Monday, December 19, 2016

Another swing of the legal pendulum.
Florida court says iPhone passcode must be revealed
A court in Florida has said a suspected voyeur can be made to reveal his iPhone passcode to investigators.
The defendant was arrested after a woman out shopping saw a man crouch down and aim what she believed was a smartphone under her skirt.
Previously, a judge said the defendant could not be made to reveal the code, citing constitutional protections.
That decision has now been reversed by the Florida Court of Appeal's Second District.

A Christmas present for my Ethical Hacking students.  I wonder if we can make this work on a Raspberry Pi?
MacBooks Leak Disk Encryption Password
   FileVault 2 is a full-disk encryption program that uses XTS-AES-128 encryption with a 256-bit key to prevent unauthorized access to the information on the startup disk.  Frisk has demonstrated that an attacker with physical access to a locked or sleeping MacBook can retrieve the FileVault 2 password in clear text by connecting a special device to the targeted system’s Thunderbolt port.
   Since the FileVault 2 password is stored in clear text in memory at predictable locations, software running on the Thunderbolt device can retrieve the password from memory before it is overwritten.  The attacker must gain access to a locked or sleeping MacBook, connect the Thunderbolt device and reboot the computer.  The attack does not work if the targeted MacBook has been shut down as the password is no longer available in memory.
   The device that can be used to carry out such an attack has been dubbed PCILeech, and its source code and hardware requirements have been made available by Frisk.

For my Data Management students.  
McKinsey Report – The Age of Analytics – Competing in a Data-Driven World
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Dec 18, 2016
The Age of Analytics – Competing in a Data-Driven World, December 2016 – Executive Summary; Full Report; Appendix (PDF)
“Data and analytics capabilities have made a leap forward in recent years.  The volume of available data has grown exponentially, more sophisticated algorithms have been developed, and computational power and storage have steadily improved.  The convergence of these trends is fueling rapid technology advances and business disruptions.
  • Most companies are capturing only a fraction of the potential value from data and analytics.  Our 2011 report estimated this potential in five domains; revisiting them today shows a great deal of value still on the table.  The greatest progress has occurred in location-based services and in retail, both areas with digital native competitors.  In contrast, manufacturing, the public sector, and health care have captured less than 30 percent of the potential value we highlighted five years ago.  Further, new opportunities have arisen since 2011, making the gap between the leaders and laggards even bigger.
  • Data is now a critical corporate asset.  It comes from the web, billions of phones, sensors, payment systems, cameras, and a huge array of other sources—and its value is tied to its ultimate use.  While data itself will become increasingly commoditized, value is likely to accrue to the owners of scarce data, to players that aggregate data in unique ways, and especially to providers of valuable analytics.

(Related).  If you don’t have the right data or enough data, go get it!
NYT – The Secret Agenda of a Facebook Quiz
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Dec 18, 2016
The Secret Agenda of a Facebook Quiz, McKenzie Funk, NY Times, Nov. 19, 2016 [Commentary/Op-Ed]  “For several years, a data firm eventually hired by the Trump campaign, Cambridge Analytica, has been using Facebook as a tool to build psychological profiles that represent some 230 million adult Americans.  A spinoff of a British consulting company and sometime-defense contractor known for its counterterrorism “psy ops” work in Afghanistan, the firm does so by seeding the social network with personality quizzes.  Respondents–by now hundreds of thousands of us, mostly female and mostly young but enough male and older for the firm to make inferences about others with similar behaviors and demographics–get a free look at their Ocean scores.  Cambridge Analytica also gets a look at their scores and, thanks to Facebook, gains access to their profiles and real names.  Cambridge Analytica worked on the “Leave” side of the Brexit campaign.  In the United States it takes only Republicans as clients: Senator Ted Cruz in the primaries, Mr. Trump in the general election.  Cambridge is reportedly backed by Robert Mercer, a hedge fund billionaire and a major Republican donor; a key board member is Stephen K. Bannon, the head of Breitbart News who became Mr. Trump’s campaign chairman and is [now]…his chief strategist in the White House…  Cambridge Analytica says it has as many as 3,000 to 5,000 data points on each of us, be it voting histories or full-spectrum demographics–age, income, debt, hobbies, criminal histories, purchase histories, religious leanings, health concerns, gun ownership, car ownership, homeownership–from consumer-data giants…”

