Wednesday, May 30, 2018

As a taxpayer, this is depressing. As a manager, this in incomprehensible.
Federal Cybersecurity Risk Determination Report and Action Plan
NextGov: “Many federal agencies don’t know how hackers are targeting them, can’t tell when hackers steal large amounts of their data and aren’t efficiently spending the cybersecurity money they have, according to a report and action plan released last week. Roughly three-quarters of federal agencies’ cybersecurity programs are currently “at risk” or “at high risk,” according to the report, which was mandated in a 2017 executive order from President Donald Trump. That order stated that top agency leaders would be held responsible for preventable cyber incidents that happened on their watch. Yet, most agencies, when polled, “did not, or could not, elaborate in detail on leadership engagement above the [chief information officer] level,” this month’s review found…”

Perhaps the Justices do not have to be as “analog” as the Court itself. I want my students to be explainers of technology. That means they have to understand it.
The Supreme Court Is Stubbornly Analog — By Design
The Supreme Court is an openly — even proudly — technophobic institution. Cameras are forbidden, which means there are no images or videos from high-profile cases, and briefs and other legal filings only recently became available at the court’s website. Chief Justice John Roberts argued in 2014 that these Luddite tendencies are just part of the legal system: “The courts will always be prudent whenever it comes to embracing the ‘next big thing.’” The justices — who communicate mostly on paper, rather than via email — can sometimes seem as analog as the institution they serve.
… There are systemic reasons for the court’s reluctant approach to technology — American law is a backward-looking enterprise even outside the highest court. But regardless of why it’s happening, legal scholars say the consequences are clear: When Supreme Court justices lack an understanding of what technology means for the lives of the people affected by their decisions, they will struggle to respond effectively to technological change.

It seems Michael Porter’s barriers to entry are becoming less of a problem.
Why High-Tech Commoditization Is Accelerating
Knowledge embedded within state-of-the-art production and design tools is a powerful force that is leveling the global technology playing field. It democratizes innovation and makes future competition ever more challenging.

Another summary of the GDPR.
Personal Data Protection and the EU GDPR
“Everyone is talking about the European Union‘s (EU) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which takes effect today. Recent news reports about misuse of personal data suggest that rules to protect personal data are essential in today’s interconnected (online) world. But what is the GDPR exactly? And why should you care about an EU law if you live in the United States?…”

“We can, therefore we must?” I have been looking for a good “bad example” and wouldn’t you know it, California has come through in spades!
Digital license plates that change displays and track your car being tested in California
… The Sacramento Bee reports that the city government took delivery last week of 24 Chevrolet Volts equipped with the plates, which are priced at $699 each, but were provided at no cost by the manufacturer, Reviver Auto, for evaluation.
The plates use e-ink screens like e-books, and are equipped with a GPS tracker that can transmit the location of the vehicle. They have a reflective surface, backlighting, weatherproofing and are hardwired to the car.
Reviver Auto says that the technology conforms to the General Data Protection Regulation standards, and that the tracking and display features are controlled by each plate’s owner.
Sacramento Innovation Officer Louis Stewart said that the city is assuring labor representatives that it won’t use them to monitor individual employees.
Reviver Auto VP of Marketing Bobby Penn told Fox News that the telematics data will never be shared with the DMV or law enforcement, and promises that the company will not sell any information to outside companies. No personal data is stored in the device itself.
Users can modify the display with custom messages via an app and electronically update their registration without the need for a sticker or visit to the DMV. They’re being marketed as a fleet management tool for commercial outfits that can double as a promotional platform, as the screens can display company branding and advertisements when the vehicles are parked, while still showing the plate number in a smaller font.
Along with the convenience factor, a pitch to retail customers is that they are the ultimate vanity plate, with the potential to update them on a whim to show support for causes or sports teams, or simply to project a personal message for the day.
Owners can also have the plates display the word “stolen” if their cars go missing, while emergency messages, like amber alerts and flood warnings, can be blasted to all of the devices in an affected area in an effort to reach other motorists.
… A $7 monthly fee is required, with additional costs for the GPS tracking feature.
One retailer, Galpin Motors in Van Nuys, is offering three-year plans priced at $189 and $279, respectively, plus $99 for installation.

