Thursday, May 17, 2012

Local. Hey, I'll get better with practice.
Mystery object nearly causes mid-air collision
The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating a mystery in the sky. A mysterious object flying over Denver nearly caused a mid-air collision Monday evening, 9Wants to Know has learned.
As far as investigators know, the mystery object did not show up on radar Monday. [It's called “Stealth” We don't want terrorists (or you second class citizens) shooting down the drone. Bob]
Investigators believe this object, whatever it is, could pose a serious safety hazard to planes.
Radio transmissions from confirm a nervous-sounding pilot reported a strange object at 5:17 p.m. Monday.
The pilot is heard telling air traffic control: "A remote controlled aircraft, or what? Something just went by the other way ... About 20 to 30 seconds ago. It was like a large remote-controlled aircraft.
The corporate jet, a Cessna Citation 525 CJ1, was flying at 8,000 feet above sea level [minus 5280 = 2720 feet above ground level Bob] over Cherry Creek when the mystery object came close enough to make any pilot nervous.
"That's an issue because now we have something in controlled airspace that poses a danger," Former NTSB Investigator and 9NEWS Aviation Analyst Greg Feith said.
Feith listened to the air traffic recordings and believes the object could be one of three things:
- A military or law enforcement drone. [No missiles Bob]
- A remote controlled aircraft.
- A large bird.
"Was this an unmanned vehicle that was part of some sort of law enforcement operation? Was this somebody that had flown a large model aircraft inadvertently into the airspace? Or was it just [a bird that] caught the pilot's eye so he believed it was an aircraft but could have been a very large wing span bird," Feith said.

“Don't worry, it's just Kool-aid.” Jim Jones
Euclid downplays privacy concerns about Wi-Fi tracking
A new company that plans to track millions of retail shoppers through a unique ID emitted by their smartphones says it wants to be privacy-friendly.
Will Smith, co-founder and chief executive of Euclid Elements, showed up at the PII privacy conference here today to say that identifying repeat visitors by these unique IDs -- the so-called MAC addresses broadcast when Wi-Fi is turned on -- shouldn't be an issue.
"We put a sensor in the store," Smith said. "It passively detects smartphones that come near the store."
… Instead of asking shoppers to choose to opt-in, the company adopted an opt-out model, which means visiting a page on Euclid's Web site. MAC addresses are stored for 18 months and only aggregate data is made available to the retailer, which is required to post a notice telling shoppers what's happening.
But that still means a company, however well-intentioned, will keep detailed logs about the movements of millions of Americans (or at least their mobile phones and perhaps laptops and other gadgets) around cities and shopping malls.
… "If it really creates value for the shopper, it should be something they opt into. But in practice, it's going to be happening without their knowledge most of the time."
Euclid's database would also allow police armed with a court order to learn about someone's whereabouts as long as they know or can find a suspect's MAC address. (You can typically find your MAC address through your laptop or smartphone's About screens. Wireless access points may also record them.)

One of several suggested topics at the last Privacy Foundation seminar... Also has implications for Universities...
The "Bring Your Own Device" to Work Movement
The Report analyzes the challenges employers will face over the next 1 to 3 years as more and more employees use personal devices to perform work. For some companies, a BYOD or "Bring Your Own Device" policy may be the right response. But the adoption of BYOD policies will increase certain employment and labor law risks ... The BYOD Movement requires a truly interdisciplinary response. Thirteen of Littler’s Practice Groups contributed to the insights and recommendations in the Report.
+ Link to full report (PDF; 779 KB)

Monetizing details of my existence...
Rethinking Personal Data: Strengthening Trust
[This] report suggests that personal data are a tradable asset, like water, gold, or oil. And like these assets, they need a set of trading rules to allow for mining, sharing, and utilization. Unlike tangible assets, however, personal data are not consumed when used. Instead, use increases value because new data elements are accumulated, providing greater insights into individuals. This increased insight, coupled with new data mining and "big data" technologies, often leads to new ways to use and create value. ...
Link to full report (PDF; 7.38 MB)

It's cheaper than sending people to Guantanamo...
"The Metropolitan Police has rolled out a mobile device data extraction system to allow officers to extract data 'within minutes' from suspects' phones while they are in custody. 'Ostensibly, the system has been deployed to target phones that are suspected of having actually been used in criminal activity, although data privacy campaigners may focus on potentially wider use.'"

