Friday, August 21, 2015

I think we'll see lots of this.
Prying eyes, alibis and a global hunt for Ashley Madison users
Two Republican politicians from Louisiana took the initiative and confessed Thursday that their names are on a list of clients for the cheating Web site Ashley Madison. But both were quick to say that while they know what people might be thinking, it wasn’t that, the old “I can explain everything” line.

(Related) Ah, the Class Actions begin. (For a minute there I thought the lawyers had been “customers.”
Jenny Yuen of Toronto Sun reports on a potential class action lawsuit filed in Toronto.
The plaintiff in the lawsuit is Eliot Shore, a disabled widower in Ottawa, who after 30 years of marriage lost his wife to breast cancer. He joined Ashley Madison for a short time seeking companionship, but never met anyone online.
The data breach includes users’ personal names, e-mails, home addresses and profile information for public viewing.
Charney said since the first information dump on Tuesday, more than 50 people — one-third of which are women — approached the lawyers — and more should come forward, he said.
Read more on Toronto Sun.
[From the article:
“It seems massive in some respects, but for us, it’s a classic privacy breach case where you’ve got a number of people who are similarly situated, who the corporation made the same promises to, in terms of confidentiality and ... their personal information disclosed to the public at large.”

(Related) ...and it will get worse.

Yeah, it's complicated. And expensive.
Google ordered to remove 'right to be forgotten' links
Google has been ordered to remove nine links to news stories by the UK's Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) under the "right to be forgotten".
… In a statement, the ICO revealed that Google had refused to remove the links when asked by the complainant, which is why officials are now stepping in.
Being able to access the links by searching for the complainant by name constitutes a breach of the Data Protection Act, according to the ICO.
… Dr Walden added that as the complexity of removal requests grows, it's possible that search engines like Google may become less willing to challenge them.
"In five years' time perhaps Google will say, 'It's not worth the hassle, let's take down more stuff, let's not spend as much time evaluating the case,' - they obviously have to employ people for this," he said.

How to ruin a perfectly good business model?
Spotify's new privacy policy angers users
Some high-profile Spotify users say they have left the music service over changes in its terms and conditions.
The streaming platform now wants access to pictures, contact phone numbers and sensor data stored on the user's smartphone as well as permission to view social media activity.
… Spotify said the changes would help it "tailor improved user experience".
Sensor data, such as how fast the user's phone is moving, helped the Swedish firm develop Spotify Running, a new feature that tailors music playlists to physical activity.
… The firm has 75 million active users and 20 million subscribers in 58 countries, according to its own figures. [Let's see how many leave. Bob]

Somehow this does not inspire confidence.
Background check company that screened Snowden to forfeit $30M
The personnel vetting company that screened government leaker Edward Snowden and Washington Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis has agreed to give up $30 million to settle federal fraud charges.
In order to pay the settlement, the Justice Department announced on Wednesday that United States Investigations Services (USIS) — the largest private background check firm used by the government, based in Falls Church, Va. — has agreed to forgo payments that it was otherwise owed by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).
According to federal law enforcement officials, USIS officials carried out a plot to “flush” or “dump” individual cases that they deemed to be low-level in order to meet internal goals.

Very curious to see how quickly this is adopted and what difference it makes.
Review Federal Agencies on Yelp
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Aug 20, 2015
Yelp Official Blog: “We are excited to announce that Yelp has concluded an agreement with the federal government that will allow federal agencies and offices to claim their Yelp pages, read and respond to reviews, and incorporate that feedback into service improvements. We encourage Yelpers to review any of the thousands of agency field offices, TSA checkpoints, national parks, Social Security Administration offices, landmarks and other places already listed on Yelp if you have good or bad feedback to share about your experiences. Not only is it helpful to others who are looking for information on these services, but you can actually make an impact by sharing your feedback directly with the source. It’s clear Washington is eager to engage with people directly through social media. Earlier this year a group of 46 lawmakers called for the creation of a “Yelp for Government” in order to boost transparency and accountability, and Representative Ron Kind reiterated this call in a letter to the General Services Administration (GSA). Luckily for them, there’s no need to create a new platform now that government agencies can engage directly on Yelp. As this agreement is fully implemented in the weeks and months ahead, we’re excited to help the federal government more directly interact with and respond to the needs of citizens and to further empower the millions of Americans who use Yelp every day. In addition to working with the federal government, last week we announced our our partnership with ProPublica to incorporate health care statistics and consumer opinion survey data onto the Yelp business pages of more than 25,000 medical treatment facilities. We’ve also partnered with local governments in expanding the LIVES open data standard to show restaurant health scores on Yelp. All of these things fall under Yelp’s Consumer Protection Initiative, a concerted effort to empower and protect consumers on our site. We’re constantly looking for new ways to improve our user experience, so if you have other ideas for this initiative or feedback on efforts Yelp currently has underway, including this new agreement with the federal government, please share it here.”

