Sunday, January 22, 2017

Now will you start encrypting? 
  • Disclosure of personal information, even without demonstration of misuse of the information, creates de facto injury under FCRA
  • Court vacates and remands
Justia provides a summary of an opinion issued by the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit that revives a potential class action lawsuit again a New Jersey health insurer.
The litigation stemmed from a breach in November, 2013 when two laptops with almost 840,000 members’ personally identifiable information were stolen from Horizon’s offices in New Jersey.
In addition to spawning litigation, the breach also contributed to the enactment of legislation in New Jersey requiring encryption of protected health information.
Not surprisingly for the time, in 2015, the lower court dismissed litigation against Horizon, finding that the plaintiffs had not established standing solely by virtue of their data having been stolen.  The plaintiffs, who had sued under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and state laws, appealed.
Now, the Court of Appeals holds that the plaintiffs have demonstrated an injury sufficient for Article III standing under FCRA, and vacates the dismissal and remands.
In re: Horizon Healthcare Inc. Data Breach Litigation, No. 15-2309 (3d Cir. 2017)
Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield provides health insurance products and services to approximately 3.7 million members.  Two laptop computers, containing sensitive personal information about members, were stolen from Horizon.  Four plaintiffs filed suit on behalf of themselves and other Horizon customers whose personal information was stored on those laptops, alleging willful and negligent violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), 15 U.S.C. 1681, and numerous violations of state law.  The district court dismissed the suit for lack of Article III standing.  According to the court, none of the plaintiffs had claimed a cognizable injury because, although their personal information had been stolen, none of them had adequately alleged that the information was actually used to their detriment.  The Third Circuit vacated.  In light of the congressional decision to create a remedy for the unauthorized transfer of personal information, a violation of FCRA gives rise to an injury sufficient for Article III standing purposes.  Even without evidence that the plaintiffs’ information was in fact used improperly, the alleged disclosure of their personal information created a de facto injury.
You can access the full opinion on Justia.

A governance question: Why is obsolete data stored on active records?  Why was valid (if obsolete) data ‘corrected?’
TriHealth in Cincinnati has issued the following notice about a mailing error that resulted in communications – including billing statements – being sent to patients’ previous addresses rather than their current addresses.  The error was attributed to a “software glitch.” [Sure, blame the poor computer for doing what it was told.  Bob]
January 20, 2017
In late November of 2016, TriHealth discovered a software glitch inadvertently replaced the current mailing addresses of 1,126 TriHealth patients with a previous address we had on file for them.  This caused TriHealth billing statements and other correspondence to be sent to the former address of those people impacted by this error.  Since TriHealth is unable to determine if the billing statements and other correspondence reached patients at their current address, we are notifying affected patients of this incident.
Billing statements, reminder letters and other correspondence sent out by TriHealth to those affected took place from November 15, 2015 through January 12, 2017. […and no one noticed?  Bob]  The mailings may have contained patient name, place of service, visit dates, descriptions of services, financial charges, payments and adjustments, balance and amount due or appointment reminders.  The mailings did not contain patient social security number, credit card number or any other financial institution information.
   Please be assured that TriHealth takes patient privacy very seriously.  The addresses of the affected patients have been corrected in TriHealth’s computer system and the software problem has been fixed.  

Only six or seven years?  Speedy government action!  (What else can we ask tech companies to help with?)
FTC Busts Two Major Robocall Organizations Guilty Of Spamming People On Do Not Call Registry
Two more robocallers have bitten the dust.  The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has just filed complaints against two robocall organizations that have allegedly helped to make billions of robocalls between March 2009 through May 2016.  Many of the calls were to numbers on the “Do Not Call” Registry.
   The FTC has been hard at work this past year at getting rid of robocalls.  Last August, AT&T, Apple, Comcast, Google, Verizon, and other major companies joined together to create the “Robocall Strike Force”.  The group's purpose is to work with the FCC to create “concrete plans to accelerate the development and adoption of new tools and solutions” that would eliminate robocalls.  

