Friday, November 20, 2015

Does this surprise anyone? If you need the intelligence, you find a way to get it.
File Says N.S.A. Found Way to Replace Email Program
… The newly disclosed information about the email records program is contained in a report by the N.S.A.’s inspector general that was obtained by The New York Times through a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act. One passage lists four reasons that the N.S.A. decided to end the email program and purge previously collected data. Three were redacted, but the fourth was uncensored. It said that “other authorities can satisfy certain foreign intelligence requirements” that the bulk email records program “had been designed to meet.”
The report explained that there were two other legal ways to get such data. One was the collection of bulk data that had been gathered in other countries, where the N.S.A.’s activities are largely not subject to regulation by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and oversight by the intelligence court. Because of the way the Internet operates, domestic data is often found on fiber optic cables abroad.
The N.S.A. had long barred analysts from using Americans’ data that had been swept up abroad, but in November 2010 it changed that rule, documents leaked by Edward J. Snowden have shown. The inspector general report cited that change to the N.S.A.’s internal procedures.
The other replacement source for the data was collection under the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, which permits warrantless surveillance on domestic soil that targets specific noncitizens abroad, including their new or stored emails to or from Americans.

For my Computer Security students.
Orin Kerr writes:
The Third Circuit has handed down a very important opinion on Internet surveillance law: In re Google Cookie Placement Consumer Privacy Litigation (Nov. 10, 2015). The decision is the first case to grapple in detail with how the Wiretap Act applies to the Internet. If you’re interested in surveillance law, you need to give this opinion a close and careful read. It’s a big deal. It leaves some things undecided, but it also suggests that the Wiretap Act provides pretty strong privacy protections online.
This post will go over the decision, explore its reasoning and conclude with its implications.
Read more on The Volokh Conspiracy.

Am I at risk because of my deeply held belief that DHS is worthless?
Joe Cadillic notes:
Last week, I reported how your social, political and religious views are now deemed suspicious by police.
“The Berkley Police Review Commission in California admits DHS run Fusion Centers are tracking American’s social, political and religious views.”
Yesterday, Police kicked four passengers off plane because they looked Middle Eastern and were watching the news on their smartphones.
“Four people were removed from a Chicago-bound flight in Baltimore Tuesday morning, and the plane delayed for three hours, after a woman became suspicious of a man who appeared to be of Middle Eastern descent and who was watching the news on his phone, according to authorities and several passengers.”
Read more on MassPrivateI.

This is unworkable. You can't sell encryption as a service if the data is not encrypted for law enforcement. (Another article that claims the Paris terrorists were encrypting their communications even though the French government says they did not.)
Shaun Waterman reports:
Blackberry believes in a “balanced” approach to encryption, incorporating lawful intercept capabilities, and the company prioritizes cooperation with law enforcement, Chief Operating Officer Marty Beard said Tuesday.
“We very much take a balanced approach” to the issue of encryption, he told the FedTalks government IT summit, differentiating Blackberry’s approach from that of some of their competitors who are “all about encryption all the way.”
Read more on FedScoop.

Do we have enough people who care? So far it looks like they are pointing to takedowns that overreact. Or perhaps they are keywords triggered and then takendown with out human review. Tracks Content Takedowns by Social Media Sites
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Nov 19, 2015
“The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Visualizing Impact launched today, a new platform to document the who, what, and why of content takedowns on social media sites. The project, made possible by a 2014 Knight News Challenge award, will address how social media sites moderate user-generated content and how free expression is affected across the globe.”

The telephone was demonstrated publicly for the first time the same week that Custer rode into the Little Big Horn. Apparently, the FCC understands technology that old. Or maybe they will do what Congress spells out for them and consider thinking about evaluating other proposals...
Overnight Tech: FCC vows to enforce robocall provision
A new provision allowing government debt collectors to conduct robocalls will be enforced by the Federal Communications Commission

Those government alerts on your phone could get longer
… The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) unanimously voted Thursday to seek comment on a proposal that would increase the maximum length of alerts from 90 characters to 360 characters, among other things.
… The proposal would allow government agencies to include helpful phone numbers or Web addresses in the alerts. It would also require wireless carriers to target the alerts to narrower geographic regions. Currently, alerts go out to counties affected by an emergency.

