Thursday, September 05, 2013

What stopped them? A sudden outbreak of logic? I doubt it was the privacy complaints they received.
David Kravets reports:
Following complaints from privacy groups, California lawmakers on Friday suspended legislation to embed radio-frequency identification chips, or RFIDs, in its driver’s licenses and state identification cards.
The legislation, S.B. 397, was put on hold by the state Assembly Appropriations Committee, despite it having been approved by the California Senate, where it likely will be re-introduced in the coming months.
Read more on Threat Level.
[From the article:
Michigan, New York, Vermont and Washington have already begun embedding drivers licenses with the tiny transceivers, and linking them to a national database — complete with head shots — controlled by the Department of Homeland Security. The enhanced cards can be used to re-enter the U.S. at a land border without a passport.

Is this the first “NSA's search is unconstitutional” defense?
AP reports:
A federal judge in a Chicago terrorism case has undone a key ruling saying the government needn’t divulge whether its investigation relied on expanded phone and Internet surveillance programs.
Adel Daoud denies trying to ignite what he thought was a bomb in Chicago. But if agents used the programs, he says they violated protections against unreasonable searches.
Read more on Chicago Sun-Times.
[From the article:
Prosecutors argued they won’t use evidence derived directly from expanded surveillance at the 19-year-old’s trial, so aren’t required to disclose if they relied on the programs.
Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman sided with prosecutors last week. But this weekend, she took the rare step of vacating her ruling when the defense complained it was premature.
By doing so, she reopens the matter to further debate.

(Related) At least, grab the manuals...
Web Resource Documents Latest Firestorm over NSA
“Recent press disclosures about National Security Agency (NSA) electronic surveillance activities — relying on documents provided by Edward Snowden — have sparked one of the most significant controversies in the history of the U.S. Intelligence Community. Today, the nongovernmental National Security Archive at The George Washington University posts a compilation of over 125 documents — a Web resource — to provide context and specifics about the episode. The Snowden leaks have generated broad public debate over issues of security, privacy, and legality inherent in the NSA’s surveillance of communications by American citizens. Furthermore, news coverage has explored the story on many levels, from the previously unknown scope of the NSA’s programs, to public and congressional reactions, to Snowden’s personal saga, including his attempts to evade U.S. authorities and avoid extradition to the United States. Today’s posting covers the full range of these topics, featuring documents from the White House, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), and the NSA itself, among other sources. The records include:
  • White House and ODNI efforts to explain, justify, and defend the programs
  • Correspondence between outside critics and executive branch officials
  • Fact sheets and white papers distributed (and sometimes later withdrawn) by the government
  • Key laws and court decisions (both Supreme Court and Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court)
  • Documents on the Total Information Awareness (later Terrorist Information Awareness, or TIA) program, an earlier proposal for massive data collection
  • Manuals on how to exploit the Internet for intelligence.

Nothing really new.
Kashmir Hill has a disturbing follow-up to a report she did about how someone easily hacked into a baby monitor and said lewd things that the baby and homeowner could hear.
Shodan crawls the Internet looking for devices, many of which are programmed to answer. It has found cars, fetal heart monitors, office building heating-control systems, water treatment facilities, power plant controls, traffic lights and glucose meters. A search for the type of baby monitor used by the Gilberts reveals that more than 40,000 other people are using the IP cam–and may be sitting ducks for creepy hackers.
“Google crawls for websites. I crawl for devices,” says John Matherly, the tall, goateed 29-year-old who released Shodan in 2009. He named it after the villainous sentient computer in the videogame System Shock. “It’s a reference other hackers and nerds will understand.”
Read more on Forbes.
And yes, Shodan actually has a privacy policy. But only, it seems, for those using their search engine. Not for those whose devices might be exposed as sitting targets.

(Related) No massive fine, but they promise to be good in the future.

This translates into a request to stop making money on user information.
Vindu Goel reports:
A coalition of six major consumer privacy groups has asked the Federal Trade Commission to block coming changes to Facebook’s privacy policies that they say would make it easier for the social network to use personal data about its users, including children under 18, in advertising on the site.
In a letter sent to the agency late Wednesday, the coalition said Facebook’s changes, scheduled to go into effect later this week, violate a 2011 order and settlement with the F.T.C. over user privacy.
“Facebook users who reasonably believed that their images and content would not be used for commercial purposes without their consent will now find their pictures showing up on the pages of their friends endorsing the products of Facebook’s advertisers,” the letter says. “Remarkably, their images could even be used by Facebook to endorse products that the user does not like or even use.”
Read more on NY Times.

(Related) Dilbert explains why you need to be careful online...

