Monday, November 29, 2010

Think You Are Not Using the Cloud? Think Again...

Microsoft has a new ad campaign showing 3 people, all working different jobs, that are "in the cloud" when they get a request about their business idea.  While still at their day jobs, they work "in the cloud", submit a response, and quit their day jobs to launch their company.

Many people that I talk to say they are not interested in using "the cloud", several are not sure what it is, and still more don't think "the cloud" applies to them.

If you think you are not in "the cloud" think again.

If you answer "yes" to any of the following, a digital aspect of your life is in the "cloud":
1.  Do your friends use Google mail?  Then their emails to you and your responses back are in "the cloud".
2.  Do you or your friends use photo sharing sites such as Flickr?
3.  Are you on Facebook, MySpace, or Twitter?
4.  Do you blog or post comments on a blog?

This is not intended to be a comprehensive of list but to illustrate a point, I think it might be easier to list what is not in the cloud these days when it comes to consumer applications and information.

The lightning speed at which cloud computing services can ask for, collect, and store your information is amazing.  Even more amazing is the ability to collate information about you with other information in an instant to create a profile that can be scary smart about who you are and what you like to do.

This information, in the wrong hands, creates a risk that is not fully understood by consumers.

Recent case in point, it was recently discovered that if your friends on Facebook played the Farmville game, that not only was their Facebook ID information sold to marketing and ad agencies, but yours was as well, even if you do not play Farmville.

Do you remember reading anything about that in the customer agreement you read and signed via a checkbox?

Tips to Protect Yourself:
1.  Man or Woman of Mystery:  Limit the personal information you share about you online.  If you post your birthdate, avoid the year and place of birth.  Do not use full names of your kids when sharing photos or other information about them on social networking sites.

2.  Thief or Grandmom Rule:  Even with privacy and security settings on the highest settings, people have had their profiles compromised.  If you would not want a thief or your Grandmom to know something about you, keep it offline.

3.  Inspect Yourself:  Go to your favorite search engine and set up a search alert with your name in it  and your kids.  This will help you track any posts that you may want to clean up.

4.  Keep It Confidential:  Never email or send through social networking sites your personal details such as credit card, SSN, bank accounts, account numbers.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

U.S. Marshals Service - thousands of naked images on body scanners

When the new scanners came online at court houses, airports, and other places we were promised that images would not be stored or transmitted.

EPIC, the Electronic Privacy Information Center, filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request in August to determine if the promise was kept or broken.  There were 35000 images on the scanners and EPIC was given roughly 100 scans to review.  According to the report they found 100 naked images.

What they found were naked images captured on the scanners used by US Marshals Service at an Orlando courthouse.  Their findings can be seen on technology blog, Gizmodo, who posted the naked body images.

The images are not as graphic as the TSA airport scanners but EPIC did this for a reason.  They wanted to show that the technology is available that allows one to store, retrieve, and view the images later.

TSA says they have safeguards in place to prevent this from happening.


ABC News Report, November 16, 2010.

"One Hundred Naked Citizens:  One Hundred Leaked Body Scans",

New Facebook Spam Campaign Brought to You by Asprox

Facebook friends and fans beware!  A new Facebook Spam Campaign is on the loose.

The spam is spawning from a spambot named Asprox.  This is the gang behind a lot of the bogus emails purportedly sent to victims from DHL, FedEx, UPS, USPS spam.

If you get a pop up screen from "Facebook Support" it looks legitimate and the message makes you think that Facebook is really on the ball protecting you.

Facebook Service is notifying you that since spam was sent from your account, they changed your password for your "safety" and they ask you to open the zip file attachment for more information.

Here's your red flag - Facebook will not send you a note asking you to download a zip file for more information.

If you do download the file it has the Sasfis trojan in it which connects to domain name


M86 Security Labs Blog - research and the screen shot

Leading Cyber Official Says "Yes" We are At A Great Disadvantage for a Cyber Attack

Admiral J. Michael McConnell, the former Director of National Intelligence now at Booz Allen Hamilton was interviewed recently by Forbes.

He indicated that a cyber attack is inevitable.

When he was asked, "Are we at a greater disadvantage than any of our adversaries?" He answered, "
Yes, and there’s a very simple reason:  We’re more vulnerable because we’re more dependent [on technology]."

