Monday, July 09, 2012

Next time your automatic screen saver cuts in, remember this case.
Forgetting to log off gives “tacit authorization” for snooping – NJ court
July 9, 2012 by Dissent
Timothy B. Lee writes:
When Wayne Rogers, a New Jersey teacher, sat down in his school’s computer lab to check his e-mail, he bumped the mouse of the computer next to him. The screen on the adjacent computer came on, and Rogers saw that one of his colleagues, Linda Marcus, had left herself logged into her Yahoo e-mail account. He saw an e-mail thread with the subject “Wayne Update.” Curious, he clicked the e-mail and found it was a private discussion with another teacher of an argument between Rogers and Marcus.
Read more about the case on Ars Technica. There seem to be a number of ways this case could have been argued, but the bottom line is that the jury didn’t believe that the snooping co-worker actually knew he lacked authorization or exceeded authorization to access the emails. [Where are these people from? Mars? Oh, New Jersey... Same thing. Bob] I find it somewhat hard to believe that he didn’t know he shouldn’t be reading a co-worker’s emails, even if she failed to log out of her account, but hey, that’s the jury system at work, I guess.

Perhaps soon they will forget how to tap land lines?
"The New York Times reports: 'In the first public accounting of its kind, cellphone carriers reported that they responded to a daunting 1.3 million demands for subscriber data last year from law enforcement agencies seeking text messages, caller locations and other information in the course of investigations.' One stinging statistic: AT&T gets 230 requests for data per hour, and turns down only 18 per week. Sprint gets 500,000 requests per year. While many requests are backed by court orders, most are not. Some include 'dumps' of tower data, which captures everyone near by at a certain time."

I told you that filming police wasn't smart without your lawyer present... How long before they film themselves busting drug lords or rescuing puppies?
"Ben Fractenberg and Jeff Mays write that the NYPD has created a 'wanted' poster for a Harlem couple who film cops conducting stop-and-frisks and post the videos on YouTube — branding them 'professional agitators' who portray cops in a bad light and listing their home address. The flyer featuring side-by-side mugshots of Matthew Swaye and Christina Gonzalez and the couple's home address was taped to a podium outside a public hearing room in the 30th Precinct house and warns officers to be on guard against them. The couple has filmed officers stopping and frisking and arresting young people of color in Harlem and around New York City, which they post on Gonzalez's YouTube account. They said their actions are legal. 'There have been times when it's gotten combative. There have been times when they [police officers] have videoed Christina,' says Swaye. 'But if we were breaking the law they would have arrested us.' Swaye was part of a group of advocates including Cornel West who were detained at the 28th Precinct in Harlem in October for protesting the stop-and-frisk policy which Mayor Bloomberg strongly defends. "

Oh look, there's an App for that too.
Privacy risk from ads in apps rising: security firm
July 9, 2012 by Dissent
Tarmo Virki reports:
Some advertising networks have over the last year started to secretly collect app users contacts or whereabouts, and could now have access to 80 million smartphones globally, U.S.-based mobile security firm LookOut said.
Over 80 million apps have been downloaded which carry aggressive ads and the problem was rising, LookOut said as it unveiled on Monday the first industry guidelines on how application developers and advertisers could avoid raising consumer angst over too aggressive ads, which could hit badly the $8 billion industry.
Read more from Reuters.

Glad someone is thinking about this.
July 08, 2012
HP - Privacy, Security and Trust in Cloud Computing
Privacy, Security and Trust in Cloud Computing, by Siani Pearson, HP Laboratories, HPL-2012-80R1, June 28, 2012
  • "Cloud computing refers to the underlying infrastructure for an emerging model of service provision that has the advantage of reducing cost by sharing computing and storage resources, combined with an on-demand provisioning mechanism relying on a pay- per-use business model. These new features have a direct impact on information technology (IT) budgeting but also affect traditional security, trust and privacy mechanisms. The advantages of cloud computing - its ability to scale rapidly, store data remotely, and share services in a dynamic environment - can become disadvantages in maintaining a level of assurance sufficient to sustain confidence in potential customers. Some core traditional mechanisms for addressing privacy (such as model contracts) are no longer flexible or dynamic enough, so new approaches need to be developed to fit this new paradigm. In this chapter we assess how security, trust and privacy issues occur in the context of cloud computing and discuss ways in which they may be addressed."

I still deal with organizations that treat IE as their Preferred Browser... How last Century.
"Internet Explorer used to be the most prevalent browser with a market share that peaked at 88% in March of 2003. Now they're down to almost 15% due to stiff competition from Google, Mozilla, and even Apple. What implications does this have for the future of Microsoft?"

For my Website class...
"Frédéric Filloux writes that traditional newspapers that move online are losing the war against pure players and aggregators because original stories are getting very little traffic due to the poor marketing tactics of old-fashion publishers while aggregators like the Huffington Post use clever traffic-generation techniques, so the same journalistic item will make tens or hundred times more traffic. Here's an example: On July 5th, The Wall Street Journal runs an editorial piece about Mitt Romney's position on Obamacare and the rather dull and generic 'Romney's Tax Confusion' title for this 1000-word article attracted a remarkable 938 comments. But look at what the Huffington Post did: a 500-word treatment, including a 300 words article plus a 200-word excerpt of the WSJ opinion and a link back (completely useless) but, unlike the Journal, the HuffPo ran a much sexier headline: 'Mitt Romney is 'Squandering' Candidacy With Health Care Snafu.' The choice of words for the headline takes in account all Search Engine Optimization prerequisites, using high yield words such as 'Squandering' and 'Snafu,' in conjunction with much sought-after topics such as 'Romney' and 'Health Care.' Altogether, this guarantees a nice blip on Google's radar — and a considerable audience : 7000+ comments."
"Huffington Post has invested a lot in SEO tools and will even A/B test headlines to random groups. 'I was told that every headline is matched in realtime against Google most searched items right before being posted. If the editor's choice scores low in SEO, the system suggests better terms,' writes Filloux, adding that original stories are getting very little traffic due to the poor marketing tactics of old-fashion publishers. 'Who can look to the better future in the digital world? Is it the virtuous author carving language-smart headlines or the aggregator generating eye-gobbling phrases thanks to high tech tools? Your guess. Maybe it's time to wake-up.'"

Eliza is still around...
July 08, 2012
New on - ChatterBots Resources on the Internet
Via - ChatterBots Resources on the Internet - Marcus P. Zillman's guide is a comprehensive listing of resources on increasingly popular computer projects and programs used to simulate human conversation using "intelligent" agents and text based applications, called chatterbots.

Let me ask a different question: Are grammar rules changing? (Punctuation rules are)
"A lighthearted 4th of July post pointing out how Microsoft Word could help Google CEO Larry Page catch typos in his Google+ posts turned out to be fighting words for GeekWire readers. "Grammar is an important indicator of the quality of one's message," insisted one commenter. "You shouldn't have disgraced yourself by stooping to trolling your readers with an article about what essentially amounts to using a full blown word processor for a tweet. Albeit an rather long example of one," countered another. A few weeks earlier, the WSJ sparked a debate with its report that grammar gaffes have invaded the office in an age of informal e-mail, texting and Twitter. So, does grammar matter anymore?"

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