Saturday, September 01, 2018

If my job was to identify potential spies, I certainly would. After all, spying is a job.
U.S. Government Thinks China Is Using LinkedIn to Enlist American Spies
The U.S. government believes China is using fake LinkedIn accounts to recruit American spies with government intel and is calling on the company to help shut them down.
According to Reuters, which broke the story Friday morning, intelligence and law enforcement have placed pressure on LinkedIn, owned by Microsoft, to thwart the budding espionage network. U.S. counter-intelligence chief, William Evanina, is the source of the allegations and claims to have warned the networking platform about China’s “super aggressive” tactics on the site, including their mass-messaging of thousands of users at a time.

...and if I wanted to sneak a spy into the US, I’d do it through Canada.
Air Canada admits app data breach included customers’ passport details
All 1.7 million users of Air Canada’s mobile app have had their passwords reset by the company following a security breach which saw hackers compromise up to 20,000 accounts last week.
A security notice published by the company explains that it detected “unusual login behaviour” related to the smartphone Air Canada app between August 22-24 2018, that may have seen 20,000 profiles “improperly accessed.”
… The company says that credit and payment card information was encrypted, and was not compromised in the security breach.
However, victims who have had their passport details stolen may face serious consequences, as fraudsters could use the details to set up accounts with insurance firms, mobile phone operators, banks and the like if they do not require sight of the physical passport.
… There is also a risk that a fraudster could use the stolen information to request a new physical passport. However, Air Canada says that the Canadian government describes that risk as “low” provided the genuine passport holder still has physical ownership of the document.
BBC News, however, raises the issue that Air Canada required account passwords to merely be between 6 and 10 characters, and could not contain symbols. That, in itself, goes against the Canadian government’s own password advice.

Just nailing down a small part of the remaining fraction they don’t already know about us?
Mark Bergen and Jennifer Surane report:
For the past year, select Google advertisers have had access to a potent new tool to track whether the ads they ran online led to a sale at a physical store in the U.S. That insight came thanks in part to a stockpile of Mastercard transactions that Google paid for.
But most of the two billion Mastercard holders aren’t aware of this behind-the-scenes tracking. That’s because the companies never told the public about the arrangement.
Read more on Bloomberg.

Seems too simple to work. Assumes WhatsApp users listen to radio. Is that based on their e-dossier?
WhatsApp kicks off radio campaigns in India to tackle fake news
In a bid to crackdown on spread of fake news on its platform, WhatsApp on Wednesday said it is rolling out radio campaigns across various Indian states, asking people to check the veracity of information received as a forward before they share it with others.

“We want to tell the voters that we did something. We don’t care if you can actually enforce the law.”
Becerra Rips Lawmakers for 'Unworkable' Provisions in New Data Privacy Law
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra lashed out at lawmakers for imposing “unworkable obligations and serious operational challenges” on his office by effectively making him the chief enforcer of the state’s sweeping new data privacy law.
In an Aug. 22 letter to legislators who helped get the law passed in June, Becerra complained that his office is not equipped to handle all the related duties, including quickly drafting regulations and advising businesses about compliance with the California Consumer Privacy Act, or CCPA.
… Becerra also questioned the legality of the civil penalties included in the new law, which he said improperly modified the state’s Unfair Competition Law, or UCL.
“The UCL’s civil penalty laws were enacted by the voters through Proposition 64 in 2004 and cannot be amended through legislation,” Becerra wrote.

An interesting move. Will Apple “approve” each policy?
… The tech giant announced to developers on Thursday that all new apps as well as app updates are required to have a privacy policy beginning October 3 of this year. This applies to apps submitted both through Apple’s App Store as well as TestFlight, a mobile app testing service owned by Apple. Apple’s announcement notes that the privacy policy link or text an [sic]only be edited when a developer submits the latest version of their app.
… In the guidelines, Apple states that developers must “clearly and explicitly” inform users what data apps collect and how that data is used in their privacy policies, confirming if there are third parties that can access that data. Apple also states that apps that do collect data must ask for consent, and that apps “should only request access to data relevant to the core functionality of the app and should only collect and use data that is required to accomplish the relevant task.”