Mr. McConnell said change will only come about through dialogue otherwise it will happen after a catastrophe.

Mr. McConnell noted that intellectual capital is also at risk, not just information and money.

"Former Intelligence Chief Says A Cyber Attack Is Inevitable", Brian Wingfield, Business in the Beltway - Forbes Blog, November 23, 2010.

Geocode check in service GoWalla Goes to Disney!

Going to Disney may be a whole new experience.  Many kids like to buy pins and souveneirs.  GoWalla allows you with one swipe of your finger to check-in and collect virtual pins and badges on your smartphone while you walk around the park.  

The service will let you check, in advance, if junior is tall enough to ride the roller coaster.  It will also help you plan your day and map out the attractions you want to see.

GoWalla boasts 600,000 users today.  If the 120 million Disney visitors adopt GoWalla, that's a whole new game for this check in service.


"Gowalla Goes to Disneyland", Joshua Brustein, New York Times,  November 24, 2010

Will You Check Work Email Over the Holidays?

A new survey is out and over half of you say YES you will be checking work email over the holidays.  Xobni and Harris Interactive gave the following statistics:

59% of American workers will check email over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays
55% of the 59% will check it at least 1x a day
28% of the 59% will check it several times a day
42% of the 59% say it is important to check in over the holiday and some even admitted it was a welcome distraction.

For the Southern folk - the southerners are the most likely to check in boxes on holiday.

For bosses that want to be this holiday's Scrooge to keep in mind - 41% of Americans are annoyed when they get emails over the holidays


"Most Americans check work email over the holidays", Radhika Marya, Mashable, November 23, 2010.

Tech Firms May Get More Oversight

Recent breaches reviewed in testimony and briefings on the Hill have left Congress concerned that Tech Giants with gaps in their cybersecurity could be putting government websites and information at risk.  Some are proposing that the Department of Homeland Security should have the power to force Tech Giants and the owners of networks to secure themselves better.

What might this mean?

If the bill is too large and vast, this could impact tiny startups.    According to an article written by Jeremy A. Kaplan, the bill is called, "The Homeland Security Cyber and Physical Infrastructure Protection Act of 2010 or HR 6423" and the sponsor is Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, D-Miss.

The current draft of the bill gives DHS the power:
a.  to set security standards for the networks at privately held facilities
b.  they could levy penalties on websites DHS names as having gaps in cybersecurity

The current draft also creates a "Cybersecurity Compliance Division".

What is your opinion?

How do you feel about the technology company that may be providing the power behind a website that collects and displays your personal information?  Do you want tighter, the same, or less oversight of how your information is handled?

What should this look like?

Is the status quo acceptable?


"Bill Could Give Homeland Security Power Over Tech Giants",, Jeremy A. Kaplan, November 23, 2010.

Texting In Your Emergency - 911 Service to get Makeover

911 was established in 1968.  Americans call in roughly 650,000 times per day.

Sometimes maligned, I have been a staunch defender of 911 dispatch.  My family has had to use them 4 times over the past 15 years and the quick actions of the 911 person on the other end of the phone, saved my loved one's life.  One dispatcher even prayed with me as I thought I was watching a loved one pass away.  Thankfully, those awful moments are only memories and the loved ones are still with me today.

When 911 first hit the scene in 1968, many consumers were not even thinking about mobile phones much less texting.

In a recent review of statistics, the FCC found that 70% of 911 calls now come from mobile phones.  FCC Chairman, Julius Genachowski, announced the nationwide initiative this week.  Funding and timing of the initiative remain unclear but it is good that 911 is in the planning stages of the makeover.

What is your opinion?  Is this too little too late?

I would like to see the FCC also consider reviewing their processes so they can better leverage other technology such as:
a. importing geocoding from the cell phones placing the calls to better track kidnapped or victims on the move
b. perhaps even leverage popular check in software
c. ability to better leverage social networks such as Twitter for callers that are under duress.

What would your suggestions include?


"911 Getting 21st Century Update to Allow Text Messages",, November 23, 2010.

Friday, November 19, 2010

What's Your "Reputation Score" on Twitter? Wouldn't you like to know?

