Monday, June 16, 2014

“Do you want heat next winter? We'll turn the gas on when you give us the Ukraine.”
Ukraine crisis: Russia halts gas supplies to Kiev
"Gas supplies to Ukraine have been reduced to zero," Ukrainian Energy Minister Yuri Prodan said.
Russia's state-owned gas giant Gazprom said Ukraine had to pay upfront for its gas supplies, after Kiev failed to settle its huge debt.
… The Russian firm said it would continue to supply gas to Europe. [Until winter? Bob]

Has the bank changed its security?
Ruling Raises Stakes for Cyberheist Victims
A Missouri firm that unsuccessfully sued its bank to recover $440,000 stolen in a 2010 cyberheist may now be on the hook to cover the financial institution’s legal fees, an appeals court has ruled. Legal experts say the decision is likely to discourage future victims from pursuing such cases.
Choice Escrow and Land Title LLC sued Tupelo, Miss. based BancorpSouth Inc., after hackers who had stolen the firm’s online banking ID and password used the information to make a single unauthorized wire transfer for $440,000 to a corporate bank account in Cyprus.
… A copy of the appeals court’s ruling is available here (PDF).

Perhaps we need an App for warrants? (The rest of the world has adopted automation.)
Warrant Needed to Identify Internet Users: Canada Top Court
The Supreme Court of Canada ruled Friday that police must obtain a warrant to access basic information on Internet users, affirming online anonymity as a privacy right.
The unanimous 8-0 decision in the case of a Saskatchewan man accused of possessing child pornography on his computer could make it harder to prosecute illegal downloading and other Internet crimes.
The ruling also sets the stage for a constitutional challenge of proposed laws being considered by Parliament that would expand police powers to snoop online.
Authorities needed to determine the location of the desktop computer by matching the Internet Protocol (IP) address with a physical address.
So they simply asked Internet service provider Shaw Communications for the name, address and phone number of their customer associated with the IP address, and used this information to obtain a warrant to search the suspect's home and seize his computer.

(Related) This is what awaits those sneaky Canadian terrorists!
TSA Out of Our Pants! writes:
Last week, the 11th Circuit heard oral arguments in my case against the nude body scanners and pat-downs, but in the meantime, the judges in my other TSA case, challenging whether officers may:
  1. Read through your personal documents at checkpoints
  2. Threaten travelers with false arrest and forcible search
  3. Conduct retaliatory searches that last for up to an hour
  4. Refuse to identify its screeners at checkpoints
  5. Lie about the existence of checkpoint videos in response to a FOIA request
…ruled that the TSA may indeed do all of the above. In its 32 page opinion, the court ruled that it’s perfectly reasonable for the TSA to read through your documents (maybe even digital documents) because it might prove that you have a fake ID, or it might provide additional suspicion if you have literature that the state doesn’t like.
Read more on TSA Out of Our Pants!

Because if we knew what they were doing...
Jack Gillum and Eileen Sullivan report:
The Obama administration has been quietly advising local police not to disclose details about surveillance technology they are using to sweep up basic cellphone data from entire neighborhoods, The Associated Press has learned.
Citing security reasons, the U.S. has intervened in routine state public records cases and criminal trials regarding use of the technology. This has resulted in police departments withholding materials or heavily censoring documents in rare instances when they disclose any about the purchase and use of such powerful surveillance equipment.
Read more AP The Big Story.

Might be useful...
Handbook on European data protection law
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on June 15, 2014
“This handbook on European data protection law is jointly prepared by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) and the Council of Europe together with the Registry of the European Court of Human Rights. It is the third in a series of legal handbooks jointly prepared by FRA and the Council of Europe. In March 2011, a first handbook was published on European non-discrimination law and, in June 2013, a second one on European law relating to asylum, borders and immigration. This handbook on European data protection law is jointly prepared by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) and the Council of Europe together with the Registry of the European Court of Human Rights. It is the third in a series of legal handbooks jointly prepared by FRA and the Council of Europe.”

(Related) It can't hurt.
How could I resist posting an item the title, The paranoid computer user’s guide to privacy, security and encryption? I’m not presenting it as an endorsement of any content or recommendations, but for your consideration. The guide to safer computing was prepared by the staff of the Globe and Mail in Canada.

Making buying from Amazon easier?
Will Smartphone Add $3.5 Billion To Amazon's Revenues?
… The smartphone market is huge — 990 million were sold in 2013– and people are spending more time there – eMarketer expects people to spend 2 hours 51 minutes on smartphones in 2014 while PC time keeps falling to 2 hours 12 minutes. But Apple and Samsung — with 15.3% and 31.3% of the global market, respectively according to IDC — are controlling most of the market’s revenues and profits.
… Odds are good that Amazon will sell the device at cost in order to boost $99 Amazon prime subscriptions that will in turn increase Amazon’s e-commerce revenues.
The smartphone Amazon could add $3 billion to Amazon’s revenue and $500 million to its prime subscription revenue. If we assume that Amazon can grab 1% of the one billion smartphones sold — or 10 million units — and sold them at cost — which The Motley Fool estimates at $300 (including those four cameras), Amazon would add $3 billion to its top line.

Do we really need a serch engine? #confused
– Hashtags are one of the best ways to find and reach the right audience for your message on social media. allows you to search among 32,627,832 Twitter hashtags and quickly find the best ones for your need based on their popularity, relationships, languages, influencers and other metrics. In April 2011 started collecting information about hashtags usage patterns on Twitter, examining 2,364,785,101 tweets.

A tip for my students. I can't imagine how this would work, so based on my track record, this is likely to be the “Next Big Thing!”
Chat app Line rakes in $1.5m in just one month of users creating and selling their own stickers
Messaging app Line opened a marketplace in April that lets anyone create and sell their own stickers, with sales starting on May 8. Today it announced that the Line Creators Market has drawn over 80,000 creators and 12,000 sticker sets since it opened up to users, of which a total of 1,200 sticker sets went on sale.
In the first month since the service went live, 1.7 million sticker sets were sold in all, with total sales reaching 150 million yen ($1.47 million). The average sales for the top 10 selling ones on the market reached 4.7 million yen, while 61.7 percent of sticker sets available for purchase have passed over 10,000 yen in sales, which shows that users are attracted to a wide variety of stickers and not just a handful of top ranking ones.
… Line reveals that users who purchased stickers from the market sent over 81 million messages featuring creators’ stickers, which forms a type of organic marketing for the initiative.

For my students? Probably not. Might make for some interesting deals between schools with online programs and companies with lots of younger workers. That's a lot of “extra pay,” let's hope they all take advantage of it.
Starbucks Will Pay Full College Tuition For Thousands Of Its Workers
Starbucks announced late Sunday it will pay for thousands of its workers to take courses through Arizona State University to complete their Bachelor's degree.
The Starbucks College Achievement plan will let full- and part-time workers choose from 40 undergraduate degree programs at ASU that will be delivered online. 135,000 employees are eligible.
… Workers admitted as a junior or senior will earn full tuition reimbursement. Freshmen and sophomores will receive a partial scholarship and need-based financial aid. Students will have no commitment to remain at Starbucks past graduation.
Arizona state's online courses are valued at $10,000 a year.

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