Monday, January 08, 2018

Surveillance as a commercial opportunity?
EFF – “Across the country, private companies are deploying vehicles mounted with automated license plate readers (ALPRs) to drive up and down streets to document the travel patterns of everyday drivers. These systems take photos of every license plate they see, tag them with time and location, and upload them to a central database. These companies—who are essentially data brokers that scrape information from our vehicles—sell this information to lenders, insurance companies, and debt collectors. They also sell this information to law enforcement, including U.S. Department of Homeland security, which recently released its updated policy for leveraging commercial ALPR data for immigration enforcement. The Atlantic has called this collection of our license plates “an unprecedented threat to privacy.” This data, collected in aggregate, can reveal intimate details about our lives, including what doctors we visit, where we worship, where we take our kids to school, and where we sleep at night. Companies marketing this data claim that the technology can predict our movements and link us to our associates based on which vehicles are often parked next to each other…”
See also the Washington Post – “Beijing bets on facial recognition in a big drive for total surveillance… It will use facial recognition and artificial intelligence to analyze and understand the mountain of incoming video evidence; to track suspects, spot suspicious behaviors and even predict crime; to coordinate the work of emergency services; and to monitor the comings and goings of the country’s 1.4 billion people, official documents and security industry reports show.”

Governments don’t do technology very well. Perhaps my students could create an Emergency App?
Uber can find you easily, but emergency services struggle to locate those in need
We live in a day and age where calling 911 anytime, anywhere, is easier than ever. But getting 911 dispatchers to track your location is harder than ever.
Your smart phone allows Uber drivers, video games apps and social media accounts, like Instagram, to pinpoint your exact location — yet 911 dispatchers are left scrambling to find you.
With 70 percent of all 911 calls made nationally on cell phones, 2News wanted to know how well your location can be tracked in a life-or-death situations.
… Apps like Pokemon-Go and Uber can track your every move, because you have accepted the terms and conditions of their operating system. Your acceptance gives your permission to be tracked to your exact GPS location. Emergency dispatchers don't have that luxury, and instead rely on cell towers from the major carriers and what is called triangulation. If the triangulation system works, the longer you are on the phone, the closer and closer the cell towers can pinpoint your location as they relay information between towers nearest to where your call was made.

It’s not the current level of sharing, it’s the direction this is going. I’ve highlighted the hackable bits.
What if you could view your neighbors’ smart security cameras?
More and more companies are trying to sell you cameras to put outside the house. Now one of them is wondering: why not share their footage with neighbors, so more people can monitor what’s going on?
That’s the idea behind Streety, a new app from the security provider Vivint. People with Vivint security systems will be able to share footage from their outdoor cameras with neighbors, who will be able to tune into them live and post messages for others. They can also place requests to view recorded footage in case, say, they’re trying to figure out who dinged their car a couple hours ago.
Vivint is only activating the feature for outdoor cameras — not indoor ones — and the sharing has a range limit: 300 yards, or about one-sixth of a mile. That isn’t very far, which could really restrict the feature’s usefulness. In a denser neighborhood, that might cover a lot of ground; but in a more spacious suburb, it might only cover a few houses in any direction. That wouldn’t help if you’re hoping to tap into a camera down the street to see what your kid is up to.

Gosh! What the coincidence. (As a Director, I would like to know what is going on here.)
Intel CEO's big stock sale raises questions
Intel CEO Brian Krzanich sold more than $39 million worth of company stock after Intel learned of a fundamental design flaw in its products, but before the general public was made aware.
Why it matters: The SEC may take a hard look at Krzanich's windfall, particularly the part where he changed the rules governing his stock sale schedule.
… An Intel spokeswoman says that Krzanich's October 2017 trading plan change and subsequent stock sale were "unrelated" to the chip design flaw, but declined to provide any alternate explanation.
Intel also says that it does not expect material financial impacts from the design flaw, although it remains too early to know for sure.

Colorado is already in compliance. What will we use when all cars are self-driving and no one has a drivers license?
Flying Domestic May Get Harder Thanks to Driver’s License Law
Four years after hijackers showed driver’s licenses to board planes used in the 2001 terrorist attacks, Congress passed the “Real ID” Act to force states to exert greater oversight of the primary identification Americans use when they fly domestically.
Now, after 13 years of delays and extensions, the Trump administration has fixed a hard deadline of October for states to comply. Under the law, all airline travelers must display a new, technologically advanced license if they wish to board a plane. But privacy advocates warn that the program, with its requirement of data and photo sharing between states and the federal government, carries with it some Orwellian implications.
The Department of Homeland Security has given the 23 states still operating under extensions until Oct. 10.

Know the players…
Membership of the 115th Congress: A Profile
CRS report via FAS – Membership of the 115th Congress: A Profile. Jennifer E. Manning, Senior Research Librarian, January 3, 2018: “This report presents a profile of the membership of the 115th Congress (2017-2018) as of January 3, 2018. Statistical information is included on selected characteristics of Members, including data on party affiliation, average age, occupation, education, length of congressional service, religious affiliation, gender, ethnicity, foreign births, and military service. In the House of Representatives, there are 241 Republicans (including 1 Delegate and the Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico), 197 Democrats (including 4 Delegates), and 3 vacant seats. The Senate has 51 Republicans, 47 Democrats, and 2 Independents, who both caucus with the Democrats.”

It’s a Vet thing.
Military Service Records, Awards, and Unit Histories: A Guide to Locating Source
CRS report via FAS – Military Service Records, Awards, and Unit Histories: A Guide to Locating Sources. Nese F. DeBruyne, Senior Research Librarian; Barbara Salazar Torreon, Senior Research Librarian. January 2, 2018. “This guide provides information on locating military unit histories and individual service records of discharged, retired, and deceased military personnel. It also provides information on locating and replacing military awards and medals. Included is contact information for military history, websites for additional sources of research, and a bibliography of other publications, including related CRS reports.”

I might have a use for this. offers free video conferencing for up t0 5 participants is a one-click video conference solution. After signing up for an account, users can create a video conference. The system provides a url to join the conference that can be sent to up to six participants. Recipients of this link need only click it to join the video conference – they will not need to create an account, nor will they need to download or install any additional software. also supports screen sharing for presentations, software demos, remote technical support, and so on. It provides a ‘website widget’ that site owners can use to enable one-click video calls from their home page.’s free tier allows five team members, each of whom can receive ten ‘website widget’ calls per month and can create an unlimited number of video conferences. currently supports Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Opera, with work ongoing to add support for other browsers. Companion mobile phone apps for iOS and Android are currently in beta.”

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