Saturday, May 12, 2012

If you were not at the Privacy Foundation Seminar yesterday, shame on you. Nothing beats having the people who are actually involved with the topics under discussion exchanging information. It was probably educational but definitely amusing – what could be more fun than watching lawyers argue hypothetical scenarios that involve technology they almost understand.

(Related) This is one of the Privacy related topics debated at the seminar... It's interesting to see that the NJ judge reached the same conclusions as some of the lawyers on the panel.
Judge: Cellphone password off-limits
A tractor-trailer driver allegedly found with 364 pounds of marijuana in his rig in Mount Olive cannot be forced to reveal the password to unlock his Nextel BlackBerry phone, a judge ruled Thursday.
State Superior Court Judge Stuart Minkowitz, sitting in Morristown, found that suspect J. Arturo Vergara’s Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination would be violated if authorities compelled him to testify, in effect, by disclosing the password to his BlackBerry.
… The judge noted that, under certain circumstances, a person could be required to give up a password or decrypt a computer hard-drive for police. But those circumstances involve proof that the device absolutely belongs to the suspect and independent information that makes it a “foregone conclusion” that evidence will be found on the device.

Perhaps they can “notify” users by changing their “Status” from “Mr. Friendly” to “Stalker”
Facebook Fleshes Out Privacy Policy To Comply With Data Protection Audits, Will Hold Q&A On Monday
May 12, 2012 by Dissent
John Constine reports:
Today Facebook will start sending the first of three billion notices to users about proposed changes to its privacy policy, which were made to comply with a Spring deadline for implementing recommendations from an audit by the Irish Data Protection Commissioner. The three biggest changes Facebook’s Chief Privacy Officer for Policy Erin Egan told me about when we spoke this morning are several clarifications of existing but sometimes vague policies:
  • A clarification regarding Facebook’s existing policy that it may use your data to serve you ads outside of while you’re on other websites
Read more on TechCrunch, while I mull over Facebook’s “clarification” that it can follow you around on other web sites to serve you ads based on your data.
Kash Hill has more on this on Forbes.

Another “audit failure”
May 11, 2012
DHS OIG - U.S. Customs and Border Protection Privacy Stewardship
  • "CBP has made limited progress toward instilling a culture of privacy that protects sensitive personally identifiable information. This is in part because it has not established a strong organizational approach to address privacy issues across the component. To strengthen its organizational approach to privacy, CBP needs to establish an Office of Privacy with adequate resources and staffing and hold Assistant Commissioners and Directors accountable for their employees’ understanding of and compliance with their privacy responsibilities. In addition, CBP needs to improve its compliance with Federal privacy laws and regulations. Specifically, it needs to develop a complete inventory of its personally identifiable information holdings, complete privacy threshold analyses for all systems, and develop accurate system of records notices for its systems. CBP also needs to ensure that privacy impact assessments are conducted for all personally identifiable information systems."

This should not be a surprise. They took the money for rural phone access and did nothing there either.
AT&T, Feds Neglect Low-Price Mandate Designed to Help Schools
At the dawn of the Internet era, Congress set out to avert a digital divide between rich and poor students. In a landmark bill, lawmakers required the nation’s phone companies to provide bargain voice and data rates to schools and to subsidize the cost of equipment and services, with the biggest subsidies going to the schools with the most disadvantaged children.
More than a decade later, as schools struggle for funding amid widespread budget cuts, there is growing evidence that the program’s crucial low-price requirement has been widely neglected by federal regulators and at least one telecom giant.
A decade after the program started, AT&T was still not training its employees about the mandatory low rates, which are supposed to be set at the lowest price offered to comparable customers. Lawsuits and other legal actions in Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan and New York have turned up evidence that AT&T and Verizon charged local school districts much higher rates than it gave to similar customers or more than what the program allowed.

Of course they do. And of course they must deny or “no comment” the relationship.
Court Upholds Google-NSA Relationship Secrecy
A federal appeals court on Friday upheld the National Security Agency’s decision to withhold from the public documents confirming or denying any relationship it has with Google concerning encryption and cybersecurity.
That’s despite the fact that Google itself admitted it turned to “U.S. authorities,” which obviously includes the NSA, after the search giant’s Chinese operation was deeply hacked. Former NSA chief Mike McConnell told the Washington Post that collaboration between the NSA and private companies like Google was “inevitable.”

A point in the technical/legal debate yesterday. If everyone is using location services, can they argue that they didn't know they could be tracked?
May 11, 2012
Pew - Three-quarters of smartphone owners use location-based services
  • "A new report finds that 74% of smartphone owners use their phone to get real-time location-based information, and 18% use a geosocial service to “check in” to certain locations or share their location with friends. Over the past year, smartphone ownership among American adults has risen from 35% of adults in 2011 to 46% in 2012. This means that the overall proportion of U.S. adults who get location-based information has almost doubled over that time period, from 23% in May 2011 to 41% in February 2012. The percentage of adults who use geosocial services like Foursquare has likewise risen from 4% in 2011 to 10% in 2012."

I wonder if they are more concerned with the hackers or the politicians reaction to the hackers...
More Americans Worried About Cybarmegeddon Than Terrorism, Study Finds
More Americans want the presidential candidates to focus on protecting the government and the electrical grid against hackers than fighting terrorism groups.
That’s according to a new security study by Unisys (.pdf), which found that the three highest priorities for Americans when it comes to security issues in the presidential campaign are:
  1. Protecting government computer systems against hackers and criminals (74 percent)
  2. Protecting our electric power grid, water utilities and transportation systems against computer or terrorist attacks (73 percent)
  3. Homeland security issues such as terrorism (68 percent)

Tools for teachers?
Video Collaboration Service TenHands Launches Free Browser-Based WebEx Competitor
As the capabilities of modern browsers expand and developing standards like Google’s WebRTC initiative for real-time communications slowly find their way into most popular browsers, we’ll likely see more video collaboration software that’s currently still client-based move to the browser as well. TenHands, which is launching its private beta today (you can request an invite here) wants to be the first out of the gate in this market and sees itself as a direct competitor to Cisco’s WebEx, Microsoft Lync and other incumbents in this space. The service offers free video conference calls, screensharing, as well as built-in support for sharing documents from your desktop and
As for pricing, TenHands’ COO and co-founder Jack Blaeser told me earlier today, the company is planning to use a freemium model after the beta phase ends. Users will get three free hours of usage per month and will have to pay $10/month if they need more time.

