Saturday, November 30, 2013

Push, push, push... Let's hope everyone knows (and plays by) the rules of this game.
China scrambles jets in air zone to monitor US and Japanese planes
The zone covers territory claimed by China, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea.
China said last week that all aircraft crossing through the zone must file flight plans and identify themselves or face "defensive emergency measures".
The US, Japan and South Korea say they have since defied the ruling and flown military aircraft in the area.
The air defence identification zone (ADIZ) covers a vast area of the East China Sea, including a group of islands claimed by Japan, China and Taiwan.
South Korea claims a submerged rock, known as Ieodo, also within the zone.

Now this is interesting. Did GfK develop the “surveillance router” or is it a Google tool? If it involves a ”hands on” delivery, my Ethical Hackers probably can't spoof a few thousand survey participants. How skewed will this be if they only survey the “Privacy ignorant?”
Joe Cadillic sent me a link to an article on Testosterone Pit that begins:
The first thing I noticed after I’d removed the glossy brochure and a letter from the 8.5 x 11 envelope was the crisp $5 bill attached to the letter. I’m a sucker for free money. [Ditto Bob] After peeling it off and securing it in my pocket, I started reading. It was addressed to “Dear current resident of …,” followed by my address. The five bucks was “our way of thanking you for considering participation,” the letter said. Participation in what?
“An exciting and very important new research study conducted for Google by GfK,” it said. It sounded harmless. The proposition? My involvement in “Screenwise” would help Google understand how I “use different types of media” and improve its “products and services.” In return, I’d get some money. How much wasn’t exactly clear up front due to the different steps and conditions. So, sucker for free money, I read on.
I would also get a “free top-of-the-line wireless Cisco router,” it said. Ha, I already have one of those, but this router would be special. It would collect all data flowing through it and send it to Google and GfK. A spy router!
Read more about it on Testosterone Pit while I go mutter to myself. I doubt any of my readers would sign up for the offer they describe, but it’s hard to believe it’s even for real….
[From the article:
Google would in effect sit inside the router and know everything – where you bank, the brokers you use, how often you visit their sites, what trading software you use, your internet phone calls, Skype conversations, instant messages, email, what health issues you might be dealing with, the porn sites you or your kids visit, where you’d like go to dinner. Everything.

(Related) Prescription surveillance tools? Install the “Safe Living” app or we'll raise your health insurance rates?
Kate Andries reports:
Your phone knows everything about you — how much you walk, talk and what level of Candy Crush you’re stuck on — but soon it could be spilling secrets to your doctor.
More and more physicians are prescribing apps that help track their patients’ illnesses through information collected by their smartphones.
“[The trend] just seems to be exploding,” said Seth S. Martin, a Pollin cardiovascular prevention fellow at Johns Hopkins Hospit al in Baltimore. “With the widespread use now of smartphones, it’s a really exciting opportunity to help people live healthier lives.” [“...until research tells us we've been suggesting the wrong things.” Bob]
Read more on WTOP. The news story discusses accuracy and validity of apps, but I see no discussion of data security and whether such data might be intercepted or shared elsewhere – and with what consequences.

Contrast this with the UN and EU insistence on Privacy (both published this week)
Mass Surveillance of Personal Data by EU Member States and Its Compatibility with EU Law
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on November 29, 2013
Bigo, Didier and Carrera, Sergio and Hernanz, Nicholas and Jeandesboz, Julien and Parkin, Joanna and Ragazzi, Francesco Rossi and Scherrer, Amandine, Mass Surveillance of Personal Data by EU Member States and Its Compatibility with EU Law (November 6, 2013). Liberty and Security in Europe Papers No. 61. Available at SSRN.
“In the wake of the disclosures surrounding PRISM and other US surveillance programmes, this paper assesses 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 these practices, which represent a reconfiguration of traditional intelligence gathering, [Why would they think that? Bob] the paper contends that an analysis of European surveillance programmes cannot be reduced to a question of the 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 paper argues that these programmes do not stand outside the realm of EU intervention but can be analysed from an EU law perspective via i) an understanding of national security in a democratic rule of law framework where fundamental human rights and judicial oversight constitute key norms; ii) the risks posed 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 paper then presents a set of policy recommendations to the European Parliament.”

They use drones to smuggle drugs into the US, why not keep their friends supplied while they serve their terms? Perhaps they should put more emphasis on “Remote” piloting?
Drones used to try to smuggle contraband into jail
… Prison guards at the Calhoun state jail spotted a drone hovering over the prison yard and alerted police who began a search of the local area.
Inside a nearby car they found a six-rotor remote-controlled helicopter, between 1lb and 2lb of tobacco and several mobile phones.
Four people were arrested and could face up to 20 years in prison if found guilty of attempting to smuggle contraband into the prison.

The problem is keeping a lid on software that works and that people like. Ties into employees installing software on their employer's machines or their BYOD devices.
US agrees to pay $50m after 'piracy' of software
Apptricity, based in Texas, has provided logistics programs to the army since 2004.
The company said it had discovered last year the software had been installed on many more machines than had been licensed.
… According to court documents filed in 2012, the deal with the military meant up to 500 named users could access the software.
Apptricity later estimated that 9,000 users were accessing the program, in addition to the 500 that had been paid for.
The unauthorised copying only came to light after a US Army official mentioned "thousands" of devices running the software during a presentation on technology.

Oh, boo hoo! When you are found guilty of monopolistic practices, expect your watcher to charge monopolistic rates. That's the point, isn't it?
Our ebook antitrust watchdog is too expensive, moans Apple
Apple has filed a court motion complaining that Michael Bromwich, the court-appointed antitrust regulator appointed to oversee the fruity firm in the wake of its ebook price-fixing shenanigans, is too charging too much for his services.
"Mr Bromwich appears to be simply taking advantage of the fact that there is no competition here or, in his view, any ability on the part of Apple, the subject of his authority, to push back on his demands," said Cupertino's lawyers in a filing to the New York federal court, Bloomberg reports.
On the face of it Apple may have a point. In his first two weeks in the job, Bromwich has invoiced Apple for $138,432 for his services, including a 15 per cent surcharge because he's assigned the role to his consultancy business, rather than as part of his day job at law firm Goodwin Procter.
… Bromwich is charging an hourly rate of $1,100, which the Apple filing says is more than it has ever been billed by a lawyer before. [But he's charging as a consultant. Bob]
… Based on Bromwich's first two weeks of invoicing, that five year appointment could cost Apple over $16m in fees, although it may be that the lawyer has been front-loading the early invoices to pay for costs of setting up a regulator position. Apple's 2013 net income was $37 billion.

My statistics students will recognize this – they had better recognize this!
How to Start Thinking Like a Data Scientist
… First, start with something that interests, even bothers, you at work, like consistently late-starting meetings. Whatever it is, form it up as a question and write it down: “Meetings always seem to start late. Is that really true?” [Your hypothesis Bob]
Next, think through the data that can help answer your question, and develop a plan for creating them. Write down all the relevant definitions and your protocol for collecting the data. For this particular example, you have to define when the meeting actually begins. Is it the time someone says, “Ok, let’s begin.”? Or the time the real business of the meeting starts? Does kibitzing count?
Now collect the data. It is critical that you trust the data. And, as you go, you’re almost certain to find gaps in data collection. You may find that even though a meeting has started, it starts anew when a more senior person joins in. Modify your definition and protocol as you go along.
Sooner than you think, you’ll be ready to start drawing some pictures. [...or even apply some simple math! Bob]

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