Thursday, June 28, 2012

Even if this is a hoax, Comcast and AT&T will be scrambling to check and double check. Having a procedure to search for suspect data would make this cheaper and faster (and be extremely useful if you ever have a real breach)
Latest hacker dump looks like Comcast, AT&T data
A group of hackers has posted to the Web today data that appears to include Comcast employee names, ages and salaries, as well as e-mails and passwords associated with AT&T VoIP service accounts.
… As with many data dumps, it's unclear whether the data is what the hackers claim it is, whether it is current, who actually stole it, and how.

“We're intimidated by government. We almost tolerate customers.”
Mobile Carriers Gladly Give Your Data to the Cops, But Not to You
The nation’s major mobile carriers have amassed a treasure trove of sensitive data on their customers that they share with police and advertisers — but keep hidden from the consumers themselves.
The major carriers, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon, store who you texted, the content of texts and locational tracking information such as cell-site data, which identifies the cell tower to which a customer was connected at the beginning of a call and at the end of the call. Different companies hold your data for different times. Sprint hoards information the longest, according to a Justice Department survey, keeping your call records for an average of 18-24 months.
But, according to a survey by Pro Publica, the major carriers won’t disclose the data to their customers, for a host of reasons — nonsensical ones at best. But they will gladly hand it over to the authorities, even without warrants.
… When defeating California legislation this year that would force the mobile carriers to publicly report the number of times they turn over cell phone location information to police and federal agents, they successfully argued that such a plan would be too burdensome, and would take time away from the important work of sharing customer data with cops “day and night.”
T-Mobile declined comment on the Pro Publica survey. But AT&T said giving customers their data “is not a service we provide.”
Sprint said it doesn’t do it “for privacy reasons.”
That answer sounds familiar to a claim made last week by the Obama administration, which said it would violate Americans’ privacy if it informed the public on how many times it spied, without warrants, on Americans’ electronic communications under the FISA Amendments Act.
Verizon said it would provide your data to the cops “but not directly to you.”

This could be enlightening.
June 26, 2012
The Web Privacy Census
Berkeley Center for Law and Technology: "The Web Privacy Census is intended to formalize the benchmarking process and measure internet tracking consistently over time... This effort was developed and executed in partnership with Abine, Inc. Abine has been our technical collaborator and resource partner, helping us develop a reliable method for web crawling and analysis of tracking vectors. We seek to explore:
  • How many entities are tracking users online?
  • What vectors (technologies) are most popular for tracking users?
  • Is there displacement (i.e. a shift from one tracking technology to another) in tracking practices?
  • Is there greater concentration of tracking companies online?
  • What entities have the greatest potential for online tracking and why?"

Do you really “offer” the service if you don't tell anyone about it?
"The Federal Communications Commission has settled with Comcast over charges that the cable company made it hard for consumers to find stand-alone broadband packages that don't cost an arm and leg. As part of the settlement Comcast paid the U.S. Treasury $800,000 and the FCC extended the length of time Comcast had to provide such a service."

(Related) Does anyone in government do their job without prodding from someone outside?
Your FTC Privacy Watchdogs: Low-Tech, Defensive, Toothless
Jonathan Mayer had a hunch.
The young computer scientist suspected that online advertisers might be following consumers around the web — even when they set their browsers to block the snippets of tracking code called cookies. If Mayer’s instinct was right, advertisers were eying people as they moved from one website to another even though their browsers were configured to prevent this sort of digital shadowing. Working long hours at his office, Mayer ran a series of clever tests in which he purchased ads that acted as sniffers for the sort of unauthorized cookies he was looking for. He hit the jackpot, unearthing one of the biggest privacy scandals of the past year: Google was secretly planting cookies on a vast number of iPhone browsers. Mayer thinks millions of iPhones were targeted by Google.
This is precisely the type of privacy violation the Federal Trade Commission aims to protect consumers from, and Google, which claims the cookies were not planted in an unethical way, now reportedly faces a fine of more than $10 million. But the FTC didn’t discover the violation.
… If it seems odd that a federal regulator was scooped by a sleep-deprived student, get used to it, because the federal government is often the last to know about digital invasions of your privacy. The largest privacy scandal of the past year, also involving Google, wasn’t discovered by federal regulators, either. A privacy official in Germany forced Google to hand over the hard drives of cars equipped with 360-degree digital cameras that were taking pictures for its Street View program. The Germans discovered that Google wasn’t just shooting photos: The cars downloaded a panoply of sensitive data, including emails and passwords, from open Wi-Fi networks. Google had secretly done the same in the United States, but the FTC, as well as the Federal Communications Commission, which oversees broadcast issues, had no idea until the Germans figured it out.

