Wednesday, March 09, 2016

That's a lot of lumber… I'll ask my students to apply for the CSO job.
Home Depot will pay up to $19.5 million for massive 2014 data breach
Included in that figure is a reported $13 million to reimburse customers for their losses and $6.5 million to provide them with one and a half years of identity protection services.
Home Depot was not required to admit any wrongdoing.
… The retailer also agreed to improve its data security, including hiring a chief information security officer.
First disclosed by the retailer in late 2014, the breach included the theft of data pertaining to about 56 million payment cards, as well as 53 million email addresses, making it one of the largest to date.
… It was hit with more than 50 lawsuits as a result of the breach. They were consolidated into two suits each seeking class action status.
Last year, Target agreed to pay $10 million in a settlement over a data breach it suffered in 2013 that affected at least 40 million cards.
In all, Home Depot has reportedly booked $161 million in pre-tax expenses for the breach.

Oh well, if Snowden says it, it must be true! (In this case, I agree with him)
Samuel Gibbs reports that Edward Snowden is calling “bullshit” on the FBI’s claim that it needs Apple’s assistance to disable the passcode on the phone of one of the San Bernardino shooters.
Talking via video link from Moscow to the Common Cause Blueprint for a Great Democracy conference, Snowden said: “The FBI says Apple has the ‘exclusive technical means’ to unlock the phone. Respectfully, that’s bullshit.”
Snowden then went on to tweet his support for an American Civil Liberties Union report saying that the FBI’s claims in the case are fraudulent. [Good summary Bob]
Read more on The Guardian.

(Related) A somewhat less dramatic summary.
Encryption: Selected Legal Issues
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Mar 8, 2016
ia FAS – CRS report – Encryption: Selected Legal Issues, Richard M. Thompson II, Legislative Attorney; Chris Jaikaran, Analyst in Cybersecurity Policy. March 3, 2016.
“This report first provides background to the ongoing encryption debate, including a primer on encryption basics and an overview of Apple, Google, and Facebook’s new encryption policies. Next, it will provide an overview of the Fifth Amendment right to be free from self-incrimination; survey the limited case law concerning the compelled disclosure of encrypted data; and apply this case law to help determine if and when the government may require such disclosures. The next section of the report will provide back ground on the All Writs Act; explore both Supreme Court and lower court case law, including a discussion of United States v. New York Tel. Co.; and apply this case law to the San Bernardino case and potential future requests by the government to access a locked device…”

(Related) “These are good changes. Trust us!”
FBI quietly changes its privacy rules for accessing NSA data on Americans
The FBI has quietly revised its privacy rules for searching data involving Americans’ international communications that was collected by the National Security Agency, US officials have confirmed to the Guardian.
… Sharon Bradford Franklin, a spokesperson for the PCLOB, said the classification prevented her from describing the rule changes in detail, but she said they move to enhance privacy. She could not say when the rules actually changed – that, too, is classified.
“They do apply additional limits” to the FBI, Franklin said.

I thought that was the whole point of immunity deals! We give you immunity from self-incrimination and you tell us what you did that might incriminate you.
Senators want Clinton aide who received immunity deal to talk
A pair of leading Republican senators are asking a former State Department official who reached an immunity deal with the Justice Department last week to answer their questions about Hillary Clinton’s private email server.
In a letter sent last week but released on Tuesday morning, Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) told the aide, Bryan Pagliano, that he should have no reason not to appear.
“Because the Department of Justice has granted you immunity from prosecution in this situation, there is no longer reasonable cause for you to believe that discussing these matters with the relevant oversight committees could result in your prosecution,” wrote Grassley and Johnson, who lead the Judiciary and Homeland Security committees, respectively.

A Criminal Justice reading list?
Joe Cadillic wants to make sure you realize how serious this is as a growing problem. So without additional comment, here’s the email he just sent me:
Americans are assigned “risk assessments” while travelling inside the US:
Risk assessments are being used to sentence people to jail and death:
Universities are using data analytics to assess students mental health and much more:

(Related) On the other hand… Could any large department justify not using this system?
We Now Have Algorithms To Predict Police Misconduct
… These researchers, part of the White House’s Police Data Initiative, say their algorithm can foresee adverse interactions between officers and civilians, ranging from impolite traffic stops to fatal shootings. Their system can suggest preventive measures — an appealing prospect for police departments facing greater scrutiny and calls for accountability

I doubt the government or anyone spouting the 'government line' will have much impact.
The Government Is Secretly Huddling With Companies to Fight Extremism Online
… The secret meeting was the latest move in the government’s increasingly urgent campaign to head off terrorist support and calls to action online. In order to limit the reach of Islamic State messaging, the feds are teaming up with the tech companies that control the platforms where the propaganda appears.
But some groups are troubled by the secret nature of this public-private collaboration. On Tuesday, a coalition of privacy and civil-rights advocacy organizations sent a letter to top White House officials asking for pro-privacy voices to be included in conversations about combating violent extremism online.

What if Facebook offered “Free Basics” here in the US?
FCC Proposes Broadband Internet Subsidy For Low Income Consumers
… Lifeline was first tossed to the elderly and impoverish in 1985, providing them with assistance for obtaining basic phone service.
… now Lifeline is in need of more modernization, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, said in a blog post on Tuesday.
"We can recite statistics all we want, but we must never lose sight of the fact that what we're really talking about is people – unemployed workers who miss out on jobs that are only listed online, students who go to fast-food restaurants to use the Wi-Fi hotspots to do homework, veterans who are unable to apply for their hard-earned benefits, seniors who can't look up health information when they get sick," the blog post states.
The FCC hasn't submitted its proposal for consideration, but the two administrators described three facets that'll frame the foundation of the proposal.
For starters, the FCC wants to readjust the minimum standards of Lifeline to include both voice and broadband.
The FCC also wants to strip outdated stipulations and "administrative burdens" from Lifeline to make it easier for ISPs (Internet Service Providers) to participate in the program.
And relating to that last measure, the FCC wants to establish a "National Eligibility Verifier" that'll work independently. It'll have the verification of applicants so that there's one less excuse for ISPs to opt out of participating in Lifeline.

