Saturday, March 22, 2014

This may have started as a Janitor Supply Database and morphed over time.
Navy database tracks civilians' parking tickets, fender-benders, raising fears of domestic spying
A parking ticket, traffic citation or involvement in a minor fender-bender are enough to get a person's name and other personal information logged into a massive, obscure federal database run by the U.S. military.
The Law Enforcement Information Exchange, or LinX, has already amassed 506.3 million law enforcement records ranging from criminal histories and arrest reports to field information cards filled out by cops on the beat even when no crime has occurred.
LinX is a national information-sharing hub for federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. It is run by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, raising concerns among some military law experts that putting such detailed data about ordinary citizens in the hands of military officials crosses the line that generally prohibits the armed forces from conducting civilian law enforcement operations.

What? Facebook got Privacy wrong? What a shock!
Facebook says states shouldn’t regulate online teen privacy. The FTC disagrees.
The Federal Trade Commission says that Facebook is misinterpreting a key children's privacy law, in a move that could weaken the social network's argument in a California district court suit over teen privacy on the Web site.
The FTC filed the brief Thursday night, weighing in on a key point for the case, Batman v. Facebook (also known as Fraley v. Facebook). In it, the FTC says Facebook is wrong to say that, because the Children's Online Privacy and Protection Act (COPPA) only protects the privacy of children under 12, that the law could be interpreted to keep states from enforcing their own laws on teen privacy.

Perhaps we should collect (and comment on) these guides. (registration required)
Benjamin Herold and Sean Cavanagh write:
District technology officials worried about protecting students’ sensitive information, complying with federal and state privacy laws, and avoiding legal challenges and parent uproar have a new step-by-step resource for drafting data-privacy policies and contracts with the private companies handling their information.
“We’ve had a very rapid adoption of cloud storage and online services. All of a sudden, they’re here,” said Bob Moore, the founder and chief consultant of RJM Strategies and an architect of the new report, released Friday. “Districts have much more responsibility in managing these issues than they often realize.”
As a result, Moore said in an interview with Education Week, one major goal of the new “Protecting Privacy in Connected Learning Toolkit,” issued by the Consortium for School Networking, is to get district officials asking tougher questions—and demanding better answers—of vendors.
Read more on Education Week.
Download the Protecting Privacy in Connected Learning toolkit here:

Clearly there is a need for a “Power Shopper” App. Something that factors in your distance from Walmart, your car's gas millage, the price of gas, etc. (and then tells you to use my online store.)
Walmart’s New Online Tool Gives Competitors Prices
The “Every Day Low Price” king is trying to shake up the world of pricing once again.
Walmart has rolled out an online tool that compares its prices on 80,000 food and household products — from canned beans to dishwashing soap — with those of its competitors. If a lower price is found elsewhere, the discounter will refund the difference to shoppers in the form of store credit.
The world’s largest retailer began offering the feature, called “Savings Catcher,” on its website late last month in seven big markets that include Dallas, San Diego and Atlanta. The tool compares advertised prices at retailers with physical stores, and not at online rivals like that also offer low prices on staples.

For my student geeks.
Facebook unveils Hack, a faster programming language to power the social network
At Facebook, the codebase that runs the social networking site is written in Hack.
The Menlo Park, Calif.-based social networking titan said it had streamlined PHP, made it better, and that Hack was now the official language running the site used by 1.2 billion users.
[Virtual Machine at:

I suspect recruiting (male) researchers will be easy. Talking about porn is difficult.
Why It's Time for the Journal of Porn Studies
The first issue of Porn Studies, an academic journal exploring "pornography, and sexual representations more generally," has debuted.
The mere fact of its existence, which became public in mid-2013, was occasion for a media event. But the journal's articles are serious articulations of the intersection between the concerns of media studies and those of pornography. Porn Studies is not a joke, though it seems to provide everyone with some relief to treat it as one.
That's because so many people look at so much porn: HuffPo noted last year that porn sites get more visitors than Netflix, Amazon, and Twitter combined. And yet the majority of Americans say looking at porn is "wrong."
… In the public sphere, there are very few serious ideas about what porn is or how it works or what it means to us, beside from the obvious.
Perhaps in the past, it would have been possible to ignore this situation. But the Internet turns out to, basically, be a very efficient porn delivery machine.
… The problem, however, is that there are costs to even talking about pornography. This is true even in our supposed bastions of intellectual freedom, as several of the articles make clear. "I have been told 'You don't want to be 'the porn guy'' and 'you will have to deal with the content issue of your work,'" writes Nathaniel Burke in his essay "Positionality and Pornography."

Balloons as low level communications satellites? 23 minutes
Larry Page: Where’s Google going next?

I think I caught the two lawsuits, but Zero Tolerance means Zero Common Sense.
… A New Jersey student is suing the Sterling High School District for violating her First Amendment rights after she was disciplined for a rude tweet – made after school hours and from off-campus – about her principal.
… A Pennsylvania student is suing his school district after he was suspended for a Facebook post he made – again, after schools hours and from off-campus.
… Adrionna Harris, a sixth grader from Virginia Beach, Virginia, was suspended and recommended for expulsion after she took away a razor from a schoolmate who was cutting himself and reported the incident to school officials. Because zero tolerance.
… The US Department of Education has released revised “gainful employment” rules, which monitor for-profit and vocational programs based on their graduates’ debt levels. More via The Chronicle of Higher Education. [Neither Harvard nor Yale need to report how many graduates get to be President. Bob]
According to the BBC, “Up to 60 Shanghai maths teachers are to be brought to England to raise standards, in an exchange arranged by the Department for Education.
… At the Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai, philanthropist Sunny Varkey announced a $1 million prize to be awarded to an outstanding teacher – a “Nobel Prize” for teaching, if you will.

Dilbert explains performance reviews in the digital age.

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