https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-northern-ireland-46297710 The report stated that an outside air temperature of -52C was mistakenly entered into the Flight Management Computer by a crew member, instead of the actual temperature of 16C. "This, together with the correctly calculated assumed temperature thrust reduction of 48C, meant the aircraft engines were delivering only 60% of their maximum rated thrust," continued the report. The plane took off from the airport with "insufficient power to meet regulated performance requirements" and struck the light. Crew on the flight did not recognise the issue until they reached the end of the runway.
https://www.yahoo.com/news/china-copied-russian-jet-fighter-125900746.html Risk: "Copy and paste" a fighter jet is similar to "copy and paste" for software: new defects can emerge.
https://www.bbc.com/news/health-46337937 A cautionary and balanced essay on medical device risks and regulatory reform within the EU.
via NNSquad https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2018/11/30/marriott-discloses-massive-data-breach-impacting-million-guests/ Security experts also questioned the extent and quality of the encryption used by Marriott. The news release specified that the company used encryption to protect credit card numbers, but the company did not specify whether other personally identifiable information --including names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses and passport numbers—was protected in this way, as security experts recommend. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment as to whether all of the data had been encrypted when accessed by the hackers. The company acknowledged, however, a possible failing in the encryption security it had for credit card numbers, saying that it could not "rule out the possibility" that encryption keys were taken by hackers, allowing access to massive troves of data.
via NNSquad [Grade-school level coding error] https://techcrunch.com/2018/11/26/the-us-postal-service-exposed-data-of-60-million-users/ A broken US Postal Service API exposed from over 60 million users and allowed a researcher to pull millions of rows of data by sending wildcard requests to the server. The resulting security hole has been patched after repeated requests to the USPS. The USPS service, called InformedDelivery, allows you to view your mail before it arrives at your home and offered an API to allow users to connect their mail to specialized services like CRMs. We profiled in the service in 2017. The anonymous researcher showed that the service accepted wildcards for many searches, allowing any user to see any other users on the site. Brian Krebs has a copy of the API on his site.
Think of a past disaster you've been a part of, a project that failed. Can we learn from it? We used to call these events "tanker collisions." The idea was, they were slow motion disasters; everyone could see that something terrible was inevitable, but it was too late to do anything. Ask yourself: was it the people, were they too dumb? Usually the answer is no, they were fine people, as good as you can hire. Maybe they weren't all geniuses, but they should have been good enough. How about the tools: did they cause the failure? Lots of people complain about their tools. But we've seen groups with really fancy tools fail to produce, and other projects succeed with very imperfect tools. And "it's a poor workman who blames his tools." Was it management? Yeah! Ask anybody, and they'll tell you it was management's fault. "Management blew it. The project was in the weeds and management was counting paperclips. They didn't act in time. They flew the plane right into the mountain." It seems to be very hard to think about management problems. Often, when we decide something is a management problem, that's shorthand for "unsolvable, not gonna go there." As soon as the trail leads into that thicket, we abandon it and look elsewhere for ways to make things better. When I look back at failed projects I know about, many seem to have had major management problems. But when I look at future plans, we seem to spend our planning time on technical issues. We don't anticipate management problems or do anything to prevent them, no matter how often we've had them in the past. [We have names for a few kinds of management problems, but we have no taxonomy or principle of enumeration. That is, we don't know how many ways management could go wrong, and if there is a management problem, everybody will have a different name for it.] Each new project sets out with the basic plan of doing new things, using new tools, and managing things in the same way that didn't work last time. If management is the cause of many of our problems, can we talk about changing how we manage? We could start by listing some approaches that won't work, and giving them entertaining names and descriptions. Cuisinart Management: I love metrics, when I can use them to convince people to do the right thing. At the same time, I worry that metrics may become a goal in themselves, that we may spend time getting good numbers instead of getting good quality. The basic idea in measuring a process is that one can add data about two different events together. But every bug is different, every line of code unique. We don't order software by the cubic yard. And mincing all the programs, or bugs, or tests, or whatever up in a grinder and then counting the semicolons, or basic blocks, or paths, can lose sight of the code, and the way it runs, and the way bugs get into the code. Dumbo Management: Suppose the Circus