Tag Archives | Privacy

Anyone Can Now Use IBM’s Watson To Crunch Data For Free

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via ZDNet:

IBM has launched the public beta of Watson Analytics, its set of cloud-based predictive and analytics tools.

The move to public beta for Watson Analytics on Thursday follows its private beta launch this September. IBM said at the time of the beta release the service will be made available under a freemium model through iOS, Android mobile devices and the web.

Watson Analytics is a cognitive service that’s meant to bear some of the load executives face when preparing data, while making it easier to run predictive analyses and use “visual storytelling”, such as using graphs, maps and infographics to illustrate a point.

Watson Analytics is one piece of IBM’s $1bn gamble that it can commercialise Watson. The company claims it has 22,000 registrations for Watson Analytics since launching in September.

Read More: http://www.zdnet.com/article/ibm-watson-analytics-enters-public-beta/

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World should be skeptical of China’s announcement to end organ harvesting from executed prisoners by January 1, 2015

Cory Doctorow (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Cory Doctorow (CC BY-SA 2.0)

via Dafoh:

WASHINGTON, Dec. 5, 2014 — Just days before International Human Rights Day on Dec. 10th, the news that the People’s Republic of China will end its internationally-condemned practice of harvesting organs from prisoners by 1 January 2015 is hardly credible given the government’s long history of breaking similar promises, according to the global humanitarian watchdog group Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting.

There is no indication that China, under the current circumstances, will be able to live up to its latest promise, which was reported Thursday in state media. The Chinese Medical Association first made this promise in 2007, a year before the Olympic Games were held in Beijing. Multiple plans to end the inhumane practice that harvests and allocates organs in secrecy—which is disproportionately aimed at political prisoners, and members of ethnic and religious minorities like the Falun Gong—have followed ever since, all of them unfulfilled.

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Administration’s Review Of Pentagon’s 1033 Program Finds It Has No Rules, No Transparency And No Oversight

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via Tech Dirt:

No sooner had I chastised the executive branch for its half-assery in all things 1033-related than it delivers its findings on the much-criticized program [pdf link]. A little over a week ago, I wrote this.

Others — including President Obama — promised to look into the program. Obama ordered the first top-level review of the Pentagon’s 1033 program in over 20 years, but weeks later, there’s been nothing reported.

The administration is now forcing me to eat my words, having responded fairly quickly to my caustic single-sentence editorial. The pithily-titled “Review: Federal Support for Law Enforcement Equipment Acquisition” has been released, detailing the review’s findings and concerns about the Pentagon’s “An MRAP in every PD” program.

The opening “Background” plays up a few talking points:

Particularly in the years since September 11, 2001, Congress and the Executive Branch have steadily increased spending and support for these programs, in light of legitimate concerns about the growing threat of terrorism, shrinking local budgets, and the relative ease with which some criminals are able to obtain high-powered weapons.

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Asimov’s Three Laws Are Not an International Treaty

Lima Pix (CC BY 2.0)

Lima Pix (CC BY 2.0)

via Slate:

Recently, Elon Musk voiced his concern (again) that developing artificial intelligence is “summoning the demon.” If you read his comments, though, you saw he wasn’t warning that the operating system from Hercould do more than break Joaquin Phoenix’s heart. Musk was specifically discussingdefense contractors and autonomous weapons. That’s consistent with his recent “Terminator” warnings (and that sentence fulfills my obligation to mentionTerminator in an article about artificial intelligence). It also echoes the legal position advocated by the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots (which has as unambiguous a name as you’re likely to find) that autonomous weapons “appear to be incapable of abiding by the key principles of international humanitarian law.” Opposition to killer robots seems as uncontroversial as opposition to the Killer Clown and support for “Killer Queen.” However, if you look closely at international law, it doesn’t have anything to say about artificial intelligence and autonomous weapons.

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FBI Report Accidentally Exposes the Severity of the Police State

André Gustavo Stumpf (CC BY 2.0)

André Gustavo Stumpf (CC BY 2.0)

via The Anti-Media:

(TheAntiMedia) A recently published FBI report accidentally proves that while the police claim cops face growing threats from rowdy populationslike in Fergusonthe opposite is true. The report presents law enforcement deaths in 2013.

