Thursday, September 12, 2013

Does your phone company have your bank account numbers?
Richard Weiss reports:
An intruder hacked into a Vodafone Group Plc (VOD) server in Germany, gaining access to 2 million customers’ personal details and banking information.
A person with insider knowledge stole data including names, addresses, birth dates, and bank account information, the world’s second-biggest mobile-phone carrier said in a statement today. The hacker had no access to credit-card information, passwords, PIN numbers or mobile-phone numbers, Vodafone said.
Read more on Bloomberg News. via @Cyber_War_News

No doubt the end of the world...
So much for DNI Clapper’s blathering on about how he was releasing documents consistent with the President’s directive. Trevor Timm of EFF writes:
The Director of National Intelligence (DNI) just today released hundreds of pages of documents related to the government’s secret interpretation of Patriot Act Section 215 and the NSA’s (mis)use of its massive database of every American’s phone records. The documents were released as a result of EFF’s ongoing Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.
Our legal team is currently poring over them and will have much more analysis soon, but intelligence officials held a call with reporters about the content of the documents this morning, and made several revealing comments.
First, intelligence officials said they were releasing this information in response to the presidential directive on transparency surrounding the NSA. That statement is misleading. They are releasing this information because a court ordered them to as part of EFF’s Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, filed almost two years ago on the tenth anniversary of the Patriot Act.
In fact, up until the Snowden revelations started a couple months ago, the government was fighting tooth and nail to not only avoid releasing the content of the government’s secret interpretation of the Patriot Act, but even the number of pages that were involved. The government argued releasing a single word of today’s release would cause “serious and exceptionally grave damage to the national security of the United States.”

(Related) No doubt the senators will claim full credit.
So we learned more today, but according to Senators Wyden and Udall, there’s still much more to be learned:

One of the many problems with secret court orders is that I never know how concerned I should be. Do they impact me? I s my privacy at risk? Can I count on the court to secretly protect my non-secret rights?
Lavabit’s Owner Appeals Secret Surveillance Order That Led Him to Shutter Site
The owner of the encrypted email company Lavabit has formally appealed the secret surveillance order that led him to defiantly shutter the site last month. But the details of the case were immediately placed under seal in the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, records show.
The Texas-based email service shut down on August 8, blaming a court battle it had been fighting, and losing, in secret. The closure occurred about a month after news reports revealed that NSA leaker Edward Snowden was using a Lavabit email account to communicate from Russia.
In a statement announcing the closure, and in subsequent interviews, Lavabit owner Ladar Levison complained that he’s prevented from revealing exactly what the government asked him to do, or who it was targeting. The circumstances suggest Lavabit had been ordered to actively circumvent its own security, either by providing the government with its private SSL certificate — allowing its users to be wiretapped — or by modifying its software to store a user’s private encryption keys.

You can't tell the players without a scorecard...
Mark Jaycox writes:
The veil of secrecy around the government’s illegal and unconstitutional use of both Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act and Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) is being lifted. As a result, Congress has seen a flurry of legislation to try and fix the problems; however, as we’ve been saying since June there are far more questions than answers about the spying. And Congress must create a special investigative committee to find out the answers. Right now, the current investigations are unable to provide the American public with the information it needs.
For now, here’s a quick summary of the bills in Congress drafted after the June leaks that have a chance to go forward.
Read more on EFF.

So if every Friday I drive 83 miles, most of it at highway speed, I might be going to my ski shack for the weekend.
Yes, those “pay as you drive” programs used by insurance companies to record your driving habits sometimes can be used to accurately infer your destination — a long-time concern of privacy advocates.
That’s what four University of Denver computer scientists found in an experiment.
“With access to simple features such as driving speed and distance travelled, inferring the destinations of driving trips is possible,” they write in a paper published in the proceedings of the 2013 ACM Workshop on Privacy in the Electronic Society in November. “Privacy advocates have presumed the existence of location privacy threats in non-tracking telematics data collection practices. Our work shows that the threats are real.”
Read more on Science Daily.
[From the article:
That's what four University of Denver computer scientists found in an experiment.
… The scientists, Rinku Dewri, Prasad Annadata, Wisam Eltarjarnan and Ramakrishna Thurimella, developed an algorithm and applied it to data from 30 routine trips made in and around the Denver area. In 18 of the trips, the algorithm was able to place the actual destination within the top three projected destinations.
… The University of Denver scientists, however, working through the Colorado Research Institute for Security and Privacy, found that a mixture of "quasi-identifiers" can be used to infer destinations even without GPS data. "Quasi-identifiers" are driving data that are non-tracking by themselves but can be used to infer driving routes when used in combination.
In addition to measuring driving speed and distance travelled, they tracked traffic stops and turns. They matched this information to road maps to determine the potential destinations of a trip, and then ranked them to deduce the most likely destination.
… Their paper is titled, "Inferring Trip Destinations from Driving Habits Data."

