Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Google is Microsoft - Databases and Privacy

CSO Online – “The database contains a voter’s full name (first, middle, last), their home address, mailing address, a unique voter ID, state voter ID, gender, date of birth, date of registration, phone number, a yes/no field for if the number is on the national do-not-call list, political affiliation, and a detailed voting history since 2000. In addition, the database contains fields for voter prediction scores. All voter information, except for a few elements protected by law in some states, is public record. For example, in Ohio, voter records are posted online. Other states make obtaining voter records a bit more challenging or outright expensive, but they’re still available. For the most part, voter data is restricted to non-commercial purposes. However, each state has its own rules for such data…”

Kelly Hinchcliffe – “Each month in this column, I try to feature journalists who are telling important stories using public records. For my final column of 2015, I wanted to do something big and decided to find public records stories from all 50 states (plus, a bonus: Washington, D.C.). This is not meant to be a “best of” list. It’s simply a collection of public records stories from the past year that intrigued me. I found many of the stories by searching the National Freedom of Information Coalition’s website, as well as Investigative Reporters & Editors.check out my list of public records stories from around the country and see what records journalists are requesting…”

Lists containing personal information related to around 103,000 people, including public health insurance card numbers, have been leaked, with some of the information sold off in what could be Japan’s largest ever case of data theft National health insurance info on 100,000 people leaked
Currently, illicit data trading is unlikely to be punished by more than modest fines, irrespective of the severity of the crime and the profit made from it. The ICO has used the real life case of an employee of a car rental firm to illustrate the inadequate consequences available to punish information theft Data Thieves

Protection in Action

In All For Nothing we travel to the German province of East Prussia in the closing days of the Second World War. To understand the context in which this book is set, we need to understand a little history. The Treaty of Versailles in 1919 created East Prussia as a German Enclave surrounded by Poland to the east, west and south and by the Baltic Sea to the north.   With the advance of Nazi Germany into Poland, the Polish land between East Prussia and Germany was taken by the German Army and East Prussia was reunited with the Greater Germanic Reich All For Nothing – Walter Kempowski

A Swedish newspaper said that police had not mentioned the attacks until it published details about them, and accused the authorities of failing to warn the public, reports the New York TimesThe reports has spurred speculation that authorities are covering up crimes by asylum seekers in an effort to avoid fanning racial tensions.

The first email was sent in 1971. Since then email has gone from obscure to beloved to barely tolerated. Yet it endures. Why?...  Email is like a postcard anyone along the way can read it  - why are the funiest emails always written by characters like D Trump ...

Up to 70 Percent of Global Internet Traffic Goes Through Northern Virginia Nextgov. Terrific reporting on the physical plant of data centers. They are not all out in the boonies, and they are not all shiny.

Looking at grains of salt and sugar crystals was all very well; he knew all about that now. Beside the instrument stood a preserving jar containing a decoction of hay; Peter wanted to observe the invisible life forms in the infusion, but so far it wasn’t ripe enough. There was a whole world in there, Dr Wagner had said: birth and death, creatures eating and being eaten.

The pupils from the independent Perse School in 
Cambridge were seen by a guard picking up fragments the ground

Thousands protest in HK over missing publishers; booksellers worried Reuters

Neil deGrasse Tyson: How can there be a God with ‘an absence of benevolence’ in the universe? Raw Story

In Estonia, bureaucrats are building a government start-up-like service, called e-residency, which is available to everybody globally and tries to make national borders and nationality-based public services a thing of the past. Thus, to ask whether bureaucracies can innovate is not so far-fetched; on the contrary, it seems highly pertinent that we understand howbureaucracies innovate...Start-up governments or can bureaucracies innovate
  • “We’re going to overturn every rock in their lives to find out about their lifestyles”: union chief vows to go after lawmakers seeking to break county liquor monopoly in Montgomery County, Maryland [Bethesda Magazine]