Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Good PR, but this was already in the works.
Target Making $100 Million Push Toward Chip-Enabled Smart Cards
In his testimony before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary in Washington, D.C., Target Corp. Chief Financial Officer John Mulligan, said on Tuesday that the company would accelerate its implementation of smart card technology in an effort to reduce credit and debit card fraud stemming from customers shopping in its stores.
… During his testimony, Mulligan said Target will equip its own "REDcards" and all of its store card readers in the U.S. with chip-enabled smart-card technology by the first quarter of 2015, more than six months ahead of previous plans.

A tiny hack, but one that caught my attention. Poor system design, but if my “e-check” was stolen while I was teaching an Ethical Hacking class, can imagine my response?
Darlene Storm reports:
No matter how much you love your job, very few people work for free. About 80% of Americans receive their paychecks via direct deposit, but if a hacker manages to reroute your paycheck to his or her account, is that just tough luck and you don’t get paid? That’s basically what a faculty member at Western Michigan University (WMU) was told.
Read more on Computerworld.
[From the article:
On Dec. 20, WMU issued him a paycheck advance, Cool said, which he is paying back in four installments. However, he said he believes the university should reimburse him for his loss, since it was its system that was hacked. Cool said he filed a grievance last week with the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.
… Last fall after "two separate incidents of WMU employees having their paychecks stolen electronically," the university "instituted a process so that, whenever someone goes into their account and changes financial information, such as a routing number, they immediately get an email asking if that is a legitimate change." According to Cheryl Roland, executive director of university relations, "We know that happened in this case [theft of Cool’s paycheck]."
Yet Cool said he was teaching a class and “never saw the email warning him his routing number had changed. The hackers remained in Cool's account for approximately 40 minutes, Cool said detectives told him. WMU's information technology department later retrieved the email from his trash.” Cool added, "If the hackers are this smart that they can go in there, wait and delete the email, you would have to be watching your computer almost continuously."

One of the pictures released was Nadella in a hoodie. Does that suggest Microsoft will become more Facebook-like?
Microsoft names Nadella as CEO; Gates out as chairman
Microsoft announced Tuesday that Satya Nadella will become the third chief executive in the company’s history as it moves into the mobile era.
The company also announced that co-founder Bill Gates will step down as chairman of the board to take on a role as “technology adviser” once his term expires. Longtime Microsoft board member John Thompson, who led the CEO search, will assume the role as chairman.

(Related) Not very useful, since he uses every current buzzword.
Satya Nadella drops some hints about Microsoft’s future
… "I believe over the next decade computing will become even more ubiquitous and intelligence will become ambient," Nadella wrote. "This will be made possible by an ever-growing network of connected devices, incredible computing capacity from the cloud, insights from big data, and intelligence from machine learning."

Should they have said, “Probably, but we don't know until we look for him specifically?”
US Official Won't Say Whether Obama Phone Data is Collected

How was medical leave authorized? The employer had to know something from some “official” source. Can the Human Resource department tell the employees manager nothing? Looks like this one told the manager way too much.
Meghan Cowan reports:
A recent decision dealing with the collection, use and disclosure of employees’ personal information provides a noteworthy lesson for employers when managing sensitive employee medical information.
In a December 2013 decision of the Alberta Information and Privacy Commissioner, an employee made a complaint under Alberta’s privacy legislation, the Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA), alleging that her personal employee information had been improperly collected, used and disclosed by her employer.
[From the article:
A foreman called the employee to inquire about her absence from work and her possible date of return. In the discussion, the foreman indicated he had read the employee’s personnel file, which contained a letter from her insurance provider denying her disability claim. The foreman also discussed the employee’s condition with a co-worker who was a friend of the employee. In that discussion, he disclosed that the employee’s disability claim had been denied.

Inevitable, when the party in power believes that government should do everything (people don't know what's good for them) and they also believe people should be made to pay for government.
IRS Criminal Prosecutions Rise 23% Under Obama
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on February 4, 2014
Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse: ”During the Obama administration, the number of criminal prosecutions referred each year by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has risen by nearly a quarter — 23.4 percent — over the Bush years. Prosecutions in fiscal year 2013 alone are up 30.6 percent from the previous year. Convictions are also drawing slightly longer average prison terms — 27 months under Obama versus 25 months under Bush, according to case-by-case information obtained by TRAC under the Freedom of Information Act from the Executive Office for United States Attorneys. Among U.S. federal judicial districts, Alaska registered the highest per capita rate of IRS prosecutions, with 53 per million people as compared with 6.4 prosecutions per million nationally. Second was the Middle District of Alabama (Montgomery) with 30 per million, followed by the District of Columbia with 27 per million. For more details, including a timeline of prosecutions, top lead charges and top ten district rankings, see the report.”

Free is good, and increasingly possible.
European Law via WorldLII
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on February 4, 2014
EuroLII – “Securing widespread free access to legal information (legislation, cases, legal literature) has become important globally. Europe is an example of coexistence of different legal systems where a vast amount of legal information content is provided at Community and national level. Free access facilities for comparative law research is a crucial issue, both in relation to the law of European institutions, and national law. Free access to European law transposed into national law could significantly contribute to a better establishment of the rule of law and to an overall consolidation of national legal institutions around Europe.”

(Related) Also free, but a bit harder to search if you aren't sure who paid for the research.
Clearinghouse for the Open Research of the United States
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on February 4, 2014
“The Clearinghouse for the Open Research of the United States (CHORUS) is a not-for-profit public-private partnership to increase public access to peer-reviewed publications that report on federally funded research. Conceived by publishers, CHORUS:

(Related) Even more free stuff!
– is currently making 1.67TB of research data available. Sharing data is hard. Emails have size limits, and setting up servers is too much work. We’ve designed a distributed system for sharing enormous datasets – for researchers, by researchers. The result is a scalable, secure, and fault-tolerant repository for data, with blazing fast download speeds.

Just what Congress needs!
District of Columbia city council votes to decriminalize pot

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