Engineering Institute does a study and determines that all the elephants that can fly are holding little feathers. Then it proposes to give all the big elephants feathers too, so they'll be able to fly. This is the problem with process evaluations. A good organization will (often) get a good assessment score. Often it is possible to change a terrible organization to get a better score without really improving the quality of its output. Some organizations with organized processes can produce good products. The inference that the good product is caused by the organized process needs support, in the form of an explanation of how particular good or bad features are caused. (Other organizations have many rules and procedures, and still fail to produce good products.) Remember my story of Andre, who wrote perfect code in pencil? Don't buy everybody a pencil and expect perfect code. New Communication Tool: Sometimes an organization will mandate a new tool, hoping that this will produce better products. Some caution is advisable. Management tools may focus on neatness, on "doing everything the same way," rather than on quality. I have worked on projects where the development progress recording tools were so slow and hard to use that product productivity was trashed. Throw the Management Out: After a disaster, sometimes even part way through one, it's common to replace the management, and permute the organization chart. The troops know that this rarely helps. Why should we expect the new managers or new structure to work any better? Change alone may get people interested in new approaches to the problem for a while, but there are other effects of opposite sign, such as the cost to educate newcomers. It's like throwing out your pencil when you make a spelling error. read Parnas and Clements, "A rational design process: how and why to fake it" (IEEE TOSE, Feb 1986) https://www.researchgate.net/publication/225524076_A_rational_design_process_how_and_why_to_fake_IT
Waycare startup platform uses in-vehicle information and municipal traffic data to understand road conditions in real time; year-long test reduced traffic accidents by 17% https://www.timesofisrael.com/israeli-artificial-intelligence-company-improves-highway-safety-in-las-vegas/ Maybe addressing risks? Will it scale? Will it be hackable? We'll see.
Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, 21 Nov 2018 via ACM TechNews, Monday, November 26, 2018 Researchers at Vrije University Amsterdam in the Netherlands found a way to circumvent an error-correcting code (ECC) patch in high-end DDR3 memory chips thought to prevent exploitation by the Rowhammer hack. ECC adds sufficient redundancy to repair single bitflips in a 64-bit word, and when two bitflips occur in a word, it causes the underlying program to crash; when three bitflips occur in the right places, ECC can be bypassed. The team found a timing side channel by measuring the amount of time it took to execute certain processes to extract granular details about bitflips occurring within the silicon. Said the researchers, "Armed with this knowledge, we then proceeded to show that ECC merely slows down the Rowhammer attack and is not enough to stop it." Although they acknowledged the new exploit presents no immediate threat, the researchers said these findings show that Rowhammer is continuously evolving and should not be discounted. https://orange.hosting.lsoft.com/trk/click%3Fref%3Dznwrbbrs9_6-1d4b6x218c55x070404%26
Homo Sapiens Was The First Species To Alter The Environment That Sustained Us—To The Point That It Might Not Sustain Us Anymore. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/11/16/magazine/tech-design-nature.html Long after the last print copy of the King James Bible has disintegrated and the Venus de Milo has gone to powder, the glory of our civilization will survive in misshapen, neon-flecked rocks called plastiglomerate: compounds of sand, shells and molten plastic, forged when discarded wrappers and bottle caps burn in beach campfires. Additional clues about the way we lived will be found in the ubiquity of cesium-137, the synthetic isotope produced by every nuclear detonation, and in the glacial ice (should any glaciers remain) that will register a spike of atmospheric carbon dioxide beginning in the Industrial Revolution. Future anthropologists might not be able to learn everything there is to know about our culture from these geological markers, but they will be a good start. In the beginning, human beings tended to view nature as a mortal enemy -- with wariness, dread and aggression. The closer we were to the other animals, the more threatened we were by their proximity—geographical and behavioral. `Wilderness': from the Old English -ness + wild + deor, `the place of wild beasts.' In the Old and New Testaments, `the wilderness' is a godless, hostile domain, the anti-Eden; Samuel Johnson defined it as “a tract of solitude and savageness''; William Bradford, a founder of Plymouth Colony, reacted to the untrammeled New World with horror, calling it “hideous & desolate ... full of wild beasts & wild men.'' These examples come from Roderick Nash's totemic history, `Wilderness and the American Mind' (1967). Nash describes how, in the 19th century, the terms of humanity's relationship with nature flipped. It was no longer possible to take seriously the premise that nature was a threat to civilization; civilization, it was understood, was a threat to nature. This observation, developed by Alexander von Humboldt and successors like George Perkins Marsh (who worried that `climatic excess' might lead to the extinction of the human species) and John Muir (who sought to protect America's natural cathedrals from human defilement), helped inspire the birth of the American environmental movement. It took decades for a new conception of wilderness—sacred, virginal, innocent of human influence -- to take hold, and it may take decades more before it is widely understood to be a myth. [PGN-truncated] https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/08/01/magazine/climate-change-losing-earth.html
