Saturday, March 29, 2014

If the NSA can't store the data themselves, I expect the number of requests to soar.
Government requests for Google data soar
Google said this week that government requests for data on users had more than doubled over the last four years.
The company released its ninth transparency report, which noted 27,477 worldwide government requests for information from 42,648 users in the second half of 2013.
… Google sometimes fights back on legal grounds or because requests are too broad or unclear; it complied with 64 percent of requests during that period.
However, in the United States that percentage was much higher - answering 83 percent of 10,574 requests.

If you are going to hand this report to auditors, you should know that the auditors will know exactly how far they can trust (rely) on the report. However, they will take it as an assertion by management that this is what they believe their security status is.
A new security risk assessment (SRA) tool to help guide health care providers in small to medium sized offices conduct risk assessments of their organizations is now available from HHS.
The SRA tool is the result of a collaborative effort by the HHS Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) and Office for Civil Rights (OCR). The tool is designed to help practices conduct and document a risk assessment in a thorough, organized fashion at their own pace by allowing them to assess the information security risks in their organizations under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Security Rule. The application, available for downloading at also produces a report that can be provided to auditors.
… The SRA tool’s website contains a User Guide and Tutorial video to help providers begin using the tool. Videos on risk analysis and contingency planning are available at the website to provide further context.
The tool is available for both Windows operating systems and iOS iPads. Download the Windows version at The iOS iPad version is available from the Apple App Store (search under “HHS SRA tool”).

May be a bit of over-reaction, but not to biometrics. The schools under-thought their processes, something the vendors should have warned them about.
Janice Kephart, founder and CEO of the Secure Identity and Biometrics Association (SIBA) has issued a press release stating in no uncertain terms that the Florida Senate’s near unanimous vote of March 27 to ban biometrics in all schools lacks common sense and denies schools the opportunity to improve safety, standards, and fiscal accountability.
“The Senate vote is based on misunderstood science,” said Kephart, “and penalizes the entire state because two districts out of 67 counties failed to follow simple and obvious program protocols. As a result, sensible biometric program implementation that includes these protocols in places like Miami-Dade are threatened because legislators believe that using biometrics to keep kids safe on buses and well fed in the lunchroom could lead to identity theft.”
Read more on Government Security News.

This could provide some interesting examples for my Business Math class.
Wal-Mart sues Visa for $5 billion over card swipe fees
Wal-Mart Stores Inc this week sued Visa Inc for $5 billion, accusing the credit and debit card network of excessively high card swipe fees, several months after the retailer opted out of a class action settlement between merchants and Visa and MasterCard Inc.
… In December, a federal judge in Brooklyn, N.Y., approved a $5.7 billion class action settlement between merchants and Visa and MasterCard despite the objections of thousands of retailers that complained it was inadequate.
Wal-Mart, Inc, and Target Corp were among those opting out of the monetary components of the settlement to have the freedom to seek damages on their own.
Those businesses complained about a broad litigation release in the settlement. The release forces all merchants who accepted Visa or MasterCard, and those who will in the future, to give up their right to sue the credit card companies over rules at issue in the case or similar ones they may make in the future.
… The case is in re: Wal-Mart Stores, U.S. District Court, Western District of Arkansas, No. 05101.

Instagram Trumps Twitter In Mobile Users
… Research company eMarketer released new predictions this week on Instagram's growth: In 2013, 34.6 million Instagram users logged on monthly, and that number will reach 40.5 million this year. Meanwhile, Twitter's monthly active users are set to grow by 7 million this year to 37.8 million -- 2.7 million less than Instagram.

Perspective. The era of the Ameche is over.
The End of the Line for the Analog Phone Network
Right now, the FCC is working on the biggest transformation in over a century of profound technological progress in communications: shutting down the analog telephone network. It’s an end-game everyone needs to keep a close eye on. Whenever a major technology, especially one with a long history of regulation, approaches the end of its life, industry laggards are sure to resurface, eager to gum up the works with lawmakers.
… Perhaps as few as 20% of U.S. homes still have a landline telephone connection. Half that many rely on over-the-air antenna television for video content. Until the Internet, both technologies boasted nearly 100% penetration.

Free humor, every week.
… The Chicago Board of Education has privatized its custodial services. Now it’s looking to hire outside companies to run school recess.
The Chronicle of Higher Education examines the Open Syllabus Project, an initiative “to build a large-scale online database of syllabi ‘as a platform for the development of new research, teaching, and administrative tools.’”
University of California President Janet Napolitano is skeptical of online courses, particularly for remediation. Speaking at a luncheon in Sacramento, she said that online education is “harder than it looks and if you do it right, it doesn’t save all that much money.”