For those of us who are serious about Privacy?
FPF Launches Virtual Privacy Book Club
We are pleased to announce the launch of our Privacy Book Club! The FPF Privacy Book Club will provide members with the opportunity to read a wide range of books — privacy, data, ethics, academic works, and other important data relevant issues — and have an open discussion of the selected literature.
The FPF Privacy Book Club will be held on the last Wednesday of each month. A virtual conference dial-in will be sent to book club members, which will include a video chat, phone line, and an online chat. You can join the Privacy Book Club by registering here. Please feel free to share the sign up link with your friends and colleagues who may be interested in participating.
The first FPF Privacy Book Club will be held Wednesday, September 26, 2018, at 2:00 pm (EST). We are excited to share that FPF Advisory Board member and author, Professor Woodrow Hartzog, will be joining the discussion to introduce his book, Privacy’s Blueprint: The Battle to Control the Design of New Technologies, and to answer a few questions. After hearing from Woody, we will host an open discussion of the book for the remainder of the meeting.
To learn more about FPF’s Privacy Book Club or to provide suggestions for future readings, please contact Michelle Bae, FPF Berkower Memorial Fellow, at

Another ‘future’ for my students to consider.
Going Cashless: What Can We Learn from Sweden’s Experience?
Sweden is regarded as the poster child of cashless countries and is expected to become the world’s first cashless society by March 2023. This means that cash will not be a generally accepted means of payment in Sweden. This journey has been powered by various factors such as a robust card payment system, strong internet infrastructure, a popular mobile payment app, supportive legal framework and a cultural mistrust of cash.
… We found that when cash transactions fall below 7% of the total payment transactions, it becomes more costly to manage cash than the marginal profit on cash sales. When this happens, an economically rational retail management should stop accepting cash.
This is possible in Sweden because even though cash is a legal tender, contract laws have a higher precedence than banking and payment laws here. If a store puts up a sign that it does not accept cash, then you, as a customer, have entered a contract or an agreement with that store that they don’t accept cash.

Friday, August 31, 2018

My guess is they will find a way.
DOJ Warns It Might Not Be Able to Prosecute Voting Machine Hackers
Motherboard: “…After more than a decade of headlines about the vulnerability of US voting machines to hacking, it turns out the federal government says it may not be able to prosecute election hacking under the federal law that currently governs computer intrusions. Per a Justice Department report issued in July from the Attorney General’s Cyber Digital Task Force, electronic voting machines may not qualify as “protected computers” under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, the 1986 law that prohibits unauthorized access to protected computers and networks or access that exceeds authorization (such as an insider breach)…”
[From the DoJ Report:
The principal statute used to prosecute hackers—the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”)—currently does not prohibit the act of hacking a voting machine in many common situations. In general, the CFAA only prohibits hacking computers that are connected to the Internet (or that meet other narrow criteria for protection). In many conceivable situations, electronic voting machines will not meet those criteria, as they are typically kept of the Internet. Consequently, should hacking of a voting machine occur, the government would not, in many conceivable circumstances, be able to use the CFAA to prosecute the hackers. (The conduct could, however, potentially violate other criminal statutes.)

I hope my students are ready for this.
Microsoft To Allow Unlimited Devices, More Users For Office 365 Subscriptions
,,, In a Microsoft Tech Community blog post, the company writes that beginning October 2, Office 365 Home will see their device limits completely removed. That means instead of being limited to installing the software on a total of 10 devices, it's now an unlimited number of devices for both subscriber tiers.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Slow but inevitable?
John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that GEORGE GAROFANO, 26, of North Branford, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Victor A. Bolden in Bridgeport to eight months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for engaging in a phishing scheme that gave him illegal access to more than 200 Apple iCloud accounts, many of which belonged to members of the entertainment industry.
According to court documents and statements made in court, from April 2013 through October 2014, GAROFANO engaged in a phishing scheme to obtain usernames and passwords for iCloud accounts. GAROFANO admitted that he sent e-mails to victims that appeared to be from security accounts of Apple and encouraged the victims to send him their usernames and passwords, or to enter them on a third-party website, where he would later retrieve them.