Now it's Office's turn to have a load of patches pulled Two patches pulled altogether; another is known to cause crashes but should be used anyway. https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2018/11/now-its-offices-turn-to-have-a-load-of-patches-pulled/
Microsoft is opening up about some of its testing procedures, too. https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2018/11/windows-10-october-2018-update-is-back-this-time-without-deleting-your-data/
Rival crime gangs race against each other to steal consumers' personal data https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2018/11/sign-of-the-times-payment-card-skimmers-go-head-to-head-on-e-commerce-site/
Engineers were reportedly encouraged to limit "bad experiences" to one per trip. https://arstechnica.com/cars/2018/11/report-uber-self-driving-team-was-preparing-for-ceo-demo-before-fatal-crash/
In our two-part series, Ars looks at what Snowden's disclosures have wrought politically and institutionally. https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2018/11/the-snowden-legacy-part-one-whats-changed-really/
Tara John and Nina Avramova, CNN, November 21, 2018 https://www.cnn.com/2018/11/21/europe/germany-christmas-gdpr-grm-scli-intl/ (CNN) A German town managed to revive a children's Christmas tradition after European data protection laws very nearly scrapped it. In previous years up to 4,000 wishes to Father Christmas were placed on a tree at a Christmas market in the southern town of Roth, according to German newspaper Die Welt. The city council would then attempt to fulfill those wishes, which included the names and addresses of the children who wrote them. Previous requests granted included trips to the fire station, books and visits to the mayor. The festive event was seen as a major highlight for local kids. But the popular activity had to stop in 2016 because of Germany's data privacy legislation, *Die Welt* reports. Roth found a workaround—putting the wishes in a locked box—but that was made redundant in May when the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force. That legislation states that parents of minors have to provide consent to the use of their kids' data. Organizations that fail to comply face big financial penalties. Providing proof of this was deemed too onerous by the council and the city decided against festive wish lists for 2018. [...] Local radio station Antenne Bayern found a solution. It created a wish list, which included a parental consent disclaimer, which can be printed from their website and put in the wishing box at the Christmas market.
As part of its push into healthcare, *Apple* has pitched the *Department of Veterans Affairs* on incorporating the medical records of the 9 million vets currently in the federal system into the company's portable, iPhone-based format. No word on whether the project will come to fruition, or even if talks are still active. <https://click.email.fortune.com/%3Fqs%3D924a6ff868f5934d43c6a7d1612ce671c6520ab3d8f7e20f7e3265cec8cda34666fa2c1f17d0465e025d67a0dba9eeee308c2f8f02f9c0f2>
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/21/opinion/deaf-cochlear-implants-sign-language.html "A cochlear implant isn't inherently bad, but it isn't inherently good, either; it is a neutral piece of technology, a tool, like a hammer. Expecting an implant to cure deafness or magically generate speech is to await the moment the hammer will fly out of one's hand and build a house on its own. The value of the tool lies only in the skill of its user, and for the cochlear implant user, that skill is learned with much effort. To suggest otherwise is to give a disingenuous prognosis to potential patients and their parents, and discounts the hard work successful C.I. users do to communicate in a way the hearing world deems acceptable." A worthy lesson to heed for all technology, including toothpicks.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/this-new-weapon-alerts-police-as-soon-as-its-fired/2018/11/21/1474aa12-e7b2-484e-bfe6-c872a8876419_story.html "Electronic weapons rarely work all the time," Ron Martinelli, a forensic criminologist, told CNN in 2015, noting that incapacitation can hinge upon where and how both electrical probes strike the body. "Historically, they tend to be about 60 percent effective." Risk: Easy to imagine someone hacking the auto-dial phone number to order pizza and beer.
http://www.niemanlab.org/2018/11/how-the-wall-street-journal-is-preparing-its-journalists-to-detect-deepfakes/ This essay reveals techniques that can be applied to generate and detect "deepfake" content—disguised mashup video, audio, etc. that misrepresents speech, sows controversy, and spreads disinformation. A "fine eye" is needed to scrutinize the content to look for telltale signs of in-authenticity. Risk: Over-reliance on video frame analysis may lead to incorrect determination of authenticity. A time-consuming process is required to correlate multiple sources (speech transcripts, news articles, etc.) to determine speech attribution and origin. Unchecked disinformation circulates in the wild until a net is thrown over it.
