Monday, June 08, 2015


Suggests (to me at least) that there might be a business opportunity for services that can prove they don't invade your privacy. Big Brother is not inevitable.
New Study – Americans Losing Battle on Privacy Rights
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Jun 7, 2015
The Tradeoff Fallacy – How Marketers Are Misrepresenting American Consumers and Opening Them Up to Exploitation – Joseph Turow, Ph.D.; Michael Hennessy, Ph.D; Nora Draper, Ph.D. June 2015. A Report from the Anneberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania.
“New Annenberg survey results indicate that marketers are misrepresenting a large majority of Americans by claiming that Americans give out information about themselves as a tradeoff for benefits they receive. To the contrary, the survey reveals most Americans do not believe that ‘data for discounts’ is a square deal. The findings also suggest, in contrast to other academics’ claims, that Americans’ willingness to provide personal information to marketers cannot be explained by the public’s poor knowledge of the ins and outs of digital commerce. In fact, people who know more about ways marketers can use their personal information are more likely rather than less likely to accept discounts in exchange for data when presented with a real-life scenario. The findings, instead, support a new explanation: a majority of Americans are resigned to giving up their data—and that is why many appear to be engaging in tradeoffs. Resignation occurs when a person believes an undesirable outcome is inevitable and feels powerless to stop it. Rather than feeling able to make choices, Americans believe it is futile to manage what companies can learn about them. The study reveals that more than half do not want to lose control over their information but also believe this loss of control has already happened.”




“We can, therefore we must!” Will this rise above “annoying?”
Eryk Bagshaw reports:
Sydney schools are employing “big brother” data collection technology to track whether students are finishing their homework, skipping classes as well as how much their parents are likely to donate.
This week it was revealed that 34 schools in NSW – including The King’s School and Barker College – were using software that allowed them to track how much parents were likely to donate based on the amount and type of emails they sent, the wealth of the suburb they live in, their volunteering efforts, and community involvement.
Read more on Brisbane Times.
[From the article:
Every time a student opens a textbook on their tablet or laptop in the digital textbook library, their school and teachers are able to track their movements.
… The program creates a mountain of data on how, when and where different types books are being read not only for schools, teachers, and pupils, but for text book publishers - an industry worth about $620 million in Australia.
… Calendars, cancellations, school notices, school information, school timetables, parent sick note forms and school documents are all digitised, their data kept so that a student's attendance or lack thereof can be mapped and patterns drawn out of it.
… "Right now individual teachers might not spot a student struggling in one class if they only see them a couple of times a week," Dr Timms said. [Australia must have really bad teachers. Bob]
… But there remain concerns over just how schools will keep all this data secure.




Oh, that's Okay then.
Google: The artificial intelligence we're working on won't destroy humanity


(Related) I've blogged about automating legal services before. (I can't find the part that says “In the future, lawyers will be loved.”)
How Machine Intelligence Will Transform the Role of Lawyers in the Delivery of Legal Services
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Jun 7, 2015
The Great Disruption: How Machine Intelligence Will Transform the Role of Lawyers in the Delivery of Legal Services, John O. McGinnis & Russell G. Pearce, Fordham Law Review, Volume 82, No. 6. May 2015, pps 3041-3066.
Law is an information technology—a code that regulates social life. In our age, the machinery of information technology is growing exponentially in power, not only in hardware, but also in the software capacity of the programs that run on computers. As a result, the legal profession faces a great disruption. Information technology has already had a huge impact on traditional journalism, causing revenues to fall by about a third and employment to decrease by about 17,000 people in the last eight years and very substantially decreasing the market value of newspapers. Because law consists of more specialized and personalized information, the disruption is beginning in law after journalism. But, its effects will be as wide ranging. Indeed they may ultimately be greater, because legal information is generally of higher value, being central to the protection of individuals’ lives and property. The disruption has already begun. In discovery, for instance, computationally based services are already replacing the task of document review that lawyers have performed in the past. But computational services are on the cusp of substituting for other legal tasks—from the generation of legal documents to predicting outcomes in litigation. And when machine intelligence becomes as good as lawyers in developing some service or some factor of production that contributes to a service, it does not stop improving. Intelligent machines will become better and better, both in terms of performance and cost. And unlike humans, they can work ceaselessly around the clock, without sleep or caffeine. Such continuous technological acceleration in computational power is the difference between previous technological improvements in legal services and those driven by machine intelligence. This difference makes it the single most important phenomenon with which the legal profession will need to grapple in the coming decades. These developments have enormous implications for every aspect of law—legal practice, jurisprudence, and legal education. Here, we focus on one important consequence: the weakening of lawyers’ market power over providing legal services. We argue that these developments will generally increase competition. They will commoditize legal services, permitting clients to make easier price comparisons. They will also bring in new entrants, both as direct suppliers of services and low-cost providers of inputs to services of lawyers.”




