Saturday, December 28, 2019

Your ERP Needs To Speak with the Internet Of Things
The Internet of Things, with its higher degree of integration between internal systems and the wider world of data and the cloud, is a phenomenon here to stay for major companies. Companies without an IoT strategy will quickly fall behind.

Some Best Practices…
CCPA: What Does It Mean For AI (Artificial Intelligence)?
… As with any new law, there will be tests in the courts. But it does seem clear that the CCPA will mean that plenty of companies will have to rethink their approaches with AI.
“Many AI applications gather or process consumers' personal information for various purposes,” said Harley Geiger, who is the Director of Public Policy at Rapid7. “Those activities would be subject to the CCPA's requirements. So, for example, a company may need to disclose to consumers that it uses browsing history to aid algorithmic decisions, and a company may need to allow consumers to delete personal information from automated services that learn from that personal information.”
At a minimum, companies should tighten up their compliance policies, which may also mean purchasing new tools for monitoring.
… Then what are some best practices to consider? Here’s a look:

Library ebook services as an investment?
KKR investment firm to buy OverDrive, biggest library ebook company
TeleRead – David Rothman – “Toxic for libraries? The KKR investment firm is buying none other than OverDrive the biggest library ebook company, providing ebooks and audiobooks to 43,000+ libraries and schools in 75 countries. The seller is Rakuten, also owner of the Kobo ereader, audiobook and ebook business. “The two sides did not provide a price tag for the Ohio-based property, which Rakuten purchased for $410 million in 2015,” MarketWatch reports, “but Rakuten said it would recognize about $365.6 million in profit from the sale in the first quarter of 2020.”

Perspective. Should 6% be treated as a monopoly? Why I’m confused by the talk of antitrust.
What's Amazon's market share? 35% or 5%?
  • Amazon is a big company, but what does that mean? How big is ‘big’? What does ‘dominant’ or ‘scale’ or ‘huge’ mean when US retail is $6 trillion a year?
  • Running the numbers, Amazon has about 35% of US ecommerce. But, it competes with physical retailers as well - it competes with Macy’s, Walmart and Barnes & Noble. On that basis, Amazon’s real market share of its real target market is closer to 6% (it’s 2/3 the size of Walmart)
  • Regulators pick and choose market definitions depending on their objective, and this will probably happen to Amazon - it’s definitely dominant in books and definitely not in cars. But if we’re going to worry about the scale of the Amazon machine, which scale are we talking about? That’s a political question as much as it’s an economic one.

For my students.
15 jobs no one knew about in 2010 that everyone will want in 2020
10. Cybersecurity specialists have seen 30% annual growth in demand in the past five years.
Skills unique to the job: Cybersecurity, information security, network security, vulnerability assessment
Top hiring cities: Washington, D.C., New York, San Francisco Bay Area, Chicago, Denver

Friday, December 27, 2019

What did you get for Christmas?
Smart Home Tech, Police, and Your Privacy: Year in Review 2019
EFF: “If 2019 confirmed anything, it is that we should not trust the microphones and cameras that large corporations sell us to put inside and near our homes. Thanks to the due diligence of reporters, public records requesters, and privacy researchers and activists, consumers have been learning more and more about how these “smart” home technologies can be hacked, exploited, or utilized by the police and other law enforcement agencies. Because many technologies that record audio and video store their data on a cloud maintained by the company, police can gain access to stored content by presenting a warrant to those companies—bypassing consumers altogether. For instance, in November, police in Florida obtained a warrant for the recordings from an Amazon Echo that may have overheard a crime. This means that whether people think their Alexa is listening or not, their Alexa could be listening. Because Amazon stores and maintains that data, things said in the device’s presence can be made accessible to police via a warrant presented to the company…”

Starting to see the problem.
Law must be adapted for the Fourth Industrial Revolution
We are at the borders of a new revolution, characterized by a range of new technologies that are merging the physical worlds, impacting all disciplines, economies and industries. It merges the capabilities of both the human and the machine, encompassing a wide swath of areas such as artificial intelligence, genome editing, biometrics, renewable energy, 3D printing, autonomous vehicles and the Internet of Things. Tech optimists posit that the wave of exponential growth in smart tech, artificial intelligence, machines and the interconnectedness of all aspects of modern life through technology will bring profound changes to society, and creates an unprecedented shift from the way we are familiar with — how we behave, interact and think.
However, like the industrial revolutions preceding it, the shifts in power brought about by such human-technological systems also bring about issues of inequality in terms of who benefits, as well as challenges to security, privacy and community.
… The legal challenges imposed by the Fourth Industrial Revolution are both new and greater. Data has now become a valuable business asset which fosters innovation, and lawyers must begin to ask the right questions in order to understand the creation process of data assets, its monetary value, and how it drives business.