The Monday afternoon call was innocuous at first. Brenda Battel, a staff writer for the Huron Daily Tribune in rural Michigan, was seeking a chance to speak with Republican Senate candidate John James on Wednesday after the election. Battel left a voice-mail message with the James campaign, and alerted it to a potential follow-up email to further discuss his campaign against Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D). Then Battel hung up the phone — or so she believed, she later said. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2018/11/06/reporter-unwittingly-left-voicemail-gop-candidate-she-was-fired-what-she-said/ The risk? User error. More broadly, it's the "hot mic".
Why insurers spy on sleep apnea sufferers via connected CPAP machines. https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/11/you-snooze-you-lose-insurers-make-the-old-adage-literally-true/ Let's put everything online; what could go wrong...
I send Gloria an awful lot of email, for somebody who lives in the same room. In particular, I send her notifications of appointments I've made. I send these to her GMail account, since she can get that on her phone, and therefore it's easier for her to transfer the appointments to her calendar. (No, not the calendar app. A real, honest-to-goodness book-with-paper-pages appointment calendar. It usually sits on the kitchen table.) Gloria doesn't use her GMail account much, so she doesn't get much spam. So when she noticed an entry in her spam folder, she checked it out. Lo and behold, it was a message from me. Subsequent messages from me, over the next few days, also went into the spam folder. I'd sent a message to my baby brother and he hadn't responded. I know his email domain is hosted through GMail, so I mentioned it to him in a phone call. He checked, and my messages to him were being sent to spam. So I did one of my sporadic forays into the spam folder in my own GMail account, and, yes, my messages from me were being sent to spam. I also found a few messages from friends in there, but most of the wrongly filtered messages were from me. I don't know what I've done to offend GMail ...
https://www.latimes.com/business/technology/la-fi-tn-facebook-patent-family-photos-20181116-story.html "This is what I would call a classic case of secondary use," said Pam Dixon, founder and executive director of the World Privacy Forum. "Someone is signing up to Facebook, or Instagram for that matter, to post photos or maybe keep in touch with old college friends. I don't think people intend to have all their relational outlines queried and mapped by Facebook and used for purposes that people aren't expecting." The marketplace for family demographics may entice insurance companies especially when coupled to environmental, health, or geographic information systems. Politicians might exploit the analysis to assist with election or jurisdiction (gerrymandering) activities. Too much to ask for a profile opt-in "secondary use" selection?
https://www.latimes.com/business/lazarus/la-fi-lazarus-data-privacy-prison-for-ceos-20181116-story.html "It's gotten to the point that there are so many data breaches, people can find it hard to work up a sense of outrage over their privacy being violated again and again and again. "The business world is counting on such breach fatigue to keep meaningful privacy safeguards at bay. "Consumers shouldn't hand them such a huge victory." "Under Wyden's bill, any company with revenue topping $1 billion a year, or that stores data on more than 50 million consumers or consumer devices, would have to submit an annual 'data protection report' to the FTC detailing all activities related to keeping people's info under wraps." The private companies with revenues of over US$ 2B in 2018 can be found here <https://www.forbes.com/largest-private-companies/list/> There are 230 listed. A guestimate says that there are 2X this number, or ~500 private companies with revenue over US$ 1B in the US. The Fortune 1000 (public companies) bottoms out at ~US$ 1.8B (see https://www.someka.net/excel-template/fortune-1000-excel-list/ for 2018). A guestimate says there are 2X (~2000) public companies valued at US$ 1B or more. So...a maximum of ~2500 potential data breach CEO prosecutions from negligent infosec practices. Assuming Wyden's bill passes both houses of Congress, and is signed into law: Risk1: Weak FTC regulations and capricious enforcement practice substantially mitigates deterrence effectiveness. No prosecutions arise from data breach epidemic. Conversely: Data breach prosecution becomes more popular than a traffic ticket. USA Today (see https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2014/03/24/20-ways-we-blow-our-money/6826633/ says that ~40M traffic tickets are issued annually in the US per 2014 statistics. Risk2: Strict enforcement boosts a prison construction boom and a swift return to filing cabinets and paper, elevating paper company and office furniture supplier stocks. The data breach perpwalk: a new dance step for corporate boardroom members to master.
