Thursday, May 29, 2014

We're not done with Target.
Most Target board members should go, adviser says
Most of Target Corp.’s board members are being targeted for ouster by a prominent firm that advises shareholders, alleging they failed to protect the company against a massive data breach that began just as last year’s holiday shopping season was getting underway.
The firm, Institutional Shareholder Services, recommends that at their upcoming annual meeting, Target shareholders vote out seven of the 10 board members — those who serve on the company’s audit and corporate responsibility committees, the Star Tribune reports. That list includes Roxanne Austin, the interim board chair.
… In its report released Wednesday, ISS said the breach shows the company is not prepared for the “significant risks of doing business in today’s electronic commerce environment.” It added that the two committees “should have been aware of, and more closely monitoring, the possibilities of theft of sensitive information” given Target’s significant exposure to customer credit card information and e-commerce, according to the Star Tribune.
… It’s unusual for ISS to recommend voting against the majority of members on a company’s board, according to the Wall Street Journal. It says it’s an indication that corporate boards everywhere should take the risks of cyberattacks more seriously, particularly retailers which store vast amounts of credit card numbers and other customer data.

A day for interesting reports.
Mary Meeker's 2014 Internet Trends report is a must read
Renowned tech analyst Mary Meeker has delivered her influential annual Internet Trends report, emphasising the rise of mobile interfaces in transforming the way we communicate and interact.
Among the more startling statistics she revealed was that more than 1.8 billion photos are shared every day and the dating app Tinder, which allows conversation only after both people have "liked" each other, now registers 800 million swipes per day and 11 million matches.
Ms Meeker, who is now a partner at venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, delivered her observations and predictions at the Code conference in California. Her seminar is hugely influential in the technology industry, as well as for media buyers, strategists and the markets.
… Among Ms Meeker's other key observations:
  • Data mining: We're only meaningfully analysing a tiny fraction (1 per cent) of available data. Tech start-ups are leading the way in both expanding and understanding data.
  • Single-purpose apps: Applications are moving away from being catch-all toward stand-alone, such as Facebook's Messenger and Twitter's Vine.
  • Selectivity: We are sharing more content with a narrower group of people, rather than broadcasting a little bit of information to all. Think Snapchat, which now accounts for 700 million daily photo shares.
  • China: Ms Meeker lauds China as a leader in mobile commerce development. Through its messenger application WeChat, which has 400 million active mobile users, you can bank and invest, book restaurants and buy groceries. Didi Taxis generates 5 million daily rides by integration with WeChat.
  • Cryptocurrencies: Ms Seeker keeps faith in Bitcoin despite its crash in value, arguing the 5 million Bitcoin wallets worldwide (an eight-fold increase year-on-year) shows "extraordinary interest".
  • Declining costs: Computing, storage, bandwidth and handsets are all decreasing, though data costs can remain high. The average global smartphone price is now $US335 ($363), though we typically pay more in Australia.
  • Mobile growth: Mobile usage now accounts for 25 per cent of all web traffic in 2014, up from 14 per cent a year ago. Asia and Africa represent a significant portion of that – developing nations "leap-frogged" the PC and laptop era, moving straight to smartphones.
  • Videos: Mobile's share of online video plays is rising, and now accounts for 22 per cent. Consumers expect to watch TV on demand and on their own terms.
  • Tablets: Unit shipments are growing faster than desktops or laptops ever did, but still have more room to grow at 6 per cent market penetration.
  • Dual-screening: 84 per cent of American mobile users use their device while watching TV. We are seeing more content than ever, but it allows us to avoid commercials.
  • Advertising: Global internet advertising grew 16 per cent this year, and mobile advertising grew by 47 per cent. The average revenue per user for Google, Facebook and Twitter remained stable.

Apparently a good Internet attracts crooks. Amazing.
State of cybercrime in the U.S.: Good guys, losing. Criminals, winning.
The 2014 U.S. State of Cybercrime Survey revealed that hackers trying to break into computers are more technologically advanced than the teams that are trying to prevent them from doing so.
The survey, which was co-sponsored by PricewaterhouseCoopers, the CERT division of Carnegie Mellon University's Software Engineering Institute, CSO magazine and the United States Secret Service, involved 500 executives from U.S. companies, law enforcement services and government agencies.

Cybersecurity of Healthcare, Retail Sectors Lags Behind Utility and Financial Industries: Report
… "Based on our analysis, it is clear that organizations that treat cyber security as a strategic issue perform better than those that view it as a tactical one," said Stephen Boyer, BitSight co-founder and CTO. "This partially explains the superior Security Ratings of financial institutions and electric utilities in the S&P 500 compared to retailers and healthcare companies."

