Thursday, February 12, 2015

My tax dollars at work. “We don't have the time or the money to do it right, so we'll take more time and spend more money to fix it later!”
Tax-Refund Fraud Soaring, Little IRS Can Do
Tax-refund fraud is expected to soar again this tax season, and hit a whopping $21 billion by 2016, from just $6.5 billion two years ago, according to the Internal Revenue Service.
And the problem—which the agency admits is growing quickly—is compounded by an outdated fraud-detection system that has trouble identifying many attempts to trick it.
… The IRS is well-aware of the magnitude of the problem. But budgetary constraints and legal mandates have created a system where it is often unable to follow up on the red flags that its system throws up until after a refund check has been cut and sent.

Privacy is dead? Let the debate begin!
Or so Dominic Basulto tries to argue, seemingly ignoring masterful pieces like Neil Richard’s arguments as to the importance of privacy for intellectual thought, and oh, a host of other reasons privacy still is – and will continue to be – important.
You can read his opinion piece on Washington Post.
[From the atricle:
Spend just a few minutes on today’s Internet, though, and you’ll realize that this 125-year-old notion of privacy is already an anachronism. Our accounts are hacked, our photos are uploaded for all to see, our medical records are open secrets and our intimate dealings and e-mails are “proclaimed from the house-tops.” Instead of wanting to be “let alone,” we now want to be part of communities and networks. To top it all off, “pieces of personal information are not only social currency but also more or less the basis for the entire world of online commerce.”

I missed even more...
E. Michael Power has compiled a roundup of some significant privacy law cases in Canada last year. A few of them are cases I covered either on this blog or, but there are some that I never covered, so do go read his post. and get caught up. These are all judicial decisions and not Commissioner’s findings or orders.

I would expect similar software built into any device you attach to your system. The software might tell you it detects a problem and ask permission to send a message to the manufacturer, but there is nothing to keep them from sending the messages without telling you. What else could it “report?”
Dell's tech support will call before trouble strikes your PC, tablet
The company is launching a new ProSupport Plus support package to monitor remotely the health of key hardware components and software in a PC or tablet. If a problem is detected, Dell will call or e-mail to alert the customer to a possible problem, and offer a remedy or replacement.
… Dell will install software called Support Assist on tablets and PCs that will monitor the health of the hard drive, memory, battery and other hardware components. If an issue is detected, the software will issue a support ticket and automatically send it to Dell over the Internet. Depending on the issue, Dell will call or email the customer and offer to fix or replace the hardware.

I even like lists that are in slide format.
Best of the Web - Winter 2015 - Slides from #OETC15
This afternoon at the Ohio Educational Technology Conference I presented my latest version of Best of the Web (and various app stores). This version contains some of the sites and apps that were in my fall 2014 version of the same slides. Those that have been included again either released some notable updates or are so good that I think they're worth including again. This version is also different because for the first time I included slides to denote sections of the presentation. Many people asked for the slides so I'm sharing them below as a Google Slides presentation. You can also click here to open a copy.

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