https://yro.slashdot.org/story/18/11/25/0137258/can-the-police-remotely-drive-your-stolen-car-into-custody A little like Fairfax County VA "bait cars"—cars left as tempting theft targets. They're rigged to alert if doors are opened, fitted with tracking gear and remote lock/slow/kill switches. So cops will locate/pursue when they're stolen, wait until it's safe, then lock/slow/kill car. And chat with occupants. Quite different, of course, from seizing control of random private vehicles stolen.
And speaking broadly, Stallman continued: "If bitcoin protected privacy, I'd probably have found a way to use it by now." https://www.coindesk.com/free-software-messiah-richard-stallman-we-can-do-better-than-bitcoin
https://techcrunch.com/2018/11/25/nowhere-to-go/ https://www.economist.com/business/2018/11/24/facebook-should-heed-the-lessons-of-internet-history Profile-driven advertisements fuel Internet-based social media and mobile device application business profit. A user profile is assessed to target ad content delivery. Various attributes: age, gender, geographic location, income level, site content viewing/visit preference/frequency, etc. contribute to the ad delivery calculus. Businesses track daily, weekly, monthly usage of their services and applications to determine the ad billing cost. Measuring and characterizing certain user access patterns can indicate addictive predilection. Social media and application businesses can proactively attempt to dissuade service/application overuse and taper addictive behavior. This effort depends on an inversion of profile attributes: what is assigned as an "appeal to target" must be switched to "repellent to target" as necessary. A form of aversion therapy. Literary note: In Anthony Burgess' "A Clockwork Orange," aversion therapy was used as a behavioral cure. As an example, for ages 8-12, target the audience with ads about retirement communities, collecting butterflies, coal mine stockpiles, The Dow Jones, or the importance of eating your spinach. Compilation of equivalent repellent ad cohorts can be assembled by profile attribute inversion. Wise and mature editorial oversight is essential to compile these content libraries. Preventing exposure to violent, horrifying, and other inappropriate or toxic material is required. Audience/ad mismatch, not "shock, awe and frighten," should guide ad population target selection. Measure the state of addiction before and after the experiment per standard business performance metrics. Outsource to a trusted and neutral non-profit to oversee the measurement, compiled statistics, and write the summary findings. This experiment may afford one means for mobile applications and social media business to restore their rapidly tarnishing reputation. The outcome can provide a forum to discuss public brand addiction and how to best suppress it. Risk: Contractual SLA underachievement for target audience ad delivery fulfillment incurs business finance loss.
Rewriting Life Chinese scientists are creating CRISPR babies. A daring effort is underway to create the first children whose DNA has been tailored using gene-editing. https://www.TechnologyReview.com/s/612458/exclusive-chinese-scientists-are-creating-crispr-babies/ EXCERPT: When Chinese researchers first edited the genes of a human embryo in a lab dish in 2015, it sparked global outcry and pleas from scientists not to make a baby using the technology, at least for the present. It was the invention of a powerful gene editing tool, CRISPR, which is cheap and easy to deploy, that made the birth of humans genetically modified in an in-vitro fertilization (IVF) center a theoretical possibility <https://www.technologyreview.com/s/535661/engineering-the-perfect-baby/ Now, it appears it may already be happening. According to Chinese medical documents posted online this month (here <http://www.chictr.org.cn/showprojen.aspx%3Fproj%3D32758 and here <http://www.chictr.org.cn/uploads/file/201811/bb9c5996d8fd476eacb4aeecf5fd2a01.pdf> a team at the Southern University of Science and Technology, in Shenzhen, has been recruiting couples in an effort to create the first gene-edited babies. They planned to eliminate a gene called CCR5 in order to render the offspring resistant to HIV, smallpox, and cholera. The clinical trial documents describe a study to employ CRISPR to modify human embryos, then to transfer them into the uterus of mothers and deliver healthy children...
https://boingboing.net/2018/11/25/by-any-means-necessary.html The British Parliament has been able to obtain internal Facebook documents, even though Facebook didn't want to give them up, and they were sealed by a judge in California. If you don't like Facebook, you can can enjoy the schadenfreude in Facebook's continuing troubles. If you do like Facebook, you can take this as a warning that there is more than one way to skin a cat (or obtain confidential information). Regardless of how you feel about Facebook, it's a warning about wandering around with really sensitive information on your laptop ...
