Saturday, October 27, 2012

I suspect an interesting definition of “substantial complaiance” since the breach wasn't noticed for two months, and the State didn't discover it. The article reads like the State had never done anything about computer security – since the breach they are implementing this or looking at that. Pathetic.
SC: 3.6 million Social Security numbers stolen from state Department of Revenue (update 1)
October 26, 2012 by admin
Ouch. Tim Smith reports:
A foreign hacker stole a vast database of the South Carolina Department of Revenue and investigators told that 387,000 credit card numbers and 3.6 million Social Security numbers have been exposed.
Read more on Greenville News.
Update 1: The paper also has a later article on the review of state agencies’ computer security. The Dept. of Revenue had been found to be “in substantial compliance” with sound security practices shortly before it was successfully hacked.
[From the first article:
The first intrusion began in August, unnoticed by any officials operating the Department of Revenue’s computer system …
By the time the computer crimes office of the U.S. Secret Service discovered a problem on Oct. 10,
None of the Social Security numbers were encrypted and officials said they are studying whether they can do that [Yes. Absolutely, positively yes Bob] — raising other questions about whether safeguards exist that weren’t used.
… The breach occurred, ironically, just as Haley’s inspector general, Patrick Maley, was finishing his review of the security for confidential information at Haley’s 16 cabinet agencies.
… In his September letter to Haley, Maley concluded that while the systems of cabinet agencies he had finished examining could be tweaked and there was a need for a statewide uniform security policy, the agencies were basically sound and the Revenue Department’s system was the “best” among them. [Perhaps a review by someone who actually knows what they are doing is in order? Bob]

This one goes beyond stupid to cruel..
Bald Beliebers Remind Us: Just Because You Read It On Twitter, Doesn’t Mean It’s True
… Truth can spread like wildfire, and so can lies.
Today, the Bieber nation has learned that lesson. Behold, dear readers, the horror.
The story goes that Entertainment Weekly’s verified Twitter account tweeted out the following:
“Pop Star Justin Bieber was diagnosed with cancer earlier this morning. Bieber fans are shaving their heads to show their support.”
… In reality, 4chan was trolling Beliebers. There were no tweets to begin with, and there definitely isn’t any cancer. 4chan peeps simply photoshopped together an image and sent it out into the world.
Unfortunately now, there are likely dozens of bald tweenage girls crying in their bathrooms. And it’s perhaps even more insane that most members of the Bieber nation still believe that Justin has cancer, and are pouring sympathy, condolences, and heartfelt love into the #baldforbeiber hashtag, despite the fact that the other half of that Twitter conversation is lawling over the hoax.
… In any case, this should serve as an excellent reminder to all of us. Just because you read it on Twitter, doesn’t mean it’s true.

Is this what the Air Force has come to?
U.S. Expands Secretive Drone Base for African Shadow War
The Pentagon’s secretive drone and commando base in the Horn of Africa is getting a lot bigger and a lot busier as the U.S. doubles down on its shadowy campaign of air strikes, robot surveillance and Special Operation Forces raids in the terror havens of Yemen and Somalia.
… According to an investigation by The Washington Post, the Pentagon is spending $1.4 billion to expand the base’s airplane parking and living facilities.
… The Djibouti base is just one of a constellation of hush-hush U.S. drone, commando or intelligence facilities in East Africa. Others are located in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and the island nation of the Seychelles. But “those operations pale in comparison to what is unfolding in Djibouti,” the Post’s Craig Whitlock notes.

(Related) The article never says anything about drones. (Still my lawyer friends should recognize the potential for new clients...) But check out the picture!
Chris Anderson on the Maker Movement: 'We're Going to Get Sued'
Chris Anderson expects to be sued. Any day now.
In a talk last night to promote his new book Makers: The New Industrial Revolution, the Wired editor and Slate's David Plotz discussed -- among many other things -- the IP implications of the maker movement.
… So as far as patent law goes, he said, there are two approaches. "You can either do a patent search and find out whether you're going to violate a patent" -- and "you probably won't get a good answer." And then, "if you do then violate a patent, the fact that you did a search first actually increases your liability."
Or, Anderson continued, "you can do what we do, which is just: Do it. Wait for the [cease-and-desist] letter. When the letter comes, try to innovate around it. If the trolls come after us, one of us is going to be brave enough to fight back. And the courts will ultimately decide."

