Saturday, July 08, 2017

Some recent attacks seem to ignore revenge and are not attempting to “just show off.”  Who can afford to ignore the money? 
Cybersecurity stocks rally as global hackings start to impact corporate bottom lines
Cybersecurity stocks like FireEye, Barracuda, Symantec and Palo Alto Networks rallied Friday, as snack food and beverage giant Mondelez International became the latest victim of a cyber attack.  The company said it was hit with an attack on June 27 that compromised its ability to ship and send invoices during the last four days of its second quarter.
What made this call unusual is that the company quantified exactly how much the attack hurt them: Its preliminary estimate of the impact indicates a 3 percent slice off its revenue growth rate for the quarter.
Unlike the recent WannaCry ransomware attack, this hacking, as well as similar ones reported by Reckitt Benckiser and others, appear to be designed to simply cause as much destruction as possible. [Is that the new metric for hackers?  Bob]

(Related).  At least, I think they might be related.  Who would be insulated from extreme price fluctuations? 
Another Bullion Flash Crash Is Testing Traders
After-hours surges and plunges that have whipsawed gold and silver prices over the past two weeks are unnerving traders.
Silver futures sank as much as 10 percent, as more than 25 million ounces of the precious metal traded within a minute just after 7 a.m. in Singapore Friday.  Last week, gold fell below its 200-day moving average after 1.8 million ounces were transacted in a minute at 4 a.m. in New York.  A day later, gold spiked after a similar trade involving more than 800,000 ounces.

Free is good!
Adobe Photoshop is the industry standard when it comes to photo editing software.  However, it can be prohibitively expensive for many users, especially if you’re not planning to use it on a regular basis.
Fortunately, Adobe offers a trimmed-down version of the package called Photoshop Express.  It can’t do everything its big brother can, but it should be more than enough to give your photos some extra oomph.  Better yet, it’s available in your browser, as well as on iOS and Android.
First, you’ll need to head to the online version of Photoshop Express.  Alternatively, you can download the app for your mobile device.

For my students who doodle in class?

I signed up for this and I still haven’t had time to watch!
Five Uses of Comics In Your Classroom
On Thursday afternoon I hosted a webinar about using comics in the classroom.  The recording of the webinar is only available to those who registered, but the slides that I used can be seen as embedded below.

Friday, July 07, 2017

I bet this will not be part of the Trump-Putin discussion. 
Hackers Are Targeting Nuclear Facilities, Homeland Security Dept. and F.B.I. Say
Since May, hackers have been penetrating the computer networks of companies that operate nuclear power stations and other energy facilities, as well as manufacturing plants in the United States and other countries.
Among the companies targeted was the Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Corporation, which runs a nuclear power plant near Burlington, Kan., according to security consultants and an urgent joint report issued by the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation last week.
   In most cases, the attacks targeted people — industrial control engineers who have direct access to systems that, if damaged, could lead to an explosion, fire or a spill of dangerous material, according to two people familiar with the attacks who could not be named because of confidentiality agreements.
   Hackers wrote highly targeted email messages containing fake résumés for control engineering jobs and sent them to the senior industrial control engineers who maintain broad access to critical industrial control systems, the government report said.
The fake résumés were Microsoft Word documents that were laced with malicious code.  Once the recipients clicked on those documents, attackers could steal their credentials and proceed to other machines on a network.

(Related).  …and apparently, this news was not ‘fit to print.’
Hackers breached at least a dozen US nuclear power sites — and officials are zeroing in on a familiar player
US officials have concluded that hackers working on behalf of a foreign power recently breached at least a dozen US nuclear power sites, Bloomberg reported on Thursday. 
   But the hacks have raised red flags for investigators who worry Russia may be gearing up to levy an attack against the US power grid.  If that were the case, it would fit into a pattern adopted by Russia in the past, particularly as it relates to Ukraine.  