_Is it possible_ to tell whether someone is a criminal just from looking at their face or listening to the sound of their voice? The idea may seem ludicrous, like something out of science fiction—Big Brother in *1984* detects any unconscious look “that carried with it the suggestion of abnormality'—and yet, some companies have recently begun to answer this question in the affirmative. AC Global Risk, a startup founded in 2016, claims to be able to determine your level of *risk* as an employee or an asylum-seeker based not on what you say, but how you say it. https://theintercept.com/2018/11/25/voice-risk-analysis-ac-global/ ...joining dowsing rods, polygraphs, homeopathy...
https://yro.slashdot.org/story/18/11/25/0137258/can-the-police-remotely-drive-your-stolen-car-into-custody Autonomous cars will give police states surveillance and control powers that they've only dreamed of. I continue to be flabbergasted how proponents of autonomous vehicles seem unwilling to discuss how these vehicles can be used as instruments of individualized and/or mass control and suppression by governments.
LinkedIn used 18 million non-user e-mails to target Facebook ads https://www.theverge.com/2018/11/25/18111087/linkedin-ireland-data-protection-commission-18-million-non-user-e-mails-targeted-facebook-ads
Melanie Lefkowitz, Cornell Chronicle (NY), 27 Nov 2018 via ACM TechNews, 28 Nov 2018 Cornell University researchers investigating the wider ramifications of content discovery with smart speaker products found people who read choices online digested information nine times faster and explored at least three times as much as those who heard them listed by a Siri, Alexa, or similar product. Recommendation algorithms generally prioritize popular content, with people who read their recommendations less likely to select the most popular or top-rated options. Said Cornell's Longqi Yang, "With these devices becoming more popular and more people adopting them, this kind of interface becomes very important, because it's one of the major channels for people to be exposed to information." Yang said these devices could be redesigned to meet this challenge; his team recommended that smart speakers offer top-ranked choices that are diverse, personalized, and frequently changed, giving users access to a broader range of information. These findings were presented at the ACM Conference on Recommender Systems (RecSys 2018) in Vancouver, Canada. https://orange.hosting.lsoft.com/trk/click%3Fref%3Dznwrbbrs9_6-1d52cx218d83x070148%26
There were actually 3,704 registered voters. The 276 number was an error that was corrected at the Georgia Secretary of State website in August.. But on the web, an error rarely is corrected. This false headline (from months ago) was circulated during the November election and no doubt will reappear during future.elections Apparently only the McClatchy news organization bothered to do a simple fact check of a curious `fact'.
If GPS jamming was NOT part of *war games*, then NATO would be criminally negligent, since the first activities in any future war would include taking out GPS satellites and/or jamming their signals. Recall that the Brits took down all of their street signs in the initial days of WWII. Google "GPS" and "war games". If the Russians did this jamming (which I highly doubt), they did NATO a favor by making the games more realistic.
How many Health Ministers have performed brain surgery? How many Defence Ministers have held a Commission in the military? How many Interior Ministers have been in the police? How many Foreign Ministers have been diplomats? How many Chancellors of the Exchequer can add up? Government Ministers are figureheads, it's the Civil Service that has the knowledge and skills [allegedly]. Search YouTube for `Yes Minister' and `Yes Prime Minister' for the classic satires on the relationship between Ministers and Whitehall in Britain. Made in the early '80s, they're as true and funny today as they were then. Loved, apparently, by Margaret Thatcher.
I'm afraid that Wols Lists is misinformed about the illegality of remaining in the outside lane of a British road after completing an overtaking manoeuvre. The Highway Code (the driving bible, but largely advisory) states: Rule 137 On a two-lane dual carriageway you should stay in the left-hand lane. Use the right-hand lane for overtaking or turning right. After overtaking, move back to the left-hand lane when it is safe to do so. Rule 138 On a three-lane dual carriageway, you may use the middle lane or the right-hand lane to overtake but return to the middle and then the left-hand lane when it is safe. Note the `should' in rule 137. Rules containing the word `must' are backed by explicit law, those stating `should' are not. Albeit, they might still be deemed to constitute a generic offence under section 3 of the Road Traffic Act 1988: “Careless, and inconsiderate, driving. If a person drives a mechanically propelled vehicle on a road or other public place without due care and attention, or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the road or place, he is guilty of an offence'') and certain breaches can attract an on-the-spot fixed penalty.