Interesting. “Learn anywhere, pay for credit here.” One possible “Future of education?”
Groups Team Up to Turn Free Online Courses Into Cheap College Credit
The Saylor Foundation has been building an online catalog of free, self-paced college courses since 2010. But students who completed those courses could not typically earn credit toward a degree, since the nonprofit group is not an accredited institution. Saylor’s new partnership with the online course-provider StraighterLine seeks to change that, giving students an inexpensive way to earn academic credit using freely available materials.
The collaboration, announced today, will give students two different ways to save money when pursuing academic credit. Beginning in the fall, students can study free courses on and then enroll at StraighterLine to take an exam. After passing, they will receive American Council on Education recommended credit. Students could also enroll in a StraighterLine program, using Saylor’s free course materials as they go along.

You still need more artistic talent than I have...
Infographics are all over the web right now because they can be great for displaying and sharing information. If you have wanted to try making infographics or try having your students make them, but were worried that you needed to possess some talent for design, you need to try
… provides a canvas on which you can build your own infographic by dragging and dropping pre-made design elements. You can use a blank canvas or build upon one of's themes. If doesn't have enough pre-made elements for you, you can upload your own graphics to include in your infographic. Your completed infographic can be exported and saved as PNG, JPG, PDG, and SVG files. Watch the video below for an overview of

Did you ever smack yourself upside the head when you realized you missed a great opportunity? (Far greater than “I could have had a V8”) This one nearly gave me a concussion!
GoGoFantasy Is A New Kinkstarter For Porn
GoGoFantasy is a patent-pending system for crowdfunding porn. Folks with fetishes, grandmas with groin urgings, and couples into copulating can create projects and request cash in return for filming certain acts. For example, one young lady will mount two cameras in a small plane and film her activity in the cabin. And she won’t be reading her Kindle and eating peanuts, if you catch my meaning.
… the creators of GoGoFantasy have patented their idea so expect to see some delightful lawsuits in the future

Friday, May 11, 2012

Why would elevators or boilers be connected to the Internet?
"Imagine what would happen if an attacker broke into the network for the industrial control systems for New York City's elevators and boiler systems and decided to disrupt them, imperiling the lives of hundreds of thousands of residents relying on them. Think it could never happen? Think again. 'You could increase the speed of how elevators go up or down,' says Steve Ramirez, business analyst, analysis and communications in the Office of the CIO of the New York City Housing Authority, which provides public housing for low- to moderate-income families in the five boroughs of the city. And if attackers ever successfully penetrated the network-based industrial control systems for the boilers, they could raise the heat levels for municipal boilers, causing them to explode."

Paranoia or do they know something we don't? How will they determine I have an iPhone in the package I'm mailing? Are they saying any iPad may suddenly burst into flame because Apple didn't properly install the battery?
USPS to ban overseas shipments on tablets, smartphones, more
As of next week, the United States Postal Service, or USPS, is banning all international shipments containing lithium ion batteries, which many electronics have (see the full list below).
The most likely reason for the ban is that if lithium ion batteries are fully charged or not correctly stored or packed, they can catch fire or combust -- something obviously best to avoid while shipping.
… The USPS says it may change the ban on January 1, 2013 and allow customers to mail certain quantities of lithium ion batteries internationally, including to APO and FPO locations, "when the batteries are properly installed in the personal electronic devices they are intended to operate."

We have become a nation of corporate sheep. Profit over principle.
Few Companies Fight Patriot Act Gag Orders, FBI Admits
Since the Patriot Act broadly expanded the power of the government to issue National Security Letters demanding customer records, more than 200,000 have been issued to U.S. companies by the FBI. But the perpetual gag orders that accompany them are rarely challenged by the ISPs and other recipients served with such letters.
Just how rare these challenges are became more evident following the recent release of a 2010 letter from the Justice Department to a federal lawmaker.
In December 2010 in a letter (.pdf) from Attorney General Eric Holder to Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), the FBI asserted that in February 2009 it began telling recipients they had a right to challenge the built-in gag order that prevents them from disclosing to anyone, including customers, that the government is seeking customer records. That policy was mandated by a 2008 appellate court decision, which found that the never-ending, hard-to-challenge gag order was unconstitutional.
Holder noted, however, that in the year and 10 months since the FBI started notifying recipients of this right, only a small handful had asserted that right.
Thus far, there have been only four challenges to the non-disclosure requirement,” Holder wrote, “and in two of the challenges, the FBI permitted the recipient to disclose the fact that an NSL was received.” [“the FBI permitted” 'cause a judge would have tossed the whole request? Bob]

(Related) Apparently someone told the Senator what was happening right under his nose.
Senator seeks DOJ cellphone tracking data
May 11, 2012 by Dissent
John Ribeiro reports:
U.S. Senator Al Franken has in a letter asked the Department of Justice for information on its practices in requesting location information from wireless carriers, following reports that law enforcement agencies are requesting such information sometimes without warrants.
Franken, a Minnesota Democrat, said he was concerned about reports that after a Supreme Court decision on tracking using GPS devices, state and local law enforcement agencies may be requesting the location records of individuals directly from their wireless carriers instead of tracking individuals through GPS devices installed on vehicles, according to a copy of the letter on the website of the American Civil Liberties Union.
Read more on Computerworld.

Cute, catchy name, but in the end a call for more government workers?
May 09, 2012
Insourcing Functions Performed by Federal Contractors: An Overview of the Legal Issues
CRS: Insourcing Functions Performed by Federal Contractors: An Overview of the Legal Issues - Kate M. Manuel, Legislative Attorney; Jack Maskell, Legislative Attorney, May 7, 2012
  • "Recent Congresses and the Obama Administration have taken numerous actions to promote “insourcing,” or the use of government personnel to perform functions that contractors have performed on behalf of federal agencies. Among other things, the 109th through the 111th Congresses enacted several statutes requiring the development of policies and guidelines to ensure that agencies “consider” using government employees to perform functions previously performed by contractors, as well as any new functions. These statutes require that “special consideration” be given to using government personnel to perform those functions (1) recently performed by government employees, (2) closely associated with the performance of inherently governmental functions, (3) performed pursuant to a contract awarded on a non-competitive basis, or (4) performed poorly by a contractor because of excessive costs or inferior quality. The Obama Administration has similarly promoted insourcing. For example, in February 2010, the Secretary of the Army testified that the Army intended to insource 7,162 positions in FY2010 and 11,084 positions in FY2011 through FY2015. Although the Department of Defense (DOD) subsequently abandoned such insourcing initiatives because the initiatives did not result in significant savings, several contractors filed suit alleging that DOD failed to comply with the applicable guidelines when insourcing particular functions."

Free is good...
5 Reasons to Download Autodesk Inventor Fusion Now
… The product is currently in a “Technical Preview,” which means you can download it for free until the end of the year.
… One warning, CAD programs take hundreds, if not thousands of hours to become expert on. I’ve been using a competitive product, Solidworks, for years, so I understood the basics going in. If you are coming to this with little experience, brace for frustration. It takes time to learn, but the payoff is enormous.

