The dark side of Apple’s iBeacons

Interesting. I can see the interesting things that can be accomplished with this technology, but the specter of getting barraged with adds on my phone when I walk into a mall is not attractive. I, for one, can say: if a place starts spaming based on proximity, that is one of the fastest ways to keep me from going to that location. Ever.

BGR

Alongside the introduction of Apple’s latest mobile operating system iOS 7, the company also rolled out its answer to the NFC technology it has gone out of its way to avoid in iPhones, iPads and iPod touch handhelds. The solution is called “iBeacon,” and it allows for the creation of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons that emit signals iOS 7-powered devices will automatically react to when they come within range of the beacon. These beacons can be apps installed on Apple’s iOS devices or they can be dedicated hardware that use BLE to interact with Apple handsets and tablets. There are some great use cases out there that really could make fantastic use of Apple’s new iBeacon feature, but there is also a darker side of iBeacons that could become a huge annoyance for iPhone owners and other iOS device users.

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1-800-Hackers: Why cyber crime is no longer a dark art | Marketplace.org

1-800-Hackers: Why cyber crime is no longer a dark art | Marketplace.org.

Marketplace has aired an interesting piece on the growing trend of using “white hat” hackers as a part of corporate IT strategy as a means of testing and improving IT security.

It is well worth a listen, and is an excellent starting point for consideration of your businesses security and privacy measures. If some form of auditing of your security and privacy measures (not just hardware and software, but policies, procedures, and practices, as well) then your company may needlessly be laying itself open to significant liability, expenses, and damage to business reputation.

As F.B.I. Pursued Snowden, an E-Mail Service Stood Firm – NYTimes.com

As F.B.I. Pursued Snowden, an E-Mail Service Stood Firm – NYTimes.com.

This is an interesting piece on the IT company Lavabit, which, before its shutdown, provided secure e-mail services to its customers. The story details the steps taken by the FBI to force Lavabit to turn over encryption keys and take other steps which would not only provide the FBI with access to Edward Snowden’s e-mail account on the service, but would render vulnerable the accounts of any individual or company making use of the service, without warrant and without court oversight.

In pressuring Lavabit to capitulate to its requests for “technical assistance” including divulging the private encryption keys used by the service, the owner of the company was pursued for contempt of court, fined $10,000.00, and then threatened with arrest when he publicly announced his intention to shutter the company.

The tale of Lavabit is something of a cautionary tail for companies that provide IT services. But even more, it should be a wake-up call to both users and providers of IT services regarding the boundaries of privacy and the lengths to which the government is willing to steamroll even legitimate businesses which seek to guard their customer’s privacy.

How a Purse Snatching Led to the Legal Justification for NSA Domestic Spying | Threat Level | Wired.com

How a Purse Snatching Led to the Legal Justification for NSA Domestic Spying | Threat Level | Wired.com.

This is an absolutely fascinating look at how the law behind the NSA Domestic spying program originated and it clearly demonstrates the frightening power of the so-called “law of unintended consequences”.

Certainly the origin of the legal concepts at play here make it clear how ridiculous the extremes to which they are now being carried by the likes of the NSA truly are. I would call it “insanity” but sadly it is, arguably, the law.

Patent troll Lodsys demands $5,000 from Martha Stewart. That was a bad idea — Tech News and Analysis

Patent troll Lodsys demands $5,000 from Martha Stewart. That was a bad idea — Tech News and Analysis.

It appears that Martha is ready to throw down with notorious patent troll Lodsys. Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia has filed for declaratory judgment against the troll, seeking a ruling which not only finds MSLO’s electronic magazines to not infringe upon Lodsys’ patents, but that the patents themselves are invalid.

On hearing about this, I immediately thought of the line from the cult classic film “The Princess Bride”, in which the villain declares: “You just made the second classic blunder! This first, of course, is never become involved in a land war in Asia. But only slightly less well know: ‘Never go head to head with [Martha Stewart]…’ “

Day traders, angels and venture capital: The internet changes everything, including money

An excellent piece by Om Malik on the future of funding . Well worth the read!

Gigaom

London is the grandfather of economic excess and perhaps an appropriate role model for New York and San Francisco, the new Babylons of the post-millennial world. It is hard to escape the presence of money — fancy super cars, fancier homes and fancy financiers — where the stench of excess is masked by the sweet scent of success. Except for one small difference — New York (aka Wall Street) and San Francisco do one thing better than London: branding money. 

Actually, money — whether it is in Bogota or Bombay (Mumbai, if you insist) or Boston — is just money. Borrowing it, investing it or generally rolling around in a bed made of $100 bills is pretty much the same experience regardless of the source or geography of money. Except, somehow, some kinds of “money” are better than other kinds of “money.”

From bulge-bracket banks to white-shoe Sand Hill Road firms…

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