Saturday, July 19, 2014
The NSA is in the intelligence gathering business. How else can it act and still achieve its goals?
Alex Abdo writes:
Earlier today, a former State Department civil servant named John Tye published an important op-ed in the Washington Post, explaining that the NSA has created a giant loophole in Americans’ right to privacy. While we now know a good deal about the NSA’s spying on American soil, Tye explains, the NSA’s powers to conduct surveillance on foreign soil should trouble us even more.
Surveillance on foreign soil takes place under Executive Order 12333, an authority that contains few meaningful protections for the privacy of Americans.
Read more on ACLU.
Too good to be true?
– is a free smartphone app which gives you private texting and calling. Just tap “Wipe” and your messages are erased instantly, everywhere. Wiper wipes all sides of a conversation – your phone and your friend’s, as well as any temporary record kept on Wiper servers. See when messages have been read or wiped. Plus, get notified if a friend snaps a screenshot or forwards a photo or video.
[From the website:
Call worldwide for free with Wiper’s app-to-app calling. To ensure privacy, calls are encrypted and Wiper keeps no call log.
Another case of not seeing the “self-surveillance” built into the “cool technology?” (Also another case of “that only applies to second class citizens”).
The Rise of the Wedding Drone
When most people hear the word “drone,” they probably think of killing machines that patrol war zones.
Now a new kind of commercial drone phenomenon has taken off in the United States. People now use small quad copter drones to even shoot photos and videos for their weddings.
What seems like a stranger than fiction phenomenon is actually a new craze across the country. A congressman last month used a drone to record his own wedding and now is under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the government agency that regulates the nation’s airspace, because the agency still has an explicit ban on drone flights for commercial purposes. New York representative Sean Patrick Maloney reportedly hired a local videography company to operate the drone to get aerial shots of his big day in New York’s picturesque Hudson Valley. Ironically, Maloney sits on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Aviation Subcommittee, which oversees the FAA.
...and then there are companies that try to grab everything the search engines are asked to remove.
There’s a “Right To Be Forgotten” Industry—and It’s Booming
… “Online image management has long been in the business of producing new content so you have a better persona online,” says Cayce Myers, a professor at Virginia Tech and legal research editor for the Institute for Public Relations. “Here they’re doing the reverse.”
Online reputation management is a growing business that is now being boosted by the E.U. ruling. For a fee that can amount to thousands of dollars a month, companies take on clients and scrub clean their search results by creating search engine-optimized content that hog up the first few pages of search results on Google.
… Bertrand Girin, the founder of a France-based reputation management company, Reputation VIP, has created a spin-off service that specifically to designed to help people make “right to be forgotten” requests to Google. Aptly named Forget.Me, it lets users choose from one of 40 boilerplate requests in nine separate categories in order to send Google a pre-formulated request. The service, which is free, allows users to bypass some of the thorny legal questions and the difficulty of properly structuring a request. “When Google put its form online, we looked at the demand from the public and we saw a gap,” says Girin. “We said, ‘let’s help people understand what their problem is.’”
Makes buying so easy you won't even notice that you bought something!
Let The Follower Beware: Facebook And Twitter Get Serious About Commerce
… Facebook is doing a “limited” test that involves putting a “Buy” button within ads on its platform. For Facebook, the big deal is that clicking on that button doesn’t take prospective purchasers out of Facebook. They can buy whatever it is that’s being advertised and go right back to lengthy brawls about politics or sharing Weird Al videos. Talk about nirvana!
For my Data Mining and Data Analysis students.
One Simple Reason You Need a Chief Data Officer
… articles and blog posts advocating for a chief data officer give me pause. On the one hand, I firmly believe data is an enterprise-wide endeavor and an incredibly important strategic asset. But I also realize I’ve become biased since covering the topic for all these years.
Data integration expert David Linthicum seems to shares my hesitation.
“I’m not a big fan of creating positions around trends in technology,” he writes in a recent Actian post.
… Nonetheless, he’s arguing that there is a very real business need for a Chief Data Officer — within the ranks of IT — because data, he writes, is not a trend.
… Linthicum offers a bulleted list of advantages that large organizations could gain from appointing a CDO. For instance, he says a CDO could help the organization achieve a common approach to data integration. I suspect that alone would pay for the position.
… Reading through his thorough and rational argument for a CDO, I realized there’s actually a very simple, single reason why a CDO makes sense: No one else is doing the job.
For my Math students.
From the MathCentre this very clear nine page leaflet describes symbols and notation in common use in Mathematics, for each symbol we learn what to say, what the symbol means and where appropriate an example is given; it is also possible to search the Math Centre site for further details.
I'd say this is something for the student bike club, but in Colorado we actually look for hills (they're much smaller than mountains).
New Google Maps 8.2 shows elevation and allows voice commands
… The maps not only show you the cycling routes, but also the elevation. Along every route, small images are placed, letting the user know about the elevation. This information helps the cyclists on deciding whether it is wise to take a route, especially when it is uphill. It estimates the slope and distance of the hill.
… Australia’s head of curriculum review, Kevin Donnelly, says that corporal punishment is “very effective.” [I'm gonna make this into a BIG poster! Bob]
… From law professor James Grimmelman, who’s been leading the charge questioning the ethics of the research and publication of the infamous “Facebook study”: a lengthy letter (PDF) demanding a retraction of the PNAS article and a review of the practices surrounding human research and social media.
For all my students. I found this article on my RSS reader.
What Is RSS and How Can It Improve Your Life?
… Just three simple words can change the way you use and consume information – forever: Really Simple Syndication, or RSS.
Functioning like a customizable, digital newspaper, RSS benefits almost everyone – from working professionals wanting to keep abreast of the latest in their field to hobbyists looking for distractions.
… RSS simplifies, organizes and delivers web content, without visiting a website.