An addition to my list of similar articles for other social media.

Why bother inventing falsehoods when the truth is bad enough? Is this the path to Ad Revenue?
Liker, a Facebook Alternative for Liberals, Is Hive of False Claims About Trump
In the world of the anti-Trump Facebook #Resistance, no one has a bigger soapbox than Omar Rivero, the founder of the Occupy Democrats Facebook page.
Along with his brother Rafael, Rivero has amassed 7 million followers and an estimated six figures in monthly ad revenue for the page with viral-ready videos and infographics. In 2017, the Miami New Times noted that Occupy Democrats has more influence on Facebook “than virtually any other news source in America.”
But Rivero’s success has also brought attention to Occupy Democrats’ relaxed attitude toward the truth. Occupy Democrats has repeatedly been dinged by fact-checking sites for posting exaggerated or invented news stories, earning several “pants on fire” ratings from PolitiFact and amassing a number of mentions on hoax-debunking site Snopes. Brooke Binkowski, a journalist who covered Occupy Democrats as the managing editor of Snopes, told The Daily Beast that the page’s headlines were often “extremely misleading.”

I know some people who could have saved a lot of money had this been the rule of the land a few years ago.
Important Appeals Court Ruling States Clearly That Merely Having An IP Address Is Insufficient For Infringement Claims
Tons of copyright lawsuits (and even more copyright trolling shakedowns that never even reach court) are based on one single bit of data: the IP address. We've seen numerous district courts reject using a bare IP address as evidence of infringement, but now we have a very important (even if short and to the point) ruling in the 9th Circuit that could put a serious damper on copyright trolling.
In this copyright action, we consider whether a bare allegation that a defendant is the registered subscriber of an Internet Protocol (“IP”) address associated with infringing activity is sufficient to state a claim for direct or contributory infringement. We conclude that it is not.
The case involved well known copyright trolling lawyer Carl Crowell representing Cobbler Nevada LLC. As we discussed in our article on the district court decision, the actions in this case were particularly nefarious. Crowell quickly learned that the IP address in question belonged to an adult foster care home, but decided to go after the operator, Thomas Gonzales, even though he was aware that any of the many residents or staff may have actually been responsible for the infringement. Gonzales (reasonably) refused to just cough up the names and details of residents and staff without a court order, and Crowell's response was just to go after Gonzales directly. But the facts of this case made it especially easy for the lower court to highlight how a mere IP address is not nearly enough to allege infringement.
… The only connection between Gonzales and the infringement was that he was the registered internet subscriber and that he was sent infringement notices. To establish a claim of copyright infringement, Cobbler Nevada “must show that [it] owns the copyright and that the defendant himself violated one or more of the plaintiff’s exclusive rights under the Copyright Act.” Ellison v. Robertson, 357 F.3d 1072, 1076 (9th Cir. 2004). Cobbler Nevada has not done so.

A resource for my Data Management students.
Data Management University

Another non-automotive company plans to enter the electric vehicle market.
Dyson's EV ambitions include 10 miles of test tracks
Dyson is most definitely serious about its plans to release an electric vehicle. The company has outlined its proposed second growth phase for its EV development facility at Hullavington Airfield, and the plans are more than a little ambitious. Its application would create more than 10 miles of test tracks around the former base, including specialized tracks for hill and off-roading tests. You'd also see more than 480,000 square feet of new new development space with room for 2,000-plus workers.

