Friday, November 29, 2013

Are we ready for Constitution 2.0? (Someone had to say it.)
Randy Barnett writes:
The Federalist Society’s journal Engage has an interesting Symposium on the National Security Agency’s Bulk Data Seizures and FISA Surveillance Programs. The symposium includes my very brief essay with Cato’s Jim Harper, Why NSA’s Bulk Data Seizures Are Illegal and Unconstitutional. In it we contend that:
Rather than airy and untethered speculations about “reasonable expectations,” the courts should return to the traditional—and more readily administrable—property and contract rights focus of Fourth Amendment protection reflected in the majority opinion in Katz. Courts should examine how parallels to the walls of the home and the phone booth in Katz conceal digital information are employed by the people to preserve their privacy.
Read more on The Volokh Conspiracy.

...and if you don't have a phone, expect a complementary DHS cavity search at every airport, train station, bus station or Federal building.
Your Next Phone Will Be The Ultimate Surveillance Machine
… A new phone bought today can sense if you are walking or running, if you drove to your destination in a car or hopped on a bike. Far better than most pedometers, it can tell you how many steps you’ve taken and in which direction you went. It knows how long you stayed out at the bar last weekend and how you got home. And it’s getting more accurate by the day.

You could sing into each service individually, providing a basic set of identifying information. Then I could buy each set and combine your data. OR you can sign in to Google once, and use your Google sign in everywhere you go. Then Google does the combining. What difference does that make in the end?
Thomas Escritt reports:
Google’s practice of combining personal data from its many different online services violates Dutch data protection law, the country’s privacy watchdog said on Thursday after a seven-month investigation.
The Dutch Data Protection Authority, or DPA, asked Google to attend a meeting to discuss its concerns, after which it would decide whether to take any action against the cloud services, Internet search and advertising giant, which could include fines.
Read more on Reuters.
[From the article:
In March 2012, Google unilaterally imposed new terms of service on users of all its cloud services, which include the YouTube video streaming site, the GMail email service, and the ubiquitous Google search engine.
… The report said it was "almost impossible" for a Dutch Internet user not to interact with Google "be it via Search, YouTube or Maps, or passively through third-party websites".

Apparently the government health database contains more than a few dozen applications for health insurance... I didn't know it was illegal to be depressed in the US. Fortunately for me, I am always happy.
Valerie Hauch reports:
Ellen Richardson went to Pearson airport on Monday full of joy about flying to New York City and from there going on a 10-day Caribbean cruise for which she’d paid about $6,000.
But a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent with the Department of Homeland Security killed that dream when he denied her entry.
“I was turned away, I was told, because I had a hospitalization in the summer of 2012 for clinical depression,’’ said Richardson, who is a paraplegic and set up her cruise in collaboration with a March of Dimes group of about 12 others.
Read more on The Toronto Star.
How did the U.S. get her mental health history? Apart from the fact that any policy denying entry to people with past history of suicidality may be overly broad, discriminatory, and just plain foolish, HOW DID THEY GET HER DETAILS?

Is everything protected, even if public? No exceptions or exclusions? That's the tough part, “Everybody gots Right!” is easy.
UN General Assembly Third Committee Approves Text Titled ‘Right to Privacy in the Digital Age’
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on November 28, 2013
“Through this resolution, the General Assembly establishes, for the first time, that human rights should prevail irrespective of the medium and therefore need to be protected both offline and online,” Brazil’s representative said, echoing the statement delivered by his President during the opening of the sixty-eighth session. The draft, approved without a vote, would have the General Assembly call upon Member States to review their procedures, practices and legislation on the surveillance of communications, their interception and collection of personal data, including mass surveillance, with a view to upholding the right to privacy by ensuring the full and effective implementation of all relevant obligations under international human rights law. Following the approval, some delegates stressed the need for agreed international human rights mechanisms in relation to ensuring privacy and freedom of expression. Some expressed regret over the lack of a specific reference to such mechanisms in the draft, while others applauded the consensus as a clear international reaction to the national and extraterritorial electronic surveillance activities conducted by the United States.”
[From the text:
a recorded vote of 148 in favour to 4 against ( Canada, Israel, United Kingdom, United States), with 27 abstentions