IP is tougher in India? Some bits from the article.
Internet of Things (IoT) and Intellectual Property- The Interconnect
It has been predicted that by the year 2025, approximately 80 billion devices will be connected making an estimated economic impact of about $3.9 trillion to $11.1 trillion per year[1]. With IoT said to be the next big thing, companies are spending huge amounts of money in the development of their versions of IoT to cash-in on the growing market trend.
… Companies such as Dell, Qualcomm, Google and even Rolls Royce have spent enormous amounts of money towards IoT. The International Data Corporation (IDC) has predicted a worldwide spending on IoT to reach $745 billion by the end of year 2019.[5] The numbers shows the potential growth revenues of this market and the seriousness of IP in the regard.
IoT and Patents
There has been a tremendous increase in the number of patent filings by tech giants in the field of IoT.
Software Patenting
Software per se is not protected under the Patent laws in India i.e. the source code cannot be protected.
IoT and Copyrights
Certain elements of computer programs can be protected by copyright as long as they are original. The code language in which the computer program is written, the graphical user interface (GUI) and the data collected or generated by the device are all copyrightable.[7]
Data ownership disputes
Although it is safe to say that copyright shall vest in the data collected by these IoT incorporated devices, however, it is difficult to ascertain the owner of such data.

Paper book readers better at various abilities than e-book readers
The Japan News: “People who habitually read paper books tend to have a higher degree of willingness to work on anything and to think more multilaterally than those who prefer to read electronic books on a smartphone or a computer, according to a recent survey by the National Institution For Youth Education, which was released Monday…
People who have a habit of reading possess such abilities regardless of the medium. But the survey has made it clearer that physical book readers are better in those abilities,” an official of the institution said…”

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Our propaganda is better than Russian propaganda. Maybe.
U.S. Cybercom contemplates information warfare to counter Russian interference in 2020 election
Military cyber officials are developing information warfare tactics that could be deployed against senior Russian officials and oligarchs if Moscow tries to interfere in the 2020 U.S. elections through hacking election systems or sowing widespread discord, according to current and former U.S. officials.
One option being explored by U.S. Cyber Command would target senior leadership and Russian elites, though probably not President Vladimir Putin, which would be considered too provocative, said the current and former officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the issue’s sensitivity. The idea would be to show that the target’s sensitive personal data could be hit if the interference did not stop, though officials declined to be more specific.

Training students to obey.
Colleges are turning students’ phones into surveillance machines
Washington Post – “When Syracuse University freshmen walk into professor Jeff Rubin’s Introduction to Information Technologies class, seven small Bluetooth beacons hidden around the Grant Auditorium lecture hall connect with an app on their smartphones and boost their “attendance points.” And when they skip class? The SpotterEDU app sees that, too, logging their absence into a campus database that tracks them over time and can sink their grade. It also alerts Rubin, who later contacts students to ask where they’ve been. His 340-person lecture has never been so full. “They want those points,” he said. “They know I’m watching and acting on it. So, behaviorally, they change.”
Short-range phone sensors and campuswide WiFi networks are empowering colleges across the United States to track hundreds of thousands of students more precisely than ever before. Dozens of schools now use such technology to monitor students’ academic performance, analyze their conduct or assess their mental health. But some professors and education advocates argue that the systems represent a new low in intrusive technology, breaching students’ privacy on a massive scale. The tracking systems, they worry, will infantilize students in the very place where they’re expected to grow into adults, further training them to see surveillance as a normal part of living, whether they like it or not…

Background. A starting point for my lecture.
What Should Privacy Awareness Training Include?