For my students who like to watch videos while I lecture.
Students can stream Spotify, Hulu, and Showtime all for less than $5 a month
Listen to your favorite music, watch your favorite shows, and catch up on a few series you couldn't watch before with this expanded bundle from Spotify that now includes Hulu and Showtime. Spotify first teamed up with Hulu late last year to offer a similar service, but Showtime is a new addition that doesn't add anything to the price. That's a great combo of programs, especially if you don't have cable but do have access to some high-speed Internet. You will need to prove you're attending a Title IV accredited institution to get the deal, so no fooling the system.
The bundle includes a subscription to Spotify Premium, Hulu with Limited Commercials, and Showtime streaming services. The Hulu subscription is regularly $7.99 a month by itself. Spotify Premium is $9.99 and Showtime is $10.99 a month when purchased directly. There are lots of ways to get discounts on all of these services, but getting all three together for $4.99 is nuts.

He could be talking about my students!

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Aren’t most Twitter accounts trying to “manipulate” their audience? “Vote Republican!” “Buy my album” “Send me money and I’ll unlock your files”
Twitter Suspends Accounts Engaged in Manipulation
Twitter this week announced the suspension of a total of 770 accounts for “engaging in coordinated manipulation.”
The suspensions were performed in two waves. One last week, when the social networking platform purged 284 accounts, many of which supposedly originated from Iran, and another this week, when 486 more accounts were kicked for the same reason.
The report triggered reactions from large Internet companies, including Facebook and Google. The former removed 652 pages, groups, and accounts suspected of being tied to Russia and Iran, while the latter blocked 39 YouTube channels and disabled six Blogger and 13 Google+ accounts.

I imagine rich neighborhoods will tweak the algorithm to keep more people in jail. And if anyone released re-offends, “Hey! The computer made me release him!”
California Becomes First State To End Cash Bail After 40-Year Fight
California will become the first state in the nation to abolish bail for suspects awaiting trial under a sweeping reform bill signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday.
An overhaul of the state's bail system has been in the works for years, and became an inevitability earlier this year when a California appellate court declared the state's cash bail system unconstitutional. The new law goes into effect in October 2019.
… Under the California law those arrested and charged with a crime won't be putting up money or borrowing it from a bail bond agent to obtain their release. Instead, local courts will decide who to keep in custody and whom to release while they await trial. Those decisions will be based on an algorithm created by the courts in each jurisdiction.

Reminds me of the fight Phil Zimmerman had to publish PGP software. Same law. Same chance of the government keeping these files from terrorists – ZERO. After all, nothing will keep terrorist groups from doing exactly what Cody Wilson did.
After court order, 3D-printed gun pioneer now sells pay-what-you-want CAD files
During what he called his first ever press conference, Defense Distributed founder Cody Wilson announced Tuesday that he would continue to comply with a federal court order forbidding him from internationally publishing CAD files of firearms. Wilson said he would also begin selling copies of his 3D-printed gun files for a "suggested price" of $10 each.
The files, crucially, will be transmitted to customers "on a DD-branded flash drive" in the United States. Wilson also mentioned looking into customer email and secure download links.
Previously, Defense Distributed had given the files away for free, globally.

Perspective. Words of hate.
Fanning the Flames of Hate: Social Media and Hate Crime
Müller, Karsten and Schwarz, Carlo, Fanning the Flames of Hate: Social Media and Hate Crime (May 21, 2018). Available at SSRN: or
“This paper investigates the link between social media and hate crime using Facebook data. We study the case of Germany, where the recently emerged right-wing party Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) has developed a major social media presence. We show that right-wing anti-refugee sentiment on Facebook predicts violent crimes against refugees in otherwise similar municipalities with higher social media usage. To further establish causality, we exploit exogenous variation in major internet and Facebook outages, which fully undo the correlation between social media and hate crime. We further find that the effect decreases with distracting news events; increases with user network interactions; and does not hold for posts unrelated to refugees. Our results suggest that social media can act as a propagation mechanism between online hate speech and real-life violent crime.”

Perspective. Confirming a few speculations… [Problems with the link?]
Using Twitter to Visualize Polarization
Center for Data Innovation“MIT Technology Review has created a set of visualizations that uses data about Twitter activity to illustrate the polarization of political discourse in the United States. The visualizations include multiple cluster maps demonstrating that accounts that follow each other tweet similar content. In addition, diagrams show that the most partisan accounts, which include bot accounts that tweet hundreds of times a day, tweet significantly more than accounts in the political center. The visualizations also show the polarization of Turkish and Russian accounts.”

