Friday, November 01, 2013

Wow! The things we say when our brains are disengaged... Sort of the elected official's version of “I was just following orders!” In this case, “I didn't tell them to do it! My underlings just followed their written procedures.”
Dan Roberts, Spencer Ackerman, and Paul Lewis report:
John Kerry, the US secretary of state, conceded on Thursday that some of the country’s surveillance activities had gone too far, saying that certain practices had occurred “on autopilot” without the knowledge of senior officials in the Obama administration.
In the most stark comments yet by a senior administration official, Kerry promised that a previously announced review of surveillance practices would be thorough and that some activities would end altogether.
Read more on The Guardian.

Truly good encryption is indistinguishable from random gibberish. So are attempts at encryption that fail in the middle of the process. What happens when the court insists I must “decrypt” a file that I can not decrypt? OR I do decrypt a file and it is the archive of correspondence with my lawyers? (How much evidence can I poison at once?)
Kate Crockford writes:
Can the government force you to decrypt your hard drive? Do the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution and Article 12 of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights protect us from being compelled to disclose or enter our encryption keys, and thereby potentially incriminate ourselves? The answer to these questions in Massachusetts hinges on the Supreme Judicial Court’s upcoming decision about whether decrypting a computer is like giving someone a key or a combination to a safe, or instead, if it’s like translating words from one language to another.
Read more on ACLU’s blog.

A really interesting description of LinkdIn's new “service.” If you or your colleagues use LinkedIn, you should read this and perhaps reconsider.
Disassembling the privacy implications of LinkedIn Intro
LinkedIn Intro has already become known by many names: A dream for attackers, A nightmare for email security and privacy and A spectacularly bad idea to mention but a few. Harsh words. The general consensus of people I’ve spoken to is that it’s fundamentally stupid and about the worst thing you could consider doing with your privacy. It looks like this:

Kind of an overview. Should be a lot more detail available somewhere.
Somini Sengupta reports:
State legislatures around the country, facing growing public concern about the collection and trade of personal data, have rushed to propose a series of privacy laws, from limiting how schools can collect student data to deciding whether the police need a warrant to track cellphone locations.
Read more on The New York Times.

I'm seeing more companies at least designate a part-time Privacy guru. Would a “C-level” officer be responsible for all privacy failures?
Sheila Kaplan (@EducationNY) testified before the NYS Senate Standing Committee Hearing on Public Education this week. You can read her written testimony here (pdf). Here’s part of her testimony:
In order to address these challenges comprehensively, each state would benefit from a Chief Privacy Officer in its Department of Education. The broad goal of a CPO is to promote the implementation of fair information practices for privacy and security of personally identifiable information (PII). Working with privacy experts, I drafted the model bill Chief Privacy Officer for Education Act that can easily be adapted to meet states’ needs. [See Exhibit 4, Chief Privacy Officer for Education Act; attached.]
Under the proposed model bill, the CPO would advise students, parents and other individuals about options and actions that they can take to protect the privacy and security of PII; make recommendations on privacy and security to the governor, state legislatures and agencies, schools, parents and students; and conduct oversight of privacy and security activities of organizations handling and storing student data.

What are my students interested in?
How to Create Google Scholar Alerts
Google Scholar, like Google Books, is one of the research tools that high school students often overlook. Searching on Google Scholar is not like searching on or searching in any other public search engine.
Google Scholar indexes scholarly, peer-reviewed academic papers, journals, theses, books, and court opinions. These are materials that students usually won't find through, Bing, or Yahoo search. Just they can do for searches, students can create Google Scholar alerts. Google Scholar alerts notify students when new materials related to their search queries appear on Google Scholar. The screenshots below offer directions for creating Google Scholar alerts. (Click the images to view them in full size).

Clever App!
How to Hear Sign Language

So if I use my Statistics and Computer Science skills to Mine and Analyze your data, will I get rich?
Will the Next Nate Silver Please Stand Up?
Ever since Nate Silver made a splash with his freakishly accurate election predictions, all sorts of companies have been looking for their own rock-star data scientists. The trouble is that these people are hard to come by — few can blend computer science with applied mathematics in a way that produces truly effective data science — and for many companies, it’s not even clear that they really need this kind of expertise.
Shashi Upadhyay, CEO of analytics outfit Lattice Engines, which helps companies tackle data science, has seen this issue firsthand. “Customers ask us: do we need to hire data scientists?” he says. “It’s a question that’s been debated a lot: should the chief marketing officer of the future be a data scientist?”

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