Sunday, November 24, 2013

It's a start, but only a start. I doubt you will find all of the sites you use on the EFF's chart. Might be useful to point them to the Best Practices and ask when they will rise from the mediocre.
EFF – Encrypt the Web Report: Who’s Doing What
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on November 23, 2013
EFF: “We’ve asked the companies in our Who Has Your Back Program what they are doing to bolster encryption in light of the NSA’s unlawful surveillance of your communications. We’re pleased to see that four companies—Dropbox, Google, SpiderOak and—are implementing five out of five of our best practices for encryption. In addition, we appreciate that Yahoo! just announced several measures it plans to take to increase encryption, including the very critical encryption of data center links, and that Twitter has confirmed that it has encryption of data center links in progress. See the infographic.
By adopting these practices, described below, these service providers have taken a critical step towards protecting their users from warrantless seizure of their information off of fiber-optic cables. By enabling encryption across their networks, service providers can make backdoor surveillance more challenging, requiring the government to go to courts and use legal process. While Lavabit’s travails have shown how difficult that can be for service providers, at least there was the opportunity to fight back in court.
While not every company in our survey has implemented every recommendation, each step taken helps, and we appreciate those who have worked to strengthen their security. We hope that every online service provider adopts these best practices and continues to work to protect their networks and their users.”

Here in the US we don't need photoshop. Real images of our politicians are damning enough.
Photoshop experts wanted: Beijing scrambles to protect officials from doctored-image scandals
… In China, sending a government official a batch of sexually-scandalous photos for extortion has become a thriving business. Sometimes the pictures are real, but in most cases the official’s head has been superimposed on to a body that does not belong to him.
Nevertheless, many have paid up fearing that if the photos are circulated they would prompt an investigation .

I would have been surprised if the strategy was “to become a second rate power, ignoring all indications of potential adversarial actions.” I also note that they recognized that laws were lagging technology – proving that they have at least a moderate grasp of reality.
NYT – N.S.A. Report Outlined Goals for More Power
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on November 23, 2013
N.S.A. Report Outlined Goals for More Power By JAMES RISEN and LAURA POITRAS
“Officials at the National Security Agency, intent on maintaining its dominance in intelligence collection, pledged last year to push to expand its surveillance powers, according to a top-secret strategy document.
The N.S.A. document, titled “Sigint Strategy 2012-2016,” does not make clear what legal or policy changes the agency might seek. The N.S.A.’s powers are determined variously by Congress, executive orders and the nation’s secret intelligence court, and its operations are governed by layers of regulations. While asserting that the agency’s “culture of compliance” would not be compromised, N.S.A. officials argued that they needed more flexibility, according to the paper…”

(Related) Interesting. Some things never change...
Analytic Culture in the US Intelligence Community: An Ethnographic Study
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on November 23, 2013
Analytic Culture in the US Intelligence Community: An Ethnographic Study, by Dr. Rob Johnson. ISBN 1-929667-13-2. Center for the Study of Intelligence, Central Intelligence Agency, 2005

Preemptive? Unlikely. All the typical questions apply: Do they ban the templates? Can I print the odd numbered parts while my neighbor prints the even numbered parts? If I own a printed gun, can you tell where it was printed?
Philly Becomes First City to Ban 3-D Gun Printing
Today, the Philadelphia City Council voted unanimously to ban the manufacturing of guns by 3-D printers, making Philly the first city to do so. Which is interesting, because the author of the bill, Kenyatta Johnson, isn’t aware of of any local gun-printing 3-D printers.

Even I, cheap though I am, read academic papers on occasion.
5 Ways To Get Your Hands On Academic Papers Without Losing Your Mind (And Money)
… With a bit of determination, you can get your hands on any academic journals you want. Here’s how.
icanhazpdf is a hashtag used by stressed out students looking for hard-to-get papers and journals. The premise is simple. You post a tweet naming the article you’re looking for, and someone will (hopefully) reply with a PDF of it.
It’s a fairly active community of people sharing (and flagrantly breaching copyright law). [I paid for it. I'm done with it. Take my copy. Bob] With that said, your mileage will vary, as people may not have the exact paper you’re looking for.
… Think of it as Bing for scholarly literature, but with a number of helpful features that will bring a smile to stressed out students throughout the world.
… they allow you to refine searches based upon the subject.
… makes it easy to reference articles. For each search result, it gives you the date of publications, the author, and other important information you need to do Harvard referencing.
… it tells you how many times it has been cited, making it easy to find reliable, authoritative works. All in all, MAS feels like the most mature publicly accessible academic search engine on the market right now.
… The latest update enables you to save articles from the search page in a personal “library”, organize them by topic, and search full-text within your library to find what you are looking for.
… I found that the quality of results returned weren’t as good as those produced by Scholar and Microsoft Academic Search, it makes up with with a huge database of papers to search from. It currently boasts almost 2 million documents. However, it’s important to stress that CiteSeer places an emphasis on articles and papers about computer science and information technology.
Email The Author
… You could always send a polite email to the author of the paper and ask for a copy of the paper.
When doing this, it’s important to remember that the authors have no obligation to help you. Be polite, but keep it short. They don’t have a huge amount of time to read every email that drops in their inbox. If they say no, accept it. If they don’t get back to you in a timely manner, don’t bombard them with emails.
Getting the contact details of academics is usually quite easy. You can usually find their email addresses on the web pages of the universities to which they are affiliated. As always, Google is your friend.

(Related) Seems to return only 100 items for each search...
– is a search engine for finding PDF files. According to the site, it fetches PDF files, eBooks, digital publications, presentations and electronic documents. Simply type what kind of PDF file you are searching for, or choose one of the recommended “Top Searches” on the page. There are also Chrome and Firefox extensions.

Something I can amuse myself with, by inflicting them on students!
– is “a social repository of the world’s greatest brain teasers, logic puzzles and mental challenges”. Every puzzle is color-coded according to level of difficulty, as well as being tagged for easy searching. When you read a puzzle, you can click to see the solution, and finally the answer. You can also leave comments to discuss the puzzle with others.

Something I should force my students to do...
Two Free Webinars on Video Creation
Wideo is a service that allows anyone to create animated videos and Common Craft-style videos online. On December 3rd Wideo is hosting two free webinars on how to create animated videos using the Wideo video editor. There is a beginner session and an advanced session. You can register for the beginner session here and register for the advanced session here.
You can create an animated videos on Wideo by dragging and dropping elements into place in the Wideo editor then setting the sequence of animations. Each element can be re-used as many times as you like and the timing of the animation of each image can individually adjusted. Wideo's stock elements include text, cartoons, and drawings. You can also upload your own images to use in your videos.


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