My book would be: How to guarantee security!

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Big population, big breach.
Nicole Jao reports:
Personal data and booking information from 13 hotels operated by Huazhu Hotels Group (华住酒店集团) has reportedly been leaked in what could be the largest data breach in China in five years, according to Chinese cybersecurity media FreeBuf (in Chinese).
This morning, a post on a Chinese dark web forum titled “Huazhu-owned hotels booking data” claimed to be selling personal data and information of customers from Huazhu-owned hotels including Hanting Inns and Hotels (汉庭酒店), Hi Inn (海友酒店), and JI Hotel (全季酒店).
Read more on TechNode.
[From the article: Leaked information potentially includes 240 million lines of data containing phone numbers, email addresses, bank account numbers, and booking details.

Security isn’t perfect. That’s why we need to educate employees.
Email Impersonation Attacks Increase by 80%
The latest ESRA report from Mimecast indicates just why email attacks are so loved by cybercriminals, and why organizations need to take email security more seriously.
ESRA is Mimecast's ongoing Email Security Risk Assessment quarterly analysis. Working with 37 organizations across 20 different industries, Mimecast compares the email threats it detects to those detected by the organizations' incumbent email security technologies. The results provide two major sets of statistics: the volume of threats that go undetected by the incumbent technologies; and the sheer size of the email threat.
The latest report (PDF) covers more than 142 million emails received by almost 261,924 users. The incumbent email security was Office 365 and Proofpoint.
ESRA's analysis shows that a total of more than 19 million spam emails; 13,176 emails containing dangerous file types; and 15,656 malware attachments were missed by the incumbent security and delivered to users' inboxes. It also discovered 203,000 malicious links within just over 10 million emails that were delivered to inboxes – a ratio of around one unstopped malicious link in every fifty inspected emails.
This doesn't mean that the bad emails were effective, only that they were delivered to their destination.

“Generals are always prepared to fight the last war.”
LikeWar: How Social Media Became The Locus Of 21st Century War
In LikeWar: The Weaponization of Social Media, authors Peter W. Singer (Ghost Fleet) and Emerson T. Brooking (Interesting Times) examine this new 21st century way of war. It’s a battlefield whose soldiers are Russian trolls and whose generals include a World of Warcraft player who proved Russian forces downed a passenger jet over Ukraine. Most importantly, it’s a battlefield in which every American is a potential target.

Is DNA unlike any other evidence left at a crime scene?

Don’t want the police to find you through a DNA database? It may already be too late.

Stuart Leavenworth reports:
It’s a forensics technique that has helped crack several cold cases. Across the country, investigators are analyzing DNA and using basic genealogy to find relatives of potential suspects in the hope that these “familial searches” will lead them to the killer.
Familial searches led California authorities to arrest Joseph James DeAngelo in the Golden State Killer probe in April, and investigators have since used it to make breakthroughs in several other unsolved murder cases, including four in Washington state, Pennsylvania, Texas and North Carolina.
But as these searches proliferate, they are raising concerns about police engagement in “DNA dragnets” and “genetic stop and frisk” techniques. And as public DNA databases grow and are accessed by law enforcement, investigators may soon have the ability to track down nearly anyone, even people who never submitted their genetic material for analysis.
Read more on McClatchyDC.

