Monday, August 19, 2013

Gosh. Won't it be wonderful when we can do the same thing in this country?
More on a government plan to allow private companies to purchase patient data from the NHS without patient knowledge or consent. Stephen Adams reports:
A secret plan to sell confidential medical records to private companies for as little as £1 has been drawn up by officials.
From next month, GPs will start sending detailed NHS patient records to a central database for the first time under the new General Practice Extraction Service (GPES).
Yet doctors do not have to tell patients about the project, described by campaigners as an ‘unprecedented threat’ to medical confidentiality.
The records – held for every person registered with a GP – will contain details of medical conditions, as well as ‘identifiable’ information including a patient’s NHS number, postcode and date of birth.
Private firms such as Bupa can then apply to the Health Service to buy and use data from the records for research.
Read more on Daily Mail.

Tools & Techniques for my Ethical Hackers.
Here’s what you find when you scan the entire Internet in an hour
Until recently, scanning the entire Internet, with its billions of unique addresses, was a slow and labor-intensive process. For example, in 2010 the Electronic Frontier Foundation conducted a scan to gather data on the use of encryption online. The process took two to three months.
A team of researchers at the University of Michigan believed they could do better. A lot better. On Friday, at the Usenix security conference in Washington, they announced ZMap, a tool that allows an ordinary server to scan every address on the Internet in just 44 minutes.
… The ability to rapidly find computers with security vulnerabilities can be a good thing if it allows ethical security researchers and software vendors to find and notify systems administrators about problems before information is released to the general public. But ZMap could also be used for evil. A malicious hacker could use the tool to rapidly identify computers that have unpatched vulnerabilities and compromise them in parallel, creating a million-machine botnet in a matter of hours.

Significant? Teachers and students do this all the time to access “blocked” websites. Any implications for telemarketers who ignore the 'do not call' lists?
Orin Kerr writes:
During the debate over the Aaron Swartz case, one of the legal issues was whether Swartz had committed an unauthorized access under the CFAA when he changed his IP address to circumvent IP address blocking imposed by system administrators trying to keep Swartz off the network. There was significantly more to the CFAA charges than that, to be clear, including circumventing a subsequent MAC address block and (most significantly) entering an MIT storage closet to install his computer directly. But changing IP addresses to get around IP address blocking was at least one of the possible grounds of unauthorized access. On Friday, Judge Breyer of the Northern District of California handed down the first decision directly addressing the issue. Judge Breyer ruled that changing IP addresses to get around a block is an unauthorized access in violation of the CFAA. The decision is here: Craigslist v. 3taps, Inc..
Read more on The Volokh Conspiracy.

Something to toss out in my Ethics class...
There are times when I wish I was still teaching so that I could share an extraordinary case with psychology students and enjoy their reactions as they are challenged to think. Over the decade that I spent teaching undergraduate and graduate students, I had a handful of books that I would use to introduce and put a human face on topics such as the scientific method or psychosurgery. If I was still teaching, I’d add Rebecca Skloot’s book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, to my list.

I'm not sure having my car's battery talk to my car computer which then talks to my garage computer which then contacts my house computer which then schedules an appointment with a mechanic (based on my calendar) and notifies the car dealer, manufacturer and part supplier is as good an idea as they seem to think.
Cisco – The Internet of Everything in Motion
In 2012, there were 8.7 billion connected objects globally, constituting 0.6% of the ‘things’ in the world. In 2013, this number is exceeding 10.0 billion. Driven by reducing price per connection and the consequent rapid growth in the number of machine-to-machine (M2M) connections, we expect the number of connected objects to reach 50bn by 2020 (2.7% of things in the world). We expect connectivity costs to reduce at a 25% CAGR during 2012-20, which is approximately equal to the growth in number of connected objects (implying price-elasticity demand of 1). Lastly, we believe that more than 50% of the connected objects added during 2013-20 will be added in the last 3 years of the decade. This also implies that the maximum connected objects are likely to be added when the connectivity costs are the lowest.”

Perspective. For my Business, Accounting and Economics students.
The Real Value of Big Data is Difficult to Measure
Is Big Data an Economic Big Dud? by James Glanz, August 17, 2013 – See related graphic here.
“If pencil marks on some colossal doorjamb could measure the growth of the Internet, they would probably be tracking the amount of data sloshing through the public network that spans the planet. Christened by the World Economic Forum as “the new oil” and “a new asset class,” these vast loads of data have been likened to transformative innovations like the steam locomotive, electricity grids, steel, air-conditioning and the radio. The astounding rate of growth would make any parent proud. There were 30 billion gigabytes of video, e-mails, Web transactions and business-to-business analytics in 2005. The total is expected to reach more than 20 times that figure in 2013, with off-the-charts increases to follow in the years ahead, according to Cisco, the networking giant. How much data is that? Cisco estimates that in 2012, some two trillion minutes of video alone traversed the Internet every month… What is sometimes referred to as the Internet’s first wave — say, from the 1990s until around 2005 — brought completely new services like e-mail, the Web, online search and eventually broadband. For its next act, the industry has pinned its hopes, and its colossal public relations machine, on the power of Big Data itself to supercharge the economy. There is just one tiny problem: the economy is, at best, in the doldrums and has stayed there during the latest surge in Web traffic. The rate of productivity growth, whose steady rise from the 1970s well into the 2000s has been credited to earlier phases in the computer and Internet revolutions, has actually fallen. The overall economic trends are complex, but an argument could be made that the slowdown began around 2005 — just when Big Data began to make its appearance. Those factors have some economists questioning whether Big Data will ever have the impact of the first Internet wave, let alone the industrial revolutions of past centuries. One theory holds that the Big Data industry is thriving more by cannibalizing existing businesses in the competition for customers than by creating fundamentally new opportunities. In some cases, online companies like Amazon and eBay are fighting among themselves for customers. But in others — here is where the cannibals enter — the companies are eating up traditional advertising, media, music and retailing businesses, said Joel Waldfogel, an economist at the University of Minnesota who has studied the phenomenon…”

I know I'll need these soon.
3 Rubric Makers That Will Save You Time And Stress
Rubrics4Teachers offers a LOT of pre-made rubrics covering a variety of subjects that are available for your use. You can search by subject matter or by term.
Rubistar is an easy to use online rubric makers that also offers accounts (so you can store and access the rubrics you make), templates, and pre-made rubrics for a variety of subjects. Everything on the site is free.
IRubric ... offers rubric building tools, and a searchable database of pre-existing rubrics from other teachers.

For my students. If you can't find yourself on this graphic, you can't be in my class.

1997 was a million (Internet) years ago! Interesting how the language has changed.
Revisit the amazing Internet the cool kids used in 1997
Sixteen years ago, the name Netscape was becoming a household name, and if the instructional guide to getting kids online from 1997 in the video below is any indication, horizontal stripes were totally in.
If you have half an hour to spare, check out this amazingly cheesy tour of the early "cybernet," as presented by an enthusiastic and remarkably average American family

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