Of course, as a true conspiracy theorist I know this looks like something the government would fake (the timing is just too convenient) to reduce panic as the end nears. I would be certain of somehow Al Gore was involved...
End of the World Averted: New Archeological Find Proves Mayan Calendar Doesn’t End
So much for the world ending on December 21, 2012. We’ve been saying it for years, but a new find by archaeologists confirms the Mayan calendar indeed does not end this year but keeps going, just like turning a page to a new calendar.
“It’s very clear that the 2012 date, while important as Baktun 13, was turning the page,” David Stuart, quoted by Alan Boyle on MSNBC’s Cosmic Log. “Baktun 14 was going to be coming, and Baktun 15 and Baktun 16. … The Maya calendar is going to keep going, and keep going for billions, trillions, octillions of years into the future.”

One tool of future education.
"Univ. of MN is cataloging open-access textbooks and enticing faculty to review the texts by offering $500 per review. From the article: 'The project is meant to address two faculty critiques of open-source texts: they are hard to locate and they are of indeterminate quality. By building up a peer-reviewed collection of textbooks, available to instructors anywhere, Minnesota officials hope to provide some of the same quality control that historically has come from publishers of traditional textbooks.'"

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Tomorrow is the Privacy Foundation's May Seminar.

Perfect for the heated election in November. Induce a bit of overheating, toss out all the votes in precincts you are likely to lose...
"Tests of a number of electronic voting machines that recorded shockingly high numbers of extra votes in the 2010 election show that overheating may have caused upwards of 30 percent of votes in some South Bronx voting precincts to go uncounted. WNYC first reported on the issue in December 2011, when it was found that tens of thousands of votes in the 2010 elections went uncounted because electronic voting machines counted more than one vote in a race. [Probably not what they meant to say... Bob] A review by the state Board of Election and the electronic voting machines’ manufacturer ES&S found that these 'over votes,' as they’re called, were due to a machine error. In the report issued by ES&S, when the machine used in the South Bronx overheated, ballots run during a test began coming back with errors."

This must be one of those North Carolina articles originally written in an obscure Martian language and then mis-translated into English.
UNC-Charlotte breach affects 350,000
May 9, 2012 by admin
Remember that breach that the University of North Carolina at Charlotte disclosed back in February? Well, they’ve finally released some details and it’s a doozy. Chris Dyches reports:
An investigation into the incident shows that financial account numbers and approximately 350,000 social security numbers were included among the exposed data.
The exposure has been remediated, [Perhaps they mean to say that the security hole has been fixed? The exposure is still there... Bob] officials say, and the University is acting to alert people who may have been affected by this exposure.
Due to a system misconfiguration and incorrect access settings, a large amount of electronic data hosted by the University was accessible from the Internet.
There were two exposure issues, one affecting general university systems over a period of approximately three months, and another affecting the University’s College of Engineering systems over a period exceeding a decade. [“No one was looking” is more likely than “We never noticed” Bob]
Read more on WBTV.
Remember when UNC-Chapel Hill tried to fire a professor whose mammography research database was hacked? They demoted her instead, but to a lot of people, their response seemed harsh and inappropriate. Now we have two data breaches at UNC-Charlotte, one of which went undetected for over a decade, and these breaches affected more SSN than the mammography incident. So what will UNC do now? [Something unprecedented Bob]
And what, if anything, will the U.S. Dept of Education do in response to these breaches?

Surveillance tools for the masses?
KLIK, The Face-Detecting iPhone App, Heads Into Production
KLIK, the real-time, facial recognition iPhone camera app from, has released its official 1.0 version today. (The previous version, which debuted in January, was a beta). The production version of the app includes significantly enhanced recognition capabilities as well as – you guessed it! – photo filters.
… The app lets you take a picture of your friends, which it automatically recognizes, using Facebook as its photo-sourcing database. Of course, that means if your friends aren’t active Facebook users, it will have more trouble ID’ing them – but you’ve got to start somewhere.
… KLIK only recognizes faces’ belonging to your friends [Get to work, Ethical Hackers! Bob]

Wouldn't it be better if the Senators just read the reports instead of calling a bunch of people together to tell them what it says?
Senate Commerce Committee Holds Hearing on Privacy Reports
May 9, 2012 by Dissent
Dan Kahn of Covington & Burling has a concise recap of a Senate hearing today on privacy:
Today, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation held a hearing to seek the views of the Federal Trade Commission and the Administration on privacy issues. Discussion at the hearing, entitled “The Need for Privacy Protections: Perspectives from the Administration and the Federal Trade Commission,” focused in significant part on the privacy reports recently released by the FTC and the Administration.
Read more about the hearing on InsidePrivacy. Of concern, the new FTC chair does not seem to be in step with the privacy community. As Kahn notes:
Maureen K. Ohlhausen, who was not with the FTC at the time of the release of its privacy report, commended the FTC’s enforcement record. She also praised the FTC report’s “privacy by design” principle and stated her support for data security legislation. She expressed concern, however, that the report went too far in moving away from a tangible harm-based approach. She also stated that if consumers are presented with a clear choice prior to information collection, it can be assumed that they will exercise that choice in an informed way.
“Assumed?” Obviously, she never saw “The Odd Couple” and what became one of the greatest and classic courtroom scenes of all time:

Yet another privacy paper...
Stanford Law Review Online: How the War on Drugs Distorts Privacy Law
May 10, 2012 by Dissent
The Stanford Law Review Online has just published an Essay by Jane Yakowitz Bambauer entitled How the War on Drugs Distorts Privacy Law. Professor Yakowitz analyzes the opportunity the Supreme Court has to rewrite certain privacy standards in Florida v. Jardines:
The U.S. Supreme Court will soon determine whether a trained narcotics dog’s sniff at the front door of a home constitutes a Fourth Amendment search. The case, Florida v. Jardines, has privacy scholars abuzz because it presents two possible shifts in Fourth Amendment jurisprudence. First, the Court might expand the physical spaces rationale from Justice Scalia’s majority opinion in United States v. Jones. A favorable outcome for Mr. Jardines could reinforce that the home is a formidable privacy fortress, protecting all information from government detection unless that information is visible to the human eye.
Alternatively, and more sensibly, the Court may choose to revisit its previous dog sniff cases, United States v. Place and Illinois v. Caballes. This precedent has shielded dog sniffs from constitutional scrutiny by finding that sniffs of luggage and a car, respectively, did not constitute searches. Their logic is straightforward: since a sniff “discloses only the presence or absence of narcotics, a contraband item,” a search incident to a dog’s alert cannot offend reasonable expectations of privacy. Of course, the logical flaw is equally obvious: police dogs often alert when drugs are not present, resulting in unnecessary suspicionless searches.
Read the full article, How the War on Drugs Distorts Privacy Law by Jane Yakowitz Bambauer, at the Stanford Law Review Online.