Trivial or significant. I wonder what my students will say?
Orin Kerr writes:
Here’s an oddball Fourth Amendment case involving an issue I have never seen litigated: How does the Fourth Amendment apply to deleting a picture from a digital camera? In Burch v. City of Florence, Ala., 913 F.Supp.2d 1221 (N.D.Ala. 2012), the police had received various complaints that the plaintiff was causing concern because he was taking pictures of lots of people and cars in town. He would apparently follow people and take lots of pictures of them, all without any apparent reason. A police officer who knew about the complaints spotted the plaintiff and pulled him over for a traffic violation. When the car was stopped, the officer saw the camera in the car. The officer grabbed the camera and started looking through its pictures. When the officer found a picture of the officer’s own license plate (of his personal car), the officer deleted the picture from the camera. The officer then let the plaintiff go. The plaintiff then filed a pro se civil suit under the Fourth Amendment, claiming that searching the camera and deleting the image violated his Fourth Amendment.
Read more on The Volokh Conspiracy.

(Related) Again, the police don't like it...
Victoria Kim reports that a California judge denied an attempt from the union representing the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department to block the L.A. Times from reporting on sheriff’s deputies. The union had alleged that the Times and a reporter were unlawfully in possession of – and would use – background investigation files containing personal information of about 500 deputies and possibly their families.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Joanne O’Donnell denied the union’s motion, writing in her ruling that the union failed to present “the evidence most critical to the showing of irreparable harm or immediate danger.”
“The court declines to issue [an order] imposing a prior restraint on defendants’ free speech based on the speculative hearsay testimony of anonymous witnesses,” she wrote.
Read more on the Los Angeles Times.

For all my students.
Back To School? How To Organize Your Classroom Work With Evernote
School time can become stressful for both students and teachers, especially in high school and later in college. Therefore, it’s absolutely crucial that you stay as organized as possible so that you know where to find the information you need and make things as easy as possible for yourself. Evernote is a fantastic tool to take care of all of this as there are many reasons to use Evernote, so here are a few tips which you can use to get an advantage in school.

Another “all students” tool.
– to turn any connected device into a full-blown, fully featured communication device offering free IM, text messaging, voice and video calling. Unlimited Free texting and calling to any phone. Get a free personal phone number and voicemail. Send and receive pictures and videos for free. Keep in touch with your friends and enjoy the group chat and video call feature.

For me and any students what gots kulture...
Resources for Teaching and Learning About Classical Music
Open Culture recently published an article about Musopen's collection of free recordings of performances of the works of more than 150 composers. You can stream the music from Musopen for free. You can also download five recordings per day for free from Musopen. The recordings could be useful in a music appreciation course. Looking at the Musopen collection prompted me to look at some other resources for teaching about classical music.

Keeping Score is a comprehensive website full of educational materials about composers, scores, musical techniques, and symphonies. There are two elements of Keeping Score that should be of particular interest to educators. The most immediately accessible section of Keeping Score is the interactive education elements that contain videos, images, and texts that tell the stories of composers. The interactive section also features explanations of musical techniques, the history of notable events and themes in the symphonic world, and analysis of various scores. The second section of Keeping Score that teachers will be drawn to is the lesson plan library. In the lesson plan library teachers will find lesson plans developed to incorporate elements of the Keeping Score website.

Classics for Kids, produced by Cincinnati Public Radio, offers lesson plans, podcasts, and games for teaching kids about classical music. The lesson plans are designed for use in K-5 settings. All of the lesson plans are available as PDFs. Activity sheets are also available as accompaniments to recordings of classical composers. In the games section of Classics for Kids students can develop their own compositions or practice identifying music and composers. As a reference for students, Classics for Kids offers a dictionary of music terms.

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