Saturday, October 12, 2013

Yet another company, dependent on their computers, that has no idea what programs are added or what data is copied? Perhaps they should hire a real manager.
Datapak Services Corporation, an order fulfillment and payment processor based in Swanee, Georgia, recently learned that malware placed on their system on March 5 may have compromised the credit card information of customers of “several” e-commerce web sites.
In a letter dated October 3, they note that customers’ names, addresses, and card numbers with expiration dates and security codes may have been exposed. The firm does not indicate how they first became aware of the breach. Nor does it name the web sites affected.
Those affected by the incident were offered one year of free services through AllClear SECURE and AllClear PRO.
A copy of their notification letter was posted on the Vermont Attorney General’s web site, here.

Perhaps the records were held by the FBO (Federal Boondoggle of Obfuscation) and you can't prove that agency even exists, so we win and you lose. “The FBI, making stuff up since 1929!”
Josh Crank reports:
The Florida socialite whose FBI complaint led to the resignation of Gen. David Petraeus is suing the government for allegedly leaking her private emails to the press and tarnishing her reputation. But the Department of Justice is demanding that the suit be tossed on a technicality.
Kelley’s lawsuit is based in part on the Privacy Act, which establishes rules for federal agencies that handle the personal information of U.S. citizens. In its motion to dismiss, the Justice Department called the Privacy Act a “highly technical” statute from which many of the FBI’s records systems are exempt. The motion doesn’t specifically state that the FBI stored Kelley’s private emails in one of these exempted databases, but rather argues the lawsuit should be dismissed because Kelley can’t prove that it wasn’t.
“Disclosure claims under the Privacy Act are governed by a rule of retrieval – to be actionable, disclosed information about an individual must have been retrieved from a protected system of records,” according to the dismissal motion. “But plaintiffs fail to make allegations to satisfy the retrieval rule, and that omission prevents plaintiffs from stating a claim for a wrongful disclosure.”
Isn’t this what discovery is for??

Is anyone old enough to remember Joe Namath in those pantyhose ads? Every similar odd/funny/shocking combination will no doubt go viral. Fortunately, I was wise enough to use a portrait with one of those little © thingies...
Google Is Going to Include Your Face in Its New Ads
… On Friday the company said it would begin including recommendations that Google+ users make in advertisements. The new policy kicks in on Nov. 11.
Here’s how it works: You use Google+ to rate some product or service. It turns out the company behind that product wants to advertise on Google. When the company purchases an ad, your friends will see a version that includes your photo along with what you said about the product.

Attention frogs! The water temperature is rising again. Just a little bit. Don't worry. Trust us.
Facebook Removing Option To Be Unsearchable By Name, Highlighting Lack Of Universal Privacy Controls
“Who can look up your Timeline by name?” Anyone you haven’t blocked. Facebook is removing this privacy setting, notifying those who had hidden themselves that they’ll be searchable. It deleted the option from those who hadn’t used it in December, and is starting to push everyone to use privacy controls on each type of content they share. But there’s no one-click opt out of Facebook search.

It makes sense doesn't it? After all, that's why the NSA thinks they can predict terrorist attacks by listening to phone calls and reading email. My concern is that mentioning suicide (oops I just did) would result in a visit from a “psychiatrist drone” or at least mandatory suicide counseling. It could be worse, what European country imposed the death penalty for attempted suicide?
Suicide chatter on Twitter hints at state suicide rates -- study
In the aftermath of a suicide, family and friends of the deceased sometimes turn to social media sites for clues as to why it may have happened.
But on a more hopeful note, the trails left on these sites may also serve as something of an early warning system that could help prevent some of these tragedies, according to researchers at Brigham Young University.
Reporting in the journal Crisis, the researchers say they sifted through millions of tweets gathered from all 50 states over three months, on the hunt for both direct discussions of suicide and keywords that are associated with a range of suicide risk factors.
Out of the millions of tweets on hand, they found 37,717 worrying tweets from 28,088 unique users with some location info available. They then determined each state's ratio of such tweets, and found that these correlated strongly with each state's actual suicide rate.

Does searching for value send you to Walmart & Associates?
Why Law Firm Pedigree May Be a Thing of the Past
Have you ever heard the saying: “You never get fired for buying IBM”? Every industry loves to co-opt it; for example, in consulting, you’ll hear: “You never get fired for hiring McKinsey.” In law, it’s often: “You never get fired for hiring Cravath”. But one general counsel we spoke with put a twist on the old saying, in a way that reflects the turmoil and change that the legal industry is undergoing. Here’s what he said: “I would absolutely fire anyone on my team who hired Cravath.” While tongue in cheek, and surely subject to exceptions, it reflects the reality that there is a growing body of legal work that simply won’t be sent to the most pedigreed law firms, most typically because general counsel are laser focused on value, namely quality and efficiency.

