Sunday, October 06, 2013

It's easy to be honest when you know most people won't read it anyway...
Elizabeth Harrington reports:
The Kentucky Obamacare marketplace has no “expectation of privacy,” warning its prospective customers that their information can be monitored and shared with government bureaucrats.
When clicking “let’s get started” on the state-run health insurance marketplace “kynect,” the user is quickly prompted to a “WARNING NOTICE.”
“This is a government computer system and is the property of the Commonwealth of Kentucky,” it states. “It is for authorized use only regardless of time of day, location or method of access. “
“Users (authorized or unauthorized) have no explicit or implicit expectation of privacy,” the disclaimer reads. “Any or all uses of this system and all files on the system may be intercepted, monitored, recorded, copied, audited, inspected, and disclosed to authorized state government and law enforcement personnel, as well as authorized officials of other agencies, both domestic and foreign.”
Read more on the Washington Free Beacon. The state will be fixing/revising that statement, it seems.

You don't often see successful lawsuits arguing “management's failure to control their data” I doubt they had any “procedure” to catch this. More likely a tip from another employee...
Eric Roper reports:
An insurance trust representing Minnesota counties has agreed to pay $2 million to settle a potential class action lawsuit over driver’s license data snooping.
The proposed settlement, presented Thursday in federal court, is the largest payout so far over misuse of driver’s license files — which has spurred a raft of lawsuits in recent months.
Thursday’s case involved a child support officer in Rock County, Janet Patten, who allegedly made more than 4,000 photo queries of the Driver and Vehicle Services (DVS) database in 2010 and 2011. Patten was fired and several law firms sued on behalf of about 3,000 people who received data breach letters.
“She looked up friends and neighbors and co-workers and workers in other counties,” Rock County Administrator Kyle Oldre said last year. “It was just people she knew. And she spent a ton of time doing it.”
A criminal investigation did not turn up any nefarious intent.
Read more on the Star Tribune.

More interesting than it seems at first glance?
Three Paradoxes of Big Data
Three Paradoxes of Big Data by Neil Richards (Washington University in Saint Louis – School of Law) and Jonathan King (Washington University in Saint Louis)
Big data is all the rage. Its proponents tout the use of sophisticated analytics to mine large data sets for insight as the solution to many of our society’s problems. These big data evangelists insist that data-driven decision making can now give us better predictions in areas ranging from college admissions to dating to hiring to medicine to national security and crime prevention. But much of the rhetoric of big data contains no meaningful analysis of its potential perils, only the promise. We don’t deny that big data holds substantial potential for the future, and that large dataset analysis has important uses today. But we would like to sound a cautionary note and pause to consider big data’s potential more critically. In particular, we want to highlight three paradoxes in the current rhetoric about big data to help move us toward a more complete understanding of the big data picture.
First, while big data pervasively collects all manner of private information, the operations of big data itself are almost entirely shrouded in legal and commercial secrecy. We call this the Transparency Paradox. [How we do it is rather dull, but hardly proprietary (the results are) Bob]
Second, though big data evangelists talk in terms of miraculous outcomes, this rhetoric ignores the fact that big data seeks to identify at the expense of individual and collective identity. We call this the Identity Paradox. [You do not need to “identify” at the level of a full dossier. However it is very useful to be able to connect the actions of a website visitor (for example) with a visitor from last week. Bob]
And third, the rhetoric of big data is characterized by its power to transform society, but big data has power effects of its own, which privilege large government and corporate entities at the expense of ordinary individuals. We call this the Power Paradox. [Few individuals have Big Data. Bob]
Recognizing the paradoxes of big data, which show its perils alongside its potential, will help us to better understand this revolution. It may also allow us to craft solutions to produce a revolution that will be as good as its evangelists predict.

I wonder if my students would be interested in a takeover?
Limping BlackBerry makes buyout overtures to Google, others -- report

For my programming students... New, but growing fast.
Runnable Wants To Be The YouTube For Code With A Searchable Repository
Runnable aims to be a huge library of code anyone can search for code snippets and then reuse. For all practical purposes, they want to be the “YouTube of Code”. Searching for code has become a Web activity now for many developers as they look to fast track development with re-usable bits of code, instead of going through the process of doing it from scratch and wasting precious time. Runnable wants to make it easier to search for those bits of code and fit them together quickly in any developmental project.
… There are presently 1,000 snippets of code and the index will grow as the site moves ahead. The uniqueness of Runnable is that you can edit and test the code on the site itself in a sandboxed environment. You can also upload your own code and share it with the wider community.

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