Monday, September 14, 2015

As I read it, an employee snooped her account, but no one noticed for 18 months? Shouldn't any action like that be immediately reported to management? There are probably legitimate reasons to do this, but they should be able to match such access to a “trouble ticket” or other documentation. Failure to match should be investigated.
Kelly Fiveash reports:
The Australian division of mobile giant Vodafone has admitted that one of its employees illegally accessed the phone records of a journalist to try to uncover her sources, following publication of a negative story.
However, Vodafone – which first investigated allegations of a privacy breach four years ago – has strongly denied that its actions were unlawful.
Fairfax journalist Natalie O’Brien, writing in the Sydney Morning Herald on Sunday, said that the hacking of her phone had been a “creepy, nauseating experience”.
Read more on The Register.
[From the article:
Our investigation into alleged privacy breaches in January 2011 was undertaken to determine if any VHA [Vodafone Hutchison Australia] staff had breached privacy laws or engaged in any criminal behaviour, not to discover the source of damaging media stories.

As a result of our investigation, several retail staff were dismissed for breaches of VHA security policies.
In around June 2012, VHA became aware that an employee had, in January 2011, accessed some recent text messages and call records of a customer. VHA immediately commissioned an investigation by one of Australia's top accounting firms.
The investigation found there was no evidence VHA management had instructed the employee to access the messages and that VHA staff were fully aware of their legal obligations in relation to customer information.

You might think this is an example of a company that is “too big to manage.” That's nonsense of course. Each task employees perform should be based on a “Best Practice” selected by management. Why else would they do it? (Changes in law or contracts will take some time to percolate down to the people who need to know if there is no “Best Practice” in place for effective communication.)
Although Google did not initially embrace the Student Privacy Pledge, in January, it announced that it had signed it.
So why did @Parents4Privacy’s child see this screen when their child was logged into Google Apps for Education (GAFE)?
[I skipped the screenshot Bob]
The Student Privacy Pledge pledges, in part, that school service providers will:
  • Not sell student information
  • Not behaviorally target advertising
  • Use data for authorized education purposes only
Why is Google using the student’s non-educationally related interests and browsing history to offer up ads while they’re logged into their GAFE account? Shouldn’t there be no ads if Google signed the pledge and the parent hasn’t opted in to ads for their minor child’s account while they are logged in to GAFE?
As Bill Fitzgerald noted on Twitter:
Bill Fitzgerald @funnymonkey
Yeah. And there are many Google Certified Trainers who still insist "No Ads In GAFE!" @Parents4Privacy

Bill Fitzgerald @funnymonkey
The way Google structures the additional services that can be enabled in GAFE is very problematic. Really opaque/unclear @Parents4Privacy
Google ignored two requests for a statement as to how this their behavior, as evidenced in the screen shot, is consistent with their signing the student privacy pledge.
So the take-home message to parents seems to be:
DON’T TRUST GOOGLE – because their understanding of the Student Privacy Pledge may be quite different than what you might rationally expect. Watch and explore what really happens while your child is logged in to GAFE.

The stickers aren't paper thin (yet) but you can see where “surveillance by anyone” is headed.
You Can Use These Tiny Stickers to Map All of Your Stuff
From the beginning, Estimote has wanted to create an operating system for the physical world. And it’s just taken another step toward that goal.
The hardware and software company makes Bluetooth-enabled stickers you can put pretty much anywhere. These stickers use beacon technology to communicate with apps on your phone. The way Estimote imagines it, analog people and objects magically become digital and interactive.

It's not that this was unknown, but men who were duped rarely talked about it.
As I reported last week, Ashley Madison created tens of thousands of fembots to lure men into paying for credits on the “have an affair” site. When men signed up for a free account, they would immediately be shown profiles of what internal documents call “Angels,” or fake women whose details and photos had been batch-generated using specially designed software. To bring the fake women to life, the company’s developers also created software bots to animate these Angels, sending email and chat messages on their behalf.
To the Ashley Madison “guest,” or non-paying member, it would appear that he was being personally contacted by eager women. But if he wanted to read or respond to them, he would have to shell out for a package of Ashley Madison credits, which range in price from $60 to $290.
… As documents from company e-mails now reveal, 80 percent of first purchases on Ashley Madison were a result of a man trying to contact a bot, or reading a message from one.
… But the men were not fooled. At least, not all of them. An analysis of company e-mails, coupled with evidence from Ashley Madison source code, reveals that company executives were in a constant battle to hide the truth. In emails to disgruntled members of the site, and even the California attorney general, they shaded the truth about how the bots fit into their business plan.

Want a self-driving car? Google it!
Google Brings in Chief for Self-Driving Cars
Google Inc. is ready to turn its self-driving car technology into a business and has hired an auto-industry veteran to run it.
Google said John Krafcik, president of online car-shopping service TrueCar Inc., is joining as CEO of its car project in late September.
… By hiring him, Google is sending a message that it is serious about the business side of autonomous vehicles and keen to work closely with the auto industry to commercialize the technology.
… Google doesn’t plan to manufacture its own cars and wants to partner with others to develop the technology, she added.

For my IT Governance students. The Quarter ends but government stupidity continues. Apparently neither the IRS nor Treasury noticed that tax bills were getting larger. “No need to fix the system, we'll just find a work-around.” Maybe companies could pay with their SmartPhones?
No checks, please: IRS no longer takes checks for $100M
Starting next year, the IRS says it will reject all checks for more than $99,999,999. That’s because check-processing equipment at the nation’s Federal Reserve banks can’t handle checks that big.
Checks of $100 million or more have to be processed by hand, increasing the risk of theft, fraud and errors, according to a pair of memos from the IRS and the Treasury Department.
As a result, the richest among us will have to wire their tax payments electronically. Or write multiple checks for less than $100 million apiece.
… The Federal Reserve says most commercial banks can’t process checks with amounts that stretch for more than 10 digits, including cents. The Fed says federal agencies have been prohibited from depositing checks of $100 million or more for years.
Apparently, the IRS didn’t get the memo.

Looks like they found some goats to scape.
China stocks’ worst day in nearly three weeks after punishments
Chinese equities were walloped on Monday, with smaller stocks falling nearly 7 per cent after the securities regulator announced punishments of individuals for market manipulation.
… The China Securities Regulatory Commission late on Friday announced punishments of two wealthy individual investors for manipulating 13 different stocks using fake buy orders to temporarily boost their prices. That sent a chill through short-term speculators on Monday.

(Related) You have to find stimulus money somewhere...
Exclusive: China seizes up to $157 billion of unspent local government budgets - sources
Angry Chinese authorities have seized up to 1 trillion yuan ($157 billion) from local governments who failed to spend their budget allocations, sources said, as Beijing seeks ways to stimulate economic growth which is at its slowest for 25 years.
The huge underspend, linked to officials' reluctance to spend on big-ticket projects while authorities crack down on corruption, supports the argument of some economists that Chinese state investment has grown too slowly this year.

Interesting. Not sure I would have used any of this to select a college.
Education Department College Scorecard
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Sep 13, 2015
“Welcome to the College Scorecard Data site. Here, you can get the data behind the College Scorecard, as well as other data on federal financial aid and earnings information. These data provide insights into the performance of schools eligible to receive federal financial aid, and offer a look at the outcomes of students at those schools…
Data Documentation The College Scorecard is designed to increase transparency, putting the power in the hands of the public — from those choosing colleges to those improving college quality — to see how well different schools are serving their students. This documentation provides more on how to use the data, including:

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