Thursday, January 12, 2017

China does it now and the US has the technology but will never do it?  Somehow that doesn’t compute.
Big Brother collecting big data — and in China, it's all for sale
Living in China, it's safe to assume pretty much everything about you is known — or easily can be known — by the government.  Where you go, who you're with, which restaurants you like, when and why you see your doctor.
   "You could go so far as to make the argument that social media and digital technology are actually supporting the regime," says Ronald Deibert, the director of The Citizen Lab, a group of researchers at the University of Toronto's Munk School of Global Affairs.  They study how information technology affects human and personal rights around the world.
   An investigation by a leading Chinese newspaper, the Guangzhou Southern Metropolis Daily, found that just a little cash could buy incredible amounts of information about almost anyone.  Friend or fiancé, business competitor or enemy … no questions asked.

Joe Cadillic gets so excited when someone else posts something that he’s been screaming writing about about for ages.
In August, Joe recognized that DHS offering extra security for elections by declaring the election process as “critical infrastructure” had the potential to expand DHS’s power waaaay too much.
Of course, the government sees it differently and as a Good Thing.  As AP reported this past week:
Citing increasingly sophisticated cyber bad actors and an election infrastructure that’s “vital to our national interests,” Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson is designating U.S. election systems critical infrastructure, a move that provides more federal help for state and local governments to keep their election systems safe from tampering.
“Given the vital role elections play in this country, it is clear that certain systems and assets of election infrastructure meet the definition of critical infrastructure, in fact and in law,” Johnson said in a statement Friday.  He added: “Particularly in these times, this designation is simply the right and obvious thing to do.”
But what does this involve?  Although it seems to give DHS more responsibility, do local election boards have any added responsibility to ensure the fairness of the election process?  It turns out that entities who get tagged as “critical infrastructure – including storage facilities, polling places and vote tabulation locations, plus technology involved in the process, including voter registration databases, voting machines and other systems used to manage the election process and report and display results – don’t have to participate.
But perhaps one the most concerning parts of this all is that:
The designation allows for information to be withheld from the public when state, local and private partners meet to discuss election infrastructure security — potentially injecting secrecy into an election process that’s traditionally and expressly a transparent process.  U.S. officials say such closed door conversations allow for frank discussion that would prevent bad actors from learning about vulnerabilities.  DHS would also be able to grant security clearances when appropriate and provide more detailed threat information to states.
That secrecy could also be used to withhold information about absolutely shabby security or insider wrong-doing.  And that’s not acceptable.
Jon Rappoport is concerned, too, as Joe was obviously delighted to read Rappoport’s opinion:
In truth, the Dept. of Homeland Security is spearheading a movement to connect, cross reference, and integrate every major apparatus of data- collection in both the private and public sectors.
This is the ongoing op.
It is not partisan.  It flies the banner of no political party.  It pretends to protect the citizenry.
But, in fact, it is the major long-term threat to the citizenry.
Are Joe and Jon over-reacting, or are too many of us under-reacting?  And if most of us are under-reacting, there will be no way to salvage anything of our privacy soon, as DHS amasses more and more information and databases.

Of course they do.  Higher always wants the troops to tell them where they are, what they see and what they are going to do about it.  The other side would also like that information.  Perhaps one of my students will solve this problem and get rich? 
DARPA wants to create secure data-sharing tech
   The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the research arm of the Department of Defense, said it's working on a project that would use software and networking technology to securely share information on unsecured commercial and military networks.

My students will probably be the ones to install the AI that makes their job redundant. 
Report – changing face of business and the part artificial intelligence has to play
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Jan 11, 2017
Accenture via World Economic Fortune: “Artificial Intelligence (AI) may be the single most disruptive technology the world has seen since the Industrial Revolution.  Granted, there is a lot of hype out there on AI, along with doomsday headlines and scary movies.  But the reality is that it will positively and materially change how we engage with the world around us.  It’s going to improve not only how business is done, but the kind of work we do – and unleash new levels of creativity and ingenuity.  In fact, research from Accenture estimates that artificial intelligence could double annual economic growth rates of many developed countries by 2035, transforming work and fostering a new relationship between humans and machines.  The report projects that AI technologies in business will boost labor productivity by up to 40 percent.  Rather than undermining people, we believe AI will reinforce their role in driving business growth.  As AI matures, it will potentially serve as a powerful antidote for the stagnant productivity and shortages in skilled labor of recent decades.”

Something others should emulate?
6 ways Amazon is trying to win friends and influence governments in Europe

They’ve already got most of our money, perhaps they’ll lend us some?
Amazon's New Credit Card Primed To Disrupt Retail
   Yesterday, Amazon announced its latest benefit for Amazon Prime members: an Amazon Prime credit card that offers 5% off every Amazon purchase, plus multiple other benefits.

Turns Out Many Consumers Are Interested in Banking With Google, Amazon, and Facebook
Roughly one in three banking and insurance customers globally would consider switching their accounts to Google, Amazon, or Facebook if the Silicon Valley giants offered financial services, according to a new survey on Wednesday.

(Related).  Another ‘benefit?’  
How did Amazon know my new Visa card information before me?
   None of us, it seems, were aware of VAU – Visa Account Updater.  This allows subscribing merchants to receive automatic updates to cardholder account information, including account numbers and expiry dates.  It sounds ominous, but the idea is to save retailers – and customers – the hassle of recurring payments being declined when a registered card has expired.

Lenovo, HP, And Dell Lead the Shrinking PC Market
Overall shipments of PCs dropped 5.7% year-over-year in 2016 to 260 million, according to a report Wednesday by market research firm International Data Corporation.
Lenovo was the biggest PC maker last year with 55.5 million PCs shipped, a 3% decline from the 57 million shipped in 2015.  The company has a 21.3% share of the PC market, IDC said.
HP, Inc. is a close second, however, with shipments of 54.2 million PCs in 2016, up 1.3% year over year.  It had 21% of the PC market.
Dell Technologies came in third with 40.7 million PCs shipped in 2016, up 4.3% from the previous year.  Dell had about 14% of the PC market.
As for Apple, the technology giant shipped 18.4 million PCs in 2016, a nearly 10% drop from 2015.

Do people still print? 
   you need to know about Google Cloud Print.  This service by Google makes it possible for you to print to ANY printer from anywhere — even when you’re halfway across the globe — as long as you have an internet connection and the printer is set up beforehand.

Toys for geeks or the future for everyone?
Opera showcases ‘future of the web’ with Neon, a new concept browser for Windows and Mac
   The Opera Neon browser start page displays browser tabs as little circular icons that can be dragged around and reordered.  The left sidebar includes a video player, download manager, and image gallery, while a new visual sidebar on the right hosts other active pages that can be pulled into the middle.  The Neon browser can automatically manage tabs so that the most frequently used tabs will float to the top on their own volition, while those used less frequently will sink to the bottom.
   “Web browsers of today are basically from the last millennium, [That makes me feel old.  Bob] a time when the web was full of documents and pages,” said Opera browser chief Krystian Kolondra.  “With the Opera Neon project, we want to show people our vision for the future of the web.”

Stuff my niece and nephew already know.


Some history for my spreadsheet students.  A TED talk.
Meet the inventor of the electronic spreadsheet
Dan Bricklin changed the world forever when he codeveloped VisiCalc, the first electronic spreadsheet and grandfather of programs you probably use every day like Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets.

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