Friday, November 02, 2012

How to you avoid (not evade) taxes in France? Apparently, Googling that question isn't the best way to find out...
Google France Faces Fine Of $1.3 Billion For Tax Noncompliance. Google Denies The Accusation.
Google France could be ordered to pay $1.3 billion to France’s equivalent of the IRS (Direction générale des finances) due to tax noncompliance in 2011. The agency has been investigating Google’s revenue in France for months. With only 138 million euros of revenue in France in 2011, the company has used tax-optimization strategies, but has always stated that they comply with the law. It denies the accusation.

A new record? Perhaps because there was actual evidence?
A federal court in Illinois has handed down the largest fine ever levied against a file sharer in a BitTorrent piracy case. The judgment was placed against defendant Kywan Fisher and orders the man to pay $1.5 million to an adult film company called Flava Works. The man was found guilty of sharing 10 of the company’s films via BitTorrent.
The massive fine was reached through a penalty of $150,000 per movie, which is the maximum amount of damages possible under current US copyright law. Movie studios are expected to use this case as the stick to coax other alleged file sharers to settle out-of-court. Fisher and several other defendants were sued by Flava Works for sharing the company’s films.
All defendants in the case had paid accounts with the Flava Works website. The movie company was able to prove that the people shared movies from their accounts because each film the defendants viewed and shared was tagged with a specific piece of code linking the movie to their account. Flava Works was able to prove that movies directly downloaded and shared by Fisher were shared thousands of times.

“We don't need no stinking Privacy Lawyers!”
… TermsFeed is extremely simple to you. All you have to do is enter your site’s name, your company’s name, and your email address. You are then shown an HTML template of the policy you chose. This template has self-explanatory fields that you can easily modify to fit your website. When you are done editing, you can copy the HTML and embed it on your site to share the policies with your site visitors.

If you gave (money or time) once, you'll probably do it again and we will spend a billion dollars this year alone...
"Stanford privacy researcher Jonathan Mayer has published new research showing that websites of both the Obama and Romney presidential campaigns, which are used to communicate with and coordinate their volunteers, leak large amounts of private information to third-party online tracking firms. The Obama campaign site leaked names, usernames, zip codes and street addresses to up to ten companies. The Romney campaign site leaked names, zip codes and partial email addresses to up to thirteen firms."

In your face, privacy lovers!
"People seem to be okay with constant corporate or government video surveillance in public. Let a lone individual point a video camera their way, however, and tempers flare. GeekWire takes a look at the antics and videos of Seattle's mysterious Surveillance Camera Man, who walks up to people and records them for no apparent reason other than to make a point: How is what he's doing different than those stationary surveillance cameras tucked away in buildings and public places?"
At least with Surveillance Camera Man, you specifically know that he's watching you — not always the case. (Not even when there's no warrant, on private property in the U.S.)

For my Disaster Recovery students... If your generators are on the 18th floor, and the elevators aren't working...
"Who knew that the most critical element of operating a data center in New York City was ensuring a steady supply of diesel fuel? In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the challenges facing data center operators in the affected zones include pumping water from basements, waiting for utility power to be restored, and managing fuel-truck deliveries. And it's become increasingly clear which companies had the resources and foresight to plan for a disaster like Sandy, and which are simply reacting. Here's the latest on providers around the New York area."
And remember, having fuel for machines sometimes only means it's time to start the manual labor.

Entirely too logical.
"Voting machine designs and data formats are a free-for-all. The result is poor validation and hence opportunity for fraud. An IEEE standards group wants all election computer systems to speak the same language. From the article:'IEEE Standards Project 1622 is working on electronic data interchange for voting systems. The plan is to create a common format, based on the Election Markup Language (EML) already recommended for use in Europe. This is a subset of the popular XML (eXtensible Markup Language) that specifies particular fields and data structures for use in voting.'"

Perspective? Are there similar rules for Privacy?
Why We Freak Out About Some Technologies but Not Others
As anyone who reads the news knows, there’s often a side effect to new technologies: moral panic. Facebook causes narcissism! Texting is making us illiterate! But the funny thing is, other technologies don’t provoke such alarm. Take Square, a tool that lets everyday folks accept credit card payments. It’s tipping into mainstream usage, changing how small businesses operate and how friends split a bar bill, but it hasn’t provoked any doomsaying.
What’s the difference? Why do we freak out at some technologies and shrug at others?
Genevieve Bell believes she’s cracked this puzzle. Bell, director of interaction and experience research at Intel, has long studied how everyday people incorporate new tech into their lives. In a 2011 interview with The Wall Street Journal‘s Tech Europe blog, she outlined an interesting argument: To provoke moral panic, a technology must satisfy three rules.
First, it has to change our relationship to time. Then it has to change our relationship to space. And, crucially, it has to change our relationship to one another. Individually, each of these transformations can be unsettling, but if you hit all three? Panic!
… This cycle is very old. Indeed, it probably began almost 2,500 years ago, when the written word was on its way to unmooring knowledge from space and time and letting new combinations of people “speak” to one another. This satisfied all three rules—and it panicked Socrates, who warned that writing would destroy human memory and destroy the art of argument.

Or you could wait for me to do it...
PlagTracker is a web tool designed to help people run plagiarism checks on their academic papers and other types of texts. While it may not be the first such web service, PlagTracker is convenient to use with its quick and simple checking process

We need to get the word out...
Thursday, November 1, 2012
College Students Can Learn to Code for Free
Treehouse is a service that offers online service that offers web design and coding lessons on a subscription basis. Right now they're accepting applications from college students for free lessons. Treehouse plans to give away subscriptions to 5,000 randomly selected college students. To enter to win a subscription students do need to complete the short form at the end of Treehouse's announcement. Entries are being accepted through November 9, 2012.

I wonder if the vets in my Computer Security program know about this?
"Just three weeks after Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told an audience at the Sea, Air and Space Museum that the U.S. is on the brink of a 'cyber Pearl Harbor,' the government has decided it needs to beef up the ranks of its digital defenses. It's assembling a league of extraordinary computer geeks for what will be known as the 'Cyber Reserve.'" [...and every member gets a secret decoder ring! Bob]

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