31 Years of the Digest ... founded August 21, 1981
The Telecom Digest for November 12, 2012
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Date: Sat, 10 Nov 2012 18:55:21 -0500 From: Monty Solomon <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com. Subject: Judge Questions Tools That Grab Cellphone Data on Innocent People Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> Judge Questions Tools That Grab Cellphone Data on Innocent People By Jennifer Valentino-DeVries October 22, 2012 A judge in Texas is raising questions about whether investigators are giving courts enough details on technological tools that let them get data on all the cellphones in an area, including those of innocent people. In two cases, Magistrate Judge Brian Owsley rejected federal requests to allow the warrantless use of "stingrays" and "cell tower dumps," two different tools that are used for cellphone tracking. The judge said the government should apply for warrants in the cases, but the attorneys had instead applied for lesser court orders. Among the judge's biggest concerns: that the agents and U.S. attorneys making the requests didn't provide details on how the tools worked or would be used - and even seemed to have trouble explaining the technology. ... http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2012/10/22/judge-questions-tools-that-grab-cellphone-data-on-innocent-people/ ***** Moderator's Note ***** The Wall Street Journal site requires a paid subscription to read articles. Bill Horne Moderator
Date: Sun, 11 Nov 2012 11:07:21 -0500 From: Monty Solomon <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject: When a Palm Reader Knows More Than Your Life Line Message-ID: <email@example.com> When a Palm Reader Knows More Than Your Life Line By NATASHA SINGER November 10, 2012 "PLEASE put your hand on the scanner," a receptionist at a doctor's office at New York University Langone Medical Center said to me recently, pointing to a small plastic device on the counter between us. "I need to take a palm scan for your file." I balked. As a reporter who has been covering the growing business of data collection, I know the potential drawbacks - like customer profiling - of giving out my personal details. But the idea of submitting to an infrared scan at a medical center that would take a copy of the unique vein patterns in my palm seemed fraught. The receptionist said it was for my own good. The medical center, she said, had recently instituted a biometric patient identification system to protect against identity theft. I reluctantly stuck my hand on the machine. If I demurred, I thought, perhaps I'd be denied medical care. Next, the receptionist said she needed to take my photo. After the palm scan, that seemed like data-collection overkill. Then an office manager appeared and explained that the scans and pictures were optional. Alas, my palm was already in the system. No longer the province of security services and science-fiction films, biometric technology is on the march. Facebook uses facial-recognition software so its members can automatically put name tags on friends when they upload their photos. Apple uses voice recognition to power Siri. Some theme parks take digital fingerprints to help recognize season pass holders. Now some hospitals and school districts are using palm vein pattern recognition to identify and efficiently manage their patients or students - in effect, turning your palm into an E-ZPass. ... http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/11/technology/biometric-data-gathering-sets-off-a-privacy-debate.html ***** Moderator's Note ***** Many years ago, I responded to a request from, IIRC, the ACLU, which asked for suggestions on how best to illustrate the dangers of allowing profit-making corporations to assemble commercial databases which would, sooner or later, contain every fact of our lives. I suggested, and they used, the metaphor of a man ordering a pizza over the phone, only to be told that he may only order vegetarian items because meats would contribute to his cholesterol level, and then told that he would have to bring cash because his credit card was maxed out. I also suggested that the metaphorical pizza parlor try to upsell a health-club membership due to the customer's latest weight measurement, but they didn't use that part. Palm scanners have little to do with your health, and everything to do with the Medical Industry's Financial heatlh: they want to track your every move, including the movement of your bank account, and they want to do it in real time so that their computers can choose the most profitable combination of practitioner, service level, and prescription while you're still standing in line without a clue. Bill Horne Moderator
Date: Sat, 10 Nov 2012 16:42:45 -0500 From: Monty Solomon <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com. Subject: How to Devise Passwords That Drive Hackers Away Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> How to Devise Passwords That Drive Hackers Away By NICOLE PERLROTH November 7, 2012 Not long after I began writing about cybersecurity, I became a paranoid caricature of my former self. It's hard to maintain peace of mind when hackers remind me every day, all day, just how easy it is to steal my personal data. Within weeks, I set up unique, complex passwords for every Web site, enabled two-step authentication for my e-mail accounts, and even covered up my computer's Web camera with a piece of masking tape - a precaution that invited ridicule from friends and co-workers who suggested it was time to get my head checked. But recent episodes offered vindication. I removed the webcam tape - after a friend convinced me that it was a little much - only to see its light turn green a few days later, suggesting someone was in my computer and watching. More recently, I received a text message from Google with the two-step verification code for my Gmail account. That's the string of numbers Google sends after you correctly enter the password to your Gmail account, and it serves as a second password. (Do sign up for it.) The only problem was that I was not trying to get into my Gmail account. I was nowhere near a computer. Apparently, somebody else was. It is absurdly easy to get hacked. All it takes is clicking on one malicious link or attachment. Companies' computer systems are attacked every day by hackers looking for passwords to sell on auctionlike black market sites where a single password can fetch $20. Hackers regularly exploit tools like John the Ripper, a free password-cracking program that use lists of commonly used passwords from breached sites and can test millions of passwords per second. ... http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/08/technology/personaltech/how-to-devise-passwords-that-drive-hackers-away.html ***** Moderator's Note ***** http://xkcd.com/936/ Bill Horne Moderator
