‘Massive’ credit card data breach involves all major brands

This breach has already been confirmed by the big processors, and seems to be larger in scope than prior breaches.

VIA http://money.cnn.com/2012/03/30/technology/credit-card-data-breach/?source=cnn_bin


Verizon’s iPhone Commercials Are So Snarky, You’d Think They’ve Been Stuck on AT&T For the Last 4 Years

Once again, Verizon isn't pulling any punches. I caught this commercial during the SuperBowl. Though there are actual differences between the iPhones sold on At&T and Verizon networks -- some favoring Verizon, and at least one, that I know of, favoring AT&T -- Verizon has chosen to make it all about The Network.


Winona Ryder Fears Accidentally Opting-Into Al Queda

Careful What You Click F

Actress Winona Ryder doesn't use the Internet. She just got her first smartphone, but finds it unpredictable. She had a laptop, but rarely used it.

She's fearful of technology. And that just might make her smarter than you.

As evidenced in her "Late Night" interview with Jimmy Fallon, these days, such concerns are the fodder for comedians. It's the current equivalent of being afraid to drive or swim. In the late 20th. Century, it might have been a fear of handing one's money over to an ATM machine. Or more recently, making a purchase online. But, well over 30,000 people died in car accidents in 2009. Another 24,000 were injured. In a similar period, more that 3000 people died from drowning. Fear is not necessarily a bad thing. Not if it keeps you safe.

Most of us either fear what we don't know, or fear what we do. There's also a whole complicated subset of irrational, or misguided fears that really fall into the first category. According to her own interview, Ryder falls into the former classification.

Ryder told Fallon, "We're a button away from joining Al Queda!"

How many times have you accidentally opted yourself into joining a mailing list because you forgot to un-approve your pre-approved consent? What about that time when you accidentally installed a bunch of "trial-ware" that came along with a program you legitimately wanted to use. Somewhere, before or after the end-user-license agreement you didn't read, it may have been an option. In the 90's one of my attorney-client's accidentally sold a good investment when he was dabbling with online day trading. I have met people who accidentally purchased cars on eBay. Meanwhile, I promise (though I don't recommend confirming it) that many forms of contraband are just a few clicks, or even a typo, away from where you sit this very moment. Last Summer I gave National Public Radio (NPR) a glimpse into just how easy it can be. Even if you bleed apple pie filling, you're still just a click away from looking like someone else.

I haven't tried it myself, but I'll bet joining Al Queda requires, at least, the completion of an annoying CAPTCHA in order to submit a membership application.  While I'm sure Ryder has no interest in joining, just the accusation, or even a rumor, that she ever supported a terrorist organization, or had some other frighting interest, could be just as detrimental. Remember Christine O'Donnell, the Republican Party's most famous witch? In some parts of the country that's harder to understand than extremism.

Ryder: "We're a button away from joining Al Queda."

Remember, Ryder works in the industry that was most famously asked, "Are you, or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?"

Maybe -- even if unwittingly -- she's on to something. Maybe we'd have several thousand fewer vehicular deaths every year if more drivers understood the engineering that goes into the highway, or a car, it's tires, or even just its brakes and safety systems. Sure, it might scare a few people out of driving altogether. But it might make the rest think a little harder before they accelerated into a turn, or tried to beat a red light across a wet intersection. Maybe, if more people really understood the Internet better before hopping on the "Information Superhighway", law enforcement might have fewer accidents to investigate.

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A Click Away…

I recently had another occasion to meet with Reporter Martin Kaste from NPR's "All Things Considered". Last time we met to play a game of cat-and-mouse in the streets of San Francisco to demonstrate the current state of cellular telephone and wireless device tracking. This time we discussed an issue closer to my heart.

"Right now, anybody is just one search term and a click on Google away from most of the same files that I have seen as part of my work," he says.

Fischbach believes the easy-to-find images are a kind of public hazard.

He worked for one defendant who went to prison because of one night of ill-advised Web surfing. The easy-to-find images are also tempting weapons in messy custody battles and divorces — he's convinced that in some of the cases he's worked on, one spouse has been framed by another. All of this makes Fischbach wonder why more isn't done to block some of the more obvious sources of these "radioactive" files.

"It's the same thing as any other public nuisance. Part of the government's job is not just to go out there and stop people from doing bad things, but to stop good people from having to fall victim to that," he says.

It's probably not constitutional for the government to block offending Web sites outright, but Fischbach says Internet service providers and search engines could volunteer to filter the images that reach their customers, just as e-mail providers filter out known viruses.

He's been suggesting this idea for years, and now somebody is trying it.

Listen to NPR's A Click Away: Preventing Online Child Porn Viewing

Audio and transcript: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=129526579

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“Blood in the Birdcage” (Forensics: You Decide, Discovery Channel)

Investigation_Discovery_300One body. One suspect. Two theories. A laptop. A birdcage. A bloody crime scene. Two trials. Two hung juries. No convictions. One unsolved mystery.

