Saturday, May 03, 2014

Could we pay Putin to leave the Ukraine alone? What would it cost? (Think “greenmail”)
Abducted international military observers freed in east Ukraine as crisis spirals

(Related) Tell it loud and tell it often! What ever we say is the truth!
Russia blames the West for crisis in Ukraine

What a concept! Does the government have standards before the politicians say, “Sic 'em!”
Jaikumar Vijayan reports:
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) can be compelled to disclose details of the data security standards it uses to pursue enforcement action against companies that suffer data breaches, the agency’s chief administrative law judge ruled Thursday.
The decision came in response to a motion filed by LabMD, a now-defunct medical laboratory that has been charged by the FTC with unfair trade practices for exposing sensitive information belonging to 10,000 patients in 2010.
LabMD has accused the FTC of holding it to data security standards that do not exist officially at the federal level. It has maintained that the agency must publicly disclose the data security standards it uses to determine whether a company has reasonable security measures in place.
Read more on Computerworld.
In a statement to, Michael Daugherty, CEO of LabMD, writes:
LabMD, a medical facility, is cautiously optimistic that the FTC will be forced to step into an era of fairness and transparency in notifying the business community, both large and small, what their data security standards are. vLabMD still strongly objects to the FTC’s overreach into the medical regulatory environment overseen by HHS via HIPAA.
Note: The FTC’s complaint alleges that the file-sharing exposure occurred in May 2008 (not 2010, as Jai reports). The date is important when one considers whether the FTC had published any guidances or data security standards for businesses prior to the incident resulting in the complaint.
Update: I’ve uploaded the ruling here (pdf). I’ve also uploaded a second ruling that denies an FTC motion in limine to strike the Deputy Director of Bureau of Consumer Protection as a trial witness.

Tools for Privacy! If this works as planned, we should ensure everyone uses it.
The EFF wants your help testing a browser add-on that blocks spying ads
Like many privacy advocates, the Electronic Frontier Foundation isn't a big fan of advertisers and sites following you around the web. So, it's doing something about this nosy behavior -- it's launching a browser add-on, Privacy Badger, that lets Chrome and Firefox users limit site tracking. The tool automatically stops sites' attempts to shadow your surfing activity and lets you selectively grant permission when you're not worried. To get on the Badger's good side, a web host has to honor Do Not Track requests -- a not-so-subtle dig at Facebook, Google, Yahoo and others that so far insist on tracking visitors.
If you like the idea, the Foundation could use your help. Privacy Badger currently exists only as a rough alpha release, and the EFF would like some real-world testing before it recommends the software to the public at large. Should you have no problems with living dangerously, though, you can try the anti-snooping software today.

Perspective. A milestone.
Bill Gates Now Owns Less of Microsoft Than Steve Ballmer
… In an April 30 filing, Gates revealed that he sold 4.6 million shares for roughly $186 million pre-tax. He now owns 330 million shares, 3 million less than Ballmer, his Harvard pal who later joined him at the Seattle company. Gates’ cofounder Paul Allen, who apparently had a smaller stake than Gates from the outset, sold most of his shares years ago.

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