Friday, March 28, 2014

Us poor non-lawyers are so easily confused. Does this mean that if I find a book/movie/music on a UK site, I can make a copy without worrying about Intellectual Property rights?
Glyn Moody writes:
More and more of our activities take place in the digital rather than analog realm. But what exactly is the legal status of that digital stuff as it flows around the Internet, or sits inside databases? A recent judgment in the UK provides important guidance:
Information stored electronically does not constitute property which someone can exercise possession of, judges in the UK have ruled.
The Court of Appeal rejected arguments to the contrary and refused to interpret existing laws in a manner which would, it admitted, “have the beneficial effect of extending the protection of property rights in a way that would take account of recent technological developments”.
The judges said that whilst it is possible to exert control over electronic information it is not possible to gain possession of it. The distinction was drawn in a case concerning a dispute between a publisher and an IT supplier.
Read more on TechDirt.
[From the article:
The analysis of one of the judges is interesting:
"An electronic database consists of structured information," Lord Justice Floyd said. "Although information may give rise to intellectual property rights, such as database right and copyright, the law has been reluctant to treat information itself as property. When information is created and recorded there are sharp distinctions between the information itself, the physical medium on which the information is recorded and the rights to which the information gives rise. Whilst the physical medium and the rights are treated as property, the information itself has never been."
That's an important statement that touches on many aspects of the online world, not least digital copyright. It confirms that the property of "intellectual property" is of monopoly rights, not of the information in the creative work. And since that information cannot be possessed, it therefore cannot be stolen, despite what copyright maximalists would have us believe.

“We're trying to cut back on NSA hacking, so...”
The Wall Street Journal reports that the Department of Justice is seeking increased authority to remotely search not only computers but also cloud based services to which those computers connect. The techniques investigators use for this searching include sending an email containing code that installs spying software. At that point, investigators can take over the computer, and use any stored passwords to search cloud based back ups, file storage, email accounts, and more. The government doesn’t describe these methods as hacking, preferring instead to use terms like “remote access” and “network investigative techniques.”
The DOJ push comes in the context of proposed modifications to the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, specifically Rule 41 which governs how search warrants are issued. Under the current rule, magistrates may only authorize searches within their particular district. Electronic crimes may affect the district, but the suspect and data located in a different, or many different, districts.

You have the right to reenforce your biases by only reading or listening to people who agree with you. (and if no one ever tells you you're wrong, you must be right!)
U.S. judge rules Baidu's censorship is protected as free speech
… The lawsuit against Baidu, originally filed in 2011 by eight activists in New York, claimed that the Chinese search engine had violated U.S. laws on free speech. This was because Baidu had been censoring pro-democracy works on its search engine for not only its users in China, but also for those accessing the site from New York.
The lawsuit demanded Baidu pay $16 million in damages. But on Thursday, U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled against the activists, and said requiring Baidu to include pro-democracy works in its search results would "run afoul" of the U.S.'s free speech laws.
In his ruling, Furman compared Baidu's blocking of pro-democracy works to a newspaper's right to exercise "editorial control" to publish what it wants. In Baidu's case, the company has created a search engine that favors certain political speech.

I can only hope that other schools actually read about this and think a bit (neither is likely)
Two years ago, the ACLU filed suit against Minnewaska Area Schools for disciplining a student who had posted a negative comment about a staff member while in the privacy of her home. As part of the district’s response, they demanded the student’s login credentials to Facebook. The case raised free speech and privacy issues.
This week, the ACLU of Minnesota announced that there’s been a settlement:
The American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota succeeded in defending the rights of their client, Riley Stratton, with the settlement of their case against Stratton’s school. In 2012, the ACLU-MN filed a lawsuit against the Minnewaska School District for violating Stratton’s rights (she was a 6th grader at the time) when they unjustly punished her for content she posted on her Facebook page and forced her to turn over her passwords for her Facebook and email accounts. The case was recently settled and as a part of the agreement the School District agreed to strengthen privacy protections for its students and pay damages.
“I am so happy that my case is finally over, and that my school changed its rules so what happened to me doesn’t happen to other students,” stated Riley Stratton. “It was so embarrassing and hard on me to go through, but I hope that schools all over see what happened and don’t punish other students the way I was punished.”
In one humiliating ordeal after another, Stratton was subject to a baseless punishment for a comment she made on her own Facebook page, while at home, about a staff member from the school. A short while later she was put through a traumatizing experience when she had her Facebook page searched at school, with police present, merely because she allegedly had an online conversation about sex while on her home computer. Stratton’s mother was not informed about the search until after it happened. The whole experience left Stratton distressed to the point where she no longer wanted to attend school.
As part of the settlement the School District agreed to change its policies to better protect students’ privacy and train its staff on the new policy to ensure it is correctly followed. The School District also agreed to a $70,000 settlement which will be divided between the Strattons, for damages, and the ACLU-MN to cover case costs and support future ACLU-MN efforts to protect the civil liberties of Minnesotans.
“We are pleased with the settlement and hope this sends a clear message to other schools that it is bad policy to police students behavior on social media,” stated Charles Samuelson, Executive Director of the ACLU-MN. “There may be times when it is appropriate for schools to intervene, but only in extreme circumstances where there are true threats or safety risks.”
Cooperating attorneys working on the case are: Wallace Hilke and Bryan Freeman of Lindquist & Vennum PLLP and Professor Raleigh Hannah Levine, William Mitchell College of Law along with Teresa Nelson, Legal Director of the ACLU-MN.
The judgement can be found here.
More background of the case can be found here.
One of the terms of the settlement is that the student handbook will be revised to include this provision:
Voluntary searches:
Students may be asked for permission to search their backpacks or orher personal items. When a search is voluntary, the student is free to withhold consent and a student’s refusal to consent to a voluntary search will not result in additional discipline or other adverse consequences.

