Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Clearly, I don't think were anywhere near done here.

We'll see your “We think Putin is a meany” and raise you 40,000 troops. (By the way, Glendale, Colorado has a large Russian population. Can we have that too?)
Russia sets terms for Ukraine deal as 40,000 troops mass on border
Russia on Sunday night repeated its demand that the US and its European partners accept its proposal that ethnic Russian regions of eastern and southern Ukraine be given extensive autonomous powers independent of Kiev as a condition for agreeing a diplomatic solution to the crisis over its annexation of Crimea.

(Related) I don't think this impacts the EU, yet. Perhaps Russia thinks they could by the country in a bankruptcy sale?
Russia hikes gas price for Ukraine
Russia on Tuesday sharply hiked the price for natural gas to Ukraine and threatened to reclaim billions previous discounts, raising the heat on its cash-strapped government, while Ukrainian police moved to disarm members of a radical nationalist group after a shooting spree in the capital.
… Russia has used financial levers to hit Ukraine, which is teetering on the verge of bankruptcy. Gazprom’s Miller said that the decision to charge a higher price in the second quarter was made because Ukraine has failed to pay off its debt for past supplies, which now stands at $1.7 billion.
On Tuesday the Russian parliament moved to annul agreements with Ukraine on Russia’s navy base in Crimea. In 2010, Ukraine extended the lease of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet’s base until 2042 for an annual rent of $98 million and discounts for Russian natural gas. The lower house voted to repeal the deal Monday, and the upper house was to follow suit.

(Related) Not all are equally likely, but it is food for thought.
Ten ways the Ukraine crisis may change the world

The simple answer is that someone offers credit cards used by “Target shoppers” for sale.
Ellen Messmer reports:
By all accounts, many of the massive data breaches in the news these days are first revealed to the victims by law enforcement, the Secret Service and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). But how do the agencies figure it out before the companies know they have been breached, especially given the millions companies spend on security and their intense focus on compliance?
Their efforts aren’t always appreciated, either:
In the course of all of this monitoring, Henry says, law enforcement often finds itself in the odd position of having to show companies evidence they have been victimized. And they aren’t always thanked for their efforts. Sometimes, Henry says, companies say “’Please just go away.’” He adds, “It happens all the time.”
Read more on NetworkWorld. It’s an interesting article, and I find it especially interesting to think about situations where law enforcement decides not to come knocking to let a firm know that they are under attack or their data is being stolen or otherwise misused. As a case in point, Experian recently got a lot of very bad press over the Court Ventures/USInfoSearch situation that allowed an overseas criminal to access information in USInfoSearch’s database through a client contract with Court Ventures. Law enforcement was already on to and investigating Ngo when Experian acquired Court Ventures in March 2012, but reportedly never alerted Experian. And because Experian never did its due diligence in a timely fashion, the problem continued for approximately another nine months.
Would law enforcement make the same decision not to notify today? I wonder, but I wouldn’t be totally surprised if they did.

I recall a couple of post here about trades made milliseconds before the information was released. Trading fast has never been the problem. (But there is a new book about the evils of computer trading, perhaps that is why the FBI is talking like they've been working on this for years.)
FBI investigating high-speed trading outfits
U.S. federal agents are investigating whether high-speed trading companies violate U.S. laws by using fast-moving market information not available to other traders, a FBI spokesman confirmed on Monday.

Gee, I thought that by now this database would be “Big.” I guess this is another example of how slow the government works on computer systems. Colorado has “contributed” less than 200,000 records. (We're talking about “database entities” here, so a person, his wife, and his three kids are all “entities.”)
The Law Enforcement National Data Exchange (N-DEx) run by the FBI Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division now contains approximately 223 million records on nearly two billion entities. An FBI CJIS presentation from February 2014 posted on the website of the Integrated Justice Information Systems Institute includes detailed information on state and local data contributors including a tally of the total number of records contributed by state.
Read more on Public Intelligence. There’s a chart that shows how many records each state has contributed so far. Texas leads all states with 68,793,268 records, but other states contributing 10 million or more records each include Arkansas (24M), California (20M), Tennessee (11M), and Virginia (10M).

Well, we don't want to actually stop intelligence gathering, but we need to make it look like we do. (Long, interesting article.)
While details on the president’s proposal to end NSA bulk collection of telephony records remain sparse, we do now have an actual piece of legislation to look at from the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence—one that tracks the broad outlines of the White House plan even as it differs in several critical details. I’ve already done a quick take in broad brushstrokes over at The Daily Beast; here I want to get into the weeds a bit.

