MIRLN—- 25 March – 14 April 2018 (v21.05)

MIRLN—- 25 March - 14 April 2018 (v21.05)—- by Vince Polley and KnowConnect PLLC (supplemented by related Tweets: @vpolley #mirln)




Take a look at the new ABA Cybersecurity Handbook: A Resource for Attorneys, Law Firms, and Business Professionals (2nd Edition). Published in November, it’s already out-sold the 1st edition, probably because cyberattacks on law firms are in the news every day. The Handbook contains actionable information about “reasonable” security precautions for lawyers in every practice setting (solos, smalls, and large firms; in-house, government, and public-interest practitioners). Produced by the ABA Cybersecurity Legal Task Force (which I co-chair), it complements other resources for ABA members. Learn more here: ambar.org/cyber


Appeals court says it’s okay to copyright an entire style of music (TechDirt, 21 March 2018) - We had hoped that the 9th Circuit might bring some sanity back to the music copyright world by overturning the awful “Blurred Lines” ruling that has already created a massive chilling effect among musicians… but no such luck. In a ruling released earlier this morning, the 9th Circuit largely affirmed the lower court ruling that said that Pharrell and Robin Thicke infringed on Marvin Gaye’s copyright by writing a song, “Blurred Lines,” that was clearly inspired by Gaye’s “Got To Give It Up.” No one has denied that the songs had similar “feels” but “feeling” is not copyrightable subject matter. The compositions of the two songs were clearly different, and the similarity in feel was, quite obviously, paying homage to the earlier work, rather than “copying” it. For what it’s worth, there appears to be at least some hesitation on the part of the majority ruling, recognizing that this ruling could create a huge mess in the music world, so it tries (and mostly fails) to insist that this ruling is on narrow grounds, specific to this case (and much of it on procedural reasons, which is a kind way of suggesting that the lawyers for Pharrell and Thicke fucked up royally). As the court summarizes: * * * top

NIST targets APTs with resilience strategies (GCN, 21 March 2018) - From the Office of Personnel Management data breach to the Russian hacking of the 2016 elections, cyberattacks from hostile nation-states, criminal and terrorist groups and rogue individuals are becoming more frequent. The National Institute of Standards and Technology’s most recent draft publication aims to help organizations address vulnerabilities and create more “defensible and survivable systems.” “Systems Security Engineering: Cyber Resiliency Considerations for the Engineering of Trustworthy Secure Systems” provides guidance on addressing advanced persistent threats that target IT infrastructure to impede critical aspects of an organization’s mission. It is applicable to new systems, but also addresses engineering considerations when improving resiliency in legacy systems. NIST defines cyber resilience as “the ability to anticipate, withstand, recover from, and adapt to adverse conditions, stresses, attacks, or compromises on systems that use or are enabled by cyber resources regardless of the source.” The publication breaks down elements of cyber resiliency to provide a conceptual framework of goals, objectives, techniques and design principles. top

Lawyers have an obligation to stay on Facebook (Kevin O’Keefe, 27 March 2018) - Computer scientist and author, Jaron Lanier, in a ballyhooed op-ed in the Guardian, challenges us all to delete Facebook. Lanier was no fan of Facebook before (having already urged people to delete their social media accounts), but after Cambridge Analytica he saw it the perfect time to challenge everyone to beat the addiction, make a political statement and redefine your social life. The problem for lawyers is that Facebook represents the opportunity to engage the public where they are and on their terms. Like it or not, lawyers have an ethical obligation to make legal services accessible to people - not just to the impoverished, but to middle income individuals and small business people. To do this as a lawyer you not only need to go where the people are, but you need to establish trust by listening, sharing and nurturing relationships. More people spend more time on the Internet on Facebook than any other place. Social media, Facebook included, represents the town square, the coffee shop, the church group and the civic board of today. It’s where lawyers establish enough trust and value in people’s minds that legal services, at least though a lawyer, remain a viable answer for consumers and small business people. Lawyers jumping off Facebook can do so out of fear (perhaps legitimate) or to make a political statement, but by doing so they are turning on the public they serve. Access to legal services will only decline. [ Polley : interesting perspective, which I do not share.] top

A cyberattack hobbles Atlanta, and security experts shudder (NYT, 27 March 2018) - The City of Atlanta’s 8,000 employees got the word on Tuesday that they had been waiting for: It was O.K. to turn their computers on. But as the city government’s desktops, hard drives and printers flickered back to life for the first time in five days, residents still could not pay their traffic tickets or water bills online, or report potholes or graffiti on a city website. Travelers at the world’s busiest airport still could not use the free Wi-Fi. Atlanta’s municipal government has been brought to its knees since Thursday morning by a ransomware attack - one of the most sustained and consequential cyberattacks ever mounted against a major American city. The digital extortion aimed at Atlanta, which security experts have linked to a shadowy hacking crew known for its careful selection of targets, laid bare once again the vulnerabilities of governments as they rely on computer networks for day-to-day operations. The assault on Atlanta, the core of a metropolitan area of about six million people, represented a serious escalation from other recent cyberattacks on American cities, like one last year in Dallas where hackers gained the ability to set off tornado sirens in the middle of the night. Threat researchers at Dell SecureWorks, the Atlanta-based security firm helping the city respond to the ransomware attack, identified the assailants as the SamSam hacking crew, one of the more prevalent and meticulous of the dozens of active ransomware attack groups. The SamSam group is known for choosing targets that are the most likely to accede to its high ransom demands - typically the Bitcoin equivalent of about $50,000 - and for finding and locking up the victims’ most valuable data. In Atlanta, where officials said the ransom demand amounted to about $51,000, the group left parts of the city’s network tied in knots. Some major systems were not affected, including those for 911 calls and control of wastewater treatment. But other arms of city government have been scrambled for days. top

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New York City is launching public cybersecurity tools to keep residents from getting hacked (TechCrunch, 29 March 2018) - In a week of harrowing city-level cyber attacks , New York is taking some precautions. While the timing is coincidental, New York City Mayor just announced that the city will introduce the first tools in its suite of cybersecurity offerings to protect residents against malicious online activity, particularly on mobile devices. When it launches this summer, New York residents will be able to download a free app called NYC Secure . The app will alert smartphone users to potential threats on their devices and offer tips for how to stay secure, “such as disconnecting from a malicious Wi-Fi network, navigating away from a compromised website, or uninstalling a malicious app.” Because the app will take no active steps on its own, it’ll be up to users to heed the advice presented to them. NYC Secure will not collect or transmit any personal identifying information or private data. The city will also beef up security over its public Wi-Fi networks, a notorious target for malicious actors looking to snoop on private information as it passes by unencrypted. The city will implement DNS protection through a service called Quad9 , a free public cybersecurity product out of the partnership between Global Cyber Alliance (GCA), IBM and Packet Clearing House. top

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How to speed up your internet and protect your privacy with Cloudflare’s new DNS service (Gizmodo, 2 April 2018) - Cloudflare has launched its own consumer Domain Name System (DNS) service that not only promises to keep your browsing history safe, but appears significantly faster than any other DNS service available. Cloudflare, known primarily for DDoS mitigation , launched DNS resolver and on Sunday and, at time of writing, analytics show it processing queries at 14.01ms, officially making it in the internet’s fastest DNS resolver. The other true benefit here is that Cloudflare’s perspective on handling user data. Prince said the company views user data as a “toxic asset,” something it strives to either never collect or delete as quickly as possible. “Just at a policy level, Cloudflare’s business has never been advertising or selling consumer data,” Prince said. “As we started to talk to various browser manufacturers and others about what we were doing, they would come back and say, ‘Well, we don’t want you to retain logs for any longer than a week, we don’t want you selling any of the data.’ And I think they were kind of surprised when we returned back and said, ‘Actually, we prefer never to write any personally identifiable information to disk and guarantee that we’ll wipe all of the transactional logs and bug tracking logs within 24 hours.’” Prince said Cloudflare will also bring in an external monitor to certify that it is actually taking all of these steps to ensure user privacy. Those using the DNS services set by their ISPs can have their browsing history recorded, sold, and analyzed for advertising purposes. There are several ways to prevent this, but most involve using a VPN or the Tor browser, both of which can impact speed. There’s also no guarantee that a VPN service isn’t amassing your data itself. (If you’re looking for a reliable VPN, however, I’d suggest Private Internet Access or ProtonVPN .) For non-technical users who’ve never changed their DNS settings, it may seem like one of those unfamiliar options you’d rather not mess around with. But it’s actually quite simple and takes only a few seconds-and, as you’ve read, the benefits can be significant. Below are instructions on how to change your DNS settings for Windows and Mac, as well as iPhone and Android devices. * * * [ Polley : You probably should do this; also install an ad-blocker; use a VPN (vet it first); etc.] top

Law firms’ guide to selecting a cloud-based vendor (Nat’l Law Review, 28 March 2018) - Selecting vendors can be a frustrating and complicated process-but it doesn’t have to be. You’ve already got enough to think about while considering the differences in functionality across different products and vendors, and factoring in security is like going through the entire decision-making process all over again! With a few key considerations, though, you can vet vendors’ security protocols like a pro, leaving you to make a choice that fits your budget and performance needs with the peace of mind that comes with knowing that security is covered. * * * [ Polley : workman-like checklist.] top

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NJ physician practice fined over $400,000 for data breach caused by vendor (Jackson Lewis, 8 April 2018) - Last week, New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs (“Division”) announced that a physician group affiliated with more than 50 South Jersey medical and surgical practices agreed to pay $417,816 and improve data security practices to settle allegations it failed to properly protect the privacy of more than 1,650 patients whose medical records were made viewable on the internet as a result of a server misconfiguration by a private vendor. In this case, according to the NJ Office of Attorney General, the physician practice used a third party vendor to transcribe dictations of medical notes, letters, and reports by doctors, a popular service provided to many physical practices and other medical providers across the country. When the vendor, a HIPAA business associate, attempted to update software on a password-protected File Transfer Protocol website (“FTP Site”) where the transcribed documents were kept, it unintentionally misconfigured the web server, allowing the FTP Site to be accessed without a password. As a result, anyone who searched Google using search terms that happened to be contained within the dictation information would have been able to access and download the documents located on the FTP Site. These documents would have included doctor names, patient names, and treatment information concerning patients. top

Protecting election registration sites from cyber intrusions (GCN, 28 March 2018) - The Center for Internet Security’s newly established Elections Infrastructure Information Sharing and Analysis Center (EI-ISAC) plans to deploy intrusion detection sensors to voter registration websites for all 50 states by the 2018 midterm elections, an official told GCN. The intrusion detection sensors are called Albert sensors, and CIS has been using them on the state and local level since 2010, according to CIS Vice President of Operations Brian Calkin. The open-source Albert sensors provide automated alerts on both traditional and advanced network threats. Albert grew out of a Department of Homeland Security’s Einstein project, which focuses on detecting and blocking cyberattacks within federal agencies. DHS approached CIS about creating similar capability for states and localities, but since the Einstein name was taken, CIS called it Albert instead. top

Combatting deep fakes through the right of publicity (Lawfare, 30 March 2018) - Fake news is bad enough already, but something much nastier is just around the corner: As Evelyn Douek explained , the “next frontier” of fake news will feature machine-learning software that can cheaply produce convincing audio or video of almost anyone saying or doing just about anything . These may be ” digital avatars ” built from generative adversarial networks (GANs), or they may rely on simpler face-swapping technology to create ” deep fakes .” The effect is the same: fake videos that look frighteningly real. Bobby Chesney and Danielle Citron recently sounded the alarm on Lawfare about the threat to democracy from “deep fakes,” lamenting “the limits of technological and legal solutions.” They argue that existing law has a limited ability to force online platforms to police such content because “Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act immunizes from (most) liability the entities best situated to minimize damage efficiently: the platforms.” But in fact, a loophole built into Section 230 immunity-the intellectual property exception-could be helpful in combating deep fakes and other next-generation fake news. Victims of deep fakes may successfully bring ” right of publicity ” claims against online platforms, thereby forcing the platforms to systematically police such content. At a minimum, such right-of-publicity claims are likely to generate crucial litigation. * * * top

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Realistic docudramas don’t violate California publicity rights-deHavilland v. FX (Eric Goldman, 2 April 2018) - Last week, the California Court of Appeal ordered the dismissal of a right of publicity and false-light privacy lawsuit brought by legendary actress Olivia de Havilland against FX Networks over the depiction of her in the television miniseries Feud: Bette and Joan (2017). The opinion is available here . One of Hollywood’s staples is the docudrama: a motion picture or television series based on real persons and real-life events. Recent examples include the television series The People v. O.J. Simpson (which won nine Emmy awards), and the movies Hidden Figures (about female mathematicians and engineers at NASA in the 1960s) and Darkest Hour (about Winston Churchill’s early days as Prime Minister). Sometimes docudramas are near-journalistic in nature, and sometimes they are heavily fictionalized; but all docudramas are necessarily dramatized to some extent, because it is impossible to depict real life with 100% accuracy. To depict private conversations, for example, a screenwriter must invent dialogue, because no one was there to record what was said, and even the participants to the conversation may remember it differently when interviewed in later years. It is also common for screenwriters to invent fictitious or composite characters to interact with the more well-known historical figures that are the focus of the docudrama. Docudramas have frequently been the source of litigation disputes. When real-life people are upset with how they are depicted in a movie or television series, they often turn to causes of action such as libel, false-light privacy, or the right of publicity to vindicate what they see as the truth. More often than not, these lawsuits fail; but they succeed often enough to avoid Rule 11 sanctions, and the cost of litigating these disputes may have a “chilling effect” on the willingness of Hollywood to take on certain subject material. Hollywood studios frequently pay people for the “rights” to tell their life stories, simply in order to avoid having a suit filed against them for a violation of their rights of privacy or publicity, and the attendant cost of litigation. * * * top

Tech thinks it has a fix for the problems it created: Blockchain (NYT, 1 April 2018) - Worried about someone hacking the next election? Bothered by the way Facebook and Equifax coughed up your personal information? The technology industry has an answer called the blockchain - even for the problems the industry helped to create. The first blockchain was created in 2009 as a new kind of database for the virtual currency Bitcoin , where all transactions could be stored without any banks or governments involved. Now, countless entrepreneurs, companies and governments are looking to use similar databases - often independent of Bitcoin - to solve some of the most intractable issues facing society. “People feel the need to move away from something like Facebook and toward something that allows them to have ownership of their own data,” said Ryan Shea, a co-founder of Blockstack, a New York company working with blockchain technology. The creator of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee, has said the blockchain could help reduce the big internet companies’ influence and return the web to his original vision. But he has also warned that it could come with some of the same problems as the web. Blockchain allows information to be stored and exchanged by a network of computers without any central authority. In theory, this egalitarian arrangement also makes it harder for data to be altered or hacked. In the first three months of 2018, venture capitalists put half a billion dollars into 75 blockchain projects, more than double what they raised in the last quarter of 2017, according to data from Pitchbook. Most of the projects have not gotten beyond pilot testing, and many are aimed at transforming mundane corporate tasks like financial trading and accounting. But some experiments promise to transform fundamental things, like the way we vote and the way we interact online. [ Polley : Quite interesting article (if a bit unstructured), and worth a close read.] top

US suspects cellphone spying devices in DC (AP, 3 April 2018) - For the first time, the U.S. government has publicly acknowledged the existence in Washington of what appear to be rogue devices that foreign spies and criminals could be using to track individual cellphones and intercept calls and messages. The use of what are known as cellphone-site simulators by foreign powers has long been a concern, but American intelligence and law enforcement agencies - which use such eavesdropping equipment themselves - have been silent on the issue until now. In a March 26 letter to Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, the Department of Homeland Security acknowledged that last year it identified suspected unauthorized cell-site simulators in the nation’s capital. The agency said it had not determined the type of devices in use or who might have been operating them. Nor did it say how many it detected or where. The agency’s response, obtained by The Associated Press from Wyden’s office, suggests little has been done about such equipment, known popularly as Stingrays after a brand common among U.S. police departments. The Federal Communications Commission, which regulates the nation’s airwaves, formed a task force on the subject four years ago, but it never produced a report and no longer meets regularly. * * * Legislators have been raising alarms about the use of Stingrays in the capital since at least 2014, when Goldsmith and other security-company researchers conducted public sweeps that located suspected unauthorized devices near the White House, the Supreme Court, the Commerce Department and the Pentagon, among other locations. Like other major world capitals, he said, Washington is awash in unauthorized interception devices. Foreign embassies have free rein because they are on sovereign soil. Every embassy “worth their salt” has a cell tower simulator installed, Turner said. They use them “to track interesting people that come toward their embassies.” The Russians’ equipment is so powerful it can track targets a mile away, he said. top

Anatomy of a cyber attack (NY Law Journal, 4 April 2018) - Cybersecurity is an increasingly important risk vector that impacts every facet of society. Day by day, businesses and even individuals are finding themselves to be targets of cyberattacks and lawyers are certainly no exception. The exponential scale of the problem can be seen in the fact that, according to a recent report , there were more records compromised in 2017 than there are people currently living on earth. While this risk is applicable to all organizations and individuals, lawyers, as safeguards of their client’s information, are particularly useful targets for cyber criminals. Lawyers of every stripe and specialty tend to possess large quantities of their clients’ sensitive data and in many cases present a more desirable target than the clients themselves because the data of all of their clients is centralized in a single location. Recognizing this threat, the bar has taken steps to ensure that the profession rises to the challenge posed by the pervasive threat of cyber-compromise. The bar’s understanding of the lawyer’s duty to his or her clients has developed along two parallel paths-the duty of confidentiality and the duty of technological competence as applied in the digital context. In 2017, the American Bar Association proceeded along the first path and released Formal Opinion 477 , which dealt with cybersecurity in client communications. This is a fundamental departure from previously established guidance from the ABA, which held that “A lawyer may transmit information relating to the representation of a client by unencrypted e-mail sent over the Internet without violating the Model Rules of Professional Conduct (1998) because the mode of transmission affords a reasonable expectation of privacy from a technological and legal standpoint.” While this specific rule change only effects attorney communications and not the practice of law more generally, it signals a change from the Bar that it is now more willing than ever to begin regulating cybersecurity and the practice of law. Not only the ABA has adopted these changes, in fact twenty-eight state Bars have adopted language mandating that the duty of competency in representation extends to technological competence as well. [ Polley : not much new(s) here, but the New York Law Journal reaches an important audience; more and more visibility (and appreciation) of these kinds of issues.] top

Facebook scans the photos and links you send on Messenger, and it reads flagged chats (LA Times, 4 April 2018) - Facebook Inc. scans the links and images that people send each other on Facebook Messenger, and reads chats when they’re flagged to moderators, making sure it all abides by the company’s rules governing content. If it doesn’t pass muster, it gets blocked or taken down. The company confirmed the practice after an interview with Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg, published this week, raised questions about Messenger’s practices and privacy. Zuckerberg told Vox’s Ezra Klein a story about receiving a phone call related to ethnic cleansing in Myanmar. Facebook had detected people trying to send sensational messages through the Messenger app, he said. “In that case, our systems detect what’s going on,” Zuckerberg said. “We stop those messages from going through.” Some people reacted with concern on Twitter: Was Facebook reading messages more generally? Facebook has been under scrutiny in recent weeks over how it handles users’ private data, and the revelation struck a nerve. Messenger doesn’t use the data from the scanned messages for advertising, the company said, but the policy may extend beyond what Messenger users expect. top

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What you don’t know about how Facebook uses your data (NYT, 11 April 2018) - * * * Facebook meticulously scrutinizes the minutiae of its users’ online lives, and its tracking stretches far beyond the company’s well-known targeted advertisements. Details that people often readily volunteer - age, employer, relationship status, likes and location - are just the start.Facebook tracks both its users and nonusers on other sites and apps. It collects biometric facial data without users’ explicit “opt-in” consent. And the sifting of users can get quite personal. Among many possible target audiences, Facebook offers advertisers 1.5 million people “whose activity on Facebook suggests that they’re more likely to engage with/distribute liberal political content” and nearly seven million Facebook users who “prefer high-value goods in Mexico.” “Facebook can learn almost anything about you by using artificial intelligence to analyze your behavior,” said Peter Eckersley, the chief computer scientist for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights nonprofit. “That knowledge turns out to be perfect both for advertising and propaganda. Will Facebook ever prevent itself from learning people’s political views, or other sensitive facts about them?” Facebook uses a number of software tools to do this tracking. When internet users venture to other sites, Facebook can still monitor what they are doing with software like its ubiquitous “Like” and “Share” buttons, and something called Facebook Pixel - invisible code that’s dropped onto the other websites that allows that site and Facebook to track users’ activity. Ms. Dingell asked Mr. Zuckerberg how many non-Facebook sites used various kinds of Facebook tracking software: “Is the number over 100 million?” He said he’d have to get back to her with an answer. * * * top

Is cybersecurity improving? (Lawfare, 5 April 2018) - Is cybersecurity improving overall? By at least some measures the answer is a surprising “yes.” This annual report from FireEye gives us at least two reasons to think that trend lines are actually improving: First, as noted by Joe Uchill of Axios Codebook , the identity of who discovers an intrusion is changing drastically. As recently as 2011, 94 percent of intrusions were discovered and reported by outsiders-law enforcement, customers, or other observers. Today, victim companies discover 64 percent of their own breaches-a significant improvement in self-awareness. Second, that improvement has consequences. An intruders “dwell time” inside a victim’s system is less than a quarter of what it was in 2011. It’s still too high-median dwell time is 75 days in the U.S., 175 in Europe and more than 490 in Asia-but the fact that it is down is a significant improvement. top

Cyberinsurance tackles the wildly unpredictable world of hacks (Wired, 6 April 2018) - In the aftermath of the Equifax data breach last year that exposed personal information of more than 145 million people, analysis firm Property Claim Services estimated that cyberinsurance would cover roughly $125 million of Equifax’s losses from the incident. It’s uncertain whether Equifax will actually receive that much money; insurance claims can take a long time to investigate, process, and pay out. But it was a reminder of the increasingly important role insurance plays in cybersecurity-and the challenges of getting it right. In 2016, the cyberinsurance market brought in around $3.5 billion in premiums globally, of which $3 billion came from US-based companies, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. That’s not an enormous amount of money compared to other insurance markets; motor vehicle insurance premiums in the US, for instance, total more than $200 billion annually . But cyberinsurance premiums have grown steadily at a rate of roughly 30 percent every year for the past five years, in an industry unaccustomed to such spikes. With the Regulation poised to go into effect May 25, and firms of every size in every sector concerned about emerging online threats, insurance carriers see ample opportunity. But as the cyberinsurance market grows and those carriers take on responsibility for more computer-based risks, it becomes increasingly important that they model that risk and predict its outcomes accurately, a notoriously difficult task in the evolving and unpredictable domain of online threats. Companies like retailers, banks, and healthcare providers began seeking out cyberinsurance in the early 2000s, when states first passed data breach notification laws. But even with 20 years’ worth of experience and claims data in cyberinsurance, underwriters still struggle with how to model and quantify a unique type of risk. “Typically in insurance we use the past as prediction for the future, and in cyber that’s very difficult to do because no two incidents are alike,” said Lori Bailey, global head of cyberrisk for the Zurich Insurance Group. Twenty years ago, policies dealt primarily with data breaches and third-party liability coverage, like the costs associated with breach class-action lawsuits or settlements. But more recent policies tend to accommodate first-party liability coverage, including costs like online extortion payments, renting temporary facilities during an attack, and lost business due to systems failures, cloud or web hosting provider outages, or even IT configuration errors. top

