Tuesday, June 18, 2013

If President Obama was a Republican, would he say, “I am not a crook?”
Read about Charlie Rose’s interview with President Obama on NSA spying on BuzzFeed or watch it on Huffington Post. Are you reassured?

For those who need to catch up.
NSA Leak Catch-Up: The Latest on the Edward Snowden Fallout
It's been two weeks since the Washington Post and Guardian newspapers began to publish their stories based on leaks and interviews with former NSA contractor, Edward Snowden. The leaks have continued, counterleaks have bubbled up, tech companies have responded, and debate about the man at the center of it all continues to rage.
Three big stories -- one from the AP, one from NPR, and another from the Post -- came out this weekend that mined the details of Snowden's disclosures, refining them with more extensive reporting. The New York Times contributed a deep profile of Snowden himself, who continues to provoke strong reactions, especially after he revealed some details about U.S. spying on China and Russia.
Following, we attempt to bring you up to speed with the most recent disclosures and best reporting on the hurlyburly.

Follow-up on a May 31st story, 'cause it just keeps getting better.
School iris-scanned students without telling parents
… Peculiarly, no one at the schools district seems entirely sure how a security company called Stanley Convergent Security Solutions was allowed to install and operate the scanners without parents being told. Or, indeed, without a contract being signed.
Rob Davis, a Polk County district administrator, admitted to the Ledger that several mistakes were made. He said that he had no idea who (if anyone) had ultimately authorized Stanley Convergent to insert the iris scanners, which the company says have an accuracy rate of 200 times that of fingerprints. [Huh? Bob]
… It seems as if not one school lawyer looked through the proposed contract and approved it.
This has left some parents suspicious. Connie Turlington, parent of an 11-year-old, told The Ledger: "It sounds like a simple case of it's better to ask forgiveness than permission."

Interesting background summary (for us non-lawyers) leading to another “exception”
… The Supreme Court divided 5-4 on the question, with the majority dividing 3-2. The controlling opinion under a Marks analysis is the plurality opinion by Justice Alito joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Kennedy. Justice Alito concluded that it did not violate Salinas’s Fifth Amendment right to comment on his silence because he never formally asserted his Fifth Amendment right.

A resource for Big Data research and an interesting process for quantifying “Open.”
New certificates launched to help everyone discover, understand, and use open data
“The Open Data Institute (ODI) is today launching Open Data Certificates to help everyone find, understand and use open data that is being released. The new certificates are being announced by CEO Gavin Starks at a G8 Summit event: Open for Growth. The certificates have been created in response to business, government, and citizen needs to bring rigour to the publication, dissemination and usage of open data. Over the last six months, ODI has been collaborating with dozens of organisations around the world to define the certificates. Today sees their first Beta release… Certificates are created online, for free, at http://certificates.theodi.org/. The process involves publishers answering a series of questions, each of which affect the certificate generated at the end.”

(Related) The market for Big Data analysts is growing...
Data is Worthless if You Don't Communicate It
There is a pressing need for more businesspeople who can think quantitatively and make decisions based on data and analysis, and businesspeople who can do so will become increasingly valuable. According to a McKinsey Global Institute report on big data, we'll need over 1.5 million more data-savvy managers to take advantage of all the data we generate.
But to borrow a phrase from Professor Xiao-Li Meng — formerly the Chair of the Statistics Department at Harvard and now Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences — you don't need to become a winemaker to become a wine connoisseur. Managers do not need to become quant jocks. But to fill the alarming need highlighted in the McKinsey report, most do need to become better consumers of data, with a better appreciation of quantitative analysis and — just as important — an ability to communicate what the numbers mean.

Perspective: Another era slides beneath the waves?
India's Last Telegram Will Be Sent in July
In 1850, the British inventor William O'Shaughnessy -- who would later become famous for his early experiments with medical cannabis -- sent a coded message over a telegraph line in India. His telegram would usher in a new age of communication in and for India, connecting the country in a way that had never before been possible.
Now, sometime on July 14, 2013, someone in India will have a dubious honor: he or she will send the country's last telegram. The Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited, India's state-run telecom company, will shutter its telegram service, bringing the long era of Indian telegraphy from a dash ... to a full stop.
The shuttering comes seven years after Western Union ended its telegram service -- and nearly 170 years after Samuel Morse sent the United States's first telegraphic messages, between Washington and Baltimore, in 1844.

I have nothing (left) to hide.
… If the thought of the occasionally overzealous government official isn’t enough reason to encrypt your smartphone, then all the identity thieves and scammers out there ought to be. Think of how much of your personal information a bad guy could get, if they found your phone. Names, addresses, passwords, account numbers, and goodness knows what else. For a different take on Internet monitoring, check out James Bruce’s article, about how Internet monitoring laws will make criminals harder to catch. It’s very timely, all of a sudden.
Today, I’m going to show you a few things you can do to make that information a bit more secure.

No surprise here...
People joining the US workforce today are less educated than those leaving it

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