Amazon is like ‘climate change’ for the economy.
Amazon effect study: Cavallo explains how retail pricing has changed
Over time, it's become a widely accepted fact that Amazon has pushed retail prices lower.
The company's offerings are so diverse that they can afford to sell many products at razor-thin margins, then make up for it in other, less competitive areas.
In the process, Amazon forces other retailers to lower their prices, putting pressure on their bottom lines. And, in many cases, it's forced these competitors to permanently alter their pricing strategies.
But it doesn't end there. A new study from Harvard Business School argues that the so-called "Amazon effect" has increased both the frequency and magnitude of retail price fluctuations.
The paper, written by associate professor Alberto Cavallo and presented at the Kansas City Fed's annual symposium, looks at how these two measures have changed over the past decade.
Cavallo finds that the Amazon effect has streamlined retail pricing and forced companies to be more adaptable to conditions. Further, as a byproduct of that, he notes that pricing has become more uniform across locations.
… Elsewhere in his paper, Cavallo breaks down how the Amazon effect is impacting the Federal Reserve. After all, consumer price inflation is arguably the most important piece of the central bank's monetary policy — and the rate at which it's planning to hike interest rates.
… Cavallo sums it all up nicely in his study:
"Retail prices are becoming less 'insulated' from these common nationwide shocks," he said. "Fuel prices, exchange-rate fluctuations, or any other force affecting costs that may enter the pricing algorithms used by these firms are more likely to have a faster and larger impact on retail prices that in the past."

PwC: Regulatory Uncertainty and Lack of User Trust Inhibit Blockchain Adoption
Regulatory uncertainty and trust are major barriers to blockchain adoption among businesses, according to a study released August 27 by ‘Big Four’ auditing firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).
… According to the study, four in five executives worldwide, which represent 84 percent of respondents, have blockchain initiatives in progress, 25 percent of which have fully live blockchain implementations or launched pilot projects.
46 percent of respondents identified the financial sector as the leader in terms of blockchain development in the next three to five years. Respondents also identified sectors with emerging potential for the same period of time as energy and utilities (14 percent), healthcare (14 percent), and industrial manufacturing (12 percent).

I can create my own emoji? Life is now perfect!
Google Gboard can use selfies to create a 'Mini' version of you
If you want to send friends custom emoji using Gboard, you can either tap into your Bitmoji sticker collection... or use the keyboard's latest feature. Google has launched "Mini" stickers for iOS and Android, which use machine learning to craft personalized emoji from your photo. More precisely, the feature uses a combination of machine learning, neural networks and artist illustrations to conjure up the best representation of you, taking into account various characteristics like your skin tone, hair color and style, eye color, face shape and facial hair. Just access Mini from within Gboard and start the creation process by taking a selfie. It will then automatically create your avatar and generate packs of stickers you can use.

A question: Suppressing or can’t find?
Trump claims Google is suppressing positive news about him and ‘will be addressed’

