Saturday, November 17, 2012

There are Best Practices for anonymization too. One of which is “Don't put entry level staff in charge.”
UK: Anonymization – opportunities and risks
November 16, 2012 by Dissent
Steve Wood writes about the value and risks of anonymization on the Information Commissioner’s Office blog. He writes, in part:
Whilst the ICO supports the use of anonymisation techniques organisations must not be complacent. It may be simple to aggregate and anonymise some datasets but it is often not as easy as one might expect. For example while a piece of information may appear to be anonymised when looked at in isolation, this may not necessarily be the case when you look at this information in context with the other information already available in the public arena. With ever increasing amounts of data in the public domain this can be challenging. This is why it is so important that anonymisation is carried out correctly.
There have been some high profile examples of anonymised datasets being “broken” in the US. We believe these were examples of poor and complacent anonymisation. It is simply unrealistic, as some commentators have called for, to stop using anonymisation techniques because of the risks. It is a call to ensure anonymisation techniques are more effective and that organisations deploy the right expertise. The demands for open data, big data and information sharing in our information society will not disappear – there are often strong arguments on their favour. What we must do is address the privacy risks with the best privacy enhancing techniques available and make judgments on a case by case basis whether data can be disclosed publicly.
The ICO also stands by to take swift enforcement action against those who negligently or complacently place individuals’ privacy at risk through poor standards of anonymisation.
Read more on the ICO’s Blog.

I probably missed a few...
Post details: Congressional Research Service on electronic privacy

As I read this, any site that responded to your browser is a way not entirely consistent with its Privacy Policy would be vulnerable to a charge of “misleading users and rendering privacy protection tools ineffective.” I say, “Let the Class Actions begin!”
Amazon Settles Privacy Case
by Wendy Davis, Yesterday, 5:22 PM
Amazon has settled a lawsuit alleging that it circumvented the privacy settings of Internet Explorer users, according to court papers filed on Thursday. Details of the settlement, including any financial terms, have not been made public.
… Since 2001, Internet Explorer has allowed users to automatically reject certain cookies, including tracking cookies, but this feature only works when Web site operators provide accurate data about their privacy policies. (That feature is different from the new do-not-tracksetting in IE10).
But a Carnegie Mellon University study that came out before the lawsuit detailed how Web companies thwart privacy settings by providing incorrect data to Microsoft's Internet Explorer. That report stated that many operators "are misrepresenting their privacy practices, thus misleading users and rendering privacy protection tools ineffective." Amazon allegedly was among those operators. Rather than using a readable code, Amazon's compact policy was "gibberish," the lawsuit alleged.
… The case was filed as a class-action, but Amazon settled the lawsuit before it was certified as a class-action.

"Judge Susan Illston has said she will approve a $22.5 million settlement deal between Google and the FTC over the company's practice of circumventing privacy protections in Apple's Safari browser to place tracking cookies on user's computers. Judge Illston also expressed concern about what will happen to the tracking data Google collected, since the settlement doesn't call for Google to destroy the data."

Ubiquitous Surveillance may require us to surveil ourselves. Be ready.
Surveillance companies will charge you a fortune if you want to get any type of surveillance system installed. Even a minor surveillance system will end up costing you a lot since not only do you want a straightforward video monitoring tool but you also want a way to store video archives. With a regular surveillance solution, you need to employ an extra hard drive for the video archiving task.
But there is a tool with which you can not only set up video surveillance using a camera and existing computers, but you can also extend the surveillance to iOS and Android smartphones. This tool is called Ivideon.