“You know Senator, you're right. We can't trust products made by foreigners”
"China Unicom, the country's second largest telecom operator, has replaced Cisco Systems routers in one of the country's most important backbone networks, citing security reasons [due to bugs and vulnerability.) The move came after a congressional report branded Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. and ZTE Corp. security threats in the United States, citing bugs and vulnerability (rather than actual evidence of spying.) Surprising to us, up to now, Cisco occupies a large market share in China. It accounts for over a 70 percent share of China Telecom's 163 backbone network and over an 80 percent share of China Unicom's 169 backbone network. Let's wait to see who's the winner in this trade war disguised as national security."

So much for “Privacy by Design” Might be interesting to ask if they will honor ANY DNT flag.
"And so it begins... Yahoo has made it official: it won't honor the Do Not Track request issued by Internet Explorer 10. Their justification? '[T]he DNT signal from IE10 doesn't express user intent" and "DNT can be easily abused.'"
Wonder what percentage of users would rather be tracked by default.

This should be very interesting and likely quite confusing. (Is this likely to attract new competitors?)
"Canada's CRTC (like the FCC) has finally asked telecoms to provide information about how much their services actually cost. Quoting a Montreal Gazette story: 'In a report I wrote last year, I estimated the markup for Internet services was 6,452 per cent for Bell's Essential Plus plan, which provides a two-megabits-per-second speed for $28.95 (prices may have changed since last year).' The markup is likely similar in the U.S. It's about time that we consumers found out what it really costs to provide Internet service, and for that matter telephone and wireless services, so we can get a fair shake."

Report: Twitter hits half a billion tweets a day

Is this useful?
… To make sure that others can view your contact information if your phone is lost, you can make use of an app called misHaps.
… the application lets other people handling your phone view your contact information in case your phone is lost and the contact information of an emergency contact in case of an emergency.

Interesting. Now list the countries we buy these elements from...
"From calcium in cameras and germanium in CPUs to selenium in solar cells. Here's a look at how every single element in the periodic table is used in common tech products. For example: Scandium is used in the bulbs in metal halide lamps, which produce a white light source with a high color rendering index that resembles natural sunlight. These lights are often appropriate for the taping of television shows. ... Yttrium helps CRT televisions produce a red color. When used in a compound, it collects energy and passes it to the phosphor. ... Niobium: Lithium niobate is used in mobile phone production, incorporated into surface acoustic wave filters that convert acoustic waves into electrical signals and make smartphone touchscreens work. SAW filters also provide

There might be something here for my Math students...
Friday, October 26, 2012
MIT + K12 = Educational Videos for K-12 Students
MIT + K12 is a new MIT project that features MIT students explaining math and science concepts for K-12 students. The website isn't a collection of Khan Academy-style videos it's a place where you will find videos featuring real MIT students explaining concepts while showing them as hands-on demonstrations or experiments. Watch one of the featured videos below.
Applications for Education
MIT + K12 is new and so far they only have a couple of dozen videos, but the concept of the MIT + K12 is promising. If you have an idea for a video, you can suggest it on the site. The MIT + K12 videos are hosted on YouTube and on MIT Tech TV for people who cannot access YouTube in their schools.

A couple of interesting bits...
… In news I missed last week, SETDA (the State Educational Technology Directors Association) has released a database of state policies related to ed-tech. The site includes information about broadband policies and online student assessments.
Two great initiatives are teaming upGeneration YES and ObaWorld. The former helps empower students to be leaders in their schools’ technology efforts; the latter, a project by the University of Oregon’s Yong Zhao, is a global online learning platform. The partnership between the two organizations will help students will learn how to lead online learning efforts at their schools.

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