John Battelle asked Twitter founder, Evan Williams:  “How do you pick ‘Who to Follow’?,”.  During the course of his answer, Mr. Williams acknowledged that Twitter has a team of engineers and a system that creates a secret reputation score.  They use that to suggest who to follow.

“We might make it public,” he said regarding the score, “But it has to evolve more.”


"Twitter has a (Secret) Reputation Score for every User", Alexia Tsotsis, TechCrunch, November 17, 2010.

User Surveillance - Free or $25 bucks a head

Government surveillance has to keep up with the times.  You use Google and Yahoo for free, so why does your U.S. Government need to pay when they want to watch you?

Take heart, Microsoft does not charge.

Christopher Soghoian filed a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request to look at DEA spending on wiretaps and pen registers.  The wiretaps include phone and internet.  Pen registers show numbers and addresses.

By conducting his research, Mr. Soghoian determined that Microsoft does not charge but Google charges $25 and Yahoo $29 per person.

Most wiretap orders in the U.S. involve narcotics cases which fall under the DEA.

Sources:  "Google charges feds $25 a head for user surveillance, Microsoft charges zilch', Cade Metz, The Register,  November 18, 2010.

A Wake Up Call: Internet Re-Routed by Accident By Way of China

A service provider, IDC China Telecommunication, broadcasted inaccurate web traffic routes for roughly 18 minutes in April.  The inaccurate routes just happened to go by way of China's state-owned "China Telecommunciations".  Essentially sending bits and bytes from across the world through Chinese government controlled servers.

For the U.S., the bits and bytes that went across the servers belonged to U.S. companies, the U.S. government and the U.S. military.  Data from many companies and departments such as the U.S. Senate, NASA, and the U.S. Armed Forces traveled this path.

A commission was formed to investigate and no evidence was found that this was intentional.

There are lots of conspiracy theories but I find these to be counter productive.

The real questions to me are:
1.  What can companies and countries do to "own" their internet traffic supply chain?  Is it even possible or economically feasible?

2.  When accidents like this occur, what should the notification process be?

3.  What governance and assurance process could we (or should we) create to avoid a copy-cat situation that would be on purpose?

4.  How does one know for sure what was an "accident" vs. a test of capabilities?

"Report Looks at How China Meddled with the Internet", John Markoff, November 17, 2010.

The Federal Reserve Bank hacked - Secret Service Foils the Plot

Quote of note:
U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch said this case is an example of how "cybercriminals continue to use their sophistication and skill as hackers to attack our financial and national security sectors."

A cybercriminal managed to hack his way into the Federal Reserve bank's computers and had also stolen 400,000+ credit card numbers.  Luckily for all involved the U.S. Secret Service nabbed the person believed responsible.  The man was arrested at JFK Airport, his name is Lin Mun Poo and he is from Malaysia.

The man was traveling to New York to meet with other cybercriminals.  He planned to sell the information he gained hacking the Federal Reserve and potentially the credit card numbers he had stolen.  His next plan?  He mentioned he was going to hit the ATM machines using the stolen credit card numbers.

During questioning they learned he also compromised the computers at a defense contractor.

The final tally of how bad his compromise of the Federal Reserve may not be known for a while but Federal Reserve officials said he was not able to steal money or data.

"Hacker Breaks into Federal Reserve:  Feds", Jonathan Dienst, NBC New York, November 18, 2010.

A Woman Goes to Labor Camp Over Twitter Post - China

A man and his fiancee posted comments on Twitter which mocked Chines protesters who smashed products made by Japan during a demonstration.

The man was carted away first and held for 5 days.  When he returned home, he learned from his fiancee's family that she had been taken away and sentenced to labor camp for one year.

The crime?  "Disturbing Social Stability".

Ms. Cheng, who is 46, also recently supported the imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Liu Xiaobo, on Twitter.

Ms. Cheng's lawyer, Lan Zhixue said, "This is ridiculous and a typical case of censorship jail.  People should not be put in jail due to their sarcastic words."

"China Sentences Woman to Labor Camp for Twitter Post", CNN Wire Staff, November 18, 2010.

New Tactics of Debt Collectors Using Facebook - Clever or Pitbull?

Most states have laws in place for consumer protections against debt collectors.  For example, many states would not allow a debt collector to begin calling everyone you know and defaming you to embarrass you into paying.

