Saturday, August 12, 2017

Don’t stop at the “Oh good, it’s finally working” phase.  Remember to check to see if it is working correctly. 
Vera Bergengruen reports:
A veterans organization is suing the Pentagon for exposing private details about troops’ military service on “a truly massive scale” due to lax security on one of its websites.
The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act website, which according to the Pentagon receives more than 2.3 billion searches a year, is mean to be used (sic) by authorized institutions like banks to confirm the active duty status that entitles service members to certain protections.
Instead, the information is available to con artists and scammers who can use it to impersonate government or other officials and gain veterans’ trust by discussing details of their service that only authorized organizations would have.
Read more on Miami Herald.

It’s always useful to have bad examples.
Hacking in Hollywood: Why the Industry Needs to Shore Up Security
   Matwyshyn said the entertainment industry is a prime target for hackers because the stakes are high, and those who work in the industry may not be paying close attention to internet security practices.  It’s relatively easy to send a “phishing” email to a studio executive, advising them to click on a link.  And just like that, hackers are in.

Something for my Digital Forensics class to discuss.  (As in a Research Paper.)  Has that video been manipulated?  Is that really Forrest Gump standing next to the president? 
Facebook acquires German video modification and motion tracking technology startup fayteq
Fayteq, a small German startup that develops technologies for video manipulation, has shut down all sales of its products and services, according to its website.  Deutsche Startups reported this morning that the company, based in central Germany's Erfurt, has in fact been acquired by Facebook.  The social media giant later confirmed the acquisition with the news site Variety.
   According to Siegfried Vater, a business angel and partner of Fayteq, the startup offered "innovative technologies in the area of off-line and real-time video manipulation, removing the border between reality and fiction."  He also writes that the company provides (or used to provide, at least) "sophisticated solutions for digital product placement, i.e. insertion and replacement of advertisements, seamless object insertion in and removal from video streams as well as logo removal from video sequences".  

What is “appropriate drone behavior” under International law or perhaps the law of the sea? 
Beijing is using underwater drones in the South China Sea to show off its might
Late last month, Beijing dropped a dozen underwater drones, also known as unmanned underwater vehicles, in an unspecified location in the international waterway to carry out "scientific observations," state-run media outlet Xinhua reported.
The torpedo-shaped vehicles — called Haiyi, or sea wings in Mandarin — will remain underwater for a month, according to reports.  In March, one device hit a depth of 6,329 meters, breaking an earlier record held by a U.S. vessel, Xinhua said.
   The use of autonomous drones raises a number of questions as to whether Beijing is deploying the technology to support its aggressive expansion in the geopolitical hotspot.
Scientific purposes may be the official line from Chinese President Xi Jinping's administration, but political intentions can't be ignored.  According to one theory, underwater drones are being utilized as a symbol of supremacy.
"It is a clear attempt to signal a capability associated with leading powers in terms of technology, which often translates to prestige," said Margaret Kosal, an associate professor at Georgia Tech who specializes in the role of emerging technologies for security.

I’ll wager that Walmart was “not amused.”  I wonder if the monitor all social media for similar “pranks?” 
Walmart says back-to-school gun display was a prank
The world's largest retailer said Friday an internal investigation determined without a doubt that the company was pranked when a photograph emerged on social media showing a sign reading "Own The School Year Like A Hero" atop a gun case in a store.
"We have definite proof it was a prank," Walmart spokesman Charles Crowson told The Associated Press on Friday evening.
The photograph on social media included Walmart's superhero-themed, back-to-school promotion with a gun rack in a sporting goods section.  Initially, the company apologized and said the sign was being taken down but then began to question whether it had been there at all.

More on the future of Ads.
Check Your Inbox: Google Warns Publishers Serving Annoying Ads
Betty Crocker might want to check her inbox Thursday.
The iconic brand is one of roughly a thousand online publishers that are set to receive an email from Google warning them that they are showing "highly annoying, misleading or harmful" ads.  Although there aren't many ads on Betty Crocker's website, it does have popups, especially on its mobile site.
And that's in violation of the Better Ads Standard, an industry effort born within the Coalition for Better Ads.  Google is part of the Justice League-type group, as are Facebook, Procter & Gamble, Unilever, The Washington Post, the Interactive Advertising Bureau, ad-buying giant GroupM, the Association of National Advertisers and others.
But Google carries particular weight because it's the self-appointed hero that plans to block "annoying" ads in its popular Chrome browser starting early next year.
   In addition to Betty Crocker, publishers that Google will warn of Better Ads Standard violations include Forbes, the New York Daily News, the Los Angeles Times, The Independent, TV Guide, the Chicago Tribune, LifeHacker, ZDNet, PCMag, the Orlando Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, Eurogamer and the Chicago Sun-Times.

Another example of how slowly technology spreads.
Can We Live Without Air Conditioning?
Air conditioning is an extraordinary example of how technology changes practically everything.  The first industrial air conditioning system was installed in a Brooklyn printing plant in 1902.  This kind of “process” air conditioning was designed not to cool down the workers but to improve efficiency of production, specifically to reduce the humidity that kept ink from drying properly.
   As Jeff E. Biddle reveals, it was movie theaters, restaurants, and department stores that introduced “comfort” air conditioning in the late 1920s.  This was for the benefit of consumers, a lure to get shoppers to step out of the heat.  Notably, grocery stores, office buildings, and hotels (places people had to go to) lagged behind, only sporadically offering air conditioning well into the 1940s and 1950s.

Something for my students.
How to Win an Argument, According to Science (Infographic)

Research tools?  Includes social media searches.

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