It's for the children (no matter what the parents want)
Quit Facebook or be expelled, school says
A Queensland primary school principal is threatening to expel students aged under 13 who refuse to delete their Facebook accounts, in a bold bid to stamp out cyber bullying at her school.
The policy has been applauded by cyber safety experts who say schools are grappling to deal with a surge in problems caused when children use social media sites designed for adults.
Leonie Hultgren, the principal of Harlaxton State School in Toowoomba, Queensland, has explained the school's new policy in its latest newsletter.
… The Queensland Education Department’s director for the Toowoomba region, Greg Dickman, said the department, "fully supports the principal in managing these issues at a school level".
He said Queensland state school principals had the power to discipline students if they were found to be using technology inappropriately "both at school and outside of school hours".
A Victorian Education Department spokeswoman said that while principals could seek meetings with parents if students aged under 13 had Facebook accounts, they did not have the same disciplinary powers as their Queensland counterparts.
"The principal can only request the family to remove their child's Facebook profile," the spokeswoman said.
Ms Hultgren declined to be interviewed, but in an open letter to parents, she detailed the thinking behind the new policy. She acknowledged some families may ask: Why is Facebook a school issue?
"As many of the parents in the (senior) class would testify, there has been some considerable Facebook traffic that either bullies a child of this school or in some cases denigrates some staff and the school. Either of these circumstances warrant the school becoming involved," she wrote.
But Steven Troeth, a partner at Gadens Lawyers, which provides legal advice to leading Melbourne schools, said that while schools had the right to take disciplinary action when Facebook was used to bully students or staff, even if the bullying occurred outside school hours, he doubted principals had the authority to issue a blanket ban on social media.
He said the Facebook guideline that stipulated users must be aged 13 and older was not enforced by any law.

With the IPO pending, everyone is writing Facebook article... For my Intro to Computer Security studnets.
Nine Major Ways Criminals Use Facebook

Wow, neato! Now we can have video of future presidential bullies. Think any rules are necessary?
Fort Worth teachers encouraged to use cameras in the classroom
May 17, 2012 by Dissent
Craig Civale reports:
The United Educators Association in Fort Worth is encouraging its 20,000 members to use camera phones to deal with unruly students inside the classroom. [Perhaps hitting them with the phone would work... Bob]
It’s a controversial subject that most North Texas school districts say they haven’t had to deal with, but with technology creeping into the classrooms, some say it’s only a matter of time.
“A classroom is not an expectation of privacy… that’s a public forum anybody can walk in, walk out… not an expectation of privacy,” said UEA executive director Larry Shaw.
Read more on WFAA.
So… fast forward, so to speak… the district starts recording what goes on in classrooms. For how long are the tapes retained before they are rolled over? Will students who claim they are being harassed by peers or staff be able to use the recordings to prove their claims? Will the recordings be used to discipline staff who don’t do their jobs well?
And more importantly, what happens to the notion of intellectual freedom and curiosity? Will students feel comfortable raising unpopular thoughts or questions if they know they are being recorded?
If Texas is having such significant problems with unruly students, investing in recording equipment doesn’t sound like a prudent investment of resources. I will bet you that most classrooms do not have token economies or behavior plans in place and that most teachers have not been adequately trained or supported in how to manage behavior – or how to recognize the signs and symptoms of disorders that need treatment or accommodation. Are research-validated building-wide interventions and programs to promote appropriate behavior even in place? And have they asked the teachers whose students are not unruly to serve as master teachers to help train their colleagues in successful techniques and strategies?
Cameras in the classroom will not reduce unruly behavior. They will only record it. I would hope Texas educators can be more creative in proactively preventing problem behavior.

I doubt a UN Big Brother would be any more acceptable than a local Big Brother. Imagine trying to work out a single (lowest common denominator?) set of policies...
"The Indian Government is proposing to create an intergovernmental body 'to develop internet policies, oversee all internet standards bodies and policy organizations, negotiate internet-related treaties and sit in judgment when internet-related disputes come up.' This committee will be funded and staffed by the UN and will report to the UN General Assembly which effectively means the control of the internet passes on to World Governments directly."

Food for thought for the Class Action guys? Evidence gathering should be a snap. Record the ads, measure the connection speeds, sue.
"I'm not getting the bandwidth I paid for from my DSL connection. My '3mbps' fluctuates between about 2.7 during the day down to 0.1 or 0.2 in the evening according to Let's assume DSL is the only viable option for broadband at my house and I can't really move right now (rural area, on north face of the mountain, no cable service, very poor cell coverage). This was discussed 6 years ago, but I'd like to see if there are any current thoughts on whether I'm just stuck or if there is some way to make the ISP hold up its end."