Yeah, biometrics. Tools for my computer security students.
This US military-funded security company can tell who you are just from the way you touch your phone
… BehavioSec […] provides a layer of so-called biometric security that lets banks tell who you are just from the way you type, move your mouse or touch your phone screen.
BehavioSec tracks these movements and maps them against past interactions to see if they match up. If they don't — if you're typing much faster than normal or pressing a phone screen harder — the company will let the bank know it thinks someone else is trying to get into your bank account.




Ah, clarity!
Stopping the FUD: There is no yearly subscription fee for Windows 10
… Windows 10 will not have an annual fee. Windows 10 will not charge you a yearly subscription after the free-for-one-year upgrade offer expires.
… Between July 29th 2015 and July 29th 2016, you will have the chance to snag a free upgrade to Windows 10. After July 29th 2016, you will have to pay for a Windows 10 license.
… Microsoft may have confused people by mentioning Windows 10 "as a service" causing people to believe there will be a subscription fee of sorts. There is no subscription model for Windows 10. Instead, Windows 10 "as a service" simply implies that Microsoft plans to update the operating system with smaller, more frequent updates, rather than larger Service Pack-like updates. Think of it like an app that gets updated regularly.




For the student clubs? (Digest Item #3)
Popcorn Buzz Enables Group Calling
Japanese messaging startup Line has launched Popcorn Buzz, a free group calling service that lets up to 200 people take part in a single conversation. Only registered users can start a call, but even non-users can join an existing call by clicking on a shared URL.
Line states, “Popcorn Buzz can be used to talk with friends and family, catch up with classmates, make plans with club members, and more. Popcorn Buzz accommodates both personal and business usage, all for free.” Businesses could also use Popcorn Buzz.
Popcorn Buzz is initially available on Android, with an iOS version due at a later date. The app supports an impressive number of languages, including English, French, German, Spanish, Russian, Japanese, and Chinese.




Marcus Zillman seems to list almost every resource on whatever topic he chooses. May help my students research.
New on LLRX – Journalism Resources on the Internet
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Jun 7, 2015
Via LLRX.comJournalism Resources on the Internet: Marcus P. Zillman’s new guide is a selective, comprehensive bibliography of reliable, subject specific and actionable sources of journalism resources and sites for researchers in all sectors. This guide will support your goal to discover new sources, refresh your acquaintance with sources you know but that have evolved, and provide additional strategic methods to locate and leverage information in your work.
[Some I find interesting:
The National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting maintains a library of federal databases, employs journalism students, and trains journalists in the practical skills of getting and analyzing electronic information
The Virtual Private Library™ creates private libraries powered by Subject Tracer Information Bots™ on various subjects




This one has some potential for amusement.
My Five Favorite Classtools.net Tools
The Classtools Fake SMS Generator is free to use and does not require students to register to use it. In the video below I demonstrate how to create a fictitious text message exchange between historical characters. As I mentioned in the video, the Fake SMS Generator could also be used to create visuals for lessons on cyber-safety and etiquette.





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