Monday, January 11, 2016

For my Ethical Hacking students. Grab it now, before the panic! (Also see the next article)
Should Websites That Explain How to Hack Be Blocked by Google?
With the number of high profile hacks in the last few years, it seems like hackers — rather than security researchers — have the upper hand. This is obviously a cause for concern, and governments are beginning to take notice.
For example, the UK Government recently released some (terribly misguided) guidelines on how to spot if your child is turning into a cyber criminal. One of the ideas that that more totalitarian governments such as China’s have tried is to block access to sites like Github where some of the offending material is located. While it’s unlikely a more liberal government would take such an extreme measure, if the problem gets bad enough they could try a similar approach to that used for pirated material: ask Google to remove the links from its database.
As has been shown with pirated material, however, any attempt to block access to offending content is a terrible idea that just doesn’t work.

(Related) How can you make the computer your pal?
The risks -- and benefits -- of letting algorithms judge us
China is considering a new "social credit" system, designed to rate everyone's trustworthiness. Many fear that it will become a tool of social control -- but in reality it has a lot in common with the algorithms and systems that score and classify us all every day.
Human judgment is being replaced by automatic algorithms, and that brings with it both enormous benefits and risks. The technology is enabling a new form of social control, sometimes deliberately and sometimes as a side effect. And as the Internet of Things ushers in an era of more sensors and more data -- and more algorithms -- we need to ensure that we reap the benefits while avoiding the harms.
… The secrecy of the algorithms further pushes people toward conformity. If you are worried that the U.S. government will classify you as a potential terrorist, you're less likely to friend Muslims on Facebook. If you know that your Sesame Credit score is partly based on your not buying "subversive" products or being friends with dissidents, you're more likely to overcompensate by not buying anything but the most innocuous books or corresponding with the most boring people.
Uber is an example of how this works. Passengers rate drivers and drivers rate passengers; both risk getting booted out of the system if their rankings get too low.

Obfuscation is a lawyers friend?
Appeals court upholds deal allowing kids’ images in Facebook ads
On Wednesday, a federal appeals court in San Francisco upheld a 2013 settlement between Facebook and a number of advocacy groups representing minors whose images were used in "Sponsored Stories." That agreement resulted in Facebook paying each member of the class $15 and imposed some changes to the social media giant's disclosure policies.
"It is not clear whether Facebook’s use of minors’ names and likenesses in Sponsored Stories violated California law," the court wrote. "It is also not clear whether the settlement at issue—which provides more protection for minors from Facebook’s advertising practices than existed before—violates state law. The district court did not abuse its discretion in approving the settlement in the face of this uncertainty."

By the government, for the government?
No Longer a Neutral Magistrate: The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in the Wake of the War on Terror
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Jan 10, 2016
Mondale, Walter F. and Stein, Robert A. and Fisher, Caitlinrose, No Longer a Neutral Magistrate: The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in the Wake of the War on Terror (January 1, 2016). Minnesota Law Review, Forthcoming. Available for download at SSRN:
… In response to the Church Committee’s recommendations, among other reforms, Congress enacted the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and created the FISA Court. FISA conformed with the Church Committee’s recommendations for over two decades, but, in the wake of 9/11, Congress significantly altered FISA’s scheme, opening the door once again to executive overreach.
… This Article chronicles the evolution of FISA and the FISA Court. Drawing from the unique perspective of Vice President Mondale — who, while a Senator, served as a member of the Church Committee and as chairman of the subcommittee that drafted the Church Committee’s final report on domestic intelligence activities, and, as Vice President, was instrumental to the enactment of FISA — the Article analyzes the ways in which the post-9/11 Act and Court are at odds with their original design.
… The FISA Court no longer serves its intended function as a specialized Article III Court of limited jurisdiction. Rather, the FISA Court is more akin to an adjunct to the executive branch, lending legitimacy to intelligence operations without practically limiting executive authority.