How many organizations would confirm a change like this?  (We call the ones who do not “victims.”) 
A Georgia man pleaded guilty Thursday to federal charges he was part of an e-mail spoofing scheme that cost Sedgwick County more than $566,000, U.S. Attorney Tom Beall said.
George S. James, 49, Brookhaven, Ga., pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud.
In his plea, James admitted that on Oct. 7, 2016, Sedgwick County sent approximately $566,088 to his bank account [Makes the investigation rather simple. Bob] at a Wells Fargo bank in Georgia.  James transferred part of the money he received from Sedgwick County to a bank account in Shanghai, China, and part of the money to an account at Deutsche Bank in Bremen, Germany.  James also spent some of the money.
In his plea, James denied that the fraud scheme was his idea. He said that on Sept. 23, 2016, he was contacted by a person identified in court records as A.H., who asked to deposit some money into James’ account at Wells Fargo.  James said he knew A.H. was engaged in fraud, but James denied knowing that Sedgwick County was the victim.
In his plea, James said it was A.H. – or someone working with A.H. – who sent an email to Sedgwick County on Sept. 23, 2016, purporting to be from Cornejo and Sons, LLC, and requesting the county send future payments to a new account number at Wells Fargo.  On Oct. 7, 2016, the county sent $566,088 to James’ account at Wells Fargo.  The county learned later that Cornejo did not request the change of account and did not receive the payment.
SOURCE: U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of Kansas

Is it sufficient to offer one year of anti-fraud coverage to breach victims? 
Veronica Miracle reports:
Three Fresno suspects, accused of living off other people’s money– investigators said they found Andrew Clement, Katie Whala, and Randall McKinney with troves of stolen personal information last month.
“There was stolen mail, there were checks, there was a spreadsheet from the Unified School District– so this wasn’t just one item,” said Sgt. Jason Kadluboski, Gilroy Police Department.
The hard part now is finding the victims and figuring out how all this information ended up in the wrong hands.  Gilroy Police said there is no way to pinpoint where or when the FUSD data breach happened– but it appears the information is a couple of years old.
Read more on ABC.

When they find the guilty party, they might bash them with a chair…   (WWE = World Wrestling Entertainment) 
Three million WWE fan accounts exposed online
Databases containing the personal information of more than three million WWE fans have been found lying unprotected online, allowing anyone with the correct address to view the plain text data.
Bob Dyachenko, of security firm Kromtech, told Forbes that he had discovered a massive trove of data stored on an Amazon Web Services (AWS) S3 server without username or password protection.
The data included home and email addresses, the ages and dates of birth of customers and their children, as well as their genders and ethnicity, although no financial information was stored.  Dyachenko speculated that the database likely belonged to one of the WWE's marketing teams, as social media tracking data was also found. 
If that wasn't bad enough, a second database was found shortly after, held on another AWS server and again entirely unprotected.  This one appeared to hold data primarily on European customers, and contained only addresses, names and telephone numbers.

Something to get my students thinking.  What is it and why would my organization be targeted? 
   The Oxford English Dictionary defines cyberwar as the “use of computer technology to disrupt the activities of a state or organization.”  It is for this reason that many experts dispute that cyberwarfare actually constitutes war.  Instead, they believe that cyberwarfare is better viewed as a sophisticated version of sabotage or espionage.

A new term of art?
Apple’s ‘Differential Privacy’ Is About Collecting Your Data—But Not Your Data
   "Differential privacy is a research topic in the areas of statistics and data analytics that uses hashing, subsampling and noise injection to enable...crowdsourced learning while keeping the data of individual users completely private.

Is the Enterprise Social Media be used anti-socially?  If so, who is liable? 
Wiretap Raises $4.9 Million to Monitor Enterprise Social Networks
Wiretap has developed a platform that provides visibility into an increasingly important but dark aspect of corporate life: the enterprise social network (ESN).  Slack is a prime example, although there are many others such as Microsoft Yammer, and Workplace by Facebook.
ESNs provide the modern 'water-cooler' environment, where employees meet informally for both corporate and social collaboration.  The difficulty for management is that it has no visibility into that environment, leaving a new and unmeasured threat vector.
   Wiretap monitors the ESNs and provides unique visibility into corporate sentiment.  Using artificial intelligence, including behavioral and linguistic analysis, it provides management awareness of corporate social health. [Might be fun to ask my students to define that… Bob]  This could be used to highlight the problems that initially cause dissatisfaction and ultimately lead to insider threats, allowing HR to intervene and address the problem.  Or it could be used to monitor for potential or actual leaks of PII or IP.

At the intersection of Privacy and Anti-trust? 
   In an earlier article, two of us (Bala and Srinivasa) provided a context to understand the respective argument of the EU and Google using the lens of digital-age markets.  We highlighted how antitrust, the underpinnings of which are based on industrial-age economic theories, needs new thinking in the digital age to ensure that antitrust policies continue to remain effective guardians of consumer welfare without inadvertently impeding economic progress. 