This blog post is not going to get into the virtues of or evils of debt collection.

A Florida debt collection firm allegedly used Facebook to track down a woman who owes $362 on her auto loan.  They allegedly sent the woman messages and told her family to please have her call the agency.

The woman is suing the debt collection agency.

What is your opinion?  Should debt collectors be allowed to use social networks as a means to reach people when they do not respond via phone or mail?  If yes, what should the boundaries be?  For example, debt collectors are only allowed to call during certain hours of the day.  What would the limitation be for social networks?

"Woman Says Debt Collectors Harassed Her on Facebook", Associated Press, November 18, 2010.

New Tactics of Debt Collectors Using Facebook - Clever or Pitbull?

Most states have laws in place for consumer protections against debt collectors.  For example, many states would not allow a debt collector to begin calling everyone you know and defaming you to embarass you into paying.

This blog post is not going to get into the virtues of or evils of debt collection.

A Florida debt collection firm allegedly used Facebook to track down a woman who owes $362 on her auto loan.  They allegedly sent the woman messages and told her family to please have her call the agency.

The woman is suing the debt collection agency.

What is your opinion?  Should debt collectors be allowed to use social networks as a means to reach people when they do not respond via phone or mail?  If yes, what should the boundaries be?  For example, debt collectors are only allowed to call during certain hours of the day.  What would the limitation be for social networks?

"Woman Says Debt Collectors Harassed Her on Facebook", Associated Press, November 18, 2010.

Good or Bad? Vending Machine in Japan Knows You

Remember the movie Minority Report?  As people walked by Billboards the advertising changed to meet the exact needs of the person walking by?  We have our first installment of this futuristic movie in Japan.

A Japanese vending machine is using facial recognition technology to "know" their customer.  Based on the facial recognition, the machine determines age and gender, then recommends a drink.  Better make sure I have my face cream and lipgloss on when I go! The firm said sales have tripled when compared to previous machines.

If a woman in her 20s walks up to the machine it will recommend a tea drink or a slightly sweet product.

If you go to Japan, there is a machine in place at the Tokyo train station.  There is a rollout plan to install 500 in Tokyo by March 2012.

What is your opinion?
Should it have an "opt out" feature?
What other budding capitalists will want to use this software?
If the technology cost is reasonable and reliable, could it be deployed as an alternative to help TSA with their procedures?

"Japanese Vending Machine Recommends Drinks to Buyers", Reuters, November 18, 2010.

"Check In" Software Dark Side - Troop Safety Implications

We have covered the fun and the dark side of location software on this blog before.

Examples of Check In Software:  Facebook Places, GoWalla, Foursquare, Loopt - once you check in, I can find you on a map.

Examples of Location Aware Software:  Twitter allows you to turn on your location when you tweet

Locate your friends & family easily
Earn rewards points
Special deals

Dark Side:
Reputation:  You may be broadcasting an image, based on where you check in, that you don't want to broadcast
Stalking:  Young people or women traveling alone open themselves up to potential issues

The US Air Force put out a warning recently to its troops to be careful when they use social media networks because many of the new features show exactly where you are when you use them. This is potentially devastating for U.S. forces in war zones.

To put it into perspective, we have roughly 95,000 troops in Afghanistan and approximately 50,000 in Iraq.

If you have loved ones serving overseas, thank them for their service and then show them this warning and ask them to be safe.

Sources:  "Air Force Warns Troops:  Don't 'Check In' to Wars", Associated Press, November 18, 2010.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Savvy & Safe Shopping for Swell Deals - Holiday Season 2010

Shopping - Some Statistics About Our Behavior for 2010
Deloitte did a survey about holiday shopping which said more than a third of Americans plan to spend less this year than last year however, there are some other interesting statistics from the survey to pay attention to.

Some statistics from the survey:

  • Six out of 10 plan to spend more or the same this holiday season.
  • Almost 73% want to save more money & plan to change the way they shop for the holidays.
  • 36% said they have permanently cut back the amount of money they spend during the holidays.
How we shop - Mobile and online channels gaining influence in holiday shopping:
  • Roughly 72% will research or shop online
  • Almost 17% plan to use their phones while out shopping to look for deals and comparison shop
  • Roughly 12% will use social networks for gift ideas and deals

We are headed into the holiday shopping season!  Walmart and Sears started Black Friday sales before Halloween.  Which leads me to a sidebar rant, please excuse me,

"Retailers, please celebrate one holiday at a time.  Right now, I want to see turkeys and cornucopia and we should all be reminded this time of year to give thanks for our blessings.  Hold off on the Christmas and Hanukkah until after Thanksgiving!"  That feels better!