Perspective. Think of these as arrows into the side of cable TV. What is available on cable that you can not get on the Internet for free?
Roku Makes The 3500R Streaming Stick Official With Todays Launch
The gloves are off Chromecast fans, Roku has officially announced the release of their brand new streaming HDMI dongle called the Roku 3500R Streaming Stick. This is Roku’s answer to the wildly popular Chromecast, which to be honest, they were smart to release because the Chromecast has been making waves. The 3500R, although a tad more expensive, gives quite a bit more options to those willing to buy. While the Chromecast is great because it comes in under $40 and offers a ton of different ways to get your media onto your TV, the Roku 3500R provides access to over 1,200 channels with plenty of movies for the film buff, loads of TV shows, kids programs, Sports, music and news. You’ll also have access to media content through Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Instant Video, Blockbusters streaming video service and a service called Mgo. Did you think the media content would stop there? Of course not. You can also get your content from hulu plus, VUDU, and HBO Go among others.

(Related) Old industries (like cable) can't move as quickly as new industries. (I'll leave it to you to define “old” and “new.”) If we don't get in their way, consumers could be the big winners.
Amazon Reportedly Ready To Offer A Set-Top Box And Free Ad-Supported Streaming
The company best known for selling books has been aggressively moving into video streaming with a subscription and rental service (that competes with both Netflix and Apple’s iTunes) and new original content.
Now the company is reportedly taking things one step further. Re/Code is reporting that a new set-top box from Amazon will be revealed next week. The gadget would compete with things like Roku and AppleTV to stream shows from the Internet to your TV.
… At the same time, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Amazon is working on free ad-supported video streaming. Previously, streaming video was only available to people who signed up for Amazon Prime (which now costs $99 per year). By offering the streaming for free but with ads, Amazon gets a whole new revenue stream and the chance to pitch its Prime service to people who don’t already take advantage of the video and the free shipping.

Stuff for students.
Google Docs Adds-Ons For Students: These 5 Will Help You Write A Paper
Word-processing for students has long been the domain of Microsoft Word. The recent release of add-ons is making Google Docs an appealing free option. The five add-ons we are about to meet have the potential to become quick favorites for people working on research papers, essays, and collaborative projects. But, are they good enough to make Google Docs the go-to option?
Google Docs won’t be toppling Word from the top of the heavy-duty text-editing list anytime soon, but add-ons like these will help keep it in the list of best alternatives to Office. It will make it more attractive for those who want to keep all of their work in the cloud.

More student stuff.
– provides a free to use library of the world’s best educational videos. They scour the public web and work with the world’s best teachers and institutions to bring you a one stop shop for video learning. It’s like a You Tube of education. The library is comprehensive and high quality. They are rigorous in only uploading high quality, fascinating videos from established academic institutions.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Gee! I didn't think you cared!
The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation released its report, “A “Kill Chain” Analysis of the 2013 Target Data Breach.” The report was prepared by the majority staff for Chairman Rockefeller.

Debate is good!
Orin Kerr writes:
This is my second post on recent decisions in computer search and seizure law by Magistrate Judge John Facciola of the federal court in the District of Columbia. In my first post, I covered Judge Facciola’s opinion denying a warrant on the ground that the government didn’t need one. In this post, I’ll address a more dramatic and important opinion that considers how search warrants for e-mail and social media accounts should be drafted and executed. Judge Facciola’s opinion rejects an approach to e-mail warrants that DOJ has recommended. It then concludes that the Fourth Amendment may require third-party service providers to execute warrants and then pass on the results to the government. I have posted the opinion here: In the Matter of the Search of Information Associated with [redacted] that is Stored at Premises Controlled by Apple, Inc.
Read more on WaPo The Volokh Conspiracy.

Just another one of those, “I'm not a lawyer, but here's a legal question.” If the cops were flying a drone to monitor rush hour traffic and recorded a car speeding down the shoulder of the road, do they have to ignore/destroy that evidence?
Activist Post reports:
A Missouri bill to strictly limit drone use passed out of the state House on Monday by a vote of 109-44. It now moves on to the Senate for consideration.
HB1204, the “Preserving Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act,” would ban law enforcement agencies in Missouri from using a “drone or other unmanned aircraft to gather evidence or other information pertaining to criminal conduct or conduct in violation of a statute or regulation except to the extent authorized in a warrant.”
Read more on Activist Post.