I continue to watch…
Twitter’s lawsuit over U.S. surveillance gag order moves forward
A U.S. judge ruled on Thursday that Twitter could move forward with a lawsuit that aims to free technology companies to speak more openly about surveillance requests they receive from the U.S. government.
The U.S. government had failed to show the kind of “clear and present danger” that could possibly justify restraints Twitter’s constitutional right to talk about surveillance requests, U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers in Oakland, California, said in a written order.

June's Windows numbers: Microsoft Windows 7 maintains grip
   June's Windows 7 user share -- an estimate of the percentage of the world's personal computers powered by the eight-year-old operating system -- was 49%, according to U.S. analytics company Net Applications.  However, Windows 7 ran 53.6% of all Windows machines.  (The difference between the two figures stems from the fact that Windows powers 91.5% of the globe's personal computers, not 100%.)
Windows 7's share has not budged in the last 12 months, even as other editions have gone through substantial shifts. 

Any value for Criminal Justice students?  
When it launched in 2014, the Serial podcast pumped new life into the audio genre.  The weekly investigative journalism format was an immediate hit.  And listeners couldn’t get enough of host Sarah Koenig’s in-depth reporting into the criminal trial of Adnan Syed.
For many listeners and podcasters alike, Serial is what invigorated their interest in podcasts.  Whether or not that’s the case for you, Serial is a great example of investigative journalism in podcasting at its absolute finest.
If you’re looking for similarly well-researched and binge-worthy podcasts — which you can manage using Pocket Casts — look no further than the podcasts below.

Of course I’m interested. 
Kaspersky Releases Open Source Digital Forensics Tool
Kaspersky Lab researcher Vitaly Kamluk has released the source code of Bitscout, a compact and customizable tool designed for remote digital forensics operations.
Bitscout, which is not an official Kaspersky product, initially started as a hobby project a few years ago, and it has been continually improved based on the requirements that arose in Kaspersky investigations involving digital forensics.
Bitscout 2.0 – version 1.0 was never released to the public – enables forensic investigators to remotely analyze a system, while allowing the system’s owner to monitor the expert’s activities and ensure that their access is limited to the targeted disks.  The tool can be useful to researchers, law enforcement cybercrime units, and educational institutions.
   The Bitscout source code and basic usage instructions are available on GitHub.

For all my spare time? 
   Big Library Read calls itself the first global book club.  And it could very well be true because, so far, the idea of an “online book club” has been used rather loosely.  Yes, there are Facebook Groups by the bucketful, and there are Goodreads book groups too, and Oprah’s book club is also insanely popular.
But Big Library Read is something different. I t works like an actual book club and it sends you back to where it all started — your local library. 
·  OverDrive is the big organization behind the Big Library Read program.  Its catalog holds over 2 million ebooks, audiobooks, and videos.  Chances are your library will be among the 30,000 libraries in 40+ countries in their network.
·  Find if your library is among the OverDrive partners with the help of their library finder.
·  If it is, you can borrow ebooks and audiobooks instantly, for free, with Libby (the OverDrive app for iOS, Android, and Windows Phones).

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Perhaps they were looking for recruits?
Terrence Mawawa reports:
Daring robbers broke into the office of Gutu Magistrate, Edwin Marecha, and stole two computers.
According to sources at the Gutu Magistrates’ Court, the robbers targeted the two computers only- indicating a likelihood that they probably were after destroying criminal records and related evidence.
Read more on ZimEye.

Perspective.  (It helps)
Understanding Geopolitics Key to Analyzing Cyber Espionage: German Intelligence Service
Understanding geopolitics is key to understanding the perpetrators and victims of cyber espionage.  This is one of the key messages from the German federal domestic intelligence service (BfV) 2016 annual report (summary PDF). 
   Russia, suggests the BfV, advocates a multipolar world -- but is suffering economically from the EU's economic sanctions imposed over the Crimea/Ukraine crisis.  A key driver in Russian foreign policy is to induce the West to lift these sanctions.  "Obtaining advance information about the positions of the Federal Government and opposition parties increases Russia's leverage in negotiations and creates opportunities for counter-measures."
   Chinese activities, suggests the BfV, are guided by three key policies: territorial integrity and protecting the communist party's hegemony; expanding China's geopolitical and military power; and modernizing the economy.  "For this reason," it says, "the intelligence services' activities abroad are primarily focused on gathering intelligence about political decision-making processes, on obtaining technological know-how and on the opposition to the system." 
   The primary motivation for the Iranian intelligence services is to spy on and suppress opposition movements at home and abroad.

