Sunday, June 29, 2014

Embarrassing and probably expensive. That's why we recommend testing before installing software “upgrades.”
Can't pay a bill or activate your phone on Verizon? It's not you, it's them (update: fixed!)
Verizon Wireless acknowledged today that its billing system is having issues for customers across much of the US. According to subscribers tweeting on the #VerizonOutage hashtag, issues have extended over the last two days, preventing them from doing simple things like activating a new phone or paying their bill. In tweets and a message on its news page, Verizon said the issue is affecting customers in the Northeast, Midwest and Southern regions, but has yet to offer an ETA for a fix. It doesn't appear to be affecting things like phone calls or connecting to the internet, but if your bill is due right about now, this could be a problem.

I can't help feeling that I'm missing more than a few breach notices. Who is cutting these deals and why do they seem so inconsistent?
Triple-S Salud (TSS) is a licensee of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Puerto Rico and handles managed care for Medicare enrollees. In February, the company was fined $6.8M for a breach involving the exposure of over 13,000 insureds’ information in a mailing error. They were also barred from signing up more beneficiaries for their Platino line until they presented a corrective plan to avoid such HIPAA violations. TSS presented the plan, and the sanctions were lifted. TSS is currently fighting the monetary penalty in court.
[Lots omitted Bob]
So where is the newest breach? And why do their reports of fines seem to leave out a few zeros (e.g., $100 instead of $100,000 and $6,778 instead of $6,778,000)? Were the media reports on the fines wrong, or has TSS misrepresented the fines in its stock filings?
And when will OCR conclude its own investigation? Is protected health information being adequately secured? Should Blue Cross Blue Shield yank TSS’s license? Should the FTC investigate and enforce data security? What needs to happen here to protect PHI?

Ethical issues? Why would today be any different for Facebook? (For their next experiment: How much extra bad news does it take to significantly alter the suicide rate among teenagers?)
Facebook has been experimenting on you
… What sounds like something from a work of fiction is something real you can read in a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which explains how and why Facebook used nearly 700,000 news feeds and manipulated them in the name of research to study "emotional contagion through social networks." (LINK:
It only takes a quick search, not science, to hypothesize how this revelation is making people feel: Used.
What exactly did the researchers do to upset so many people? They tweaked the algorithm that surfaces content into the News Feed to change the amount of positive and negative content. Then they tested whether those changes would result in changes to what users posted. So did seeing more or less happy or sad content ultimately change your sharing habits and your mood?
The content they were seeing was still content from their friends, so they likely would never have noticed they were being fed a certain type of content, whether happy, neutral or sad.
Brilliant? Perhaps.
Ethical? Up for debate.
Legal? Certainly seems that way.
According to the terms of service you agree to and probably don't read: "in addition to helping people see and find things that you do and share, we may use the information we receive about you ... for internal operations, including troubleshooting, data analysis, testing, research and service improvement."

When might it be smart to fly your own drones? When you are sponsoring any event where people gather?
Jordan Pearson reports:
The main fear associated with the government use of drones in the United States has been one of privacy invasion when police use them. But at least one guy in California has turned that idea on its head and has begun using drones to film police conduct, instead.
Read more on Motherboard

I have a few targets subjects in mind...
– Get a perfect profile pic for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any other social network – a hand-drawn caricature from your very own photo. Photolamus is a unique service that lets users order 100% hand drawn caricatures by professional artists for ridiculously low prices. The Photolamus community has some of the best caricature artists in the world.

Still find this amusing.
… “The Incite Agency, founded by former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs and former Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt, will lead a national public relations drive to support a series of lawsuits aimed at challenging tenure, seniority and other job protections that teachers unions have defended ferociously,” says Politico.
With a tearful apology, Arizona’s school superintendent John Huppenthal says he’s sorry for writing anonymous blog posts calling welfare recipients “lazy pigs.” But he won’t resign.
… Racial profiling in Arizona strikes again. ASU Professor Ersula Ore was violently arrested by campus police for walking in the middle of the street on campus, so as to avoid construction. “ASU authorities have reviewed the circumstances surrounding the arrest and have found no evidence of inappropriate actions by the ASUPD.”
… A victory for privacy. The US Supreme Court has ruled that police may not search cellphones without a warrant. (Curious: how will this impact schools that say they’re free to search students’ cellphones?)
… The University of California has ended its ban on investing in companies that were created from research done at the university.
Robert Morris University-Illinois will include video game playing its varsity sports program. Yes, there will be scholarships.
… In news that is probably not a surprise to anyone in education in NYC, a study has found that the city’s teachers did not really use the district-created Achievement Reporting and Innovation System (ARIS) Connect system, designed for them to share resources and information.

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