Tuesday, May 12, 2015

For my Risk Management students. Backup your budget requests with facts (and a few 'worst case' articles)
According to InfoTechLead, Juniper Research’s figures put the global cost of data breaches at $2.1 trillion by 2019, and the average cost of a data breach at $150 million by 2020.

When is a boarder search not really a border search?
AP reports:
A federal court has ruled that the government’s search of a traveling businessman’s laptop at the California border was unreasonable and violated his privacy.
In an opinion posted Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson suppressed evidence obtained from the computer of South Korean businessman Jae Shik Kim, undercutting the government’s case that he conspired to sell aircraft technology illegally to Iran. Jackson said that federal law enforcement improperly used Kim’s border crossing as an excuse to seize his computer and gather evidence it needed to prove suspected arms control violations.
Read more on PBS.

We can, therefore we must? I'm teaching my Data Management students that you never know what data can tell you if you don't gather it. I'm also teaching them to think about the privacy (and public relations) implications of the data they collect.
Motoko Rich reports:
MENOMONEE FALLS, Wis. — In this small suburb outside Milwaukee, no one in the Menomonee Falls School District escapes the rigorous demands of data.
Custodians monitor dirt under bathroom sinks, while the high school cafeteria supervisor tracks parent and student surveys of lunchroom food preferences. Administrators record monthly tallies of student disciplinary actions, and teachers post scatter plot diagrams of quiz scores on classroom walls. Even kindergartners use brightly colored dots on charts to show how many letters or short words they can recognize.
Read more on The New York Times.
[From the article:
… some school districts, taking a cue from the business world, are fully embracing metrics, recording and analyzing every scrap of information related to school operations. Their goal is to help improve everything from school bus routes and classroom cleanliness to reading comprehension and knowledge of algebraic equations.
… “We’ve been making most decisions up until now by anecdote or by hunch or who had the greatest sales pitch or what worked when I was in school,” said Aimee Rogstad Guidera, the president of the Data Quality Campaign, a nonprofit advocacy group. For many teachers, using data, she said, is “a cultural shift.”

...and speaking of collecting data... Will Virginia change their law? Do any other states have similar laws?
Kim Zetter reports:
In what appears to be a legal first, a Virginia man has sued the Fairfax County Police Department for collecting images of his license plate in a massive database.
Harrison Neal, a Fairfax resident, filed the suit after learning that his license plate had been scanned by an automatic license plate reader twice last year and stored in a police database, even though he was not a suspect in a criminal investigation. The American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia filed the lawsuit on Tuesday on behalf of Neal.
Read more on Wired.
[From the article:
The database, the complaint (.pdf) asserts, violates a Virginia statute—the Government Data Collection and Dissemination Practices Act—which prohibits government agencies from collecting, storing, or disseminating the personal information of individuals unnecessarily.

Why a 24 hour trace?
David Kravets reports:
A Southern California woman claims she was fired after uninstalling an app that her employer required her to run constantly on her mobile phone—an app that tracked her every move 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Plaintiff Myrna Arias, a former Bakersfield sales executive for wire-transfer service Intermex, claims in a state court lawsuit that her boss, John Stubits, fired her shortly after she uninstalled the job-management Xora app that she and her colleagues were required to use. According to hersuit (PDF) in Kern County Superior Court:
Read more on Ars Technica.
[From the article:
The app had a "clock in/out" feature which did not stop GPS monitoring, that function remained on. This is the problem about which Ms. Arias complained. Management never made mention of mileage. They would tell her co-workers and her of their driving speed, roads taken, and time spent at customer locations. Her manager made it clear that he was using the program to continuously monitor her, during company as well as personal time.

Will this point to an individual or merely a general location? Perhaps it only tells you that I'm an old geezer living in Centennial Colorado? (Unless the government has been tapping my sewer)
Ellen Callaway reports:
Call it a ‘gut print’. The collective DNA of the microbes that colonize a human body can uniquely identify someone, researchers have found, raising privacy issues.
The finding1, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on 11 May, suggests that it might be possible to identify a participant in an anonymous study of the body’s microbial denizens — its microbiome — and to reveal details about that person’s health, diet or ethnicity. A publicly available trove of microbiome DNA maintained by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), meanwhile, already contains potentially identifiable human DNA, according to a study2 published in Genome Research on 29 April.
Read more in Nature.
And for a more down-to-earth explanation, read Your Poop Is the Latest Privacy Threat.

