Sunday, December 28, 2014

So, what's next? (Because the hackers are having way too much fun to leave them alone.)
Sony restores Playstation but doubts linger
Ending several days of interruption, Sony Corp on Sunday finally restored services to its PlayStation online gaming network after a Christmas Day cyber attack shuttered access to large numbers of customers, including holiday recipients of new game consoles.
… "It's not yet clear whether it's just an outage of the PlayStation Network or if some personal data has been stolen too," Hideki Yasuda, a Tokyo-based analyst at Ace Research Institute, said.

Once upon a time: “On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog!” That had a certain appeal.
Now: “On the Internet, everyone thinks you're a terrorist!”
Ben Westcott reports:
Innovative Australian online mental health providers could be deserted by clients under the government’s controversial new metadata laws.
One of the developers of a widely used Canberra-based online mental health program said the new policy would affect the site’s ability to provide anonymity and freedom from stigma.
But the Attorney-General’s Department said the government was limiting metadata access to agencies with a clear operational or investigative need.
The Abbott government has introduced a bill to make it mandatory for telecommunications companies to store customer information for two years.
Read more on Sydney Morning Herald.

You are worth too much to these companies, they can't let you opt out.
Do Not Track is History?
New York Times: “Four years ago, the Federal Trade Commission announced, with fanfare, a plan to let American consumers decide whether to let companies track their online browsing and buying habits. The plan would let users opt out of the collection of data about their habits through a setting in their web browsers, without having to decide on a site-by-site basis. The idea, known as “Do Not Track,” and modeled on the popular “Do Not Call” rule that protects consumers from unwanted telemarketing calls, is simple. But the details are anything but. Although many digital advertising companies agreed to the idea in principle, the debate over the definition, scope and application of “Do Not Track” has been raging for several years. Now, finally, an industry working group is expected to propose detailed rules governing how the privacy switch should work. The group includes experts but is dominated by Internet giants like Adobe, Apple, Facebook, Google and Yahoo. It is poised to recommend a carve-out that would effectively free them from honoring “Do Not Track” requests. If regulators go along, the rules would allow the largest Internet giants to continue scooping up data about users on their own sites and on other sites that include their plug-ins, such as Facebook’s “Like” button or an embedded YouTube video. This giant loophole would make “Do Not Track” meaningless.”

(Related) For my Business Intelligence and Data Mining students. Multiple business opportunities! If the current price is $2,000 per website per month, what is the software worth?
Priceonomics Launches a Platform to Crawl and Analyze Web Data
Priceonomics has launched a new offering that enables developers to crawl and analyze web pages on a large scale.
… Once a web page is crawled, the Priceonomics Analysis Engine analyzes the data it contains using applications that, for instance, can extract email addresses and phone numbers or retrieve information about where and how much the page has been shared on social media.
… Currently, Priceonomics is offering free access to its Analysis Engine. Developers can either use a shared API key that may produce slow results, or sign up for a private API key that is limited to 1,500 requests per day.
Data is the gold of the digital age and scraping is increasingly akin to gold mining. According to Priceonomics, "Tech companies and hedge funds pay us between $2K to $10K per month to crawl web pages, structure the information, and then deliver it to them in analyzed form. This is a pretty significant amount of money because acquiring data is a burning problem for some companies."
… Because data is so valuable and scraping it can be such a challenging task, a growing number of companies are hoping to build big businesses by offering self-serve tools that essentially allow anyone to turn web pages into APIs.
… Right now, it looks as if the market is large enough to support multiple companies but as more and more companies come face to face with the fact that their data is being scraped and incorporated into unofficial APIs, it's possible that offerings like Priceonomics' Analysis Engine will eventually have the ironic effect of encouraging companies to build official APIs that they can control and monetize.

Something for my Criminal Justice students?
Social Media Directory – DHS
“The Department of Homeland Security and its component agencies use numerous social media accounts to provide you with information in more places and more ways [the listing is quite long – what appears below is only a portion of the total]. The Department uses non-government sites to make information and services more widely available.

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