Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Inevitable. You do know that there is a tool built into most word processors (Mail Merge) that let's you avoid this by sending individual emails.
Lucy Battersby reports that an email gaffe by auto insurer Australian Associated Motor Insurers (AAMI) has enabled disgruntled consumers to find each other to band together:
The blind carbon copy (BCC) button on emails exists for a very good reason.
Unfortunately one of AAMI’s managers failed to use it the day she sent a message to 110 private addresses.
Even worse than releasing private emails, the message went to all the people with ongoing disputes against AAMI with the Financial Ombudsman Service.
Now the email has accidentally united a group of people, already very unhappy with one of Australia’s largest insurers, and who are now exploring the possibility of launching a class action.
Read more on SMH.

“Anything you can do I can do badder!” Theme song of my Ethical Hackers.
You can now unlock your GM car with your Windows Phone
Tuesday General Motors and Microsoft launched the OnStar RemoteLink app for Windows Phone, three years after the app launched with the Chevy Volt in 2010. The app is also available for iOS, Android, and BlackBerry.
RemoteLink lets you unlock and lock your doors, remotely start your vehicle, and turn off and on your horn and lights, all from your smartphone. You can also view data on your car's oil levels, tire pressure, and fuel levels, which GM says is the most common reason people use the app.

What the Guardian learned about metadata? (Well done interactive)
UK Guardian guide to your metadata
Metadata is information generated as you use technology, and its use has been the subject of controversy since NSA’s secret surveillance program was revealed. Examples include the date and time you called somebody or the location from which you last accessed your email. The data collected generally does not contain personal or content-specific details, but rather transactional information about the user, the device and activities taking place. In some cases you can limit the information that is collected – by turning off location services on your cell phone for instance – but many times you cannot. Below, explore some of the data collected through activities you do every day.” [includes a section on "What metadata looks like"]

Still, worth reading either way.
One of the liveliest discussions at the recent Privacy Law Scholar’s Conference was about a paper by Dan Solove and Woody Hartzog, ”The FTC and the New Common Law of Privacy.” Because of conference rules, I could not blog about it previously, but the authors have now uploaded it to SSRN, where you can download it for free. If you support an expansive view of the FTC’s authority to pursue privacy and data security breaches, you’ll probably like the paper. If you think, as some do, that the FTC has exceeded its authority, particularly with respect to data breaches, you will probably disagree with their arguments.

Is this related to the previous article?
FTC Chairwoman Calls for Transparency in Big Data
Via EPIC: “In a keynote speech at the Technology Policy Institute Aspen Forum, FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez called upon companies to “move their data collection and use practices out of the shadow and into the sunlight.” Chairwoman Ramirez highlighted the risks of big data including indiscriminate collection, data breaches, and behind-the-scenes profiling. She stressed the importance of protecting consumers’ privacy and said, “with big data comes big responsibility.” EPIC previously testified before Congress and called for the regulation of data brokers because there is too much secrecy and too little accountability in their business practices. EPIC has also consistently recommended that the FTC enforce Fair Information Practices, such as those contained in the Administration’s Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights, against commercial actors. For more information, see EPIC: Choicepoint and EPIC: Privacy and Consumer Profiling.”

Have these violations become more serious in fact or merely in the minds of this batch of politicians?
New SEC Policy – Violations by financial institutions include admission of guilt
Washington Post Wonkblog: “A few weeks ago, SEC Chairwoman Mary Jo White announced a significant change in policy: For certain violations, the agency would no longer allow financial institutions to simply pay a fine without admitting wrongdoing (also known as a “nolo contendere” plea). And in its latest cases, the SEC has been following through, demanding an admission of guilt from JPMorgan in the case of the London Whale and extracting one from hedge fund adviser Philip Falcone… Here’s why getting an admission of guilt actually matters: Symbolism; Subsequent litigation; Loss of reputation and investor confidence; Possible loss of banking license; Disqualifications; Deterrent effects and bargaining power; Greater potential for internal growth and reform.”

Only when they arrest you?
Timothy B. Lee writes:
If the police arrest you, do they need a warrant to rifle through your cellphone? Courts have been split on the question. Last week the Obama administration asked the Supreme Court to resolve the issue and rule that the Fourth Amendment allows warrantless cellphone searches.
Read more on Washington Post.

I think my students like these too, even if it is targeted to K-12.
Bill Gates pitches in for online education resource Graphite
Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates is putting his money where his mouth is. He is backing a new initiative called Graphite that is a free online resource to help teachers discover and share education technology.

I have been bugging a couple of people to do this...
… if you have a particular expertise in a subject and want to teach others, there is a large variety of online resources you can use to make money by teaching others as well. Udemy is one such example of a popular online teaching and learning site that can be accessed online and from supported mobile devices.
… The site includes a well designed step-by-step process for creating your own course, which you can publish to Udemy’s growing community of nearly 1 million students and about another million monthly site visitors. Creating a professional online course is similar to authoring a book, which once published, can possibly bring you residual income for years to come.
Udemy provides straightforward tools for posting lectures and assignments in video, audio, presentation and document formats. A typical Udemy course contains 1-3 hours of content, with at least 60% video content. Most courses are priced between $29 and $99, but many are free. Instructors earn 70%-80% of course revenue.
Creating a Udemy course is relatively easy, but you do have to actually set aside time and complete the project. If you happen to be reading this article before August 22, you should register for Udemy’s first Create-a-thon, which consists of a weekend (August 24-25) in which you set aside time to complete an aspect of your course—e.g., a course outline, a couple of lectures, or a promo video. The event will include prizes, and each participant will receive a professionally designed course cover image.

For my geeks

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