Friday, June 22, 2012

This is better than “My dog ate my homework.” Incompetent managers now have an excuse that could work every time! “An undetectable malware program is responsible for deleting my homework. I know that is true because you can't see any evidence of it!” (Would this fly in North Korea?)
"Iran has reported that its nuclear facilities are under a sustained cyber attack which it blames on the U.S., UK and Israel. America and Israel created Stuxnet, and have been accused of starting the Flame worm."
And once a country admits that it's created such software, publicly deflecting such blame gets a lot harder.

For my Business Continuity students. Extend this to calculate a MTBU (maximum time to belly up)
Outage Hurts Twitter More Than It Hurts You
Twitter blamed its on-again, off-again outages Thursday on a “cascading bug” that left 140-character addicts in a state of painful withdrawl.
But the pain could be most acute for Twitter itself as the company seeks to ramp up its credibility as a go-to venue for advertisers.
Twitter says the service was down for about an hour and forty minutes total during two separate outages. Though exact figures on Twitter’s revenues and traffic aren’t available, a little basic math hints at the scale of the losses.
In terms of pure traffic, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo said this week that the service had topped 400 million tweets per day. That’s nearly 17 million tweets per hour lost to the world on average, or up to 2.83 billion characters. The number could be much higher since the outages came during the middle of the U.S. workday.
That’s a time when ad rates are also likely at a premium. Digital marketing research firm eMarketer Inc. estimated at the beginning of 2012 that Twitter would reach nearly $260 million in revenue this year. It’s a big number but still amounts to less than $30,000 per hour on average. A more recent report from ad-buying conglomerate Group M also projects Twitter will bring in more than $300 million in 2012.
… “Twitter is a relatively small platform compared to its big competitors,” says eMarketer’s Clark Fredricksen. “When people don’t use it, that hurts.”

(Related) Literally...
When Twitter Stumbles, Sites Across the Web Go Down With It

This may seem repetitious and redundant, but perhaps it should be. For my Intro to Computer Security class.
Track the trackers with Collusion: Interview with Mozilla's Ryan Merkley
There are many flavors of privacy add-ons for different browsers, but to get the global tracking "big picture," if you haven't already then you really need to try out Collusion. The "interactive, real-time visualization of entities that track your behavior" when you are surfing says a lot.
Gary Kovacs, the CEO of Mozilla, gave a fantastic TED talk about "Tracking the trackers" and showed off Collusion to the audience.
… After you download and install Collusion in Firefox, you can "see who is tracking you across the Web and following you through the digital woods," Kovacs stated.

(Related) See? We need to open their eyes first...
June 21, 2012
Check Point Survey Reveals a Generation Gap in Computer Security
News release: "Check Point® Software Technologies Ltd...announced the results of a new ZoneAlarm report revealing differences in the use of computer security between Gen Y and Baby Boomers. The report, The Generation Gap in Computer Security, found that Gen Y is more confident in its security knowledge than Baby Boomers. However, 50 percent of Gen Y respondents have had security issues in the past two years compared to less-than-half of Baby Boomers. The broad adoption of digital media and social networking, combined with the increasing amount of sensitive data that is stored online, is making personal computer security more important than ever before. Yet the ZoneAlarm study reveals that 78 percent of Gen Y respondents do not follow security best practices while cybercriminals are launching new and more sophisticated attacks on consumers every day. In comparison, Baby Boomers are more concerned about security and privacy and twice more likely to protect their computers with additional security software."

Workplace surveillance will extend globally and become ubiquitous.
Google Maps Reinvented As Employee Tracker
Google Maps isn’t just a way to get where you’re going. It’s a way to keep an eye on your employees.
On Thursday, Google uncloaked a new service dubbed Google Maps Coordinate that lets businesses track the activities of remote workers — such as traveling sales staff and field technicians — by tapping into GPS devices on their cell phones. For instance, says Google, a cable TV company could follow the progress of their field techs as they move from home to home repairing cable connections.

I don't get it, but then I'm pretty anti-social...
June 21, 2012
Article - The Public Domain: Surveillance in Everyday Life
The Public Domain: Surveillance in Everyday Life, Alice Marwick. Surveillance & Society, Vol 9, No 4 (2012)
  • "People create profiles on social network sites and Twitter accounts against the background of an audience. This paper argues that closely examining content created by others and looking at one’s own content through other people’s eyes, a common part of social media use, should be framed as social surveillance. While social surveillance is distinguished from traditional surveillance along three axes (power, hierarchy, and reciprocity), its effects and behavior modification is common to traditional surveillance. Drawing on ethnographic studies of United States populations, I look at social surveillance, how it is practiced, and its impact on people who engage in it. I use Foucault’s concept of capillaries of power to demonstrate that social surveillance assumes the power differentials evident in everyday interactions rather than the hierarchical power relationships assumed in much of the surveillance literature. Social media involves a collapse of social contexts and social roles, complicating boundary work but facilitating social surveillance. Individuals strategically reveal, disclose and conceal personal information to create connections with others and tend social boundaries. These processes are normal parts of day-to-day life in communities that are highly connected through social media."

