Saturday, August 31, 2013

True, but is it wise? “Government immunity” is indistinguishable from “government don't give a damn.”
Jess Davis reports:
A Texas appeals court on Thursday blocked a civil rights advocacy group from deposing the state comptroller about a 2010 data breach that published online personal information about millions of Texans, saying the agency has governmental immunity.
Read more on (sub. required).

(Related) Stop worrying bout what you are going to say and think about what your customers are going to hear.
From the probably-shouldn’t-say-that dept.:
Yes, laptops that possibly contained personally identifiable information were stolen from our office in a burglary, but we don’t need to strengthen our security measures, says the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.

Why would anyone want this? (My Ethical Hackers would never consider using this to create and document any alibi)
– is an iOS app that automatically and privately detects where you went and what you did. It keeps track of the restaurants you ate at, the museums you visited, and even your hikes and romantic strolls. Remember every detail of your day trip, vacation or weekend getaway, so that you can share with your family and friends.

(Related) Perhaps we could teach a class on stalking?
Derrick Harris writes:
… In order to highlight what’s possible, a group of researchers from the International Computer Science Institute has released a new tool called “Ready or Not” that lets you enter any Twitter or Instagram username and see every place that user has been and what they’ve tweeted while there. It also includes a chart that shows how frequently users are at certain locations at certain times of day. The thought of this information getting into the hands of the wrong person — or, if you’re just into having some semblance of a private life, the thought that it exists — is a pretty troubling proposition.
The Ready or Not tool, ISCI researcher Gerald Friedland acknowledged, certainly engages in a bit of fear-mongering; but that’s the point
Read more on GigaOm.
Related: See the Teaching Privacy web site.

In an effort to become more transparent...
Ellen Nakashima reports:
Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper on Thursday evening announced that from now on the government will release the total number of surveillance orders issued each year to telecom providers in national security investigations.
They include the number of targeted persons affected by these classified orders, Clapper said in a news release.
Read more on Washington Post. And then tell me why is posting “likes” under their announcement.

(Related) ...while remaining totally opaque.
Mike Masnick writes:
So, last night Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said that the administration will start releasing some data on how many FISA records it seeks, and how many “targets” there are. In a first draft of that post, I had originally speculated that this hopefully meant the various tech companies could finally add FISA request numbers to their transparency reports, as they’d requested. However, after reading Clapper’s statement carefully, it seemed fairly obvious that what they were releasing was a lot more limited than what the tech companies have been asking for — including the number of people impacted. Given that, I removed the paragraph about how it might impact tech companies, because it seemed likely that the feds weren’t actually going to allow the tech companies to reveal some basic metadata about the FISA requests they receive. Indeed, today was the (many times extended) deadline for the DOJ to respond to the legal filings by various tech companies to publish those numbers, and it appears that the DOJ has officially turned down the request.
Read more on TechDirt.
So suppose the big guns in tech got together and put the government on notice that starting on _______ date, they were going to start disclosing the data – with or without the government’s consent. What would the government do if the tech companies stuck together? Could DOJ prosecute? Sure. But would they? They need the businesses’ cooperation. Maybe it’s time for the tech companies and providers to just say “NO” to the government’s demands for less than adequate transparency.
[Interesting “Boston Tea Party” level idea, but I suspect the government has all the carrots and sticks necessary to “entice” cooperation on their terms. Bob]

(Related) Wouldn't it be interesting if telecoms had First Amendment traditions like journalists?
What is the sound of a lead balloon?
Mark Hosenball reports:
The British government has asked the New York Times to destroy copies of documents leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden related to the operations of the U.S. spy agency and its British partner, Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), people familiar with the matter said.
The British request, made to Times executive editor Jill Abramson by a senior official at the British Embassy in Washington D.C., was greeted by Abramson with silence, according to the sources.
Read more on Reuters. I didn’t realize that ProPublica is also in possession of some of the files.

“If you don't like how we violate your privacy, remember that we could always nullify the treaties we've been ignoring!”
Christopher Wolf writes:
The US privacy framework is under attack from officials in the EU following revelations about NSA surveillance. Yesterday, US Department of Commerce General Counsel Cameron Kerry delivered his valedictory address before his departure from his position next week, and focused both on the progress made by the Obama Administration in privacy and offered the strongest push-back to date on the attacks leveled against the US framework from the EU, including threats to nullify the EU-US Safe Harbor Agreement.

Registration required. Still nothing positive on the “breach of contract” argument.
Margaret Dale and David Munkittrick of Proskauer have this article on about the state of standing in data breach lawsuits.

