Monday, April 14, 2014
...or it could be one of China's “student” countries, like North Korea, who might find stealing research cheaper than doing research. (Or it could be a high school rocket club considering “going nuclear”)
German Space Research Center Under Espionage Attack: Report
Der Spiegel said that several computers used by scientists and systems administrators at the Cologne-based DLR center had been infiltrated by spy programs.
"The government classes the attack as extremely serious because it, among other things, is aimed at armament and rocket technologies," Spiegel said.
In some computers IT experts found traces of spy programs that were set up to destroy themselves on discovery, while others only activated themselves after months of lying in wait.
… IT forensic experts probing who could be behind the assault have turned up clues that seem to point to China, but Spiegel quoted an unidentified "insider" as saying they could also simply be "camouflage".
Making uncommon law, Common Law?
Daniel Solove writes:
I’m pleased to announce that my article with Professor Woodrow Hartzog, The FTC and the New Common Law of Privacy, 114 Colum. L. Rev. 583 (2014), is now out in print. You can download the final published version at SSRN.
Read more on Concurring Opinions.
[From the Abstract:
Since the late 1990s, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has been enforcing companies’ privacy policies through its authority to police unfair and deceptive trade practices. Despite over fifteen years of FTC enforcement, there is no meaningful body of judicial decisions to show for it.
(Related) “So the rule is based on what we said a few months ago, but not what we wrote last month because that was reversed by the court after they read what we wrote two weeks ago which contradicted the chairman's speech in October. Simple, right?”
Part II: Fair Notice or No Notice? The Wyndham Worldwide Case and the Expanding Power of the FTC to Police Data Security
As I expected, a slew of law firms posted their analyses and commentaries on Judge Salas’s ruling on Wyndham’s motion to dismiss the FTC’s complaint about its data security.
I haven’t linked to most of them, but took note of this commentary by Lance Koonce and Christin McMeley of Davis Wright Tremaine as they take a less FTC-friendly view on the issue of fair notice. They write, in part:
There is a tension between Judge Salas’ rejection of numerous consistent public statements by the FTC disavowing its power as “unconvincing,” discussed above, and the judge’s willingness to accept a patchwork of publications and statements and consent decrees by the FTC as giving fair notice of a discernible standard for reasonable data protection that businesses everywhere must understand and follow. Indeed, the public statements and business guidance brochures can hardly meet the specificity of an interpretive rule or general statement of policy that would be required to go through a rigorous public (and congressional) comment period and give affected businesses an opportunity to conform to the any applicable standard.
The question is whether this is the manner in which we want our agencies to promulgate guidance for all businesses operating with the jurisdiction of the United States on a topic as important as data security, rather than through formal rulemaking. Moreover, do we want agencies to then be able to bring standalone enforcement actions for violations of that guidance? While it may be possible for scholars to assemble lists of standards from various sources, is this the optimal way for companies to ascertain the applicable standards and apply them on the ground? How thoroughly must a company scour FTC literature, public statements and settlements, and to what extent must every piece of guidance be followed—for instance, is “Privacy by Design” now a requirement that must be followed, and what type of documentation of compliance with that rubric will suffice if the FTC challenge’s a company’s compliance? How will a company ever feel confident that it is providing “FTC-sufficient” protection for its customers’ data?
Read more on Privacy & Security Law Blog.
Here’s another commentary/analysis of Judge Salas’s ruling on Wyndham’s motion to dismss that is worth noting here, by the law firm of Covington & Burling: They write, in part:
The FTC’s data-security authority is still in jeopardy. Although the FTC is the plaintiff in this case, it is really Wyndham that is on the offensive. If Wyndham prevails in the court of appeals on the issue of the FTC’s statutory authority or the need for rulemaking, it would be a major blow to the agency’s ability to pursue companies for lax data-security practices. Wyndham could also prevail in the district court if the FTC fails to produce sufficient evidence in support of its claims to survive a motion for summary judgment, a result that could be nearly as devastating to the FTC as a loss in the court of appeal. On the other hand, if the FTC manages to win in the district court and the court of appeals, the victory will simply ensure that the agency can continue doing what it has been doing for years: using its unfairness authority to regulate data-security practices.
Read more on Covington & Burling.
Why would this picture sharing App be worse than any other picture sharing App? It integrates some “photoshoping” tools to blur the picture which is a good thing, unfortunately, blurring everything but that lightning shaped scar won't make Harry Potter anonymous.
Carl Smith reports on concerns about a new app called Figure 1:
A new picture-sharing phone and tablet application for doctors and medical students is raising concerns about patient privacy.
Figure 1 allows the sharing of medical and clinical pictures between health practitioners to assist colleagues with patient diagnoses and to aid studying students.
It is one of three new clinical picture-sharing apps to hit the Australian market this year.
But Assistant Professor Bruce Arnold from the University of Canberra says Figure 1′s privacy policies rely too much on individual users to keep distinguishing features of patients confidential.
Read more on ABC.
[From the article:
The Figure 1 app includes tools for users to blackout distinguishing features like eyes and tattoos.
"A lot of doctors or students probably won't be very good at blacking out the tell-tale spots," said Professor Arnold.
I would have thought this was obvious. Does it really surprise anyone?
Investigative Report Highlights Google as Washington Lobbying Powerhouse
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on April 13, 2014
Tom Hamburger, Matea Gold, Washington Post: “…Google — once a lobbying weakling — has come to master a new method of operating in modern-day Washington, where spending on traditional lobbying is rivaled by other, less visible forms of influence. That system includes financing sympathetic research at universities and think tanks, investing in nonprofit advocacy groups across the political spectrum and funding pro-business coalitions cast as public-interest projects. The rise of Google as a top-tier Washington player fully captures the arc of change in the influence business. Nine years ago, the company opened a one-man lobbying shop, disdainful of the capital’s pay-to-play culture. Since then, Google has soared to near the top of the city’s lobbying ranks, placing second only to General Electric in corporate lobbying expenditures in 2012 and fifth place in 2013… This summer, Google will move to a new Capitol Hill office, doubling its Washington space to 55,000 square feet — roughly the size of the White House. Google’s increasingly muscular Washington presence matches its expanded needs and ambitions as it has fended off a series of executive- and legislative-branch threats to regulate its activities and well-funded challenges by its corporate rivals.”
All my students...
5 Tools That Help Students Organize Research and Create Bibliographies
For my entrepreneurial students, who will remember me at IPO time.
New on LLRX – eCommerce Resources on the Internet
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on April 13, 2014
Via LLRX.com - eCommerce Resources on the Internet - Marcus P. Zillman’s guide is a comprehensive, diverse and wide ranging listing of eCommerce Resources on the Web. These resources include those in a wide range of areas such as: associations, indexes, search engines as well as individual websites.
For my student programmers.
– is an online editor & sandbox that lets you write your code all from the comfort of your browser. They do all the heavy lifting so you can just focus on writing and learning code. Compilr has been tested across all modern desktop and mobile web browsers like Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and Internet Explorer.
… Compilr supports a wide array of programming languages like Java, C#, C++ and many more!