Date: Sat, 10 Nov 2012 16:42:45 -0500 From: Monty Solomon <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject: T-Mobile widens 4G HSPA+ network in direct bid for iPhone customers Message-ID: <email@example.com> T-Mobile widens 4G HSPA+ network in direct bid for iPhone customers By Mikey Campbell November 07, 2012 T-Mobile on Wednesday announced that it had activated 4G HSPA+ data networks in three new metropolitan areas, taking direct aim at Apple's U.S. carrier partners by noting customers with unlocked iPhones can enjoy quick data speeds an pay less by switching providers. The announcement was posted on the fourth-largest U.S. carrier's blog by Chief Technology Officer Neville Ray, who said the iPhone-compatible HSPA+ service on the 1900 MHz band was being rolled out in parts of Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and Houston. Currently, T-Mobile does not officially carry the iPhone and can only support unlocked versions of the handset. ... http://appleinsider.com/articles/12/11/07/t-mobile-widens-4g-hpsa-network-in-direct-bid-for-iphone-customers
Date: Sat, 10 Nov 2012 09:41:23 -0600 From: Neal McLain <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com. Subject: Re: The Smart TV Viewer's Bill Of Rights Message-ID: <509E75A3.firstname.lastname@example.org> Quoting the article: > 4. The Right to Quality. I didn't buy a 60-inch TV to watch cats, > babies and skateboard wipeouts in my living room. That's what my > office PC is for. > > 5. The Right to Free TV. Our parents watched three channels and > paid nothing. I watch five channels and pay $150 a month. Don't > charge me even more for programs that come from the Internet. This sounds like the latest iteration of the old cable TV "a-la-carte" discussion: pay for only the channels you watch. The market for television programming doesn't work that way. If you subscribe to cable or satellite TV, you're part of the audience for every channel on the dial even if you only watch five of them. Advertising rates are based on "net paid circulation," and every subscriber is part of the circulation for every channel. The advertiser is paying for the right to reach you even if you never watch his advertisements. Not surprisingly, then, programmers all want their programs carried on the basic tier, and they contractually prohibit anything that smells like a-la-carte. Parenthetically, there's been an ongoing discussion within the cable TV industry about moving all sports programming to a separate tier. This, of course, has raised vehement opposition from ESPN et al. Several cable TV companies support the idea, but so far, the programmers are winning the battle. It will take an Act of Congress (literally) to change the situation, and Congress seems to have little interest in getting involved in such a hot-button issue. In any case, internet TV blows up the whole business model. There's no such thing as "basic" service; every program has to stand on its own as a separate retail product. So of course the programmer is going to charge more for each program. Bottom line: you're not going to get internet TV programming at the same per-program price that you pay when it's part of a larger package. Unless, of course, you're happy watching cats, babies and skateboard wipeouts. For more on the a-la-carte issue, see my blog at: http://theoldcatvequipmentmuseum.org/320/321/index.html#alacarte Neal McLain
Date: Sun, 11 Nov 2012 16:10:30 -0500 From: Monty Solomon <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject: Inside the Secret World of the Data Crunchers Who Helped Obama Win Message-ID: <email@example.com> Inside the Secret World of the Data Crunchers Who Helped Obama Win By Michael Scherer Nov. 07, 2012 Time http://swampland.time.com/2012/11/07/inside-the-secret-world-of-quants-and-data-crunchers-who-helped-obama-win/print/ -or- http://tinyurl.com/afspvq6
Date: Sun, 11 Nov 2012 16:10:30 -0500 From: Monty Solomon <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com. Subject: ORCA, Mitt Romney's high-tech get-out-the-vote program, crashed on Election Day Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> ORCA, Mitt Romney's high-tech get-out-the-vote program, crashed on Election Day Online voter-turnout system failed Tuesday By Michael Kranish Globe Staff / November 9, 2012 WASHINGTON - Mitt Romney's online voter-turnout operation suffered a meltdown on Election Day, resulting in a crucial 90-minute "buckling" of the system in Boston and the inability of some campaign workers across the country to use a vital smartphone program, according to campaign officials and volunteers. Code-named ORCA, the program was kept secret until just before the election in order to prevent hacking of the system. It was then trumpeted by Romney's aides as an unrivaled high-tech means of communicating with more than 30,000 field workers who were stationed at polling places on Election Day. Those volunteers were supposed to track who voted and to alert Boston headquarters if turnout was lower than expected at key precincts. But at Boston's TD Garden, where 800 Romney workers were staffing phones and computers in coordination with the field workers to oversee the turnout, the surge in traffic was so great that the system didn't work for 90 minutes, causing panic as staffers frantically tried to restore service. Some campaign workers also reported that they had incorrect PINS and had not been informed that they needed certification to work at polling places. ... http://www.boston.com/news/politics/2012/president/candidates/romney/2012/11/10/orca-mitt-romney-high-tech-get-out-the-vote-program-crashed-election-day/gflS8VkzDcJcXCrHoV0nsI/singlepage.html
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