Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Like the bumper sticker says, “stuff happens.” How big must the breach be before the FTC stops saying that? What constitutes Best Practices remains unclear.
Back in January 2015, Morgan Stanley disclosed an insider breach (previous coverage here and here). It appears that the Federal Trade Commission opened an investigation into the breach under Section 5 of the FTC Act, but decided not to pursue any enforcement action.
In a closing letter to Morgan Stanley’s counsel, Maneesha Mithal, Associate Director of the Division of Privacy and Identity Protection at FTC explains why the FTC decided to close the investigation, but noted that closing the investigation should not be construed as a determination that there was no violation of Section 5.
The letter may be instructive, as it suggests that if an entity has appropriate policies in place, but there’s a failure due to “human error,” then the FTC will not necessarily pursue a case. In this case, the access controls for one narrow set of reports was configured improperly and Morgan Stanley corrected the problem as soon as they become aware of it.
So here we have a situation where there was a risk of significant injury to consumers that they could not reasonably avoid. Whether the risk was offset by any benefits, well, I don’t know how the FTC calculates that in this case. But it looks like what saved Morgan Stanley was it was able to show the FTC its policies and all the ways it had attempted to prevent the very problem that occurred.

Would you expect local governments in the US to do better? We don't hear much about them here because they are small and we have no central agency to report them and fine the governments.
Ian Drury reports on the results of a FOIA investigation by Big Brother Watch:
Bungling councils have lost or wrongly shared the sensitive personal information of tens of thousands of people, a damning report reveals today.
Officials breach data rules at least four times a day, often involving the confidential details – including medical records – of countless adults and children.
The ‘shockingly lax attitudes’ that local authorities show towards protecting private records is exposed in a study by the civil liberties group Big Brother Watch.
Read more on Daily Mail. I don’t see BBW’s report up on their site yet, but will add a link to this post when I find it.
Update: here’s BBW’s report. And there’s already one criticism of it.

Strange that even in education, ignorance is bliss.
CBS News reports:
As summer vacation winds down, new legislation is raising concern over digital privacy at school. Nationwide, only four states prohibit kids’ personal information from being shared by schools with third party vendors, like marketers.
Common Sense Media founder and CEO Jim Steyer said until a couple of years ago, many schools weren’t even aware this was happening.
“Because there were no laws about it — school districts aren’t that knowledgeable about it — they were selling it to marketers, etc. so we started passing laws at Common Sense around the country, starting in California, to restrict the use of that data to only educational purposes,” Steyer said Monday on “CBS This Morning.”
Read more on CBS.
[From the article:
Across the country, 95 percent of school districts use cloud services but only 25 percent inform parents of that usage, according to a Fordham University Law School study.

(Related) Why schools should be paying attention, even though this is a “Health” survey.
Poll: Web safety tops smoking, school violence in concerns over kids
U.S. adults increasingly rank web safety and sexting as leading health concerns for children as smartphones and Web use become ubiquitous, according to a poll out Monday.
Fifty-one percent of adults ranked Internet safety as a big health concern for children, while 45 percent said the same about sexting — ranking them at the fourth- and sixth-largest concern respectively, according to the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children's Health.

Change makes Google more nimble.
The Invention Of Alphabet Is The Ultimate Larry Page Move
… Anyone who's been paying attention also knows that Page has been grooming Pichai to be Google's CEO. Creating Alphabet allows Page to give Pichai the job without pulling himself away from the parts of Google he's passionate about. And other hotshot executives—ones currently at Google, or yet to be hired—will presumably like Page's statement that Alphabet's big businesses will be run by their own CEOs, without much interference from Larry or Sergey.
… Google said its existing shares would convert to Alphabet shares and trade under its existing stock tickers, GOOG and GOOGL. Alphabet will remain incorporated in Delaware, Google said in a securities filing. Its website is at https://abc.xyz/.