For my fellow teachers.
Get Your Copy of the 2018-19 Practical Ed Tech Handbook
Last night subscribers to the Practical Ed Tech Newsletter were sent copies of the 2018-19 Practical Ed Tech Handbook. This annual publication is a free, 36 page PDF that highlights my favorite educational technology sites and apps.
The Practical Ed Tech Handbook is organized into nine sections. Those sections are:
  • Communication tools and strategies.
  • Search strategies.
  • Digital citizenship.
  • Video creation and flipped lessons.
  • Audio recording and publishing.
  • Backchannels and informal assessments.
  • Digital portfolios.
  • Augmented reality and virtual reality.
  • Programming.
You can download a copy of the Practical Ed Tech Handbook here, view it as a Google Doc, or view it as embedded below.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Should I be training my students to fight this war? The logistics of Cyberwar are all handled by the computer.
Future Cyberwar
A report for the Center for Strategic and International Studies looks at surprise and war. One of the report's cyberwar scenarios is particularly compelling. It doesn't just map cyber onto today's tactics, but completely re-imagines future tactics that include a cyber component (quote starts on page 110).
The U.S. secretary of defense had wondered this past week when the other shoe would drop. Finally, it had, though the U.S. military would be unable to respond effectively for a while.
The scope and detail of the attack, not to mention its sheer audacity, had earned the grudging respect of the secretary. Years of worry about a possible Chinese "Assassin's Mace" -- a silver bullet super-weapon capable of disabling key parts of the American military -- turned out to be focused on the wrong thing.
The cyber attacks varied. Sailors stationed at the 7th Fleet' s homeport in Japan awoke one day to find their financial accounts, and those of their dependents, empty. Checking, savings, retirement funds: simply gone. The Marines based on Okinawa were under virtual siege by the populace, whose simmering resentment at their presence had boiled over after a YouTube video posted under the account of a Marine stationed there had gone viral. The video featured a dozen Marines drunkenly gang-raping two teenaged Okinawan girls. The video was vivid, the girls' cries heart-wrenching the cheers of Marines sickening And all of it fake. The National Security Agency's initial analysis of the video had uncovered digital fingerprints showing that it was a computer-assisted lie, and could prove that the Marine's account under which it had been posted was hacked. But the damage had been done.
There was the commanding officer of Edwards Air Force Base whose Internet browser history had been posted on the squadron's Facebook page. His command turned on him as a pervert; his weak protestations that he had not visited most of the posted links could not counter his admission that he had, in fact, trafficked some of them. Lies mixed with the truth. Soldiers at Fort Sill were at each other's throats thanks to a series of text messages that allegedly unearthed an adultery ring on base.
The variations elsewhere were endless. Marines suddenly owed hundreds of thousands of dollars on credit lines they had never opened; sailors received death threats on their Twitter feeds; spouses and female service members had private pictures of themselves plastered across the Internet; older service members received notifications about cancerous conditions discovered in their latest physical.
Leadership was not exempt. Under the hashtag # PACOMMUSTGO a dozen women allegedly described harassment by the commander of Pacific command. Editorial writers demanded that, under the administration's "zero tolerance" policy, he step aside while Congress held hearings.
There was not an American service member or dependent whose life had not been digitally turned upside down. In response, the secretary had declared "an operational pause," directing units to stand down until things were sorted out.
Then, China had made its move, flooding the South China Sea with its conventional forces, enforcing a sea and air identification zone there, and blockading Taiwan. But the secretary could only respond weakly with a few air patrols and diversions of ships already at sea. Word was coming in through back channels that the Taiwanese government, suddenly stripped of its most ardent defender, was already considering capitulation.
I found this excerpt here. The autor is Mark Cancian.

Strange that my local library only had this as an audio book.
Bill Gates – Not enough people are paying attention to this economic trend
Gates Notes: The Blog of Bill Gates – “The portion of the world’s economy that doesn’t fit the old model just keeps getting larger. That has major implications for everything from tax law to economic policy to which cities thrive and which cities fall behind, but in general, the rules that govern the economy haven’t kept up. This is one of the biggest trends in the global economy that isn’t getting enough attention…the brilliant new book Capitalism Without Capital by Jonathan Haskel and Stian Westlake is about as good an explanation as I’ve seen. They start by defining intangible assets as “something you can’t touch.” It sounds obvious, but it’s an important distinction because intangible industries work differently than tangible industries. Products you can’t touch have a very different set of dynamics in terms of competition and risk and how you value the companies that make them…
“…What the book reinforced for me is that lawmakers need to adjust their economic policymaking to reflect these new realities. For example, the tools many countries use to measure intangible assets are behind the times, so they’re getting an incomplete picture of the economy. The U.S. didn’t include software in GDP calculations until 1999. Even today, GDP doesn’t count investment in things like market research, branding, and training—intangible assets that companies are spending huge amounts of money on. Measurement isn’t the only area where we’re falling behind—there are a number of big questions that lots of countries should be debating right now. Are trademark and patent laws too strict or too generous? Does competition policy need to be updated? How, if at all, should taxation policies change? What is the best way to stimulate an economy in a world where capitalism happens without the capital? We need really smart thinkers and brilliant economists digging into all of these questions. Capitalism Without Capital is the first book I’ve seen that tackles them in depth, and I think it should be required reading for policymakers. It took time for the investment world to embrace companies built on intangible assets. In the early days of Microsoft, I felt like I was explaining something completely foreign to people. Our business plan involved a different way of looking at assets than investors were used to. They couldn’t imagine what returns we would generate over the long term…”