Here's that report I couldn't locate yesterday...
May 09, 2012
Google - First Amendment Protection for Search Engine Results
Google - First Amendment Protection for Search Engine Results, April 20, 2012. Eugene Volokh and Donald M. Falk [This White Paper was commissioned by Google, but the views within it should not necessarily be ascribed to Google.]
  • " engines produce and deliver their speech through a different technology than that traditionally used for newspapers and books. The information has become much easier for readers to access, much more customized to the user’s interests, and much easier for readers to act on. The speech is thus now even more valuable to customers than it was before. But the freedom to distribute, select, and arrange such speech remains the same."

Of course, if someone points a loaded phone at the police, they may just shoot.
Illinois Barred From Enforcing Police Eavesdropping Law
Citing First Amendment issues, a federal appeals court is barring Illinois from enforcing a law prohibiting the audio-recording of police officers.
The decision Tuesday by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals comes two weeks ahead of a NATO summit in Chicago that is likely to draw throngs of protesters May 20-21.
The American Civil Liberties Union challenged the 1961 eavesdropping law that makes it a felony to audio-record a conversation unless everybody in that conversation consents. Violators faced a maximum 15-year prison term if a police officer is recorded.
“The Illinois eavesdropping statute restricts far more speech than necessary to protect legitimate privacy interests,” the Chicago-based appeals court wrote (.pdf).
… “In order to make the rights of free expression and petition effective, individuals and organizations must be able to freely gather and record information about the conduct of government and their agents — especially the police,” Harvey Grossman, the ACLU’s legal director in Illinois, said in a statement. “The advent and widespread accessibility of new technologies make the recording and dissemination of pictures and sound inexpensive, efficient and easy to accomplish.”

(Related) How about “Them” surveilling “Us”
May 09, 2012
EPIC Stresses Need For Privacy Evaluation in Drone Testing
"In comments to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), EPIC emphasized the need for transparency and accountability in drone operations, and recommended the development of privacy protections before drones are more widely deployed in the US. The FAA Notice of Proposed Rulemaking set out proposed criteria for drone testing. Congress has tasked the FAA with facilitating the use of drones in the domestic airspace. February, EPIC, joined by a coalition of more than 100 organizations, experts, and members of the public, petitioned the FAA to conduct a rulemaking on the privacy implications of domestic drone use. For more information, see EPIC: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and Drones."

If you don't know how to deal with it, you better find out quick. (Should we tell them that it is also difficult to know where cash has been?)
FBI Fears Bitcoin’s Popularity with Criminals
The FBI sees the anonymous Bitcoin payment network as an alarming haven for money laundering and other criminal activity — including as a tool for hackers to rip off fellow Bitcoin users.
That’s according to a new FBI internal report that leaked to the internet this week, which expresses concern about the difficulty of tracking the identify of anonymous Bitcoin users, while also unintentionally providing tips for Bitcoin users to remain more anonymous.
The report titled “Bitcoin Virtual Currency: Unique Features Present Distinct Challenges for Deterring Illicit Activity,” (.pdf) was published April 24 and is marked For Official Use Only (not actually classified), but was leaked to the internet on Wednesday.

Add these to you “complete e-library”
Yer A Kindle, Harry! Amazon/Pottermore Offer All 7 HP Books In Kindle Lending Library
Potter fans will now be able to download all seven Harry Potter books from Amazon’s Kindle Lending Library, a service offered free for Amazon Prime users.

Every profession has its dinosaurs...
I still often hear teachers say that they don't allow students to use Wikipedia for anything. That's too bad because Wikipedia articles, particularly the sources cited at the end of the pages, can be good places for students to start researching a topic. The reason why some teachers don't allow their students to use Wikipedia for anything is due to a lack of understanding of how Wikipedia works. Common Craft has a good explanation of how it works. You can watch the video here or as embedded below.

Has potential for answering student questions more efficiently than a long email. Perhaps for podcasting the Privacy Seminars too.
Spreaker is a service for creating podcasts and broadcasting them to the world as live or recorded productions. If you want to simultaneously broadcast live and record your podcast for re-release later, you can do that too. The Spreaker virtual mixing board provides tools for mixing in buffer music and editing voices. The video below provides a brief introduction to Spreaker.
… Spreaker has free Android and iOS apps that your students can use to record too.

For my artsie-fartsie, old school, or 'anything but homework' students... (Amazing how often I'm seeing Kickstarter)
Etcher Turns Your iPad Into an Etch A Sketch
Etcher is a Kickstarter project that has the blessing of Ohio Arts, the manufacturer of the original Etch a Sketch. If the Kickstarter effort takes root, Krupnik & Associates may even work with Ohio Arts on product development.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

I'm shocked, shocked I tell you...
Today, Vladimir Putin was inaugurated to his third term as the Russian President after a landslide victory in March elections. Putin has bounced between his roles as Prime Minister and President for 12 years, but many have accused Putin and his United Russia party of rigging elections in the past.
While voter fraud can be hard to detect, a group of researchers has carefully analyzed the official election data for clues and posted their analysis on the arXiv preprint server. The researchers found several questionable anomalies in the data that always seemed to support Putin and his party, casting doubt on the integrity of the recent elections.

A video summary of the entire scandal?
FRONTLINE goes inside the struggle over the future of News Corporation, Rupert Murdoch’s reputation and his family’s fortune.

It takes much longer for reporters to notice...
Cybercrooks bring their schemes to Tumblr and Pinterest
… In one campaign, Twitter was used as bait to take advantage of users on Pinterest. A Twitter account called "Pinterestdep" (which has since been suspended) claimed to offer Visa gift cards to people in exchange for sharing their opinions about Pinterest. But instead, intended victims were directed to a Web site that prompted them to fill out several rewards offers and convince their friends to do the same.
Misspelling the name Tumblr was the trigger for another scam. Users who accidently typed "tublr" would be redirected to a message claiming they had been chosen as a "daily winner," prompting them to fill out surveys and respond to offers to pick up their prize. A check of the URL shows that this scam remains in full bloom.