Be Savvy & Safe
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are right around the corner and retailers want to entice you to shop til you drop.  Criminals go where the action is so they want to take advantage of the hustle and bustle and trick you into clicking on their bogus deals.

According to the Better Business Bureau, the Monday after Thanksgiving dubbed "Cyber Monday" has officially replaced the day after Thanksgiving as the most popular shopping day for the holidays.

Here are some tips to detect the bogus from the bargain.

1.  Protect:  Before you start your online shopping, make sure you have the latest web browser and update your virus protection.  Avoid making purchases if you are using free wireless and you cannot validate the security and privacy of your transaction.  Never give payment or personal information via email.

2.  Stick with Names You Know:  It may be tempting to go to sites with enticing deals but stick to sites that have good reputations.

3.  Buyer Protection:  Look for buyer protection services such as the one offered on eBay.  Pay with a credit card so you can dispute the charges if you do have a problem.

4.  Bogus Bargain Alert:  If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  When in doubt, look for ratings of the seller or product.  Also check the Better Business Bureau and the National Fraud Information Center.

5.  Bogus Shipping Alert:  Cybercriminals are very tricky.  They know that this time of year, there is a lot of shipping.  Legitimate companies will NEVER tell you there is a problem with shipping your order and then ask you to give them payment and personal information by clicking on a link.

Swell Deals
Some fun shopping sites to consider:

1.  Local fun: offers huge discounts within a local area.
2.  Black Friday updates & deal tracking: and  Both sites track sales, deals, store hours, and more. This is a great way to get a sneak preview of the deals for Black Friday.
3.  Facebook and Twitter:  Many of your favorite stores may have a fan page.  Many stores are known to provide exclusive deals to Facebook Fans and Twitter followers.
4.  Cyber Monday ads and deal tracking: and
5.  Do you have a smartphone?  You may want to try some shopping apps:

  • Black Friday App (free)  - deals and sales
  • RedLaser (free) - wave your iPhone with RedLaser on it over a barcode of an item and it will tell you reviews about the item and if you can get a better deal someplace else
  • eBay (free) - track and participate in auctions via your smartphone

Hot Items on Wish Lists This Year
What is on your loved one's list?  Most likely, games and gadgets.

Mashable looked at a Hitwise report.  Hitwise looks at what people are searching and browsing for right now.  This is considered a lead indicator of holiday wish lists and holiday shopping lists.  Based on their research, here's what to look for.

What's "Hot" - Wish Lists This Year:
1.  iPhone 4, iPad, iPod shuffle and iPod nano
2.  Android phone and Samsung's Tab (an Androd powered tablet)
3.  Microsoft's Xbox "Kinect" the controller free interactive gaming system (pricing starting at $150)


"Deloitte 25th Annual Holiday Survey: Spending Intentions Improve Despite Consumers’ Chilly Outlook", Alison Paul & Carl Steidtmann, October 28, 2010.

"Top Ten Cyber Monday Tips for Staying Safe When Shopping Online", Better Business Bureau, November 15, 2010.

"2010 Holiday Shopping Predictions:  Gadgets, Games and Software", Jolie O'Dell,, October 2010.

"Black Friday 2010:  Year of the Shopping App", Jonny Evans, Computerworld, November 17, 2010.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Elected Official says "likelihood of cyberattack" 100% on the power grid

Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-NY) gave a keynote recently. carried a piece about it.

From their article:

"Clarke boldly proclaimed that “the likelihood of a cyberattack that could bring down our grid is also 100%. Our networks are already being penetrated as we stand here. We are already under attack. We must stop asking ourselves ‘could this happen to us’ and move to a default posture that acknowledges this fact and instead asks ‘what can we do to protect ourselves’?” "

Clarke is on the subcommittee for "Emerging Threats, Cybersecurity, Science and Technology".

Clarke called on government and the private sector to work together to solve the issues.

