Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Perhaps DoJ should hire some lawyers?
"A judge in New Zealand has ordered the U.S. government to hand over evidence seized in the Megaupload raid so Kim Dotcom and his co-defendants can use it to prepare a defense for an extradition hearing. The judge wrote, 'Actions by and on behalf of the requesting State have deprived Mr. Dotcom and his associates of access to records and information. ... United States is attempting to utilize concepts from the civil copyright context as a basis for the application of criminal copyright liability [which] necessitates a consideration of principles such as the dual use of technology and what they be described as significant non-infringing uses.' Once the defense attorneys have gathered and presented their evidence, the judge must decide whether the U.S. can make a reasonable case against Dotcom."


Cloud computing: Something we clearly need to address.
Is the Cloud Too Risky for Some Purposes?
“Forrester says that sometime this year we will have reached the point where 50 percent of companies are using some form of SaaS. The Yankee Group says that 41 percent of large companies already have or will deploy Platform as a Service technology in the next 12 months. VMWare and the Cloud Industry Forum (CIF) estimates cloud adoption to be at 48 percent of businesses in the UK.”
But Weisinger notes in his post for the enterprise content management (ECM) firm Formtek too a Wisegate report that found “50 percent of organizations think that the cloud is still too risky for handling most data and are only comfortable with using it for ‘commodity’ applications like CRM and email.”

(Related)
PCI DSS Compliance in the Cloud: Challenges and Tactics
Perhaps the largest point of confusion with regards to the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) and cloud computing is the question of upon whose shoulders does compliance fall? In 2011, several cloud providers began asserting that their clouds were validated as PCI DSS compliant. That’s all well and good, but unfortunately this validation does not trickle down to the providers’ customers who deploy servers within the provider’s infrastructure. If your organization wants to migrate PCI DSS in-scope systems to public cloud, there are several things to consider.
First and foremost, a cloud provider’s platform is just that – a platform. Physical servers are not certified PCI compliant by the hardware manufactures; just as operating system vendors are not. The platform and software employed serves as a medium upon which businesses can operate. It should be noted, however, that PCI certification for a provider does not just cover material, but process as well.


Apparently, “Ignorance of the Constitution” is a defense.
No Constitutional Issue in Shared Autopsy Photos
May 29, 2012 by Dissent
Tim Hull reports:
Despite a clear constitutional right to control death images of relatives, a district attorney is not liable for sending an autopsy photograph to the press, the 9th Circuit ruled Tuesday.
In the first decision of its kind, the federal appeals court in San Francisco found that “the common law right to non-interference with a family’s remembrance of a decedent is so ingrained in our traditions that it is constitutionally protected.”
Read more on Courthouse News.
Related: Opinion in Marsh v. County of San Diego  (via Venkat Balasubramani).
[From the Courthouse News article:
The panel found that Brenda Marsh had a clear right to control her son's death images, but since that right was not clearly established when Coulter released the photographs, he has qualified immunity.
… This intrusion into the grief of a mother over her dead son-without any legitimate governmental purpose-'shocks the conscience' and therefore violates Marsh's substantive due process right."


A bit of a follow up... “Papers, student!” I assume the students will be required to have their IDs on them at all times. What happens if the ID is in school but the student isn't?
Arphid Watch: schoolkids in Houston and San Antonio TX
A school district in San Antonio, Texas, plans to put RFID chips in student ID cards. A spokesperson for the Northside Independent School District said, “We want to harness the power of technology to make schools safer, know where our students are all the time in a school, and increase revenues.”
The RFID chips will reportedly work only while the students are on school property. [Want to bet? Bob]

(Related)
Texas school district to track kids through RFID tags
It does seem a shame that money is mentioned in all of this. One might have been able to understand it if this was purely a safety issue, but clearly it isn't. Indeed, in Houston, two school districts already enjoy this technology and it has reportedly brought them hundreds of thousands of extra dollars.
The Northside district, Kens 5 News says, loses $175,000 a day because of late or absent kids.
… However, after cases such as the one in Philadelphia were a school was sued for allegedly spying on a student off-campus (the school settled for around $600,000), some parents will surely be concerned that the kids will be snooped upon.
It's not as if this sort of tagging offers absolute security. What if an ID is stolen? What if the system is hacked and someone with evil purpose can quite literally track the movements of all the kids?

(Related)
Students will be tracked via chips in IDs
… Chip readers on campuses and on school buses [Which do leave school property Bob] can detect a student's location but can't track them once they leave school property. Only authorized administrative officials will have access to the information, Gonzalez said.
… He said officials understand that students could leave the card somewhere, throwing off the system. They cost $15 each, and if lost, a student will have to pay for a new one.
… The district plans to spend $525,065 to implement the pilot program and $136,005 per year to run it, but it will more than pay for itself, predicted Steve Bassett, Northside's assistant superintendent for budget and finance. If successful, Northside would get $1.7 million next year from both higher attendance and Medicaid reimbursements for busing special education students, he said.


Incontrovertible proof that Economists live in a world of fiction?
Economist Paul Krugman Is a Hard-Core Science Fiction Fan
If you follow the news at all, you’ve probably seen Paul Krugman — Princeton professor, New York Times columnist, and Nobel Prize-winning economist — championing the idea that government spending can lift us out of the economic crisis. What you may not know is that Krugman is also a huge science fiction fan.
“I read [Isaac Asimov’s] Foundation back when I was in high school, when I was a teenager,” says Krugman in this week’s episode of the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast, “and thought about the psychohistorians, who save galactic civilization through their understanding of the laws of society, and I said ‘I want to be one of those guys.’ And economics was as close as I could get.”
… “If you read Ender’s Game, his brother and sister actually end up shaping planetary debate through their online aliases, and the debates they have with each other under assumed names,” Krugman says. “So all of this was prefigured, which is why science fiction is good for your ability to think about possibilities.”