An interesting illustration of Big Data analysis.
1957 was the best-ever year for movies (and other surprising insights from IMDb)
Want to know which episode of “Seinfeld” was the greatest? Curious which year produced the best films? At one point in time, these types of esoteric queries fell firmly in the realm of bar debates and bickering critics. But thanks to IMDb — that massive compendium of cinematic trivia and ratings — we can at last quantify things like, say, the best move made in 1985. (Spoiler alert: It’s “Back to the Future.”)
This brilliant and vindicating insight comes courtesy Reddit, where “monoglot,” an enterprising user in the /r/movies forum, parsed tens of thousands of movie reviews to assemble a list of the movies that got the most perfect reviews for every year between 1894 and the present. (More on the methodology here.)

Students, fair warning!
By Request - Seven Tools for Building and Sharing Online Quizzes
Earlier today, through the Free Technology for Teachers Facebook page, I was asked for suggestions for tools for creating and sharing online quizzes. Many online quiz services allow you to create quizzes that give your students instant feedback. Some of the services provide the option to include picture and video prompts in your quizzes. And all of these services save you the hassle of printing your quizzes. Here are seven ways that you can create and deliver quizzes online.

This is an interesting iPhone/iPad App. Lots of my students could use this one.
– draws floor plans all by itself – just touch each wall with your phone. The free version of RoomScan is great for scanning single rooms, and RoomScan Pro is available with more advanced features. For super-accurate instant floor plans, use RoomScan in conjunction with a laser measure. Just tap a wall on the finished floor plan and input your measurement.

For my Math students.
Free Graphing Calculator

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

While President Obama tries to smooth over relations, North Korea reacts like a spoiled 6 year old (with nukes)
Obama brokers Japan, South Korea talks as Pyongyang fires missiles
U.S. President Barack Obama brought together the leaders of Japan and South Korea for their first face-to-face talks as a North Korean ballistic missile launch underscored the need for Washington's two key Asian allies to repair their strained ties.
Washington hopes the three-way summit will improve relations between Seoul and Tokyo, which are clouded by the legacy of Japan's 1910-1945 colonial rule of the Korean peninsula and Seoul's concerns that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants to rewrite Japan's wartime past with a less apologetic tone.

ATM robbery? Dude, there's an App for that!
ATM Hackers Turn to Text Messages to Pull Bank Heists
According to Symantec, a new variant of ATM malware discovered in 2013 has been updated to allow hackers to withdraw cash using SMS messages.
The malware, known as Ploutus, first surfaced last year in Mexico. At the time, the malware enabled attackers armed with an external keyboard to make illegal withdrawals from ATM machines. In the ensuing weeks however, a new variant appeared with an evolved architecture.
"The criminals can remotely control the ATM by using a mobile phone which is connected to the inside of the ATM," Regalado explained. "There are multiple ways to connect a mobile phone to an ATM. A common method is to use a setup called USB tethering, which is effectively a shared Internet connection between a phone and a computer (or in this case, an ATM)."

Now do you believe me when I say, “You have to be crazy not to encrypt your laptop!”
Stacia Glenn reports:
A Gig Harbor psychologist who failed to immediately fess up that a prostitute stole his laptop with medical information about 652 state Department of Social and Health Services clients must undergo a mental health evaluation if he wants to practice again.
Sunil Kakar was suspended in October on charges ranging from unprofessional conduct to failure to provide security safeguards. He remains suspended for not protecting sensitive client information, according to records.
The state said Kakar also remains suspended because he failed to take part in a required substance abuse monitoring program ordered after a 2012 incident for which he was charged with unprofessional conduct.
Read more on the News Tribune

(Related) And encryption is not hard to implement!
Toshiba's Self-Encrypting Hard Drives Get FIPS 140-2 Stamp
Toshiba announced on Tuesday that its MQ01ABUxxxBW series hard disk drives (HDD) has achieved validation to U.S. Federal Information Processing Standard 140-2 (FIPS 140-2).

“Let's sue everyone and see who settles?” OR “Why do they insist these systems are secure when they clearly are not?” OR (Most likely) “Security failed, therefore someone screwed up.”
Chicago's Trustwave sued over Target data breach
… Although the most serious allegations are leveled at Target, the suit alleges that Trustwave failed to identify deficiencies in the retailer's IT systems. Trustwave's software audits companies' IT systems to make sure they comply with credit card security regulations.
The lawsuit is a blow to Trustwave, which according to the complaint says it has “performed more Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) Certifications than all other companies combined.” [So now they too are suspect. Bob]
… Trustwave has been growing fast in recent years, swallowing up smaller competitors. Earlier this month, it bought Cenzic, Inc., a Silicon Valley-based company that specializes in continuous automated security testing for cloud, mobile and Web applications. Trustwave, which previously planned to go public but had to pull the offering, has been seen as one of Chicago's most likely candidates for a sale or IPO.