It seems to me that Aereo has carefully designed a legal service. Will the Supremes agree?
Broadcasters petition Supreme Court in Aereo fight
Television broadcasters Friday petitioned the US Supreme Court to get involved in their fight against Aereo, the online service that streams their over-the-air programming to its paying members.
Aereo, which is backed by IAC Chairman Barry Diller, uses tiny individual antennas to let consumers watch live, local broadcasts on some Internet-connected devices and store shows in a cloud-based DVR. Television giants including Disney's ABC, CBS (the parent of CNET), Fox, and Comcast's NBCUniversal sued Aereo, alleging that the service violates their copyrights and that Aereo must pay them.

Dilbert explains “Prior Art” for us non-lawyers....

Might be useful for handouts at seminars for example...
– easily create and share single-use, live web folders. Get yourself a free, disposable box. Put your files inside the folder and share it with other people, who can download those files. You can cancel the folder at any time.

Kids not learning Cursive in school? There's an App (and a robot) for that! (I'll write your notes for $4.99)
Outsource Your Thank You Notes to a Robot
… Unlike a printer, the robot manually moves a pen back and forth and scribbles a 255-character message in cursive.
… Keep in mind that even though the first note is free, each note afterward will cost $5.
[Video of the robot in action:

Friday, October 11, 2013

Not so hard to explain even without statistics...
App releases Azerbaijani election results a day early
… Dear governments of perhaps-slightly-less-democratic-than-it-appears regimes: the appearance of democracy is quite important. Just for, you know, appearances sake.
… This is something that the oil-rich Azerbaijani government might have overlooked. Or, rather, whoever is in charge of its Central Election Commission election mobile app.
For, as The Washington Post reports, the app dutifully pumped out marvelously accurate election results, heralding a stunning victory for current president Ilham Aliyev.
The only slight kink was that the app declared him the overwhelming winner the day before anyone had actually voted. Or should that be "voted?"

For my nay-saying lawyers friends. Are there any circumstances where he could successfully refuse? (How would you advise me to set up my “secure email service?”
Orin Kerr analyzes the filing by Lavabit:
Today Lavabit filed a brief before the Fourth Circuit challenging a civil contempt order for its refusal to turn over its encryption key that the government wants to enable the government to conduct surveillance of Edward Snowden. I think Lavabit faces a very uphill battle, and in this post I’ll explain why.
First, a bit of context. The government obtained several different court orders requiring Lavabit to disclose the key. First, they obtained a pen register order; next, they issued a subpoena for the key; and third, they obtained a search warrant for the key. Lavabit refused to comply with any of them, and the court imposed a fine of $5,000 a day until Lavabit agreed to hand over the key in digital form. (In a bit of a middle finger to the government and the court, Lavabit did turn over a paper copy of the key — which was 11 pages long in 4-point type — but refused to turn over an electronic copy. Understandably, the court didn’t consider that compliance.) Lavabit then shut down its service and handed over the key. In this appeal, Lavabit is appealing the lawfulness of the judge’s orders requiring it to hand over its key by arguing that none of the court orders were valid.
In order to to win on appeal, Lavabit needs to show that all three methods are improper. I don’t think they can do this. I’ll take each argument in turn.
Read his analysis on The Volokh Conspiracy.

It's better than a multi-billion dollar trading loss! Could analytics become mandatory?
Banks Use Analytics to Detect Suspect Employee Behavior
Penny Crosman, BankThink/American Banker: “Ten large U.S. and European banks are using natural language processing technology from Digital Reasoning — one of Bank Technology News’ ‘Top Ten Tech Companies to Watch for 2012′ — to uncover such revealing documents before lawyers and examiners do. The company launched six Proactive Compliance analytics products six months ago. The software is meant to find emails that reflect unethical behavior and violations of Dodd-Frank, anti-money laundering, Know Your Customer and other rules. Some European banks use the software to analyze suspicious activity reports for signs of bribery. Other banks use it to find control room violations, to make sure their advisory services are clean, to keep insider information from leaking out of their organization, and to maintain the Chinese wall between trading and research. Banks’ current compliance solutions tend to focus on monitoring transactions and trade orders, Digital Reasoning executives say. But much valuable information is buried not in transactions, but in emails, instant messages, Word documents, PowerPoint presentations and other forms of “unstructured data” (which basically means, any data not stored in a database). Three large banks are using Proactive Compliance to catch employees who report that everything is fine but admit behind the scenes that disaster looms, in the manner of JPMorgan Chase’s London Whale.”

