Tuesday, May 26, 2015

You know what they say about “ass u me.” Learn to test, measure, confirm.
Steve Ragan reports:
Last week, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield (CareFirst) reported a data breach that was initially discovered last year. When the incident was first noticed, the company assumed they had taken care of the problem – only to learn that wasn’t the case ten months later.
The healthcare sector has taken center stage in the recent months as criminals shift from retail and finance towards easier targets. Unfortunately, most healthcare organizations are operating under a number of flawed assumptions concerning security and it’s starting to cause serious problems.
Read more on CSO.

“We don't need no stinking badges!” Nor warrants, or legal justification, or anything except an urge to be like Big Brother.
Cyrus Farivar reports:
The sheriff in San Bernardino County—east of Los Angeles County—has deployed a stingray hundreds of times without a warrant, and under questionable judicial authority.
In response to a public records request, the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department (SBSD) sent Ars, among other outlets, a rare example of a template for a “pen register and trap and trace order” application. (In the letter, county lawyers claimedthis was a warrant application template, when it clearly is not.) The SBSD is the law enforcement agency for the entire county, the 12th-most populous county in the United States, and the fifth-most populous in California.
Read more on Ars Technica.
[From the article:
This template application, surprisingly, cites no legal authority on which to base its activities. The SBSD did not respond to Ars’ request for comment.
"This is astonishing because it suggests the absence of legal authorization (because if there were clear legal authorization you can bet the government would be citing it)," Fred Cate, a law professor at Indiana University, told Ars by e-mail.

I may have posted this before. “You have no right to see if you were wronged.”
Cyrus Farivar reports:
A San Diego, California court has ruled that a tech entrepreneur will not be allowed to access his license plate reader (LPR) records from a regional government agency.
Earlier this month, Superior Court Judge Katherine Bacal handed down a six-page decision to Michael Robertson, finding that he does not have the right, under the California Public Records Act (CPRA), to access records of his own license plate as scanned by members of the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG).
Read more on Ars Technica.

The next Big Brother technology?
Anne-Marie Oostveen And Diana Dimitrova report:
Biometric technologies are on the rise. By electronically recording data about individual’s physical attributes such as fingerprints or iris patterns, security and law enforcement services can quickly identify people with a high degree of accuracy.
The latest development in this field is the scanning of irises from a distance of up to 40 feet (12 metres) away. Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University in the US demonstrated they were able to use their iris recognition technology to identify drivers from an image of their eye captured from their vehicle’s side mirror.
Read more on Phys.org

(Related) Another tool in Big Brother's toolbox.
Charlie Osborne reports:
Security researchers have tracked commuters with over 90 percent accuracy through accelerometer data stolen from Android smartphones.
In a paper describing the research, titled “We Can Track You If You Take the Metro: Tracking Metro Riders Using Accelerometers on Smartphones” (.PDF), a security team hailing from Nanjing University, China say they were able to use motion accelerometers as a side-channel for an attack aimed at tracking users with up to 92 percent accuracy.
Read more on ZDNet.

A step on the slippery slope? (Why does anything I want to say sound like a double entendre?)
Damien Gayle reports:
Britons may soon face identity checks to access adult material on the internet, according to discussions between Whitehall and the private sector.
A scheme proposed by the pornography industry would see adult sites verifying visitors’ identity with organisations such as banks, credit reference agencies or even the NHS.
Read more on The Guardian.
[From the article:
It comes ahead of an expected new law demanding age checks for online pornography and threatening a block on any sites which don’t comply. It is a key Conservative pledge and has widespread support. But critics say the plans are a privacy nightmare. Some warn they are a step towards Chinese-style internet restrictions.

This makes it more of a logistical challenge to have Phil back at the Privacy Foundation.
Juliette Garside reports:
When Philip Zimmermann was campaigning for nuclear disarmament in the 1980s, he kept an escape plan in his back pocket. The inventor of the world’s most widely used email encryption system, Pretty Good Privacy – more commonly known as PGP – was ready to move his family from Colorado to New Zealand at a moment’s notice.
The button was never pressed and the Zimmermanns stayed put. Until this year, that is. At 61, the Internet Hall of Fame inductee and founder of three-year-old mobile encryption startup Silent Circle has just left the US for Switzerland. In the end, it was not the nuclear threat that convinced him to leave his homeland, but the surveillance arms race.
Read more on The Guardian.

