Sunday, December 21, 2014

The lack of facts, or at least believable facts seems to open the door for some incredible reporting. I'm no longer certain what I can believe.
Sony Hack Reveals U.S. Can’t Protect Business From Attack
… The spat showed that the U.S. government and businesses still can’t collaborate effectively to deter cyber-attacks, defend against them or respond to them. It added urgency to a debate over whether and when the government should take responsibility for protecting private companies from attacks and whether and when those companies can strike back against foreign nations or groups.
Obama promised to retaliate against North Korea for the Sony hack, answering a largely unresolved legal and political question surrounding cyber-warfare: The U.S. government will act on behalf of a private company after an attack. [We're opening a huge can of worms here. Bob]
… The administration gave a very limited answer because of the classified nature of information about the attack. [Perhaps they tapped some NSA resources, but there must be something that's not “classified.” Bob] The White House also didn’t want to set a precedent of answering requests on a company-by-company basis -- and possibly appearing to favor one firm over another -- said one of the officials.
… For both practical and political reasons, it would be best for any move to be international and asymmetric, [International is good, but unlikely as we can't seems to get anyone to agree what cyberwar is. Asymetric because North Korea does not have any company like Sony. (or any company worth targeting) Bob] in both time and nature, according to two Obama administration officials involved in discussions on how to respond. That would limit the appearance that the U.S. was responding to the effort to suppress the movie, rather than acting over the cyber-attack on Sony, they said. It would also signal to the Chinese and other cyber-powers that destructive hacks cross a line and that there’s international support for drawing such a line.
… Congress will probably take a close look at the rules governing how companies can respond to cyber-attacks, House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, a Texas Republican, said in an interview with Bloomberg reporters and editors this month.
“I’m going to study the legal implications of allowing companies to do it, to do more to retaliate,” he said. [Cyber-vigilantiasm? Bob]

Obama: North Korea's hack not war, but 'cybervandalism'
… Obama said in a Friday news conference that Sony made "a mistake," and that he wished the company had called him first. That led Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton to tell CNN that Obama and the public "are mistaken as to what actually happened." He blamed movie theater companies that opted not to show the film, saying they forced Sony's hand.
Obama shot back, saying: "I was pretty sympathetic to the fact that they have business considerations that they got to make. Had they talked to me directly about this decision, I might have called the movie theater chains and distributors and asked them what the story was."
… The non-profit Human Rights Foundation is pushing a campaign called "#HackThemBack," inviting "those who support freedom and democracy" to "help North Korean defectors amplify, refine, and intensify efforts to break the monopoly of information" that the regime imposes on its people.
The group also plans to buy copies of "The Interview" and include them in balloon drops over North Korea, founder Thor Havorssen said. [Now that's just stupid. Do they imagine that the average North Korean has a DVD player? Bob]

(Related) Some humorous, some sad...
Hackers Vs. Haters: How Twitter Reacted To Sony Pulling The Interview
To say the Internet didn’t take kindly to Sony Pictures pulling The Interview is putting it mildly. The majority of people think Sony capitulated to an unsubstantiated threat far too easily.
We kept a close eye on Twitter in the aftermath of the announcement, and these are some of the best tweets about The Interview, and, in particular, Sony pulling the film to appease unknown hackers.

Now I have something to point to that confirms my suspicions. Why would politicians claim safety benefits before the data is in? Because they think it will win votes.
Tribune study: Chicago red light cameras provide few safety benefits
Chicago's red light cameras fail to deliver the dramatic safety benefits long claimed by City Hall, according to a first-ever scientific study that found the nation's largest camera program is responsible for increasing some types of injury crashes while decreasing others.
The state-of-the-art study commissioned by the Tribune concluded the cameras do not reduce injury-related crashes overall — undercutting Mayor Rahm Emanuel's primary defense of a program beset by mismanagement, malfunction and a $2 million bribery scandal.
Emanuel has credited the cameras for a 47 percent reduction in dangerous right-angle, or "T-bone," crashes. But the Tribune study, which accounted for declining accident rates in recent years as well as other confounding factors, found cameras reduced right-angle crashes that caused injuries by just 15 percent.
At the same time, the study calculated a corresponding 22 percent increase in rear-end crashes that caused injuries, illustrating a trade-off between the cameras' costs and benefits.
The researchers also determined there is no safety benefit from cameras installed at intersections where there have been few crashes with injuries. Such accidents actually increased at those intersections after cameras went in, the study found, though the small number of crashes makes it difficult to determine whether the cameras were to blame.
… Chicago Transportation Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld said the city has never attempted a deep examination of the effectiveness of the largest automated enforcement program in the country, which has grown to more than 350 red light cameras and raised more than $500 million in $100 tickets since 2002. She said the Emanuel administration, now in its fourth year, is attempting to fix a long-standing lack of oversight.

Never discuss yourself with anyone who can spell “sarcasm.”

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