Local, and disturbing. What else can they shut off?
"Savannah Barry, a Colorado teenager, was returning home from a conference in Salt Lake City. She is a diabetic and wears an insulin pump to control her insulin levels 24/7. She carries documentation of her condition to assist screeners, who usually give her a pat-down search. This time the screeners listened to her story, read her doctor's letter, and forced her to go through a millimeter-wave body scanner anyway. The insulin pump stopped working correctly, and of course, she was subjected to an invasive manual search. 'My life is pretty much in their hands when I go through a body scan with my insulin pump on,' she says. She wants TSA screeners to have more training. Was this a predictable outcome, considering that no one outside TSA has access to millimeter-wave scanners for testing? Would oversight from the FDA or FCC prevent similar incidents from happening in the future?"

I would be more impressed if they had done this “last fall.” Looks like they are about to test the privacy water again, and wanted to avoid at least the obvious hazards...
"Carrier IQ, a startup heavily bruised last fall by harsh criticism of its handset diagnostic software, today announced it's hired a high-profile lawyer as its Chief Privacy Officer. Magnolia Mansourkia Mobley, a CIPP and former Verizon executive, will be tasked with quickly broadening the company's focus on consumer privacy. She also was named the company's General Counsel. The company became the flashpoint in a heated controversy after initial reports its analytics software, embedded in some 150 mobile phones, was capable of gathering a great deal of personal data without the customer's consent."

Interesting question for my students. Can they even list what technology would be unavailable if all wireless was shut off?
"Around nine months ago, BART Police asked to have wireless communications disabled (PDF) between Trans Bay Tube Portal and the Balboa Park Station. That was because they knew a public protest was to take place there — and the service to the underground communication system was disabled. This affected not only cellphone signals, but also the radio systems of Police, Fire and Ambulance crews (PDF) within the underground. This led to an even larger protest at a BART station and many folks filed complaints along with the American Civil Liberties Union and Electronic Frontier Foundation. The FCC responded by launching a probe into the incident. The results were a mixed bag of 'To protect citizens!' and 'Only in extreme cases,' not to mention the classic 'Terrorists use wireless communications!' But even if the probe doesn't lead to a full proceeding and formal order, the findings may well be used as a guide for many years to come."

Can't you buy this information from Visa and MasterCard?
IKEA Must Defend Itself in Consumer Class Action
May 9, 2012 by Dissent
Yet more bad press for IKEA in the privacy department, it seems. Maria Dinzeo reports:
A class can proceed with a lawsuit accusing Ikea of requesting and storing customers’ zip codes when making credit card purchases.
Rita Medellin sued Ikea in February 2011 for violation of the Song-Beverly Credit Card Act after an Ikea cashier took her credit card and asked for her zip code. She gave it, believing the information was necessary for completing the transaction.
Ikea claimed customers often voluntarily provided this information, so they could receive email promotions from Ikea or participate in the retailer’s rewards program. [How does 'just a zip code' help with either of these? Bob]
Read more on Courthouse News.
In recent months, IKEA has also been accused of spying on employees and consumers in France.

Sort of an “anti-mitigating” (exacerbating?) issue... How long should you hold off on updates (to ensure they don't cause problems) before you implement them to upgrade your security?
"Since so many recent exploits have used Java as their attack vector, you might conclude Java should be shown the exit, but the reality is that Java is not the problem, writes Security Advisor's Roger Grimes. 'Sure, I could opt not to use those Java-enabled services or install Java and uninstall when I'm finished. But the core problem isn't necessarily Java's exploitability; nearly all software is exploitable. It's unpatched Java. Few successful Java-related attacks are related to zero-day exploits. Almost all are related to Java security bugs that have been patched for months (or longer),' Grimes writes. 'The bottom line is that we aren't addressing the real problems. It isn't a security bug here and there in a particular piece of software; that's a problem we'll never get rid of. Instead, we allow almost all cyber criminals to get away with their Internet crime without any penalty. They almost never get caught and punished. Until we solve the problem of accountability, we will never get rid of the underlying problem.'"

A bracing dose of reality? Management 101: You can't delegate (or outsource) responsibility.
If offshore cloud compromises your data we’ll sue you, not them: AU privacy commissioner
May 9, 2012 by Dissent
David Braue reports:
Organisations investing in off-shore cloud services could find themselves on the pointy end of legal action should the privacy of Australians be breached as a result, Victoria’s acting privacy commissioner has warned.
“The threat to information privacy from cloud computing largely comes from an organisation’s lack of control,” he said. “Generally speaking, cloud service providers are agents of the client agency or organisation – even if there’s a contract between them.”
“That relationship means that if there’s a data breach, the client agency or organisation remains responsible and the enforcement of the Australian privacy legislation will apply,” he continued. “The cloud provider would need to be contractually bound by the relevant Australian privacy law, or fulfil the requirement that a similar privacy scheme to the Australian regime operates in that jurisdiction. This can be difficult in jurisdictions that have no general privacy laws, such as Singapore or the US.”
The situation gets even more complex if the public cloud provider is found to be moving protected data between jurisdictions; this is common in load-balancing cloud configurations run by the likes of Google and Microsoft, which load-balance customer data between regions to improve reliability and redundancy.
Read more on CSO.

That's for presenting the results, not the search itself... No link to the report, yet.
Google report says search results protected by First Amendment
Do Google and other search engines have a constitutional right to control their own search results?
The answer is yes, at least in the opinion of UCLA law professor and First Amendment scholar Eugene Volokh.
In a report commissioned by the search giant, Volokh asserted that search results are a type of "opinion" based on what information the search engines believe would be most relevant to their users, according to PaidContent. Therefore, the results are protected by the First Amendment.
… Why did Google commission this report?
… The search giant told PaidContent that "we thought these issues were worth exploring in more depth by a noted First Amendment scholar." But the company is also likely looking for some legal ammunition to use in any government showdowns.
Google has been under the microscope of both the U.S. government and the European Union over complaints that it has used its dominant position to tweak its search results to favor its own sites. The U.S. Department of Justice is considering whether to launch an official antitrust suit, while the EU is mulling over a decision in the wake of its own investigation.

A lawsuit ya gotta love... How lonely is this guy...
… Sora, who has more than 333K Twitter followers, is a bit of a Twitter siren it seems. The actress is famous in China, where Twitter is blocked. Sora is so popular that when she launched her Twitter account in April, it caused an "instant online reaction," Chinese news blog Danwei reported. Some questioned whether it really was Sora, and fans reportedly shared software that allowed them to access the blocked site.