The report found that across the entire country, only 76 LEOs were killed in “line-of-duty” incidents. 27 died as a result of “felonious” acts and 49 officers died in accidentsnamely, automobile (ironically, of the 23 killed in car accidents, 14 were not wearing seat beltsa violation for which cops routinely ticket drivers). More officers die from accidents than actual murders on the job. The report also outright admits that intentional murders of cops were down from 2004 and 2009.

Further, 49,851 officers were assaulteda statistic that seemingly proves police are at risk. 29.2%, or 14,556, were actually injured (an admittedly high number).

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Symantec discovers sophisticated malware likely made by a Western intelligence agency

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via Pando Daily:

Researchers at Symantec have discovered malware that has been used to spy on individuals, telecoms, and businesses since 2008. It’s thought to be the prime surveillance tool of a nation-state because of the sheer amount of time it would’ve taken to create such complex malware.

The malware is said to have been found in ten countries across the Middle East, North America, Russia, and Europe. The main targets are said to be Russia and Saudi Arabia, but the malware has also been discovered in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Ireland, and Mexico, among other countries.

Symantec reports that the malware, which is dubbed Regin, can spread through spoofed sites, insecure applications, and an unconfirmed exploit in Yahoo Messenger. The researchers report that whoever created Regin “put considerable effort into making it highly inconspicuous,” with the hope of allowing it to “potentially be used in espionage campaigns lasting several years.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, Symantec researchers believe Regin was developed by a “Western intelligence agency” because it closely resembles Stuxnet, the infamous malware used to sabotage Iran’s nuclear programs in 2010, which was made by the United States and Israel.

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Americans’ Cellphones Targeted in Secret U.S. Spy Program

The Wall Street Journal reveals yet another sneaky US Government domestic spying surveillance program:

The Justice Department is scooping up data from thousands of mobile phones through devices deployed on airplanes that mimic cellphone towers, a high-tech hunt for criminal suspects that is snagging a large number of innocent Americans, according to people familiar with the operations.

The U.S. Marshals Service program, which became fully functional around 2007, operates Cessna aircraft from at least five metropolitan-area airports, with a flying range covering most of the U.S. population, according to people familiar with the program.

Planes are equipped with devices—some known as “dirtboxes” to law-enforcement officials because of the initials of the Boeing Co. unit that produces them—which mimic cell towers of large telecommunications firms and trick cellphones into reporting their unique registration information.

The technology in the two-foot-square device enables investigators to scoop data from tens of thousands of cellphones in a single flight, collecting their identifying information and general location, these people said.

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Secure Messaging Scorecard – Which apps and tools actually keep your messages safe?

Maurizio Pesce (CC BY 2.0)

Maurizio Pesce (CC BY 2.0)

via Electronic Frontier Foundation:

In the face of widespread Internet surveillance, we need a secure and practical means of talking to each other from our phones and computers. Many companies offer “secure messaging” products—but are these systems actually secure? We decided to find out, in the first phase of a new EFF Campaign for Secure & Usable Crypto.

This scorecard represents only the first phase of the campaign. In later phases, we are planning to offer closer examinations of the usability and security of the tools that score the highest here. As such, the results in the scorecard below should not be read as endorsements of individual tools or guarantees of their security; they are merely indications that the projects are on the right track.

Read More at EFF: https://www.eff.org/secure-messaging-scorecard

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Why You Should Be Afraid Of Your Smart TV

Michael Price isn’t generally a tin-foil hat wearing crank. In fact he’s counsel in the Liberty and National Security Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law (i.e., part of the establishment). But now he’s getting the tin foil ready as a result of his new privacy-smashing Smart TV, as he relates at Salon:

I just bought a new TV. The old one had a good run, but after the volume got stuck on 63, I decided it was time to replace it. I am now the owner of a new “smart” TV, which promises to deliver streaming multimedia content, games, apps, social media and Internet browsing. Oh, and TV too.

LG smart TV

The only problem is that I’m now afraid to use it. You would be too — if you read through the 46-page privacy policy.

The amount of data this thing collects is staggering. It logs where, when, how and for how long you use the TV.

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