Saturday, March 01, 2014

Ukraine. Maybe Tom Clancy was right in his last novel. Russia moved lots of Russians into the Ukraine (and other countries) during the days of the Soviet Union, and they stayed. Now they provide an excuse for intervention. Perhaps not with tanks, but a simple twist of the natural gas value would get Europe's attention.
So is this just increasing the pressure, or “fair warning?”
Russian upper house approves use of force in Ukraine

Reads like a return to “pre-Internet” logic.
Barbara LaBoe reports:
Appeals of two Longview drug convictions led to a far-reaching state Supreme Court decision Thursday that people have the right to privacy in sending and receiving text messages.
In separate 5-4 opinions, the justices overturned two Cowlitz County heroin convictions in cases that hinged on text messages a detective read on someone else’s phone.
Read more on TDN. Gene Johnson of AP also has coverage here, and the Seattle Times covers the ruling here.
[From the AP article:
The court struck down Roden's conviction under the state privacy act, which bars police from intercepting in-state private communications without a warrant or the consent of all parties involved. It overturned Hinton's conviction under the privacy protections of the state Constitution.
[From the Seattle Times article:
Consider a low-tech analogy: “Just because a letter is sitting in your mailbox doesn’t mean the cops get to open it,” Fakhoury said. “The Washington court said there shouldn’t be a difference” between privacy protections on mail, phone calls and text messages.
A person’s privacy interest isn’t “surrendered once you hit send on your phone,” he said.

I'm not sure how this “ensures” safety on campus. If someone plans to vandalize the Dean's car, I doubt they will bring their ID badge. Same for break-in artists, or did they break-in by unlocking the front door? What crimes are addressed by using the ID badge as a meal card, library card, or whatever? If they want to track students like Big Brother, why not just say so?
Alec Torres reports:
Beginning Saturday, March 1, students and staff at Tennessee State University will be required to present identification badges at any time that can also track their movements in and out of buildings, according to a local-news report.
After a spate of break-ins and vandalism, officials at the university instituted the new ID requirement as a way to ensure safety on campus, a TSU release said.
Of course, it doesn’t stop there, although it would be concerning enough if it did. The same ID cards have other uses as well:
Besides being used to access buildings, the IDs can be used as meal cards, to check out library materials, to access computer labs and athletic events, and more.
Read more on National Review Online.
So who will be data mining and commercializing all these data, because you just know it’s going to happen?
[From the National Review article:
“Failure to comply with the new policy,” the school said, “may result in employee disciplinary action, student judicial action, or removal from University property.” [Sounds like they are sure their students are the criminals here. Bob]

Interesting. What does the data tell us? Is a digital clock face, telling us it is 8:02PM as “speech-like” as a computer log entry that alerts us to an unauthorized access?
Paper – Is Data Speech?
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on February 28, 2014
Is Data Speech? January 2014 66 Stan. L. Rev. 57. Jane Bambauer, Associate Professor of Law, University of Arizona, James E. Rogers College of Law; J.D., Yale Law School; B.S., Yale College.
Privacy laws rely on the unexamined assumption that the collection of data is not speech. That assumption is incorrect. Privacy scholars, recognizing an imminent clash between this long-held assumption and First Amendment protections of information, argue that data is different from the sort of speech the Constitution intended to protect. But they fail to articulate a meaningful distinction between data and other more traditional forms of expression. Meanwhile, First Amendment scholars have not paid sufficient attention to new technologies that automatically capture data. These technologies reopen challenging questions about what “speech” is. This Article makes two overdue contributions to the First Amendment literature.
First, it argues that when the scope of First Amendment coverage is ambiguous, courts should analyze the government’s motive for regulating.
Second, it highlights and strengthens the strands of First Amendment theory that protect the right to create knowledge.
Whenever the state regulates in order to interfere with the creation of knowledge, that regulation should draw First Amendment scrutiny. In combination, these claims show clearly why data must receive First Amendment protection. When the collection or distribution of data troubles lawmakers, it does so because data has the potential to inform and to inspire new opinions. Data privacy laws regulate minds, not technology. Thus, for all practical purposes, and in every context relevant to privacy debates, data is speech.” [Andrew Young]

Rather poorly worded if it is okay to play Angry Birds while driving.
Court: No-phones traffic law does not apply to apps
A California law that bans drivers from talking on mobile phones without a hands-free device does not bar them looking at map apps, a court has ruled.
The appeals court threw out a traffic ticket issued to a motorist who was looking at a map on his phone while caught in a traffic jam.
… In their 18-page decision, the 5th Appeals Court of California said Mr Spriggs argued that "he did not violate the statute because he was not talking on the telephone".
"We agree," the court wrote. "Based on the statute's language, its legislative history, and subsequent legislative enactments, we conclude that the statute means what it says - it prohibits a driver only from holding a wireless telephone while conversing on it."
A separate California law bans texting while driving.

Oops indeed!
Teen's Facebook Post Costs Her Dad $80,000. Oops.
So Dana Snay, a Miami teenager, is probably in big trouble right now. As the Miami Herald reports, an appeals court just tossed out her father’s $80,000 age-discrimination settlement because she violated the confidentiality agreement by bragging about it on Facebook. The offending post:
Mama and Papa Snay won the case against Gulliver. Gulliver is now officially paying for my vacation to Europe this summer. SUCK IT.
… Patrick Snay had served as headmaster for the Gulliver Preparatory School for years when they chose not to renew his contract. He sued and settled, but only on the condition that he and his wife keep the “terms and existence” of the agreement private. So the infractions here were twofold: Snay divulging the deal to his daughter and his daughter broadcasting it to all her "friends."

Close enough that my Ethical Hackers need this information.
Army Field Manual for Cyber Electromagnetic Activities
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on February 28, 2014
Via Defense One, by Patrick Tucker - How the Army Plans to Fight a War Across the Electromagnetic Spectrum: “The Pentagon long has made a big effort to showcase its budding cyberwarfare capabilities. But the military has been less forthcoming about a key, more tangible component of cyber — electronic warfare – until now. The Army just publically released its first-ever Field Manual for Cyber Electromagnetic Activities. The manual covers operations related to cyberspace and the electromagnetic spectrum, highlighting that for the Army electronic warfare is every bit as important as the cyber threat we hear so much about in abstract.”

Perhaps our Intro to Programming students might find this too amusing...
Kids Can Learn Programming Basics With “Make Your Own Flappy Bird” In 20 Minutes
Kids have a new incentive to learn programming. Thanks to, they can design their own Flappy Bird game in 20 minutes. The “Make Your Own Flappy Bird” tutorial is designed for kids as young as six-year olds.
… The drag ‘n drop method is excitingly kid-friendly and it is a teaching method that has been followed successfully by graphical coding tools like Scratch and Blockly.
… There are also plenty more fun tools to get kids excited about programming.

Every week, smiles.
… The publishers Springer and IEEE have had to withdraw more than 120 papers from their subscription services after a discovery that these articles were “computer-generated nonsense.” Or as us humanities folks call it with a smirk, “Sokal-as-a-service.”
… There’s a “kinda sorta working model” of a federated OER Wiki, brought to you by Tim Owens and Mike Caulfield. [Definitely one to watch. Bob]
… “A Colorado Software Firm Is Programming Your Next Professor,” reads the headline in Forbes, a publication that never fails to tout a technodystopian future as some sort of great business deal. “As education costs increase, it’s not unreasonable to think that professors, teachers, adjuncts, and tutors could at least be partially replaced by a $7,000 programmable character who never sleeps or unionizes, or emotionally overreacts to student behavior.”

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