For my Computer Security students.  How to get it right?
U.N. survey finds cybersecurity gaps everywhere except Singapore
Singapore has a near-perfect approach to cybersecurity, but many other rich countries have holes in their defenses and some poorer countries are showing them how it should be done, a U.N. survey showed on Wednesday.
   The ranking was based on countries' legal, technical and organizational institutions, their educational and research capabilities, and their cooperation in information-sharing networks.

Something to share with my students.

I think Troy is on to something here.  Certainly stage one (Denial) would explain why so many breach victims grossly underestimate what has been compromised.
The 5 Stages of Data Breach Grief

Seems logical to me.
Andrew Crocker and Nate Cardozo write:
Can the government stop you from finding out it’s been looking through your private Facebook content as part of a “secret” investigation that’s not actually secret?  That’s the question raised by an alarming case pending in the Washington D.C. Court of Appeals.  Facebook has described the investigation as “known to the public,” and the timing and venue match the January 20th, 2017 Presidential Inauguration protests (known as “J20”), the investigation of which is indeed quite public.  But even if the warrants pertain to another investigation, the government should not be allowed to impose gag orders with respect to any information that is already publicly known.
Read more on EFF.

Seems illogical to me. 
C. Ryan Barber reports:
The Federal Trade Commission on Wednesday adopted an indemnity policy that will shield lawyers and other staff from any personal liability for enforcement actions that draw a lawsuit and expose them to a monetary judgment.
The policy, adopted without public comment, will allow the agency to cover the cost of any adverse judgments against staff who are sued over actions taken on behalf of the regulatory agency.  It comes as two FTC attorneys seek to fend off a lawsuit brought by LabMD Inc., the now-shuttered medical testing company that accused agency lawyers in 2015 of bringing a data privacy case based on “fictional” evidence.  The two FTC lawyers are fighting in a U.S. appeals court to overturn a ruling that exposes them to liability.
Read more on National Law Journal.

For my Software Assurance students.
How Do I Identify My Application Attack Surface?
   When identifying an application’s attack surface, you must first determine what will be in and out of scope.  Organizations deploy many different types of applications, and each may be treated differently from a risk management standpoint.  Common types of applications can include web applications, web – and micro – services, mobile applications, as well as other types of deployed software.  Applications may be treated differently based on where the software came from.  Some applications may be custom software developed in-house while others may have been developed by 3rd parties –on or offshore, or out-of-the-box from external vendors both large and small.  It is important to count any cloud services among an organization’s application attack surface because they are often used to store and manage sensitive information.

I’m thinking of asking my Software Assurance students to design an Election System?
What Happens If The Election Was A Fraud? The Constitution Doesn’t Say.

Some interesting questions with which I can bedevil my students.
I, Alexa: Should we give artificial intelligence human rights?
   the field of AI is currently making a bunch of things possible we never thought realistic in the past — such as self-driving cars or Star Trek-style universal translators.
Have we also reached the point where we need to think about rights for AIs?
   as AI surpasses animal intelligence, we’ll have to begin to consider how AIs compare to the kind of “rights” that we might afford animals through ethical treatment. […] a few years back English technology writer Bill Thompson wrote that any attempt to develop AI coded to not hurt us, “reflects our belief that an artificial intelligence is and always must be at the service of humanity rather than being an autonomous mind.”
   In 1984, the owners of a U.S. company called Athlone Industries wound up in court after their robotic pitching machines for batting practice turned out to be a little too vicious.  The case is memorable chiefly because of the judge’s proclamation that the suit be brought against Athlone rather than the batting bot, because “robots cannot be sued.”

The Fourth Industrial Age will be about AI understanding us, not the other way around
   The digital revolution was about humans becoming accustomed to using computers all day, connecting with each other over social media, and even more arcane activities like learning how to use Photoshop.  In the Fourth Industrial Age, technology will slide further behind the curtain into more of an assistive role, one that is not meant to be all about shiny new gadgets and operating system updates.  In fact, eventually, the gadget craze will subside. It will be OS Who Cares.  We won’t think as much about the next iPhone or the latest Android tweaks; we’ll care about how much the interfaces, hardware, and connections can customize themselves to meet our needs and then step out of the way.