Perspective. Big Data is really big. ( 1000 bytes is one kilobyte, 1000 KB is one megabyte, 1000 MB is one gigabyte, 1000 GB is one terabyte, 1000 TB is one petabyte, 1000 PB is one exabyte, 1000 EB is one zettabyte, 1000 ZB is one yottabyte
So one Zettabyte is 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes.)
Cisco Visual Networking Index: Forecast and Methodology, 2012–2017
This forecast is part of the Cisco® Visual Networking Index (VNI), an ongoing initiative to track and forecast the impact of visual networking applications. This document presents the details of the Cisco VNI global IP traffic forecast and the methodology behind it. For a more analytical look at the implications of the data presented in this paper, please refer to the companion document, The Zettabyte Era-Trends and Analysis, or the VNI Forecast Highlights tool.
Executive Summary - Annual global IP traffic will surpass the zettabyte threshold (1.4 zettabytes) by the end of 2017. In 2017, global IP traffic will reach 1.4 zettabytes per year, or 120.6 exabytes per month. Global IP traffic will reach 1.0 zettabytes per year or 83.8 exabytes per month in 2015. Global IP traffic has increased more than fourfold in the past 5 years, and will increase threefold over the next 5 years. Overall, IP traffic will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23 percent from 2012 to 2017. Busy hour Internet traffic is growing more rapidly than average Internet traffic. Busy hour Internet traffic increased 41 percent in 2012, compared to 34 percent growth in average traffic. Busy-hour Internet traffic will increase by a factor of 3.5 between 2012 and 2017, while average Internet traffic will increase 2.9-fold. Busy-hour Internet traffic will reach 865 Tbps in 2017, the equivalent of 720 million people streaming a high-definition video continuously. Metro traffic will surpass long-haul traffic in 2014, and will account for 58 percent of total IP traffic by 2017. Metro traffic will grow nearly twice as fast as long-haul traffic from 2012 to 2017. The higher growth in metro networks is due in part to the increasingly significant role of content delivery networks, which bypass long-haul links and deliver traffic to metro and regional backbones. Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) will carry over half of Internet traffic in 2017. 51 percent of all Internet traffic will cross content delivery networks in 2017 globally, up from 34 percent in 2012. Nearly half of all IP traffic will originate with non-PC devices by 2017. In 2012, only 26 percent of consumer IP traffic originated with non-PC devices, but by 2017 the non-PC share of consumer IP traffic will grow to 49 percent. PC-originated traffic will grow at a CAGR of 14 percent, while TVs, tablets, mobile phones, and machine-to-machine (M2M) modules will have traffic growth rates of 24 percent, 104 percent, 79 percent, and 82 percent, respectively.”

For my students...
Find Cheap Textbooks Online
While not free, Book Renter allows students to rent college textbooks for around 20% of the cover-price. Once finished you simply mail the textbook back to them. You can even take notes and highlight in the books. They also cover the UPS postage costs of returning the books.
If you prefer ebooks then is a great resource for you. The company, aside from offering the same physical book rental service as BookRenter, allow students to cheaply rent eBook versions of textbooks. The files have an expiry of 6 months, after which they will be unusable.
… If you’re still set on buying your textbook, check out this article about finding the cheapest deals on college textbooks.
Sprint Through Lectures
… a favourite study technique of mine is gaining credence around the web: listening to audio books while jogging. I find myself continuing to jog to listen to the rest of the lecture, where as I would normally have stopped far earlier. So, in the end I accomplish more by exercising both body and mind with the help of audiobooks.
Find Audio Lectures On OpenCourseware
OpenCourseware (OCW) has been around quite a few years at this point.
OCW offers a vast collection of course material, presentations, articles, videos and audio lectures from some of the world’s most highly regarded universities on virtually every degree subject out there. The biggest contributors are MIT, Stanford, and the Open University. Many of these universities will push their open course content under their own brands, but they all belong to the OpenCourseware Consortium
I’m a huge fan of their audio lectures. I’ll often listen to a lecture subject I missed in real life, or gain extra knowledge by listening to related topics. For example, I took an OCW module on Social Media to better equip myself for my marketing module.
Similar to OCW, although a little more closed off, is Khan Academy, a huge resource of free video lectures and beautifully presented tutorials.
Forget Google Scholar — Use Journal Repositories
Google Scholar is the primary research tool for a lot of students.
… Despite Google’s best efforts, there’s a more effective way.
I suggest going straight to journal repositories. Find the top five journals in your study area and use their online search facilities. .... A personal favourite of mine is Emerald Insight.
Then, go to the website of the top 10 universities you can think of, such as Harvard, Brown or Oxford, and search through their online journals. Universities always publish their research to protect their rankings.
When sifting through thousands of articles and journals, don’t scroll. Save time by using Ctrl+F to find specific keywords and topics. I also do this when reading huge eBooks or reports. Going digital is so much better.
Primary Research Bumps Up Your Grade
Email people; lots of people. A little primary research for an assignment can take as little as five minutes. When citing a paper or article, I normally email any questions to the author. This is something very few students do outside of their final year thesis. Author contact details are typically found on the inside page of a report or on the university’s website. I’ve found university professors (even those in different countries with nothing to do with my college) very open to questions about their work and they have no problem being referenced in a student assignment. It’s easy bonus points to bump up a grade.
Learn How To Type
Seriously. Typing properly is the biggest time saver in college, where writing 10,000 words of notes and academic assignments per week is the norm.
Saikat did an awesome rundown of some great online typing tutorials, my favourite being Typing Web. It’s a well-designed typing tutor that tells you just what each finger should be doing and grades your performance.

For my amusement...
… “MOOC” (along with “selfie” and “bitcoin”) entered the Oxford Dictionaries Online this week. The definition provided: “a course of study made available over the Internet without charge to a very large number of people. anyone who decides to take a MOOC simply logs on to the website and signs up.” Tracing the origins of the word to MMORPGs, Stephen Downes notes the dictionary gets both the usage and the etymology of the word wrong.
Inside Higher Ed has released its annual Survey of Faculty Attitudes on Technology. It “finds significant skepticism among faculty members about the quality of online learning, with only one in five of them agreeing that online courses can achieve learning outcomes equivalent to those of in-person courses, and majorities considering online learning to be of lower quality than in-person courses on several key measures (but not in terms of delivering content to meet learning objectives).”
… Students in the Lodi School District have fought back against the district’s plans to create a new social media policy that would make the students “submit to the school’s disciplinary authority for what they say on social networking sites, even off-campus on their personal time.” Among the types of speech the policy sought to ban: cyberbullying, liking or retweeting prohibited content, and subtweeting. After protests and pushback and letters of support from the Student Law Center, the district has dropped the policy.

My wife says Dilbert has nailed the Budget process exactly.

No comments: