MIRLN --- 21 August – 10 September 2011 (v14.12)
- Enter the Cyber-dragon
- Stuxnet as Cyberwarfare: Applying the Law of War to the Virtual Battlefield
- U.S. Defense Firms Face Relentless Cyberattacks
- Duty to Protect the Confidentiality of E-mail Communications with One’s Client
- Federal Judge Finds Cloud Music Lockers Do Not Violate Copyrights
- Khan Academy Integrates With Digital Textbooks
- Judge Says Warrant Required For Cell Phone Location Data
- Consumer Reviews at “Local” Review Sites Don’t Support Jurisdiction
- Embedded Serial Number Helps Photographer Find His Stolen Camera
- With CIA Help, NYPD Moves Covertly In Muslim Areas
- 15 Years for Recording a Talk with Cops? Woman Avoids Prison with Acquittal
- Law Profs Worry That Plan to Pulp Millions of Federal Court Files Will Destroy Historical Goldmine
- 4 More Universities Join Effort on ‘Orphan Works’
- The EFF Reflects On ICE Seizing a TOR Exit Node
- Fair Use Face-Off, Canadian Edition
- New California Law Prohibits Jurors’ Social Media Use
- Overreactive Guidance for Social Networking Du Jour—NLRB Edition
- Nearly Half of Computer Users Get Software Illegally
- The Legality of Government Critical Infrastructure Monitoring
- The Spy Who Tweeted Me: Intelligence Community Wants to Monitor Social Media
Enter the Cyber-dragon (Vanity Fair, August 2011) - Hackers have attacked America’s defense establishment, as well as companies from Google to Morgan Stanley to security giant RSA, and fingers point to China as the culprit. The author gets an exclusive look at the raging cyber-war-Operation Aurora! Operation Shady rat !-and learns why Washington has been slow to fight back. [Editor: lengthy, readable and comprehensive - has a myriad of details I’d not known, and is well worth your time. We saw this coming back in the early 1990s when I was at Schlumberger; there’s even less defense today than then.]
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Stuxnet as Cyberwarfare: Applying the Law of War to the Virtual Battlefield (John Richardson, SSRN, 22 July 2011) - In the field of international humanitarian law, there are a number of questions about the conduct of warfare in the cyber domain. In some cases, answers can be gleaned from treaties and customary international law but in other instances, solutions are seemingly intractable, begging for solutions that may only be answered by technology itself. From a legal perspective, such oversimplifications trivialize humanitarian law as well as other legal constructs already struggling to address complex issues in the cyber realm. It is within this context that this paper focuses on a recent event known as Stuxnet, a computer virus that infected and damaged a nuclear research facility in Natanz, Iran. Reflecting on this particular cyber attack, this paper addresses two IHL issues: Does the Stuxnet attack rise to the level of an armed attack within the meaning of international humanitarian law? If so, did it adhere to the two core principles of IHL, namely distinction and proportionality? This paper finds that the Stuxnet attack does in fact rise to the level of an armed attack within the meaning of IHL and adheres to the principles of distinction and proportionality.
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U.S. Defense Firms Face Relentless Cyberattacks (Reuters, 7 Sept 2011) - U.S. defense industries are facing relentless, sophisticated foreign attacks on their computer networks, a threat company leaders say poses a risk of significant damage and may require the government to take greater protective action. Top U.S. defense contractors speaking at the Reuters Aerospace and Defense Summit said many of the attacks appeared to be state-sponsored and came from multiple countries, but they declined to point a finger at any particular government. “Every defense company is constantly under attack. If anybody tells you they’re not, it just means they don’t know,” said Northrop Grumman (NOC.N) Chief Executive Wes Bush. “It is a threat that is broad-based. It’s not just from one source ... and it’s just unceasing.” David Hess, the president of engine maker Pratt & Whitney, a unit of United Technologies Corp (UTX.N), said he suspected the attacks against his firm’s network were coming from “foreign countries” but “none that I’d like to mention.” “I can say the attacks are sophisticated,” he added. “It’s not the result of some guy with sneakers in his cubicle hacking away at a computer screen.” Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) Chief Executive Robert Stevens, whose company thwarted a serious cyberattack in late May, said incursions faced by defense industries are “very persistent.” To explore ways to cope with the problem, the Pentagon and Department of Homeland Security launched the Defense Industrial Base Cyber Pilot, a program for sharing classified and sensitive data about cyberattacks.
