Monday, March 13, 2017

Third parties, contractors, outsourcers.  A risk everyone shares.  Does any company do everything themselves? 
BBC reports:
Details of thousands of medical staff in Wales have been stolen from a private contractor’s computer server.
Names, dates of birth, radiation doses and National Insurance numbers of staff who work with X-rays were copied as hackers accessed Landauer’s system.
The Welsh NHS described the data breach as “deeply disappointing” and it has started an investigation.
The Welsh Government and information commissioner have been informed and Landauer has been asked to comment.
Read more on BBC.

Just to be clear, no votes were changed, right?  The “hacking” amounted to some embarrassing disclosures and “fake news?” 
NATO’s Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Sir Adrian Bradshaw, has reportedly suggested that NATO may consider Russian interference in upcoming European elections as an attack triggering collective defense measures.  Such a move could put NATO and its member states at odds with the United States, which carefully avoided calling Russian interference in the U.S. election even a violation of international law.  It would also leave the United States with a difficult choice of potentially changing its view of the legality of election interference or contradicting the legal views of its NATO allies.  

UK Intelligence Agency Warns of Russian Political Hacking Capabilities
The UK's National Cyber Security Center (NCSC, part of GCHQ) has written to the British political parties to warn about "the potential for hostile action against the UK political system."  Without confirming that the main threat is from Russia, the letter makes it clear that the primary threat is considered to be that country.
In a similar vein, the British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said on national television Sunday, "We have no evidence the Russians are actually involved in trying to undermine our democratic processes at the moment.  We don’t actually have that evidence.  But what we do have is plenty of evidence that the Russians are capable of doing that."

If I have no social media accounts or electronic devices for them to search, will I be allowed back in the US? 
Digital Privacy at the U.S. Border: Protecting the Data On Your Devices and In the Cloud
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Mar 12, 2017
Digital Privacy at the U.S. Border: Protecting the Data On Your Devices and In the Cloud by Sophia Cope, Amul Kalia, Seth Schoen, and Adam Schwartz – ‘The U.S. government reported a five-fold increase in the number of electronic media searches at the border in a single year, from 4,764 in 2015 to 23,877 in 2016.1  Every one of those searches was a potential privacy violation.  Our lives are minutely documented on the phones and laptops we carry, and in the cloud.  Our devices carry records of private conversations, family photos, medical documents, banking information, information about what websites we visit, and much more.  Moreover, people in many professions, such as lawyers and journalists, have a heightened need to keep their electronic information confidential.  How can travelers keep their digital data safe?  The U.S. Constitution generally places strong limits on the government’s ability to pry into this information.  At the U.S. border, however, those limits are not as strong, both legally and practically.  As a matter of the law, some legal protections are weaker – a fact EFF is working to change.  As a matter of practice, border agents may take a broad view of what they are permitted to do.  Border agents may attempt to scrutinize the content stored on your phones, laptops, and other portable electronic devices.  They may try to use your devices as portals to access your cloud content, including electronic communications, social media postings, and ecommerce activity.  Moreover, agents may seek to examine your public social media postings by obtaining your social media identifiers or handles.  As of this writing, the federal government is considering requiring disclosure from certain foreign visitors of social media login credentials, allowing access to private postings and “friend” lists.  This guide (updating a previous guide from 2012) helps travelers understand their individual risks when crossing the U.S. border, provides an overview of the law around border search, and offers a brief technical overview to securing digital data.”

Wow!  Someone should do a seminar on this AI stuff. 
How AI Is Transforming the Workplace
   These applications aim to analyze a vast amount of data and search for patterns—broadening managers’ options and helping them systematize processes that are often driven simply by instinct.  And just like shopping sites, the AIs are designed to learn from experience to get an ever-better idea of what managers want.  
   Another AI service lets companies analyze workers’ email to tell if they’re feeling unhappy about their job, so bosses can give them more attention before their performance takes a nose dive or they start doing things that harm the company.
   With its relentless focus on facts, AI seems to overcome supervisors’ prejudices, but it can have its own biases, such as favoring job candidates who have characteristics similar to those the software has seen before.  Automated decision-making may also tempt managers to abdicate their own judgment or justify bad decisions that would have benefited from a human touch.
   And the biggest caveat: The AI systems’ thirst for data can lead employers to push the boundaries of workers’ privacy.  It is incumbent upon managers to use them wisely.

(Related).  Some interesting parallels to the WSJ article above.
Potter Stewart, justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, once said, “Ethics is knowing the difference between what you have the right to do and what is right to do.”  Associate Justice Stewart probably didn’t know how new data technologies would soon begin to blur those boundaries.
With the emergence of new information technologies, corporations can now amass and analyze unprecedented volumes of unstructured data — the data created by humans, such as the text contained in company documents, email, instant messaging, and social media.  Collecting this data was originally driven by the obligation to produce evidence for litigation, to preserve business records, and to respond to regulators’ demands for information, but it has now dawned on corporations that all of that data can open up new vistas of management capabilities, such as visualizing employee interactions, mapping domain expertise, replaying past events, tracking employee sentiment, and providing insights into all human activity across the organization.

(Related).  “Siri, send all of this to my personal email.” 
Alexa and Cortana May Be Heading to the Office
   The products aren’t quite ready for office prime time yet.  The workplace offers challenges that experts say intelligent assistants built for home use so far haven't effectively met, mostly in the area of voice recognition.
   Mr. Lee is an investor in Workfit, a startup that is developing an office assistant and meeting facilitator it calls Eva.  Relying on voice controls and artificial intelligence, Eva aims to make meetings more efficient by, among other things, creating a searchable record of what is said, highlighting decisions and performing tasks on command such as sending slides or documents to specific participants.

“We are and we aren’t.”  “Because of North Korean provocation and because we were going to do it anyway.”  Nothing like a clear message.
US Deploys Attack Drones to South Korea Amid Tension with North
The United States has started to deploy attack drones to South Korea, a U.S. military spokesman said on Monday, days after it began to deploy an advanced anti-missile system to counter "continued provocative actions" by isolated North Korea.
The drones, Gray Eagle Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) coming to South Korea are part of a broader plan to deploy a company of the attack drones with every division in the U.S. Army, the spokesman said.

For my students.
Microsoft Office products are pretty easy to use, but there’s a lot of depth hiding in their simple interfaces. Maybe you just started using Office, or know Word well but struggle with Excel.
Now, you can get some free help straight from the source. Microsoft has just released some new Microsoft Office training videos, titled Office Basics.  They cover six different areas of Office:
  1. Intro to Office Basics
  2. What Is Office 365?
  3. Word Training
  4. Excel Training
  5. PowerPoint Training
  6. Outlook Training
You can see all the courses available at the Office Training Center homepage.

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