Friday, November 15, 2013

Another slice of “Everything”
CIA collecting bulk data on money transfers, reports say
Another secret surveillance effort that sweeps up and stores bulk data on Americans has apparently come to light -- this time involving financial records, and not the NSA but the Central Intelligence Agency.
The CIA program reportedly nabs data from cross-border money transfers handled by US companies such as Western Union in an effort to discover and track the funding of terrorist efforts.
… Western Union also provided the same statement to both papers: "We collect consumer information to comply with the Bank Secrecy Act and other laws. In doing so, we also protect our consumers' privacy."
The Times notes that the CIA program "offers evidence that the extent of government data collection programs is not fully known and that the national debate over privacy and security may be incomplete." [Nonsense. Bob]..

I thought they were following the Israeli model. Apparently they developed their own. Typical government.
TSA’s got 94 signs to ID terrorists, but they’re unproven by science
… In a new report (PDF) released today, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) concluded that "the human ability to accurately identify deceptive behavior based on behavioral indicators is the same as or slightly better than chance." And it dryly noted that programs like SPOT should be "demonstrated to work reliably in their intended environment prior to program deployment."

I can see a “kill switch” being useful in very limited circumstances and for a very short time. It will be interesting to see what DHS sees...
From EPIC:
In a Freedom of Information Act case brought by EPIC against the Department of Homeland Security, a federal court has ruled that the DHS may not withhold the agency’s plan to deactivate wireless communications networks in a crisis. EPIC had sought “Standard Operating Procedure 303,” also known as the “internet Kill Switch,” to determine whether the agency’s plan could adversely impact free speech or public safety. EPIC filed the FOIA lawsuit after the agency failed to produce SOP 303. The federal court determined that the agency wrongly claimed that it could withhold SOP 303 as a “technique for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions.” The phrase, the court explained, “refers only to acts by law enforcement after or during the prevention of a crime, not crime prevention techniques.” The court repeatedly emphasized that FOIA exemptions are to be read narrowly. For more information, see EPIC: EPIC v. DHS (SOP 303) and EPIC: FOIA.
And Joe Cadillic sends along this report from the Washington Free Beacon:
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) must disclose its plans for a so-called Internet “kill switch,” a federal court ruled on Tuesday.
The United States District Court for the District of Columbia rejected the agency’s arguments that its protocols surrounding an Internet kill switch were exempt from public disclosure and ordered the agency to release the records in 30 days. However, the court left the door open for the agency to appeal the ruling.
Read more on Washington Free Beacon.

I can see this as an interesting research project for law school students. Could even become a regular legal service (pre-pre-nup).
How to check out a potential partner online – without being creepy

Could be an interesting research area... Note that we are two decades after the creation of the WWW. If Paul David is correct ( we should be seeing some fundamental changes in how we do things. Would that include measurement?
Measuring Internet Activity: A (Selective) Review of Methods and Metrics
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on November 14, 2013
Internet Monitor is delighted to announce the publication of Measuring Internet Activity: A (Selective) Review of Methods and Metrics, the second in a series of special reports that focus on key events and new developments in Internet freedom, incorporating technical, legal, social, and political analyses.
Measuring Internet Activity, authored by Robert Faris and Rebekah Heacock, explores current efforts to measure digital activity within three areas: infrastructure and access, control, and content and communities. Two Decades after the birth of the World Wide Web, more than two billion people around the world are Internet users. The digital landscape is littered with hints that the affordances of digital communications are being leveraged to transform life in profound and important ways. The reach and influence of digitally mediated activity grow by the day and touch upon all aspects of life, from health, education, and commerce to religion and governance. This trend demands that we seek answers to the biggest questions about how digitally mediated communication changes society and the role of different policies in helping or hindering the beneficial aspects of these changes. Yet despite the profusion of data the digital age has brought upon us—we now have access to a flood of information about the movements, relationships, purchasing decisions, interests, and intimate thoughts of people around the world—the distance between the great questions of the digital age and our understanding of the impact of digital communications on society remains large. A number of ongoing policy questions have emerged that beg for better empirical data and analyses upon which to base wider and more insightful perspectives on the mechanics of social, economic, and political life online. This paper seeks to describe the conceptual and practical impediments to measuring and understanding digital activity and highlights a sample of the many efforts to fill the gap between our incomplete understanding of digital life and the formidable policy questions related to developing a vibrant and healthy Internet that serves the public interest and contributes to human wellbeing. Our primary focus is on efforts to measure Internet activity, as we believe obtaining robust, accurate data is a necessary and valuable first step that will lead us closer to answering the vitally important questions of the digital realm. Even this step is challenging: the Internet is difficult to measure and monitor, and there is no simple aggregate measure of Internet activity—no GDP, no HDI. In the following section we present a framework for assessing efforts to document digital activity. The next three sections offer a summary and description of many of the ongoing projects that document digital activity, with two final sections devoted to discussion and conclusions.”

Yes! (Now, will they get out of the way?)
EFF – Court Upholds Legality of Google Books
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on November 14, 2013
It’s a good day for fair use and sane copyright law. After years of litigation, Judge Denny Chin has ruled that the Google Books project does not infringe copyright. Readers, authors, librarians and future fair users can rejoice. For years, Google has been cooperating with libraries to digitize books and create massive, publicly available and searchable books database. Users can search the database, which includes millions of works for keywords. Results include titles, page numbers, and small snippets of text. It has become an extraordinarily valuable tool for librarians, scholars, and amateur researchers of all kinds. As the court noted (citing an amicus brief EFF filed jointly with several library associations) librarians use the service for a variety of research purposes. Many librarians reported that they have purchased new books for their collections after discovering them through Google Books. Nonetheless, the Authors Guild argues that its members are owed compensation in exchange for their books being digitized and included in the database – even though blocking Google Book Search’s digitization wouldn’t bring any author any additional revenue.”

For my student entrepreneurs.
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For my hard-core App aficionados...
12 Twitter Accounts To Follow If You Like Free Apps
Now, there are ways to find virtually any mobile app for free legally. But the best way is to always know when an app is going on sale, whether as a discount or free for a limited period. And if you’re on Twitter, there are a few accounts you should be following to always keep abreast of these discounts.

Willie rocks!
The Bard Isn’t Hard: 10 Resources For Teaching Shakespeare
[My favorite: Shakespearean insults are the best. This board discusses the history behind the best insults, and includes a Shakespearean insult generator.

Have I mentioned that the school has a 3D printer? Browse models, download, print.

(Related) Sounds like a class project! (Until it actually works, we can call it Congress)
Here is “InMoov”, the first life size humanoid robot you can 3D print and animate. You have a 3D printer, some building skills, This project is for you!!
This is all designed with Blender.
Parts for downloads are licensed under the Attribution – Non-Commercial – Creative Commons license.

(Related) Evidence that a technology has arrived?
Rolls-Royce to 3D print aircraft engine parts

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