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Comment: Everyone's Personal Email Server (Score 4, Funny) 372

The IRS told Congress Friday it cannot locate many of Lois Lerner's emails prior to 2011 because her computer crashed during the summer of that year.

Wow! I didn't know the IRS had personal email servers on every individuals personal computer, where all copies of a persons email sent and retrieved is kept and deleted from everywhere else.

The rest of us just use shared central email servers where multiple copies of everyone's email is kept, backed up daily. Boy, are we out of touch with reality!

United States

+ - "Farm-Raised Fish Given Tainted Food"

Submitted by
reporter
reporter writes "According to a report by the "Washington Post", the food supplement that killed several pets is wheat flour contaminated with melamine. Worse, "officials said, some of that contaminated flour, mislabeled as gluten, was mixed into fish food in Canada and exported to the United States, where it was fed to fish raised for human consumption." Are the supposed benefits of fake free trade between free markets (e.g., the USA) and non-free markets (e.g., China) worth the deadly cost?"
Security

+ - So your alma mater gets hacked...

Submitted by
An anonymous reader writes ""On May 4, 2007, University [of Missouri] staff determined that a database had been attacked by an unknown computer hacker." That's how the official press release begins. The reality of the compromise is significantly greater than has been acknowledged by the University or reported in the press. The AP wire and regional news have largely parroted the University's official response. Here are the key points where reality and the University don't quite match up:
  1. reported: "the breach affects more than 22,000 people"
    reality: More that 60,000 people are potentially victims, the University has no idea how many are affected, the 20k figure is just their current guesstimate.
  2. reported: "Individuals [affected] have been notified or are in the process of being notified"
    reality: Again, the University doesn't know whose data was stolen, they only know the year and employee type. They have no way of actually contacting the vast majority of affected individuals in a timely manner (think every TA, RA, and work-study student at all four state campuses in 2004).
  3. reported: "hackers had a chance to lift the names and Social Security numbers"
    reality: The University has no idea what data was stolen. The hacked application wasn't even supposed to show or utilize SS data, but the hackers manipulated the queries to pull additional information. Every piece of information available to the University on those individuals was exposed, the SS data is simply the part they know was stolen.
But what blows my mind is that IATS, the campus IT service, only noticed the hack because this particular hacker was dumb enough to apparently try downloading the entire dataset at once and thus spiked the network activity. They'd never have known otherwise. The inside story is that IATS made the entire unfiltered database available to University projects rather than a filtered subset of name, email etc. So the attack simply involved finding an app they could manipulate to query any field. Either in the attack, or the ensuing 'counterattack', the database got munged making it difficult to tell what data was compromised.

Now all of this leads me up to my two-part Ask Slashdot:
(1) Is there any actual mechanism to protect your credit? So far as I can tell the methods suggested in the links are pointless nonsense. Any half-bright criminal will know to either use the information immediately, or wait a year or so until the free 90-day 'fraud alert flag' expires. After that a person has to pay an extortion fee to the credit agencies to keep the flag active.
(2) People often go on and on about how it's an individual's responsibility to protect their personal information, but how on earth can you protect yourself from the whims of a halfwit admin years down the road? IATS has a long history of raging incompetence, this certainly won't be the last time they compromise my information."
Privacy

+ - Dangers of Online Ads: Privacy vs. Personalization

Submitted by
Skidge
Skidge writes "Wired is running an article on the dangers of online advertising by Jennifer Granick, executive director of the Stanford Law School Center for Internet and Society. There's a fine balance between providing "useful" personalized advertising and protecting the privacy of internet users. While an anonymous record of a user's browsing history may seem harmless, oftentimes the information that can be pulled from such a source can be pieced together into a not-so-anonymous picture of the user. Online advertising is here to stay; as the article says, "it's time to consider whether current regulations are adequate to protect consumer interests, while still allowing informative and effective online ad campaigns.""
Security

+ - 22,000 names and SSNs stolen at the U. of Missouri

Submitted by
Ardeaem
Ardeaem writes "The University of Missouri is reporting that a security breach has allowed over 22,000 names and social security numbers to be stolen. It appears that an insecure application is to blame; used by the help desk to track issues, the application allowed the retrieval of names and SSNs. The "hacker" simply used the application to get the SSNs one by one. Of course, if the person's name is known, getting more information about them is possible through the school's directory, enabling the "hackers" to possibly compile a disturbing amount of information about each person. Why do organizations still use SSNs for identification, and can they be held liable for it? When will they learn?"
Google

+ - Should We SEO Our Children?

Submitted by
gbulmash
gbulmash writes ""Freakonomics" turned a lot of people on to how your name can affect your career prospects. Now a Wall Street Journal article is discussing parents who are considering how well their children will rank in Google searches when they pick the child's name. With everyone "googling" each other, common names make pages related to you harder to find. Is this the future of baby naming: search engine optimizing our children?"
Sci-Fi

+ - SF Author Harlan Ellison sues Fantagraphics

Submitted by Dr. Strangefate
Dr. Strangefate (666) writes "Renowned SF author Harlan Ellison has filed suit against comics publisher Fantagraphics, best known for publishing underground comics and The Comics Journal. Ellison alleges that Fantagraphics has misappropriated his name and defamed him. Fantagraphics is attempting to make this a first amendment issue. The irony is that Ellison has a long support of freedom of the press and anti-censorship issues and now seems to be engaging in (arguably) the same thing!"
Biotech

+ - Resumption of oxygen to cells kill cells

Submitted by Carlinya
Carlinya (622024) writes "Newsweek reports that standard emergency-room procedure has it backward by pumping oxygen to someone who's heart has stopped for more than a few minutes.

According to the article: "Once the cells have been without oxygen for more than five minutes, they die when their oxygen supply is resumed. The cellular surveillance mechanism cannot tell the difference between a cancer cell and a cell being reperfused with oxygen. Something throws the switch that makes the cell die.""
The Courts

+ - Scientology critic Keith Henson extradited

Submitted by
muldrake
muldrake writes "Engineer, writer, and Scientology critic Keith Henson has been extradited from Arizona to Riverside County, California, following his arrest in February. Henson had fled to Canada following his conviction for "interfering with a religion" in 2001 for his pickets and Usenet posts criticizing the Church of Scientology, returning to Arizona after his asylum claims were denied."
PlayStation (Games)

+ - Playstation Theft Leads to One Death

Submitted by carre4
carre4 (651164) writes "A dispute over a Playstation console led to death of one person and the injury of two others. Jonquel Brooks, a freshman at California State University — Fresno, was arrested on the suspicion of murder and assault with a deadly weapon. The victims accused Brooks of stealing the console; Brooks then pulled a gun out and fired five or six times."
Censorship

+ - Another DMCA Takedown Notice For Digg

Submitted by
ngottlieb
ngottlieb writes "Digg has received another DMCA takedown notice for a post containing a number used to decrypt a copyrighted poem. The hosting of the key violates the DMCA's "ban on trafficking in circumvention devices" in the same way the hosting of the AACS key violated it. Will Digg.com comply with this takedown notice, or continue it's stand against the DMCA, supporting its users all the way?"
Businesses

+ - The Economics Of Giving Things Away For Free

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Lots of people think that giving stuff away for free somehow goes against "capitalism" or basic economics. However, what if that's not true? Techdirt has a detailed post going through the economics of free content and how it can be used to grow a market. When read in context, it shows why things like open source software actually are an important part of a thriving free market economy. Seems like a useful thing to read if you're in any business that relies on "intellectual property.""

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