Thursday, December 17, 2015

A very rapid government response! We will pay somebody to write a few report that we might read and then we will ask the President to promise to come up with a strategy before the next Ice Age.
Overnight Tech: House presses Obama to counter ISIS on social media
The House is pressing the Obama administration to articulate a broad strategy to thwart terrorists' use of social media.
The lower chamber by voice vote approved the Combat Terrorist Use of Social Media Act on Wednesday, which would commission a number of reports on the subject and require Obama to follow through on a commitment to present a broad strategy.

(Related) Would a Social Media monitoring program been of any use?
FBI director: San Bernardino shooters never expressed public support for jihad on social media
James Comey, the FBI director, said on Wednesday that there remained no evidence the couple who massacred 14 people in San Bernardino, California, on December 2 were part of an organized cell or had any contact with overseas militant groups.
Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and Tashfeen Malik, 29, expressed support for "jihad and martyrdom" in private communications but never did so publicly on social media, Comey said at a news conference in New York City.

Dirverless cars are legal as long as they have a driver. Way to go California!
California Proposes Driverless-Car Rules
… The proposed rules hold motorists responsible for obeying traffic laws, regardless of whether they are at the wheel.
… California’s proposed regulations would require consumers to get a special state-issued driver’s certificate after receiving training from a car company on how to use a driverless vehicle.
… Auto makers would only be allowed to lease driverless cars, as opposed to selling them outright.

Should we consider this “e-contempt?”
Brazil Court Suspends Facebook’s WhatsApp for 48 Hours
A Brazilian state judge ordered the suspension of Facebook Inc.’s WhatsApp throughout Brazil for 48 hours early Thursday, disrupting the lives of tens of millions of Brazilians who use the messaging service.
A local judge in São Paulo state ordered the block after WhatsApp refused to cooperate with a criminal investigation, the court said in a statement. The court said that the decision was made amid a criminal procedure, but didn't provide more details, saying the case is under seal.
WhatsApp is hugely popular in Brazil, where roughly half of the country’s 200 million people use its free text and voice messaging functions regularly. Many poorer Brazilians depend exclusively on WhatsApp for their day-to-day communications.
… Local telecoms companies have been complaining for months that WhatsApp, particularly its free voice messaging service, is illegal. But the speed with which the block took place, and the lack of pushback from telecoms companies, came as a surprise to many here. Similar efforts to block WhatsApp and other services in the past have been rejected by higher courts before they could be enforced.
… WhatsApp competitors wasted little time in taking advantage of their rivals’ outage. Messaging service Telegram said early Thursday that more than 1.5 million Brazilians had downloaded its app since WhatsApp went offline.

Free isn't always free. And feedback from citizens may be drafted by Mark Zuckerberg.
Facebook’s “Save Free Basics In India” Campaign Provokes Controversy
Facebook is calling on Indian users to send an email to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), asking the government agency to support its Free Basics program. The campaign, which shows up when users sign onto the social media platform and includes a pre-filled form so they don’t even have to write an email, has already proven controversial, with opponents saying its message undermines net neutrality in India.
… Free Basics, which became available throughout India last month, is a program by Facebook initiative to provide basic Internet services, like search, Wikipedia, health information, and weather updates, for free to all users. While it sounds altruistic, Free Basics has the potential to draw reams of traffic to sites from certain providers (including Facebook) at the expense of others, which violates the principles of net neutrality. The TRAI plans to hold a hearing on net neutrality next month.

I wonder how many countries they will be willing to do this for. How big a market will it take?
Microsoft Unveils Plans for China Joint Venture
Microsoft Corp. disclosed new details of a plan to work with a Chinese partner to accelerate adoption of the Windows 10 operating system introduced last summer.
The company late Wednesday said it will set up a jointly owned entity with China Electronics Technology Group Corp., or CETC, a state-owned company that provides technology for Chinese military and civilian use. The venture will extend a relationship announced with CETC in September, Microsoft said.
That venture, tentatively called C&M Information Technologies, will be based in Beijing and will license, deploy, manage and provide technical support for Windows 10 for government agencies and government-owned institutions, said Yusuf Mehdi, a corporate vice president in Microsoft’s Window and devices group, in a blog post released to coincide with a news conference in Beijing.

While waiting for a ruling, I ran found this.
In submissions filed on September 16, 2015 by the Kim Dotcom legal team in District Court in New Zealand, Professor Lawrence Lessig, from Harvard Law School, provided his expert legal opinion on the United States Department of Justice's (DOJ) criminal allegations in the extradition record against Kim Dotcom and the others. Below are quoted excerpts from Professor Lessig's opinion.

Will this make my students reconsider their job hunting strategy?
A New Kind of Employee Perk: Student-Loan Repayment
… Earlier this year, the accounting firm Pricewaterhouse Coopers announced that the company will offer to help associate-level employees (who make up 45 percent of PwC’s 46,000 U.S. employees) out with their student-loan debt starting mid-2016. PwC will contribute about $100 a month towards an employee’s student-loan principal for up to six years, for a total payout of $7,200. Since paying off loan principal will reduce interest, the company estimates that the benefit is actually worth up to $10,000.

Interesting. Let's hope they can analyze more areas and a more granular level. (e.g. What works best for programmers in Centennial vs. Denver.)
Textio, A Startup That Analyzes Text Performance, Raises $8M
… “We had this premise that word processing in text hadn’t been disrupted in a while, from command line to GUI,” CEO Kieran Snyder said
… Textio’s first tool looks at talent acquisition documents — like job postings — to determine how well they will perform among candidates. Certain words and layouts attract more candidates than others, Snyder found, and those predictive analytics are baked into the service. For example, Textio shows that job postings with bullet points tend to perform better than job postings without them.
… Textio recognizes more than 60,000 phrases with its predictive technology, Snyder said, and that data set is changing constantly as it continues to operate. It looks at how words are put together — such as how verb dense a phrase is — and at other syntax-related properties the document may have. All that put together results in a score for the document, based on how likely it is to succeed in whatever the writer set out to do.

More students game than I thought.
Pew Study – Gaming and Gamers
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Dec 16, 2015
Pew Research Center Study: “About half of American adults (49%) “ever play video games on a computer, TV, game console, or portable device like a cellphone,” and 10% consider themselves to be “gamers.” A majority of American adults (60%) believe that most people who play video games are men – a view that is shared by 57% of women who themselves play video games. But the data illustrates that in some ways this assumption is wrong: A nearly identical share of men and women report ever playing video games (50% of men and 48% of women). However, men are more than twice as likely as women to call themselves “gamers” (15% vs. 6%). And among those ages 18 to 29, 33% of men say the term “gamer” describes them well, more than three times the proportion of young women (9%) who say the same…”

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