Friday, February 21, 2014

Does it make a difference how or where fingerprints are stored? What are the rules for accessing the database?
Martin Gijzemijter reports an important update to a case launched by Privacy First that I’ve followed on this blog since 2009:
Dutch authorities have been prevented from storing citizens’ fingerprints in a central database following a ruling this week by the Court of Justice in the Hague.
In the Netherlands, individuals’ fingerprints are gathered by the local municipality when they apply for a new passport. The government had proposed gathering those different sets of fingerprints into a central database, which could then be accessed by police for the purposes of matching fingerprints found in criminal investigations.
Read more on ZDNet.

For my Computer Security students.
Molly Woods describes a number of smartphone apps that can help protect your privacy in this New York Times article. Here are two snippets from her comments:
Android currently has the best options available for secure messaging. My favorite is the free TextSecure from WhisperSystems. It encrypts text messages between users, as long as you both have the app installed and you use it for texting instead of your regular app. The texts are encrypted as they’re sent back and forth and stay encrypted when they are stored on your phone.
If you want encrypted messaging across iOS and Android, try ChatSecure, created by the Guardian Project, a collection of developers, activists and hackers who create tools for more secure communications. This free app doesn’t replace texting; instead, it lets you send encrypted messages over a number of existing chat services like Facebook Chat, Google Talk, Google Hangouts, Jabber and some others.
You must have an account with one of those, and your recipient must also install ChatSecure. But since the app is free and available on virtually any device, it’s a good way to encrypt messaging across some common chat services. ChatSecure is also open source.
Read the full article on NYT.

Perspective. Some of the things banks are doing to stay competitive are interesting. (See, this works both ways) “Change, the only constant!”
Banks’ New Competitors: Starbucks, Google, and Alibaba
It took computer company Apple only five years to become America’s largest music retailer, and just seven to become the world’s largest. In 18 short months, search engine Google erased 85 percent of the market cap of the top GPS companies after launching its mobile maps app. Alibaba, China’s equivalent to Amazon, became a $16 billion lender in less than three years, and China’s largest seller of money market funds in only seven months.
Companies are venturing into other industries for growth with increasing regularity. In an Accenture survey released at Davos this year, 60 percent of executives said their company intends to make these types of moves over the next five years based on alliances, joint ventures and acquisitions.
This represents a major challenge to the banking sector where, in developed markets, growth and profitability are still at about half of pre-crisis levels. As banks recover from the downturn, non-banks are taking advantage by proceeding aggressively with digital innovations and capturing more and more of the banking value chain. Accenture estimates that competition from non-banks could erode one-third of traditional bank revenues by 2020.

Perspective, but only that? It is useful to look at problems from several viewpoints.
Welcome to Algorithmic Prison
Corporations and government are using information about us in a new – and newly insidious – way. Employing massive data files, much of the information taken from the Internet, they profile us, predict our good or bad character, credit worthiness, behavior, tastes, and spending habits – and take actions accordingly.
As a result, millions of Americans are now virtually incarcerated in algorithmic prisons.
Some can no longer get loans or cash checks. Others are being offered only usurious credit card interest rates. Many have trouble finding employment because of their Internet profiles. Others may have trouble purchasing property, life, and automobile insurance because of algorithmic predictions. Algorithms may select some people for government audits, while leaving others to find themselves undergoing gratuitous and degrading airport screening.

For my Ethical Hackers.
Steven Aftergood writes:
For the first time the U.S. Army has produced official doctrine on military activities in cyberspace, including offensive, defensive and network operations.
A new Army field manual “provides overarching doctrinal guidance and direction for conducting cyber electromagnetic activities (CEMA)…. It provides enough guidance for commanders and their staffs to develop innovative approaches to seize, retain, and exploit advantages throughout an operational environment.”
It is “the first doctrinal field manual of its kind.” See FM 3-38, Cyber Electromagnetic Activities, February 2014.
The manual introduces the fundamentals of cyber operations, or “cyber electromagnetic activities” (CEMA), defining terms and identifying important operational factors and constraints.
Read more on FAS’s Secrecy News.

For my Android toting students... Keep up with your spreadsheets.
Android Apps on Sale for 20 February 2014: OfficeSuite Pro, ROM Toolbox Pro, and Ultimate Backup (Yes, Pro)
Each week we scour current Google Play promotions and cherry-pick the best of the best. This week we have a crazy price drop on OfficeSuite Pro 7, as well as nice sales on ROM Toolbox and other utilities.
OfficeSuite Pro 7($14.99, now $1)
Looking for an awesome office suite for Android for free? Well, QuickOffice is entirely free. [and works on iOS, too Bob] OfficeSuite Pro, its competitor, still costs money – but this week we’re seeing a steep, steep discount. It comes with a font pack, supports Open Office, integrates with the Box app, and more.

There is motivation and then there is MOTIVATION!
Tomorrow is Canada vs. USA in the Men's Hockey Semifinal. This is a Billboard in Chicago.

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