For my Data Management students.
What's Ahead for Enterprise Data in 2016?
… Let's explore five key data governance trends that we can expect this year - and how companies can utilize them to deliver on their corporate goals and maximize operational effectiveness.
Rise of Application Data Management
Linking Big Data to Transactional Data
Data Governance 2.0 Takes Hold
Leveraging Software Automation
New Data Migration Wave

(Related) Not just Big Data – frequently updated Big Data.
A New 50-Trillion-Pixel Image of Earth, Every Day
… This is the home of Terra Bella—the satellite company, formerly known as Skybox, that Google purchased for $500 million in June 2014. In the next 18 months, it plans to put more than a dozen new satellites into orbit. This will increase its imagery “refresh rate”—that is, how often any one spot on Earth is photographed—from one new image every three days to four to five new images per day.
Terra Bella is part of a larger group of satellite companies that promise to transform the way we see Earth. Planet Labs is another: An independent startup based in San Francisco, it estimates that in the next 12 months, it will have more than 100 satellites beaming imagery down to Earth. That will give it an almost-daily imagery refresh rate.
… More than two years ago, I looked at a class of startups that I said were making “Silicon Valley’s new spy satellites.”
… Analysis companies, including Descartes Labs and Orbital Insight, have also sprouted up around the new bounty of imagery.
But however much they’ve expanded so far, the coming year will be decisive for many of these firms. By the summer of 2017, many promise daily or more-than-daily refresh rates. Within a few years, hundreds of Earth-observing satellites could float above the planet, each little more than a camera at the end of a massive (and affordable) chain of processing, computing, and distribution.

Just to stir up the “discussion” my students are having… No need to buy a self-driving car, just plug this into your existing car.
How George Hotz Plans To Beat Tesla And Google With His Robocar Startup
… Hotz is also starting work on what will become the company’s first product — a self-driving kit that car owners will be able to purchase directly from Comma to equip their vehicles with autonomous driving capabilities. He hasn’t come close to working out the details of what this product will ultimately look like, but he said it might be a dash cam that plugs into the on-board diagnostics 2 port, which gives access to the car’s internal systems and is found in most cars made after 1996. It will provide cars with ADAS features, like lane-keeping assistance and emergency breaking.
“We believe our killer app is traffic,” Hotz said. “Humans are bad at traffic. We can make something that drives super-humanly smooth through traffic.”

Perspective. Of course there's an App for that.
The Church Collection Plate Goes Digital
… (In one podcast, a pastor, sermonizing about society’s obsession with markers of achievement, uses an Internet-approved term of endearment to channel his audience, asking, “When am I going to get my own bae?”) At the end, a member of the “worship team” will call on parishioners to tithe and pass the collection plate. But not all people reach into their wallet. Many take out their phone instead.
Ciamacco gives each week, using the app. It takes fewer than five taps, and built-in geolocation means he can contribute at any of the 1,000 churches that subscribe—a feature that’s especially useful around holidays like Easter, when many people travel.

Here's an App that shows how Google views the desktop.
Google Search now has travel guides to help plan your vacation
… Destinations on Google isn't a new website. Instead, you'll stumble upon it during mobile searches for travel deals and advice. If you search "European vacations," you'll be presented with a grid of major cities, what it'll cost to get to them, and the best weeks to go. Search for travel to a specific country or city, and you'll see an option to open up Google's new "travel guide."
… There's one other oddity to Destinations. While you're probably used to researching vacations and booking flights on the desktop, Google has designed its new product exclusively for mobile — as in, next to none of this will show up in a desktop search. That could change in the future, but Google says it wanted to specifically design this as a mobile product, since it's seeing big increases in travel search there; half of Google Flights searches happen on mobile, as do 60 percent of "destination information" searches. Those figures are only growing, which explains why Google prioritized your phone.

“But... They made a pinky-promise!” John Kerry
Iran tests more missiles, says capable of reaching Israel
… State television showed footage of two Qadr missiles being launched from northern Iran which the IRGC said hit targets 1,400 km (870 miles) away. Tests on Tuesday drew a threat of new sanctions from the United States.
"The reason we designed our missiles with a range of 2,000 km is to be able to hit our enemy the Zionist regime from a safe distance," Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh was quoted as saying by the ISNA agency.
… The missile test underlined a rift in Iran between hardline factions opposed to normalizing relations with the West, and Rouhani's relatively moderate government which is trying to attract foreign investment to Iran.
… Washington said Tuesday's missile tests would not themselves violate the Iran nuclear deal.

I'm gonna hang this article in all the computer labs! (Because competition is good!)
Women Write Better Code Than Men, Study Suggests
Silicon Valley, take note: When it comes to coding, women may actually be superior to men.
That conclusion comes from a study published by Cal Poly and North Carolina State University researchers after reviewing more than 1 million users of sharing site Github.
… It was found changes made by unidentified women were more commonly accepted than changes made by unidentified men. However, when genders were identified, the acceptance rate for changes made by women dropped 10 percent.
According to the study, this could mean women are simply more competent coders overall. But bias against women in the software industry still exists.

(Related) Duct tape is good!
Is Perl the Duct Tape of the Internet? [PODCAST]
… In a podcast with Enterprise Apps Today Tom Radcliffe, director of Engineering at ActiveState, discusses why after all these years Perl remains such an active and vibrant development language.

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