Thursday, July 16, 2015

Eventually, your “risk assessment” score will be passed to the “automated drone targeting” system and you could be the recipient of your very own Maverick missile! And no one knows how that decision is made. (Except Skynet)
This rant by frequent contributor Joe Cadillic contains some interesting statistics and links to other resources on the Automated Targeting System.
Yes, it is as bad as you suspect.
Read more on Joe’s blog, MassPrivateI.

(Related) If the government puts it in my car, is it still voluntary? (Don't get me started on the “unfairness” of electric cars not paying the gasoline tax.)
Joe Wolverton II, J.D. writes:
A new Oregon law allows the government to track drivers’ every move, and the United Nations and the federal government think that’s a great idea — for all of us.
So as to punish electric car drivers for not paying their fair share of transportation taxes associated with gas-powered vehicles, the state of Oregon is installing in every electric car a GPS device that will measure the number of miles traveled.
For now, however, the program is voluntary, but such invasions of privacy and surveillance schemes rarely stay that way.
Read more on New American.

The article makes it seem like security in the 21st Century is all new. It's not, just the same old Best Practices.
Stepping Up Security Risk Management Practices
… damages associated with breaches are motivating companies to transition from a check-box mentality to a pro-active, risk-based approach to security.
This approach requires that organizations take real-time information into account when running continuous monitoring and mitigation programs. Technology plays a central role in gathering all the necessary pieces that make up the security risk management puzzle. Many organizations have invested heavily in deploying a technology portfolio that can detect cyber-attacks before they can wrack havoc. This trend has been confirmed by Gartner (“Gartner Says Worldwide Information Security Spending Will Grow Almost…”, Gartner, August 2014), which predicts that worldwide spending on information security will reach $76.9 billion in 2015, an increase of 8.2 percent over 2014.

Not sure the law makes sense. Should be an amusing debate.
Rich Lord reports:
Facebook’s handling of your headshot is now the subject of class action lawsuits that pose the question: When someone turns your mug into data, are those digits theirs or yours?
Filed in April and May, the lawsuits claim that when Facebook started converting the geometry of your profile picture into what it calls “a unique number,” it broke a 2008 Illinois law giving residents certain rights when their biometric information is collected.
Facebook is disputing the claims, and fired its first legal salvos this month.
Read more on Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

CloudFlare Releases Transparency Report for First Half of 2015
CloudFlare said it received 12 subpoenas between January 1, 2015 and June 30, 2015, the same number as in the second half of 2014. These subpoenas, ten of which have been answered, affect a total of 12 accounts and 139 domains.
While the number of subpoenas has remained the same, the number of court orders increased considerably. In the first half of 2015, the company was hit with 50 court orders, more than it received in the entire last year. The content delivery network responded to 49 of the court orders, which affect a total of 2,120 domains and 96 accounts.
The transparency report, which is published on a semiannual basis, shows that CloudFlare received three search warrants and one pen register/trap and trace order, and answered all of them. Records show that the company has not received any wiretap orders.

As if my IT Governance students did have enough to worry about... New term: “App Creep”
3 Ways to Control App Creep
With employees of enterprise companies using an average of 397 cloud apps, according to a Netskope Cloud Report, the phenomenon of "app creep" is real. And it doesn't show any signs of slowing.
App creep strikes organizations that continue to adopt new point solution apps without retiring old, duplicative, underused or ineffective technologies. For sales teams, this causes more than just a cluttered virtual workspace; it can lead to siloed information and disjointed customer interactions that can stymie growth and impact the bottom line.
Sales leaders are adopting new technologies at an ever-increasing rate in fear of falling behind.

Another IT Governance question: What is the proper response?
Concerned about the security of student information? If so, this should infuriate you:
A researcher who exposed security flaws in tools used to monitor the Internet usage of UK students has been hit with a copyright complaint. ‘Slipstream’ discovered flaws in Impero Education Pro which could reveal the personal details of thousands of pupils but in response Impero has sent in its legal team.

I would be interested to see who take the time to actually read (and understand) the code. Perhaps this will lead to a shared documentation website?
How to Find Open Source Software for Windows
Open source software is the name of the game these days, largely due to a surge in concerns over online privacy and awareness regarding data security. With proprietary software, you just never really know what the program is doing with your data.
The world is moving towards a greater acceptance of open source software, and in some circles, acceptance has turned into demands for viable open source alternatives to popular programs like Word and Photoshop.
… Near the end of 2014, Microsoft announced that they would be open sourcing their .NET Framework, a code platform and environment on which many modern Windows programs rely. More recently, they also decided to open source Windows Live Writer.
And then there’s Apple, who announced that they would soon open source their Swift programming language.
Open Source Windows is a curated list of the best open source programs available to Windows users.
Open Source Software Directory is a light resource for finding non-proprietary programs.
AlternativeTo so as far as comprehensive software coverage is concerned, there’s no better site out there.
… If you need a starting point for quality programs, check out our Best Windows Software list.