This is what my Ethical Hackers call a “high value target.” I wonder how long it took the average hacker to break in?
Dan Massoglia writes:
FirstNet is a public/private cooperative surveillance and information exchange enterprise—a vast network to share Americans’ personal information—conceived by and written into law with the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012. By law, FirstNet’s purpose is to “create a nationwide, wireless, interoperable, public safety broadband network,” a euphemism that means, “increase the ease with which government agencies share private and public information about people.” By consolidating the placement of points of reference and interoperability for each potential node of state, local, commercial, and other communications networks, FirstNet is a blueprint for making surveillance data-sharing national, lightning-fast, and independent from the insecure, heavily monitored public internet.
Read more on PrivacySOS.

You didn't really think they'd stop, did you?
Don’t Listen to Google and Facebook: The Public-Private Surveillance Partnership Is Still Going Strong
If you’ve been reading the news recently, you might think that corporate America is doing its best to thwart NSA surveillance.
Google just announced that it is encrypting Gmail when you access it from your computer or phone, and between data centers. Last week, Mark Zuckerberg personally called President Obama to complain about the NSA using Facebook as a means to hack computers, and Facebook's Chief Security Officer explained to reporters that the attack technique has not worked since last summer. Yahoo, Google, Microsoft, and others are now regularly publishing "transparency reports," listing approximately how many government data requests the companies have received and complied with.
On the government side, last week the NSA's General Counsel Rajesh De seemed to have thrown those companies under a bus by stating that—despite their denials—they knew all about the NSA's collection of data under both the PRISM program and some unnamed "upstream" collections on the communications links.
… The U.S. intelligence community is still playing word games with us. The NSA collects our data based on four different legal authorities: the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) of 1978, Executive Order 12333 of 1981 and modified in 2004 and 2008, Section 215 of the Patriot Act of 2001, and Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act (FAA) of 2008. Be careful when someone from the intelligence community uses the caveat "not under this program," or "not under this authority"; almost certainly it means that whatever it is they're denying is done under some other program or authority. So when De said that companies knew about NSA collection under Section 702, it doesn't mean they knew about the other collection programs.

I think the best rulings (and most amusing language) come when the Judge is angry or frustrated.
Zoe Tillman reports:
A federal magistrate judge in Washington wants to hear from Twitter Inc. and Yahoo! Inc. before ruling on a request by federal prosecutors to block those companies from disclosing information on grand jury subpoenas.
In two orders issued on March 21, U.S. District Magistrate Judge John Facciola said he received applications from the government asking that Twitter and Yahoo be barred from “notifying any person of the existence or content of” the grand jury subpoenas.
Read more on Legal Times.
[From the article:
Twitter and Yahoo have a policy of notifying users about requests for information on their accounts unless prohibited by law or a court order.
… "This Court is increasingly concerned about the government's applications for search warrants for electronic data," he wrote. "In essence, its applications ask for the entire universe of information tied to a particular account, even if it has established probable cause only for certain information."
On March 11, he denied applications for search warrants that would allow law enforcement to search cellphones and other electronic devices seized in a child pornography investigation, finding the government used "inaccurate, formulaic language," failed to limit the scope of the search to data for which it had probable cause, and didn't explain how the search would take place.
On March 20, the judge again declined to sign search warrants for four more electronic devices in a child pornography investigation. Facciola said the government still failed to address many of the issues he raised in his March 11 order.
Prosecutors specified what law enforcement would seize from the devices and, for the first time, provided a search protocol, the judge said, but they still failed to provide a detailed explanation of the search process.
"Since the government has not taken the hint, the Court will be more explicit: the government needs to provide a sophisticated technical overview of how it plans to conduct the search," Facciola wrote. "It need not be overly detailed—the Court is not asking for a list of search terms—but the overview must provide this Court with sufficient information such that it will not be authorizing the 'general, exploratory rummaging in a person’s belongings' that the Fourth Amendment prohibits."

Not sure where Facebook is heading with this. (Of course, I've been blind before.)
Facebook Makes $2 Billion Virtual-Reality Bet With Oculus
Facebook Inc. is making a $2 billion bet that a virtual-reality headset will one day become the center of its users’ social lives.
… Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg is following Google in seeking growth beyond smartphones and tablets. While Apple Inc.’s iPhone and Google’s Android mobile devices dominate today, developers are looking for new gadgets to showcase wares and are focusing on the more lifelike experiences that Oculus provides, Zuckerberg said in a blog.

(Related) Content for VR?
Disney Agrees to Pay $500 Million for Maker Studios
Walt Disney Co. (DIS) agreed to buy Maker Studios, a supplier of online video content to YouTube, for $500 million, gaining technology and experience with short-form entertainment.
Disney also agreed to pay as much as $450 million more if Maker Studios meets “strong” performance targets, the Burbank, California-based company said today in a statement. That could boost the total to $950 million.
With Maker Studios, Disney is following DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. (DWA) into an online video business with expanding audiences and little profit. DreamWorks Animation, producer of the “Shrek” movies, bought AwesomenessTV, a smaller competitor of Maker Studios, for $33 million plus as much as $117 million in incentives last year. The online outlets could help media companies build awareness for films and TV shows.

