33 countries."

As I get older, I think about living for a long time. (Or the alternative) This article suggests I can do that by burying my head in the sand and avoiding all human activity, therefore I announce my intention to run for Congress!
Ancient life, potentially millions of years old and barely alive, found beneath ocean floor
Call it survival of the slowest: Extraordinarily old, bizarrely low-key bacteria have been found in sediments 100 feet below the sea floor of the Pacific Ocean, far removed from sunlight, fresh nutrients and what humans would consider anything interesting to do.

Improvements suggested by the 'legal search' experts?
May 21, 2012
Google Scholar Gets a New Look
Google Scholar Blog: "We've recently been experimenting with a new modern look for Scholar search results. Many of you have already tried the new look and have offered valuable suggestions, which we've done our best to incorporate. Thank you for your time and patience! It is time...to launch the new modern look of our search pages and retire the old venerable look that has served researchers worldwide since our first release in 2004. Tried and true as the old look might be, it's time for a refresh. The new modern look brings you improved aesthetics and easier access to frequently used search features. You can now search for recent papers with a single click in the sidebar. You can access advanced search features (for example: search by author) without leaving the search results page by clicking the arrow in the right of the search box. Here's a quick overview of the changes..."

A few interesting twists...
While it touts itself as an online e-book publisher, Booktango also offers a well-optimized e-book editor for the iPad and other tablet devices.
Booktango generates different formats of your book so that you can sell them online. You can sell directly through the Booktango platform and get 100% of the sale, or sell to Amazon and other online bookstores to get 90% of the sale.
While you can get by using the free version, Booktango offers one-time fees for premium features like the choice of cover design, and U.S copyright registration.

Start-ups and KickStarter. Makes me want to actually do some of the things I've thought of over the years...
The Power Of Disrupt: gTar Raises $30,000 On Kickstarter In Two Hours
The startup wowed the crowd with their iPhone-powered teaching guitar. The judges loved it. The crowd loved it. And most importantly, fans turned to the startup’s Kickstarter campaign where funding took off like a rocket. Prior to hitting the stage, the gTar had raised just a touch above $10,000. Now, almost exactly two hours after their Disrupt debut, their Kickstarter funding (a.k.a. pre-orders) is north of $42,000 and rising fast. [$136,000+ as I write this Bob]

Saturday they “Successfully stopped” the launch, today they sent their capsule into space. Hot diggity damn!
NASA hails SpaceX launch as 'a new era' for spaceflight

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