Saturday, March 26, 2016

Of course they did. The FBI blithely opened a can of worms and Apple wants to make they examine each one they try putting back in the can.
Citing FBI Hacking Efforts, Apple Requests Judge Delay Brooklyn iPhone Data Case
Apple wants a judge to delay government demands for data from a locked iPhone in a Brooklyn drug case while the FBI sees if it can get contents from a San Bernardino attacker’s phone without Apple’s help.
… Zwillinger said the Brooklyn case will be affected by the outcome in California regardless of what the Justice Department concludes regarding its methods of obtaining data without Apple’s help.
He said if the same method can be used to unlock the iPhone in the Brooklyn case, Apple’s assistance will no longer be needed. He added that Apple will seek to test any claims by the government that the method cannot work on the iPhone in Brooklyn or claims that other methods cannot be used.
The government is scheduled to update a California magistrate judge on April 5 about its efforts to access iPhones without the company’s assistance.

Not earth shaking, but amusing.
Shawn E. Tuma writes:
The Dallas Court of Appeals recently decided a civil case involving claims under Texas’ unauthorized access of computer law that provides some helpful guidance for this relatively new law that has very little case law construing it. The 3 takeaways that follow are the key legal principles that apply to this law as set forth in the case Miller v. Talley Dunn Gallery, LLC, 2016 WL 836775 (Tex. App.–Dallas, Mar. 3, 2016).

Not all that horrible.
The Dangers of Facebook Cozying Up to Beijing
Mark Zuckerberg’s Beijing publicity stunt was as craven as it was brilliant. There he was, the Facebook founder and his entourage jogging through smoggy Tiananmen Square not wearing a facemask less promotionally-minded runners wouldn’t dream of leaving home without.
The message from Zuckerberg’s gesture, and his meeting with Beijing’s propaganda minister, was impossible to miss: we at Facebook are so anxious to “friend” China that we’re willing to depart from the normative behavior we exercise everywhere else.
… The only way Facebook operates in Xi’s China is as a pawn in his censorship push.
… As I’ve argued before, China needs Zuckerberg’s blue and white pages and “like” buttons more than his company needs the No. 2 economy. It’s impossible for China to become an innovative powerhouse when its best minds are excluded from the mediums entrepreneurs everywhere else use to share notes, debate and test ideas. Social media platforms are where these conversations rage and crowdsourcing that drives change, sparks new industries and speaks truth to power thrives.
… It’s reasonable to expect, for example, that Facebook would need to partner with a local tech operation. Here, think LinkedIn entering China with the help of two joint ventures or Japanese messaging service Line connecting via Qihoo 360. Beijing is sure to demand client data be housed in China to allow ready government access. Also, Facebook would probably need to help Beijing delete posts it finds even remotely objectionable. Good luck, for example, enjoying the usual Facebook barrage of birthday greetings if you were born on June 4, the anniversary of the Tiananmen crackdown. Singer Taylor Swift walked into a political maelstrom when she named an album “1989,” the year Tiananmen went down. China uses sophisticated algorithms to flag words, dates and public figures it finds threatening to the state.
Chinese messaging apps like WeChat and the Twitter-esque Sina Weibo are policed aggressively, but they’re largely domestic and Mandarin-based. Facebook would be quite the wildcard as it connects mainlanders to more than 100 foreign tongues around the globe with its group pages.