That is not how “good cop, bad cop” is supposed to work.
Twitter complies with Va police request, but moves to quash a NY subpoena
May 8, 2012 by Dissent
AP/WAVY report that Twitter has turned over user info on four accounts that authorities suspect may be linked to an April 14 attack in which reporters were assaulted: obtained the police search warrants requesting posts and personal information from the Twitter accounts, including the users’ location and email addresses. The warrants note Twitter has complied with the request and sent the information.
Detectives say several Twitter postings afterward mentioned the incident. The search warrant states that Twitter users @MzDenisee, @Cooke2x, @POTENTDAPLUG, and @PINK_boyshorts posted several comments in reference to a “Caucasian male being assaulted on Church Street.”
Read more on WAVY. More background on the case can be found in yesterday’s Virginian-Pilot. So far, I’ve not found a copy of the warrant online.
In a different case where no warrant was issued, Twitter has filed a memorandum in support of Malcolm Harris’s motion to quash the subpoena for their records him. PrivacySOS has a nice summary of the three points Twitter raises in its memorandum, but basically, one of their points is that if the NY DA’s office is serious about getting the data, they should have provided a warrant or complied with California law. Previous coverage on this blog of the Malcolm Harris/Twitter case linked from here.

So help me with this legal opinion. If at first you don't succeed: no crime? Doesn't that kind of invalidate Attempted Murder, etc.?
Company asks court to reinstate $459 million judgment in junk fax lawsuit
May 8, 2012 by Dissent
Bill Rankin reports:
On Monday, the Georgia Supreme Court heard arguments as to whether that ruling [against American Home Services] should stick. The court is reviewing a decision issued a year ago by the state Court of Appeals that overturned the trial judge’s decision. The appeals court said what mattered was how many faxes were received, not the number of faxes sent on behalf of American Home Services.
Read more on AJC.
I finally got some relief from the junk faxes received at my office. Of course, the downside is that the fax machine no longer works at all, but at least I don’t get junk faxes.

FTC: We claim 'success in retrospect!' (Is this one of those “we used to be in compliance” cases?)
Myspace Settles FTC Charges That It Misled Millions of Users About Sharing Personal Information with Advertisers
May 8, 2012 by Dissent
Social networking service Myspace has agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it misrepresented its protection of users’ personal information. The settlement, part of the FTC’s ongoing efforts make sure companies live up to the privacy promises they make to consumers, bars Myspace from future privacy misrepresentations, requires it to implement a comprehensive privacy program, and calls for regular, independent privacy assessments for the next 20 years.
The Myspace social network has millions of users who create and customize online profiles containing substantial personalized content. Myspace assigns a persistent unique identifier, called a “Friend ID,” to each profile created on Myspace. A user’s profile publicly discloses his or her age, gender, profile picture (if the user chooses to include one), display name, and, by default, the user’s full name. User profiles also may contain additional information such as pictures, hobbies, interests, and lists of users’ friends.
Myspace’s privacy policy promised it would not share users personally identifiable information, or use such information in a way that was inconsistent with the purpose for which it was submitted, without first giving notice to users and receiving their permission to do so. The privacy policy also promised that the information used to customize ads would not individually identify users to third parties and would not share non-anonymized browsing activity.
Despite the promises contained in its privacy policy, the FTC charged, Myspace provided advertisers with the Friend ID of users who were viewing particular pages on the site. Advertisers could use the Friend ID to locate a user’s Myspace profile to obtain personal information publicly available on the profile and, in most instances, the user’s full name. Advertisers also could combine the user’s real name and other personal information with additional information to link broader web-browsing activity to a specific individual. The agency charged that the deceptive statements in its privacy policy violated federal law.
In addition, Myspace certified that it complied with the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor Framework, which provides a method for U.S. companies to transfer personal data lawfully from the European Union to the United States. As part of its self-certification, Myspace claimed that it complied with the Safe Harbor Principles, including the requirements that consumers be given notice of how their information will be used and the choice to opt out. The FTC alleged that these statements were false.
The proposed settlement order bars Myspace from misrepresenting the extent to which it protects the privacy of users’ personal information or the extent to which it belongs to or complies with any privacy, security or other compliance program, including the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor Framework. The order also requires that Myspace establish a comprehensive privacy program designed to protect consumers’ information, and to obtain biennial assessments of its privacy program by independent, third-party auditors for 20 years.
Source: FTC
Related: In the Matter of Myspace LLC FTC File No. 102 3058

What the smart kids are thinking/talking about?
Memes Are People Too: Meet the Viral-Video Stars of ROFLCon
The "ROFL" in "ROFLCon" is an outdated web acronym -- Rolling on the Floor Laughing -- basically an old-timey way of saying "LOL." ROFLCon uses it ironically. The vintage webspeak is characteristic of the event -- a conference that is equally concerned with the past, present, and future of Internet culture. The two-day event, held at MIT last weekend, combined the best elements of a fan convention with a truly academic conference. Don't let the goofy names of panels, like "Adventures in Aca-meme-ia," fool you; the featured panelists and giddy audience members were all too eager to dive into serious discussion.
… Topics ranged from how people in China use visual humor to evade censorship ("Global Lulzes"), to what to do when a YouTube video of your kid suddenly goes viral ("Honey I Memed the Kids!"). Amid the chaos, a central issue took shape; web video is radically reshaping pop culture.

(Related, possibly redundant)
Are LOLCats Making Us Smart?
What could possibly be said of LOLCats that is of any consequence at all? After all, LOLCats are nothing but pictures of cats with silly captions that defy conventional rules of spelling and grammar. What do they matter?
They don't. Or at least, the content -- the "what" -- of LOLCats doesn't much matter. But the *why* of LOLCats has proved to be rich terrain for Kate Miltner who received her Master's Degree from the London School of Economics for her dissertation on the appeal of LOLCats (pdf) and spoke at ROFLCon ...[When I tried to read her dissertation, I got this message: “This account's public links are generating too much traffic and have been temporarily disabled!” no doubt proving that this is serious academic stuff! Bob]

Think the country will collapse?

Perspective Also consider: Paul David's “The Dynamo and the Computer” Owning a technology does not insure “Best Use” of a technology.
Are Smart Phones Spreading Faster than Any Technology in Human History?
Presented below is the U.S. market penetration achieved by eight technologies since 1876, the year Alexander Graham Bell patented the telephone. Penetration rates have been organized to show three phases of a technology's spread: traction, maturity, and saturation.
… These figures show that smart phones, after a relatively fast start, have also outpaced nearly any comparable technology in the leap to mainstream use. It took landline telephones about 45 years to get from 5 percent to 50 percent penetration among U.S. households, and mobile phones took around seven years to reach a similar proportion of consumers. Smart phones have gone from 5 percent to 40 percent in about four years, despite a recession. In the comparison shown, the only technology that moved as quickly to the U.S. mainstream was television between 1950 and 1953.
… In 1982, there were 4.6 billion people in the world, and not a single mobile-phone subscriber. Today, there are seven billion people in the world—and six billion mobile cellular-phone subscriptions. As with many technologies, the explosion began in the world's most developed countries.
… According to the International Telecommunications Union, in 2001 the developed world had six times as many mobile subscriptions per capita as the developing world. By 2011, that gap had collapsed to just 50 percent more phones per capita, and it continues to narrow substantially. Of the world's six billion mobile-phone subscriptions, 73 percent are now in the developing world, even though those countries account for just 20 percent of the world's GDP.

