Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Send in the Space Patrol! Perhaps we could insist that China pay for a (fire)Wall?
China-based campaign breached satellite, defense companies: Symantec
A sophisticated hacking campaign launched from computers in China burrowed deeply into satellite operators, defense contractors and telecommunications companies in the United States and southeast Asia, security researchers at Symantec Corp said on Tuesday.
Symantec said the effort appeared to be driven by national espionage goals, such as the interception of military and civilian communications.
Such interception capabilities are rare but not unheard of, and the researchers could not say what communications, if any, were taken. More disturbingly in this case, the hackers infected computers that controlled the satellites, so that they could have changed the positions of the orbiting devices and disrupted data traffic, Symantec said.

Could this happen to anyone? (Hint: Yes!)
When you think of consequences of employees clicking on phishing emails, did you ever think about how an entire state government might wind up having their email domain blacklisted? It happened to Oregon because was used to send out spam after an employee clicked on a phishing email. Hillary Borrud reports:
Oregon’s state technology workers are scrambling to fix a problem that is preventing thousands of government employees from corresponding with members of the public via email.
Several private email providers have blacklisted the state email domain after a state employee apparently clicked on a phishing email earlier this month that allowed a hacker to access the state’s computer system.
“The malicious link hijacked the state-owned PC and generated over eight million spam emails from an email address,” state officials wrote in an email explaining the situation to employees on Friday.
Now, private citizens with certain email providers can’t receive emails from state employees.
Read more on OregonLive.

Perspective. Why so much employee activism? Is this the new “Trump Reality?”
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella downplayed his company’s work with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in a company-wide email sent this evening, saying that Microsoft’s contract with ICE deals only with email, calendar, and messaging—not with separating children from their parents.
Nadella’s email came after more than 100 employees sent him an open letter demanding that Microsoft cancel its $19.4 million contract with ICE. In a January blog post, Microsoft asserted that it was proud to work with ICE and that it was providing ICE with deep learning technology to aid with facial recognition.
But Microsoft executives are now claiming that its ICE contract does not include facial recognition technology.
… However, Nadella stopped short of vowing to cancel the ICE contract, as employees had requested in their letter—nor did he explain why the company’s January blog post claimed Microsoft offered facial recognition services to ICE.

Amazon Faces Backlash Over 'Rekognition' Software's Use By Law Enforcement

11 States Pull National Guard Off Border Missions To Protest Child Separations
Eleven US states have cancelled agreements to send members of the National Guard to the US-Mexico border as part of a growing backlash over the Trump administration’s policy of separating migrant families trying to enter the US.
Initially three states — New York, Massachusetts, and Colorado — pulled their forces from current or planned deployments at the border, but they were soon joined by many more.
… In an executive order on Monday, John Hickenlooper, Democratic governor for Colorado, barred state resources from being used to separate immigrant families.

How much variation is acceptable? Should we rely on AI to set bail?
You’ve Been Arrested. Will You Get Bail? Can You Pay It? It May All Depend On Your Judge.
… not all judges in New York City treat bail the same way. A FiveThirtyEight analysis of 105,581 cases handled by The Legal Aid Society, the largest public defender organization in New York, found that how much bail you owe — and whether you owe it at all — can depend on who hears your case the day you’re arraigned.
New York’s judges are assigned to arraignment shifts, hearing every case that comes into the court during that time. Because the assignments are random — judges hear cases solely based on when people are arrested and how busy the court is — we can identify whether defendants are being treated equally regardless of who hears their case. They are not.

Some Python tools…
OpenEDGAR: Open Source Software for SEC EDGAR Analysis
Computational Legal Studies: “Our next paper — OpenEDGAR – Open Source Software for SEC Edgar Analysis is now available. This paper explores a range of #OpenSource tools we have developed to explore the EDGAR system operated by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). While a range of more sophisticated extraction and clause classification protocols can be developed leveraging LexNLP and other open and closed source tools, we provide some very simple code examples as an illustrative starting point.
Click here for Paper: < SSRN > < arXiv >
Access Codebase Here: < Github >
Abstract: OpenEDGAR is an open source Python framework designed to rapidly construct research databases based on the Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval (EDGAR) system operated by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). OpenEDGAR is built on the Django application framework, supports distributed compute across one or more servers, and includes functionality to (i) retrieve and parse index and filing data from EDGAR, (ii) build tables for key metadata like form type and filer, (iii) retrieve, parse, and update CIK to ticker and industry mappings, (iv) extract content and metadata from filing documents, and (v) search filing document contents. OpenEDGAR is designed for use in both academic research and industrial applications, and is distributed under MIT License at

Tools for my techies.
GitHub’s free education bundle is now available to all schools
Software development isn’t just about writing code. It’s also about what you do with that code — testing, documenting, and proper source management. These skills are often left by the wayside in the classroom.
GitHub wants to change that, and has announced that it’s expanding GitHub Education, and will begin offering it to all schools.
Previously, GitHub Education was offered to a limited number of selected degree or certificate-granting educational instutitions.
GitHub Education is a bundle of company’s tools and training. It comes with free access to GitHub Enterprise or Business Hosted, as well as teacher training for the platform via GitHub Campus Advisors.
… Of course, GitHub isn’t the only source management company targeting the education market. Earlier this month, rival GitLab announced it was offering its Ultimate and Gold packages to classroom customers.

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