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Submission + - Another Final Obama Admin Last Act: Proposing How to Rethink College w/ Tech (edsurge.com)

jyosim writes: Yesterday the Obama Administration's Ed Dept issued a big National Education Technology Plan focused on reimagining higher education. It's a bit of a kitchen sink of examples and suggestions, but it does argue that colleges need to step up their game: “Unless we become more nimble in our approach and more scalable in our solutions, we will miss out on an opportunity to embrace and serve the majority of students who will need higher education and postsecondary learning,” says the report. Later it underscores that “higher education has never mattered so much to those who seek it. It drives social mobility, energizes our economy, and underpins our democracy.”

Colleges are good at letting the ivy grown on walls, after all.

The timing is a bit odd. Will Trump's education team possibly continue this policy direction?
Ted Mitchell, Under Secretary for Education, admitted that much activity will move to the states or other entities in the near future, but he still sees a federal role. “These federal issues are also going to be state issues,” he said. “At the core, we believe changes will happen most profoundly at the institution level.”

Submission + - Faulty phone battery may have caused fire that brought down EgyptAir flight MS80 (ibtimes.co.uk)

drunkdrone writes: French authorities investigating the EgyptAir crash that killed 66 people last year believe that the plane may have been brought down by an overheating phone battery.

Investigators say the fire that broke out on the Airbus A320 in May 2016 started in the spot where the co-pilot had stowed his iPad and iPhone 6S, which he placed on top of the instrument panel in the plane's cockpit.

Submission + - WhatsApp encryption back door (theguardian.com) 1

siloko writes: From the article: "A security backdoor that can be used to allow Facebook and others to intercept and read encrypted messages has been found within its WhatsApp messaging service."

Submission + - Before handing over power to Trump, Obama decides to EXPAND surveillance (betanews.com)

Mark Wilson writes: With Donald Trump about to take over the reins from Barack Obama, privacy groups have expressed concern about what the incoming president will do with surveillance laws. But before that happens, President Obama is still a cause for concern. In the final days of his leadership, his administration has granted permission for the NSA to share the data it intercepts with no fewer than 16 other intelligence agencies.

While this will alarm many, what is particularly troubling is the fact that privacy protections are not applied until after this data has been shared between agencies. The changes in rules amount to a major relaxation of restrictions on NSA activities, meaning that a far greater number of officials will have access to unfiltered, uncensored data about innocent people around the world.

Submission + - Man Accused in Hospital Hacking Ends 100-Day Hunger Strike (nytimes.com)

Danngggg writes: Martin Gottesfeld released a statement Wednesday at a citizens' rebuke rally against Carmen Ortiz, two days before she leaves office. Gottesfeld has been a public advocate about the abuse Justina Pelletier suffered at Boston Children's Hospital that preceded the hack.
From he article: A man awaiting trial in the 2014 hacking of a Boston hospital's computer network says he's ending a hunger strike after 100 days.

Martin Gottesfeld acknowledges he attacked the Boston Children's Hospital network. He was waging a hunger strike from prison to bring attention to the treatment of troubled youths by medical institutions and by prosecutors he considers overzealous.

In a statement read by his wife outside court Wednesday the 32-year-old Gottesfeld said he'll "continue to fight and defend those who cannot defend themselves."

Gottesfeld previously said he orchestrated the hospital computer attack to protest the treatment of Justina Pelletier, a Connecticut teenager at the center of a custody dispute based on conflicting medical diagnoses.

Justina was transferred to a medical facility but later was returned to her parents.

Submission + - Is it time to hold police officers accountable for constitutional violations? (washingtonpost.com)

schwit1 writes: Recently the Supreme Court issued a summary opinion in the White v. Pauly case.A police officer was sued for killing a man during an armed standoff during which the officers allegedly never identified themselves as police. The Supreme Court, however, concluded that the officer had “qualified immunity.” That is, he was immune from a suit for damages, because his conduct — while possibly unconstitutional — was not obviously unconstitutional.

The doctrine of qualified immunity operates as an unwritten defense to civil rights lawsuits brought under 42 U.S.C. 1983. It prevents plaintiffs from recovering damages for violations of their constitutional rights unless the government official violated “clearly established law,” usually requiring a specific precedent on point. This article argues that the doctrine is unlawful and inconsistent with conventional principles of statutory interpretation.

Members of the Supreme Court have offered three different justifications for imposing such an unwritten defense on the text of Section 1983. One is that it derives from a common law “good faith” defense; another is that it compensates for an earlier putative mistake in broadening the statute; the third is that it provides “fair warning” to government officials, akin to the rule of lenity.

But on closer examination, each of these justifications falls apart, for a mix of historical, conceptual, and doctrinal reasons. There was no such defense; there was no such mistake; lenity ought not apply. And even if these things were otherwise, the doctrine of qualified immunity would not be the best response.