Bad lawyers... Can they regain the court's trust?
Oops! Yahoo blunders in Facebook patent squabble
Yahoo's lawyers are eating humble pie after the company made accusations that Facebook filed patents fraudulently.
Facebook's lawyers not only managed to prove that the patents in question are legitimate, but that Yahoo's lawyers failed to check the records in the first place.

The Apps are out there – that's all I'm saying.
5 Powerful Music Apps That Should Make Middlemen Nervous

Does this suggest that Wikipedia is becoming more reliable?
"Yoni Appelbaum reports in the Atlantic that as part of their coursework in a class that studies historical hoaxes, undergraduates at George Mason University successfully fooled Wikipedia's community of editors, launching a Wikipedia page detailing the exploits of a fictitious 19th-century serial killer named Joe Scafe. The students, enrolled in T. Mills Kelly's course, Lying About the Past, used newspaper databases to identify four actual women murdered in New York City from 1895 to 1897, along with victims of broadly similar crimes, and created Wikipedia articles for the victims, carefully following the rules of the site. But while a similar page created previously by Kelly's students went undetected for years, when students posted the story to Reddit, it took just twenty-six minutes for a redditor to call foul, noting the Wikipedia entries' recent vintage and others were quick to pile on, deconstructing the entire tale. Why did the hoaxes succeed in 2008 on Wikipedia and not in 2012 on Reddit? According to Appelbaum, the answer lies in the structure of the Internet's various communities. 'Wikipedia has a weak community, but centralizes the exchange of information. It has a small number of extremely active editors, but participation is declining, and most users feel little ownership of the content. And although everyone views the same information, edits take place on a separate page, and discussions of reliability on another, insulating ordinary users from any doubts that might be expressed,' writes Appelbaum. 'Reddit, by contrast, builds its strong community around the centralized exchange of information. Discussion isn't a separate activity but the sine qua non of the site. If there's a simple lesson in all of this, it's that hoaxes tend to thrive in communities which exhibit high levels of trust. But on the Internet, where identities are malleable and uncertain, we all might be well advised to err on the side of skepticism (PDF).""

Cutesie picture of a start-up...
Facebook “Likes” Money: IPO By The Numbers [Infographic]

How huge is Facebook's impact? received 9% of all U.S. Internet visits in April
  • received more than 1.6 billion visits a week and averaged more than 229 million U.S. visits a day for the year-to-date.
  • The average visit time on is 20 minutes.
  • became the No. 1 ranked website in the U.S. on March 9, 2010.
  • The term 'Facebook' is the most searched term in the U.S. and has been for the past three years, starting the week ending July 18, 2009.
  • 10 states account for 52 percent of visits to -- California, Texas, New York, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Georgia, North Carolina based on year-to-date average.

I was talking with some lawyers recently about how they use technology. What you don't know can hurt you (or your client) When you delete a file, what actually happens is the Index pointer is deleted and the file remains untouched... This is a version you can load on your thumb drive and carry with you!
Drag and drop files to erase them permanently with EraserDrop
Every now and then, we need to make sure that the files we delete are really gone forever. Financial info, old work data, or poems we wrote in college all need to go down the memory hole with no chance of retrieval, and there are quite a few tools out there that get the job done.

For my researching students...
… it is now rolling out a brand new way to perform Google searches – the Knowledge Graph.
First and foremost, the Knowledge Graph is about things, not strings. What does that mean? When you search for things Google knows about, such as places, people, etc., Google will now gather its knowledge about these things and include that in the search results. So when you search for a name, you will also get a summary of information about that name. Also included will be names other people have searched for along with this one.
… According to Google, the database currently contains more than 500 million objects, with more than 3.5 million facts about these objects and their relationships with other objects. [Something funny with those numbers Bob] Google have obviously made good use of search information indicating what people are looking for in order to create this search experience.
The Knowledge Graph is currently only available to U.S. English users, but will roll out slowly to other countries and languages as well. In the meantime, you can watch this video to learn more about the new features of Google Knowledge Graphs.
[See also:

The complete(?) guide, for my students with ideas.
Fund Your Dream With the Perfect Kickstarter Pitch

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