Your government in inaction! Or perhaps they were waiting for technology to catch up to their brilliance?
Backup cameras to be required in all new vehicles, starting in 2018
After years of delays and on the eve of a lawsuit against the government, U.S. safety regulators have announced that backup cameras will be required in all vehicles built in and after May 2018.
The Department of Transportation and its National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced Monday that "rear visibility technology" would need to be standard equipment in all vehicles under 10,000 pounds. The move aims to reduce the average of 210 deaths and 15,000 injuries caused every year by back-up accidents.
… However, NHTSA has come under heavy criticism from safety advocates and families of children injured and killed in back-over accidents for not acting sooner.
A lawsuit was scheduled to be heard Tuesday in a federal appeals court that sought to force the DOT to act on a law Congress passed with bipartisan support in 2008. The Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act was named after a 2-year-old who was killed when his father backed over him in 2002.
This law required the DOT to issue a standard for rear visibility by 2011. Yet the agency filed four extensions between 2011 and 2013 and had announced it did not intend to enforce the law until January 2015, according to Scott Michelman, an attorney with Public Citizen, the consumer advocate group that was headed to court Tuesday.

It's far easier to kill stolen phone and forget them than to trace the phone and arrest the thief! Phones are too trivial to bother with.
Report: Smartphone kill-switch could save consumers $2.6 billion per year
… Law enforcement officials and politicians are pressuring cellular carriers to make such technology standard on all phones shipped in the U.S. in response to the increasing number of smartphone thefts. They believe the so-called “kill switch” would reduce the number of thefts if stolen phones were routinely locked so they became useless.

For my lawyer friends...
Law Firms Are Pressed on Security for Data
Matthew Goldstein, New York Times: ”A growing number of big corporate clients are demanding that their law firms take more steps to guard against online intrusions that could compromise sensitive information as global concerns about hacker threats mount. Wall Street banks are pressing outside law firms to demonstrate that their computer systems are employing top-tier technologies to detect and deter attacks from hackers bent on getting their hands on corporate secrets either for their own use or sale to others, said people briefed on the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Some financial institutions are asking law firms to fill out lengthy 60-page questionnaires detailing their cybersecurity measures, while others are doing on-site inspections. Other companies are asking law firms to stop putting files on portable thumb drives, emailing them to nonsecure iPads or working on computers linked to a shared network in countries like China and Russia where hacking is prevalent, said the people briefed on the matter. In some cases, banks and companies are threatening to withhold legal work from law firms that balk at the increased scrutiny or requesting that firms add insurance coverage for data breaches to their malpractice policies… The vulnerability of American law firms to online attacks is a particular concern to law enforcement agencies because the firms are a rich repository of corporate secrets, business strategies and intellectual property. One concern is the potential for hackers to access information about potential corporate deals before they get announced. Law enforcement has long worried that law firms are not doing enough to guard against intrusions by hackers… F.B.I. officials and security experts say, law firms remain a weak link when it comes to online security. But the push from corporate clients may have more impact on changing law firm attitudes than anything else.”

This kind of article comes every April and I have to explain the difference between avoiding and evading. Would the stockholders expect them to overpay their taxes?
Caterpillar dodged paying $2.4 billion in taxes: Senate report
… Starting in 1999, through 2012, Caterpillar paid PricewaterhouseCoopers more than $55 million to develop and implement a tax strategy built around redirecting to Switzerland its taxable profits from sales of Caterpillar-branded replacement parts, according to the report.
… In a prepared statement, PricewaterhouseCoopers said Monday: "Our advice to Caterpillar and its external counsel helped Caterpillar evaluate how best to organize its expanding global operations, aligning the economics of such global operations with carefully considered U.S. tax policies. Our advice was founded on years of extensive work overseas and in the United States and included detailed analyses of Caterpillar's global operations and the impact of various potential business reorganizations on Caterpillar's tax position.

Explaining the “benefits” of increasing the minimum wage.
Economic Indicators Since Minimum Wage Increases Began

For my programming students.
Move Over Shell-Scripts: Sh.py Is Here, And It’s Awesome.
… When I’m not writing for MakeUseOf, I’m writing code in Python for fun and profit. I really like Python due to its flexibility, its inherent beauty and how it mandates the writing of good code by design. If that sounds good to you, but you don’t already know this awesome language, why don’t you check out these five great websites to learn Python programming?
I came across this really awesome library a few months back called sh.py, which allows you to call programs, pass parameters and handle outputs, all within the confines of a Python program.
So, what does this mean? Simply put, it means that you have the full functionality of shell scripts, but from within a language that is easy to read, is modular in nature and supports object oriented programming.
… As it is right now, sh.py doesn’t work on Windows. However, if need be, you can always install a Linux virtual machine. My colleague Justin Pot has written a pretty useful article about this, which you can check out here.

It's spring, and my thoughts turn to statistics! (Or at lest one way to start talking about statistics)
Here Is Every U.S. County's Favorite Baseball Team (According to Facebook)
Happy Opening Day. What’s your favorite baseball team?
Wait, no, let me rephrase that: What’s the team you ‘like’ the most?
The Facebook Data Science has just answered that question for the whole country, at least at the county level.

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