Economics in the current age. Disintermediation dude, look it up. I'd say Tesla won in Ohio – New Jersey will fight to the last bankruptcy. (What value do dealerships add for consumers?)
Compromise to Limit Tesla to Three Stores
The arrival of Tesla motors in the Ohio market stirred up local car dealers who sensed a threat to their way of doing business. Tesla sells high-end all-electric cars but does so without the use of franchise dealerships. Ohio lawmakers are working to resolve the dispute.
There's no middleman at Tesla. The company manufactures the cars and operates its own stores where customers can shop and learn. There are no car lots full of inventory to look at — each Tesla is made to order.

(Related) Some people are recognizing the changing times...
From Digitally Disrupted to Digital Disrupter
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on March 25, 2014
“Big companies are back in the digital game. Procter & Gamble, Tesco, Disney, GE—these are just a few of the global 2,000 that are now in a race to become digital. Those that get there first will be able to disrupt their existing markets and penetrate new ones. They will be in control of their new digital destinies. This year’s report represents the latest iteration of Accenture’s Technology Vision, which declares that “every business is a digital business.” In last year’s report, we laid out the imperative for every business to reimagine itself in this digital world, and we charted the increasing appetite of leading enterprises for exploring the opportunities that emerging technologies provide.” [One of which is disintermediation. Bob]

Perspective. Cable continues to die. Newspaper revenue continues to drop. News “repeaters” replace news “Reporters.”
One in three Americans view online news videos
More American adults are watching news videos online than ever before. According to the 2014 State of the News Media report, released on Wednesday, nearly half of people under 50 watch online news videos, and one in ten adults have posted their own videos of news events to social networking sites.
This year’s report is the eleventh annual survey released by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, and it examines how newspapers, magazines, websites and network and cable news fared over the course of 2013.
… Americans are increasingly attached to their cellphones and the internet, and their news habits are evolving. Thirty percent of the adults Pew surveyed get some of their news from Facebook. Fifty percent of social network users share or repost news content, while 46 percent discuss news events on social media.
… Local and cable television numbers were less encouraging. Nearly 300 local television stations were sold in 2013, and more stations are being managed jointly by large companies like the Sinclair Broadcasting Group, and sharing content with each other than before. There are joint service agreements (in which stations share news-gathering resources) in nearly half of 210 local television markets nationwide, up from 55 such agreements in 2011. Cable news audiences declined, with the combined median prime-time viewership of CNN, Fox and MSNBC dropping 11 percent to approximately three million, the smallest since 2007.
Print and television advertising are still the major sources for revenue in journalism, making up more than half of the money supporting professional journalism. Newspaper ad revenue in 2012 (the most recent year data was available) was down 52 percent from 2003.

For my Math students. This was a “Billion Dollar Sure Thing.” Expect more like it now that Billion is the new Million.
Quicken Loans' billion-dollar gamble pays off
Say what you will about the Quicken Loans Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge with Yahoo Sports. But the contest, which magically latched on to the mania of March Madness with the promise of a possible $1 billion prize for anyone who picked the winner of every tournament game, put Quicken Loans in rare PR air.
How rare? Try 1 billion social media and PR impressions since the contest began, estimates Jay Farner, president and chief marketing officer, in an interview with USA TODAY.
… What's more, brand awareness for Quicken - the second-largest retail lender in America, next to Wells Fargo - shot up a whopping 300% since the contest began vs. prior to February, he says.
… Then there are new customer leads. While Farner is reluctant to be specific on this, he says the contest elicited "millions and millions" of new customer leads - though that wasn't its focus, he says. The focus, he says, was "engagement." [Right... Bob] The contest, which was free to enter, had a limit of 15 million entries - but he declined to state if it reached that number.

For my geeky students.
Microsoft releases source code for MS-DOS and Word
In recognition of their historical importance and commercial irrelevance, Microsoft has given the source code to MS-DOS 1.1 and 2.0 and Word for Windows 1.1a to the Computer History Museum (CHM) in Mountain View, California. The source is now freely downloadable by anyone, though making practical use of it is an exercise for the reader.

I may find a use for this in my Statistics class, students beware! (Still in Beta and rather slow)
Census Data Mapper – Beta
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on March 25, 2014
“The Census Data Mapper is a web mapping application intended to provide users with a simple interface to view, save and print county-based demographic maps of the United States. The data are from the 2010 Census.”

For me and for my students.
5 Tools To Migrate Your Data From Windows XP
With the April 8, 2014 end-of-support date looming, it’s long past time to upgrade from Windows XP. If you have a Windows XP system filled with your personal data and settings, upgrading can be daunting. These tools will help you easily migrate your data from Windows XP to a modern version of Windows, Mac OS X, or even Linux.
… Microsoft is now providing a free copy of LapLink’s PCmover Express to all Windows XP users.

