Monday, December 03, 2012

Sometimes, repeated “cautions” like we are seeing from the Intelligence community are actually warnings to those contemplating an attack that they may be bringing a knife to a nuke fight.
Former spy chief says U.S. has had its cyber '9/11 warning'
The United States faces "the cyber equivalent of the World Trade Center attack" unless urgent action is taken, [What action would stop a cyber attack? Cutting the US off from the rest of the Internet? Bob] a former U.S. intelligence chief warns.
John "Mike" McConnell, who served as director of the National Security Agency under President Clinton and then as director of national intelligence under George W. Bush and President Obama, told the Financial Times (subscription required) that such an attack would cripple the nation's banking system, power grid, and other essential infrastructure.
"We have had our 9/11 warning. Are we going to wait for the cyber equivalent of the collapse of the World Trade Centers?" McConnell said, referring to attacks on the Web sites of major banks and a cyberattack earlier this year that rendered two-thirds of the computers at Saudi Arabian oil company useless.
U.S. officials have blamed Iran for creating the Shamoon virus, which was responsible for a cyberattack that infected more than 30,000 computers at Saudi Aramco and Qatar's natural gas firm Rasgas in mid-August. McConnell echoed comments made in October by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who warned that the U.S. was facing the possibility of a "cyber-Pearl Harbor" perpetrated by foreign hackers.
"All of a sudden, the power doesn't work, there's no way you can get money, you can't get out of town, you can't get online, and banking, as a function to make the world work, starts to not be reliable," McConnell said. "Now, that is a cyber-Pearl Harbor, and it is achievable."
McConnell expressed doubt that Iran or any terrorist group could mount such an attack but said it was only a matter of time before they had the capability.

I have to ask, how much is rant and how much is right?
"Russia Today's correspondents have visited Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where Assange has been holed up for nearly 6 months now. In the 12 minute long interview with RT, Assange has many interesting things to say about privacy, and government data interception in particular. A small excerpt:
'The people who control the interception of the Internet and, to some degree also, physically control the big data warehouses and the international fiber-optic lines. We all think of the Internet as some kind of Platonic Realm where we can throw out ideas and communications and web pages and books and they exist somewhere out there. Actually, they exist on web servers in New York or Nairobi or Beijing, and information comes to us through satellite connections or through fiber-optic cables. So whoever physically controls this controls the realm of our ideas and communications. And whoever is able to sit on those communications channels, can intercept entire nations, and that's the new game in town, as far as state spying is concerned — intercepting entire nations, not individuals. ... So what's happened over the last 10 years is the ever-decreasing cost of intercepting each individual now to the degree where it is cheaper to intercept every individual rather that it is to pick particular people to spy upon.'"

A nifty new legal question? Won't this be the case for many large scale (e.g. national) databases? As size increases so does the likelyhood of moving data into the cloud. Global markets cause global companies?
By Dissent, December 2, 2012 11:25 am
A scary headline if you’re Dutch, I bet. reports:
The American authorities may have access to information stored in the new Dutch digital patient record system because it is being built by a US firm, Nos television reports.
The system is being developed for the Dutch government by CSC, an American company with operations in the Netherlands.
Legal experts at Amsterdam University warn that the American authorities may be able to claim access because of the Patriot Act.
This makes it possible to force an American company to hand over information it is managing,’ researcher Joris van Hoboken said. ‘This applies even if the company has a Dutch arm and the computers are in the Netherlands.’
I have no idea why our government would want Dutch patients’ records, but if this really is a possibility, it would, indeed, be cause for concern. And does this risk exist for any contract with any American firm? If so, why is this first coming up as a concern now? The news site continues:
The director of VZVZ, the organisation setting up the system, told Nos television he would withdraw the contract unless the company gives assurances it is not covered by the Patriot Act. ‘We want a guarantee,’ Edwin Velzel said.
I wonder if any American firm can actually give that guarantee. I would think not, but again, I am not a lawyer.