It’s not just Siri…
Introducing the European Bots Landscape
Over the past half year, bots have been a widely discussed topic.  Experts and the media heavily discussed all the possible benefits, the future, and the value bots could create for businesses and consumers.  Arguably, the tipping point was Facebook’s F8 conference in April.  Since then, many developers and consumers have massively experimented with bots and tested their limits to find the most suitable use cases for bots.
During this trend, the U.S. market has proven to be highly interested in bots.  Several published surveys are showing strong U.S. bot companies, as you can see in VentureBeat’s Bots Landscape.  But Europe is not far behind.
You can download a high-resolution version of the European Bots Landscape here.

I’m not worried.  I’ve been developing a course for AIs to teach other AIs about learning to program.  Job security! 
AI Software Learns to Make AI Software
Progress in artificial intelligence causes some people to worry that software will take jobs such as driving trucks away from humans.  Now leading researchers are finding that they can make software that can learn to do one of the trickiest parts of their own jobs—the task of designing machine-learning software.
In one experiment, researchers at the Google Brain artificial intelligence research group had software design a machine-learning system to take a test used to benchmark software that processes language.  What it came up with surpassed previously published results from software designed by humans.
In recent months several other groups have also reported progress on getting learning software to make learning software.  They include researchers at the nonprofit research institute OpenAI (which was cofounded by Elon Musk), MIT, the University of California, Berkeley, and Google’s other artificial intelligence research group, DeepMind.
If self-starting AI techniques become practical, they could increase the pace at which machine-learning software is implemented across the economy.  Companies must currently pay a premium for machine-learning experts, who are in short supply.

Were the tweeting ‘false news?’  I wonder if the White House will monitor all government Twitter accounts for anything President Trump might find offensive? 
Interior Dept. reactivates Twitter accounts after shutdown
The Department of the Interior has revived its Twitter accounts after being told to shut down its operations on Friday, the Washington Post reported.
The Trump administration reportedly told the department to stop tweeting after the National Parks Service account retweeted a post about the crowd size at Trump's inauguration.  Another post reportedly involved policies on the White House’s website.

My first reaction is, ‘Not with my tax dollars!’  Are these assumptions correct?  I gotta think about this.
Europe Moves One Step Closer To Making Universal Income A Reality
The rise of robots is unstoppable.  And as they take over an ever-increasing number of manual jobs, the threat of mass unemployment is looming closer than ever.  In light of this ongoing ‘technological revolution’ and its possible implications on everything we know, a report initiated by Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Mady Delvaux-Stehres of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats has recently earned the approval of the Legal Affairs Committee of Parliament with an overwhelming result of 17 votes in favor and 2 votes against.

Because sometimes I have to paint my students a picture…
The Growth of Artificial Intelligence in Ecommerce (Infographic)
   To learn how AI will shape the future of ecommerce, check out’s infographic

For my geeks.
This Company Has Just Given The Entire World Access To Quantum Computing
Quantum computing.  Quantum software.  For most regular folks, these terms are enough to bring on a headache.  Because math is hard enough.  But quantum computing is on an entirely different level.  And right now, only computer programmers and developers who have studied about quantum physics or advanced math can probably relate to what we are writing about.  But that’s okay.  This is what this news is supposed to change.
Hoping to help push the field of quantum computing forward, D-Wave — a small Canadian company that makes quantum computers and which by the way is backed by the likes  of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, NASA, and the CIA among others — has decided to release an open-source quantum software tool for the whole world to use.  It’s called qbsolv and through it, coders and program developers will have the chance to program D-Wave’s quantum machines, even if they don’t actually have the expertise or skill to do quantum programming on their own.
   To be able to run qbsolv, you would need the corresponding hardware, meaning, you would need a quantum computer, just like those that D-Wave has.  Because there are only a few who have access to such, D-Wave has come up with a simulator which people can download so it can be used to run qbsolv, and hopefully solve a wider variety of complex problems by using quantum computers that can perform even faster.
Right now, qbsolv is being used to solve large optimization problems — calculating the best or most optimal solution from a variety of options.

(Related).  Less powerful than a quantum computer, but cheaper too.
ASUS Launches 'Tinker Board', Its Raspberry Pi Competitor With 4K Support
   . The hardware is advertised as supporting 4K, while the Ethernet is Gigabit (compared to the Pi's 100Mb/s).  This might be enough to sway Pi enthusiasts with a taste for compact home theatre boxes.

Read the book, so you can hate the movie?
10 epic sci-fi novels you should read before they become blockbusters

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