Monday, July 16, 2012

Perhaps we need a new theory of “injury?”
Court Dismisses Data Breach Claims Against Countrywide – Holmes v. Countrywide
July 15, 2012 by admin
Venkat Balasubramani discusses the decision in Holmes v. Countrywide Financial Corp., et al.:
In August 2008, a Countrywide employee engaged in a scheme to steal confidential customer information from Countrywide. An investigation found that the employee gained access to data from 2.4 million loan customers, and sold this information to unknown third parties for the whopping amount of $70,000. [Less than 3 cents each Bob] Countrywide sent notification letters to affected customers and offered two years worth of free credit monitoring.
Countrywide was hit with several class action lawsuits as a result of this data breach. The lawsuits were consolidated and eventually settled. Holmes and some members of his proposed class objected to the settlement which the court approved, notwithstanding the objections. Eventually, Holmes and Stiers (and their spouses) filed their own non-class complaint against Countrywide. One of the plaintiffs purchased credit monitoring services. The other expended sums for changing their telephone numbers due to the increased volume of telemarketing calls they received.
Standing: The court says that plaintiffs have standing under Sixth Circuit law (also citing to Krottner v. Starbucks). The credit monitoring and money spent to change the telephone number were sufficient to satisfy injury for Article III standing purposes.
The Merits: Plaintiffs don’t fare so well on the merits.
Given how data breach cases have fared in the courts, I’m not sure why plaintiffs keep bringing them if they don’t have a stronger case showing unreimbursed financial harm or other compensable injury. It may not seem fair or just that you can’t recover for time spent monitoring your credit, etc., but unless Congress changes some laws, the only ones who stand to benefit from these cases are lawyers.

Somehow this doesn't give me that warm, fuzzy feeling...
Justice Dept., FBI to review use of forensic evidence in thousands of cases
The Justice Department and the FBI have launched a review of thousands of criminal cases to determine whether any defendants were wrongly convicted or deserve a new trial because of flawed forensic evidence, officials said Tuesday.
The undertaking is the largest post-conviction review ever done by the FBI. It will include cases conducted by all FBI Laboratory hair and fiber examiners since at least 1985 and may reach earlier if records are available, people familiar with the process said.
… The review comes after The Washington Post reported in April that Justice Department officials had known for years that flawed forensic work might have led to the convictions of potentially innocent people but had not performed a thorough review of the cases. In addition, prosecutors did not notify defendants or their attorneys even in many cases they knew were troubled.

How accurate is forensic analysis?
Many forensic techniques developed in crime labs to aid investigators, and research into their limits or scientific validity was never a priority. Except for DNA, no method has been shown to be able to consistently and accurately link a piece of evidence to an individual or single source.

Thr RIAA won't like this...
"Tasmania's police force has taken the unusual step of asking the public to stop alerting it to every 'abusive or harassing' comment posted to Facebook or other social media sites. The force said it was 'increasingly receiving complaints' about material posted to the sites, but sought to clarify that 'the use of technology to undertake some conduct does not in itself create an offense.'"
[From the article:
"If the conduct complained of would not amount to an offence if it occurred off-line, then it is not an offence simply because in a particular instance it was undertaken with the aid of digital technology," the department noted.

Put this on your (electronic) bookshelf next to the Marine Anti-Social Guide...
July 15, 2012
The Air Force Guide to Effective Social Media Use
  • With the emergence of social media, information sharing continues to be dynamic and evolving. Social media is a global cultural phenomenon, and for many Americans it has become such a part of their daily activities they can’t imagine living without Facebook or Twitter. According to comScore, a digital measurement company, one out of every six minutes spent online is on a social network, and 73 percent of the U.S. Internet population visits Facebook each month. Social media is not only a great avenue for staying connected with family and friends; it is also a great tool for sharing the overall Air Force story and the stories of our Airmen. The Air Force Public Affairs Agency created this guide to help all Airmen safely and wisely use social media. This guide provides simple, easy-to-follow tips to help you use social media tools in your professional and personal life. This guide is for informational purposes only and does not replace official Air Force instructions."

If nothing else, check to see if your employer will survive..
July 15, 2012
Competitive Intelligence - A Selective Resource Guide - Completely Updated
  • Sabrina I. Pacifici's comprehensive current awareness guide focuses on leveraging a selected but wide range of reliable, topical, predominantly free websites and resources. The goal is to support an effective research process to search, discover, access, monitor, analyze and review current and historical data, news, reports and profiles on companies, markets, countries, people and issues, from a national and a global perspective. Sabrina's guide is a "best of the Web" resource that encompasses search engines, portals, databases, alerts, data archives, publisher specific services and applications. All of her recommendations are accompanied by links to trusted content targeted sources that are produced by top media and publishing companies, business, government, academia and NGOs.

WWWD (What Would Warren Do) Is Warren using the old Boston Consulting Group matrix or is that just the reporters spin?
"Alan D. Mutter writes that with a 50% drop in newspaper advertising since 2005, the old ways of running a newspaper can no longer succeed so most publishers are faced with choosing the best possible strategy going-forward for their mature but declining businesses: farm it, feed it, or milk it. Warren Buffett is farming it and recently bucked the widespread pessimism about the future of newspapers by buying 63 titles from Media General and is concentrating on small and medium papers in defensible markets, while steering clear of metro markets, where costs are high and competition is fierce. 'I do not have any secret sauce,' says Buffett. 'There are still 1,400 daily papers in the United States. The nice thing about it is that somebody can think about the best answer and we can copy him. [A strategy to emulate! Bob] Two or three years from now, you'll see a much better-defined pattern of operations online and in print by papers.' Advance Publications is milking it by cutting staff and reducing print publication to three days a week at the New Orleans Times-Picayune, thus making the Crescent City the largest American metropolis to be deprived of a daily dose of wood fiber in its news diet. Once dismantled, the local reporting infrastructure in communities like New Orleans will almost certainly never be rebuilt. 'By cutting staff to a bare minimum and printing only on the days it is profitable to do so, publishers can milk considerable sums from their franchises until the day these once-indomitable cash cows go dry.' Rupert Murdoch is feeding it as he spins his newspapers out of News Corp. and into a separate company empowered to innovate the traditional publishing businesses into the future. In various interviews after announcing the planned spinoff, Murdoch promised to launch the new company with no debt and ample cash to aggressively pursue digital publishing opportunities across a variety of platforms. 'If the spinoff materializes in anywhere near the way Murdoch is spinning it, however, it could turn out to be a model for iterating the way forward for newspapers.'"

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