Duty to Protect the Confidentiality of E-mail Communications with One’s Client (ABA Formal Opinion 11-459 , 4 August 2011) - A lawyer sending or receiving substantive communications with a client via e-mail or other electronic means ordinarily must warn the client about the risk of sending or receiving electronic communications using a computer or other device, or e-mail account, where there is a significant risk that a third party may gain access. In the context of representing an employee, this obligation arises, at the very least, when the lawyer knows or reasonably should know that the client is likely to send or receive substantive client- lawyer communications via e-mail or other electronic means, using a business device or system under circumstances where there is a significant risk that the communications will be read by the employer or another third party. ABA Journal article (8 Sept) here ; related article about a possible duty to disclose (by employer, who has found employee emails to the employee’s counsel) here .
Federal Judge Finds Cloud Music Lockers Do Not Violate Copyrights (ReadWriteWeb, 22 August 2011) - A federal judge in New York ruled today in the defendant’s favor on a copyright infringement case brought EMI and 14 record companies against cloud music locker service MP3tunes. Judge William H. Pauley III found that cloud-based music lockers are, for the most part, legally in the clear. The judge found that “MP3tunes did not promote infringement” by offering an open cloud storage service for music, meaning that it, as well as big-name services like Google Music and Amazon Cloud Drive, are on the right side of the law. The record companies claimed that services like these duplicate files in ways that violate copyrights, that they don’t do enough to stop repeat infringers, and that playing back songs from a locker constitute a “public performance,” which would require a license for the material. The judge rejected all these claims, finding that MP3tunes is protected as a service provider under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The plaintiffs also argued that works recorded prior to 1972 were not protected by the DMCA, but the judge overturned this charge as well. Overall, this is a resounding victory for cloud locker services and their users, though, as Robertson says, “it was not a complete victory[, and it was] not a final ruling,” because some elements can still be appealed. EMI’s case relied on several misconstructions of the nature of these services, and the judge turned those aside. EMI claimed that these cloud services host a “master copy” of a file within their service, so that users who upload the same song are just playing one digital copy hosted by the service. Playing that file would constitute a “public performance” that would require a license. But in reality, cloud locker services store individual copies of a user’s own music, so they are merely service providers, and they can’t be held accountable for copyright violations. [See also “Judge Rules ‘Locker’ Site is Not Direct Copyright Infringer” (ArsTechnica, 12 July 2011) from MIRLN 14.10 ] and “Unlicensed: Are Google Music and Amazon Cloud Player Illegal? (ArsTechnica, 4 July 2011)” from MIRLN 14.09 .] See also EFF’s analysis: https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2011/08/mp3tunes-victory-music-lockers-is-good —“*** One of those requirements is that the OSP maintain a repeat infringer policy. We’ve written before about this somewhat vague provision of the DMCA, and we were happy to see the MP3tunes court reaffirm what we already knew: that an OSP is only required to do ‘what it can reasonably be asked to do’ and it has ‘no affirmative duty to police [its] users.’ The court went even further, implying that a repeat infringer policy need only target ‘blatant infringers’.”
Khan Academy Integrates With Digital Textbooks (Mashable, 22 August 2011) - The 12-minute video lectures that Bill Gates has called “the start of a revolution” will now be linked with the material in some digital textbooks. Etextbook maker Kno announced Monday that it will integrate thousands of tutorial videos from Khan Academy into its books. Khan Academy has been praised and funded by both Gates and Google. At its core, it’s a database of instructional YouTube videos that its founder, Salman Kahn, started creating in order to help his cousins with their math homework. Video production quality does not extend beyond the capabilities of Microsoft Paint, but Khan has a knack for making calculus seem like gradeschool math (the archive contains videos on both topics) that has made his tutorials a popular resource for independent learning. Kno will be linking them to its books through a new “smart links” feature. When students click on a Khan Academy tutorial from a new tab on one of Kno’s digital pages, Khan’s explanation of that topic plays within the book. Kno worked with Kahn Academy to implement its tutorials for the feature’s launch. Eventually, Kno Vice President of Marketing Ousama Haffar says, the feature will expand to include other educational images and videos. The digital textbook maker is also adding a 3D feature that allows users to turn images like molecule diagrams into 3D objects that rotate on the page.
Judge Says Warrant Required For Cell Phone Location Data (ArsTechnica, 23 August 2011) - In recent years, the courts have struggled to decide whether the government needs a warrant to access historical records about a cell phone user’s location. Some courts have found that when users turn on their cell phones, they “voluntarily” transmit their location to their cell phone providers and thereby waive any expectation of privacy. On Monday, Judge Nicholas Garaufis of the Eastern District of New York soundly rejected this line of reasoning. The federal government had asked the courts to order Verizon Wireless to turn over 113 days of location data about a suspect’s cell phone. It did so under a provision of the Stored Communications Act that only requires law enforcement to show that the records are “relevant and material to an ongoing criminal investigation.” Does the government violate the Constitution when it obtains location data without meeting the Fourth Amendment’s “probable cause” standard? Some courts have found that it does not. But in a 22-page opinion, Judge Garaufis analyzed and rejected these other courts’ arguments, holding that law enforcement needs a warrant to obtain months of location data. “The fiction that the vast majority of the American population consents to warrantless government access to the records of a significant share of their movements by ‘choosing’ to carry a cell phone must be rejected,” he wrote. “In light of drastic developments in technology, the Fourth Amendment doctrine must evolve to preserve cell-phone user’s reasonable expectation of privacy in cumulative cell-site-location records.” Decision here .
Consumer Reviews at “Local” Review Sites Don’t Support Jurisdiction (Eric Goldman, 23 August 2011) - It doesn’t bring me a lot of joy to blog another Internet jurisdiction case, but the dispute’s substantive issues are important enough to blog this case. Wilkerson’s daughter won the California lottery. RSL approached her to buy the future payouts for a lump sum. The daughter took RSL’s deal, but things didn’t go well. In response, her dad posted negative reviews of RSL at Yahoo Local and Yelp. In both cases, the review pages allegedly indicated RSL’s location, and Wilkerson’s reviews indicated he knew the company was located in Houston. He also tried to drum up interest in a class action suit. RSL sued in Texas state court, and Wilkerson interposed a jurisdictional defense. The majority starts by wisely bypassing the Zippo test. For the number of times it’s cited, the Zippo test is often unhelpful and unenlightening. Citing several cases, the majority says the Zippo test would apply to the review site operator but not an individual reviewer: “* * * to the extent that the interactive features of Yahoo! and Yelp are the creations of the owners and operators of those websites, the interactive nature of a large-scale ubiquitous internet presence cannot be fully imputed to an individual user such as Wilkerson for the purpose of determining whether he established minimum contacts with Texas sufficient to justify exercising jurisdiction over him....Thus for purposes of analyzing personal jurisdiction over an individual in a case arising from his internet activity, we decline to reflexively apply the sliding-scale analysis of the interactivity of a commercial internet website to determine jurisdiction over the individual website user.” Amen. This year I added the Illinois v. Hemi 7th Circuit jurisdictional ruling, where the court expressly rejected the Zippo test. Perhaps we’re seeing the leading edge of anti-Zippo trend. Personally, I wouldn’t shed a tear if the Zippo test were retired--permanently. The majority instead turns to the “purposeful availment” test. The majority cites the Calder v. Jones case and notes that it looked at the “effects” of the defendant’s action, but it doesn’t call its test the “Effects test,” and I think that affects the result. A consumer reviewer doesn’t avail itself of the laws of the state its target is located in, but it might intentionally cause tortious effects in the state. I think the majority mucked this distinction. Case is Wilkerson v. RSL Funding, LLC , 2011 WL 3516147 (Tex. App. Ct. Aug. 11, 2011)
Embedded Serial Number Helps Photographer Find His Stolen Camera (TechCrunch, 24 August 2011) - A photographer, John Heller, had $9,000 worth of gear stolen at a shoot in Hollywood. After giving up all hope of ever getting his Nikon D3 back, he checked with a site called GadgetTrak that scans Flickr and other image upload sites for photos matching the serial number of his DSLR. In a few seconds he had found shots with serial numbers matching his D3 belonging to a professional photographer. With the help of the police he got his gear back and now the tracking service is a recommend site for LAPD detectives on the hunt for fugitive cameras. Want to give it a try? You can search the service for free. It currently holds 10 million serial numbers and it checks sites like 500px.com and Flickr for recent shots. Also note that you should probably write down your camera’s serial number ASAP for this to work correctly at all.
With CIA Help, NYPD Moves Covertly In Muslim Areas (AP, 24 August 2011) - In New Brunswick, N.J., a building superintendent opened the door to apartment No. 1076 one balmy Tuesday and discovered an alarming scene: terrorist literature strewn about the table and computer and surveillance equipment set up in the next room. The panicked superintendent dialed 911, sending police and the FBI rushing to the building near Rutgers University on the afternoon of June 2, 2009. What they found in that first-floor apartment, however, was not a terrorist hideout but a command center set up by a secret team of New York Police Department intelligence officers. From that apartment, about an hour outside the department’s jurisdiction, the NYPD had been staging undercover operations and conducting surveillance throughout New Jersey. Neither the FBI nor the local police had any idea. Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the NYPD has become one of the country’s most aggressive domestic intelligence agencies. A months-long investigation by The Associated Press has revealed that the NYPD operates far outside its borders and targets ethnic communities in ways that would run afoul of civil liberties rules if practiced by the federal government. And it does so with unprecedented help from the CIA in a partnership that has blurred the bright line between foreign and domestic spying. Neither the city council, which finances the department, nor the federal government, which contributes hundreds of millions of dollars each year, is told exactly what’s going on.
15 Years for Recording a Talk with Cops? Woman Avoids Prison with Acquittal (ABA Journal, 25 August 2011) - A woman charged under Illinois’ obscure eavesdropping law for secretly recording her conversation with two Chicago cops has been acquitted. Jurors acquitted Tiawanda Moore after deliberating less than an hour, the Chicago Tribune reports. She was charged under an Illinois law that bars the recording of public conversations without permission; potential penalties increase to 15 years in prison when cops are secretly recorded. Only a few states have similar laws. Moore recorded her conversation with two officers from the police department’s internal investigations unit because she believed they were trying to talk her into dropping a sexual harassment complaint against a patrol officer, the story says. Juror Ray Adams told the Tribune that he and other jurors thought the prosecution was “just a waste of time” and the officers “came across as intimidating and insensitive.” Moore’s defense relied on an exception that allows recordings based on a reasonable suspicion a crime may be committed. The ACLU filed a suit last year arguing that the law cannot be constitutionally applied to individuals who record police performing public duties in a public place, according to the ACLU of Illinois website . An appeal pending before the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals seeks to reinstate the suit after a federal judge dismissed it. The case is ACLU v. Alvarez . [Editor: see also Gene Volokh’s post “ First Amendment Right to Openly Record Police Officers in Public “, parsing the 1st Circuit case of Glik v. Cunniffe .]
Law Profs Worry That Plan to Pulp Millions of Federal Court Files Will Destroy Historical Goldmine (ABA Journal, 25 August 2011) - In the digital age, there’s less of a need to keep paper records on hand, and federal officials are in the process of destroying millions of court files in an effort to cut storage costs. But law professors and historians say seemingly mundane material can be a treasure trove of historical information that is forever lost when shredded, pounded to pulp and recycled, the Associated Press reports. Among materials slated for destruction, according to the National Archives and Records Administration, are more than 10 million bankruptcy case files and several million more U.S. District Court district court files dating from 1970 to 1995. Theodore Eisenberg, a Cornell Law School professor who clerked for the late Justice Earl Warren at the U.S. Supreme Court, predicts that “really important” information about historic trends that help determine appropriate policy will be lost as a result of the records destruction.
4 More Universities Join Effort on ‘Orphan Works’ (InsideHigherEd, 25 August 2011) - Cornell, Duke, Emory and Johns Hopkins University are the latest to make digitized “orphan works”—those whose copyright holders are not known or reachable—in their collections available to students, faculty, and authorized users on their campuses. They join the University of Michigan, the University of Wisconsin, and the University of Florida among universities that have opened up their orphan works under the auspices of the educational “fair use” exemption to U.S. copyright law. In the wake of Google’s failed attempts to sell access to its massive cache of orphan works, a number of libraries have been working with each other and the Michigan-based HathiTrust Digital Library to identify orphans in their own digital collections and open them up to authorized users for research purposes.
The EFF Reflects On ICE Seizing a TOR Exit Node (Slashdot, 26 August 2011) - “Marcia Hofmann, senior staff attorney at the EFF, gives more information on the first known seizure of equipment in the U.S. due to a warrant executed against a private individual running a Tor exit node. ‘This spring, agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) executed a search warrant at the home of Nolan King and seized six computer hard drives in connection with a criminal investigation. The warrant was issued on the basis of an Internet Protocol (IP) address that traced back to an account connected to Mr. King’s home, where he was operating a Tor exit relay.’ The EFF was able to get Mr King’s equipment returned, and Marcia points out that ‘While we think it’s important to let the public know about this unfortunate event, it doesn’t change our belief that running a Tor exit relay is legal.’ She also links to the EFF’s Tor Legal FAQ . This brings up an interesting dichotomy in my mind, concerning protecting yourself from the Big digital Brother: Running an open Wi-Fi hotspot, or Tor exit node, would make you both more likely to be investigated , and less likely to be convicted , of any cyber crimes.” [Editor: OK, I’ve turned my TOR router back on; already running an open WiFi network.]
Fair Use Face-Off, Canadian Edition (InsideHigherEd, 29 August 2011) - As professors and librarians in the United States await a judge’s ruling on a copyright lawsuit by publishers against Georgia State University over its e-reserves practices, a similarly themed battle in Canada has seen a number of high-profile research universities walk out on licensing agreements with that country’s major copyright clearinghouse. More than a dozen Canadian universities - including heavyweights such as the University of British Columbia, the University of Calgary and York University - have said they will not renew their agreements with Access Copyright , a government-created nonprofit that sells licenses to its library of copyright-cleared content. The idea of the licenses is to allow professors to include copyrighted works among their course materials without having to ask permission from copyright holders at every turn. But with Access Copyright vying to more than double the fee for its “comprehensive licenses” from $18 to $45 per student, and asking that the organization be allowed to survey their clients’ private networks so as to ensure compliance, many universities say they would be happier to drop the clearinghouse licenses and go it alone. The Access Copyright donnybrook and Georgia State lawsuit are unfolding in vastly different legal environments. Canadian copyright law does not include “fair use” exemptions for teaching; its “fair dealing” exemptions provide no special dispensation for educators and only protect scholars who want to make copies for “private study.” The standards Access Copyright is using to define “copies” of digital of works - which include storing a copyrighted work on a local device, displaying a copyrighted work on a computer screen, even posting a hyperlink to a copyrighted work without consent - are draconian even compared to the much-ballyhooed standards sought by the publishers suing Georgia State. (And, for obvious jurisdictive reasons, the outcome of each case will not have any legal bearing on the other.) Yet the two cases are similar in that they involve standoffs between copyright clearinghouses - the Georgia State lawsuit is being partially underwritten by the Massachusetts-based Copyright Clearance Center , which plays a similar role stateside as Access Copyright’s Canada - that are trying assert themselves in an increasingly digital world, and universities that claim that they are overreaching.
New California Law Prohibits Jurors’ Social Media Use (Berkman/CMLP, 1 Sept 2011) - California has adopted a new statute which clarifies that jurors may not use social media and the Internet - such as texting, Twitter, Facebook, and Internet searches - to research or disseminate information about cases, and can be held in criminal or civil contempt for violating these restrictions. The new statute, 2011 Cal. Laws chap. 181 , expands the state’s existing jury instructions which currently, at the start of trial and prior to any recesses or breaks, admonish jurors not to discuss the case they are sitting on with each other or anyone else before deliberations. The current instructions make no specific mention of electronic research or communications. The new law also charges court officers to bar jurors from communicating outside the jury room, by electronic or other means, during deliberations. Under the new statute, “willful disobedience by a juror of a court admonishment related to the prohibition on any form of communication or research about the case, including all forms of electronic or wireless communication or research” can be punished as contempt of court, a misdemeanor.
Overreactive Guidance for Social Networking Du Jour—NLRB Edition (Venkat blog post, 5 Sept 2011) - There has been a steady drumbeat from employment lawyers warning about the increasingly watchful eye of the National Labor Relations Board over so-called “social media terminations"--where a company fires an employee for making a statement about the company on Facebook or Twitter. The NLRB recently issued a report regarding the cases it was involved in. I took a look at the report and was surprised at the types of things the NLRB says that private employers cannot fire employees for. (The report is a quasi-advocacy document. Correction: it does not reflect the views of the NLRB, but those of its General Counsel, who is responsible for prosecuting cases before the NLRB.) Protected activity : Here are a few statements that the NLRB said was “protected activity” and therefore could not justify a firing: (a) salespeople who complained about the quality of snacks furnished by a car dealership-employer at a client event; (b) employees who complained about the employer’s tax withholding practices (and the fact that they owed money); (c) social services non-profit’s employee who posted that her coworkers did not do enough to help clients; (d) hospital employee who complained about a co-worker’s absences; (e) employee who posted a negative remark about a supervisor in response to the supervisor’s request for an incident report. Unprotected activity : Here are a few that the NLRB said were not protected activity: (a) posting that a Wal-Mart assistant manager was being a “super mega puta”; (b) Tweets by a journalist that criticized other media outlets and some with sexual content (after being warned); (c) bartender who posted about an employer’s tipping policy (in response to a non-employee question); (d) employee who posted on her Senator’s wall about government contracts her employer had secured; (e) employee who posted about mentally disabled clients. Overly broad social media policies : The NLRB also offered guidance on when employer social media policies were overly broad: * * * The NLRB’s 24 page document purports to provide guidance and promises to be “of assistance to practitioners and human resource professionals,” but it left me scratching my head. The report should come with a strong disclaimer that anyone who reads it may find themselves more confused about social media terminations. I get that employees have a right to organize, and employers are prohibited from interfering with the activities of employees which fall into this category, but the report reflects a hyper-nuanced view of what constitutes a complaint about the conditions of someone’s employment and what constitutes concerted activity. The report: NLRB Memo - Memorandum OM 11-74 (Aug. 18, 2011) ("Report of the Acting General Counsel Concerning Social Media Cases")
Nearly Half of Computer Users Get Software Illegally (Hillicon Valley, 7 Sept 2011) - Nearly half of the world’s computer users get most of their software illegally, according to a study released Wednesday by trade group Business Software Alliance. Researchers surveyed 15,000 personal computer users in 32 countries about how they acquire software. They found 47 percent of computer users acquire their software illegally most or all of the time, despite the fact that 71 percent profess support for intellectual property rights. In developing countries, the rates are even higher. In China, an important market for software developers, 86 percent of computer users get most of their software illegally. In Nigeria, the figure is 81 percent. The study found that 34 percent of computer users in the United States acquire their software illegally. According to the study, a majority of the people who acquire their software illegally mistakenly believe the methods are legal.
The Legality of Government Critical Infrastructure Monitoring (Bruce Schneier, 7 Sept 2011) - Mason Rice, Robert Miller, and Sujeet Shenoi (2011), “ May the US Government Monitor Private Critical Infrastructure Assets to Combat Foreign Cyberspace Threats? “ International Journal of Critical Infrastructure Protection , 4 (April 2011): 3-13. Abstract: The government “owns” the entire US airspaceit can install radar systems, enforce no-fly zones and interdict hostile aircraft. Since the critical infrastructure and the associated cyberspace are just as vital to national security, could the US government protect major assetsincluding privately-owned assetsby positioning sensors and defensive systems? This paper discusses the legal issues related to the government’s deployment of sensors in privately owned assets to gain broad situational awareness of foreign threats. This paper does not necessarily advocate pervasive government monitoring of the critical infrastructure; rather, it attempts to analyze the legal principles that would permit or preclude various forms of monitoring.
