Saturday, March 29, 2014

If the NSA can't store the data themselves, I expect the number of requests to soar.
Government requests for Google data soar
Google said this week that government requests for data on users had more than doubled over the last four years.
The company released its ninth transparency report, which noted 27,477 worldwide government requests for information from 42,648 users in the second half of 2013.
… Google sometimes fights back on legal grounds or because requests are too broad or unclear; it complied with 64 percent of requests during that period.
However, in the United States that percentage was much higher - answering 83 percent of 10,574 requests.

If you are going to hand this report to auditors, you should know that the auditors will know exactly how far they can trust (rely) on the report. However, they will take it as an assertion by management that this is what they believe their security status is.
A new security risk assessment (SRA) tool to help guide health care providers in small to medium sized offices conduct risk assessments of their organizations is now available from HHS.
The SRA tool is the result of a collaborative effort by the HHS Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) and Office for Civil Rights (OCR). The tool is designed to help practices conduct and document a risk assessment in a thorough, organized fashion at their own pace by allowing them to assess the information security risks in their organizations under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Security Rule. The application, available for downloading at also produces a report that can be provided to auditors.
… The SRA tool’s website contains a User Guide and Tutorial video to help providers begin using the tool. Videos on risk analysis and contingency planning are available at the website to provide further context.
The tool is available for both Windows operating systems and iOS iPads. Download the Windows version at The iOS iPad version is available from the Apple App Store (search under “HHS SRA tool”).

May be a bit of over-reaction, but not to biometrics. The schools under-thought their processes, something the vendors should have warned them about.
Janice Kephart, founder and CEO of the Secure Identity and Biometrics Association (SIBA) has issued a press release stating in no uncertain terms that the Florida Senate’s near unanimous vote of March 27 to ban biometrics in all schools lacks common sense and denies schools the opportunity to improve safety, standards, and fiscal accountability.
“The Senate vote is based on misunderstood science,” said Kephart, “and penalizes the entire state because two districts out of 67 counties failed to follow simple and obvious program protocols. As a result, sensible biometric program implementation that includes these protocols in places like Miami-Dade are threatened because legislators believe that using biometrics to keep kids safe on buses and well fed in the lunchroom could lead to identity theft.”
Read more on Government Security News.

This could provide some interesting examples for my Business Math class.
Wal-Mart sues Visa for $5 billion over card swipe fees
Wal-Mart Stores Inc this week sued Visa Inc for $5 billion, accusing the credit and debit card network of excessively high card swipe fees, several months after the retailer opted out of a class action settlement between merchants and Visa and MasterCard Inc.
… In December, a federal judge in Brooklyn, N.Y., approved a $5.7 billion class action settlement between merchants and Visa and MasterCard despite the objections of thousands of retailers that complained it was inadequate.
Wal-Mart, Inc, and Target Corp were among those opting out of the monetary components of the settlement to have the freedom to seek damages on their own.
Those businesses complained about a broad litigation release in the settlement. The release forces all merchants who accepted Visa or MasterCard, and those who will in the future, to give up their right to sue the credit card companies over rules at issue in the case or similar ones they may make in the future.
… The case is in re: Wal-Mart Stores, U.S. District Court, Western District of Arkansas, No. 05101.

Instagram Trumps Twitter In Mobile Users
… Research company eMarketer released new predictions this week on Instagram's growth: In 2013, 34.6 million Instagram users logged on monthly, and that number will reach 40.5 million this year. Meanwhile, Twitter's monthly active users are set to grow by 7 million this year to 37.8 million -- 2.7 million less than Instagram.

Perspective. The era of the Ameche is over.
The End of the Line for the Analog Phone Network
Right now, the FCC is working on the biggest transformation in over a century of profound technological progress in communications: shutting down the analog telephone network. It’s an end-game everyone needs to keep a close eye on. Whenever a major technology, especially one with a long history of regulation, approaches the end of its life, industry laggards are sure to resurface, eager to gum up the works with lawmakers.
… Perhaps as few as 20% of U.S. homes still have a landline telephone connection. Half that many rely on over-the-air antenna television for video content. Until the Internet, both technologies boasted nearly 100% penetration.

Free humor, every week.
… The Chicago Board of Education has privatized its custodial services. Now it’s looking to hire outside companies to run school recess.
The Chronicle of Higher Education examines the Open Syllabus Project, an initiative “to build a large-scale online database of syllabi ‘as a platform for the development of new research, teaching, and administrative tools.’”
University of California President Janet Napolitano is skeptical of online courses, particularly for remediation. Speaking at a luncheon in Sacramento, she said that online education is “harder than it looks and if you do it right, it doesn’t save all that much money.”

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