ISPs required to track all activity for a year

While ostensibly this bill passed in order to allow law enforcement improved ability to track child pornography activity online, it is extremely broad in scope. Essentially, internet service providers (ISPs) will now be required to keep extensive records on each customer and everything they do online, and maintain those records in a revolving annual cycle. Privacy activists are concerned that the resulting huge database could be used by entities for surveillance and other purposes, without the consent or knowledge of the ISP customer.

House Panel Approves Broadened ISP Monitoring Bill: The bill requires ISPs to log their customers’ activities for one year including “customers’ names, addresses, phone numbers, credit card numbers, bank account numbers, and temporarily-assigned IP addresses” for use in cases requiring police review.[CNET News]

Cal-Adapt: Understanding California’s Climate Change Predictions

Cal-Adapt: Understanding California’s Climate Change Predictions



UC Berkeley’s Geospatial Innovation Facility — with support from the Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) agency — has developed a climate adaptation planning tool it is calling “Cal-Adapt” []? The tool models climate change scenarios in a mapping format, including projections through 2099 for factors such as wildfire risk, sea-level rise and flood risk,? temperature fluctuation, and even snow pack. ? It is particularly interesting to explore the many microclimates that California offers.

The entire, very extensive dataset is available for download, and should keep anyone busy for a long time.

Cellphone Forensics

Should police be allowed to analyze the data on your cellphone during an ordinary traffic stop? According to an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) letter to the director of the Michigan State Police on April 13, that department has several forensic cellphone analyzers deployed in the field. Forensic analyzers are routinely used in police investigations to recover data from computers and other digital devices. Lately, cellphones have become valuable sources of evidence for police, since one phone can include almost all of an individual’s private communications (SMS, recently dialed numbers, email, Facebook and Twitter posts) as well as location data from the device’s GPS unit. The device used by the Michigan State Police is a portable forensic system called the Cellebrite UFED that can suck data from a variety of devices, including multiple Android phones and Apple iOS devices such as the iPhone and iPad. The company did not immediately return phone calls, but according to Cellebrite’s product description, the UFED can grab email, Web bookmarks, Web history, SIM data, cookies, notes, MMS, instant messages, Bluetooth devices, locations, journeys, GPS fixes, call logs, text messages, contacts and more.

Visualizing Science Readers

Curious about what scientists might be reading?? Springer (noted publisher of more than 5 million scientific and academic titles) has launched a new analytics tool that reveals how its users and subscribers are downloading its content.

There are a number of interactive visualization tools at the site,? including a world map illustrating the origin of download requests,? an updating topical/keyword tag cloud,? and displays of real time downloads.?? This type of information could be used in many, many ways.?? On the commercial level,? authors and editors can get a fascinating view of which topics are emerging and in what geographic markets.? Scholarly and research applications abound, as well.? As a community,? scientists have an outsized impact on society and understanding trends in their work and interests could be useful.

Professor has camera surgically implanted

From Slashdot: NYU Professor Wafaa Bilal is having a camera surgically implanted in the back of his head. Described as an art project, the camera will take a photograph every minute for one year, and a curated selection of shots will be exhibited in a new museum opening in Qatar. Bilal will also release a live stream of images from the camera.

Both NYU administrators and students have expressed concerns about privacy issues with respect to the project.

One possible outcome: “There won’t be any cheating in professor Wafaa Bilal’s class anymore. “

No Fun

No Fun

Reblogged from In “No Fun” Franco Mattes simulated his suicide in a public webcam-based chat room. Thousands of random people watched while he was hanging from the ceiling, swinging slowly, for hours. The video documentation of the performance is an unbelievable, at times very disturbing, sequence of reactions: some laugh, some are completely unmoved, some insult the supposed corpse, some take pictures with their mobiles. Notably, out of several thousand people, only one called the police.