Rethinking the “auto” industry?
Ford's revolutionary FordPass app aims do for mobility what iTunes did for music
… On Monday morning at the North American International Auto Show, Ford unveiled an all-new app called FordPass. With it, Ford owners — or anyone else — will be able to use the app to get around more easily thanks to car-sharing features and more.
Granted, this first generation of FordPass seems to be a bit more style than substance. That said, it is most certainly the first glimpse into what the new mobility universe will look and operate like in the coming decades. Let's look at why.
First off, FordPass incorporates several different separate sub-systems: FordGuides, FordPay and FlightCar.
FordGuides will be kind of like General Motors' OnStar, but rather than simply helping you with navigation, roadside assistance or restaurant reservations, FordGuides will help you solve your mobility concerns. Essentially, think of them as your personal mobility concierge — free of charge.
… FordPay is essentially what it sounds like: A way to pay for features of FordPass. With this initial introduction of FordPass, Ford has partnered with McDonald's and 7-Eleven to make consuming fast food easier.
FlightCar, to me, might be the most interesting part of the FordPass app. At first, it'll be used to help you share or borrow a vehicle when you travel, which is neat. However, down the road, it'll be utilized for ride sharing, car sharing and multi-modal transportation. That means, in the future, FlightCar will get you from door to door anyway it needs to — from ride share to public light-rail to bicycle.

Another social App I can be anti-
Peach Is The Cool New Messaging App Everyone’s Talking About: Here’s How To Use It
… only available for iOS.
… What makes the social network out-of-the-box and interesting is that it lets you play around with things the site calls "magic words." Specific features are activated when you key in these magic words. For instance, these trigger words will let you add a doodle, a location, a GIF or other forms of media to your home screen.

Free is good!
How to Get Free eBooks on Your Mobile Device
With the rise and prominence of eBooks have come a number of resources for educators and students to access free content on virtually any device. Using e-readers, tablets, or computers; in conjunction with apps such as Kindle, Nook, iBooks, Google Play Books, and OverDrive; you can access libraries of books for free on virtually any device. By downloading these free apps, you make your device a digital reading device that is not dependent on a specific vendor.
Once you have the apps installed on your device, there are many resources you can use to find free eBooks. While books in the public domain are readily available, there are also self-published books, books available to educators, books on special promotions, and even places that will allow you to check out books temporarily. Here are a few places that you can go to find free eBooks:
  • Kindle books - Kindle curates a list of free and low priced books ($1.99) here; come back regularly for newly added materials, especially during promotions and the holiday season. If your school has signed up for Amazon’s Whispercast service, you can even push books directly to students’ Amazon accounts.
  • Nook Books - Barnes and Noble curates a list of free eBooks on this site.
  • Google Play Books - Google Books allows you to search their store and sort by cost. So search or select a genre, select price, and then indicate: free.
  • Google Books - Connected to Google (but outside of the play store), Google Books is accessible online and provides free previews and full length books for its users.
  • Feedbooks - Feedbooks contains a list of free public domain books that you can download and install on your device.
  • Goodreads - In addition to being a social media site for readers, Goodreads also publishes a list of free eBooks in ePub format.
  • Project Gutenberg - Project Gutenberg is one of the most popular resources for free eBooks that you can download as epub, kindle, or read online.
  • iBooks - iBooks is proprietary and only available on Mac and iOS. Within the iBooks Store, you can select that tab labeled “free” to access all free iBooks available.
  • Project Muse - Hosted and curated by Johns Hopkins University, Project Muse is a great resources for more advanced readers and researchers; they are a repository of more than 300,000 peer-reviewed journals and 700,000 chapters of academic books.
Another resource for free eBooks is your school and local library. Many libraries have made their resources available digitally via tools such as Kindle and OverDrive. This will only cost you a library card (usually free)! If you have a local College or University, you may wish to explore their lending privileges. A small fee may grant you even broader access to books.

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