Probably not an ADA issue, but one my students need to be aware of?
Why you might really, actually be addicted to Facebook
Once a simple place for college friends to connect, Facebook has become the crack of the Internet, beckoning us at all hours of the day to check in on our friends and share the minutia of our daily lives.

Definitely one for my students!
MakeUseOf Answers needs your help to solve all of the tough tech questions we receive! We reward your expertise with prizes of up to $50 for the Best Answer of the Week. Solve one of these questions to enter the contest…

Another student tool...
If you are thinking of starting a study group online then you should try out Thinkbinder. This website builds a social-like platform for study groups to share files, post ideas and status updates, collaborate, and just keeping in touch.
Creating a study group with Thinkbinder takes less than a minute. Then, you will find a dashboard where you can post your news feeds, upload files, and share ideas on a whiteboard. You can invite friends through e-mail and once they are all in, you can collaborate through video chat, private messages, and more. Anyone can join the group as long as they know the code to your study group.
Similar Tools: OpenStudy, P2PU, and Khan Academy.

...and yet another Student tool. I had some trouble getting it to work, but if it selects and categorizes videos, this might be just what I've been looking for.
Last week I received an email from the creators of a service called Zendo that I had reviewed last winter. They wrote to inform me that they have rebranded and changed their product into a new service called Study Egg.
Study Egg is a service that is offering quizzes based on video lessons from Khan Academy, MIT Open Courseware, and TED Ed. The premise is quite simple. Pick a topic that you want to learn about in the library of videos. Each video has a a series of questions attached to it. When you answer a question Study Egg will immediately indicate if you answered correctly or not.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

No! No! And Hell no! This is wrong on so many levels.
"According to reports, which were confirmed Friday by ICS-CERT (PDF), there has been an active cyber attack campaign targeting the natural gas industry. However, it's the advice from the DHS that should raise some red flags. 'There are several intriguing and unusual aspects of the attacks and the U.S. response to them not described in Friday's public notice,' Mark Clayton wrote. 'One is the greater level of detail in these alerts than in past alerts. Another is the unusual if not unprecedented request to leave the cyber spies alone for a little while.' According to the source, the companies were 'specifically requested in a March 29 alert not to take action to remove the cyber spies if discovered on their networks, but to instead allow them to persist as long as company operations did not appear to be endangered.' While the main motive behind the request is likely to gain information on the attackers, letting them stay close to critical systems is dangerous. The problem lies in the complexities of our critical infrastructures and the many highly specialized embedded systems that comprise them."

It's a miracle! Mere months after the entire Internet became aware of this gaping hole in the “Full” body scanners, DHS wakes up.
Homeland Security Concedes Airport Body Scanner ‘Vulnerabilities’
Federal investigators “identified vulnerabilities in the screening process” at domestic airports using so-called “full body scanners,” according to a classified internal Department of Homeland Security report.
Exactly how bad the body scanners are is not being divulged publicly, but the Inspector General report made eight separate recommendations on how to improve screening.
… Meanwhile, an unclassified version of the Inspector General report, unearthed Friday by the Electronic Information Privacy Center, may give credence to a recent YouTube video allegedly showing a 27-year-old Florida man sneaking a metallic object through two different Transportation Security Administration body scanners at American airports.

A lesser miracle. “We can't handle it” is budget speak for “We'd like more money.”
Congress Funds Killer Drones the Air Force Says It Can’t Handle
… The Pentagon asked Congress for only around $4 million for the MQ-1 Predator drone and about $1.7 billion for the next-generation MQ-9 Reaper over the next year. The House Armed Services Committee, which on Tuesday finished its version of next year’s defense bill (.pdf), decided that wasn’t enough for either program. If the committee’s version of the bill makes it through the legislative process, the Air Force will get about $23 million more for the Predators, and an extra $180 million for the Reapers.

A case we all should follow. Is there justification beyond the anti-dragon argument (Since we've been doing [____] there have been no dragon attack! So it must work.”
Americans’ Challenge to No-Fly List Gets Day in Court
About a dozen U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents who cannot fly from the United States because they are on the so-called “no-fly list” will finally have their case heard by a federal appeals court Friday.
The two-year-old suit claims the plaintiffs, who include two retired U.S. military veterans once stranded in Egypt and Colombia, have been unconstitutionally barred from flying without being told why or provided a meaningful chance to clear their names.
“A secret list that deprives people of the right to fly and places them into effective exile without any opportunity to object is both un-American and unconstitutional,” ACLU attorney Ben Wizner said in a statement.

The next big case?
Privacy Lawsuit Against Apple Moves Forward
May 7, 2012 by Dissent
Wendy Davis reports:
Consumers who filed a class-action privacy lawsuit against Apple can proceed with their case, a federal judge has ruled.
U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in the Northern District of California set a trial date of Sept. 16 in the case, which was brought by iPhone and iPad users who allege their privacy was violated when their devices’ unique identifiers — 40-character strings of letters and numbers — were transmitted to app developers and their affiliates.
Read more on MediaPost.

Well, it's a start.
1 in 4 Facebook users purposely lie on profile - Consumer Reports
Consumer Reports found that one in four Facebook users lie on their profile.
The study suggests Facebook liars are just trying to protect their privacy and post false information to guard their identity.
People who lie on Facebook also use incorrect or incomplete names to hide from employers and list fake birthdates to foil potential identity thieves.

Can anyone shut down any site by “asserting” a connection to piracy? Or is that power limited to large campaign donors?
Seized Hip-Hop Site Lashes Out At Feds, RIAA
The hip-hop music site the authorities shuttered for more than a year without explanation lashed out Monday at the recording industry and the federal government, likening the taking of the site to a “digital Guantanamo.”
“Seizing a blog for linking to four songs, even allegedly infringing ones, is equivalent to seizing the printing press of The New York Times because the newspaper, in its concert calendar, refers readers to four concerts where the promoters of those concerts have failed to pay ASCAP for the performance licenses,” Andre Nasib, the site’s owner, wrote in a blog post on the popular site.
Nasib had originally declined comment when Wired disclosed the backstory of the seizure on Thursday.
According to court records obtained by Wired, federal authorities seized the site based on assertions from the Recording Industry Association of America that it was linking to four “pre-release” music tracks in November, 2010. The authorities gave it back nearly 13 months later without filing civil or criminal charges because of apparent recording industry delays in confirming infringement, according to the court records, which were unsealed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the First Amendment Coalition and Wired.
The records illustrated a secret government process in which a judge granted the government repeated time extensions to build a civil or criminal case against, one of about 750 domains the government has seized in the last two years in a program known as Operation in Our Sites.