Perhaps the DoJ should have consulted a real lawyer?
Kim DotCom warrants invalid, New Zealand judge rules
… New Zealand High Court Judge Helen Winkelmann ruled Thursday that the warrants did not adequately describe the offenses alleged, according to a report in the New Zealand Herald. "Indeed they fell well short of that," she said. "They were general warrants, and as such, are invalid.''
She also ruled that it was unlawful for the data confiscated in the raid to have been sent offshore, saying "the release of the cloned hard drives to the FBI for shipping to the United States was contrary to the 16 February direction" [given by the court] "that the items seized were to remain in the custody and control of the Commissioner of Police."

Tools for the next “Rodney King” incident? Perhaps record your Arizona traffic stop for “failure to look sufficiently Aryan.”
… You may have your own requirements for such an app, but in my particular case, I really wanted something that is: (1) extremely easy to set up, (2) extremely fast and convenient to start capturing video, and (3) produces high-quality video instantly on the web.
… Thankfully, I did find 5 apps to choose from that really fit the bill when you want to stream live video from your smartphone, for either all of the world, or just for a select circle of friends and family.

Designed for 9-year-olds – should be perfect for my students...
… Last year I shared an Explania video that illustrated and explained browser cookies. Yesterday, Common Craft released an explanation of their own. Watch both videos and I think you'll have a pretty good understanding of what cookies are and what they do. I do wish that both videos added a little more information about why and how websites and ad networks in particular use cookies.

Word is, having a thumb drive full of “fill in the blanks” legal documents is easier that typing them from scratch.
Similar site: JDSupra,

Perspective: Can anyone remember back that far?
59% of Young People Say the Internet Is Shaping Who They Are
… We have adopted new technologies with such remarkable speed and enthusiasm that they seem like they have been here much longer than they actually have.
A few points of reference:
  • When the country elected Barack Obama just four years ago, Twitter was a fledgling startup. During the campaign, Obama overtook Kevin Rose as the most followed person on Twitter, passing him at 56,482 followers.
  • Five years ago, according to Pew, less than half of Americans used email daily; less than a third used a search engine.
  • YouTube was founded in 2005 and Facebook in 2004 -- and it would be a while after that until they became such integral parts of our day-to-day Internet experience.
  • Today nearly half of Americans own a smartphone. The iPhone is five years old.
… In the new survey, commissioned by The Atlantic and The Aspen Institute and conducted by Penn Schoen Berland and Associates, we can see some hints of what this early generation of Internet users looks like, vis-a-vis that very technology that they've grown up on, and also with regard to questions of values that cut to the core of what America will look like in the years ahead.
Most younger people say that the Internet is shaping who they are. On a question that asked people to rank different sources of influence on their sense of right and wrong, 59 percent of people ages 18 to 29 said that social media or the Internet had a "great deal" or a "fair amount" of influence. Fascinatingly, 38 percent of Americans older than 65 said the same.

Dear Google, Unlike many reviewers, I plan to actually read this manual before writing my review. If you would be so kind as to send me a Nexus 7, I would even try using it before writing my review. If you look back through my Blog, you will see that I rarely say nasty things about Google so your odds of a good review aren't too bad. Hopefully, Bob
Nexus 7 tablet guidebook now available
Want to know more about Google's Nexus 7 tablet and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean? A free 84-page guidebook explains how to use the new tablet and OS.
The guidebook is available for Android, IOS, and PC users via Google Play.

Infographics are to statistics what comic books are to great literature – that's why I love 'em.
Infographics That Don’t Suck: FindTheBest’s Comparison Charts Are Now Embeddable
FindTheBest, the startup led by DoubleClick founder Kevin O’Connor, has built charts comparing everything from financial advisors to dog breeds to smartphones. And now that those charts can be embedded in blog posts, you might start seeing them a lot more often.

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