RSS is undead (TechCrunch, 7 April 2018) - RSS died. Whether you blame Feedburner , or Google Reader , or Digg Reader last month , or any number of other product failures over the years, the humble protocol has managed to keep on trudging along despite all evidence that it is dead, dead, dead. Now, with scandal over Cambridge Analytica, there is a whole new wave of commentators calling for RSS to be resuscitated. Brian Barrett at Wired said a week ago that “… anyone weary of black-box algorithms controlling what you see online at least has a respite, one that’s been there all along but has often gone ignored. Tired of Twitter? Facebook fatigued? It’s time to head back to RSS.” Let’s be clear: RSS isn’t coming back alive so much as it is officially entering its undead phase. Don’t get me wrong, I love RSS. At its core, it is a beautiful manifestation of some of the most visionary principles of the internet, namely transparency and openness. The protocol really is simple and human-readable. It feels like how the internet was originally designed with static, full-text articles in HTML. Perhaps most importantly, it is decentralized, with no power structure trying to stuff other content in front of your face. It’s wonderfully idealistic, but the reality of RSS is that it lacks the features required by nearly every actor in the modern content ecosystem, and I would strongly suspect that its return is not forthcoming. [Polley : interesting; I use RSS to find about 20% of the content that goes into MIRLN.] top

Using Turnitin to teach students not to plagiarize (InsideHigherEd, 10 April 2018) - By now, most educators know about Turnitin, and many of us have used it to scare our students out of submitting work written by someone else, whether that writer was a friend, an internet entrepreneur or even (in the most obvious cases) Wikipedia. The first time I used it to check for plagiarism, I have to admit that it was purely for the fear factor, as I hadn’t learned much about the benefits the resource has to offer. I just looked at the similarity percentages to see how high they were, warning students that they would be penalized if they had plagiarized. It took me a while to understand how Turnitin can also be useful to students if they are taught how to take advantage of it as a tool. * * * Here’s how I tell students to use Turnitin to check their papers. First, I set it up on my end so that they can submit multiple times and see their similarity percentages. Students have told me sometimes their other professors won’t allow this, which might be to further discourage plagiarism attempts by preventing students from knowing whether they need to make changes, but I feel that this restricts a powerful teachable moment. Next, when students have polished their drafts to a point where they think they’re finished, they submit and wait for the percentage. Obviously, a high percentage is less than ideal, but that alone won’t provide everything they need to know. Plagiarism is still possible with a low score, so I then have them click “markup document” and the originality tab. A truer originality percentage will show up if they use the filter, located on the right-hand side, to exclude any quotes they have used, as those will obviously come directly from sources. I also tell them to click “exclude bibliography,” as titles of sources they have used will also come up highlighted. Any other writing that is too close to a source will be marked in various colors. This is a good check to see where they may need to make some tweaks. * * * [ Polley : quite interesting.] top