Continuing examples of Really Poor Management of schools and school districts. (This has the look of a contract that was deliberately understated to gain approval, then “corrected” to reflect the full cost. If they are not careful, Chicago might get a reputation for corruption.)
CPS forgot 22 schools in estimate for Aramark at a cost of $7 million
Chicago Public Schools somehow forgot about 22 schools, including a selective enrollment high school, in its estimate to hire Aramark to manage school janitors.
That mistake — in all, the district underestimated by nearly 3.2 million square feet the amount of space Aramark would have to clean — cost the district an additional $7 million in the controversial contract.
Last month, when the oversight came to light, CPS wouldn’t say how many facilities had been skipped, but instead advised filing a Freedom of Information Act request for the details.

...and I thought Cable was a declining industry.
Charter Strikes $55 Billion Deal for Time Warner Cable
Charter Communications Inc. has struck a $55 billion cash-and-stock deal for Time Warner Cable Inc., giving cable mogul John Malone the prize he has been chasing for two years.
The offer is valued at about $195 a share, a 14% premium to Time Warner Cable’s last closing price. Including debt, the deal is valued at $78.7 billion.

Somehow, I'll work this into my next Statistics class. Most of the time (60%) your doctor's diagnosis was wrong?
A second opinion could save your life
… Second opinions are valuable for a number of reasons, experts say.
Several recent studies found that as many as 60% of patients who sought a second opinion received a major change in their diagnosis or treatment.
Yet according to a 2010 Gallup Poll, 70% of Americans don't feel the need to ask for one — most said they feel confident in their doctor's advice and saw no need to gather additional information.

I'm planning to add Google Sheets for my Spreadsheet students, probably years before the school makes it a requirement.
Excel vs. Google Sheets: Which One Is Better for You?
The desktop version of Excel has long been the king of the hill when it comes to spreadsheet apps, but Google is making a challenge for the title with Sheets, the spreadsheet tool included in Google Apps.

As a “Heavy” library user, I agree.
Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever in the Age of Google
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on May 25, 2015
“James Palfrey, in his new book BiblioTech: Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever in the Age of Google, gives some truly bummer statistics on what’s happening to this beloved institution. A government report showed that while the nation’s public libraries served 298 million people in 2010 (that’s 96 percent of the U.S. population), states had cut funding by 38 percent and the federal government by 19 percent between 2000 and 2010. “It seems extraordinary that a public service with such reach should be, in effect, punished despite its success,” writes Palfrey. Of necessity, he cites these tough economic times as a reason for this “punishment.” But according to Palfrey, one of the greatest threats to libraries is nostalgia—the way that we, the loving public, associate libraries with the pleasures of a bygone era, and assume that the growth of the Internet is slowly draining libraries of their usefulness. “Nostalgia is too thin a reed for librarians to cling to in a time of such transition,” Palfrey writes. “Thinking of libraries as they were ages ago and wanting them to remain the same is the last thing we should want for them.” In our heartfelt but naïve fondness for “quiet, inviting spaces” full of books and nothing else, we fail to realize that libraries are becoming more important, not less, to our communities and our democracy. Humans are producing such quantities of data—2.5 quintillion bytes of data daily, to be precise—and on such a steep curve, that 90 percent of all existing data is less than two years old. An overwhelming amount of information, access to which is marked by the same stark inequality that exists between economic classes, demands to be moderated for the public good, and libraries are the institutions that do that… BiblioTech is packed with proposals for what libraries can become, all the roles they can play in public life: networks of digital media that can be loaned for free, not purchased; “maker-spaces” that offer equipment so that people can make instead of simply consume culture; easily accessible and networked archives of national heritage; job-search centers; clinics for the technologically illiterate and refuges for those who cannot afford new media—all of this in addition to their current functions…”

Perspective? Check out “Today” and the “Future” of interviewing.
How Job Interviews Have Changed Over the Years
For most of us, job interviews are just a part of life. They can be a little scary if you aren’t prepared, but as long as you go in smart, you have nothing to worry about.
Over time, job interviews have changed. The way in which we pitch ourselves for a job now was vastly different one hundred years ago. Just how has it changed? Check out the infographic below for a look!

(Related) Dilbert explains what happens when you specialize.

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