Monday, October 14, 2013

Mark your calendars. Drop by for details. Register. Learn!
The Privacy Foundation at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law presents:
Big Data Privacy: Business & Government
Friday, October 25, 2013 10:00 AM—1:00 PM
Contact Privacy Foundation Administrator Cindy Goldberg at
or Anne Beblavi at, or call 303-871-6303

Generating and using Big Data...
Paper – The Massive Metadata Machine
The Massive Metadata Machine: Liberty, Power, and Secret Mass Surveillance in the U.S. and Europe, Bryce Clayton Newell, University of Washington – The Information School, October 11, 2013. I/S: A Journal of Law and Policy for the Information Society (ISJLP), 10, 2014
“This paper explores the relationship between liberty and security implicated by secret government mass surveillance programs. It includes both doctrinal and theoretical analysis. Methodologically, the paper examines judicial reasoning in cases where parties have challenged secret government surveillance programs on Constitutional or human rights grounds in both United States’ Courts and at the European Court of Human Rights (EctHR). Theoretically, this paper will draw on theories in the fields of law, surveillance studies, and political theory to question how greater recognition of citizen rights to conduct reciprocal surveillance of government activity (for example, through expanded rights to freedom of information) might properly balance power relations between governments and their people. Specifically, the paper will question how liberal and neo-republican conceptions of liberty, defined as the absence of actual interference and the possibility of arbitrary domination, respectively, and the jurisprudence of the ECtHR can inform the way we think about the proper relationship between security and liberty in the post-9/11, post-Snowden United States of America.”

Now that's an interesting idea. Is this like saying banks are too big to fail, only backwards? (Plaintiffs are too big for Google to survive?)
Scott Graham writes:
Plaintiffs appear to be in the driver’s seat in two big privacy class actions against Google. The suits over Gmail and Street View have survived motions to dismiss, and the Ninth Circuit has emphatically rejected Google’s appeal in the Street View case.
This is a point where settlement discussions would typically intensify. But is it possible plaintiffs now have too much leverage?
With potential classes of many millions of people and statutory damages ranging as high as $10,000 per violation under the Wiretap Act, the parties could confront a scenario where the case is simply too expensive to strike a deal.
Read more on (sub. req.).

Always an amusing area. How about laws based on what the average cop could observe in the course of a normal day? If he sees me speeding, I get a ticket. If he uses a 'red light' camera to catch me running the light, I get a ticket. If he uses infrared detectors on a drone to determine I keep one room of my house at 95 degrees, the judge should refuse to issue a warrant to check for a marijuana greenhouse and destroy any record of that “observation.”
D. Parvaz interviewed Woodrow Hartzog during the recent Drones and Aerial Robotics conference. Here’s a snippet from the interview:
Woodrow Hartzog: There’s a fair amount of hand-wringing over drones and privacy, but I think in many instances it’s often dismissed because drones fly in public and they fly in public spaces and the law, as it’s traditionally been conceived, does not protect privacy when you’re walking out in the middle of the street. But I don’t think that’s entirely true.
I don’t think that when push comes to shove that we’re going to concede, as a society, that any time we’re in public we’re fair game to be surveyed or photographed, particularly over long distances. Say you’re being targeted in public….what if I have a drone and it’s dedicated to you, and I only monitor you, in public, for over the period of a year. Have I violated any expectation of privacy?… Well, at that point, it’s harassment. Right now, the law, as configured, does not really protect against that.
So the drones are going to force us to answer some difficult questions about [what] “public” means and when we should be protected, even when in public.
Read more on Aljazeera.

Government designed and built. There is no reason for these to constantly fail except poor management.
Web Site Problems May Imperil Finances of Insurance Market
From the start, signs of trouble at health portal: Many deadlines missed – NYT, by Robert Pear, Sharon LaFraniere and Ian Austen:
“For the past 12 days, a system costing more than $400 million and billed as a one-stop click-and-go hub for citizens seeking health insurance has thwarted the efforts of millions to simply log in. The growing national outcry has deeply embarrassed the White House, which has refused to say how many people have enrolled through the federal exchange. Even some supporters … worry that the flaws in the system, if not quickly fixed, could threaten the fiscal health of the insurance initiative, which depends on throngs of customers to spread the risk and keep prices low… Interviews with two dozen contractors , current and former government officials, insurance executives and consumer advocates, as well as an examination of confidential administration documents, point to a series of missteps – financial, technical and managerial – that led to the troubles. Politics made things worse. [Duh! Bob] To avoid giving ammunition to Republicans opposed to the project, the administration put off issuing several major rules until after last November’s elections. The Republican-controlled House blocked funds. More than 30 states refused to set up their own exchanges, requiring the federal government to vastly expand its project in unexpected ways…”

Just like NASCAR: “Treasuries, start your printers!” We've already given up backing currencies with gold or other tangible assets, why not disconnect them from taxation (and reality) while we're at it? Just because Alaska can do it (on a smaller basis) does not mean everyone can afford it.
Switzerland to vote on plan giving every adult in the country a $2,800 check every month
Rather than savage cuts, Switzerland considers “Star Trek” economics, by Josh Eidelson. ”By gathering over 100,000 signatures – which they delivered last Friday along with 8 million 5-cent coins representing the country’s population – activists have secured a vote by Switzerland’s parliament on an audacious proposal: providing a basic monthly income of about $2,800 U.S. dollars to each adult in the country. (A date for the vote hasn’t yet been set.) Such basic income proposals, which have drawn increased attention since the 2008 financial crash, offer a night-and-day contrast to the current U.S. debate over what to cut and by how much. Salon called up John Schmitt, a senior economist at the progressive Center for Economic and Policy Research, to discuss the economics and politics of having the government send everyone in the country a monthly check.”

It's like shopping everywhere with a King Soopers credit card....
– When you log in and pay with Amazon, you can use the information stored in your Amazon account to login and pay conveniently on thousands of sites other than It’s the fast, easy, safe way to buy whether online or on your phone. When you pay with Amazon, you take the protection of Amazon with you. However, this service is currently only for the US.

One possible future for education? So far, only on your iProducts?
– What if you were able to learn something before you got bored and gave up? With our unique format of online micro-courses you can complete a micro-course in just one hour or less. Learn just what you need or are interested in right now. Expand any lesson as a separate micro-course. Request a new micro-course and get it in a few days.

Useful when you remember the Math has it's own language, that bears no relationship to everyday English. I add stuff like this to my class handouts.
Five Mathematics Glossaries for Kids
A glossary of mathematics terms can be a helpful aid to students who struggle with the vocabulary of mathematics. When I was a middle school and high school student the vocabulary of math often tripped me up and having a glossary of terms often helped me be able to complete my homework assignments. Here are five mathematics glossaries that students can access online.

Animated Math Lessons for Kids
Math Live is a neat mathematics website hosted by Learn Alberta. Math Live presents students with animated stories that teach mathematics lessons. In all there are twenty-three lessons for elementary school and middle school students. The lessons are divided into four categories; Number, Patterns and Relations, Shape and Space, Statistics and Probability. Each animated lesson is accompanied by a mathematics worksheet that students complete either while watching the lesson or after viewing the lesson. Each lesson is divided into sections and students can advance or rewind as needed.
Math Live does a nice good job of providing students with some real world examples of the uses of mathematics.

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