Tuesday, January 12, 2016

This was only for show. Intelligence is too important to ignore just because you are embarrassed or angry.
Tina Bellon reports:
Germany’s BND intelligence agency has resumed joint internet surveillance with the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) after halting collaboration with Washington last year following a row over spying practices, German media reported.
Read more on Reuters.

Don't say you were not warned. (Not that I see China learning much from our Education system.)
Teri Robinson reports:
The Department of Education is primed for a large data breach that could eclipse the one experienced by the Office of Personnel and Management (OPM), House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) said last week at a Brookings Institute function.
With its rich set of data, including 139 million Social Security numbers and information on 40 million students who’ve taken out federal loans, and an “F” rating by the Inspector General based on the criteria established under the Federal Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA), a breach at the agency could be more devastating than OPM’s.
Read more on SC Magazine.

Are my Computer Security students intelligent enough? (Those who pass probably are.)
Distinguishing Threat Intelligence From Threat Data
Specific malicious payloads, URLs and IP addresses are so ephemeral that they may only be used once in the case of a true targeted attack. The 2015 Verizon Data Breach Investigation Report (PDF) illustrates this in stark detail.
The Verizon report found that 70-90% of malware used in breaches were unique to the organization that was infected. Clearly, if a threat is only used once, faster signatures alone aren’t going to solve the problem.

Remove a slice of the market, reduce the need to supply it? No. Just ignore all those Jihadists with obviously phony IDs.
Jonah Bennett reports:
New figures show that the number of identification theft investigations collapsed by 30 percent in California after a program allowing illegal aliens to apply for driver’s licenses was implemented in 2015, according to a FOIA request obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Breitbart News reported in late January 2015 that the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) told investigators to ignore cases alleging identity thefts committed by illegal aliens who were applying for drivers’ licenses under a new program. An anonymous DMV source provided Breitbart with internal documents revealing the policy.
Read more on Daily Caller.

Speaking of Jihadists… (Would this be considered “harm?”)
Colin Miner reports:
A data breach by militia at the Malheur Wildlife National Refuge has led the US Fish and Wildlife Service to ask some of its employees to relocate from their homes until the situation is resolved, sources told KOIN 6 News.
While Ammon Bundy has told reporters that his group has not accessed computer files, a reporter for OPB witnessed them doing just that.
Read more on WJHL.

Is it me or does California try many of these technologies before the rest of the country? Are they over-selling this to themselves?
The new way police are surveilling you: Calculating your threat ‘score’
As a national debate has played out over mass surveillance by the National Security Agency, a new generation of technology such as the Beware software being used in Fresno has given local law enforcement officers unprecedented power to peer into the lives of citizens.
Police officials say such tools can provide critical information that can help uncover terrorists or thwart mass shootings, ensure the safety of officers and the public, find suspects, and crack open cases. They say that last year’s attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, Calif., have only underscored the need for such measures. [Yet nothing in the article addresses prevention of crime. Bob]

(Related) These technologies spread quickly.
Cyrus Farivar reports:
A local activist has won an important intermediary step in his legal quest to force the Chicago Police Department (CPD) to produce documents that fully explain the department’s use of cell-site simulators, also known as IMSI catchers.
In a Monday opinion in Martinez v. Chicago Police Department, Cook County Circuit Judge Kathleen Kennedy denied the city’s motion to dismiss. This decision paves the way later this month for a closed-door hearing (in camera review) where the judge gets to privately review the documents in question.
Read more on Ars Technica.

(Related) Perhaps there is hope…
Michael Byrne reports:
Computer scientists at the University of Pennsylvania have developed an algorithmic framework for conducting targeted surveillance of individuals within social networks while protecting the privacy of “untargeted” digital bystanders. As they explain in this week’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), the tools could facilitate counterterrorism efforts and infectious disease tracking while being “provably privacy-preserving”—having your anonymous cake and eating it too.
Read more on Motherboard.

Suggests that if I want to know all your darkest secrets, I should ask your friends? Sell your friends out for success in your video game? I want to build that App!.
My privacy is worth more to me than yours is. At least, that seems to be the findings of a new study by Penn State researchers. Alexa Lewis reports:
On Dec. 14, a team of Penn State researchers reported at the International Conference on Information Systems in Fort Worth, Texas, that people are more concerned about sharing their own personal information with third-party app developers than they are about sharing their friends’ information.
The problem, Grossklags said, is known as interdependent privacy. It means that the privacy of individual consumers depends not only on their own online decisions, but the decisions of their friends.
According to a Penn State press release, the researchers found that participants valued data in their own social media profiles at $2.31 and valued their friend’s social media data at $1.56, when the information was irrelevant to the app’s function. When the data was necessary for the app’s function, the economic value of their own data dropped by $.27, but the value of their friends’ data dropped by $.58.
Read more on StateCollege.com.