No small matter.
Google Wins Dismissal of Suit Over Web Browser Cookies
Google Inc. (GOOG) won dismissal of a lawsuit alleging it violated computer users’ rights by slipping electronic “cookies” into their Web browsers to facilitate placement of advertising.
Cookies are used to track browsing activity and can help advertisers target potential customers. The users claimed that Mountain View, California-based Google, owner of the world’s largest search engine, “tricked” their Apple Inc. (AAPL) and Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) browsers into accepting cookies, according to court filings.
The consumers sued in federal court last year saying Google impinged on their privacy in violation of federal and state laws. The court rejected those claims.
Google did not intercept contents as provided for by the Wiretap Act,” U.S. District Judge Sue L. Robinson in Wilmington, Delaware, said in her opinion. The users also didn’t “demonstrate that Google intercepted any ‘contents or meaning’” under California’s Invasion of Privacy Act, she said. Nor did the users identify “any impairment of the performance or functioning of their computers,” the judge wrote
[All of this seems to be a polite way of saying “Why are you idiots suing this poor innocent company?” Bob]

(Related) On the other hand, there must be a formula that calculates the number of lawsuits vs. the market value of the firm.
William Dotinga reports:
Google asked a federal judge Wednesday for permission to take questions about federal wiretapping laws to the 9th Circuit before a Gmail class action advances any further.
[Judge Lucy] Koh [had] declined to dismiss the majority of the sprawling class action, finding that Gmail’s interceptions fall outside the narrow “ordinary course of business” exception carved out of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, known as ECPA. She also noted that Google’s policies do not extract explicit consent from users, another exception to ECPA on which the company relied.
In a filing late Wednesday, Google said it wants questions about those ECPA exceptions sent to the 9th Circuit for review before litigation goes forward.
“The court’s ruling on its construction of the ‘ordinary course of business’ exception involves a controlling question of law on which there is substantial ground for difference of opinion, and as to which an immediate appeal may materially advance the ultimate termination of the litigation,” Google said in its filing.
Read more on Courthouse News.

(Related) But it's okay to collect information manually?
Julian Perlman writes:
In a victory for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., a federal district court judge has refused to certify a Rule 23(b)(3) class in a lawsuit for violation of California’s Song-Beverly Credit Card Act (Cal. Civ. Code § 1747 et seq., available here.
Plaintiff Joel Leebove brought suit on behalf of himself and others similarly situated against Wal-Mart over the big box retailer’s practice of requesting telephone numbers and addresses [and there's the difference: “requesting” Bob] in connection with certain credit card purchases. Wal-Mart successfully argued that this information was necessary and its collection legal, as the putative class consisted of Wal-Mart customers whose purchases were to be subsequently picked-up or delivered.
Read more on Baker Hostetler Data Privacy Monitor.

Privacy issues my students might find interesting.
From the good folks at EPIC:
In a letter to the Senate and House Committees on Education, EPIC has asked Congress to restore privacy protections for student data. EPIC’s letter follows a court opinion concerning recent changes to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. EPIC has warned that the changes in the student privacy law allow the release of student records for non-academic purposes and undercut parental and student consent provisions. EPIC has urged Congress to investigate the impact of the revised regulations. “Students and families are losing control over sensitive information,” EPIC wrote, “and private companies are becoming the repositories of student data and even the data maintained by the schools is far more extensive than ever before.” For more information, see EPIC: Student Privacy.

For my Ethical Hackers: Anything we haven't thought of?
FBI Files Reveal New Info on Clandestine Phone Surveillance Unit
Ryan Gallagher, via Slate’s Future Tense blog: “As part of an ongoing Freedom of Information Act suit launched by civil liberties group the Electronic Privacy Information Center, the FBI is turning over information on its use of cellphone surveillance technology variously known as “Stingrays,” “Cell Site Simulators,” “IMSI Catchers,” or “Digital Analyzers.” These devices function as portable surveillance transceivers that are designed to trick phones over a targeted area into hopping onto a fake network. The FBI says it uses the tools to track the locations of individual suspects. But the technology is controversial because, by design, it collects data on innocent bystanders’ phones, and it also interferes with cellphone signals in a way that may be prohibited under a section of the federal Communications Act. Over the past year, the FBI has been drip-releasing redacted portions of a trove of documents that it holds related to the use of the Stingray technology. And late last week, the bureau turned over a batch of 500 pages featuring newly declassified portions that offer fresh insight into its spy tools, as well as shining a light on a little-known internal surveillance unit that has built up within the bureau over the past decade.”

What the Government Does with Americans’ Data
“After the attacks of September 11, 2001, the government’s authority to collect, keep, and share information about Americans with little or no basis to suspect wrongdoing dramatically expanded. While the risks and benefits of this approach are the subject of intense debate, one thing is certain: it results in the accumulation of large amounts of innocuous information about law-abiding citizens. But what happens to this data? In the search to find the needle, what happens to the rest of the haystack? For the first time in one report, the Brennan Center takes a comprehensive look at the multiple ways U.S. intelligence agencies collect, share, and store data on average Americans. The report, which surveys across five intelligence agencies, finds that non-terrorism related data can be kept for up to 75 years or more, clogging national security databases and creating opportunities for abuse, and recommends multiple reforms that seek to tighten control over the government’s handling of Americans’ information.”