One thing newspapers still do – editorialize. Hard to be as cogent in 140 characters.
Editorial: Privacy trumps need for cellphone surveillance

Sounds like Google should develop a “citation translator” for case law no matter where it originates...
December 02, 2012
European Case Law Identifier (ECLI)
Via the European e-Justice Portal - "The European Case Law Identifier (ECLI) has been developed to facilitate the correct and unequivocal citation of judgments from European and national courts related to EU law. A set of uniform metadata will help to improve search facilities for case law. Before ECLI, it was difficult and time-consuming to find relevant case law. Take, for example, a case where a ruling of the Supreme Court of Member State A was known to be of interest for a specific legal debate. The case was registered in various national and cross-border case law databases, but in each database the ruling had a different identifier. All these identifiers – if known at all – had to be cited to enable readers of the citation to find the case in the database of their preference. Different citation rules and styles complicated the search. Moreover, users had to go to all the databases to find out whether this Supreme Court case was available – summarized, translated or annotated. With the ECLI system one search via one search interface using just one identifier will suffice to find all occurrences of the ruling in all participating national and cross-border databases. Easy access to judicial decisions of other Member States is of growing importance in reinforcing the role of the national judge in applying and upholding EU law. Searching for, and citation of judgments from other Member States is seriously hampered by differences in national case law identification systems, citation rules and technical fields describing the characteristics of a judgment. To overcome these differences and to facilitate easy access to - and citation of - national, foreign and European case law, the Council of the European Union invited Member States and EU institutions to introduce the European Case Law Identifier (ECLI) and a minimum set of uniform metadata for case law."

The nice thing about compulsive researchers like Zillman is, you always know where to go for “everything you ever wanted to know about _____”
December 02, 2012
New on LLRX - New Economy Web Guide 2013 Under Obama
Via LLRX - New Economy Web Guide 2013 Under Obama - Internet research guru Marcus P. Zillman's new guide is an essential resource for researchers in all sectors for whom identifying and leveraging economic data, news and scholarly publications is a requirement. It identifies comprehensive, accurate knowledge available through reliable and current sources from government, NGOs, advocacy groups and the private sector that is critical to effective and actionable work product.

Beware of pundants with agendas. Dropping out to “start up” requires a very specific (and very narrow) skill set. It is extremely rare for someone to have both technical skills and business savy (e.g. a Bill Gates) Worker bees still need some way to measure their skills that management can understand. That is where the new “certification” processes are likely to take education.
"Alex Williams writes in the NY Times that the idea that a college diploma is an all-but-mandatory ticket to a successful career is showing fissures. Inspired by role models like the billionaire drop-outs who founded Microsoft, Facebook, Dell, Twitter, Tumblr, and Apple, and empowered by online college courses, a groundswell of university-age heretics consider themselves a DIY vanguard, committed to changing the perception of dropping out from a personal failure to a sensible option, at least for a certain breed of risk-embracing maverick. 'Here in Silicon Valley, it's almost a badge of honor,' says Mick Hagen, 28, who dropped out of Princeton in 2006 and moved to San Francisco, where he started Undrip, a mobile app. 'College puts a lot of constraints, a lot of limitations around what you can and can't do. Some people, they want to stretch their arms, get out and create more, do more.' Perhaps most famously, Peter A. Thiel, the billionaire co-founder of PayPal, in 2010 started his Thiel Fellowship program, which pays students under 20 years old $100,000 apiece to bag college and pursue their own ventures. 'People are being conned into thinking that this credential is the one thing you need to do better in life. They typically are worse off, because they have amassed all this debt.' UnCollege advocates a DIY approach to higher education and spreads the message through informational 'hackademic camps.' 'Hacking,' in the group's parlance, can involve any manner of self-directed learning: travel, volunteer work, organizing collaborative learning groups with friends. Students who want to avoid $200,000 in student-loan debt might consider enrolling in a technology boot camp, where you can learn to write code in 8 to 10 weeks for about $10,000. [Or you could take a 15 week college course for a few hundred... Bob] 'I think kids with a five-year head start on equally ambitious peers will be ahead in both education and income,' says James Altucher, a prominent investor, entrepreneur and pundit who self-published a book called '40 Alternatives to College.' 'They could go to a library, read a book a day, take courses online. There are thousands of ways.'"

A list of education blogs, with proof that somebody thinks they're worthwhile...
Monday, December 3, 2012
Edublog Awards Voting Opens
The 2012 Edublog Awards voting opened today. The voting period runs from now through December 12. You can vote once per day in each category. To vote go to this page, select the category in which you want to vote, then select your favorite blog or person.
[List of nominees:

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