The Spy Who Tweeted Me: Intelligence Community Wants to Monitor Social Media (Wired, 7 Sept 2011) - A research arm of the intelligence community wants to sweep up public data on everything from Twitter to public webcams in the hopes of predicting the future. The project is the brainchild of the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, or Iarpa, a relatively new part of the spy community that’s supposed to help investigate breakthrough technologies. While other projects exist for predicting political events , the Open Source Indicators program would be perhaps the first that mines data from social media websites. The idea is to use automated analysis to sift through the deluge of publicly available data to help predict significant societal events, like a popular revolution. The nascent project, called “Open Source Indicators,” is just the latest move by the national security community to come to grips with the flood of information now available on social media. As Danger Room’s Lena Groeger has reported, it’s also intended to predict natural disasters or economic disruptions . The science underlying the project is the notion that early indicators of major social upheavals might be hidden in plain, socially-networked sight. “Some of these changes may be indirectly observable from publicly available data, such as web search queries, blogs, micro-blogs, internet traffic, financial markets, traffic webcams, Wikipedia edits, and many others,” the announcement, published August 25, says . “Published research has found that some of these data sources are individually useful in the early detection of events such as disease outbreaks, political crises, and macroeconomic trends.”
Our 5 Favorite Lawyer Videos on YouTube (Bitter Lawyer, 7 Sept 2011) - With the launch of YouTube in 2005, lawyers were not far behind in posting cheesy law firm videos. And they continue to post them at an alarming rate, churning out the good, the bad, and the embarrassingly ugly. We recently gave our intern a laptop and a dial-up modem and asked her to search through years of YouTube videos to find the best. The result? Our top five lawyer YouTube videos. While far from perfect, they are definitely full of VHS awesomeness. Enjoy.
LOOKING BACK - MIRLN TEN YEARS AGO
WEB SITES PULL INTELLIGENCE DATA (AP, 4 October 2001)—Before Sept. 11, you could have visited the Federation of American Scientists’ Web site for diagrams and photos of U.S. intelligence facilities. You could have gone to another Web site and learned of gatherings at North Dakota’s Minot Air Force Base. And you could have gone online and ordered maps of military installations. No longer. Concerned they could be aiding terrorists, some government and private Web sites have decided to stop sharing quite so much potentially sensitive data. Such measures would not prevent terrorists from turning to libraries or even other Web sites for information that could be useful in attacks. ``But that is not a justification for publishing it in easily accessible ways. Let them work for it,” said Steven Aftergood, senior research analyst at the scientists’ group. The private organization removed from the Web its research containing locations, building layouts and aerial images of intelligence offices, some unacknowledged by the U.S. government. Also removed were details on nuclear sites abroad. The National Imagery and Mapping Agency suspended online and offline sales of maps of military installations as well as its highest-resolution maps of other U.S. locations. The U.S. Office of Pipeline Safety now restricts its mapping software and pipeline data to industry and government officials, while the Environmental Protection Agency (news - web sites) removed information on chemical plants and their emergency response plans. ``People have a right to know what kinds of risks there are, but unfortunately terrorists are people, too,” said Jim Makris, the EPA’s emergency coordinator. The reports are still available in EPA reading rooms, but Makris said identification is required. http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/ap/20011003/tc/attacks_net_censorship_4.html
IP PHONE CALLS ARE SHAKING UP THE TELECOM INDUSTRY One in 33 voice phone calls were transmitted via the Internet last year, and traditional telecom companies are beginning to sit up and take notice. IP (Internet protocol) telephony has made great strides in the last couple of years, eliminating most of the clunky technical features that relegated it to second-tier status. Currently, most user-friendly Internet calling services provide callers with a local access number. The caller dials that number to get a second dial tone, and then completes his or her phone call, using a personal access code. The International Telecommunication Union estimates that by 2004, up to 40% of all international telephone traffic will be Internet-based. “Price and cost savings are driving the market,” says ITU official Tim Kelly. An ITU survey found the cost of a one-minute call from the U.S. to Australia over a traditional phone line cost 17 cents, but the price dropped to 8 cents through a Net-based service. (Hollywood Reporter 7 Mar 2001) http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/