Saturday, December 28, 2013

How important is it to get your facts (and the potential risks) correct? Is it better to say, “I don't have that information in front of me, let me check and get back to you?” In every “incident” I was involved with as an Auditor, we started by documenting how data flowed through the processes involved. Later we could look at each step and the potential for something inappropriate to happen.
Four days after a computer was stolen from Inspira Medical Center Vineland, the hospital still can’t say whether there was any patient data on it?
That’s absurd. Just ask the staff who were using it whether they entered patient data on it. If they say “Yes, we used it for every radiology patient,” then you have your answer. You may not know which patients or what data yet, but at least you’d be able to say whether patient data was on it or not. Significantly, perhaps, the employee who reported the theft to the police told them that patient data was on the computer.
If HHS investigates this incident, I expect they’ll want to know how it is that after four days, the hospital couldn’t say whether any patient data were on a computer. Doesn’t that suggest a lack of inventory or safeguards at the very least?

First they said it wasn’t, now they say it was but not to worry…. read Chris Welch’s report on The Verge.
[From the article:
Class action lawsuits accusing Target of not doing enough to protect consumer data are already starting to pile up.

There is a problem in believing that what you can see (or what you read in a newspaper) is everything there is to see.
Reuters reports:
A U.S. judge has concluded that the National Security Agency’s sweeping collection of telephone data is lawful, rejecting a challenge by the American Civil Liberties Union to the program.
U.S. District Judge William Pauley in Manhattan on Friday said there was no evidence that the government had used any of the so-called “bulk telephony metadata” it had collected for any reason other than to investigate and disrupt terrorist attacks.
Read more on Reuters. The AP covers the ruling here.
You can read the ruling here (pdf).
There’s a lot there to digest, none of it good news for privacy advocates from the parts I’ve skimmed so far. Of note, Judge Pauley found that Congress had ratified the Section 215 program as interpreted by the Executive Branch when they reauthorized FISA after having the opportunity to review a classified document that noted that it required the collection of “substantially all” telephone calls. The judge noted that not all members of the House had read the document, but concluded that the Executive branch has fulfilled its obligation by providing the memo.
So… we have members of Congress to thank for failing to read what they could have read? Would they have blocked the reauthorization of FISA had they been paying more attention?

NEW YORK – A federal court issued an opinion and order in ACLU v. Clapper, the ACLU’s challenge to the constitutionality of the NSA’s mass call-tracking program, ruling that the government’s bulk collection of phone records is lawful under Section 215 of the Patriot Act and under the Fourth Amendment. The court denied the plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction and granted the government’s motion to dismiss the case. Judge Pauley’s ruling conflicts with last week’s ruling by a federal judge in Washington, D.C., that the mass call-tracking program violates the Fourth Amendment. The ACLU plans to appeal the ruling to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.
The plaintiffs filed the lawsuit on June 11, 2013, less than a week after the mass call-tracking program was revealed by The Guardian newspaper based on documents obtained from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.
“We are extremely disappointed with this decision, which misinterprets the relevant statutes, understates the privacy implications of the government’s surveillance and misapplies a narrow and outdated precedent to read away core constitutional protections,” said Jameel Jaffer, ACLU deputy legal director. “As another federal judge and the president’s own review group concluded last week, the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of telephony data constitutes a serious invasion of Americans’ privacy. We intend to appeal and look forward to making our case in the Second Circuit.”

Why clutter the intelligence space with useless data? The answer is, they don't! If there is no evidence that they stopped a terrorist attack, ask what value they do find in this data? How would you use the data?
Ryan Goodman has a post on Just Security that is part of an ongoing dialogue* about the report by the President’s Review Group. Ryan writes:
The question I consider in this post is whether the Group’s assessment will, and should, signal the effective demise of the program. I examine the strongest claims that proponents of the program may still raise; and I propose some analytic tools for considering the issue of effectiveness, so that we might all (proponents, opponents, and others alike) candidly assess this particular program’s potential security benefits.
Read his commentary on Just Security.
*[Editor’s Note: Just Security is holding a “mini forum” on the Report by the President’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies. Others in the series include a post by Marty Lederman analyzing the Report’s highlights, post by Julian Sanchez examining the scope of the NSA's section 702 program, a post by David Cole and Marty Lederman analyzing how metadata is used under section 215, and a post by Jennifer Granick discussing the implications for non-US persons (with a follow-up post by Jennifer).]

