Tuesday, August 12, 2014

For my Ethical Hackers.
Kashmir Hill reports:
A few years back, Thomas ‘T.K.’ Kinsey was having a late, inebriated night in downtown Redlands, a far-flung suburb of Los Angeles. He started climbing a fountain, making the kind of bad decision a late-night carouser makes. Suddenly, he heard a voice coming from above telling him to stop. It wasn’t a good angel on his shoulder; it was a member of the police department speaking to him through a speaker in a city surveillance camera. Redlands has over 140 surveillance cameras around the 70,000-person town that have helped the police spot and stop drunk drivers, brawlers, vandals, and people illegally smoking in parks, according to a case study on the site of Leverage Information Systems, the company that provided the camera system. After his encounter being watched by the cameras, Kinsey, a security engineer, decided to gaze back at the system. He and Dustin Hoffman, his boss at IT firm Exigent Systems, discovered that the police were not the only ones who could peer through the eyes of the city’s cameras.
Read more on Forbes.

I suspect this is more common than you might think. I used to send a report each month to managers, listing their employees who had login credentials (and the systems they were authorized to access).
Today’s reminder is from a breach I came across in reviewing records obtained in response to a Freedom of Information Act request I filed.
American Medical Response is a billing/collections agency. In the course of business, they routinely access a database maintained by Acxiom Insight.
Apparently, login credentials of an inactive employee were never properly terminated as there was access to the database between April 2009 and March 2010. AMR did not know about it, however, until Acxiom Insight first contacted them on August 31, 2011 to alert them. All told, 944 people had their files accessed. The files contained their names, addresses, phone numbers, and Social Security numbers.
Affected consumers were notified on January 12, 2012, but were not offered any free credit monitoring services. It’s not clear why Acxiom first detected the problem more than one year after it stopped occurring.
The breach was reported to NYS in January 2012, but doesn’t seem to have appeared in the media at the time.

This will become a highly competitive and highly (hacker) targeted area.
Exclusive: Apple prepares Healthkit rollout amid tangled regulatory web
Apple Inc has been discussing how its "HealthKit" service will work with health providers at Mount Sinai, the Cleveland Clinic and Johns Hopkins as well as with Allscripts, a competitor to electronic health records provider Epic Systems, people familiar with the discussions said.
While the talks may not amount to anything concrete, they underscore how Apple is intent on making health data, such as blood pressure, pulse and weight, available for consumers and health providers to view in one place.
Currently, this data is being collected by thousands of third-party health care software applications and medical devices, but it isn't centrally stored. Apple also hopes physicians will use this data to better monitor patients between visits – with the patient's consent — so the doctors can make better diagnostic and treatment decisions.

(Related) For my Statistics students.
Own your body's data
The new breed of high-tech self-monitors (measuring heartrate, sleep, steps per day) might seem targeted at competitive athletes. But Talithia Williams, a statistician, makes a compelling case that all of us should be measuring and recording simple data about our bodies every day — because our own data can reveal much more than even our doctors may know.

Another interesting area for Privacy.
The Promises and Dangers of Ambient Intelligence in Your Life
… Ambient Intelligence (stylized as AmI) is a new way of thinking about human-computer interactions, characterized by embedded devices, wearables, and passive adaptation of technology to your needs. The goal of AmI is for technology to maximize its usefulness while minimizing its footprint on your attention. In other words, AmI tries to be invisible, pulling data from the environment to make intelligent, helpful decisions for you, without you ever having to ask.
This new paradigm is obviously powerful, but it also comes with its own risks and challenges. As the devices in your world come to know your life in more detail, they also come to know your life in more detail.
What Ambient Intelligence Can Do
AmI is the intersection of two important trends. The first is the so-called “Internet of things” – networked devices like Wifi-enabled lightbulbs, Internet radios, smart homes, smart appliances, and wearable technology that make it easy to present data to the user in a variety of ways.
The second is big data analytics and increasingly powerful artificial intelligence tools, which can absorb the flood of data from all of those sensors and devices and turn it into useful insight that can be used to drive helpful behavior without human intervention.

Perspective. Meanwhile, back in the “end user” world, we're lucky to see speeds in the double digit megabyte range... 60,000 times slower.
Google helps build 'Faster' cable under Pacific Ocean
The cable, dubbed Faster, will connect the US with Japan and cost about $300m (£179m; 225m euros), the consortium said.
The trans-Pacific fibre cable would deliver speeds of 60 terabytes per second - enough to send more than 2,000 uncompressed HD films a second.

For my researching students.
Guide to International Research Resources
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Aug 11, 2014
“This guide is intended as a repository of resources specifically for research using materials produced and collected in other countries. The main resources included here are links to national libraries, national bibliographies and union catalogs. Additional regional resources have been included where appropriate. Navigation can be done through the tabs at the top or the table of contents to the left. Resources are divided geographically. On each continental main page there are maps indicating what countries are included in the regional subsections. If there are additional resources that you think should be added or if you find a broken link please send a comment on the feedback tab.” [Jennifer Dinalo]

For my Computer Science students (who probably already know this stuff).
11 Shortcuts For Learning Linux In Record Time

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