This is interesting. How long until the appeal?
Their press release, below. I wonder how the other ISPs served by Rightscorp responded to the subpoenas. Did they fight or just turn over their customers’ information?
Birch Communications (“Birch”) a leading nationwide provider of communications, network and cloud services to small, mid-sized, enterprise and wholesale businesses, announced today a favorable ruling by the U.S. District Court in which a copyright litigant sought to use Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) subpoenas to obtain information about its customers’ online activities.
Rightscorp, a firm that represents assorted copyright holders, had served its subpoena to gain access to Birch’s customer information in an effort to identify customers claimed to have infringed its clients’ copyrighted content. Rightscorp had served similar subpoenas on dozens of other Internet Service Providers.
Acting on its customers’ behalf, Birch argued that it was not legally required to divulge the information and the court agreed. The DMCA did not provide any basis to require an Internet Service Provider in Birch’s position to open its files to private litigants. Because Birch acts simply as a conduit to Internet content, the court found that the rights owners could not use the DMCA subpoenas to obtain subscriber information.
On Tuesday, May 5, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia adopted the ruling and quashed Rightscorp’s subpoena.
“We safeguard our customer information and take privacy issues seriously,” said Birch President and Chief Executive Officer Vincent Oddo. “The U.S. District Court did the right thing by backing our view, and we’re very pleased to see that this case will serve to help protect our customers’ private information.”
“Our first order of business when anyone requests access to a customer’s private information is to refuse, absent a valid subpoena or court order, which we then scrutinize as we did with Rightscorp’s illegal subpoena in this matter,” said Christopher Bunce, Senior Vice President and General Counsel for Birch. “Rightscorp’s attempt to gain access to our customers’ data was in essence a piracy fishing expedition.”
SOURCE: Birch Communications

Good to know the value wasn't in those dial-up subscribers.
Verizon to Buy AOL for $4.4 Billion
… The acquisition would give Verizon, which has set its sights on entering the crowded online video marketplace, access to advanced technology AOL has developed for selling ads and delivering high-quality Web video.
… AOL also built a stable of content including online news sites such as Huffington Post, TechCrunch and Engadget. And it has even produced original Web series. It recently launched “Connected,” a documentary-style series in which the subjects film themselves.
In 2014, AOL generated revenue of $2.5 billion, about 9% higher than the previous year, and a profit of $126 million. The company has been successful in growing the part of its business that helps other companies sell ads, but lately has struggled to grow ad sales for its owned-and-operated properties.

Makes me seem smart!
Top Tools for Curating Knowledge & Publishing Shareable Content
The main reason people talk highly about content curation is that it’s a very effective way of sharing your insights and opinions, while also showing your followers the thought leaders you admire and pay attention to. It saves you from having to come up with all the ideas yourself, and stops you looking like you only ever share your own content. It also positions you as a thought leader yourself if you’re adding your own ideas to the mix.

For my Statistics students. Because it might help...
Learn Statistics for Free with These 6 Resources

For my students thinking of new gear. Interesting.
Can You Use a Tablet as a Laptop? The Essential Apps and Gear

For my students who write.
Freelance Writer Opportunity
Blogmutt serves businesses who have websites with blogs, and the people there just don't have the time or writing talent to fill up that blog themselves.
Our system is more straightforward than any of the content farms:
  1. You write posts for businesses.
  2. If they like and use those posts then you get paid.
The customers get their pick of posts, but they have an ongoing need for original content, so even if your post doesn't get used the first week, most posts eventually get picked. Our acceptance rate right now is at about 90 percent.

Strange but true. If you find a NYT article blocked, copy the headline and search for the article. The version you find is not blocked.
Access to the Times in exchange for reading a few ads is well worth it.
How To Read Hundreds Of New York Times Articles For Free With NYT Now App
The New York Times online business model is well publicized and generally considered to be a success. User's get free access to 10 articles per month, but to read more you need to pay a subscription fee - until now.
The updated NYT Now iOS app is now free to nonsubscribers and allows users to read unlimited New York Times articles each month. The caveat is that only 10 or so NYT articles will be available at any one time, but that's still hundreds per month.
The redesigned free NYT Now app is available for download as of Monday, May 11.
the $7.99 per month fee proved a stumbling block. The paper admitted in October that the youth-focused app wasn't selling as expected and it recently received a slew of one-star reviews on iTunes.
The app is now going for free and instead relies on an ad-based business model.
Unfortunately for Android fans, it doesn't look like the app will be expanding beyond iOS anytime soon.
NYT Now seems like a pretty good deal as full digital subscriptions cost between $15 and $35 per month. The other alternative is to find a NYT story on social media, as even if you've already read your 10 free articles per month if you access a story from a link on Twitter or Facebook you'll still be able to read it.

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