For my website students.
FREE EBOOK Learning Markdown: Write For The Web, Faster
Markdown is essentially a syntax language for formatting text as you write. It’s fast, and built for people who write for the Web.
If you want to learn Markdown, but don’t know where to start, this free MakeUseOf Guide is for you.

I'm shopping for cellphone service. So far, I hate them all. Anyone have any advice?
Make Your Calls for Free
Get more mileage out of your minutes by making free calls whenever you can. Viber, Skype Mobile and Textfree are all free apps that allow you to call anyone else who has the app for free.
Don't Use 4-1-1
Dial 4-1-1 from a cell phone, and it could cost you $1 or more. Crazy! Fortunately, you can skip the charge and still get the information that you need by calling 1-800-GOOG-411, a free 4-1-1 service provided by Google.
Another free 4-1-1 number to try: 1-800-free411
Use a Free Texting Service
Or go one better, and switch to free texting. Heywire and Textfree are two free apps that allow you to send texts and pictures for free.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Very interesting graphic of the military downsizing after the fall of the Soviet Union. Let's hope all those nukes went back to Russia or were dismantled.
Ukraine Battles to Rebuild a Depleted Military
As the Kremlin began its invasion of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea last month, a days-old government in Kiev turned to its military to stem the tide. There was an immediate problem: No car batteries for the military vehicles.
With coffers empty, Ukraine's fledgling government appealed to the U.S. embassy for help. The embassy said it would take weeks to get assistance, so the government had to search—among its own people—to find a regional oligarch, Ihor Kolomoisky, to kick in the funds to buy them locally.

I am coming to the conclusion that it IS smart to deliberately understate the size of a breach in the early releasses os information. Apparently, when you get around to correcting (admitting) the numbers, no one in the media truly cares.
ZIP Codes Show Extent of Sally Beauty Breach
Earlier this month, beauty products chain Sally Beauty acknowledged that a hacker break-in compromised fewer than 25,000 customer credit and debit cards. My previous reporting indicated that the true size of the breach was at least ten times larger. The analysis published in this post suggests that the Sally Beauty breach may have impacted virtually all 2,600+ Sally Beauty locations nationwide.
… I asked Sally Beauty to comment on my findings. They declined again to offer any more detail on the breach, issuing the following statement:
“As experience has shown in prior data security incidents at other companies, it is difficult to ascertain with certainty the scope of a data security incident prior to the completion of a comprehensive forensic investigation. As a result, we will not speculate as to the scope or nature of the data security incident. Please check for updates.”
[Note that they do not say that they haven't already completed their investigation. Bob]
The zip code analysis is available in this .csv spreadsheet.

I ask you, how would Christie know when to close lanes onto the bridge without this?
Cindy Weightman
I’m driving around Bergen County. That sound you’re hearing is a device that alerts you any time your E-ZPass tag is scanned. The problem is that it’s going off like crazy and there isn’t a toll booth in sight. The device was created by a man who is protective of his privacy, but still wanted an alias that makes a splash. His cover name is Puking Monkey. Our ride takes us on the feeder roads surrounding the George Washington Bridge including Routes 46 and 4 in Fort Lee and up the northbound side of the Palisades Parkway and all the while this detector keeps going off, even though during that entire time, we didn’t go near a single toll booth.
Read more on WBGO.

It's simple. Just put FBI “Stingray” technology in a drone. Why didn't the FBI think of that. (Of course they did)
… London-based Sensepoint security researchers have developed a drone called 'Snoopy' that can intercept data from your Smartphones using spoofed wireless networks, CNN Money reported.
The Drone will search for WiFi enabled devices and then using its built-in technology, it will see what networks the phones have accessed in the past and pretends to be one of those old network connections.
Spoofing WiFi networks that device has already accessed allows Snoopy Drone to connect with targeted Smartphone without authentication or interaction. In technical terms, The Drone will use 'Wireless Evil Twin Attack' to hack Smartphones.

Perhaps I see this differently. It is easy to ignore communication that does not originate or terminate at specific locations, or involve specific individuals (or countries). All you need is the guts to face the possibility that the next terrorist act would have been easily prevented if you had been monitoring that communications link.
The New York Times report that President Obama will call for an end to the bulk collection of American’s telephone metadata is yet further vindication for Edward Snowden in particular, and for transparency more generally. The only reason the President is proposing this change is because, once the program became public, it was unsustainable in its current form.

(Related) Will we lose this ability?
Ellen Nakashima reports:
Federal agents notified more than 3,000 U.S. companies last year that their computer systems had been hacked, White House officials have told industry executives, marking the first time the government has revealed how often it tipped off the private sector to cyberintrusions.
The alerts went to firms large and small, from local banks to major defense contractors to national retailers such as Target, which suffered a breach last fall that led to the theft of tens of millions of Americans’ credit card and personal data, according to government and industry officials.
Read more on the Washington Post.
It would be nice to know how many of those 3,000 cases involved breaches of personal information databases as opposed to trade secrets or intellectual property, but it’s good that the government is sharing what it has learned with targeted entities.
[From the article:
The number reflects only a fraction of the true scale of cyberintrusions into the private sector by criminal groups and foreign governments and their proxies, particularly in China and Eastern Europe.