Rise Is Seen in Cyberattacks Targeting U.S. Infrastructure
ASPEN, Colo. — The top American military official responsible for defending the United States against cyberattacks said Thursday that there had been a 17-fold increase in computer attacks on American infrastructure between 2009 and 2011, initiated by criminal gangs, hackers and other nations.
The assessment by Gen. Keith B. Alexander, who heads the National Security Agency and also the newly created United States Cyber Command, appears to be the government’s first official acknowledgment of the pace at which America’s electricity grids, water supplies, computer and cellphone networks and other infrastructure are coming under attack. Those attacks are considered potentially far more serious than computer espionage or financial crimes.

I think the question was rhetorical.
Orin Kerr writes:
During the recent oral argument in United States v. Wurie, the pending cell phone search case, Justice Alito asked an important question about the nature of the “reasonable expectation of privacy” test:
In determining whether the examination of information on a cell phone . . . constitutes a search, what do you think we . . . we are doing? . .. Are we answering an empirical question, what is the reasonable expectation of privacy of a of a person in 2014 who has a cell phone on his or her person? Or are we legislating what we think is a good privacy rule?
I once wrote an article on this question, so I thought I would try to answer Justice Alito.
Read more on WaPo The Volokh Conspiracy.

If you want to sell globally, you have to speak every language. (Video)
Microsoft's real-time Skype language translator could be its first real breakthrough in a decade
On Tuesday night, at a tech conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, Microsoft showed off a new tool that will turn Skype into your own personal translator. In Microsoft's demonstration, executive Gurdeep Singh Pall speaks English with a German-speaking colleague, and Skype acts as real-time voice and text translator. Even in today's wonderland of technological innovations, this looks like science fiction come to life:
Microsoft will release Skype Translator later this year, as a Windows 8 beta app, before eventually rolling it out for all Skype users.

An alternative to monopoly?
Community Fiber in Washington, D.C., Seattle, and San Francisco
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on May 28, 2014
Developments and Lessons Learned - “This report provides detailed accounts of planning carried out in connection with community fiber networks in Washington, D.C., San Francisco, CA, and Seattle, WA. It includes information about existing fiber assets that the cities identified, funding mechanisms that were considered, and roadblocks that were encountered. Our hope is that this report will be helpful to other cities that are considering launching fiber optic networks. Key Findings
  • The cities profiled in this report have each approached the question of community fiber differently.
  • Washington, D.C. made concessions and arrangements that allowed it to build a robust public-safety-quality fiber network, but limitations on the use of that network have made it unavailable to residents and businesses. Additionally, prices charged non-profits for use of the network are currently too high to be competitive with incumbent products.
  • San Francisco has been highly innovative in expanding fiber to public housing, aggressively leasing dark fiber to community anchor institutions such as libraries and schools, and ensuring free public Wi-Fi, but has not yet cracked the nut of alternative community residential or business fiber access.
  • Seattle has had an extensive city fiber loop in place since 1986, but regulations limiting use of poles and approvals for cabinets have slowed the rollout of competitive last-mile service. Seattle’s recent negative experience with Gigabit Squared (which was unable to execute on its last-mile promises and subsequently vanished from the scene) casts a shadow. Seattle’s current mayor appears to be determined to ameliorate both the regulatory burdens and the information asymmetries that have dogged the city.”

Now all I need is the template for a Ferrari.
World's Cheapest 3D Printer On IndieGogo for $149
The prices of consumer 3D printers continue to drop, and the New Matter MOD-t is the cheapest one yet — though you'll have to wait a year to get it. The "Early Bird Special" version of this 3D printer from Pasadena, California-based startup New Matter was selling for $149 USD on crowdfunding website Indiegogo, but within hours of the campaign going live today (May 28) all 500 available units had been sold.
The MOD-t is still available for $199 on the Indiegogo campaign, and will retail for $249 when it hits the market in April 2015.

Cute idea, new word. (The video is optional.)
Personal Technology columnist Geoffrey A. Fowler asked a colleague to steal his phone, and used new software from Lookout to track down the thief, including taking a photo of the suspect.

Cuter idea?
– If you’ve ever lost or misplaced your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch somewhere nearby but can’t quite remember where, stop flipping pillows and frantically patting your pockets. The Marco Polo app will help you quickly find your device in just one shout. Just shout out loud “MARCO!” and your hidden device will ring back POLO! so that you can find it.

No comments: