Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Computer Security fails?
There’s nothing like some dramatic numbers to get attention to data breaches. Risk Based Security, Inc. has released their 2017 statistics, and yes, some of the numbers are dramatic. Here are just two snippets from their blog post about the report:
There were 5,207 breaches recorded last year, surpassing 2015’s previous high mark by nearly 20%. The number of records compromised also surpassed all other years with over 7.8 billion records exposed, a 24.2% increase over 2016’s previous high of 6.3 billion.
In addition to the number of breaches and amount of data lost, 2017 stood out for another reason. For the past eight years, hacking has exposed more records than any other breach type. In 2017, breach type Web – which is largely comprised of accidentally exposing sensitive data to the Internet – took over the top spot compromising 68.8% or 5.4 billion records. Hacking still remained the leading breach type, account for 55% of reported incidents, but its impact on records exposed fell to the number two spot, with 2.3 billion records compromised. For the first time since 2008, inadvertent data exposure and other data mishandling errors caused more data loss than malicious intrusion into networks.
Read more on RBS, where you can also learn how to obtain the full report.
I wish they had frequency data as well as percentages so that I could try to compare their data from the medical sector to what Protenus and found for our U.S. health data. But it appears that both studies found that hacking accounted for a smaller percentage of breached records in 2017 than they had in 2016, so there’s some consistency across methods and findings on that. The fact that we found breached records decreased in 2017 compared to 2016 differs from their overall finding, but is not surprising because the business sector accounts for so much of their data and findings and our data and findings are restricted to health data breaches in the U.S. Also of interest to me is their findings on internal-external. Our data in from health data studies has fairly consistently found that internal and external are fairly similar in frequency (although not in number of breached records). RBS’s report shows many more external incidents than internal ones.

Improving the Mark 1 Eyeball? Is this the equivalent of the Automatic License Plate Recognition systems in US Police cars or something far more sinister?
Chinese Police Go RoboCop With Facial-Recognition Glasses
As hundreds of millions of Chinese begin traveling for the Lunar New Year holiday, police are showing off a new addition to their crowd-surveillance toolbox: mobile facial-recognition units mounted on eyeglasses.
China is already a global leader in deploying cutting-edge surveillance technologies based on artificial intelligence. The mobile devices could expand the reach of that surveillance, allowing authorities to peer into places that fixed cameras aren’t scanning, and to respond more quickly.

Rebecca Hill reports:
South Wales Police deployed facial recognition technology in Cardiff this weekend, making multiple arrests using the controversial kit.
The force has been using an automated facial recognition (AFR) system since June last year, when it launched a pilot during the Champions League finals week.
Campaigners have also voiced concerns about the fact innocent people’s faces are being scanned against criminal databases, arguing this is edging the UK closer to a surveillance state.
“It is a great infringement of fans’ rights,” said Silkie Carlo, director of Big Brother Watch, adding that the police “have no clear basis” for using the tech.
Read more on The Register.

You can’t even park your car in private?
There are days when I think that if I keep reading Joe Cadillic’s stuff, I will go totally paranoid. Then I realize it’s not Joe who’s making me feel paranoid… it’s the police state government tactics he’s reporting on. And maybe we should all feel concerned about those.
Today, Joe writes:
As more and more cities and towns privatize everything, the use of smart meter parking apps (SMPA) continues to grow.
Which is a good thing right?
Wrong, cities and towns are using SMPA’s like ParkMobile, StreetLine, ParkMe, Park Smarter and SmartParking to collect all kinds of personal information.
According to numerous privacy policies, SMPA’s collect much more information than most people realize.
A look at ParkMobile’s privacy policy reveals the types of personal information SMPA’s collect.
Read more on MassPrivateI. Thumbs up to Joe for looking at these apps’ privacy policies and how lenient they are with respect to them turning over your personal information to law enforcement.
[From the article:
"Personal Information consisting of, at a minimum, your name, email address, mobile phone number, vehicle license tag number and issuing jurisdiction, Payment Method, Payment Information, Username and password. Over the course of your Use of the Platform, we may collect additional Personal Information such as: your mailing address, billing address, Transaction data; GPS data; information that you voluntarily provide like User Content; information received from your credit card provider, digital wallet, or financial institution".