The law of drones. I plan to use my drone fleet to develop intelligence that will allow me to accurately predict (and sell subscriptions) the optimum viewing time for skinny dipping Bunnies at the Playboy Mansion.
No, You Can’t Use a Drone to Spy on Your Sexy Neighbor
What are the laws against drones—and their masters—behaving badly? Turns out, there are few that explicitly address a future where people, companies, and police all command tiny aircraft. But many of our anxieties about that future should be assuaged by existing regulations. We asked Ryan Calo, a law professor at the University of Washington, to weigh in on some of the issues.
Can I use a drone to spy on my sexy neighbor?
Can I use a drone to deliver a cup of coffee? [Or a pizza? Bob]
Could a police drone look in my windows for drugs?
Could the police follow my car with a drone?

It is better to be the victim's lawyer than to be the victim.” Joe Obvious
Privacy Lawyers Sell Out Facebook Users for $10 Million
Facebook is agreeing to give its users the right to “limit” how the social-networking site uses their faces in ads, as a part of a way to settle a privacy lawsuit brought against the company.
The other part of the settlement is $10 million in fees to the lawyers who brought the case against Facebook’s so-called Sponsored Stories program and a $10 million donation to charity.
… The suit, filed in April 2011, claimed that the social-networking site did not adequately inform people of the feature or give them a way to opt out of the advertising program that began in January 2011.
Terms of the deal (.pdf) were unveiled Thursday and they require Facebook to let members be “capable of taking steps to limit their appearance in those ads.” Read that lawyerly phrase again — it doesn’t mean provide a way to opt out entirely.

If I video a Math lesson, tools like this one allow my students to make “audio only” versions they can play while commuting or jogging (but mainly, they can avoid looking at me)
"Two days after, a site that converts songs from music videos into MP3 files, was blocked from accessing YouTube, the RIAA has asked CNET to remove software from that performs a similar function. The RIAA focused its criticism on software found at called YouTubeDownloader. The organization also pointed out that there are many other similar applications available at the site, 'which can be used to steal content from CBS, which owns' CNET's policy is that is not in any position to determine whether a piece of software is legal or not or whether it can be used for illegal activity."
For a sufficiently broad definition of "steal," you could argue that all kinds of software (from word processors to graphics programs to security analysis tools) could be implicated.

This is just stupid... And it does nothing to protect the “good name” of the Olympics.
Online Knitting Community Receives Take Down Notice for 'Ravelympics'
The website Ravelry has gotten a take-down request from the US Olympic Committee, which says that "Ravelympic" events "denigrate the true nature of the Olympic Games."

All WMDs are equivalent. Release a chemical or biological WMD, face a nuke in response.
"The second of the two controversial bird flu studies once considered too risky to publish in fears that they would trigger a potentially devastating global influenza epidemic was published Thursday. The study describes how scientists created H5N1 virus strains that could become capable of airborne transmission between mammals. Scientists said that the findings, which had been censored for half a year, could help them detect dangerous virus strains in nature."

Just saying...
"While we are importing billions of 'cheap' products labeled 'Made in China,' the fastest growing export from U.S. to China does not even need a label. Chinese parents are acutely aware that the Chinese educational system focuses too much on rote memorization, so Chinese students have flocked to overseas universities and now even secondary schools, despite the high cost of attending programs in America. Chinese enrollment in U.S. universities rose 23% to 157,558 students during the 2010-2011 academic year, making China by far the biggest foreign presence. Even the daughter of Xi Jinping, the presumed next president of China, studies as an undergraduate at Harvard. This creates opportunities for universities to bring American education directly to China. Both Duke and New York University are building campuses in the Shanghai area to offer full-time programs to students there."

(Related) How big would this be in China?
Peter Norvig: The 100,000-student classroom
In the fall of 2011 Peter Norvig taught a class with Sebastian Thrun on artificial intelligence at Stanford attended by 175 students in situ -- and over 100,000 via an interactive webcast. He shares what he learned about teaching to a global classroom.

Learn from the master...
Thursday, June 21, 2012
Daniel Russell is a Google employee who studies how people search on the Internet. He's a search anthropologist. I had the pleasure of meeting him and learning from him at the Google Teacher Academy that I attended in 2009.
On his blog Search ReSearch Daniel Russell posts search challenges for readers to try. Then a few days later he explains how to solve the challenges. The challenges are not challenges that you could solve with just a basic query or even if you used the built-in Google Advanced Search tools.

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