She also noted the GRID Act which gives the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission the authority to require expanded protections.

Source:  "Congresswoman says chance of cyber attack against electric grid is 100%",, November 11, 2010.

"Do Not Track" Option - Will It Happen? + Watchdog for Privacy Planned?

I remember when the banks first moved to having a web site and even offering consumers online banking.  We wanted to be able to send them targeted messages and emails and were bogged down with lawyers, compliance officers, risk officers, marketing and others trying to reach consensus on what we could, should, and were allowed to do.  The waterway was murky and clogged with paperwork but we eventually got to the right place.

I remember when the "Do Not Call" standards came out and the work we needed to do in order to comply.  It diverted resources, investment and attention away from other activities.

I paint both of these examples as a backdrop for the decision making process.  Not to advocate for or against a "Do Not Track" Option but to explain that companies will have to make investments in order to comply and there are other considerations to review before we jump to conclusions.

The New York Times wrote a great piece about the online privacy debate.  In a free market society, debate over privacy vs. economics vs. convenience is a good debate to have.

There is a White House task force being led by Cameron Kerry.  If that last name is familiar to you, he is the brother of Senator John Kerry.

Consumers need to know this key point highlighted by the Wall Street Journal - "There is no comprehensive U.S. law that protects consumer privacy online."

Privacy crackdowns on U.S. companies like Google and Facebook came from outside the U.S. from countries with strong privacy laws.  This has included Germany, Canada and the U.K.

Key Points of Consideration:
1.  Privacy advocates are pushing for a "Do Not Track" option to allow internet users to opt out of being tracked while surfing sites.  Currently, technology will track you and collect clues that can indicate your age, health, location, and even perhaps your salary and what you do for fun.

2.  Other say let Industry regulate itself and let consumers decide who they trust and visit based on how they are treated.

3.  Two U.S. Government agencies, the Federal Trade Commission & the Commerce Department, are going to release reports on this topic soon and they are expected to have conflicting advice as to how to handle this.

4.  Law Enforcement & National Security:  They will need to be able to gather information for investigations.  Same as in the physical world, we will need to balance our individual privacy and rights with our need for protection.  I do not see an easy answer here but believe that open and honest debate is the best way to decide on an approach.

5.  Any time you mandate how & what companies must do, there is a price.  You could be stifling future innovation.  You will pay a price in resources that could be allocated to something else - like fighting cybercriminals or inventing a new product or lower costs for services.

6.  The global view:  The UK, Germany, and members of the European Union are beefing up privacy rules and to be a player in the global economy, our American companies may be forced down a path of "Do Not Track".

U.S. Government Positions Highlighted in the NYT article:
FTC Position:  Let industry regulate itself, put into place user agreements.

Commerce Department Position:  "Do Not Track" option (think "Do Not Call" list for telemarketers).

A quote of note from the NY Times article is from Eric Schmidt:
“Targeted ads are helpful and ad competition is helpful,” said Eric E. Schmidt, the chief executive of Google, which owns the online advertising exchange DoubleClick.

"Watchdog Planned for Online Privacy", Julia Angwin, Wall Street Journal, November 11, 2010.
"Stage Set for Showdown on Online Privacy",  EDWARD WYATT and TANZINA VEGA, New York Times, November 9, 2010

Thursday, November 4, 2010

In case you missed it...the Library of Congress collects ALL tweets

Twitter was launched in 2006.  Did you miss the launch?  Don't worry about it, you did not miss a thing!
Every tweet since March 2006 will be digitally archived at the Library of Congress.

There are more than 55 million tweets each day.

What has been captured so far?  According to Matt Raymond's article, tweets such as Barack Obama's 2008 election, or the photojournalist arrested in Egypt who tweeted his way to his eventual release are there.

Your tweets too.  So even though you do not have an archive of your tweets, that's okay because your government does.

Matt Raymond says, "So if you think the Library of Congress is “just books,” think of this: The Library has been collecting materials from the web since it began harvesting congressional and presidential campaign websites in 2000.  Today we hold more than 167 terabytes of web-based information, including legal blogs, websites of candidates for national office, and websites of Members of Congress."

The Library of Congress plans to only give access to "qualified researchers".

In addition, Twitter is also giving a copy of the same archive to Google, Yahoo and Microsoft.