Starting A Mobile Hotspot Lending Program (Maine.gov, March 2018) - Implementing a Mobile Hotspot Lending Program at your library offers up a world of possibilities for your patrons. Enabling patrons to take the Internet home offers a number of unique benefits such as: * * * By loaning out the Internet, just like a book, your Library can provide its patrons with 24/7 access to Internet. In an increasingly interconnected world, the Internet is vital in day to day life. Offering mobile hotspot devices to your patrons will help meet their information needs in new and exciting ways. top

Borgesius and Steenbruggen on The Right to Communications Confidentiality in Europe: Protecting Trust, Privacy, and Freedom of Expression (MLPB, 11 April 2018) - Frederik Zuiderveen Borgesius, University of Amsterdam, IVir Institute for Information Law (IViR), and Wilfred Steenbruggen, Bird & Bird, have published The Right to Communications Confidentiality in Europe: Protecting Trust, Privacy, and Freedom of Expression. Here is the abstract: In the European Union, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) provides comprehensive rules for the processing of personal data. In addition, the EU lawmaker intends to adopt specific rules to protect confidentiality of communications, in a separate ePrivacy Regulation. Some have argued that there is no need for such additional rules for communications confidentiality. This paper discusses the protection of the right to confidentiality of communications in Europe. We look at the right’s origins as a fundamental right to assess the rationale for protecting the right. We also analyse how the right is currently protected under the European Convention on Human Rights and under EU law. We show that the right to communications confidentiality protects three values: trust in communication services, privacy, and freedom of expression. The right aims to ensure that individuals and businesses can safely entrust communication to service providers. Initially, the right protected only postal letters, but it has gradually developed into a strong safeguard for the protection of confidentiality of communications, regardless of the technology used. Hence, the right does not merely serve individual privacy interests, but also other interests that are crucial for the functioning of our information society. We conclude that separate EU rules to protect communications confidentiality, next to the GDPR, are justified and necessary to protect trust, privacy and freedom and expression. top


(note: link-rot has affected about 50% of these original URLs)

Comcast to stop blocking Internet traffic (NBC, 27 March 2008) - Comcast Corp., an Internet service provider under investigation for hampering online file-sharing by its subscribers, announced Thursday an about-face in its stance and said it will treat all types of Internet traffic equally. Comcast said it will collaborate with BitTorrent Inc., the company founded by the creator of the popular BitTorrent file-sharing protocol, to come up with better ways to transport large files over the Internet instead of delaying file transfers. Since user reports of interference with file-sharing traffic were confirmed by an Associated Press investigation in October, Comcast has been vigorously defending its practices, most recently at a hearing of the Federal Communications Commission in February. Consumer and “Net Neutrality” advocates have been equally vigorous in their attacks on the company, saying that by secretly blocking some connections between file-sharing computers, Comcast made itself a judge and gatekeeper for the Internet. They also accused Comcast of stifling delivery of Internet video, an emerging competitor to the cable company’s core business. Comcast has said that its practices were necessary to keep file-sharing traffic from overwhelming local cable lines, where neighbors share capacity with one another. On Thursday, Comcast said that by the end of the year, it will move to a system that manages capacity without favoring one type of traffic over another. top

Abracadabra! Bush makes privacy board vanish (Wired, 4 Feb 2008) - The Bush administration has failed to nominate any candidates to a newly empowered privacy and civil-liberties commission. This leaves the board without any members, even as Congress prepares to give the Bush administration extraordinary powers to wiretap without warrants inside the United States. The failure rankles Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Connecticut) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), respectively chairman and ranking minority member of the Senate’s Homeland Security Committee. “I urge the president to move swiftly to nominate members to the new board to preserve the public’s faith in our promise to protect their privacy and civil liberties as we work to protect the country against terrorism,” Lieberman said in a statement. “The White House’s failure to move forward with appointing the new board is unacceptable, and I call on the administration to do so as quickly as possible to prevent a gap in this vital mission,” Collins said in a statement. top