The B School is interested in Big Data
Can Your C-Suite Handle Big Data?
… Today, as the power of data and analytics profoundly alters the business landscape, companies once again may need more top-management muscle. Capturing data-related opportunities to improve revenues, boost productivity, and create entirely new businesses puts new demands on companies — requiring not only new talent and investments in information infrastructure, but also significant changes in mind-sets and frontline training. It’s becoming apparent that it will take extra executive horsepower to navigate new organizational hazards, make tough trade-offs, and muster authority when decision rights conflict in the new environment.
Because the new data analytics horizons typically span a range of functions, including marketing, risk, and operations, the C-suite evolution may take a variety of paths. In some cases, the way forward will be to enhance the mandate of (and provide new forms of support for) the chief information, marketing, strategy, or risk officer. Other companies may need to add new roles, such as a chief data officer, chief technical officer, or chief analytics officer, to head up centers of analytics excellence.
Six top-team tasks
The transformative nature of these changes involves much more than just serving up data to an external provider to mine for hidden trends. Rather, it requires concerted action that falls into six categories.

Isn't this what allows US companies to move European data to the US? If it is revoked, it could be expensive...
Sarah Taieb and Bret Cohen write:
On Monday, a European Parliament Inquiry established to investigate the recent U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance revelations indicated that its final report would recommend suspension of the popular EU-U.S. Safe Harbor Framework.
Read more on Hogan Lovells Chronicle of Data Protection.
Ezra Steinhardt of Covington & Burling offers some comments on this latest development on Inside Privacy.

Will the eraser law actually work? Stay tuned!
Gov. Brown Signs New California Privacy Laws
“California Governor Jerry Brown has signed several new Internet privacy bills into law. Assembly Bill 370 amends the California Online Privacy Protection Act by requiring that businesses disclose how they respond to Do Not Track signals or other mechanisms used by consumers to prevent the surreptitious collection of their browsing history. The Governor has also signed Senate Bill 568, which provides for an “eraser button” that would require websites to allow minors to remove their own information. Finally, California has enacted Senate Bill 255, which prohibits “revenge porn”: the posting of explicit images or videos without the victim’s consent. The passage of these laws has led many to observe that California is “driving Internet privacy policy.” For more information, see EPIC: Online Tracking and Behavioral Advertising and EPIC: Children’s Online Privacy.”

Pew – Online Video 2013
Online Video 2013 by Kristen Purcell – October 10, 2013
“Over the past four years, the percent of American adult internet users who upload or post videos online has doubled from 14% in 2009 to 31% today. That includes 18% of adult internet users who post videos they have created or recorded themselves—many of whom hope their creations go viral. The share of online adults who watch or download videos has also grown from 69% of internet users in 2009 to 78% today, and mobile phones have become a key part of the video viewing and creating experience.”

Perspective Can Amazon ever fall into the Anti-Trust legal pit?
BusinessWeek – How Amazon Became the Everything Store
“ rivals Wal-Mart as a store, Apple as a device maker, and IBM as a data services provider. It will rake in about $75 billion this year. For his book, Bloomberg Businessweek’s Brad Stone spoke to hundreds of current and former friends of founder Jeff Bezos. In the process, he discovered the poignant story of how Amazon became the Everything Store.
Within there’s a certain type of e-mail that elicits waves of panic. It usually originates with an annoyed customer who complains to the company’s founder and chief executive officer. Jeff Bezos has a public e-mail address, Not only does he read many customer complaints, he forwards them to the relevant Amazon employees, with a one-character addition: a question mark… It’s easy to forget that until recently, people thought of Amazon primarily as an online bookseller. Today, as it nears its 20th anniversary, it’s the Everything Store, a company with around $75 billion in annual revenue, a $140 billion market value, and few if any discernible limits to its growth. In the past few months alone, it launched a marketplace in India, opened a website to sell high-end art, introduced another Kindle reading device and three tablet computers, made plans to announce a set-top box for televisions, and funded the pilot episodes of more than a dozen TV shows. Amazon’s marketplace hosts the storefronts of countless smaller retailers; Amazon Web Services handles the computer infrastructure of thousands of technology companies, universities, and government agencies.”

Perspective. Infographics
What the World Would Look Like If Countries Were As Big As Their Online Populations

Perspective. I don't suppose any of them would like to buy a non-functioning government? (Might be enlightening to see what parts they'd spin off.)
All of these companies have more cash right now than the US government
The US government is running out of money to pay its bills. It is so close to reaching the statutory limit on debt at this point that US Treasury secretary Jack Lew has taken “extraordinary measures” to delay becoming delinquent on payments owed.
Republicans offered a deal today to temporarily raise the debt limit, but the saga has left the Treasury with just $32 billion in its operating accounts, less than is held by nine Standard & Poor’s 500 companies in cash and short-term investments. General Electric has nearly three times as much readily accessible cash as the US government right now.

