Friday, October 04, 2013

Consistent with previous arguments. “Terrorists don't have copies of these records, so we have neither searched nor seized.”
Matt Sledge reports:
The government is arguing in the terrorism case that serves as the National Security Agency’s primary public justification for its bulk collection of telephone records that criminal defendants have no constitutional right to challenge the agency’s sweeping surveillance program.
In a filing made Sept. 30, U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy of the Southern District of California contends that only the telephone companies have a Fourth Amendment interest in their call records — and therefore that Basaaly Moalin cannot challenge his conviction for providing material support to the Somali terrorist group al-Shabaab.
Read more on Huffington Post.
[From the article:
Those same companies are notably disinclined to assert the privacy rights of their users: Last month it was revealed that none has ever challenged the NSA's bulk records requests.
The government also contends there is "no suppression remedy" for a violation under the statute underpinning the sweeping records collection, meaning Moalin cannot have the evidence against him thrown out even if the NSA broke the law.

Do I read between the lines correctly? Corporate communications were sent directly to the employee's computer with no other copy kept by the employer?
BuckleySandler writes:
On September 18, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington held that an employee’s computer, issued by the employer, is not a “facility” subject to protections of the Stored Communications Act. Roadlink Workforce Solutions, L.L.C. v. Malpass, No. 13-5459, 2013 WL 5274812 (W.D. Wash. Sept. 18, 2013). In this case, an employer sued a former employee for allegedly copying and then deleting certain information from an employer-issued computer before leaving to work for a competitor. The employer claimed a private right of action under the Stored Communications Act based on its allegation that the former employee intentionally exceeded his authorization to access a “facility through which an electronic communication service” it provided, and obtained and altered an electronic communication while it was in electronic storage.
Read more on InfoBytes Blog.

For those who are paranoid enough to think they might be included in NSAs surveillance but are not paranoid enough to believe sites like these are run by the NSA.
– is a Virtual Private Network service which enables you to browse the Internet anonymously and with ease. With the recent revelations of internet spying by the NSA, privacy online has suddenly become a very important topic for everyone and one of the ways you can cover your tracks is by using an encrypted VPN connection.

If you review the reviews, or analyze Big Data, you need to ensure that you do it correctly. I see “algorithm failure” as a major category of class action lawsuits in the near future.
Rage Against the Algorithms
… A recent survey found that 76 percent of consumers check online reviews before buying, so a lot can hinge on a good or bad review. Such sites have become so important to local businesses that it’s not uncommon for scheming owners to hire shills to boost themselves or put down their rivals.
To protect users from getting duped by fake reviews Yelp employs an algorithmic review reviewer which constantly scans reviews and relegates suspicious ones to a “filtered reviews” page, effectively de-emphasizing them without deleting them entirely. But of course that algorithm is not perfect, and it sometimes de-emphasizes legitimate reviews and leaves actual fakes intact—oops. Some businesses have complained, alleging that the filter can incorrectly remove all of their most positive reviews, leaving them with a lowly one- or two-stars average.
This is just one example of how algorithms are becoming ever more important in society, for everything from search engine personalization, discrimination, defamation, and censorship online, to how teachers are evaluated, how markets work, how political campaigns are run, and even how something like immigration is policed. Algorithms, driven by vast troves of data, are the new power brokers in society, both in the corporate world as well as in government.

I could explain this to my students, but instead I'll keep repeating “$1 Billion Dollars!”
Twitter files for $1 billion IPO, but still isn't profitable
Twitter has filed paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission to become a public company, which will allow outside investors to buy and trade stock in the company in the coming months. The San Francisco company will trade under the symbol TWTR when it goes public, it revealed in the S-1 document it filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The S-1, which was made public today, said that Twitter has 215 million monthly active users but is not yet profitable. During the first six months of 2013 the company pulled in $253.6 million in revenue, but its net loss increased by 41 percent to $69.3 million.

(Related) Probably the hottest new hacker target. You must be a “Public Agency” (or a teenage hacker) to use this service. Will it become mandatory to monitor this service? (Everyone has to become a Twitter user?)
– if there is an emergency of some kind, it is essential for as many people as possible to hear about it. The dominance of social media and smartphones today means that one of the best ways to broadcast an alert about an emergency is through Twitter. Twitter Alerts is a service where you can type your emergency tweets and have them sent out.

Doing what the government can't... Do they normally charge for access to the free government data?
EBSCO Information Services Releases a Free Version of ERIC During Government Shutdown
“EBSCO Information Services (EBSCO) is making the government database ERIC available during the government shutdown. ERIC, the Education Resource Information Center, is typically available through the government website ( as well as via EBSCO’s EBSCOhost® research platform. Because of the shutdown, access to the full text of articles and other materials will not be available but researchers will have access to the full set of A&I records on EBSCOhost. Users going to will now see ERIC listed among the other free EBSCO databases such as GreenFILE™ and Library, Information Science & Technology Abstracts™ (LISTA). ERIC provides access to educational literature and resources including access to information from journals included in the Current Index of Journals in Education and Resources in Education Index. It was designed as a national information system to provide access to education literature and resources. According to its website, “ERIC is the world’s largest and most frequently used education digital library.” ERIC provides more than 1.4 million bibliographic records and dates back to 1966.”

Is this the best publishers can do? I certainly hope not!
Scribd And HarperCollins Launch All-You-Can-Read Book Subscription Service For $8.99/m
Scribd — the new service and the original web app have the same name — costs $8.99 per month and can be accessed on iPhone, iPad, Android and Web browsers.
… The HarperCollins catalogue will include its full backlist — books that are over a year old. While the exact number hasn’t been disclosed, the publisher counts some of the world’s most popular authors in its mix, including Paulo Coelho, Neil Gaiman, Marian Keys and Elmore Leonard.

An infographic for our students who drink “5 Hour Energy” more that 5 times per day?
35 Secrets To Being Productive

For my website students.
Google Starts Analytics Academy To Teach People About Google Analytics
If you are a website owner, you know that understanding who has been visiting your site, where they are from, and what pages they looked at (and for how long) is absolutely essential if you are to have any hope of growing and developing your online presence. If you have no idea who your site visitors are, then you are walking blindfolded.
The tool that most people turn to, in order to achieve this knowledge, is Google Analytics.
… Google wants to help you out there, to understand the facts and figures that they are throwing at you. So that is why they have set up what they call the Analytics Academy.

(Related) I've mentioned this before, this has a bit more detail.
Google News: Color On Google Drive & The Launch Of Google Web Designer
Google Web Designer is a visual tool for easily designing interactive HTML5 sites and ads. The tool has been launched in public beta and is available for free download on Windows and Mac. The designing software is meant for advertisers primarily who want to easily create animated ads for mobiles and desktops. Though most of the features are custom-made for ads, it can also be easily used for making full scale HTML5 webpages. Google Web Designer is an attempt to simplify the design process for cross-platforms and multiple screens.

For my students
Find Free Birthday Gifts for Family and Friends
At you can download a personalized Happy Birthday song. They sing a birthday song, with your name in it! It’s not just the traditional ‘Happy Birthday’ song either. gives you the ability to set up a free birthday call to your friends and family. They answer the call, a friendly voice tells them it’s BirthdayDialer calling, and then plays them a great little birthday song. The free version is somewhat limited, but I still enjoyed it.
Free Birthday Treats is a directory of free things for your birthday, based on age, or if you’re a pet

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