(Related).  A source of conflict for AI systems? 
When People Don’t Trust Algorithms
Dietvorst: When I was a Ph.D. student, some of my favorite papers were old works by [the late psychology scholar and behavioral decision research expert] Robyn Dawes showing that algorithms outperform human experts at making certain types of predictions.  The algorithms that Dawes was using were very simple and oftentimes not even calibrated properly.
A lot of others followed up Dawes’s work and showed that algorithms beat humans in many domains — in fact, in most of the domains that have been tested.  There’s all this empirical work showing algorithms are the best alternative, but people still aren’t using them.
So we have this disconnect between what the evidence says people should do and what people are doing, and no one was researching why.

“Of course, I’m not running for office.  But if you vote for me, I’ll give you money!” 
Zuckerberg: Universal basic income is a 'bipartisan idea'
   Zuckerberg in a Facebook post praised Alaska’s own universal basic income system, which is known as the Permanent Fund Dividend.  The state puts a portion of its annual oil revenue into the fund, which is then distributed to Alaskan residents at roughly $1,000 per person, depending on the year.
The added income can be “especially meaningful if your family has five or six people,” Zuckerberg said.

This could be useful.  What is the US equivalent?
UK’s Independent Factchecking Charity
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Jul 5, 2017
Full Fact is the UK’s independent factchecking charity.  We provide free tools, information and advice so that anyone can check the claims we hear from politicians and the media…  In its short history, Full Fact has significantly improved the accuracy of public debate.  We publish factchecks and secure corrections, but we also champion a culture in which the public figures are held to higher standards of transparency and accountability.”  Users may conduct subject matter specific searches on key issues:

Tools for teaching.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Every now and then, a noteworthy (and praiseworthy) success! 
Ankit Misra posts:
In a major international anti-cybercrime crackdown, the Agra police has recovered Rs 28 lakh from England-based hackers, an amount they looted by phishing a footwear exporter from the city.
Working in collaboration with the British police, the Agra police achieved this breakthrough in a record two days’ time.
Talking to India Today, Deepak Kundra, owner of Foot Components, said, “My company’s email ID had been hacked a few days ago and the hackers got my contact list from there.  Our firm deals with a China-based footwear component supplier and an order for supply of leather had been placed with the supplier by us.” 
Read more on India Today.

North Korea or just ordinary crooks? 
Luke Parker reports:
The largest bitcoin and ether exchange in South Korea by volume, Bithumb, was recently hacked.  Monetary losses from compromised accounts have started to surface, and are quickly reaching into the billions of won.
Hackers succeeded in grabbing the personal information of 31,800 Bithumb website users, including their names, mobile phone numbers and email addresses.  The exchange claims that this number represents approximately three percent of customers.
The breach was discovered by Bithumb on June 29 and reported to the authorities on June 30.  More than 100 Bithumb customers have since filed a complaint with the National Police Agency’s cybercrime report center.
Read more on Brave New Coin.

Another consideration for Computer Security Managers.
Official: firm at center of cyberattack knew of problems
The small Ukrainian tax software company that is accused of being the patient zero of a damaging global cyberepidemic is under investigation and will face charges, the head of Ukraine’s CyberPolice suggested Monday.
Col. Serhiy Demydiuk, the head of Ukraine’s national Cyberpolice unit, said in an interview with The Associated Press that Kiev-based M.E. Doc’s employees had blown off repeated warnings about the security of their information technology infrastructure.
“They knew about it,” he told the AP at his office.  “They were told many times by various anti-virus firms. ...  For this neglect, the people in this case will face criminal responsibility.”
Demydiuk and other officials say last week’s unusually disruptive cyberattack was mainly spread through a malicious update to M.E. Doc’s eponymous tax software program, which is widely used by accountants and businesses across Ukraine.
The malicious update, likely planted on M.E. Doc’s update server by a hacker, was then disseminated across the country before exploding into an epidemic of data-scrambling software that Ukrainian and several other multinational firms are still recovering from.

Another reason to celebrate the 4th? 
China's bloggers, filmmakers feel chill of internet crackdown
   On Friday, an industry association circulated new regulations that at least two "auditors" will, with immediate effect, be required to check all audiovisual content posted online - from films to "micro" movies, documentaries, sports, educational material and animation - to ensure they adhere to "core socialist values".

Some notes on the retail ecosystem. 
Alibaba: Building a retail ecosystem on data science, machine learning, and cloud
   Amazon may be the undisputed leader both in terms of its market share in retail and its cloud offering, but that does not mean the competition just sits around watching.  Alibaba, which some see as a Chinese counterpart of Amazon, is inspired by Amazon's success.  However, its strategy both in retail and in cloud is diversified, with the two converging on one focal point: data science and machine learning (ML).