For my starving students? (But you might want to use the ID of a certain law school professor I know. See me for all the details.)
How to Get Free Money – These 17 Companies Will Give You $1,815.25

For my students. Is this the first full Terabyte storage offer?
Yahoo Redesigns Mail For Web, Mobile And Windows, Offers 1TB Storage & Conversations View

For all my students. You first programming tool?
FREE MANUAL: The Ultimate IFTTT Guide, Use The Web’s Most Powerful Tool Like A Pro
If you want to automate your online life somewhat, look no further than IFTTT. IFTTT is an automation tool that will enable you to connect two services so that, when something happens with one service, a trigger goes off and an action takes place automatically on the other.
Albert Martinez has written this guide to cover everything you need to know about IFTTT, including what it is, how it works, and some of the most useful things you can do with it. It’s everything you could possibly need to know in order to get started with IFTTT.
No passwords required. Read online, download free PDF or EPUB files or buy for Amazon Kindle. 

For my website students. See what a little HTML5 can do?
Super Mario fully playable online using HTML5
You could plug in your old Nintendo Entertainment System, load up a vintage Super Mario Brothers cartridge, and play one of the greatest games of all time. Or you could just pop over to Full Screen Mario and get your fix online.
Josh Goldberg is behind this perfectly reproduced Super Mario remake done entirely with HTML5. If you're looking to switch things up and you like surprises, then you can play through randomly generated levels. Purists can stick with recreations of the levels from the original game.

There must be money in Math education. Are iPads and Kindles the razor and the Apps razor blades? If so, the price must be zero.
Amazon buys math education company TenMarks
Amazon has purchased TenMarks, an online math tutoring service, the companies announced Thursday.
Dave Limp, Amazon's vice president of Kindle, said in a press release that TenMarks is a good match for Amazon. With this acquisition, Amazon will focus on developing education content and applications.
"Amazon and TenMarks share the same passion for student learning. TenMarks's award-winning math programs have been used by tens of thousands of schools and Amazon engages with millions of students around the world through our Kindle ecosystem," he said in the release.
TenMarks offers personalized online math instruction and practice, including video lessons, for K-12 students.
Education is an area other tech giants, like Apple, are trying to break into. Amazon's efforts include Whispercast, a free online tool that lets schools and businesses manage a fleet of Kindle tablets and wirelessly distribute Kindle books, documents, and apps.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

One of our favorite topics.
Why America Wants Drones That Can Kill Without Humans
… Though they do not yet exist, and are not possible with current technology, LARs are the subject of fierce debate in academia, the military and policy circles. Still, many treat their development as inevitability. But how practical would LARs be on the battlefield?
Heather Roff, a visiting professor at the University of Denver, said many conflicts, such as the civil war in Syria, are too complex for LARs. “It’s one thing to use them in a conventional conflict,” where large militaries fight away from cities, “but we tend to fight asymmetric battles.

How public are public servants?
They lost in court last month, and now the union representing Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies has lost again in its bid to block the Los Angeles Times from publishing sheriff’s deputies’ background screening files. Jill Cowan reports:
“You’d have to be blind not to recognize there’s tension between privacy, public safety and the 1st Amendment,” Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Michelle R. Rosenblatt said during a hearing on the matter. “There always has been, and there perhaps always will be.”
Rosenblatt sided with The Times in striking down a complaint filed by a union representing Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies.
Read more on the Los Angeles Times.
[From the article:
Attorneys representing the Assn. for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs had alleged that 500 files containing personal information were unlawfully obtained. They contended that a Times reporter was illegally in possession of stolen property.
"There's no case law at all that says the receipt of stolen property does not apply to the press," said Elizabeth Gibbons, an attorney for the union.
She added that the injunction's intent was not to stop The Times from writing about the department's hiring practices, but rather to prevent it from disclosing information that violates employees' privacy.
For the last year, The Times has reported on the department's hiring of employees who had personal ties to top officials, including Sheriff Lee Baca, despite histories of violence or past legal scrapes.

I imagine the government lawyers are still getting paid?
Wow. I didn’t expect this.
Josh Gerstein reports that the government’s request for a stay due to the government shutdown in EFF’s litigation in First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles v. National Security Agency was denied.
Read more on Politico.

It is useful to have this information when investigating an incident. Absent an incident, it just builds a database. Would that be purged if nothing happens?
Talk about chilling free speech!
Rebecca Glenberg writes:
From 2010 until last spring, the Virginia State Police (VSP) maintained a massive database of license plates that allowed them to pinpoint the locations of millions of cars on particular dates and times. Even more disturbing, the agency used automatic license plate readers (ALPRs) to collect information about political activities of law-abiding people. The VSP recorded the license plates of vehicles attending President Obama’s 2009 inauguration, as well as campaign rallies for Obama and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. (Documentation of this program, disclosed in response to an ACLU of Virginia public records request, can be found here.) These practices starkly illustrate the need for tight controls on government use of technology for surveillance purposes.
Read more on ACLU.

e-Singatures. They've been around for years!
Hello Sign Puts an End To "Print, Sign, Scan"
Hello Sign is a tool that I've featured in the past, but I've used it so much lately that I feel like I need to share it with everyone again. For a variety of reasons over the last couple of weeks I have received a ton of email attachments that I've needed to sign and return to their senders. Every time that I've received one of an attachment needing my signature I haven't printed or scanned one piece of paper. Instead, I've used the Hello Sign Chrome app.
On your computer you can use Hello Sign to record your signature by using your mouse or by importing a picture of your signature. Then whenever you need to sign a document just upload it to Hello Sign and apply your stored signature. You can email your newly signed document directly from Hello Sign.