So... Talking favorably about a Copyright infringer can get you arrested?
Police Arrest Men For Spreading Popcorn Time Information
Police in Denmark have arrested the alleged operators of two Popcorn Time guide websites. The domains of both operations have also been seized by the authorities. The case is controversial in that both sites were Popcorn Time information resources and neither linked to copyright-infringing material.
… Popcorn Time is increasingly attracting the attention of copyright holders, anti-piracy groups and law enforcement agencies.
While neither of the main forks have yet been targeted, others around them are feeling the heat. In fact, the latest news coming out of Denmark suggests that the authorities are even prepared to hit those barely on the perimeter.
… While arrests of file-sharers and those running sites that closely facilitate infringement are nothing new, this week’s arrests appear to go way beyond anything seen before. The two men are not connected to the development of Popcorn Time and have not been offering copyrighted content for download.
Both sites were information resources, offering recent news on Popcorn Time related developments, guides, FAQ sections and tips on how to use the software.

I always have time for a good argument.
Eric F. Barton, Esq. of Seyfarth Shaw LLP writes:
There is no question that social media privacy issues now permeate the workplace. In an attempt to provide further guidance and regulation in this area, since April 2012, a growing number of state legislatures in the United States have passed various forms of social media privacy legislation. In fact, to date, nearly all state legislatures, as well as the United States Congress, have considered or are considering some kind of social media privacy legislation.
The precise impact that these new social media privacy laws have on existing trade secret law is still very much in its infancy. Compounding matters, the plain language of several recently enacted privacy laws directly conflicts with judicial decisions regarding “company vs. employee” ownership of social media content that may otherwise constitute protectable trade secrets, including contact lists and business relationships. Moreover, very few court decisions have yet to interpret any of the new social media privacy laws.

Interesting business model: Every tool you'll ever need all in one place. Great if it works.
Search App Vurb Adds Messaging To Become The U.S. WeChat
WeChat dominates China with its messaging hub that lets you shop, call a taxi, and pay bills — all from one app. Now, mobile search startup Vurb wants to bring the monolithic app style to the United States with the help of Tencent, WeChat’s developer which has secretly been an investor in Vurb’s $10 million of funding.
… But what’s perhaps more interesting is the opportunity this primes for Vurb. In China, rather than every little business or utility getting its own app, they create “official accounts” on WeChat. These work similar to connecting with a new friend to talk, but instead offer unique functionality like ecommerce that taps into WeChat’s mobile payments wallet.
Vurb’s founder Bobby Lo tells me that’s the direction his app is going. Eventually, businesses could build official accounts into Vurb so people could order their movie tickets, book reservations, and more without leaving the app.

Trying to keep my students current.
5 Best Practices for Fast Data
Big Data is so 2012. Fast Data is the latest data processing and analytics trend. Best practices are beginning to emerge, based on early use cases.

(Related) It can't hurt to read this one too.
What the 'Internet of Things' Means For Small Business
Twenty years ago, tech experts urged small businesses to get on the World Wide Web or die. Perhaps they overstated things a bit, but it certainly held true for many industries. Now the call is to get ready for the Internet of Things (IoT) or face extinction. Again, it may not apply to all fields, but it certainly does apply to many—and probably more than you think.

...and you might not even notice. Worth reading.
4 Machine Learning Algorithms That Shape Your Life
Software is getting smart. It’s a slow, uneven process — but it’s also seemingly unstoppable. One by one, the hard problems of machine learning are falling to powerful new theoretical tools, letting us build software that can do some truly impressive things.
Some applications, like self-driving cars, are a few years off. What you may not realize, though, is that machine learning is already all around you, and it can exert a surprising degree of influence over your life. Don’t believe me? You might be surprised.

Tools I might use...
8 Formatting Tips for Perfect Tables in Microsoft Word

10 Simple Microsoft Word Hacks Everyone Can Do

Dilbert points out a future legal issue!

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