A question for my students.
What the HiQ vs. LinkedIn Case Means for Automated Web Scraping
The implications of the litigation between LinkedIn and HiQ are profound, but the case itself is simple enough to understand. It centered around LinkedIn’s invocation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act in a cease-and-desist letter to HiQ.
HiQ is a data analytics firm that provides business intelligence based on publicly-available data scraped from LinkedIn. Like many businesses today, they depend on access to public-facing data to be able to function. One of the unspoken but very salient questions raised by the case is where the line between public and private data lies.
During the case, the EFF filed an amicus brief that emphasized to the court how vital scraping is to a number of industries. Web scraping isn’t just used commercially. It is vital for research and has a number of other beneficial uses.
The Ninth Circuit affirmed that any data that required no authorization to access and was freely available by default was fair game for scraping. As the court pointed out, ‘authorization’ to access data is implicit unless steps are taken to restrict general access.
LinkedIn appears to have interpreted the court’s ruling as meaning that any and all data that requires a login is private and LinkedIn can revoke access to it. As a result, LinkedIn is now requiring users to login before being able to browse the platform.
Finally, the case touches on one of the most important data and privacy issues of our time. Who actually owns our personal data? The Ninth Circuit’s ruling would appear to affirm that it is us that owns our data. Any platforms we share that data with are merely licensed to use it, they don’t own it outright.

It seems easier to copy the flawed thinking of others than to think on one’s own.
Why Americans Should Worry About the New EU Copyright Rules
Berkman Klein Center – Julia Reda – “Last spring, 200,000 Europeans took to the streets to protest against a new EU copyright law that risks to restrict online culture and block vast numbers of legal online communications such as memes, reaction gifs, video game reviews or remixes. It is the latest clash between a generation that has grown up with the Internet as a means of cultural expression and a much older generation of lawmakers who prioritize the interests of entertainment companies over online culture. Although the protests were sparked by EU legislation, US academics and activists should be paying close attention. Ever since the adoption of the General Data Protection Regulation, EU regulation of online platform companies has become a topic of global interest. Not only are European policy-makers keener than their US counterparts to regulate the mostly American tech companies that have gained significant market power over the last two decades. For better or for worse, the European Union has increasingly become capable of setting global regulatory standards, through the inclusion of its internet legislation in trade agreements, or by making compliance with these rules a precondition for accessing the vast EU market of over 500 million consumers..”

Big Data means GIGO writ large.
No artificial intelligence without data architecture
… "The real value created by consumers lies in how we make sense of this data. As this data becomes meaningful, new applications are constantly emerging where we can use these meanings. At this point, both new areas of use emerge, and AI provides better predictions for these uses," Daghelian said. "The best example is health care. As the areas of use develop, better patient care emerges. Or just take a look at customer services. Better customer service is now available. Look at production, there are new applications that can make millions of dollars. AI makes sense of this data and leads to new applications in new fields. If we look at the applications of AI in the field of production and business, we see that it remains as single-digit figures. But it is moving very fast. Even in 12 months, great progress is being made. A year later, as our customers build better data infrastructure, we will see more and more AI applications in large areas. And companies will begin to take advantage of these practices and rapidly increase their success."

Dilbert on persuasion.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

There must be guidance somewhere that would help avoid these recurring problems!
As Georgia rolls out new voting machines for 2020, worries about election security persist
Last month, voters in six Georgia counties cast ballots for local elections using new touch-screen voting machines that officials have said will resolve long-standing questions about the security of the state’s election system.
Richard DeMillo, a professor of computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology, said he was worried as he visited polling places in a county north of Atlanta.
DeMillo said bystanders could easily see the screens from 30 feet away, presenting serious privacy concerns. In some counties, elections officials reported that programming problems led to delays in checking in voters, and in some precincts, the machines unexpectedly shut down and rebooted.
Georgia is preparing to roll out 30,000 of the machines in every polling place for its presidential primary in March, replacing a paperless electronic voting system that a federal judge declared insecure and unreliable.
But election security experts said the state’s newest voting machines also remain vulnerable to potential intrusions or malfunctions — and some view the paper records they produce as insufficient if a verified audit of the vote is needed.