For my Ethical Hackers... Some people never change the default password.
Resetting Your Device? Find the Default Username and Password
Someone performed a factory reset on their wireless router and now they’re calling you for help.
… If your friend is resorting to resetting their devices because they can’t remember their own passwords, you might want to suggest a password manager app.
Covering 391 vendors with 1600 passwords, you should be able to find what you’re looking for — for most household computing purposes, as well as many work-related situations. The site also breaks things down by version number of the hardware as well.
The list covers not only devices, but different applications and software packages as well.
… If you’re just trying to help your friend get back into an application or website they forgot their password for, you might try one of these 6 Free Password Recovery Tools for Windows.

It can't hurt!
– emails you with a photo and GPS location whenever someone tries to unlock your phone with the wrong password. Find out if someone is trying to unlock your phone or locate the thief that has stolen it. It’s a completely silent and invisible operation. No warnings are shown to the thief. There is little to no impact on the battery.

For my students. Definitely. Especially for those 9:00AM classes. (Attention Ethical Hackers! I saw that sly smile. Don't you dare!)
– enables you to schedule a wakeup call to your mobile phone. Unlike many other similar services, this one accepts international numbers. And to combat abuse, it tells you in advance that a call has been scheduled, with the option to cancel the wakeup call and even block your number from the system permanently. The call consists of a short automated message, and premium features can be unlocked for a short fee

The perfect article for some smart people I know?
Get the Right People to Notice Your Ideas
… It’s a common question: why bother to blog (or use other forms of social media) when it’s so hard to build a following, and you may toil in obscurity for years before finding an audience?
The first strategy is to write about the people you’d like to connect with (or the companies you’d like to work for).
Next, consider proactively sharing articles you create.
Finally, pursue a “ladder strategy” for your content,
As Chris Brogan’s experience shows, it can take years for your readership to grow organically. It’s unlikely that you’ll be “discovered” right away by a top CEO or VC trawling the Internet. But even from Day One, you can begin to reach key players if you’re strategic about the individuals and ideas you cover, proactively share your content (instead of waiting for others to stumble across it), and seek new and bigger outlets to feature your work. Before long, you won’t need to be discovered; the right people will already know who you are.

Something my Statistics students won''t get in their English classes... (And something my Data Analysis students can profit from)
How to Bet Money on the Nobel Prize in Literature
Ladbrokes is right 50 percent of the time without even knowing the names of the authors the Swedish Academy is considering. How do you do it?
That’s not us; that’s the power of the betting market. The way people are betting changes the odds for any given author such that the one who’s winning turns out usually to be the one they’ve selected. We find that the betting market is a great measure of public opinion because people are actually putting money behind their beliefs. All we do is put the initial list together and then manage the markets as we do a sporting event. It’s the same as football or horse racing, really.
OK, so how do you put the list together?
We read literary blogs, book reviews, Twitter—

How to make a losing team truly dangerous.
NFL Bettors Don't Know What to Do With the Biggest Spread of All Time
Las Vegas bookmakers are calling this Sunday’s game between the undefeated, record-breaking, naked-bootlegging Denver Broncos and the defeated, drown-your-sorrows, sorry-you-have-to-see-this Jacksonville Jaguars the most lopsided NFL game ever, with the Broncos favored by as many as 28 points. The matchup stretches the margins of NFL disparity and, so far, is baffling bettors.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

“We've kept this data online since 1997. The Security fix was quick and easy, but we couldn't be bothered until the data was stolen.”
KAKE reports:
The City of Wichita says it’s [sic] website was hacked over the weekend, compromising the personal information of 29,000 vendors and employees.
In a news release, city officials say hackers may have gained access to Social Security numbers, taxpayer identification numbers and banking information of vendors and employees who were reimbursed by the city for expenses.
The data compromised dates back to 1997. The city says the security issue has been fixed and they are in the process of notifying those who may be affected.
Read more on There does not seem to be any copy of the news release on the city’s site at the time of this posting.
CyberWarNews reports that it was the vendors subdomain which was defaced and the source of the leaked data. Misleadingly, that web page now states:
Thank you for visiting this City of Wichita web site. The site
is unavailable for a scheduled maintenance outage.
We appreciate your patience.
CyberWarNews also provides a description of the leaked databases and reports:
The leak was announced a few hours ago by @AgentCorporatio who appears to be either a member or ex member of the well known Turkish Ajan hacker group but is going by the name Agent Hacker Group.