I thought for a second that someone had developed an App to identify “good customers” but I guess that one is still available.
Tinder is internally ranking its users based on 'desirability'
… It’s called the “Elo score,” a term used in chess to rank player skill levels. In short, the ranking system helps the company facilitate matches based on score compatibility. So if you’re really desirable, you have a better chance of ending up with another really desirable person. And if you’re not so desirable, then tough luck.
This all sounds like it’s connecting hotties with hotties, right? According to Tinder CEO Sean Rad, wrong. He emphasizes the rating isn’t really just a measure of attractiveness.
… "It’s not just how many people swipe right on you," Rad said. "It’s very complicated.
It took us two and a half months just to build the algorithm because a lot of factors go into it."
… It might seem a little questionable at first, but it makes sense that a dating app has some sort of internal rating system, and it would be no surprise if other dating apps had similar tools. Dating apps do actually want to get their users to match. That’s why, for example, OkCupid makes you answer a whole bunch of questions and shares your compatibility percentage with other users.

Help me out here. If I want to browse the data my Texas employer has on Donald Trump's mental health, just for my own amusement, that's Okay?
Shawn E. Tuma writes that Texas just amended its unauthorized access of computers law to specifically address misuse by insiders. Here’s a snippet from his detailed post:
Nothing was removed from the prior version of the law; the following language in blue italics was added as Section 33.02 (b-1)(2) of the Texas Penal Code:
It is a crime for a person to, with the intent to defraud or harm another or alter, damage, or delete property … knowingly access[] … a computer, computer network, or computer system:
(A) that is owned by:
(i) the government; or
(ii) A business or other commercial entity engaged in a business activity;
(B) in violation of:
(i) A clear and conspicuous prohibition by the owner of the computer, computer network, or computer system; or
(ii) A contractual agreement to which the person as expressly agreed; and
(C) with the intent to obtain or use a file, data, or proprietary information stored in the computer, network, or system to defraud or harm another or alter, damage, or delete property.
Read more on his site.

Perspective. If Blogging becomes useful, everyone will start Blogging.
The rise and proliferation of political science blogging in America
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Jan 11, 2016
How the Monkey Cage Went Ape by Alexander C. Kafka January 10, 2016 – The Chronicle of Higher Education
“”The rise of political-science public engagement has been so massive and rapid that it is paradoxically easy to miss,” writes Marc Lynch, a Middle East specialist at George Washington University and a regular blogger for the Cage, in a forthcoming article for Perspectives on Politics. “A decade ago, very few political scientists had either the opportunity or the incentive to engage with the political public in a direct, unmediated way.” Engagement has gone from “something exotic to something utterly routine.” In fact, while the top blogs were initially popular as rare outlets for scholars to reach a broader public, they’re now popular, Lynch writes, as curators of “a deluge of analysis, information, and argument.”

Perspective. Free is good! But not everyone knows how to get “Free” or what to do with it once it is in hand. Isn't that a marketing problem? Are the other 34 countries successful?
Facebook Tried To Give Everyone In Egypt The Internet — It Didn’t Work
Only two months after it launched, one of Facebook’s flagship programs for free internet was abruptly canceled. Egyptian officials say was a licensing issue, but others say it was part of a widening crackdown by Egyptian authorities.
… But since Free Basics launched in late 2015 to in 36 countries, Facebook has faced problems in two of its biggest markets — Egypt and India — along with criticism that it provides a limited service only through the select partners that meet its technological requirements. In India, the program has become subject to a regulatory battle, with detractors arguing that the initiative favors certain apps and sources of information over others. In Egypt, the program was quietly shut down on Dec. 30, just two months after it was launched. It was, said many Egyptians, perhaps not as easy to bring the internet to Egypt as Zuckerberg expected.
… “There was no advertisement of this program in Egypt, no one knew about it,” said Mohammed, in a sentiment echoed by several other Egyptians interviewed by BuzzFeed News in Cairo.
… “Egypt will stop every website, they will kick everyone off Facebook, if it means they will stop another revolution from happening,” one activist told BuzzFeed News by phone. He asked to remain anonymous due to the arrests of several of his friends in recent years. “They took the whole country offline in 2011, why doesn’t the world think they would do it again?

Have I been mispronouncing the school my lawyer friends attended?

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