For my students. (I'm curious to see how the government thinks we should calculate...)
Get Calculators and Worksheets to Evaluate Your Finances
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on December 27, 2013
“Calculators are an essential tool to help you evaluate your current financial situation, and to get you where you want to be in the future. They can tell you if you are in the “ballpark” for retirement, and help you analyze fees associated with mutual funds and 529 Plans. Here are just a few of the tools you’ll find on
  • 401(k) and IRA Required Minimum Distribution Calculator: After age 70½, you are generally required to start withdrawing money from your IRAs and 401(k)s. Find out the minimum amount you’ll need to withdraw, depending on your age and the value of your accounts.
  • Compound Interest Calculator: Find out how much your money can grow, using the power of compound interest.
  • Social Security Retirement Estimator: Get personalized benefit estimates to help you plan for retirement.
  • Worksheet for Determining Your Net Worth: Use this worksheet to list your assets and debts.
  • Worksheet for Tracking Your Income and Expenses: Keeping track of your income and expenses will help you stay on track with your financial goals.”

For my students who read (There are some!) NOTE: I did skip a couple... Load these into Calibre to organize and move to various devices.
Supercharge Your eBook Reading With IFTTT
… As you probably already know, IFTTT is just the hack you’re looking for. This great automation service can be used for anything from superpowering Google Calendar to making money, and yes, it can also be used to supercharge your eBook reading. From finding eBook deals to automatically sending articles to your Kindle, these are all the recipes you need.
This recipe is based on the website FreeBooksHub — a website dedicated to finding Kindle deals.
This recipe takes any RSS feeds you’re interested in, and sends any new items to your Kindle. Who said your Kindle is just for books?
… define a Dropbox subfolder in your Public folder (for example, public/kindle), which automatically transfers files to your Kindle.
Readability has a feature that lets you connect your Kindle to your Readability reading lists. You can check out this help page to find out more about setting it up.
This recipe monitors the Gold Box feed for the “Kindle” keyword, and emails you only when a relevant deal appears. When using the recipe, you can change the keyword to anything you want, so if it’s not Kindle you’re interested in, the recipe is still very useful.

For my Android toting students...
– draws the attention of people who care about you at times of need, and makes it easier for them to find you. Create response groups based on locations you visit frequently, and add people who care about you to each group. Whenever you don’t feel safe, start SafeSpot.

I can't help thinking that I could make more money selling individual “How to” lessons at $1 per, than I could teaching full time.
From Cooking To Coding: Learn And Teach Lessons On
If you have the time and inclination to explore a new hobby, prepare a gourmet meal, learn how to code, or pick up a few health and beauty tips, the online learning site and mobile app,, offers hundreds of free or low cost video tutorials on a wide range of topics. launched last summer and is similar to Khan Academy, Udemy,, and other online course sites. Its online platform was recently expanded into an iPhone app, followed by its iPad version which released this August.
… Each Curious lesson is broken down into interactive sections with a few multiple-choice review questions at the end of each lesson. Some lessons may include PDF handouts, links to other resources, and a feature for leaving comments and asking questions.
… Curious includes a Curious Lesson Builder platform for creating lessons, and uploading video content to the site. Instructors get their own individual web page (, and for paid lessons, teachers receive 70% and Curious gets 30% of the paid tuition. Lessons can easily be shared to social networks, and all uploaded content remains non-exclusive and owned by the instructors.

Well, I find it amusing...
A judge has ruled that Sherlock Holmes (and the other characters and elements of Arthur Conan Doyle’s series) is no longer covered by US copyright law and is now in the public domain.
A judge has ruled that the Douglas County (Colorado) school district “violated the state’s Fair Campaign Practices Act when it hired Rick Hess to author a positive report about school reforms that it later e-mailed to 85,000 subscribers in the weeks before the November election.” All’s fair in

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