The unlawfulness of qualified immunity is of particular importance now. Despite the shoddy foundations, the Supreme Court has been reinforcing the doctrine of immunity in both formal and informal ways. In particular, the Court has given qualified immunity a privileged place on its agenda reserved for few other legal doctrines besides habeas deference. Rather than doubling down, the Court ought to be beating a retreat.

Government officials, especially those with the power that Law Enforcement officers have, should be held to a higher standard, not a lower one.

Submission + - User Trust Fail: Google Chrome and the Tech Support Scams (vortex.com)

Lauren Weinstein writes: It’s not Google’s fault that these criminals exist. However, given Google’s excellent record at detection and blocking of malware, it is beyond puzzling why Google’s Chrome browser is so ineffective at blocking or even warning about these horrific tech support scams when they hit a user’s browser.

These scam pages should not require massive AI power for Google to target.

And critically, it’s difficult to understand why Chrome still permits most of these crooked pages to completely lock up the user’s browser — often making it impossible for the user to close the related tab or browser through any means that most users could reasonably be expected to know about.

Submission + - Did Lily Robotics burn money too fast or get burned by competitors? (ieee.org)

Tekla Perry writes: Lily Robotics' idea of a flying camera was a good one--but others quickly grabbed it and flew with it, while this startup founded by two just-out-of-college entrepreneurs got bogged down. Was the problem technical wrong turns, blowing through its venture money, or just the classic Silicon Valley story of a startup that just didn't cross the finish line ahead of its competition?

Submission + - Second Ukraine Power Outage Linked to Russian Hackers (securityledger.com)

chicksdaddy writes: A December power outage in the city of Kiev in December has been linked to hacking activity by groups believed to be working on behalf of the government of Russia, according to published reports. (https://securityledger.com/2017/01/second-ukraine-power-outage-linked-to-russian-hackers/)

Russian hacking crews were behind a brief power outage at the Pivnichna remote power transmission facility last month, using software based attacks to shut down the remote terminal units (RTUs) that control circuit breakers, causing a power outage for about an hour. Hacking crews appear to be using the Ukraine as a test bed to hone skills that could be used against other adversaries, according to Marina Krotofil, a security researcher for Honeywell Industrial Cyber Security Labs, the website Dark Reading reported on Tuesday.

Speaking at the S4 Conference in Miami on Tuesday (http://www.cvent.com/events/s4x17), Krotofil said that the outage at Pivnichna was part of a month-long campaign by Russian hacking groups that included attacks on railways and other critical infrastructure. While not intended to cripple the country, the attacks were designed to sow confusion and chaos, she said.

Research was conducted by Information Systems Security Partners (ISSP) (https://www.issp.ua/contact.php?l=en), a Ukraine firm. Speaking to the conference via a pre-recorded video, Oleksii Yasynskyi, head of research at the company, said that the attacks were the work of more than one cyber criminal group that worked in concert with each other. Attacks against Ukraine critical infrastructure and other interests began over the summer, ISSP said, with spear phishing attacks directed at a Ukraine bank.

Submission + - JetBlue giving all passengers free in-flight Fly-Fi high-speed Wi-Fi (betanews.com)

BrianFagioli writes: Today, JetBlue announces something miraculous for travelers. Every one of its passengers will have access to free in-flight high-speed Wi-Fi, which it calls 'Fly-Fi'. This is on every single aircraft in its fleet. In other words, if you are flying JetBlue, you get free high-speed internet

Submission + - Hamas 'Honey Trap' Dupes Israeli Soldiers (securityweek.com)

wiredmikey writes: The smartphones of dozens of Israeli soldiers were hacked by Hamas militants pretending to be attractive young women online, an Israeli military official said Wednesday. Using fake profiles on Facebook with alluring photos, Hamas members contacted the soldiers via groups on the social network, luring them into long chats, the official told journalists on condition of anonymity.

Dozens of the predominantly lower-ranked soldiers were convinced enough by the honey trap to download fake applications which enabled Hamas to take control of their phones, according to the official.

Submission + - SUSE is working on a container operating system called Micro OS (thenewstack.io)

sfcrazy writes: In an interview, SUSE’s new CTO, Dr. Thomas Di Giacomo told The New Stack that there are many customers who are running legacy systems but they want to migrate to modern technologies over time. Today, if you want to start from scratch, you will start with containers. “We want to make sure that companies that have legacy infrastructure and legacy applications can move to modern technologies, where container as a service is offered through that OS itself,” said “Dr. T” (as he is known in SUSE circles). That’s what CaaSP with MicroOS is being designed to do.

Micro OS will offer transactional updates similar to Core OS, where users can roll back to older version if something fails. The big difference is that it use BTRFS snapshots to achieve that.

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