Friday, March 25, 2016

What is the right thing to do?
Influencers: FBI should disclose San Bernardino iPhone security hole to Apple
Now that American law enforcement may have a way into the iPhone used by the San Bernardino, Calif., shooter, it should also disclose details about the security hole to Apple, said 81 percent of Passcode’s Influencers.
… “The security of a product used by so many people – including and especially Americans – is part of national security,” said Jonathan Zittrain, professor of law and computer science at Harvard Law School. “While it is appropriate for law enforcement, with a warrant, to use a security flaw to gain access to which it is legally entitled, the flaw should be patched as soon as possible for everyone else’s sake.”...
… For its part, Apple says it would prefer the government share the details of its iPhone hack tactics if the case continues. But on Thursday, FBI Director James Comey declined to comment about whether he would tell Apple the details – and officials have so far said nothing about whether it would be subject to what’s known as the Vulnerability Equities Process.
The equities review, chaired by White House cybersecurity coordinator Michael Daniel, is a relatively secretive process in which multiple agencies help determine whether security flaws in government hands must be disclosed to companies for fixing – or kept secret for national security reasons. As part of the decision making process, officials consider whether keeping the vulnerabilities secret would result in significant risks to consumers, Mr. Daniel has previously explained in a 2014 blog post about how the US decides about when to disclose vulnerabilities. (Editor’s note: Daniel is also an Influencer.)

Another way to define the “right thing?” The alternative would be to retaliate, hack for hack.
In an indictment released this morning, the Justice Department charged seven Iranians with carrying out distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks on US financial institutions and also charged one of the seven with hacking a dam in New York. The indictment is the latest instance of a ramped up effort by the US government to publicly attribute cyber intrusions to foreign governments and foreign government-linked hackers.
… Both indictments draw a line under behavior that the United States has pushed at the international level to have deemed off limits.
… The United States and China agreed in September 2015 that “neither country’s government will conduct or knowingly support cyber-enabled theft of intellectual property, including trade secrets or other confidential business information, with the intent of providing competitive advantages to companies or commercial sectors.” In a report last summer, the UN Group of Governmental Experts, which includes the United States, China, and Russia, among others, agreed that states “should not conduct or knowingly support [information and communications technology] activity contrary to its obligations under international law that intentionally damages critical infrastructure or otherwise impairs the use and operation of critical infrastructure to provide services to the public” (para. 13(f)).

Perhaps the Terminator was intended to be helpful?
Microsoft silences its new A.I. bot Tay, after Twitter users teach it racism
Microsoft’s newly launched A.I.-powered bot called Tay, which was responding to tweets and chats on GroupMe and Kik, has already been shut down due to concerns with its inability to recognize when it was making offensive or racist statements. Of course, the bot wasn’t coded to be racist, but it “learns” from those it interacts with. And naturally, given that this is the Internet, one of the first things online users taught Tay was how to be racist, and how to spout back ill-informed or inflammatory political opinions. [Update: Microsoft now says it’s “making adjustments” to Tay in light of this problem.]

The French believe they are right and the rest of the world is wrong. There is no arguing with that.
PTI reports that France’s National Commission on Informatics and Liberty (CNIL) has gone and done it – they’ve fined Google $112,000 for failure to fully comply with requests to remove search results from people who have made requests under “right to be forgotten.”
The dispute between France’s data protection agency (CNIL) and Google has been going on since last June, when the CNIL demanded that Google delist results across all domains and countries – and not just county-specific results. Google appealed (of course!) but France denied the appeal in September, 2015.
That France believes it can impose its laws across all countries is …. cute? hubris? irrational? You can fill in the blank for yourself, but I do understand why Google has not complied.
Google had attempted to assuage the French regulators by basing search results for delisted urls on the IP addressses, so that someone in France searching for a delisted url would not find it even if they searched instead of
France was having none of that, however:
“Contrary to what Google says, delisting on all extensions does not impinge on freedom of expression in that it does not involve any removal of Internet content,” the CNIL said.
PTI reports:
Google says it has received 86,600 requests in France involving more than a quarter million Web pages, and has honoured just over half of them. Those turned away can appeal to a judge or, more often, to CNIL, which has received 700 complaints of which 45 per cent were deemed legitimate and forwarded to Google.
“As a matter of principle, we respectfully disagree with the idea that a national data protection authority can assert global authority to control the content that people can access around the world,” Google’s privacy chief Peter Fleischer said in July.
The fine is a drop in the bucket for Google, of course, but it’s clear that this battle is far from over.

An interesting research tool.
Podcat Is Pretty Much Like IMDb for Podcast Hosts
Podcasts are great. In fact, some podcasts are so popular, that their hosts are actually quite famous. Some listeners care more about who hosts the show than the show itself. So why don’t podcast hosts have a site like IMDb where listeners (and the hosts themselves) can find out on what shows anyone has appeared?
As it turns out, there’s a site called Podcat that does just that!

So I don't have to tutor students…
For those who are studying undergraduate calculus, Prof Leonard is another addition to the video tutorials I have already shared in Math and Multimedia. The Prof Leonard channel contains 76 Calculus I, II, and III videos ranging from 15 minutes up to more than 3 hours. Most of the videos are about 1 hour in length. The channel also contains videos on Intermediate Algebra and Statistics.
I have shared several Youtube channels in this blog about calculus particularly that of Khan Academy, MIT Open Courseware, and Patrick JMT tutorials. You can also visit more video tutorials here.

I'm teaching Spreadsheets in the Spring, this Infographic will make me seem smart.
These Excel Shortcuts Will Save You Time and Effort

Is nothing sacred?
Playboy for sale, reports say

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