Something to consider when measuring risk...
Law360 reports that a California Judge ruled Hartford Casualty Insurance Co. cannot dodge coverage for two class actions seeking $20 million over a 2011 Stanford Hospital and Clinics breach. Subscription required to read their coverage. Previous coverage of the breach on this site can be found here and here.

For all my students!!!
Watch Out! All Public Facebook Posts Are Now Fully Searchable
In what is probably causing employers and divorce lawyers to high-five one another and celebrate with copious amounts of booze, Facebook have now announced that all public posts will now be fully searchable, using their cool new Graph Search Engine.
That means that any of your drunken escapades where Facebook has public proof that you woke up hung over and dressed as a chicken the next morning are now going to be seen by every Human Resources department and law court in the country. Congratulations. Would you like fries with that?
Throw in Facebook’s decision to copy Twitter and include hashtags in their search engine searches, and this means that Facebook is suddenly a very rich data mine for anyone looking for information on someone who makes their Facebook posts public. If this describes you to a tee, then it means that you need to make all potentially embarrassing posts “private” immediately.

Stay anonymous by signing up?
Disconnect Search Lets Users Search Privately on Google, Bing, and Yahoo
News release: “Disconnect, a leading developer of popular consumer privacy and security software, today launched its newest service: Disconnect Search ( Developed by an ex-NSA engineer and three ex-Google engineers over the last year, Disconnect Search allows users to easily keep searches private without having to change their behavior. Unlike other private search solutions, Disconnect Search was designed so people can continue to use the web’s most popular search engines. Disconnect’s patent-pending technology also enables users to conduct private searches seamlessly through their browser’s omnibox or address bar… Disconnect Search protects users’ privacy in four ways: (1) search queries are routed through Disconnect’s servers, which makes the queries look like they’re coming from Disconnect instead of a specific user’s computer; (2) search engines are prevented from passing keywords to the sites that are visited from search results pages; (3) all queries are encrypted, which prevents ISPs from seeing them; and (4) Disconnect doesn’t log any keywords, personal information, or IP addresses.”

Logical as devices continue to converge.
– is an app that uses the new IR features of the Samsung Galaxy S4 and other Samsung products. By putting the power buttons of the most common TV brands onto one screen, you can now trick your friends or family by turning OFF/ON multiple TVs at once. This app is for the Samsung Galaxy S4.

Ethics of nullum crimen sine lege Should humans be held to 'smart car' standards?
The Ethics of Autonomous Cars
If a small tree branch pokes out onto a highway and there’s no incoming traffic, we’d simply drift a little into the opposite lane and drive around it. But an automated car might come to a full stop, as it dutifully observes traffic laws that prohibit crossing a double-yellow line. This unexpected move would avoid bumping the object in front, but then cause a crash with the human drivers behind it.
Should we trust robotic cars to share our road, just because they are programmed to obey the law and avoid crashes?

For my students, but it will take a while to review...
Create and Locate Standards-Aligned Video Playlists on OpenEd
OpenEd is a new site that claims to be the world's largest educational resource catalog. On OpenEd you can search for videos, games, and other educational materials. Your searches can be conducted according to content area, grade level, Common Core standard, or a combination of those factors. You can also search according to keyword although when I tried the keyword search option it didn't work well.
As a registered OpenEd user (registration is free and takes less than thirty seconds to complete) you can create courses and playlists of videos and other materials that you find in the OpenEd directory. You can align your courses and playlists to standards. If you choose to align your course to a standard, OpenEd will suggest materials to you.
The biggest benefit of OpenEd seems to be found in the search tools. Rather than searching and hoping to find a video on YouTube that matches the standard(s) you're addressing in a lesson, you can start with the standard and have OpenEd locate videos for you.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

NSA will likely vacuum up these calls too.
Shaun Walker reports:
Athletes and spectators attending the Winter Olympics in Sochi in February will face some of the most invasive and systematic spying and surveillance in the history of the Games, documents shared with the Guardian show.
Russia’s powerful FSB security service plans to ensure that no communication by competitors or spectators goes unmonitored during the event, according to a dossier compiled by a team of Russian investigative journalists looking into preparations for the 2014 Games.
Read more on The Guardian.

Sometimes labor is faster to respond to new technologies than creating new monitoring tech. On the other hand, it beats unemployment insurance.
AFP reports:
China is employing two million people to keep tabs on people’s Internet use, according to state media, in a rare glimpse into the secret world of Beijing’s vast online surveillance operation.
Many of the employees are simply performing keyword searches to monitor the tens of millions of messages being posted daily on popular social media and microblogging sites, the Beijing News said.
The exact number of people employed to trawl through the Internet in a bid to prevent social unrest and limit criticism of the ruling Community party has long been the subject of speculation.
Read more on France24

Know the players...
Who Is Fighting On Your Behalf Against The NSA And For Privacy?
Mozilla The non-profit backs the website