We’re gonna need AI Lawyers.
In the 2020s, human-level A.I. will arrive, and finally pass the Turing test
The past decade has seen the rise of remarkably human personal assistants, increasing automation in transportation and industrial environments, and even the alleged passing of Alan Turing’s famous robot consciousness test. Such innovations have taken artificial intelligence out labs and into our hands.
One such area to keep on eye on going forward into a new decade will be partially defined by this question: what kind of legal status will A.I. be granted as their capabilities and intelligence continues to scale closer to that of humans? This is a conversation the archipelago nation Malta started in 2018 when its leaders proposed that it should prepare to grant or deny citizenship to A.I.’s just as they would humans.
The logic behind this being that A.I.’s of the future could have just as much agency and potential to cause disruption as any other non-robotic being. Francois Piccione, policy advisor for the Maltese government, told Inverse in 2019 that not taking such measures would be irresponsible.
While the 2020s might not see fully fledged citizenship for A.I.’s, Inverse predicts that there will be increasing legal scrutiny in coming years over who is legally responsible over the actions of A.I., whether it be their owners or the companies designing them. Instead of citizenship or visas for A.I., this could lead to further restrictions on the human’s who travel with them and the ways in which A.I. can be used in different settings.

In the Age of AI
Frontline recently produced a fascinating and sobering view on the promise and peril of AI - not as it may present itself in some imagined future, but as it is currently being applied today.
In the Age of AI traces a new information/industrial revolution that will enhance our lives while disrupting our livelihoods, and is manifesting itself as a new “arms race” between the USA and China, with pervasive surveillance as a shred of commonality between the competing AI ecosystems.
It’s a couple hours long, but well worth watching if you want to understand the ripple that is forming and the tsunami that is coming.

Another cautionary tale.
Artificial Intelligence Is Rushing Into Patient Care - And Could Raise Risks
AI systems are not as rigorously tested as other medical devices, and have already made serious mistakes

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

It’s obvious, but still bears repeating.
Seven Reasons For Cybercrime's Meteoric Growth

As good a forecast as any.
A Cybersecurity and Artificial Intelligence Forecast for 2020
We’re going to keep our forecast in the realm of cybersecurity and AI this year, looking at both the threat landscape and the emergence of innovative defenses. Here are five trends we see developing in the new year.
Cybercrime will focus on ransomware and cryptojacking
Malware-as-a-Service becomes increasingly sophisticated
First malware using AI-Models to evade sandboxes will be born in 2020
The rollout of 5G networks will bring new attack vectors
Privacy regulations drive more spending in cybersecurity

Perhaps we need an App to keep the innocent from wandering into a political event?
Opinion | How Your Phone Betrays Democracy
In footage from drones hovering above, the nighttime streets of Hong Kong look almost incandescent, a constellation of tens of thousands of cellphone flashlights, swaying in unison. Each twinkle is a marker of attendance and a plea for freedom. The demonstrators, some clad in masks to thwart the government’s network of facial recognition cameras, find safety in numbers.
But in addition to the bright lights, each phone is also emitting another beacon in the darkness — one that’s invisible to the human eye. This signal is captured and collected, sometimes many times per minute, not by a drone but by smartphone apps. The signal keeps broadcasting, long after the protesters turn off their camera lights, head to their homes and take off their masks.
In the United States, and across the world, any protester who brings a phone to a public demonstration is tracked and that person’s presence at the event is duly recorded in commercial datasets. At the same time, political parties are beginning to collect and purchase phone location for voter persuasion.

First for the rich, then for everyone? A model for other industries?
Technology Is About to Radically Redefine the Luxury Car. Here’s How.
For as long as anyone could remember, a car was a car was a car.
And then, one day, it wasn’t.
Which is to say the notion of an automobile going back a hundred years—a multi-box design on four tires, with a wheel and pedals, aimed by people and powered by orderly little explosions—has been upended by a maelstrom of globalization, technological revolution, environmental reckoning and a wholesale assault on the ownership model. Such extreme disruption has unleashed a rapid evolution of the automotive species, with strange creatures now roaming the roads: Rolls-Royce SUVs and silent, battery-powered Croatian hyper-cars; Cybertrucks and fin-shaped hatchbacks with gullwings and brains big enough to take the wheel for a spell.

