Saturday, February 22, 2014

Sounds good, unless someone (Russia) decides to support (with tanks) the elected government. Recent popular revolutions (Egypt, Syria) haven't been supported by all those governments (including ours) that were cheering the protesters on.
Ukraine opposition 'controls Kiev'
Ukrainian protesters have been able to enter the president's official and residential buildings in Kiev, after they were abandoned by police.
They have stationed guards outside the entrances to offices, while the interior ministry has said in a statement that it supports the people.
President Viktor Yanukovych's aides say he is in Kharkhiv, close to Russia.

Something is not quite right here.
South Korea to develop Stuxnet-like cyberweapons
The country's defence ministry wants to develop weapons similar to Stuxnet, the software designed to attack Iranian nuclear enrichment plants.
… The first part of South Korea's plan, which is continuing, is to conduct online propaganda operations by posting to North Korean social networking and social media services.
"Once the second phase plan is established, the cybercommand will carry out comprehensive cyberwarfare missions," a senior ministry official said.
The South Korean cyberwarfare command, which will use the weapons, has been dogged by accusations of using its psychological warfare capabilities on its own population to try to influence voters in the run-up to the 2012 presidential elections.

Strange that this was not an issue until Bloomberg and Bill Gates started to gather student data. Or perhaps not so strange.
Student privacy is becoming a hot issue this year, and we’re seeing more bills intended to protect the security and privacy of student information. In today’s news, there are items from California, Maryland, Wyoming, and Wisconsin of note.
For California, Natasha Singer reported:
A leading California lawmaker plans to introduce state legislation on Thursday that would shore up privacy and security protections for the personal information of students in elementary through high school, a move that could alter business practices across the nearly $8 billion education technology software industry.
The bill would prohibit education-related websites, online services and mobile apps for kindergartners through 12th graders from compiling, using or sharing the personal information of those students in California for any reason other than what the school intended or for product maintenance.
Read more in the New York Times. You can find the senator’s press release on the proposed legislation here.
In Maryland, John Patti reports:
There is a hearing set for today in the Maryland House of Delegates that deals with student privacy.
It would set minimum standards for the collection of information from students by cloud computing providers. These are private companies that promise to help students learn by providing software and online services.
Read more on WBAL and this OpEd by privacy attorney Bradley S. Shear.
In Wyoming, Associated Press reports:
The House Judiciary Committee on Thursday narrowed the focus of a bill that would require parental consent before education and personal data can be collected on children in the Wyoming school system.
The panel approved House Bill 179 with a 7-2 vote. The proposal now heads to the House floor for more debate.
Before passing the bill, the panel amended it to clarify that only data collected by the state Department of Education would require the consent. There were concerns that the original bill could have prevented a local school from collecting student grades and other basic information.
Read more on Billings Gazette.
In Wisconsin, Associated Press reports:
The Wisconsin Assembly has passed a bill that designed to keep student data secure.
Republican Rep. Don Pridemore’s proposal would require the state Department of Public Instruction to post online the data points it collects on students and develop a plan to keep the students’ data secure, including steps for dealing with a breach.
Read more on The Republic.
And earlier this week, in Kansas, Celia Llopis-Jepsen reported:
A proposal to create a Student Data Privacy Act in Kansas drew support Tuesday from the state’s school board association.
Mark Tallman, a lobbyist for the Kansas Association of School Boards, told the Senate Education Committee his group supports the bill in hopes that it will give parents peace of mind concerning data about their children.
Senate Bill 367 would codify restrictions on sharing student data and on collecting biometric data from students, such as their DNA sequences.
These are all encouraging signs. Eventually, I suspect we’ll have the same kind of patchwork quilt problem we have with data breach laws, but this is an important start in protecting sensitive student information and I’m glad to see it, even though I may not agree with all of the bills.

I'm guessing you get lots of “What happens in Guantanamo stays in Guantanamo” ads...
Glyn Moody writes:
By now, most people who shop online are aware of the way in which companies try to tailor their offers based on your previous purchasing and browsing history. Being followed by strangely relevant ads everywhere is bad enough, but what if the government started using the same approach in its communications with you? That’s one of the key ideas explored in an interesting new article by Zeynep Tufekci, strikingly presented on Medium, with the title “Is the Internet good or bad? Yes.”
Read more on TechDirt.

Strange choices, since we know that jihadists tend to stay away from mosques, the Muslim community and radical Imams in particular, to avoid attracting attention.
Adam Serwer reports:
Religious profiling is okay, as long as you have a really good reason.
That’s the logic behind a decision reached by federal judge William Martini Thursday, in dismissing a lawsuit against New York Police Department over the NYPD’s surveillance of Muslim American communities in the region.
“The police could not have monitored New Jersey for Muslim terrorist activities without monitoring the Muslim community itself,” Martini wrote. “The motive for the program was not solely to discriminate against Muslims, but rather to find Muslim terrorists hiding among ordinary, law-abiding Muslims.”
Any harm suffered by Muslims who were spied on, Martini wrote, was not the fault of the NYPD, but of the Associated Press reporters who first revealed the existence of the surveillance effort.
“Nowhere in the Complaint do Plaintiffs allege that they suffered harm prior to the unauthorized release of the documents by the Associated Press. This confirms that Plaintiffs’ alleged injuries flow from the Associated Press’s unauthorized disclosure of the documents,” Martini wrote. “The harms are not ‘fairly traceable’ to any act of surveillance.” The Associated Press declined to comment on the ruling.
Read more on MSNBC.
How many synonyms can you come up with for “outrageous?”