Is this just a bit of “bad mouthing” or will it really impact the bottom line? From the look of a few Tweets, I'd say the latter.
This chart shows just how badly HSBC got slayed on social media for being late on Apple Pay
But one bank that was supposed to come online this week, HSBC, was hit by delays, and new analysis from social media monitoring company Brandwatch shows the bank got absolutely killed on social media for the slip up.
The chart below shows that negative tweets about HSBC on Tuesday outnumbered positive ones 5 to 1:

(Related) Don't react, take control!
Your Company Should Be Helping Customers on Social
People under 35 spend almost four hours per day on social media, and more of that time is being spent engaging with brands. Our research has shown that the volume of tweets targeted at brands and their Twitter service handles, for example, has grown 2.5x in the past two years. Similarly, the percentage of people who have used Twitter for customer service leapt nearly 70%, from 22 to 37% from 2013-14. McKinsey’s analysis shows that 30% of social media users prefer social care to phoning customer service.

Perspective. Your news today will agree with your news yesterday. You will never be bothered with news that contradicts your opinion. How will you learn?
More Americans login to Facebook and Twitter to read news says Pew
Not surprisingly, a recent survey has found that more people in the United States get their daily news fix from social media sites, namely Facebook and Twitter.
… Two years ago, only 37 percent of Americans admitted that they read news/articles within Facebook. This year, according to Pew Research’s, 63 percent of Americans now use their Facebook accounts to get or read articles. On Twitter in 2013, only 52 percent of Americans read news articles and other content within the micro-blogging site’s backyard. And this year, 63 percent of Americans say they now follow the news using Twitter’s product and services (apps, desktop site).

Facebook Inc (FB) Does Not Provide A Choice When It Comes To Reading News

Perspective. Google becomes Amazon?
Google 'buy' buttons let users shop directly from ads
… Eager to get in the e-retail game, Google announced that it will begin to test “buy" that will appear on mobile advertisements. The move is meant to make online purchasing easier than ever by letting users buy products with just the click of a button using the payment information linked to their Google accounts.

(Related) Of course, Facebook wants some of that market too.
Soon, you may be able to shop on Facebook
… Facebook pages will soon host e-commerce shopping sites, according to media reports.
The digital storefronts will also have a "Buy" button to help you get items you have developed a fancy for.

(Related) And this didn't help Amazon keep the wolves at bay. (Digest Item #1)
The Problem With Amazon Prime Day
The first ever Amazon Prime Day may also be the last, judging by the overwhelmingly negative comments from customers hoping to pick up a bargain. The biggest problem was hype, as the first Amazon Prime Day, held yesterday (July 15) did not live up to expectations. Instead, the whole event has left a nasty taste in the mouth of many loyal Amazon Prime subscribers.
Amazon didn’t lie, as there were some incredible bargains on offer. Unfortunately, demand outstripped supply, meaning most people were left picking up the scraps left behind by the eager beavers sitting at their computers all day ready to click “Buy” at a moment’s notice. These scraps trended towards being old stock Amazon needed to clear out of its warehouses.
This may well have been “bigger than Black Friday” in terms of the number of items on offer, but we all know quality is much more important than quantity. Amazon probably made a small fortune yesterday, but judging by the reactions on social networking sites, the online retailer has eroded the faith shown by longtime Amazon Prime subscribers thinking they were being rewarded for their loyalty.
If there is to be an Amazon Prime Day 2016, Amazon needs to up its game in every department. A better user interface, better deals with more stock available at the lower price, and more common sense right across the board. As The Next Web pithily notes, this first Amazon Prime Day could have been called the Amazon Garage Sale.

For my students, especially the vets, who should be using these people more!
New EFF Tool Makes Emailing Congress Just a Few Clicks Away
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Jul 15, 2015
“The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has created a new tool that makes emailing your congressional lawmakers a quick and easy process. simplifies and streamlines the current fractured system for contacting lawmakers, allowing you to message your two senators and your representative from a single website. “Democracy thrives when the voices of Internet users are heard in Washington. The easier it is for you to reach your member of Congress, the better,” said EFF Activism Director Rainey Reitman. “With, you can send one message to both your senators and your representative right away, instead of tracking down three different forms on three different websites. We are proud to open this tool to the public and increase lawmakers’ awareness of how their constituents really feel.” At, you enter your home address, and a quick look-up provides the names of your three congressional lawmakers. You then can choose any or all of those lawmakers, and send them whatever message you’d like. follows best practices for protecting the privacy of users, and all of the code is licensed under the AGPL, which means people can create new versions with different features. EFF does not control or influence the messages sent through”

For the website developer's toolkit.
Ultimate Free Tools for Cross-Browser Testing

As long as I don't have to win, I can do this!
Chipotle Is Giving Away Free Burritos to Any Customer Who Plays This Online Game
… From July 21 until the end of August, Chipotle is giving out buy one, get one free coupons for a free entrée. All customers have to do is go to Chipotle's "Friend or Faux?" website and play an interactive game.

Do you think we could require politicians to wear these when campaigning?

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