Friday, June 23, 2017

Bob to DHS: They never left!
DHS to Congress: The Russians Are Coming Back
A Department of Homeland Security official on Wednesday told the Senate Intelligence Committee that Russian government-backed hackers targeted as many as 21 states during the 2016 presidential election.
   DHS failed to share critical information with states about specific threat information that needed to be acted upon, such as the Russian hackers' targeting of 21 states, said Kay Stimson, spokesperson for the NASS.
"The general feedback we received from today's hearing," she told the E-Commerce Times, "is that state officials are very interested in receiving documented threat intelligence information from DHS so they can use that to protect their systems."

(Related).  Do you think the Russians bought ads?
Facebook refuses to release political advertising data
   "Advertisers consider their ad creatives and their ad targeting strategy to be competitively sensitive and confidential," Rob Sherman, Facebook’s deputy chief privacy officer, said in an interview with Reuters.
"In many cases, they'll ask us, as a condition of running ads on Facebook, not to disclose those details about how they're running campaigns on our service.
   Political science researchers have been asking the company for information on political advertising, like how it’s targeted, how much money is spent and how many people are engaging with the messages.
According to Reuters, President Trump’s campaign spent $70 million on Facebook digital ads; he has credited the social media site for helping him win the election. 

Didn’t Tom Clancy write about this a few years ago?  Something to file under Ethical Hacking.
WikiLeaks Details CIA's Air-Gapped Network Hacking Tool
WikiLeaks published several documents on Thursday detailing a tool allegedly used by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to hack air-gapped networks through USB drives.
Dubbed “Brutal Kangaroo,” it has been described by its developer as a tool suite designed for targeting closed networks. The infected systems will form a covert network, and the attacker will be able to obtain information and execute arbitrary files.

How should I take this?  Is TSA saying it can’t identify anything with these scanners they are so hot to install everywhere?  They never make clear why this is needed.
Uncle Sam Wants Your Deep Neural Networks
The Department of Homeland Security is turning to data scientists to improve screening techniques at airports.
On Thursday, the department, working with Google, will introduce a $1.5 million contest to build computer algorithms that can automatically identify concealed items in images captured by checkpoint body scanners.

Out of the goodness in their hearts or because their lawyers are worried about lawsuits?
Mark Bergen reports:
Alphabet Inc.’s Google has quietly decided to scrub an entire category of online content — personal medical records — from its search results, a departure from its typically hands-off approach to policing the web.
Google lists the information it removes from its search results on its policy page.  On Thursday, the website added the line: “confidential, personal medical records of private people.”  A Google spokeswoman confirmed the changes do not affect search advertising but declined to comment further.
Read more on Bloomberg Technology.
I’m glad to see this, of course, but if you find personal medical information on the web, remember that you need to/should do more than just Google to de-index it, as the material will still be accessible on the web to those who know where to or how to look for it.  Be sure to contact the site or webmaster to alert them that they are exposing confidential medical information.
And if that fails to get results, you can file a complaint with state or federal regulators – or just go to the media to see if any local news station might be interested in picking up the story and getting involved with it. 

Part of a trend to let users see only the content they are comfortable with. 
   Tumblr’s Safe Mode is an extension of the Safe Search function that’s been around for several years now.  As its name suggests Safe Search filters sensitive content from search results. Safe Mode also filters sensitive content from your Dashboard, meaning you won’t see it at all ever.
With Safe Mode enabled you won’t see any content Tumblr has deemed to be sensitive in nature.  Instead you’ll see a gray screen with a message informing you, “This post may contain sensitive media”.  If you click View Post you can bypass this screen and see the content hidden beneath.
Tumblr is likely to face the usual claims of censorship.  In practical terms it is censoring sensitive content, but only if the user opts in by choice.  The exception are users under the age of 18, who will be opted in to using Safe Mode by default whether they like it or not.  However, users can simply lie about their age when registering their account in order to circumvent this.

Law, in the age of Google?
Digital security and due process: A new legal framework for the cloud era
For as long as we’ve had legal systems, prosecutors and police have needed to gather evidence.  And for each new advance in communications, law enforcement has adapted.  With the advent of the post office, police got warrants to search letters and packages.  With the arrival of telephones, police served subpoenas for the call logs of suspects.  Digital communications have now gone well beyond the Postal Service and Ma Bell.  But the laws that govern evidence-gathering on the internet were written before the Information Revolution, and are now both hindering the flow of information to law enforcement and jeopardizing user privacy as a result.
These rules are due for a fundamental realignment in light of the rapid growth of technology that relies on the cloud, the very real security threats that face people and communities, and the expectations of privacy that internet users have in their communications.
Today, we’re proposing a new framework that allows countries that commit to baseline privacy, human rights, and due process principles to gather evidence more quickly and efficiently

For my students.
Ten years ago, Jeanne Harris and I published the book Competing on Analytics, and we’ve just finished updating it for publication in September.  One major reason for the update is that analytical technology has changed dramatically over the last decade; the sections we wrote on those topics have become woefully out of date.  So revising our book offered us a chance to take stock of 10 years of change in analytics.
   Since much of big data is relatively unstructured, data scientists created ways to make it structured and ready for statistical analysis, with new (and old) scripting languages like Pig, Hive, and Python.  More-specialized open source tools, such as Spark for streaming data and R for statistics, have also gained substantial popularity.  The process of acquiring and using open source software is a major change in itself for established businesses.

I think I want to try this…  (I can always use a few millions)
Civic sells $33 million in digital currency tokens in public sale
U.S. startup Civic has sold $33 million in digital currency tokens for its identity verification project in a public sale, the company's co-founder and Chief Executive Vinny Lingham told Reuters.
The sale is the latest so-called initial coin offering (ICO), in which creators of digital currencies sell tokens to the public in order to finance their projects, in a similar way that companies raise money with an initial public offering, except there is no regulatory oversight. 

A contradictory report allows you to argue both sides of the question.
Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2017
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Jun 22, 2017
This year’s report reveals new insights about digital news consumption based on a YouGov survey of over 70,000 online news consumers in 36 countries including the US and UK.  The report focuses on the issues of trust in the era of fake news, changing business models and the role of platforms.  This year’s report comes amid intense soul-searching in the news industry about fake news, failing business models, and the power of platforms.  And yet our research casts new and surprising light on some of the prevailing narratives around these issues.
  • The internet and social media may have exacerbated low trust and ‘fake news’, but we find that in many countries the underlying drivers of mistrust are as much to do with deep-rooted political polarisation and perceived mainstream media bias.
  • Echo chambers and filter bubbles are undoubtedly real for some, but we also find that – on average – users of social media, aggregators, and search engines experience more diversity than non-users.
With data covering more than 30 countries and five continents, this research is a reminder that the digital revolution is full of contradictions and exceptions.  Countries started in different places, and are not moving at the same pace.  These differences are captured in individual country pages that can be found towards the end of this report.  They contain critical industry context written by experts – as well as key charts and data points…”

   1.5 billion logged in viewers visit YouTube every single month.  That’s the equivalent of one in every five people around the world!  And how much do those people watch?  On average, our viewers spend over an hour a day watching YouTube on mobile devices alone.

You should read this article.

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