Always amusing to read economic forecasts.
NYT Op-Ed – When Wealth Disappears
Stephen D. King, chief economist at HSBC:We are reaching end times for Western affluence. Between 2000 and 2007, ahead of the Great Recession, the United States economy grew at a meager average of about 2.4 percent a year — a full percentage point below the 3.4 percent average of the 1980s and 1990s. From 2007 to 2012, annual growth amounted to just 0.8 percent. In Europe, as is well known, the situation is even worse. Both sides of the North Atlantic have already succumbed to a Japan-style “lost decade.” ..The underlying reason for the stagnation is that a half-century of remarkable one-off developments in the industrialized world will not be repeated. First was the unleashing of global trade, after a period of protectionism and isolationism between the world wars, enabling manufacturing to take off across Western Europe, North America and East Asia. A boom that great is unlikely to be repeated in advanced economies. Second, financial innovations that first appeared in the 1920s, notably consumer credit, spread in the postwar decades. Post-crisis, the pace of such borrowing is muted, and likely to stay that way. Third, social safety nets became widespread, reducing the need for households to save for unforeseen emergencies. Those nets are fraying now, meaning that consumers will have to save more for ever longer periods of retirement. Fourth, reduced discrimination flooded the labor market with the pent-up human capital of women. Women now make up a majority of the American labor force; that proportion can rise only a little bit more, if at all.”

One of the great business/economic thinkers...
Michael Porter: Why business can be good at solving social problems
Why do we turn to nonprofits, NGOs and governments to solve society's biggest problems? Michael Porter admits he's biased, as a business school professor, but he wants you to hear his case for letting business try to solve massive problems like climate change and access to water. Why? Because when business solves a problem, it makes a profit -- which lets that solution grow.
Michael E. Porter wrote the books on modern competitive strategy for business. Now he is thinking deeply about the intersection between society and corporate interests

Google logs record 21.5M URL takedown requests in September

For my students
Education Pays 2013
Education Pays 2013: The Benefits of Higher Education for Individuals and Society “documents the ways in which both individuals and society as a whole benefit from increased levels of education. The report examines differences in the earnings and employment patterns of U.S. adults with different levels of education. It compares health-related behaviors, reliance on public assistance programs, civic participation, and indicators of the well-being of the next generation. Financial benefits are easier to document than nonpecuniary benefits, but the latter may be as important to students themselves, as well as to the society in which they participate. In addition to the financial and nonpecuniary benefits of higher education, Education Pays 2013 examines the increases and the persistent disparities across demographic groups in college participation and completion.”

Use metadata and social networks just like the NSA!
– Identify millions of unknown callers before you even answer the call with Contactive’s Universal Caller ID! It collects information from your social media networks, publicly available sources, and Contactive’s Global Directory to show who’s calling before you even answer the call.

Now that's an App I never would have believed possible.
– Driving on under inflated tires can increase your car’s fuel consumption and puts both driver and passengers in unnecessary risk. TireCheck enables drivers to check their tire pressure in a fun and contactless manner, simply by using their iOS device. Use Tirecheck and start saving immediately.
Download this app and check your tire pressure with your smartphone by simply photographing your tires!

For my stew-dents
Five Visual Dictionaries and Thesauri for Students
Like all teachers I have found that the right visual aids can make all the difference between students understanding a term or walking away shaking their heads. This pattern is carries over to learning new vocabulary words and or seeing the connections between similar words. Here are five visual dictionaries and thesauri that can help your students learn new vocabulary words.
Got Brainy is a site that I've used since it launched a few years ago. Got Brainy features two sections; Brainy Flix and Brainy Pics. Brainy Pics is comprised of images that demonstrate the meaning of a word. Most of the pictures are submitted by students. Brainy Flix is comprised of short videos that illustrate the meaning of words. Just like with Brainy Pics, most of the videos are submitted by students.
Snappy Words is a free visual dictionary and thesaurus. Enter any word or phrase into the Snappy Words search box and it will create a web of related words, phrases, and definitions. Hover your cursor over any word or phrase in the web to read its definition. Click and drag any node to explore other branches of the web. Double click on a node and it will generate new web branches.
Image Dictionary is a Chrome extension that enables users to right-click on a word and quickly find an image that is representative of that word. To use the Image Dictionary extension just highlight a word on a webpage, right-click, and select "image search." The images that are shown come from Wikipedia. Image Dictionary could be a handy little extension to use when you want to quickly find an image to represent a plant, animal, or perhaps a broad topic.
Word Sense is a neat little service that is one part dictionary and one part thesaurus. When you enter a word into Word Sense it will show you the definition(s) for the word as well as the connections to associated and similar words. You can see any of the definitions of the connected words by simply clicking on them to pop-up a definition.
Visuwords uses a web design to show users the definitions of words and the connections between words. To use Visuwords just type a word into the search box and Visuwords will generate a web of related words. Place your cursor over any of the words and the definition appears. Use the color-coded key to understand the connections between the words in any web