From Investigation Discovery:

"When a beloved music professor -- David Stagg -- discovers the dead body of his long-time partner, Bill Jennings, he claims he's walked into the aftermath of a tragic suicide. But as investigators descend on the scene, they immediately realize that this reported suicide is clearly a homicide. Is it possible the professor is behind this vicious crime, or has he been falsely accused? The forensic experts on each side battle it out. Which side will you agree with?" (60 min. - First aired 9/14/2009 on Investigation Discovery / Discovery ID's "Forensics: You Decide)

Suicide letter, or coverup?

Suicide letter, or coverup?

Friends from the couple's active social group were in total disbelief. Few could imagine David Stagg involved in the murder of his long-time partner. Forensic evidence was inconclusive. Though blood evidence was found throughout the crime scene, no blood or defensive wounds could be found on David Stagg. An unknown set of fingerprints were found at the scene. Computer evidence from Jennings' laptop showed--at least from Jennings' perspective--a tumultuous relationship. But, enough to justify a motive for murder?

There were also a series of suicidal emails and typed letters left by Jennings that charted a history of both love for Stagg, and deep emotional turmoil. And, one final letter--typed on April 24, 2004, the night of the murder--would become one of the most contested pieces of evidence that two juries would have to consider.

On one thing, both sides agreed: Bill Jennings did not take his own life. ... CONTINUE READING »


Germany, you’ve been Punk’d!

You've been punked!!!

You've been punked!!!

How German filmmakers hijacked part of California, stole its identity, and used it to scam an entire country.

I think I've finally figured out the origin of the expression, "If you believe that, I've got a bridge to sell you": Bluewater, California.

The "bridge" to which I refer crosses the Colorado River, and connects Bluewater, California with its sister-city, Bluewater, Arizona. According to the city's web site, downtown Bluewater offers a range of bars and restaurants where you can dine on seafood fished from local waters, get locally-grown produce from the Farmer's Market every Wednesday and Saturday, and enjoy summer poetry in the park.

Imagine the shock when KVPK7, Bluewater's own local news channel reported that the tiny city had become the target of an attempted suicide bombing ... CONTINUE READING »


Twitter sends mixed messages


Source: PoeticPixel.info

Twitter's co-founder says your tweets belong to you. Now read the fine print.

For as long as there's been a World Wide Web, there has been debate surrounding the question, "Who owns what users post online?"

Adding fuel to the fire, popular sites like Facebook have written (and withdrawn,) controversial statements into their Terms of Service (ToS) that seemed to suggest that they were asserting ownership over users' content, including photographs, and it's users' "likeness and image". After a massive user outcry, and even some backlash, Facebook was forced to rewrite its TOS, and even allowed users to vote between two versions.

Now, in an apparent attempt to get in front of this kind of momentum, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone announced in a blog post that new changes to the company's ToS would assure that -- though Twitter is allowed to "use, copy, reproduce, process, adapt, modify, publish, transmit, display and distribute" its user's Tweets -- "they are your tweets and they belong to you". ... CONTINUE READING »


Amazon pities that crazy fool Murdoch, but will Kindle owners?


News Corp.'s (NWS) Rupert Murdoch is mad--perhaps literally and figuratively. Presumably, billions of dollars in losses will have that effect on a person. Not surprisingly, he's looking for ways to stop the bleeding--or, he's just looking for revenge. It's hard to tell.

H.M. Murdoch

First, he's ordered an end to the free ride. That means, no more free online news. Yes, FoxNews.com too.  (Hey, that's fair and balanced, right?)  Then, he negotiated with Amazon.com, a higher revenue share for Wall Street Journal electronic Kindle subscriptions. And, finally, he issued an ultimatum: Give us the names of Kindle subscribers, or we walk.

During his fiscal-year-end earnings call with analysts, Murdoch said, "...we don't get the names of the subscribers. Kindle treats them as their subscribers, not as ours, and I think that will eventually cause a break with us."

Murdoch also made it clear that News Corp had no intention of competing with the Kindle e-reader, but instead stressed the need for News Corp properties to "return to their old margins of profitability... Quality journalism is not cheap, and an industry that gives away its content is simply cannibalizing its ability to produce good reporting."


Still, Kindle subscribers have already been paying for the Wall Street Journal, despite the fact that The Wall Street Journal Online has been giving away the same content for free. But, apparently, Murdoch is willing to give up that revenue for what appears to be a turf-war over the ownership of personal subscriber data.

The whole fight begs the question: Do Kindle owners see themselves as Amazon subscribers or Wall Street Journal Subscribers, and--in the end--does it matter how they see themselves?

As for Murdoch's state of mind: Is he howling mad, or is he crazy like a Fox News Host? That remains to be seen. But, if he messes with Amazon subscribers, I pity the fool.


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