Think of it as tightly controlled anarchy...
Russia demands broad UN role in Net governance, leak reveals
The Russian Federation is calling on the United Nations to take over key aspects of Internet governance, including addressing and naming, according to documents leaked on Friday from an upcoming treaty conference.
The Russians made their proposal on November 13 in the lead-up to December's World Conference on International Communications in Dubai. The conference will consider revisions to the International Telecommunications Regulations (ITRs), a treaty overseen by the UN's International Telecommunications Union (ITU). The treaty has not been revised since 1988, before the emergence of the commercial Internet.
The treaty negotiations and its documents are secret, though many have been exposed through the Web site WCITLeaks, run by two researchers at George Mason University.
"The [proposed] additions to the ITRs...are aimed at formulating an approach that views the Internet as a global physical telecommunications infrastructure, and also as a part of the national telecommunications infrastructure of each Member State," the Russian proposal says.
… Currently, the ITRs cover only international telecommunications services (PDF). But the Russians propose adding a new section to the treaty to deal explicitly with "IP-based networks." Bringing the Internet into the treaty in any capacity would represent a major expansion of the scope of the ITU's authority.
The leaked proposal would strongly endorse national control over those parts of the Internet that reside within a country's borders, including ISPs, traffic, and engineering. One suggested change to the treaty, for example, declares that "Member States shall have the sovereign right to manage the Internet within their national territory, as well as to manage national Internet domain names."

What if Kim Dotcom is right? What if the only reason he was busted is that the RIAA wanted to make him an example. Or is this just aggressive lawyering?
U.S. judge in MegaUpload case partially unseals search warrant
A federal judge has partially unsealed the warrant he issued that allowed MegaUpload's domain names to be seized.
… The search warrant offers very little new information about what kind of evidence the U.S. government possesses to support its case. But Ira Rothken, the Silicon Valley attorney who oversees MegaUpload's worldwide defense, says the document shows that U.S. officials misled the judge when applying for the warrant...
In asking for the search warrant, prosecutors said in June 2010 they warned MegaUpload via a criminal search warrant that the company's servers housed more than 30 pirated video files and managers had not removed them even as late as November 2011. But Rothken said, the government omitted an important part of the story.
"In our view that's a misleading statement," Rothken said. "MegaUpload was served with a criminal search warrant for alleged third-party user conduct and was advised not to interfere with that criminal investigation or with the files -- as such disclosure, would jeopardize the ongoing investigation. To ask MegaUpload to cooperate and then use that cooperation against them, to us seems to be both unfair and misleading."
U.S. District Judge Liam O'Grady unsealed the documents at the request of Kyle Goodwin, a MegaUpload user who said he wants his personal videotapes of high school football games returned.

For my Students: Something to do before the e-Dog eats your homework...
How else can I say this? Actually, there is no other way more straightforward than this: you need to backup now.
Here are six reasons why you might be putting off creating a backup of your computer:
  1. No money for an external hard drive, online service or software
  2. You don’t know where to get an external hard drive or what kind to get
  3. You don’t know what software or online services you should use
  4. It takes too much time to set up, let alone, to backup your computer all the time
  5. You don’t have anything that matters if it’s lost
  6. You simply don’t have the know-how

For my Students, some of whom can read!
eBook popularity has been skyrocketing in the past few years and it doesn’t look like it will slow down anytime soon. First the Kindle, then the Nook, then smartphone apps like Aldiko and Mantano–there are so many ways to read eBooks now. If your eBook format of choice is .EPUB, then here’s some good news – you can read them straight from your browser now.
EPubReader is a Firefox addon that loads .EPUB files and presents them for viewing. It may not look like the prettiest addon out there, but it sure makes the whole reading experience easy and enjoyable.

The bits I find interesting...
The BBC reports that students in Denmark will be able to access the Internet when they sit their final school exams. They’ll be able to access any website they want, but just not communicate with others. [Contrast this with some of my fellow adjuncts who refuse to allow students the use of WolframAlpha. Bob]
… The digital music education platform Chromatik officially launched this week with an iPad and a Web-based application that stores digital sheet music, as well as helps you learn, practice, share, collaborate, and record music — with friends, band-mates and teachers alike. The app has been in private beta up ’til now, but with some fairly high profile early testers, including American Idol.
… The Gates Foundation is giving $1.4 million to the research group Ithaka S+R to study the impact of MOOCs at public universities in Maryland. (The same research group published a study earlier this year about students’ learning statistics from automated software — so I bet this research prove to be a big win for robo-teachers.)

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