Still waiting for a decision in the Kim Dotcom extradition hearing. This was amusing. How quickly technology becomes obsolete, lost, and incomprehensible.
When Megaupload was raided early 2012 the U.S. Government seized 1,103 servers at Carpathia’s hosting facility in the United States.
Nearly four years have since passed and it’s still uncertain what will happen to the servers, which are safely stored in a Virginia warehouse at the moment.
After a renewed request for guidance on the issue, District Court Judge O’Grady started to explore what options are on the table. He asked the various parties what would be required to release the servers and whether their possible return has any complications.
In a response, hosting company QTS/Carpathia says that most data will still be intact but that retrieving it will be a costly endeavor.
The equipment that was used to link the servers together is no longer on the market. Used parts are still available but this would cost roughly $500,000. In addition, hundreds of thousands of dollars are needed to move the servers and set them up properly.
United States Attorney Dana Boente notes that a successful data return would likely cost millions. However, the Government has no interest in the servers [Why were they seized? Bob] and doesn’t want any of Megaupload’s restrained funds to be released to pay for the costs.
… “The United States further reminds the Court that the Federal Bureau of Investigation found that many of these servers contain, as indicated more particularly under seal, copies of known images of child pornography,” Boente writes (pdf).
… “The MPAA members remain gravely concerned about the potential release of the copyrighted works that are stored on the […] servers at issue here,” the movie industry group writes (pdf).
Transferring the data to Megaupload or another party would be copyright infringement in and by itself, they argue.

Perhaps a target for my Data Mining students?
Analysis reveals info on 1.1 Billion NYC Taxi and Uber Trips
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Nov 19, 2015
Todd W. Schneider – An open-source exploration of the city’s neighborhoods, nightlife, airport traffic, and more, through the lens of publicly available taxi and Uber data – “The New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission has released a staggeringly detailed historical dataset covering over 1.1 billion individual taxi trips in the city from January 2009 through June 2015. Taken as a whole, the detailed trip-level data is more than just a vast list of taxi pickup and drop off coordinates: it’s a story of New York. How bad is the rush hour traffic from Midtown to JFK? Where does the Bridge and Tunnel crowd hang out on Saturday nights? What time do investment bankers get to work? How has Uber changed the landscape for taxis? And could Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson have made it from 72nd and Broadway to Wall Street in less than 30 minutes? The dataset addresses all of these questions and many more. I mapped the coordinates of every trip to local census tracts and neighborhoods, then set about in an attempt to extract stories and meaning from the data. This post covers a lot, but for those who want to pursue more analysis on their own: everything in this post—the data, software, and code—is freely available. Full instructions to download and analyze the data for yourself are available on GitHub.”

Some of my students should start looking immediately.
Pew – Searching for Work in the Digital Era
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Nov 19, 2015
Aaron Smith: “The internet is an essential employment resource for many of today’s job seekers, according to a new survey by Pew Research Center. A majority of U.S. adults (54%) have gone online to look for job information, 45% have applied for a job online, and job-seeking Americans are just as likely to have turned to the internet during their most recent employment search as to their personal or professional networks. Yet even as the internet has taken on a central role in how people find and apply for work, a minority of Americans would find it difficult to engage in many digital job seeking behaviors – such as creating a professional resume, searching job listings online, or following up via email with potential employers. And while many of today’s job seekers are enlisting their smartphones to browse jobs or communicate with potential employers, others are using their mobile devices for far more complex and challenging tasks, from writing a resume to filling out an online job application.”

I don't think we use them enough.
7 Tools for Creating Flowcharts, Mind Maps, and Diagrams

I think it helps with Math too.
How to Read Music - And Seven Other Lessons About Music
Last month one of the most popular posts that I published was about writing music in Google Documents. That feature is useful only if you know how to read and write music. A TED-Ed lesson that I recently stumbled upon explains the fundamentals of reading music. Watching the video won't turn students into composers over night, but it provides a good start.
TED-Ed offers a lot of interesting and useful video lessons for students. Many of the videos are organized into playlists . Unfortunately, I couldn't find a playlist of all of the TED-Ed lessons about music. To remedy that problem, I made a playlist of my own featuring eight TED-Ed lessons about music.

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