Wednesday, February 26, 2014

As expected.
MPR News reports that several Minnesota banks have sued Target over its recent data breach: The First Farmers & Merchants National Banks of Grand Meadow, Cannon Falls, Luverne, Fairmont, and Brownsdale.
And for those keeping count, MPR reports:
So far, Target now faces 22 data breach lawsuits in the Minnesota U.S. District Court alone. The cases would no doubt be consolidated if they go forward.
Read more on KARE11

I think this may be a very viable “take over the world” strategy. It's certainly worth discussing with my students. (Statistically, half the world is below average.)
Facebook’s Plan to Conquer the World — With Crappy Phones and Bad Networks
… At Mobile World Congress today, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced a new innovation lab where developers will be able to test the kinds of challenging connectivity conditions they might expect to find in the developing world–without even leaving California. He was describing something that had its roots in this trip to Africa. Facebook had already conquered America. Now, it wanted to take on the rest of the world–especially the parts where people weren’t even online yet. The first step in that journey was to score a phone. Something cheap. Something you couldn’t get in the US.
Srinivasan and George Wang, another of Facebook’s Android project managers, rose early and headed to an electronics market on the outskirts of Lagos. Called Computer Village, it sprawls across several square blocks just off of Kodesoh Street in Ikeja and is chock full of every type of device imaginable, new and used, genuine and counterfeit, legal and decidedly not.

Perhaps it will say that making videos of students in their bedrooms is a bad idea. Same for strip searches, expulsion for blogging, forcing students to reveal their phone passwords, and all the other things I blog about.
Benjamin Herold writes:
Seeking to help schools and districts better protect students’ privacy, the U.S. Department of Education released new guidance Tuesday on the proper use, storage, and security of the massive amounts of data being generated by new, online educational resources.
The guidelines, produced by the department’s privacy technical assistance center, highlight the rapidly evolving, often-murky world of educational technology and student data privacy: “It depends” is the department’s short answer to two major questions related to the laws governing the sharing of sensitive student information with third-party vendors.
The new federal guidelines are non-binding and contain no new regulations, reflecting a desire to encourage “self-policing” by industry and better policies and practices by school systems as first steps towards shoring up students’ privacy protections.
Read more on Education Week.
Pardon me while I yawn, but non-binding, non-enforceable “guidelines” have done basically nothing in the area of privacy protection. Unless we see regulations with teeth to protect student and parent privacy and data security, we’re just wasting time.

Is this a viable strategy for Facebook? If Google was in the bidding for WhatsApp, perhaps so! I wonder if my students know what a “dial tone” is, or why we say “Dial” at all?
Mark Zuckerberg wants Facebook to be the 'dial tone for the Internet'
Facebook Inc Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg took a victory lap at the world's largest mobile technology conference in Barcelona on Monday, after beating out Google Inc in a $19 billion acquisition of free messaging service WhatsApp. But he faces bigger hurdles on the horizon.
Just 18 months after appearing at risk of getting crushed by the swelling mobile wave, the No. 1 social network is riding high. It gets a huge chunk of ad revenue on world-wide users of smartphones and tablets, from virtually nothing several years ago.
Now, Zuckerberg's purchase of WhatsApp - while raising eyebrows with the hefty price paid for a company that boasts 450 million users but has little revenue - places Facebook at the heart of smartphone communications.
"In the U.S. you can dial 911 and get access to basic services," Zuckerberg said, referring to the country's national emergency services phone number.
"We want to create a similar kind of dial tone for the Internet," he said, citing messaging, search and weather information among the essential online services that he said people throughout the world should be able to access on Internet-connected phones.

(Related) Perhaps “we want to rule the world” is not the best way to avoid attention.
Facebook-WhatsApp deal may spark probes
Facebook Inc.’s plan to buy WhatsApp Inc. for as much as $19 billion risks triggering privacy probes across the European Union as watchdogs seek to know how the mobile-messaging startup’s treasure trove of client data will be used, the European Union’s top privacy regulator said yesterday.
… The main concern for privacy regulators is the collection of data from its users’ address books on their phones when they download the application, Kohnstamm said.
The risk with such a database is that “it is tempting to use this data” for a completely different purpose, said Kohnstamm.
The company’s “collection of data of people that aren’t using WhatsApp is extreme and is not compliant with Dutch and European law.”

This could be amusing (and useful)
The World’s Constitutions to Read, Search and Compare
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on February 25, 2014
“New constitutions are written every year. The people who write these important documents need to read and analyze texts from other places. Constitute offers access to the world’s constitutions that users can systematically compare them across a broad set of topics — using a modern, clean interface.
HOW TO USE CONSTITUTE? Constitute allows you to interact with the world’s constitutions in a few different ways.
  • Quickly find relevant passages. The Comparative Constitutions Project has tagged passages of each constitution with a topic — e.g., “right to privacy” or “equality regardless of gender” — so you can quickly find relevant excerpts on a particular subject, no matter how they are worded. You can browse the 300+ topics in the expandable drawer on the left of the page, or see suggested topics while typing in the search bar (which also lets you perform free-text queries).
  • Filter searches. Want to view results for a specific region or time period? You can limit your search by country or by date using the buttons under the search bar.
  • Save for further analysis. To download or print excerpts from multiple constitutions, click the “pin” button next to each expanded passage you want to save. You can then view and download your pinned excerpts in the drawer on the right.”

Copyright free?
Introducing eBooks from the Federal Depository Library Program
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on February 25, 2014
“To help meet the needs of the Federal Depository Library (FDL) community, the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) has made eBooks available in the Catalog of U.S. Government Publications (CGP). These titles are joining the growing number of online resources that have been a vital part of the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) for over 20 years. Users can download GPO-provided files of eBooks free of charge, for use on various eBook reading devices. GPO’s goal is to expand and provide greater access to U.S. Federal Government content. eBook titles can be accessed via catalog records available in the CGP. Catalog records include descriptive information, as well as Persistent Uniform Resource Locators (PURLs) that link to the eBook titles. PURLs provide web links that can be reliably cited in other publications. Each CGP record displays the available formats for a title—.mobi, .epub, as well as other digital formats. Every month, newly-acquired eBook titles are added to the CGP for public access.”

A markup language (lots of templates here) that makes it easier to write complex Math formulas!
– Keep your LaTeX collaborators up to date by letting everyone access and edit the same LaTeX document. ShareLaTeX is the easiest LaTeX editor to get started if you’ve never used LaTeX before. Access the LaTeX editor and compile your LaTeX documents from any computer.

A Chrome App (based in Germany) that lets you pretend to be in another country...
– Unblocks websites. Encrypts your browser traffic. Wifi & hacker protection. ZenMate is free, easy to install and use! Here’s what you’ll get through the ZenMate VPN proxy service – total privacy, they encrypt all your browser traffic. Total freedom – forget location restrictions.

Dilbert illustrates moderate “Fear of public speaking”

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