What is your opinion?  Awesome technology?  Bad idea?

From the NY Times article, "Alexander Macgillivray, Twitter’s general counsel, said, “From the beginning, Twitter has been a public and open service.” Twitter’s privacy policy states: “Our services are primarily designed to help you share information with the world. Most of the information you provide to us is information you are asking us to make public.” "

"How Tweet It Is!  Library Acquires Entire Twitter Archive", Matt Raymond, Library of Congress, April 14, 2010.

"When History is Compiled 140 Characters at a Time", Randall Stross, New York Times - Business Day, May 1, 2010.

"What Will the Library of Congress Do With All Those Tweets?", UOPX Writer Network, University of Phoenix, October 26, 2010.

Another First for the Internet! Information-Cybertheft Surpasses Physical Theft

Kroll just released a study called the Kroll Annual Global Fraud Report.  In the report, Kroll states that the losses for businesses due to fraud increased by 20% in the last 12 months.  The fastest growing area for fraud?  Information theft.

Cybercriminals are stealing information at a rate that has outpaced physical theft for the first time!

Physical theft, as defined by the report, includes cash, assets, and inventory.

Tim Wilson from Dark Reading noted that 88 percent of the companies surveyed said they were a victim of some type of fraud.

Physical theft and fraud is not decreasing, it is just that cybertheft is increasing at a faster rate.

The study noted that if your company does business in China or Colombia, those countries were the top 2 for fraud.

One of the challenges companies face that is a major contributor to fraud?  Complex technology infrastructure!  Nearly 1/3 said their company infrastructure made it difficult to protect its information.

Some steps you can take to protect yourself:
1.  Have technology in place to help you track data leaving your network; for example:  analysis of traffic patterns and information packets leaving your network; analysis of email attachment names and sizes; or a thumb drive setting and policy that tracks data downloads or limits who has access.

2.  Ability to identify the source of the breach and to insure you have closed any open holes.


"Information Theft at Global Companies Surpasses all other Forms of Fraud for the First Time", Kroll's Annual Global Fraud Report, Press Release, October 18, 2010.

"Incidence Of Cybertheft Surpasses Incidence Of Physical Theft For The First Time, Study Says", Tim Wilson, Dark Reading, October 19, 2010.

In Other News today...A man accidentally divorced his wife via Skype

Before divorce lawyers get alarmed, this is a very unique and interesting situation.  Also sad for the couple involved in a joke gone bad.

A man in Qatar says he was playing a "joke" on Skype when he typed "talak, talak, talak" which translates as "I divorce thee" three times.

After committing the joke, he thought better of it, and contacted religious leaders at a seminary in northern India.  The seminary told him the divorce stands.

If they want to be remarried, the rules given to the couple by the clerics are as follows:
1.  Wait 3 months
2.  The ex wife must marry another man, have sex with that man, divorce that man
3.  Another 3 month waiting period
4.  She can marry her original husband again

What a shame for all involved.  A reminder not to post anything on the internet while angry or sad.


"Muslim man told Skype divorce joke stands", Dean Nelson,, October 29. 2010.

"Husband Accidentally Divorces Wife on Skype",  Nick McMaster, Newser Staff, October 29, 2010.

Breaking Up Is Hard to Do...and evidently it is seasonal too!

There are lots of great visualization tools available now to look at lots of data points in a synthesized, simplified graphic.  Infographics are fun to look at but so are trend graphs.

In a blog post by Mathias Mikkelsen, he mentions listening to a talk by David McCandless.  David is an author, writer & designer in London.  He has written some great articles for Wired and The Guardian.

One of the trendlines that he covered during a recent talk was Facebook and how it can trendline breakups.  David's team looked at more than 10,000 "status updates" using search terms "breakup" and "broken up" on Facebook profiles and then matched those to a dateline.

Evidently, breakups trend Up around 4 data points:
before spring break
right after Valentine's day
on Mondays
before summer gears up
right before Christmas

So, if you change your status when you enter or leave a relationship, just remember that maybe more than your friends are watching and taking count!


"British journalist David McCandless makes Facebook breakup chart by analyzing 10K status updates", Alexandra Hazlett,, November 4, 2010.
"Amazing Facts About Facebook and Breakups", Mathias Mikkelsen, October 25, 2010.