Another list of AI (mainly machine learning) failures and strange results is available in this shared spreadsheet file: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/u/1/d/e/2PACX-1vRPiprOaC3HsCf5Tuum8bRfzYUiKLRqJmbOoC-32JorNdfyTiRRsR7Ea5eWtvsWzuxo8bjOxCG84dAg/pubhtml
The issue covered by the article and the submission to RISKS is worthy of the forum. I may be wrong, but I would say the *manner* of discussion was not worthy of the forum. I am reminded of the bus bombings in London. A serious event and in some forums, seriously discussed. In others, such as the tabloid newspapers, a full colour, full-page, front-page photo (presumably from CCTV) of the actual moment one of the bombs exploded with people just beginning to be thrown out of their seats, or in some cases, torn apart, by the blast. That photo was gruesome. I am sure there were some or many for whom that photo had no or little effect, mainly I suspect by desensitization through repeated exposure to similar material. I am sure there were at least some for whom it was distressing, as gruesome material will in the normal case be. The quote in the submission from the (presumably Facebook) content moderator was gruesome.
[via Gabe Goldberg] Last week the Electronic Frontier Foundation published an interesting book called The End of Trust <https://www.eff.org/the-end-of-trust>. It was published in conjunction with the writing quarterly McSweeneys, which I have long been a subscriber and enjoy its more usual fiction short story collections. This issue is its first total non-fiction effort and it is worthy of your time. There are more than a dozen interviews and essays from major players in the security, privacy, surveillance and digital rights communities. The book tackles several basic issues: first the fact that privacy is a team sport, as Cory Doctorow opines—meaning we have to work together to ensure it. Second, there are numerous essays about the role of the state in a society that has accepted surveillance, and the equity issues surrounding these efforts. Third, what is the outcome and implications of outsourcing of digital trust. Finally, various authors explore the difference between privacy and anonymity and what this means for our future. While you might be drawn to articles from notable security pundits, such as an interview where Edward Snowden explains the basics behind blockchain and where Bruce Schneier discusses the gap between what is right and what is moral, I found myself reading other less infamous authors that had a lot to say on these topics. Let's start off by saying there should be no `I' in privacy, and we have to look beyond ourselves to truly understand its evolution in the digital age. The best article in the book is an interview with Julia Angwin, who wrote an interesting book several years ago called Dragnet Nation <https://www.amazon.com/Dragnet-Nation-Security-Relentless-Surveillance/dp/0805098070> She says “the word formerly known as privacy is not about individual harm, it is about collective harm. Google and Facebook are usually thought of as monopolies in terms of their advertising revenue, but I tend to think about them in terms of acquiring training data for their algorithms. That's the thing what makes them impossible to compete with.'' In the same article, Trevor Paglen says, “we usually think about Facebook and Google as essentially advertising platforms. That's not the long-term trajectory of them, and I think about them as extracting-money-out-of-your-life platforms.'' Role of the state Many authors spoke about the role that law enforcement and other state actors have in our new always-surveilled society. Author Sara Wachter-Boettcher <http://www.sarawb.com/d> said “I don't just feel seen anymore. I feel surveilled.'' Thenmozhi Soundararajan <http://equalitylabs.org> writes that “mass surveillance is an equity issue and it cuts across the landscape of rare, class and gender.'' This is supported by Alvaro Bedoya, the director of a Georgetown Law school think tank <https://www.law.georgetown.edu/privacy-technology-center/>. He took issue about the statement that everyone is being watched, because some are watched an awful lot more than others. With new technologies, it is becoming harder to hide in a crowd and thus we have to be more careful about crafting new laws that allow the state access to this data, because we could lose our anonymity in those crowds. “For certain communities (such as LBGTQ), privacy is what lets its members survive. Privacy is what let's them do what is right when what's right is illegal. Digital tracking of people's associations requires the same sort of careful First Amendment analysis that collecting NAACP membership lists in Alabama in the 1960s did. Privacy can be a shield for the vulnerable and is what let's those first `dangerous' conversations happen.'' Scattered throughout the book are descriptions of various law enforcement