Heading down the spiral?
With Yuan Devaluation, China Digs a Hole for Commodities
China’s appetite for commodities from gold to crude oil is likely to abate in the near term after the country’s surprise decision to devalue its currency, although a weaker yuan could boost steel exports.
As one of the world’s largest buyers of commodities, China’s decision to devalue the yuan Tuesday—effectively lowering the value of exports and increasing the cost of imports for domestic buyers—is likely to deepen price declines among copper, aluminum and other metals. China consumes nearly half of the world’s annual output of metals.
Commodities that were already at multiyear lows due to worries about China’s slowing economy and a strengthening dollar—the unit in which most commodities are priced—suffered an immediate hit Tuesday on the People’s Bank of China’s action. The move also took a toll on the currencies of commodity-dependent countries; the Australian and New Zealand dollars each fell around 1% against the U.S. dollar.

Keep up! You don't want to sound old fashioned, “haha” is now the bee's knees.
RIP to LOL - the history of laughing out loud
A Facebook study suggests that people are choosing to use "haha" and emojis over "LOL" to express laughter.
The research claims more than half (51.4%) opt for "haha", while just 1.9% are LOLers, although it didn't look at direct messages.

Fuel for the debate? Have bans stopped governments from creating and using chemical weapons? Would a ban stop the “Terminator?”
Late last month, Stephen Hawking (former Lucasian Professor at Cambridge), Elon Musk (CEO of Tesla and SpaceX), Steve Wozniak (Apple co-founder) and more than 1,000 artificial intelligence and robotics researchers co-signed a letter urging a ban on autonomous weapons.

...and my IT Governance students thought (hoped? prayed?) I would run out of things for them to read.
Designing Successful Governance Groups
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Aug 10, 2015
“The Berkman Center for Internet & Society, together with the Global Network of Internet and Society Research Centers (NoC), is pleased to announce the release of a new publication, “Designing Successful Governance Groups: Lessons for Leaders from Real-World Examples,” authored by Ryan Budish, Sarah Myers West, and Urs Gasser. Solutions to many of the world’s most pressing governance challenges, ranging from natural resource management to the governance of the Internet, require leaders to engage in multistakeholder processes. Yet, relatively little is known how to successfully lead such processes. This paper outlines a set of useful, actionable steps for policymakers and other stakeholders charged with creating, convening, and leading governance groups. The tools for success described in this document are distilled from research published earlier this year by Berkman and the NoC, a comprehensive report entitled Multistakeholder as Governance Groups: Observations From Case Studies,” which closely examines 12 examples of real-world governance structures from around the globe and draws new conclusions about how to successfully form and operate governance groups. This new publication, “Designing Successful Governance Groups,” focuses on the operational recommendations drawn from the earlier case studies and their accompanying synthesis paper. It provides an actionable starting place for those interested in understanding some of the critical ingredients for successful multistakeholder governance. At the core of this paper are three steps that have helped conveners of successful governance groups:
  1. Establish clear success criteria
  2. Set the initial framework conditions for the group
  3. Continually adjust steps 1 and 2 based on evolving contextual factors
The paper explores these three steps in greater detail and explains how they help implement one central idea: Governance groups work best when they are flexible and adaptive to new circumstances and needs and have conveners who understand how their decisions will affect the inclusiveness, transparency, accountability, and effectiveness of the group. The paper, as well as the research it builds upon, is intended as a contribution to emerging good and best practices in Internet governance and is offered as a submission to the IGF Best Practice Forum and the NetMundial Initiative, among other forums.”

Some amusing “predictions” from the past. The only one that still seems true is from Arthur C. Clarke who said, “If a teacher can be replaced by a machine, she or he should be.”
Teaching Machines and Turing Machines: The History of the Future of Labor and Learning

For the Tutor's toolkit.
How to Learn Microsoft Access: 5 Free Online Resources

8 Types of Excel Charts & When You Should Use Them

I'm ready to go, but I think I'll need at least a couple of months to cover just the highlights. I wonder if there are Apps for Colorado? I'll look. If not, perhaps my students can create a few.
18 Apps You Need to Download for Travelling to India

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