Thursday, January 23, 2014

Makes me wonder if law enforcement is doing anything else?
Brian X. Chen reports:
Verizon Communications on Wednesday published a so-called transparency report describing when and why it receives requests for customer data, like phone records or emails, from law enforcement and government agencies.
Verizon is the first major phone carrier to publish a report of this kind — other carriers, like AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile US, have yet to take a similar step.
Verizon said it received roughly 320,000 requests for customer information last year from law enforcement agencies in the United States, including 164,000 subpoenas, 36,000 warrants and 70,000 court orders. It also received 1,000 to 2,000 requests from the National Security Agency.
Read more on the New York Times.

Perspective for Student Privacy Day...
DJ Pangburn reports:
The Online Trust Alliance (OTA) yesterday announced its 2014 Data Protection & Breach Readiness Guide, and within it were some statistics that truly boggle the mind. Working on data from the Open Security Foundation and the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, the OTA estimated that over 740 million online records were exposed in 2013, the worst year for data breaches in history. That’s stark news in advance of Data Privacy Day, which is coming January 28.
Read more on Motherboard.

If not new, at least a summary of what everyone (else) is (or should be) doing?
Staying Safer in Cyberspace: Cloud Security on the Horizon
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on January 22, 2014
Staying Safer in Cyberspace: Cloud Security on the Horizon, January 2014. Karen S. Evans, Julie M. Anderson, Brian D. Shevenaug.
“Cloud computing brings with it both risks and rewards. In recent years, senior Federal officials from the Secretary of Defense to the Director of National Intelligence and even the President have stressed that securing our information systems and computer networks is a crucial element of the nation’s security architecture. At the same time, the Federal government is turning to cloud computing to resolve some of the problems that have chronically plagued its information technology (IT) environment. But until now, efforts to implement cybersecurity and cloud computing initiatives have been too fragmented and lacked the type of overarching coordination needed to mitigate the risks while reaping the rewards. This paper offers a plan to help agency CIOs realize the benefits of cloud technology while meeting current Federal cybersecurity requirements.”

MIT Technology Review – Data and Decision Making
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on January 22, 2014
“In this business report, MIT Technology Review explores a big question: how are data and the analytical tools to manipulate it changing decision making today? On Nasdaq, trading bots exchange a billion shares a day. Online, advertisers bid on hundreds of thousands of keywords a minute, in deals greased by heuristic solutions and optimization models rather than two-martini lunches. The number of variables and the speed and volume of transactions are just too much for human decision makers. When there’s a person in the loop, technology takes a softer approach (see “Software That Augments Human Thinking”). Think of recommendation engines on the Web that suggest products to buy or friends to catch up with. This works because Internet companies maintain statistical models of each of us, our likes and habits, and use them to decide what we see. In this report, we check in with LinkedIn, which maintains the world’s largest database of résumés—more than 200 million of them. One of its newest offerings is University Pages, which crunches résumé data to offer students predictions about where they’ll end up working depending on what college they go to (see “LinkedIn Offers College Choices by the Numbers”). These smart systems, and their impact, are prosaic next to what’s planned. Take IBM. The company is pouring $1 billion into its Watson computer system, the one that answered questions correctly on the game show Jeopardy! IBM now imagines computers that can carry on intelligent phone calls with customers, or provide expert recommendations after digesting doctors’ notes. IBM wants to provide “cognitive services”—computers that think, or seem to (see “Facing Doubters, IBM Expands Plans for Watson”). Andrew Jennings, chief analytics officer for FICO, says automating human decisions is only half the story. Credit scores had another major impact. They gave lenders a new way to measure the state of their portfolios—and to adjust them by balancing riskier loan recipients with safer ones. Now, as other industries get exposed to predictive data, their approach to business strategy is changing, too. In this report, we look at one technique that’s spreading on the Web, called A/B testing. It’s a simple tactic—put up two versions of a Web page and see which one performs better (see “Seeking Edge, Websites Turn to Experiments” and “Startups Embrace a Way to Fail Fast”)…”

For my students
eCampus: Easily Rent or Buy Affordable Textbooks, And Sell Them Back
Another outrageously-priced textbook? You’ve got to be kidding! How much of this are you going to take? You know there’s a better option than getting ripped off by your university bookstore, right? There are several reputable websites for saving students money on textbooks, eCampus being one of the very best.
Did you know you can rent textbooks, instead of purchasing them? Or perhaps you have a pile of textbooks you no longer need, eCampus will buy them from you. Whether you want to buy, rent or sell your textbooks, eCampus is one way to beat college on a budget.

For my MBA students. Dilbert on instinctive (follow your gut) management.

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