Perspective The device of choice is hand-held and allows you to text or talk.
Report: Smartphones, Not Computers, Drive the Most Facebook Use
According to comScore’s new Mobile Metrix 2.0 report released Monday, Facebook’s mobile usage is on the rise. In fact, the report revealed that Facebook users spent more time accessing the social network on smartphones than on computers in March.
Facebook users spent an average of 441 minutes — or 7 hours, 21 minutes — accessing the social network via smartphones during the month. By comparison, users spent 391 minutes — or 6 hours, 31 minutes — checking out Facebook on PCs.

May 07, 2012
Pew - Just-in-time Information through Mobile Connections
Just-in-time Information through Mobile Connections by Lee Rainie, Susannah Fox, May 7, 2012
  • "The rapid adoption of cell phones and, especially, the spread of internet-connected smartphones are changing people’s communications with others and their relationships with information. Users’ ability to access data immediately through apps and web browsers and through contact with their social networks is creating a new culture of real-time information seekers and problem solvers. The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project has documented some of the ways that people perform just-in-time services with their cell phones. A new nationally representative survey by the Pew Internet Project has found additional evidence of this just-in-time phenomenon. Some 70% of all cell phone owners and 86% of smartphone owners have used their phones in the previous 30 days to perform at least one of the following activities: Coordinate a meeting or get-together; Solve an unexpected problem that they or someone else had encountered; Decide whether to visit a business, such as a restaurant; Find information to help settle an argument they were having; Look up a score of a sporting event -- 23% have used their phone to do that in the past 30 days; Get up-to-the-minute traffic or public transit information to find the fastest way to get somewhere; Get help in an emergency situation."

For my Risk Management class. Both Micro and Macro considerations... (and some 'solutions' that have zero change of being adopted)
"There are good reasons to think web services like Facebook won't be around forever. If Facebook ever were to go down there would be potentially huge costs to its users. We can all take individual steps to protect our data and social network, but is there anything we can do to our economy to mitigate the costs of the failure of these services? The Red Rock looks at the role open source, open standards, consumer cooperatives, and enterprise reform can play. The author concludes that all is not lost, and that there's a lot we can do to reduce both the cost and frequency of failure."
His suggestions are pretty radical: "The first is draw up an Open Data Bill and pass it into law. This would (where applicable) mandate the use of open standards by firms, and also mandate that all data held about a user is downloadable by that user, in an open standard. ... The second is to reform the corporate structure of larger companies to include some directors elected by consumers, rather than just shareholders. Not all the directors, like in the Cooperative Group, and not even a majority, but just a small portion of the board — say one third."

Another downside of Student Loans... (The next Class Action?)
"Dave Lindorff writes in the LA Times that growing numbers of students are discovering their old school is actively blocking them from getting a job or going on to a higher degree by refusing to issue an official transcript. The schools won't send the transcripts to potential employers or graduate admissions office if students are in default on student loans, or in many cases, even if they just fall one or two months behind. It's no accident that they're doing this. It turns out the federal government 'encourages' them to use this draconian tactic, saying that the policy 'has resulted in numerous loan repayments.' It is a strange position for colleges to take, writes Lindorff, since the schools themselves are not owed any money — student loan funds come from private banks or the federal government, and in the case of so-called Stafford loans, schools are not on the hook in any way. They are simply acting as collection agencies, and in fact may get paid for their efforts at collection. 'It's worse than indentured servitude,' says NYU Professor Andrew Ross, who helped organize the Occupy Student Debt movement last fall. 'With indentured servitude, you had to pay in order to work, but then at least you got to work. When universities withhold these transcripts, students who have been indentured by loans are being denied even the ability to work or to finish their education so they can repay their indenture.'"

I'm telling you there is money to be made here. Anyone want to join me at the University of Bob?
Pathwright Launches Platform To Let Anyone Create, Sell Branded Online Courses
Online education has been around for years, but they were largely viewed as experiments. Over the last year, things have changed. Elite universities are not only taking online education seriously, they’re building it into their 10-year plans. Harvard and MIT’s EdX is one example, Coursera another, while startups like CodeAcademy, Treehouse, StraighterLine, Khan Academy,, Udacity, and Udemy (among others) are carrying the torch for the flipped classroom.
Interestingly, what unites these platforms, aside from the fact that that they’re all in some way educators, is that each has built their own custom software and infrastructure to deliver their content. Are any using traditional learning management systems, like Blackboard or Moodle? Nope. That’s because viable, interactive online education requires software that can meet a new generation of demands: Social, mobile, rich multimedia, flexibility, and scale.
Yet, while these well-funded startups have the resources and capital to build custom platforms, there are thousands of traditional schools, education providers, learning coaches, etc. producing stellar learning content that lack the tools necessary to share their awesome content with the masses.
That’s where Pathwright comes into play. Greenville, South Carolina-based Pathwright was founded by a team of hackers (and educators) who have set out to build a platform for “the next wave of educators” — a simple, DIY content management system that lets any and all educators create, distribute, and sell online courses under the banner of their own branded, online schools.

For Pete's sake, don't tell my wife. She already tells me I'm “warming” the house and she thinks I'm a dinosaur. God help me if she see's this connection...
Dinosaur gases 'warmed the Earth'
British scientists have calculated the methane output of sauropods, including the species known as Brontosaurus.
By scaling up the digestive wind of cows, they estimate that the population of dinosaurs - as a whole - produced 520 million tonnes of gas annually.
They suggest the gas could have been a key factor in the warm climate 150 million years ago.

Thing of this as a follow-up on one of the most amusing articles I have ever posted. I don't know how many readers went out an purchased a pair, but let this be a warning to any who did: Don't drive east of the Mississippi with them (especially if you don't have a drivers license).
'TruckNutz' lead to South Carolina driver's arrest
A South Carolina man was released from jail Monday after being held overnight for an arrest that was sparked by the fake testicles displayed on the back of his truck.
Joe Cervantes-Rodriguez, 31, was driving Sunday evening in Spartanburg when he was stopped by a sheriff's deputy who noticed an "obscene object" hanging from the truck's rear bumper.
An arrest report obtained by the website The Smoking Gun described the object as "a pair of large fleshy testicles" that were "flesh colored, anatomically correct, approximately the size of a softball, and in clear view of the public."