For my Researching students.  This might apply outside the legal field. 
The Algorithm as a Human Artifact: Implications for Legal [Re]Search
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Dec 18, 2016
Mart, Susan Nevelow, The Algorithm as a Human Artifact: Implications for Legal {Re}Search (October 26, 2016). Available for download at SSRN:
“When legal researchers search in online databases for the information they need to solve a legal problem, they need to remember that the algorithms that are returning results to them were designed by humans.  The world of legal research is a human-constructed world, and the biases and assumptions the teams of humans that construct the online world bring to the task are imported into the systems we use for research.  This article takes a look at what happens when six different teams of humans set out to solve the same problem: how to return results relevant to a searcher’s query in a case database.  When comparing the top ten results for the same search entered into the same jurisdictional case database in Casetext, Fastcase, Google Scholar, Lexis Advance, Ravel, and Westlaw, the results are a remarkable testament to the variability of human problem solving.  There is hardly any overlap in the cases that appear in the top ten results returned by each database.  An average of forty percent of the cases were unique to one database, and only about 7% of the cases were returned in search results in all six databases.  It is fair to say that each different set of engineers brought very different biases and assumptions to the creation of each search algorithm.  One of the most surprising results was the clustering among the databases in terms of the percentage of relevant results.  The oldest database providers, Westlaw and Lexis, had the highest percentages of relevant results, at 67% and 57%, respectively.  The newer legal database providers, Fastcase, Google Scholar, Casetext, and Ravel, were also clustered together at a lower relevance rate, returning approximately 40% relevant results.  Legal research has always been an endeavor that required redundancy in searching; one resource does not usually provide a full answer, just as one search will not provide every necessary result.  The study clearly demonstrates that the need for redundancy in searches and resources has not faded with the rise of the algorithm.  From the law professor seeking to set up a corpus of cases to study, the trial lawyer seeking that one elusive case, the legal research professor showing students the limitations of algorithms, researchers who want full results will need to mine multiple resources with multiple searches.  And more accountability about the nature of the algorithms being deployed would allow all researchers to craft searches that would be optimally successful.”

Continuing our discussion about the capabilities (and politics) of satellite technology.
Galileo! Galileo! Galileo! Galileo! Galileo fit to go: Europe's GPS-like network switches on
The Galileo network will offer a free service with an accuracy of one metre, and can pinpoint locations down to a few centimetres for paying customers.  The service has 18 satellites in orbit, with 30 projected by 2020 at the latest.
   "Galileo will increase geo-location precision ten-fold and enable the next generation of location-based technologies; such as autonomous cars, connected devices, or smart city services.  Today I call on European entrepreneurs and say: imagine what you can do with Galileo – don't wait, innovate."
   Galileo was proposed in 1999 and almost immediately the US objected to the scheme, fearing it could be used by terrorists to plan attacks.  America was also worried that the signals couldn't be jammed without also blocking its own GPS system.
After years of negotiations and technical discussions, a compromise was reached.  Galileo can be blocked for civilian use in an emergency, but still provide military and government users access via an encrypted data flow.

Geeky, but interesting.
Data Science Central – Great list of resources: data science, visualization, machine learning, big data
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Dec 18, 2016
Great list of resources: data science, visualization, machine learning, big data  Posted by Vincent Granville on December 17, 2016.
“Fantastic resource created by Andrea Motosi.  I’ve only included the 5 categories that are the most relevant to our audience, though it has 31 categories total, including a few on distributed systems and Hadoop.  Click here to view the 31 categories.  You might also want to check our internal resources (the first section below)…”

I haven’t noticed many deformed students but perhaps I haven’t been watching closely enough.
Many of us use our phones, tablets, and computers day in and day out.  Unfortunately, the postures we hold when we’re using these devices are contributing to serious problems for our spines.
While it’s unrealistic to suggest we stop using our electronics entirely, there are some easy changes out there.  By taking a load off your neck, shoulders, and back, you’ll see immediate improvements in your posture and health.  Not only that, but you will also be saving yourself from tons of musculoskeletal problems down the road.

Bah, Humbug!

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