“Combining our data makes our Big Data bigger!”
William Dotinga reports:
A challenge to sealed filings in the massive class action over Gmail privacy will get priority treatment of sorts, a federal judge ruled Friday.
News outlets – including Courthouse News, Gannett, McClatchy and the New York Times - lobbied U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh earlier this week to deny Google’s requests to file under seal, citing public interest in the case involving millions of Gmail users. The sprawling class action dubbed In re Google Inc. – Gmail Litigation claims that the tech giant’s new privacy policies violate federal computer fraud, eavesdropping and wiretap laws.
Read more on Courthouse News.
[From the claims:
Under its old policy, information collected about a consumer through one Google product was segregated from information gleaned from another Google product, plaintiffs say in the class actions.
But they say that all changed March 1, when Google ushered in its new era of digital surveillance: the Era of Commingling.
Under the new policy, data gathered about a consumer through one Google product will be commingled with data collected about that consumer through other Google products, plaintiffs say.

...and Things, don't forget the Things! Like x-ray machines and proctoscopes.
Virtually all software, applications, systems and devices are now connected to the Internet. This is a reality that cybercriminals recognize and are actively exploiting.
Some 94 percent of medical institutions said their organizations have been victims of a cyber attack, according to the Ponemon Institute. Now, with the push to digitize all health care records, the emergence of and an outpouring of electronic protected health information (ePHI) being exchanged online, even more attack surfaces are being exposed in the health care field.
A SANS examination of cyberthreat intelligence provided by Norse supports these statistics and conclusions, revealing exploited medical devices, conferencing systems, web servers, printers and edge security technologies all sending out malicious traffic from medical organizations. Some of these devices and applications were openly exploitable (such as default admin passwords) for many months before the breached organization recognized or repaired the breach.
The intelligence data that SANS examined for development of this report was specific to the health care sector and was collected between September 2012 and October 2013. The data analyzed was alarming. It not only confirmed how vulnerable the industry had become, it also revealed how far behind industry-related cybersecurity strategies and controls have fallen.
Get the full SANS report, “Health Care Cyberthreat Report,” here.

For my iPhone toting students (My selections)
iOS Apps on Sale for 22 Feb
City Maps 2Go Pro ($1.99, now free)
If you’re planning a trip with your iPad or simply don’t want to worry about expensive roaming charges on your iPhone, City Maps 2Go Pro could be just what you need. It allows you to download an unlimited number of maps for offline perusal, with full GPS support and handy tourist information to boot. All included maps use OpenStreetMap data, are highly detailed and completely free.
MathStudio ($19.99, now $4.99)
While it might not be the most exciting-sounding app, MathStudio is the self-proclaimed “most comprehensive math app” on the App Store. While that’s a bold claim, the app oozes depth and complexity and covers a wide range of functions from basic calculator to statistics, algebra and several types of graphing tool – none of which requires an internet connection. Ordinarily costing $20, now is the time to buy!

Will everyone who contributed go to see the movie even once? I'm watching this one.
'Veronica Mars' will launch in theaters and online at the same time
Fans waiting for the theatrical release of Veronica Mars on March 14th now have a few more ways to watch the series' return. According to The Wall Street Journal, the film will also be available to rent and download at the same time as its cinema debut. The move breaks the long-standing "theatrical window" rule that typically governs when major movies are available for home viewing.
Veronica Mars will be distributed on 270 screens across the country, a much bigger outing for what might otherwise be considered an indie effort. Warner Bros. has opted to rent 260 theaters from AMC to show the Kickstarter-backed film, giving the studio the freedom to give it a unique simultaneous release.

Even if I'm the only one amused...
… The US Department of Education has awarded 9 states School Improvement Grants: Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Wyoming. The funds are aimed at “turning around” low-performing schools. [...because no other state has below average schools? Bob]
… The Georgia Tech Library plans to move its print collection out into an offsite facility. Because “strategic objectives.” [and no one reads print on dead trees any more. Bob]
Harvard and MIT have released visualizations (and open sourced the visualization tools) on their MOOC data. The Harvard tools are here, while those for MIT are here.

Here's one I hope my students don't use to screw with me, but it would be fun to control the big (54 inch) TV from anywhere in the room,
– Turn your mobile phone or tablet into a set of wireless mouse and keyboard. Control your computer anywhere in your room, with either wifi or 3G. Main mouse functionalities featured, including click, double-click, right-click, scroll and drag. Compatible with Windows and Mac.

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