Monday, August 20, 2012

Some good news and some bad news. But my Ethical Hackers might like a copy of this one...
"Researchers have recently discovered a new sophisticated and resilient mobile threat targeting Android phones that is said to have infected about 500,000 devices, mainly in China. Called 'SMSZombie,' the malware is stubborn and hard to remove, but users outside of China have little to worry about with this latest discovery. The prime function of the mobile malware is to exploit a vulnerability in the mobile payment system used by China Mobile, [Not a US issue Bob] making it of little value to the fraudsters outside of China. The malware takes advantage of a vulnerability in the China Mobile SMS Payment process to generate unauthorized payments to premium service providers, and can also remotely control the infected device. [That sounds like fun! Let's get a copy. Bob] It has been spread via wallpaper apps that sport provocative titles and nude photos, and can only be removed using a lengthy process beyond the skills of a typical android user."

The escalation ladder has passed through drones to ultra lights – can 747's be far behind?
Feds Drop $100 Million to Spot Flying, Homebrew Cocaine Mules
Stopping drug smugglers on the ground is one thing. You can build a fence, send more Border Patrol agents and put up more cameras. But it’s a whole other thing to stop Mexico’s cartels from using tiny planes that are nearly impossible to catch.
That’s why the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is spending $100 million on new sensors that can detect ultralight aircraft. The giant contract — awarded to New York defense company SRCTec earlier this month — comes as the cartels have been using more of the planes to elude Border Patrol agents. The cartels also seem to have become pretty good at it. The Air Force has chased them with jets, and the Border Patrol has pursued them with Black Hawk helicopters.

“We've concluded that we don't violate your privacy. Deal with it.”
Maine Supreme Court Upholds Dismissal of Smart Meter Privacy Challenge
August 19, 2012 by Dissent
Shelton Abramson writes:
The Maine Supreme Court recently upheld a state agency’s dismissal of a privacy challenge to the installation of smart meter technology in Maine homes and businesses. Smart meters use wireless technology to collect and transmit data to utility companies about how and when customers use electricity. While smart grid advocates argue that the use of smart meters will promote energy efficiency and customer savings, privacy advocates have raised concerns about the nature of the data that is collected.
Read more about Friedman v. Public Utilities Commission et al. on Covington & Burling InsidePrivacy.

A question we should ask ourselves. But if Privacy implications aren't clear, shouldn't someone ask why?
Privacy’s Memory Lane: From Furor to Fail in Eight Years
August 20, 2012 by Dissent
Stewart Baker writes:
Privacy groups put much of their effort into attacking new technologies for a reason. They’re afraid that, once we see a technology in action, we won’t be scared by its hypothetical risks, while its benefits will be easier to assess. Once that happens, imposing new privacy laws gets a lot harder.
To see just how fast that cycle can run, let’s take a trip down privacy’s memory lane.
Read Stewart’s commentary on The Volokh Conspiracy, where he uses privacy advocates’ reactions to G-mail in 2004 as an example of why maybe we shouldn’t rush to criticize or try to block new services or technologies.

I remind my Computer Forensics students that this is a great illustration of the downside...
Announcing the e-Discovery Team’s Second “Clever Words Award” for Excellence in Judicial Opinion Writing
… Again, I suggest you read the thirty-page opinion for the laundry list of e-discovery errors, if nothing else it serves as a warning for things to avoid in complex commercial litigation. Judge Cooke summarizes her findings at page 23:
Based on my review of all of the evidence, and considering the pattern of discovery abuses before, during, and after trial, I find that …. acted negligently in failing to comply with its discovery obligations in this case, and … Bank acted willfully in failing to comply with its discovery obligations and assist its outside counsel to properly litigate this case in accordance with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the Federal Rules of Evidence.
… As for the higher purpose of appeal-proofing, note how the sanctions entered not only taxed defendant with plaintiff’s fees and costs, but also established the existence of key facts:
I will therefore direct that the facts that … Bank’s monitoring and alert systems were unreasonable and that … Bank had actual knowledge of Rothstein’s fraud be taken as established for purposes of this action.