Pew says, Many believe Privacy is impossible?
Anonymity, Privacy, and Security Online
A new survey finds that most internet users would like to be anonymous online, but many think it is not possible to be completely anonymous online.
Read Full Report

Once again, Stanford Law follows the lead of the Privacy Foundation.
The Stanford Law Review Online has just published a Symposium of articles entitled Privacy and Big Data. Here are the contents:
via Concurring Opinions

A scholarly Blog post. Just like all of mine...
Ari Waldman is guest-blogging on Concurring Opinions. By way of introduction, he writes:
… My research is on the law and sociology of privacy and the Internet, but I am particularly concerned with the injustices and inequalities that arise in unregulated digital spaces. This was the animator of my previous work on bullying and cyberharassment of LGBT youth. This month, I would like to speak more broadly about how sociologists (I am completely my Ph.D. in sociology at Columbia U) talk about privacy and, by the end of the month, persuasively argue that we — lawyers, legal scholars, sociologists, psychologists, economists, philosophers and other social scientists and theories — are, for the most part, thinking about privacy too narrowly, too one-dimensionally, too pre-Internet to adequately protect private interests, whatever they may be.
Read more on Concurring Opinions.

If I had gone for a PhD, my dissertation would have addressed “change.” It's a topic that truly fascinates me.
The More Things Change, the More Our Objections to Change Stay the Same
One of the very first articles in the very first issue of Fast Company, a magazine I started 20 years ago with Alan Webber, is a smart and entertaining list compiled by E.F. Borisch, product manager at a long-established outfit called Milwaukee Gear Company. Borisch's article was titled, "50 Reasons Why We Cannot Change," and it offered a clever and entertaining collection of objections to and worries about the hard work of making real progress. Reason #1: "We've never done it before." Reason #4: "We tried it before." Reason #13: "Our competitors are not doing it." Reason #17: "Sales says it can't be done." Reason #18: "The service department won't like it." Reason #45: "We're doing all right as it is." Reason #50: "It's impossible."
Now here's the punch line: E.F. Borisch compiled his list back in 1959, and published it in an obscure journal called Product Engineering. What we found so amazing about the list when we reprinted it in 1993 — and what remains just as amazing 20 years later — is that most leaders in most organizations face precisely the same set of worries and pushbacks today.

Eventually, for all of my students. This is where we are headed. (and this is an OLD idea)
Should Higher Education Be Free?
… How long can a business model succeed that forces students to accumulate $200,000 or more in debt and cannot guarantee jobs — even years after graduation? We need transformational innovations to stop this train wreck.
… According to Rafael Reif, MIT's president, who spoke at the Davos conference this past January, there are three major buckets that make up the total annual expense (about $50,000) of attending a top-notch university such as MIT: student life, classroom instruction, and projects and lab activities.
There is a significant opportunity to help reduce the lecture portion of expenses using technology innovations.
According to the American Institute of Physics (PDF), as of 2010, there are about 9,400 physics teachers teaching undergraduates every September in the United States. Are all of these great teachers? No. If we had 10 of the very best teach physics online and employed the other 9,390 as mentors, would most students get a better quality of education? Wouldn't that lead to lower per unit cost per class?

For my creative students
– is the perfect online video tool, that allows you to easily make animation videos for your product demo, presentations, teaching lessons, or just to have some fun. It has never been so intuitive to create an online video. With Wideo anyone can make cool videos. Personalize your Wideo by using your own images, logos, pictures and sounds. Publish or unpublish your wideos to make them public or private.

(Related) In case that got your creative juices flowing... (and it's free)
Start Creating Games In No Time With Unity3D Free
… There are plenty of free game development tools out there and many of them are super easy to use. However, for the longest time, game development tools suffered from one huge problem: limitations. When you code a game from scratch, you have absolute freedom to do whatever you want. When you use a creation tool, you’re limited to what that tool can do. That issue, however, is quickly becoming a moot point thanks to Unity3D.
… But Unity3D is more than just a codebase – it’s a full-featured environment complete with hundreds of tools that aid in rapid game development.
Lots of Tutorials. Because Unity3D is so popular, there are plenty of resources out there for helping you get started. The official website has a few basic guides. After that, you can explore user-created tutorial series such as Unity Cookie, UnityScript Basics, GamerToGameDeveloper, and more.

For the rest of my students... If this ever includes source code it could be very useful.
– Download abandonwares (games which have been abandoned by its developer), from 1980 to 2002. Find the sensations of your elders, Nostalgia, Discovery, Emotion, Curiosity, you’re a player or a collector, all the old history of video games will be at your fingertips. On My abandonware you can download all the old video games from 1980 to 2002 for free.

Infographic and translation guide.
All The Text Message Acronyms You Ever Wanted To Know

Resources as well as grants.
4 Resources For Finding STEM Grants For Your School

This is cute.
NFL 2013-2014 season salaries by team and position – interactive

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