Take a look. There moght be something new or something you had not considered before.
The best free software for your PC
PC World – “Start off right with solid security tools, productivity software, and other programs that every PC needs…”

Books to get me thinking again,
7 Classic Books To Deepen Your Understanding of (Artificial) Intelligence
Below is a selection of seven classic books about intelligence: what it is, how we might build machines that have it, and what that would mean for society. These books have played a formative role in the development of the field of AI; their influence continues to be felt today. For anyone seeking a deep understanding of AI's complexities, challenges, and possibilities, they are essential reading.

The 2010s were supposed to bring the ebook revolution
Vox – It never quite came. “Publishing spent the 2010s fighting tooth and nail against ebooks. There were unintended consequences…at the other end of the decade, ebook sales seem to have stabilized at around 20 percent of total book sales, with print sales making up the remaining 80 percent. “Five or 10 years ago,” says Andrew Albanese, a senior writer at trade magazine Publishers Weekly and the author of The Battle of $9.99, “you would have thought those numbers would have been reversed.” And in part, Albanese tells Vox in a phone interview, that’s because the digital natives of Gen Z and the millennial generation have very little interest in buying ebooks. “They’re glued to their phones, they love social media, but when it comes to reading a book, they want John Green in print,” he says. The people who are actually buying ebooks? Mostly boomers. “Older readers are glued to their e-readers,” says Albanese. “They don’t have to go to the bookstore. They can make the font bigger. It’s convenient.”…

Monday, December 23, 2019

How do we prove that you are you and not “some guy in China?”
Chinese hacker group caught bypassing 2FA
Security researchers say they found evidence that a Chinese government-linked hacking group has been bypassing two-factor authentication (2FA) in a recent wave of attacks.
The attacks have been attributed to a group the cyber-security industry is tracking as APT20, believed to operate on the behest of the Beijing government, Dutch cyber-security firm Fox-IT said in a report published last week.
The group's primary targets were government entities and managed service providers (MSPs). The government entities and MSPs were active in fields like aviation, healthcare, finance, insurance, energy, and even something as niche as gambling and physical locks.

Another security failure?
Data, Passwords Easily Extracted From Locked iPhones On iOS 13.3
A Russian cybersecurity company that makes digital forensic tools for law enforcement and business specialists has discovered a way to hack into locked Apple iPhone devices. The method reportedly works on most iPhone models ranging between iPhone 5s and iPhone X. It is also effective on iPhone devices running on iOS 12 through iOS 13.3.
The cybersecurity company is called Elcomsoft. It's newly expanded capability to extract data even on devices running on iOS 13.3, which many claims unlockable, is through the update rolled out on its iOS Forensic Toolkit. The company claims that its iOS Forensic Toolkit can extract specific pieces of data from an iOS device before it has been unlocked.

Implications for Bloggers everywhere!
RCFP urges Delaware court to reject hyperlink republication argument
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and a coalition of 23 news organizations are urging a Delaware court to reject a defamation claim that could threaten the use of hyperlinks in news stories.
In a friend-of-the-court brief, filed on Dec. 19 by Reporters Committee attorneys and David L. Finger of Finger & Slanina LLP, the coalition urges the Delaware Superior Court to rule that linking to previously published articles online does not constitute republication…”

For my Architecture students.
AI infrastructure doesn’t have to be complicated or overwhelming
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Deep Learning (DL) are no longer the exclusive realm of high performance computing (HPC) research used by government and universities. A wide range of industries are now using AI and DL to extract value from data and aid in business decisions. AI is being used to uncover significant breakthroughs in areas such as medical diagnostics, locating financial fraud, autonomous vehicles and speech recognition for a number of market applications. However, AI and DL pose exceptional challenges and put significant strain on compute, storage and network resources. An AI-enabled datacenter must concurrently and efficiently handle activities involved in DL workflows, including data ingest, data curation, training, inference, validation and simulation. Thus, the storage and management of data has become a critical component of today’s data centers.

AI law is likely to be complicated and overwhelming.
EPO rejects ‘AI inventor’ patent applications
Late last week, the European Patent Office (EPO) refused two patent applications that list an artificial intelligence (AI) application as the sole inventor.
After hearing the arguments of the applicant, the EPO refused the European patent applications as they don’t meet the requirement that an inventor designated in the application has to be a human being, not a machine.