Because I’m a Science Fiction fan.
Commentary – The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction is the Best Place on the Internet
Literary Hub, MH Rowe: “Of all the things you can read on the internet, The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction is one of the only good ones. In perpetual conversation with itself, ever growing and expanding—perhaps threatening, in its accumulated obsessions, to become self-aware—this index of the fantastic documents possible pasts and futures alike. It bristles with Tarzan arcana and the history of Croatian science fiction. It features enthusiastic discussions of Medieval futurism, feminism, bug-eyed monsters, dream hacking, and Leonardo da Vinci. Almost any sci-fi author you care to mention has an entry there, alongside accounts of many authors no one cares to mention at all. That you could be reading it right now goes without saying, since in some alternate universe you surely are.
While the SFE’s purview is “science fiction” broadly conceived, its articles have warring impulses. On the one hand, they aim to educate. Within these pages, you’ll find explanations of numerous literary tropes, both those well-known (the generation starship used in many tales of space exploration) and those more obscure (a jonbar point, or the small, seemingly insignificant moment that proves to be the difference between two alternate histories, in time-travel stories). But when the entry on Gene Wolfe declares that he is “quite possibly” science fiction’s most important writer, no shy excuse for this partiality follows. More than informative, this encyclopedia enthuses, anoints, or dismisses. What it has to say about Joanna Russ, Octavia Butler, Kim Stanley Robinson, and J.G. Ballard is aimed squarely at canons and reputations. The SFE quarrels its way into being encyclopedic…”

I won't dance, don't ask me
I won't dance, don't ask me
I won't dance, madam, with you
I won't dance. Why should I?
I won't dance. How could I?
I won't dance, merci beaucoup
Deepfakes for dancing: you can now use AI to fake those dance moves you always wanted
Artificial intelligence is proving to be a very capable tool when it comes to manipulating videos of people. Face-swapping deepfakes have been the most visible example, but new applications are being found every day. The latest? Call it deepfakes for dancing. It uses AI to read someone’s dance moves and copy them on to a target body.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

You might think someone would notice unauthorized access to such sensitive material.
How an international hacker network turned stolen press releases into $100 million
… Newswires like Business Wire are clearinghouses for corporate information, holding press releases, regulatory announcements, and other market-moving information under strict embargo before sending it out to the world. Over a period of at least five years, three US newswires were hacked using a variety of methods from SQL injections and phishing emails to data-stealing malware and illicitly acquired login credentials. Traders who were active on US stock exchanges drew up shopping lists of company press releases and told the hackers when to expect them to hit the newswires. The hackers would then upload the stolen press releases to foreign servers for the traders to access in exchange for 40 percent of their profits, paid to various offshore bank accounts. Through interviews with sources involved with both the scheme and the investigation, chat logs, and court documents, The Verge has traced the evolution of what law enforcement would later call one of the largest securities fraud cases in US history.

Even the smartest Computer Security manager will have problems with “stupid.”
Taylor Telford reports:
Somewhere in Western Australia, a government IT employee is probably laughing or crying or pulling their hair out, or maybe all of the above. A security audit of the Western Australian government released this week by the state’s auditor general found that 26 percent of its officials had weak, common passwords — including more than 5,000 including the word “password” out of 234,000 in 17 government agencies.
The legions of lazy passwords were exactly what you — or a thrilled hacker — would expect: 1,464 people went for “Password123” and 813 used “password1.” Nearly 200 individuals simply used “password,” perhaps never changing it to begin with. Almost 13,000 used variations of the date and season, and almost 7,000 included versions of “123
Read more on TBO.

Is this as counter-intuitive as I think it is? Are we Balkanizing the Internet?
Instagram is testing virtual communities for college students
Facebook's pledge to "spark conversations and meaningful interactions" apparently extends to Instagram. The photo-sharing app has started testing a feature designed to bring college students going to the same university together in a virtual community. According to CNBC, the Facebook-owned company is inviting select users to join groups for their schools based on the accounts they follow, their connections and their public posts. If someone who got invited chooses to try it out, they have to opt in by choosing their university and graduating year from a set of predetermined choices.

This is subtle, but most of Scott Adams’ Dilbert cartoons have reflected his opinion of President Trump. Just change the words ‘first draft’ to any current Trump topic…