While some companies are encouraging BYOD, others are requiring employees to stop any personal use of their equipment. (My wife tells me I must buy her a cellphone and a computer.)
UK – Bring your own device (BYOD)
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on March 24, 2014
Bring your own device guidance: “Bring your own device is a term which refers to when employees use their personal computing devices (typically smart phones and tablets) in the workplace. Permitting devices which you do not have sufficient control over to connect to the corporate IT systems can introduce a range of security vulnerabilities and other data protection concerns if not correctly managed. This guidance explores what you need to consider if permitting the use of personal devices to process personal data for which you are responsible.”

My favorite scofflaw. (He's hardly a “fugitive” unless that means something different in new Zealandese) Think I might buy a few shares...
Cyber fugitive Dotcom mocks authorities: 'From 0 into a $210m company'
Kim Dotcom, one of the world's most wanted cyber fugitives, on Tuesday gloated over a deal that will see a cloud storage firm he founded while on bail listing on the New Zealand stock exchange and valued on paper at NZ$210 million ($179 million).
The flashy internet mogul, who also goes by the name Kim Schmitz, is fighting a bid by U.S. authorities to extradite him from his lavish estate in New Zealand to face online piracy charges over the now closed file sharing site Megaupload.
… New Zealand company records show Mega Ltd's shareholders include Dotcom's wife, through a trust, with a 26 percent stake. Dotcom is not listed as a shareholder nor a director, but on the Mega website he is called principal strategist.

(Related) Why are New Zealand and Australia overreacting so easily?
Doubts over computer hacker case
Matthew Flannery, 24, of Point Clare, was allegedly an international hacking group leader when he was arrested while at work at a Sydney IT security firm last April and charged with computer crime offences carrying jail terms of up to 10 years.
But in Woy Woy Local Court this month magistrate Derek Lee was told Mr Flannery expected to apply in May to have all charges against him withdrawn and dismissed.
The application will come after the Commonwealth Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions over the past year has downgraded the case from the District Court to the Local Court, modified the charges, sought six adjournments and agreed to vary Mr Flannery’s bail so that he was not required to report to police three times a week.

For my students to get the most out of their technology training...
Tech Videos — Best Of The Best YouTube Technology Channels
New technology, be it gadgets, computers or broader innovations, can be difficult to understand. Fortunately, there are a number of YouTube channels that help you get a grasp on the latest and greatest. These sources provide news, reviews and in-depth look at what’s shaping the future. Here are ten must-watch channels every geek should subscribe to.

For my Computer Security (and Ethical Hacking) students. What's better than a Free WiFi site? A “Make Any WiFi Site Free” tool!
Researchers Outline How to Crack WPA2 Security
Published in the International Journal of Information and Computer Security, the research outlines how the Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2) protocol can be potentially exposed using deauthentication and brute force attacks.
"Thus far, WPA2 is considered to be amongst the most secure protocols," according to the researchers' paper. "However it has several security vulnerabilities. Until now there has not been a complete and fully successful methodology capable of exposing the WPA2 security. This paper provides a novel way of successfully exposing WPA2 security issues by using a complete dictionary that generates all the possible printable ASCII characters of all possible lengths."
"At the beginning, the area was scanned-sniffed with ‘Airodump’ and then a deauthentication attack was made with ‘Aireplay’," according to the paper. "Through that, an instance of the PSK was caught. Finally, ‘Aircrack’ was attempting to reveal the secret password by using the instance of the PSK and matching it with every record of the dictionary. For these experiments we used a very big [Please! This would fit easily on a small thumb drive. Bob] dictionary that consisted of 666,696 standard printable ASCII character records of various lengths. ‘Airodump’ and ‘Aireplay’ are commands of the ‘Aircrack’ suite, responsible for sniffing and deauthentication respectively." [Aircrack is a free wifi network Auditing tool. Bob]
In all but one of the cases, the key was easily found, the researchers stated.
The best way to protect an 802.11i network is through the use of WPA2 in combination with MAC filtering, the researchers recommend. In addition, changing the encryption key periodically can increase the level of difficulty for attackers. The more complex the password, the more the difficulty will rise as well.

Apparently there is a market (audience) for anything.
Watch Jerry Seinfeld’s Web Series: Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee [Stuff to Watch]
American comedian Jerry Seinfeld is probably best known for the sitcom that shares his surname, but his latest venture takes the form of a free online web series. Titled Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee, the show involves Jerry Seinfeld driving famous comedians around in classic sports cars, before stopping for a cup of coffee.
The brilliance lies in the simplicity of the format which not only celebrates comedy, but classic cars and the ability to talk at length about virtually nothing at all. The show is now in its third season, with a total of 23 episodes online for your perusal.