Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Does no one know that laptops get stolen from cars? Perhaps we could have the laptop manufacturers print this on the top of the laptop in BIG RED LETTERS!
From their press release, issued yesterday:
Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford and the Stanford University School of Medicine are notifying patients by mail that a password-protected laptop computer containing limited medical information on pediatric patients was stolen from a physician’s car away from campus on the night of January 9, 2013. This incident was reported to Packard Children’s and the School of Medicine on January 10. Immediately following discovery of the theft, Packard Children’s and the School of Medicine launched an aggressive and ongoing investigation with security and law enforcement, and began contacting patients potentially affected.
The medical information on the stolen laptop was predominantly from 2009 and related to past care and research. The patient data did not include financial or credit card information, nor did it contain Social Security numbers or any other marketable information. It did include names and dates of birth, basic medical descriptors, and medical record numbers, which are used only by the hospital to identify patients. In some cases, there was limited contact information. There is no indication that any patient information has been accessed or compromised.
They also posted an FAQ on their site, which says, in part, that 57,000 patients are being notified.

So, we don't bother to check them new fangled digital maps against the old paper versions OR was this a subtle test of one possible CyberWar weapon?
Report: Reef-bound Navy ship takes on water
The U.S. Navy ship USS Guardian remains stuck on a reef off the Philippines four days after the minesweeper ran aground.
In a statement, the U.S. Navy said preliminary findings of a review by the U.S. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency found that digital navigation chart data was inaccurate and had "misplaced the location of Tubbataha Reef." This "may have been a factor in the Guardian grounding."

Now do you understand “We can, therefore we must?”
I couldn’t understand why a regular reader from Texas sent me a link to an article about fining residents if they didn’t clean up their dog poo. After all, that’s the case in many towns and cities by now and didn’t strike me as newsworthy.
But then I read the news story and my jaw dropped:
A Plano apartment complex is set to become the latest North Texas multi-family residential facility to demand DNA tests of all dogs living on the property in an effort to catch owners who fail to pick up their dog’s waste.
Read more on NBC DFW.
So in Texas, students can be RFID-chipped to boost attendance revenues and dogs can be subjected to mandatory DNA testing so their owners can be fined if the dog poo isn’t cleaned up. Surveillance in Texas seems to be a revenue-generating scheme.
Is it too late for me to sign that petition about Texas seceding from the union? Sheesh.

Interesting article, but this summary is just one extreme interpretation, I think.
Konrad Lischka and Christian Stöcker report:
When it comes to hysteria over coming data protection rules in Europe, the most extremist warnings from lobbyists these days are coming out of the law firm Field Fisher Waterhouse. The head of the firm’s privacy and information law group, Eduardo Ustaran, recently told the American technology news service ZDNet that if the EU’s draft privacy and data protection law isn’t changed, Gmail and Facebook may be forced to abandon their ad-supported models and start charging their customers in Europe or stop providing them with these popular services altogether.
Read more on Spiegel Online.

(Related) Another “proof” that we don't have a coherent strategy yet. Whose objectives are we trying to satisfy?
Spandas Lui reports:
The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) has expressed concerns with some of the data-privacy changes that were proposed by a recent Microsoft report.
The Microsoft Global Privacy Summit Report (PDF), entitled “Notice and Consent in a World of Big Data” and released in November 2012, lists the topics that came out of numerous global discussions held by the vendor on data privacy.
“Generally, people agreed that new approaches to privacy protection must shift responsibility away from individuals to organisations which use data, driving a focus on what uses of that data are permitted, as well as [have] accountability for responsible data stewardship, rather than mere compliance,” Microsoft chief privacy strategist Peter Cullen wrote in a blog post.
While the OAIC was supportive of more responsible data-collection processes, it disagreed with some of the changes that the Microsoft report suggested about how collected data could be used.
Read more on ZDNet.

One to request from my local library...
nrothke writes
"In the 4th edition of A Gift of Fire: Social, Legal, and Ethical Issues for Computing Technology, author Sara Baase takes a broad look at the social, legal and ethical issues around technology and their implications. Baase notes that her primary goal in writing the book is for computer professionals to understand the implications of what they create and how it fits into society. The book is an interesting analysis of a broad set of topics. Combined with Baase's superb writing skills, the book is both an excellent reference and a fascinating read."
Read below for the rest of Ben's review.

...and one to download.
"The classic hacker book publisher O'Reilly is releasing their book Open Government for free as a tribute for Aaron Swartz. The book asks the question, in a world where web services can make real-time data accessible to anyone, how can the government leverage this openness to improve its operations and increase citizen participation and awareness? Through a collection of essays and case studies, leading visionaries and practitioners both inside and outside of government share their ideas on how to achieve and direct this emerging world of online collaboration, transparency, and participation. The files are posted on the O'Reilly Media GitHub account as PDF, Mobi, and EPUB files."

Oh! Something for my spare time! (Or for students who don't like how I teach...)
New WordPress Plugin Lets You Build Your Own Online School
… The new WordPress plugin from WooThemes (a popular WordPress premium theme provider) lets you start up your own online school with ease. It’s as simple as installing a WordPress plugin. The actual content and other school-y stuff is, of course, up to you. But the technical stuff is taken care of by this new plugin.

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