Perspective. This should not surprise anyone. (I haven’t found the survey, yet.)
Survey says – digital technology may not always improve worker productivity – surprise!
Impact of technology on productivity depends on company culture: “Economists have been puzzled in recent years by the so-called “productivity paradox,” the fact that the digital revolution of the past four decades hasn’t resulted in big gains in output per worker as happened with earlier technological upheaval. Many developed economies have actually seen productivity stagnate or decline. A survey from Microsoft Corp. is bolstering one theory about this disconnect. In a poll of 20,000 European workers released Monday, Microsoft, which became one of the world’s most profitable companies by marketing office productivity software, acknowledges new digital technology can, in some circumstances, sometimes not lead to any increase in productivity and actually result in less employee engagement with their work.”
[From the article:
The survey also found digital culture had a big impact on how new technology changed employees’ feelings of engagement with their work. In businesses with a strong digital culture, increased use of technology also boosted employees’ feelings of passion and focus. But, in companies with a weak digital culture, it had the opposite effect: the more technology the company deployed, the less attached workers became.

How to win the next election?
Polarization, Partisanship and Junk News Consumption over Social Media in the US
“What kinds of social media users read junk news? We examine the distribution of the most significant sources of junk news in the three months before President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union Address. Drawing on a list of sources that consistently publish political news and information that is extremist, sensationalist, conspiratorial, masked commentary, fake news and other forms of junk news, we find that the distribution of such content is unevenly spread across the ideological spectrum. We demonstrate that (1) on Twitter, a network of Trump supporters shares the widest range of known junk news sources and circulates more junk news than all the other groups put together; (2) on Facebook, extreme hard right pages—distinct from Republican pages—share the widest range of known junk news sources and circulate more junk news than all the other audiences put together; (3) on average, the audiences for junk news on Twitter share a wider range of known junk news sources than audiences on Facebook’s public pages.” Vidya Narayanan, Vlad Barash, John Kelly, Bence Kollanyi, Lisa-Maria Neudert, and Philip N. Howard. “Polarization, Partisanship and Junk News Consumption over Social Media in the US.” Data Memo 2018.1. Oxford, UK: Project on Computational Propaganda.
“The Computational Propaganda Research Project (COMPROP) investigates the interaction of algorithms, automation and politics. This work includes analysis of how tools like social media bots are used to manipulate public opinion by amplifying or repressing political content, disinformation, hate speech, and junk news. We use perspectives from organizational sociology, human computer interaction, communication, information science, and political science to interpret and analyze the evidence we are gathering. Our project is based at the Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford.”

Russian Trolls Ran Wild On Tumblr And The Company Refuses To Say Anything About It
Russian trolls posed as black activists on Tumblr and generated hundreds of thousands of interactions for content that ranged from calling Hillary Clinton a “monster” to supporting Bernie Sanders and decrying racial injustice and police violence in the US, according to new findings from researcher Jonathan Albright and BuzzFeed News.
… “The evidence we've collected shows a highly engaged and far-reaching Tumblr propaganda-op targeting mostly teenage and twenty-something African Americans. This appears to have been part of an ongoing campaign since early 2015,” said Albright, research director of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University.

(Related) Harsh!
What to Do When Social Media Inspires Envy
If we’re Facebook friends, I probably hate you. Not all the time, but intermittently, and with the burning hatred that only envy can inspire.

For teachers with an Android phone?
Vysor - Mirror Your Android Device to Your Computer's Screen
Vysor is a program that makes it easy to mirror your Android phone or tablet to your Windows, Mac, Linux, or Chrome OS computer. To mirror your Android device to your computer you do have to install the Vysor software. After installing Vysor you can mirror your phone to your computer by simply connecting the two with a USB cable.
Vysor is offered in a free version and in a premium version. The free version mirrors via USB cable. The free version will also display an advertisement from time to time. I used the free version this afternoon during an hour long webinar and the advertisement only appeared twice. The premium version of Vysor offers wireless mirroring, no advertisements, and a drag-and-drop file transfer between your phone and computer.
Vysor is a convenient tool to have at your disposal when you want to demonstrate an Android app during a webinar as I did this afternoon. Vysor is also useful if you don't have another way to project your phone's or tablet's screen to an LCD projector. You can do that by mirroring your phone to your computer that is connected to a projector.

For my Pi Geeks.

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