Design for uncertainty?
How to teach artificial intelligence and say, “I’m not sure”
One of the biggest challenges in advanced analytics is developing mechanisms to determine how reliable the decisions made by algorithms are. Now, research by BBVA’s Artificial Intelligence Factory is proposing a new method to make machine learning models capable of expressing the uncertainty in their predictions in a clearer manner. It’s an exploratory approach to make artificial intelligence more transparent, measure the reliability of its predictions and fine tune the accuracy of its results.
… “The problem is that these kind of systems do not normally provide us information on the uncertainty underlying their prediction processes,” explains Axel Brando, Data Scientist at BBVA’s AI Factory and one of the authors of the research. In other words, they are trained to always provide a single solution, even when there could be equally probable options, thus crucial information could be lost. “By default, most predictive systems are usually designed in a way that they cannot offer an “I don’t know”, or “I’m not sure” as an answer, he adds. The researcher explains that this situation is problematic when predictive models are applied to risk scenarios where the cost of making mistakes in predictions is sufficiently elevated. In these situations it is preferable to not make automated predictions “when the systems knows that it is very likely that they won’t be correct.”
in order to understand the technical aspects of this work, you can watch a three minute video-summary, read the scientific paper presented at the conference, or experiment with the implementation of the model proposed in the article (UMAL; Uncountable Mixture of Asymmetric Laplacians) individually in different public access problems.

An interesting question for my students. (How far from that are we today?)
Would You Want a Personal AI That Knows Everything About You?
The AI Foundation, which describes itself as “a non-profit and a for-profit organization working to move the world forward with AI responsibly,” is developing a tool that will let anyone build their own AI. Those at the Foundation believe that personalizing and distributing the power of AI, as opposed to having it concentrated and controlled by a select few, will help unleash its full positive potential. They emphasize that the AIs built using their tool will possess each user’s unique values and goals, and will help users overcome limitations we’re currently subject to in the non-personal-AI world.
Author and alternative medicine advocate Deepak Chopra was happy to be the Foundation’s guinea pig: an AI version of him, in the form of an app, will go live in early 2020. Users will be able to talk to digital Deepak and get advice from him, and the app will customize itself to each user; if you tell digital Deepak that you’re prone to sinus infections or that you tend to feel sad on Sundays, he’ll remember and take that information into account for future conversations, perhaps reminding you to devote some extra time to meditation each Sunday morning.

What does your car know about you?
Washington Post – “Our privacy experiment found that automakers collect data through hundreds of sensors and an always-on Internet connection. Driving surveillance is becoming hard to avoid… Cars have become the most sophisticated computers many of us own, filled with hundreds of sensors. Even older models know an awful lot about you. Many copy over personal data as soon as you plug in a smartphone… We’re at a turning point for driving surveillance: In the 2020 model year, most new cars sold in the United States will come with built-in Internet connections, including 100 percent of Fords, GMs and BMWs and all but one model Toyota and Volkswagen. (This independent cellular service is often included free or sold as an add-on.) Cars are becoming smartphones on wheels, sending and receiving data from apps, insurance firms and pretty much wherever their makers want. Some brands even reserve the right to use the data to track you down if you don’t pay your bills…

(Related) Using public data to develop products you didn’t know you wanted.
Social Listening Is Revolutionizing New Product Development
Every day, billions of people talk on social media about where they’ve been, what they’ve bought, and their feelings and opinions about products and services. This information is a gold mine for consumer-facing industries, including retail, consumer goods, retail banking, insurance, and health care. But few companies have acted on this valuable data.
Companies have traditionally relied on surveys, focus groups, and research reports to assess what consumers think of their products or services, but these traditional approaches have several shortcomings. Sample sizes are limited and subject to bias. Studies take time to organize, and results quickly become dated. Moreover, what people say often differs from what they do, like complaining about discount airlines but using them all the same.
Leaders who employ social listening — analyzing what consumers say on social media — can gain a competitive advantage by getting better insights that they can act on quickly, without incurring the higher cost of traditional approaches.