Monday, November 18, 2013
Is the EU leading the way? Somehow I doubt it.
National Programmes for Mass Surveillance of Personal Data in EU Member States and their Compatibility with EU Law Study
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on November 17, 2013
Follow up to Committee Inquiry on Electronic Mass Surveillance of EU Citizens – Sixth Hearing, see DIRECTORATE GENERAL FOR INTERNAL POLICIES POLICY DEPARTMENT C: CITIZENS’ RIGHTS AND CONSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS CIVIL LIBERTIES, JUSTICE AND HOME AFFAIRS - NATIONAL PROGRAMMES FOR MASS SURVEILLANCE OF PERSONAL DATA IN EU MEMBER STATES AND THEIR COMPATIBILITY WITH EU LAW STUDY.
“In the wake of the disclosures surrounding PRISM and other US surveillance programmes, this study makes an assessment of the large-scale surveillance practices by a selection of EU member states: the UK, Sweden, France, Germany and the Netherlands. Given the large-scale nature of surveillance practices at stake, which represent a reconfiguration of traditional intelligence gathering, the study contends that an analysis of European surveillance programmes cannot be reduced to a question of balance between data protection versus national security, but has to be framed in terms of collective freedoms and democracy. It finds that four of the five EU member states selected for in-depth examination are engaging in some form of large-scale interception and surveillance of communication data, and identifies parallels and discrepancies between these programmes and the NSA-run operations. The study argues that these surveillance programmes do not stand outside the realm of EU intervention but can be engaged from an EU law perspective via (i) an understanding of national security in a democratic rule of law framework where fundamental human rights standards and judicial oversight constitute key standards; (ii) the risks presented to the internal security of the Union as a whole as well as the privacy of EU citizens as data owners, and (iii) the potential spillover into the activities and responsibilities of EU agencies. The study then presents a set of policy recommendations to the European Parliament.”
No more Timothy McVeigh types? We know all the bad guys because we collect all their Internet activity? “Removing” terrorist leaders reduces violence? Why does all of this sound like wishful thinking?
Hearing – The Homeland Threat Landscape and U.S. Response
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on November 17, 2013
Hearing before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs – The Homeland Threat Landscape and U.S. Response – November 14, 2013 - The Honorable Matthew G. Olsen Director National Counterterrorism Center.
“Homegrown Violent Extremists (HVEs) remain the most likely global jihadist threat to the Homeland. While the threat posed by HVEs probably will broaden through at least 2015, the overall level of HVE activity is likely to remain the same: a handful of uncoordinated and unsophisticated plots emanating from a pool of up to a few hundred individuals. Lone actors or insular groups who act autonomously pose the most serious HVE threat.’ … HVEs make use of a diverse online environment that is dynamic, evolving, and self- sustaining. This online extremist environment is likely to play a critical role in the foreseeable future in radicalizing and mobilizing HVEs towards violence. Despite the removal of important terrorist leaders during the last several years, the online environment continues to reinforce an extremist identity, supplies grievances, and provide HVEs the means to connect with terrorist groups overseas.”
“We can, therefore we must!”
Apple to start following you around its stores, report says
Convergence: Using one technology to replace many. (When was the mirror invented?)
– is a site that merely shows a frame, and inside that frame is your webcam, or front facing camera (if you are on a smartphone). This makes a mirror, in which you can look to see if your hair looks OK, or if your makeup is still in place. More of a novelty site than anything else, as you can easily check your hair in the webcam without this site.
Making citation easier...
is a citation generator that allows its users to easily create bibliographies and citations in the format required for their document. Being able to instantly use the correct referencing style makes an educator’s job much easier. Not only will they create textbooks more easily, but they can also recommend this tool to their students and contribute towards more effective and easier academic writing.
A place to build my course handouts.
goal is to provide students and educators with access to high-quality, free multimedia content on various education subjects. This website has become very popular among high school and college students, because it explains the most complicated subjects in an understandable manner.
My Graphic Design students should add their works to this site or perhaps build their own?
– is a site that enables you to discover and customize contemporary art. Pick a limited edition piece from the global catalogue of artists, and customize it so that your art fits your space, mood, style or gift idea. Then it is sent to you to hang up on your wall and enjoy.
… MakerBot announced its MakerBot Academy. Its mission: “to put a MakerBot Desktop 3D Printer in every school in America.” MakerBot is working with DonorsChoose.org to help teachers fundraise for their MakerBot bundle.
… Google launched its Google Play for Education program this week: Android tablets and an app store for schools. My review is here.
… Carnegie Mellon University has created a Global Learning Council to “spearhead efforts to develop standards and promote best practices in online education.” Council members include edX's Anant Agarwal and Coursera's Daphne Koller. “Global,” but with US representatives only, seeking to identify “best practices,” because nobody out there already does that. Sigh.
… First Lady Michelle Obama kicked off her new initiative this week: college for everyone.
… Senators Dick Durbin and Al Franken have proposed the Affordable College Textbook Act that “would encourage the creation of free online textbooks by offering grants for pilot projects that produce high-quality open-access textbooks, especially for courses with large enrollments.” [I've been threatening to have my students write their own textbooks, perhaps this will be the incentive I need to make this happen. Stay tuned. Bob]