tools, such as drones facial recognition systems, license plate readers and cell-phone simulators. While I knew about most of these technologies, collected together in this fashion makes them seem all the more insidious. Outsourcing our digital trust Angwin disagrees with the title and assumed premise of the book, saying the point is more about the outsourcing of trust than its complete end. That outsourcing has led to where we prefer to trust data over human interactions. As one example, consider the website Predictim <https://www.predictim.com/>, which scans a potential babysitter or dog walker to determine if they are trustworthy and reliable using various facial recognition and AI algorithms.Back in the pre-digital era, we asked for personal references and interviewed our neighbors and colleagues for this information. Now we have the Internet to vet an applicant. When eBay was just getting started, they had to build their own trust proxy so that buyers would feel comfortable with their purchases. They came up with early reputation algorithms, which today have evolved into the Uber/Lyft star-rating for their drivers and passengers. Some of the writers in this book mention how Blockchain-based systems could become the latest incarnation for outsourcing trust. Privacy vs. anonymity The artist Trevor Paglen <https://art21.org/artist/trevor-paglen/%3Fgclid%3DEAIaIQobChMIqrz0_KTy3gIVUL7ACh2JEwG_EAAYASAAEgIAufD_BwE says, “we are more interested not so much in privacy as a concept but more about anonymity, especially the political aspects.'' In her essay, McGill ethics professor Gabriella Coleman says, “Anonymity tends to nullify accountability, and thus responsibility. Transparency and anonymity rarely follow a binary moral formula, with the former being good and the latter being bad.'' Some authors explore the concept of privacy nihilism, or disconnecting completely from one's social networks. This was explored by Ethan Zuckerman, who wrote in his essay: “When we think about a data breach, companies tend to think about their data like a precious asset like oil, so breaches are more like oil spills or toxic waste. Even when companies work to protect our data and use it ethically, trusting a platform gives that institution control over your speech. The companies we trust most can quickly become near-monopolies whom we are then forced to trust because they have eliminated their most effective competitors. Facebook may not deserve our trust, but to respond with privacy nihilism is to exit the playing field and cede the game to those who exploit mistrust.'' agree, and while I am not happy about what Facebook has done, I am also sticking with them for the time being too. This notion of the relative morality of our digital tools is also taken up in a recent NY Times op/ed by NYU philosopher Matthew Liao <https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/24/opinion/sunday/facebook-immoral.html Do you have a moral duty to leave Facebook? He says that the social media company has come close to crossing a `red line', but for now he is staying with them. The book has a section for practical IT-related suggestions to improve your trust and privacy footprint, many of which will be familiar to my readers (MFA, encryption, and so forth). But another article by Douglas Rushkoff goes deeper. He talks about the rise of fake news in our social media feeds and says that it doesn't matter what side of an issue people are on for them to be infected by the fake news item. This is because the item is designed to provoke a response and replicate. A good example of this is one individual recently mentioned in this WaPost piece who has created his own fake news business out of a parody website here <https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/nothing-on-this-page-is-real-how-lies-become-truth-in-online-america/2018/11/17/edd44cc8-e85a-11e8-bbdb-72fdbf9d4fed_story.html%3Ffbclid%3DIwAR0dmdRIv6ShQu_1OiibK0pHQ9EGK_K-rx8Sk7lPc7t8u3l1EFTh-ELJxbU%26noredirect%3Don%26utm_term%3D.6e2ad78f7bad> Rushkoff recommends three strategies for fighting back: attacking bad memes with good ones, insulating people from dangerous memes via digital filters and the equivalent of AV software, and better education about the underlying issues. None of these are simple. This morning the news was about how LinkedIn harvested 18M emails <https://techcrunch.com/2018/11/24/linkedin-ireland-data-protection/> from to target ads to recruit people to join its social network. What is chilling about this is how all of these email addresses were from non-members that it had collected, of course without their permission. You can go to the EFF link above where you can download a PDF copy or go to McSweeneys and buy the hardcover book <https://store.mcsweeneys.net/products/mcsweeney-s-issue-54-the-end-of-trust%3Ftaxon_id%3D1 Definitely worth reading.
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