Neural networks for automobiles

So… when will our cars make a real-time calculation of our likelihood of a poor decision, leading to a collision, based on our current level of distractability or our agitation? Then they could communicate to all the neighboring cars something like “give this car a wider berth” and/or apply increasingly stringent restrictions on that driver, such as maximum speed. Or take over driving entirely.

Not that I’m looking forward to it — it just seems like a natural evolution of our automobiles’ neural net.


Security in Scientific Research

Taking a gander at this article on Science Node, something caught my eye.

A lot of the same concerns that apply in the private or corporate sector apply to us as well. Where it gets interesting for us is the standard security mantra of turn on the updates, run security software or antivirus software doesn’t work very well for us.

Automatically updated software can break the data-taking process, and anything that would take all of or part of the detector off-line can be a serious problem for us.

I acknowledge that integrity and availability are primary concerns in their environment, confidentiality less so. But in the real world, things change, and new vulnerabilities are found all the time. You can’t gain the benefits of software or firmware, without the responsibilities: providing an upgrade path.

 


Comodo Free S/MIME Certificates: Too Restrictive for Prime Time?

I was considering a free S/MIME certificate from Comodo InstantSSL, but their Subscriber Agreement reads, in part:

3.4 The Subscriber shall not use the Email Certificate to transmit (either by sending by email or uploading using any format of communications protocol), receive (either by soliciting an e-mail or downloading using any format of communications protocol), view or in any other way use any information which may be illegal, offensive, abusive, contrary to public morality, indecent, defamatory, obscene or menacing…

Which means, we’ll give you this free certificate, but you may not use it to send or receive any encrypted or signed e-mail we don’t like.

How’s that for restrictive?

No thanks.


U.S. cyber plan calls for private-sector scans of Net

U.S. cyber plan calls for private-sector scans of Net

The Department of Homeland Security will gather the secret data and pass it to a small group of telecommunication companies and cybersecurity providers that have employees holding security clearances, government and industry officials said. Those companies will then offer to process email and other Internet transmissions for critical infrastructure customers that choose to participate in the program.

By using DHS as the middleman, the Obama administration hopes to bring the formidable overseas intelligence-gathering of the NSA closer to ordinary U.S. residents without triggering an outcry from privacy advocates who have long been leery of the spy agency’s eavesdropping.


Chinese Elite Hacking Unit 61398

Chinese Elite Hacking Unit 61398

As Mandiant mapped the Internet protocol addresses and other bits of digital evidence, it all led back to the edges of Pudong district of Shanghai, right around the Unit 61398 headquarters. The group’s report, along with 3,000 addresses and other indicators that can be used to identify the source of attacks, concludes “the totality of the evidence” leads to the conclusion that “A.P.T. 1 is Unit 61398.”

Mandiant discovered that two sets of I.P. addresses used in the attacks were registered in the same neighborhood as Unit 61398’s building.

“It’s where more than 90 percent of the attacks we followed come from,” said Mr. Mandia.

The only other possibility, the report concludes with a touch of sarcasm, is that “a secret, resourced organization full of mainland Chinese speakers with direct access to Shanghai-based telecommunications infrastructure is engaged in a multiyear enterprise-scale computer espionage campaign right outside of Unit 61398’s gates.”


“Sloppy” mouse focus in Ubuntu Precise Pangolin 12.04

Here’s how you can get your window focus to follow the mouse. Run gconf-editor, and edit “/ apps / Metacity / general / focus_mode.”


Very perceptive mannequins

Wow. So… some mannequins spy on you.

In the lead-up to the holiday shopping season, BusinessWeek reported that “bionic mannequins are spying on shoppers to boost luxury sales” at five unnamed companies. The $5,130 EyeSee mannequins from Almax have cameras embedded in their eyes that use IBM Cognos software to record the number of shoppers checking out window displays and clothes, while also noting their age, gender and race. They don’t keep any images of the customers, just the aggregate data about who’s been considering blowing money on cashmere sweaters and $300 jeans. But it may not stop there.

“To give the EyeSee ears as well as eyes, Almax is testing technology that recognizes words to allow retailers to eavesdrop on what shoppers say about the mannequin’s attire,” reports BusinessWeek. This is the second time I’ve heard a business float the idea of recording customers’ conversation in order to better advertise to them. The desire for better marketing may just be the biggest threat out there to your privacy.


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