There are limits and then there are people who ignore the limits. Hackers will always be attracted to free Internet access.
Angola’s Wikipedia Pirates Are Exposing the Problems With Digital Colonialism
Wikimedia and Facebook have given Angolans free access to their websites, but not to the rest of the internet. So, naturally, Angolans have started hiding pirated movies and music in Wikipedia articles and linking to them on closed Facebook groups, creating a totally free and clandestine file sharing network in a country where mobile internet data is extremely expensive.
… In 2014, Wikimedia partnered with Angolan telecom provider Unitel to offer Wikipedia Zero to its customers. Wikipedia Zero is a somewhat-controversial program that “zero rates” Wikipedia and other Wikimedia properties (such as image and video database Wikimedia Commons) on mobile phones in developing countries, meaning customers don’t have to pay for any data use on the Unitel network, as long as the data use is associated with a Wikimedia domain.
… Facebook’s program, called “Free Basics,” has come under fire—and was banned in India—because some see it as a user grab technique for Facebook, but Wikipedia Zero has gotten less flak because Wikimedia’s a nonprofit organization and its sites often skew to be purely informative.
The controversy usually ends with those two arguments—rarely does anyone ever consider what happens if creative people find loopholes in these zero rated services.
That brings us to what’s going on in Angola. Enterprising Angolans have used two free services—Facebook Free Basics and Wikipedia Zero—to share pirated movies, music, television shows, anime, and games on Wikipedia. And no one knows what to do about it.
Because the data is completely free, Angolans are hiding large files in Wikipedia articles on the Portuguese Wikipedia site (Angola is a former Portuguese colony)—sometimes concealing movies in JPEG or PDF files. They’re then using a Facebook group to direct people to those files, creating a robust, completely free file sharing network.
… But people in developing countries have always had to be more creative than those for whom access to information has always been a given. In Cuba, for instance, movies, music, news, and games are traded on USB drives that are smuggled into the country every week. A 20-year-old developer in Paraguay found a vulnerability in Facebook Messenger that allowed people to use Free Basics to tunnel through to the “real” internet.

The drone refused to comment.
This Drone Startup Just Achieved A Milestone In Doorstep Delivery
,,, Drone startup Flirtey said on Friday that it completed the first federally-sanctioned drone delivery in a U.S. urban area without the help of a human to manually steer it.
The half mile-drone flight took place on March 10 in Hawthorne, Nev., Flirtey CEO Matt Sweeny said in an interview with Fortune. Staff members programmed the drone’s flight path using GPS and then loaded a parcel of emergency supplies—including food, water, and a first-aid kit—into a box tethered to one of the company’s drones.
Flirtey then sent the flying robot to an uninhabited house where it eventually lowered the package to the home’s front porch using a rope while hovering above.
The Nevada-based startup performed the delivery with the help of its partner, the University of Nevada at Reno.
Last year, Flirtey made the first Federal Aviation Administration-approved drone delivery in a rural area by dropping off emergency supplies to a health clinic in Virginia.

Not sure we teach Swift. Should we?
The Best Languages for Mobile App Development in 2016

Probably all my students could use this.
Google Offers Nik Collection Of Photo Editing Suite For Free
… The Nik Collection comes with seven desktop plug-ins that were originally targeted toward expert photographers. From its original price tag of $149, Google is now dropping its price to nothing.
… In case you are interested in giving the Google Nik Collection a go, head to Nik Collection page to download it.

Another toy my geek friends will need.
Amazon shows you how to make an Echo with Raspberry Pi
If you're into messing with hardware and have some basic programming skills, you can put together an Amazon Alexa device of your very own. Amazon has even put together an official guide to do so on GitHub, Lifehacker reports. You'll need to snag a Raspberry Pi 2 and a USB microphone to make it happen, but you've probably got the other required hardware (a micro-SD card for storage, for example) lying around.

Every week. Ready or not.
Hack Education Weekly News
… “The U.S. Department of Education has rehired two of the debt collection companies that it said last year would be fired for misleading student loan borrowers, newly released federal records show,” Inside Higher Ed reports. “Department officials announced in February 2015 that they would ‘end’ the contracts of five debt collectors, accusing the companies of making ‘materially inaccurate representations’ to borrowers trying to get their loans out of default.”
… Interesting verb choice in this headline: “Sophisticated test scams from China invade U.S. college admissions.” And the subhead: “Students hire imposter ‘gunmen’ to take the SAT, the GRE and other tests.” [Because they all look alike? Bob]
Via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “A group of parents at a Cobb County elementary are upset over the school’s use of yoga and other mindfulness practices for students because they believe it endorses a non-Christian belief system.”
Via The Denver Post: “ The University of Colorado nutrition expert who accepted $550,000 from Coca-Cola Co. is stepping down as executive director of the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center. James Hill announced Friday that he was leaving, effective immediately, but he expects to continue researching causes of obesity.”
Via Politico: “LinkedIn, labor-market analysis organization Burning Glass and the Markle Foundation have joined forces to roll out a new kind of job website – – specifically designed for middle-skills workers, or people who have a high school diploma but not a bachelor’s degree. The site launched in Colorado this month with an initial emphasis on the information technology, advanced marketing and healthcare fields, with plans to branch into the greater Phoenix area as early as next month. The project has the support of Colorado’s state government as well as Arizona State University and MOOC provider edX.”

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