… The state claims they could save up to $20 million per year on postage, but there’s some pretty huge questions about that, as well as about security, cost, durability and pretty much everything.
… They claim these plates are durable, but compared to a rectangle of stamped metal, they’re not. At all. In fact, the more you think about it, the stupider this gets: You’d be mounting a $700 electronic device on the most vulnerable parts of your car, often right on your bumper. Want to turn a minor parking lot miscalculation into a $700 bill and the inability to legally drive your car around? Then get a Reviver Plate, dummy!
… The company also takes pains to point out that if your car is stolen the plate will say STOLEN or if the car is tagged in an Amber Alert, the plate will give a warning, which is great as long as criminals don’t master the difficult and subtle art known as “removing a license plate.”
… The guy in the video there keeps playing up the aesthetic benefits of the electronic plate, but they don’t seem to acknowledge it’s just black and white.
That’s not even beginning to address the issues surrounding plates being hacked, because, duh, they will—for all manner of purposes and reasons and scams—and then there’s the privacy issues, and that they will eventually wear out and break, and that there will be charging and battery issues and on and on.
This is a classic example of assuming throwing more technology at something will solve a problem, in this case a problem that barely even exists. Also, who would even want one of these? There’s nothing cool or appealing about them.

A strong indication that the world is not ready for self driving cars?
A Tesla sedan running in its autopilot mode crashed into a parked police car in Laguna Beach, California on Tuesday, per the Associated Press, resulting in “minor injuries” to the driver. The officer in charge of the cruiser at the time of the crash was not inside the vehicle and thus avoided being injured.
… Tesla has repeatedly emphasized that the autopilot system is only intended to assist, not replace, an alert human driver, and requires drivers to agree that they understand how to use it before it can be activated.
… In a statement to USA Today, the manufacturer wrote, “When using Autopilot, drivers are continuously reminded of their responsibility to keep their hands on the wheel and maintain control of the vehicle at all times.”

Perspective. I think this is big. Probably not suggesting that Facebook is obsolete, but it may be becoming redundant. For an entire generation, Facebook was how you connected to the Internet.
Mobile Direct Traffic Eclipses Facebook
New data shows that for the first time, mobile direct-to-site traffic has surpassed Facebook. Could this mean that mobile does not equal social after all?
With all of the discussion around the duopoly and the lack of control publishers have over their traffic, we wanted to take a look at our data to observe traffic differences since the Facebook algorithm changes were announced in January. Surprisingly, overall traffic to publisher sites has not declined – instead, it’s remained steady (see chart below). How is this possible?
We know that the majority of readers arrive on a site directly via desktop. However, for as long as we can remember, this behavior has been different on mobile devices; mobile readers = social readers, where someone on mobile most likely found your content from Facebook.
Our latest data shows that’s no longer the case. Now, mobile readers are arriving to a site (website or app) directly to the homepage or section front more often than from attributed social platforms, namely Facebook.
Mobile direct traffic surpassing Facebook traffic to publisher sites is an important milestone. It means consumers may be more loyal to news sites than expected, and publishers may be in a better position vis-a-vis Facebook as well.

Perspective. Jeff Bezos thinks big.
How Amazon Is Using Whole Foods in a Bid for Total Retail Domination
Fortune: The Seattle giant believes selling you groceries is the key to selling you everything else… The very thing that makes grocery delivery hard—that food goes bad—is the reason it’s so desirable to a company like Amazon. Because cheese grows mold and meat goes rancid and milk sours, consumers can’t hoard it in their cupboards or refrigerators indefinitely as they might toilet paper or laundry detergent. As a result, the average family hits the supermarket at minimum once a week; there’s nothing else you purchase or consume so much or so often. For Amazon, getting in on that frequency is critical to further ingraining itself in our routines and behaviors. “Food is the platform for selling you everything else,” says Walter Robb, the former co-CEO of Whole Foods. “It’s an everyday way into your life. There’s nothing else that happens quite that way.” Amazon’s quest is therefore about much more than just food…”

I wonder is Mr. Kissinger feels challenged? Could AI be smarter than he is?
How the Enlightenment Ends
… Aware of my lack of technical competence in this field, I organized a number of informal dialogues on the subject, with the advice and cooperation of acquaintances in technology and the humanities. These discussions have caused my concerns to grow.
Heretofore, the technological advance that most altered the course of modern history was the invention of the printing press in the 15th century, which allowed the search for empirical knowledge to supplant liturgical doctrine, and the Age of Reason to gradually supersede the Age of Religion. Individual insight and scientific knowledge replaced faith as the principal criterion of human consciousness. Information was stored and systematized in expanding libraries. The Age of Reason originated the thoughts and actions that shaped the contemporary world order.
But that order is now in upheaval amid a new, even more sweeping technological revolution whose consequences we have failed to fully reckon with, and whose culmination may be a world relying on machines powered by data and algorithms and ungoverned by ethical or philosophical norms.

This is not why I’m considered ‘agreeable.’ Is it?

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