Interesting question for the Tax Lawyers. How do you structure your organization to avoid taxes? Have telecommuters work for a Cayman Island corporation? Should telecommuters work through a Brazilian temp agency?
August 19, 2012
The Mobile Workforce and Telecommuter Tax Acts
Combining the Mobile Workforce and Telecommuter Tax Acts, Edward A. Zelinsky. Yeshiva University - Cardozo Legal Studies Research Paper No. 371 State Tax Notes, Vol. 65, No. 319, August 2012 [via SSRN]
  • "Mobile Workforce State Income Tax Simplification Act of 2012 (“the Mobile Workforce Act”) and the Telecommuter Tax Fairness Act of 2012 (“the Telecommuter Act”) each respond to the pressing national need to rationalize the states’ income taxation of nonresident workers in light of modern technology and the work patterns such technology facilitates. Both Acts must be passed to create a comprehensive framework for the states’ income taxation of nonresident workers in the 21st century. The Mobile Workforce Act addresses the question today generally denoted as nexus, that is, who can tax. The Telecommuter Act addresses the question which is today denominated as apportionment, namely, how much can be taxed. Congress must answer both inquiries properly, lest multiple and excessive state tax burdens on nonresident workers unnecessarily interfere with the efficient work patterns of a modern economy."

Is Congress signaling that they would like more campaign “donations?” If so, the DMA just signaled back, “Hell no! Bring on your legislation!”
DMA urges Congress to back off on regulating direct marketers
August 19, 2012 by Dissent
The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) is dismissing congressional privacy concerns about the mass aggregation of consumer data.
A bipartisan group of US House members sent letters to major data brokers about the privacy implications of data aggregation of consumer data.
“By combining data from numerous offline and online sources, data brokers have developed hidden dossiers on almost every U.S. consumer. This large scale aggregation of the personal information of hundreds of millions of American citizens raises a number of serious privacy concerns”, the lawmakers wrote in the letter quoted by The Hill newspaper.
In its response, the DMA said that data brokers are engaged in “legitimate commercial data practices that are essential to America’s job creation, economic growth and global leadership…unnecessary restrictions on marketing could undermine economic and job growth.”
Read more on Infosecurity Magazine.

U.S. viewers watched 36.9 billion online videos in July
People in the U.S. have an insatiable appetite for watching online videos.
According to new numbers released by market research firm ComScore, 85.5 percent of people in the U.S. with Internet access watched online videos in July -- that's 184 million people who watched a total of 36.9 billion online content videos in only one month. For comparison, that is equal to every single person on Earth watching at least five videos each.

Beware of Huns bearing EMP devices... OR How to make it into the Internet Hall of Fame
Alexandria 2.0: One Millionaire’s Quest to Build the Biggest Library on Earth
… Kahle took the library of libraries — the internet — and made a couple of copies of it, and keeps making copies. One he keeps in servers in San Francisco, the other in mirror servers in Alexandria, where the world’s most famous library burned 2,000 years ago. (His data survived the Egyptian revolution unscathed.)
Through the Wayback Machine, you can see what the web looked like in 1996. And 1997. And 2011.
It’s just one arm of Kahle’s ambitious goal to provide the world with universal access to all knowledge.
His vehicle is the Internet Archive, a nonprofit organization Kahle founded in 1996, the same year he started analytics firm Alexa Internet, a pioneer in collaborative filtering, which he sold in 1999 to Amazon for $250 million.
Since selling Alexa, Kahle has grown the Internet Archive, which he refers to as Alexandria 2.0, into a massive digital repository that has not only made copies of the internet, but has made available 200,000 e-books (and digitizes 1,000 more each day), 100,000 concert recordings, and some 700,000 films.
All are available online for free.
… Take, for instance, the 200,000 e-books housed in the Open Library, an offshoot of the Internet Archive. Here, users digitally borrow the donated and purchased books scanned into the system either by Kahle’s team or by participating libraries. But only one person is given access to each book for up to two weeks, unless rights have been purchased for multiple copies. It’s a seemingly antiquated system, but it keeps the rights holders from mutiny.

Always looking for the next Olympic event (or at least a fund raiser) A video suggests that heavy drinking is the best training.
"In this year's annual mobile-phone throwing contest held in Finland Ere Karjalainen has smashed the world record by throwing his phone 101.46 meters. The event, being held every year since 2000 in the town of Savonlinna, saw quite a few mobile-phone throwers participate. 2nd place went to Jeremy Gallop, a South African who managed to throw his phone 94.67 meters. Contest organizers are of the opinion that users can vent their anger on their phones and that this offers a unique opportunity to 'pay back all the frustrations and disappointments caused by this modern equipment.'"

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