For my Statistics students Still a long way from a true “Reality Test.”
"The Global Economic Intersection reports on a project to statistically measure political bias on Wikipedia. The team first identified 1,000 political phrases based on the number of times these phrases appeared in the text of the 2005 Congressional Record and applied statistical methods to identify the phrases that separated Democratic representatives from Republican representatives, under the model that each group speaks to its respective constituents with a distinct set of coded language. Then the team identified 111,000 Wikipedia articles that include 'republican' or 'democrat' as keywords, and analyzed them to determine whether a given Wikipedia article used phrases favored more by Republican members or by Democratic members of Congress. The results may surprise you. 'The average old political article in Wikipedia leans Democratic' but gradually, Wikipedia's articles have lost the disproportionate use of Democratic phrases and moved to nearly equivalent use of words from both parties (PDF), akin to an NPOV [neutral point of view] on average. Interestingly, some articles have the expected political slant (civil rights tends Democrat; trade tends Republican), but at the same time many seemingly controversial topics, such as foreign policy, war and peace, and abortion have no net slant. 'Most articles arrive with a slant, and most articles change only mildly from their initial slant. The overall slant changes due to the entry of articles with opposite slants, leading toward neutrality for many topics, not necessarily within specific articles.'"

(Related) Think of it as “Behavioral Advertising” The candidates are “products”
"The Romney and Obama campaigns are spending heavily on television ads and other traditional tools to convey their messages. But strategists say the most important breakthrough this year is the campaigns' use of online data to raise money, share information and persuade supporters to vote. The practice, known as 'microtargeting,' has been a staple of product marketing. Now it's facing the greatest test of its political impact in the race for the White House. ... The Romney team spent nearly $1 million on digital consulting in April and Obama at least $300,000. ... Campaigns use microtargeting to identify potential supporters or donors using data gleaned from a range of sources, especially their Internet browsing history. A digital profile of each person is then created, allowing the campaigns to find them online and solicit them for money and support."

(Related) Toward an “automated congress?” True democracy? Politics by and for the Internet connected?
"Having read pretty heavily on the topic, weighed the pros and cons, and seen a few relevant slashdot articles, I wondered why an elected representative couldn't use online and in-person polling of constituents to decide the way he or she votes. Though we are living in the 'information age' and have rich communications media and opportunities for deep and accessible deliberation, we are getting by (poorly) with horse-and-buggy-era representation. In the spirit of science and because I think it's legitimately a better way of doing things, I recently announced my candidacy for Vermont's State Senate in Washington County."
How do you think such polling could be best accomplished? Do you think it's worth trying? Whether or not you buy into it, it's something that's only been made feasible in recent times with modern technology.


Perspective
Rise Of The Machines: IP Traffic Is Poised To Quadruple By 2016, Driven By An Influx Of New Devices
The latest VNI forecast shows a massive uptick in data usage, from the 369 Exabytes of IP traffic used worldwide in 2011 to approximately 1.3 zettabytes in 2016. According to Cisco, that rapid growth in data traffic will be driven by a proliferation of connected devices, ever-increasing broadband connectivity, and greater adoption of IP video worldwide.


Perspective
Walking Around Naked On The Internet’: McAfee Says 17% Of PCs Globally Lack Malware Protection
Some eye-opening stats out today from McAfee, the Intel-owned IT security company: a study of 28 million computers in 24 countries has found that 17 percent of all PCs do not have any form of security at all on them against viruses, worms, spyware and other Internet malware – a transgression that McAfee compares to “walking around naked on the Internet.”
But McAfee notes that while the average worldwide figure for unsecured PCs works out to one out of every six users, some countries are taking their security more seriously than others…


For my Infograph loving friends...
Infogram is an amazing new web tool platform for creating infographics quickly and easily. The tool is very simple to use and offers a whole host of unique WYSIWYG editing options from dragging content around to in-tool data table formatting.
… The site is free, robust, and going to be getting some more customized features and more templates soon. Looks like a great place for teachers and students to play with the art of visual explanation.


e-Textbooks are coming – deal with it.
iPad Only No More: Inkling Debuts HTML5-Powered E-Book App For The Web
Inkling, the San Francisco-based startup that’s known for making super slick interactive digital versions of college textbooks and other educational titles for the iPad, has debuted its first ever platform for the web browser.
‘Inkling for Web’ requires no Flash or other plug-ins, and is powered entirely by technologies such as HTML5, CSS and Javascript,


Something for my website students
Learn to Code With Mozilla’s ‘Thimble’ Editor
Mozilla Thimble is a new web-based code editor, part of the company’s recently unveiled “Webmakers” project. Thimble is designed to give novice webmakers an easy-to-use online tool to quickly build and share webpages.
You can check out Thimble over at the new Mozilla Thimble website. Keep in mind that Mozilla hasn’t formally launched Thimble; the company is still testing, fixing bugs and iterating the app.
Thimble is slightly different than other online code editors you may have tried, putting the emphasis on teaching HTML to newcomers rather than catering to advanced users. Thimble offers side-by-side code editor and code output panels which help new users see immediate results.
… Thimble can also load pre-made project templates to help users get started with some content that’s ready to build on. Currently the featured projects section of the Thimble homepage is still awaiting content, but among the coming projects is a tutorial on editing and creating your own Tumblr theme, as well as others from Mozilla’s various Webmaker partners.
To help new users get their Thimble-created projects on the web Mozilla has also bundled a publishing function directly into the editor. Once you’ve got your Thimble page looking the way you’d like it, just hit the “Publish” button and Thimble will output and host your page, offering up a URL to share with friends and another to edit your page if there’s something you need to change.

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