Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Probably “old school” crooks who didn't want to be bothered with that newfangled technology (laptops and thumb drives). No doubt they were looking for paper records rather than Backup files. Note that even your Backups should be encrypted!
Lawyers for Actelis Networks have notified the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office of the theft of two safes containing some Human Resources files with personal information.
In their notification dated December 13, they explain that two safes with password-protected files were stolen on December 7 or 8. The theft was reported to law enforcement.
Files in the safe contained employment-related records and records pertaining to the business, including individuals’ names, contact information, and Social Security numbers.
AN’s Human Resources department is located in Fremont, California, but the notification doesn’t actually say where the theft occurred.
Those affected were notified by letter on December 14 and were advised how to protect themselves. They were also offered free credit monitoring services.

What is the strategy here? Security used to mean you had to prove your laptop was in fact a computer and not a container for weapons. That was reasonable. Now it seems we are looking for the occasional very stupid terrorist or pornographer who carries (obvious) incriminating files across the border. The obvious counter is to store all your work in the Cloud (or email all your data to yourself) and keep only a copy of the Constitution on your laptop and your lawyers phone number on your phone.
From the ACLU:
BROOKLYN – A federal court today dismissed a lawsuit arguing that the government should not be able to search and copy people’s laptops, cell phones, and other devices at border checkpoints without reasonable suspicion. An appeal is being considered. Government documents show that thousands of innocent American citizens are searched when they return from trips abroad.
“We’re disappointed in today’s decision, which allows the government to conduct intrusive searches of Americans’ laptops and other electronics at the border without any suspicion that those devices contain evidence of wrongdoing,” said Catherine Crump, the American Civil Liberties Union attorney who argued the case in July 2011. “Suspicionless searches of devices containing vast amounts of personal information cannot meet the standard set by the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. Unfortunately, these searches are part of a broader pattern of aggressive government surveillance that collects information on too many innocent people, under lax standards, and without adequate oversight.”
The ACLU, the New York Civil Liberties Union, and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers filed the lawsuit in September 2010 against the Department of Homeland Security. DHS asserts the right to look though the contents of a traveler’s electronic devices, and to keep the devices or copy the contents in order to continue searching them once the traveler has been allowed to enter the U.S., regardless of whether the traveler is suspected of any wrongdoing.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Pascal Abidor, a dual French-American citizen who had his laptop searched and confiscated at the Canadian border; the National Press Photographers Association, whose members include television and still photographers, editors, students and representatives of the photojournalism industry; and the NACDL, which has attorney members in 25 countries.
Abidor was travelling from Montreal to New York on an Amtrak train in May 2010 when he had his laptop searched and confiscated by customs officers. Abidor, an Islamic Studies Ph.D. student at McGill University, was questioned, taken off the train in handcuffs, and held in a cell for several hours before being released without charge. When his laptop was returned 11 days later, there was evidence that many of his personal files had been searched, including photos and chats with his girlfriend.
In June, in response to an ACLU Freedom of Information Act request, DHS released its December 2011 Civil Rights/Civil Liberties Impact Assessment of its electronics search policy, concluding that suspicionless searches do not violate the First or Fourth Amendments. The report said that a reasonable suspicion standard is inadvisable because it could lead to litigation and the forced divulgence of national security information, and would prevent border officers from acting on inchoate “hunches,” a method that it says has sometimes proved fruitful.

Interesting groups of people. Perhaps a future Privacy Foundation speaker or two?
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on December 31, 2013

The Constitution and its Amendments define SOME of our rights of citizens. Clearly they need to change as we determine that those rights change. Technology merely enables new ways to violate our rights. The Amendment need not change, but we do need to recognize the new threats.
Jennifer Granick writes:
When should courts follow legal precedent and when should the law change? This is a debate that underlies this month’s contrary decisions about the constitutionality of government collection of telephone call metadata under section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act. And despite this week’s dual holdings in favor of the government—on this issue and on the issue of laptop border searches—a judicial consensus may be emerging that the Fourth Amendment must evolve along with technology and government surveillance capabilities.
Read more on Just Security.

It's the unpredictable ones that concern me.
Phil Lee writes:
If you thought that 2013 was a big year for privacy, then prepare yourself: it was only the beginning. Many of the privacy stories whose winding narratives began in 2013 will continue to take unexpected twists and turns throughout 2014, with several poised to reach dramatic conclusions – or otherwise spawn spin-offs and sequels.
Here are just a few of the stories likely to dominate the privacy headlines in 2014:
Read his predictions on Privacy and Information Law Blog. if we see one here in Colorado, it's a target.
Feds announce test sites for drone aircraft
The Federal Aviation Administration announced six states on Monday that will develop test sites for drones, a critical next step for the march of the unmanned aircraft into U.S. skies.
Alaska, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Texas and Virginia will host the research sites, the agency said.

(Related) A much more interesting and detailed paper on the drones in our future.
DOD Unmanned Systems Integrated Roadmap FY2013-2038
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on December 31, 2013
“The purpose of this Roadmap is to articulate a vision and strategy for the continued development, production, test, training, operation, and sustainment of unmanned systems technology across DoD. This Unmanned Systems Integrated Roadmap establishes a technological vision for the next 25 years and outlines actions and technologies for DoD and industry to pursue to intelligently and affordably align with this vision.”
“Executive Summary - Unmanned systems continue to deliver new and enhanced battlefield capabilities to the warfighter. While the demand for unmanned systems continues unabated today, a number of factors will influence unmanned program development in the future. Three primary forces are driving the Department of Defense’s (DoD) approach in planning for and developing unmanned systems.
1. Combat operations in Southwest Asia have demonstrated the military utility of unmanned systems on today’s battlefields and have resulted in the expeditious integration of unmanned technologies into the joint force structure. [Military vs. CIA? Bob]
2. Downward economic forces will continue to constrain Military Department budgets for the foreseeable future. [CIA has the budget Bob]
3. The changing national security environment poses unique challenges. A strategic shift in national security to the Asia-Pacific Theater presents different operational considerations based on environment and potential adversary capabilities that may require unmanned systems to operate in anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) areas where freedom to operate is contested. [China isn't going to like drones overflying “their islands.” Bob]

Sizing up the competition. I like their “site of your choice” option for some classes.

I'm doomed. I was hired to teach Computer Security, with a promise that I could teach a few Business courses as well, but for the last year all I've been scheduled for is math, math and more math. Apparently my students think I can make it understandable. I'm doomed. (Maybe I just point them to good resources?)
NRICH - An Excellent Source of Math Lesson Activities
At the end of yesterday's post of ten resources for high school and middle school math teachers I asked for suggestions for additional resources. This morning Colleen Young (whose blog is a must-read for math teachers) emailed me with the suggestion of NRICH.
NRICH is a provider of mathematics curricula and lesson plans covering everything from basic addition through advanced algebra and geometry.
On NRICH you can find dozens of posters to download and print. Each of the posters displays a mathematics "trick" or challenge question. Teachers can download and print any of the posters in the collection. Each poster in the collection is linked to a problem page that contains notes for teachers using the posters.

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