Business idea: Convert client-owned CDs and DVDs to one-off vinyl for audio geeks. 
   This resurgence in vinyl has led Sony to open a new pressing plant in a factory southwest of Tokyo.  According to Nikkei, Sony will start making vinyl records again in March 2018, and the company has already retrofitted a recording studio with the equipment needed to make masters.

Tools for lawyers?  Or, tools for consultants supporting law firms. 
Open Sourcing ContraxSuite and Legal Tech and the Modern Information Economy
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Jul 4, 2017
News release – July 3, 2017: “Over the last decade, we’ve spent many thousands of effort-­‐hours developing the contract analytics and document analytics tools that we use with clients.  These tools, based on enterprise-­‐ quality open source frameworks for natural language processing, machine learning, and optical character recognition, have allowed us to quickly and easily attack many problems, from securities filings and court opinions to articles of incorporation and lease agreements.  Today, we are proud to announce that we plan to open source the development of our core platform for contract analytics and document analytics -­‐ ContraxSuite. Starting on August 1 [2017], this code base and our public development roadmap will be hosted on Github under a permissive open-­‐source licensing model that will allow most organizations to quickly and freely implement and customize their own contract and document analytics.  Like Redhat does for Linux, we will provide support, customization, and data services to “cover the last mile” for those organizations who need it.  We believe that a very important future for law lies in its central role in facilitating and regulating the modern information economy.  But unless we start treating law itself like the production of information, we’ll never get there.  Before we can solve big problems with smart contracts, we need to start by structuring existing legacy contracts.  We hope our actions today will help lawyers, companies, and other LegalTech providers accelerate the pace of improvement and innovation through more open collaboration…”

I’ve tried it and it works quite well.
   Install this handy program and it goes to work from its own tab in the Ribbon.
·         Reveal the Dictation tab on the Ribbon.  Click on the Mic icon to start the voice to text speech recognition.
·         Quickly shift to the language options if you want to spell out something in a different language.  Dictate supports more than 20 languages for dictation and can handle real-time translation of 60 languages.
·         Nine specific voice commands help you create new lines, delete, add punctuation and more to format the text.
·         Microsoft Dictate is supported on Windows 8.1 or later, Office 2013 or later, using .NET Framework 4.5.0 or later.

Get to know the players… 
Baidu’s Apollo platform becomes the ‘Android of the autonomous driving industry’
Baidu now claims one of the largest partner ecosystems for an autonomous driving platform in the world: Its Apollo autonomous driving program now counts over 50 partners, including FAW Group, one of the major Chinese carmakers that will work with Baidu on commercialization of the tech.  Other partners include Chinese auto companies Chery, Changan and Great Wall Motors, as well as Bosch, Continental, Nvidia, Microsoft Cloud, Velodyne, TomTom, UCAR and Grab Taxi.
   Baidu, as an Internet company with business similar to Google’s, seems to believe that the data and services business resulting from use of its platform will be worth making it more broadly available (the Android model).

Perhaps my students could use this.
Sqoop – free data journalism site makes it easier to find and track public records
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Jul 4, 2017
Data Driven Journalism: “Just because there’s a duty to disclose, doesn’t mean there’s a duty to make it easy.  This seems to be a universally true when it comes to public records, regardless of the country or government making them available.  The consequences for journalists can be profound: hours of time spent digging through messy data, missing stories that go untold, and the opportunity costs that come with these, just to name a few.  This is a problem we set out to improve a couple of years ago in the US with the introduction of Sqoop, a free data journalism site intended to make it easier for reporters to find and track public records, starting with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Patent Office, and the federal court system, otherwise known as PACER (public access to court automated records).  Think of it as a search box across all of these public records sites (and we’re working to add others) as well as a rapid alerting service.  If a journalist has saved searches for “Facebook”, “Jeffrey P. Bezos”, or “Internet of Things”, she will receive email alerts every time these search terms show up in new public filings.  Journalists can refine search results based on data source, form type, and geographic factors, and then save those searches as alerts…”

A fourth of July treat, or a source of Tweets for President Trump? 
National Archives Database – Founders Online
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Jul 4, 2017
Correspondence and Other Writings of Six Major Shapers of the United States: “George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams (and family), Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison.  Over 178,000 searchable documents, fully annotated, from the authoritative Founding Fathers Papers projects.”

I definitely, positively need to share this with my students!

I wish I knew what interested the Russians.  I don’t plan to hold elections anytime soon.