Report on the findings by EU Co-chairs of ad hoc EU-US Working Group on Data Protection
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on November 28, 2013
“Under US law, a number of legal bases allow large-scale collection and processing, for foreign intelligence purposes, including counter-terrorism, of personal data that has been transferred to the US or is processed by US companies. The US has confirmed the existence and the main elements of certain aspects of these programmes, under which data collection and processing is done with a basis in US law that lays down specific conditions and safeguards. Other elements remain unclear, including the number of EU citizens affected by these surveillance programmes and the geographical scope of surveillance programmes under Section 702… Various layers of oversight by the three branches of Government apply to activities on the base of Section 215 and Section 702. There is judicial oversight for activities that imply a capacity to compel information, including FISC orders for the collection under Section 215 and annual certifications that provide the basis for collection under Section 702. There is no judicial approval of individual selectors to query the data collected under Section 215 or tasked for collection under Section 702. The FISC operates ex parte and in camera. Its orders and opinions are classified, unless they are declassified. There is no judicial oversight of the collection of foreign intelligence outside the US under Executive Order 12333, which are conducted under the sole competence of the Executive Branch.”

ebooks cost too much and are hard to resell or even donate. It is also difficult to display leather bound ebooks on your shelves.
Young adult readers ‘prefer printed to ebooks
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on November 28, 2013
Liz Bury – The Guardian: “Survey finds that 62% of 16 to 24-year-olds prefer traditional books over their digital equivalents - Sixteen to 24-year-olds are known as the super-connected generation, obsessed with snapping selfies or downloading the latest mobile apps, so it comes as a surprise to learn that 62% prefer print books to ebooks. Asked about preferences for physical products versus digital content, printed books jump out as the media most desired in material form, ahead of movies (48%), newspapers and magazines (47%), CDs (32%), and video games (31%). “It is surprising because we think of 16-24s as being attached to their smartphones and digital devices, so it does shout out,” said Luke Mitchell of agency Voxburner, which researched questions about buying and using content with 1,420 young adults. The two big reasons for preferring print are value for money and an emotional connection to physical books. On questions of ebook pricing, 28% think that ebooks should be half their current price, while just 8% say that ebook pricing is right.”

My students might like this...
Annotate & Link PDFs Side-By-Side with Easy Annotate for iPad
I have already reviewed a couple of useful PDF applications, including Apple’s Preview and iOS apps iAnnotate and iBooks, but there’s always room for other PDF apps that offer a different approach to annotating and managing PDFs. The newest app in this genre is Easy Annotate ($5.99; $2.99 during launch offer).

For my students who write games (strangely, not all are in techie majors)
4 Free Websites Where You Can Learn The Basics Of Game Development
… In the world of programming, they say that once you learn one coding language, you pretty much know them all. It’s a little more nuanced than that, but the sentiment is more accurate than you think. The difficulties of programming – especially with regard to games – are not the actual coding, but learning the paradigm of how a game works and how to use those languages to organize and translate your thoughts into reality.
Therefore, when looking for a good game development tutorial series, you want one that will teach you the practices and mentality of good coding because you can then transpose those practices in any language or platform, whether it’s C++, C#, Python, Java, or whatever other language you intend to use. Here are some of the most useful tutorials I’ve found on my self-taught journey.

A way for my criminal justice & homeland security students to locate employers?
– ever since September 11th, various law enforcement agencies and counter-terrorism forces have sprung up, in order to combat the various threats against the United States. The Washington Post has compiled a map where you can enter a zip code and be shown which agencies – local, state, and federal – is in that area.

Something for teachers?
– is an app that facilitates screen sharing between yourself and others. Just type in the URL of a website that you want to show them, and send them the unique link provided. Then they will see what you see, and you can show them the various areas of your site. Or you can use it to help someone navigate a site, or plan a vacation.

It's that time again. While I'm not in the running, this is a great resource for finding innovative users of blogging, wikis and Twitter.
The Edublog Awards

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