Saturday, April 18, 2015

This is one of those “We can, therefore we must” lawsuits. I'm hoping the court agrees with me that the mantra should be, “We can, but we should probably check with a lawyer before we do.”
There’s an update to a case I’ve been following on this blog since May, 2011 when Crystal and Brian Byrd first sued Aaron’s Inc. and Aspen Way. Their lawsuit encountered a number of obstacles along the way, but now it looks like it will go forward.
Atlanta Business Chronicle reports:
Class action alleging Aaron’s Inc. and a franchisee secretly collected thousands of computer webcam photos, screen shots and keystroke logs of customers will go forward, a federal appellate court has ruled.
You can access the Third Circuit Court of Appeals’ opinion here, and find previous coverage on this site by searching for “Byrd Aaron’s.”

For my Ethical Hacking students. This is not a “Get out of jail free” card.
New bill would protect security research hacking
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) introduced a bill Thursday that would exempt responsible hacking from prosecution under existing copyright law.
The security and academic community has long worried they could face legal action for basic research, which often involves examining computer networks in a way that may technically run afoul of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

Should every company do this? You can't do much on the Internet without attracting users from the EU or other locations with unique privacy laws.
Mark Wilson reports:
Twitter has updated its privacy policy, creating a two-lane service that treats US and non-US users differently. If you live in the US, your account is controlled by San Francisco-based Twitter Inc, but if you’re elsewhere in the world (anywhere else) it’s handled by Twitter International Company in Dublin, Ireland. The changes also affect Periscope.
What’s the significance of this? Twitter Inc is governed by US law, it is obliged to comply with NSA-driven court requests for data. Data stored in Ireland is not subject to the same obligation.
Read more on BetaNews.

They may want to rethink this one, but Unions have lots of political clout.
Court: Union not responsible for Facebook threats
A federal court on Friday ruled in favor of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) arguing that it could not force unions to take down Facebook posts threatening workers for crossing a picket line.
Unlike in some public settings, a union is not responsible for the behavior of its members on a private online Facebook page, a three-judge panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit declared.
… In the comments, some union members criticized workers who crossed the picket line. One post, for instance, asked a rhetorical question about whether people on strike could “bring the Molotov Cocktails” to the hotel where “scabs” were staying.
The union as a whole did not endorse the posts, and the Facebook page could only be accessed by members of the union.
… However, the labor board’s acting general counsel issued a complaint claiming that the union had a “duty to disavow” the critical Facebook posts, just like it would have an obligation to disown misconduct on the actual picket line. Under the law, a labor union is responsible for the misbehavior of its members while they are on the picket line, unless it disavows it.
The Facebook page was merely “an electronic extension” of the picket line, the acting general counsel argued.
An administrative law judge rejected that argument and ruled in favor of the union.
On Friday, the appeals court agreed, saying that the private nature of the Facebook page made it different than a public picket line.

Well, maybe. Aren't most of their systems already monopolies?
Government lawyers don’t want Comcast and Time Warner Cable to merge
Antitrust regulators want to block the proposed megamerger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable , Bloomberg reported Friday.
… Consumer advocates have argued that the deal would reduce competition in the cable marketplace by putting too much power in the hands of a single company, allowing it to raise prices and exploit the public.
Justice Department officials may have reached the same conclusion, according to the Bloomberg report.
… When reached for comment by Fortune, a spokesperson for Time Warner Cable disputed the Bloomberg report, saying that regulators did not seem likely to recommend against the deal. “We’ve had no indication from the DoJ that this is true,” the spokesperson said.

In case you ever wanted to drive the Trans-Canada highway. Download a copy today!
New official map of Canada published online by the government
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Apr 17, 2015
“This map (MCR 102) is the latest publication in the Atlas of Canada Reference Map Series. It is an update to the 1:6 000 000 paper map of Canada published in 2006. International, provincial and territorial boundaries and the 200-mile offshore Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) are featured on the map. All the national parks and reserves are shown including the Nááts’ihch’oh National Park Reserve of Canada, Northwest Territories, and Sable Island National Park Reserve of Canada, Nova Scotia, two of the most recently established parks. Major roads, railways and ferry routes are also depicted with the Trans-Canada Highway clearly represented across Canada from the Atlantic to the Pacific coasts.
… Published April 15, 2015.

Laughs come free with the job.
Hack Education Weekly News
Via The Toronto Star: “Toronto’s public school board hid a camera in the office of a principal suspected of misconduct, putting him under surveillance for ‘months’ before a caretaker found the device in a clock, says the Ontario Principals’ Council in an email to all Toronto administrators.” [Bad choices? Bob]
… Shocking, I know, but LAUSD is “‘extremely dissatisfied’ with the work of Pearson on its technology initiative.” Local NPR affiliate SCPR reports that the district is asking for a refund from Apple for the Pearson software that came bundled with its massive iPad purchase.
Blackboard has acquired Moodle hosting/consulting company Remote Learner UK. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
… “Tutors aren't just for underachieving kids anymore,” according to Macleans. “They're the new normal.” Considering the story highlights parents who spend $700 to $800 a month on tutoring, I do have questions about who exactly can afford “normal.”

Trendy software for teachers.
How to Create a Short Flipped Lesson With Vialogues
Vialogues is a free service that allows you to build online discussions around videos hosted online and videos that you have saved on your computer. Registered users can upload videos to Vialogues or use YouTube videos as the centerpieces of their conversations. In the video embedded below I provide a short overview of how Vialogues works.
Vialogues could be a great tool to use to publish questions for your students to answer while they are watching a video that you have created or found online. You could also use the comments in Vialogues to simply call attention to a specific point made in a video. I'm thinking that I would write comments like, "make sure you know this when you write your essay."

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