The SDK: 2015.09.03

Let’s Give ‘Em Something To Talk About
Researchers say people are choosing public transit so they can stare at their smartphones, Fusion, Sept. 3, 2015
“A new study (Available here) from DePaul University’s Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development . . . looked at technology use on commuter trains in the Chicago area and found a correlation between the increased use of tech on trains over the last five years and a significant boost in ridership.”
Note: Even the author isn’t fully convinced that the technology is the cause of the increased ridership: “The researchers didn’t actually ask riders whether technology was the draw to the train”, but concedes that “Regardless of the merits of the study, this makes perfect sense”. My take? Whatever gets cars off the street.

These X-ray pills will map the inside of your body, Fusion, Aug. 31, 2015
“The pill comes equipped with tiny sensors that detect the time it takes for those beams to bounce off your intestines and back to the device. It’s a little bit like SONAR technology used by submarines, or the LIDAR sensors that help Google’s robotic cars sense the world around them, except SONAR uses sound and LIDAR uses lasers.”
Note: this sounds way more appealing than that whole tube thing that’s currently in vogue. Just make sure it does in fact make its way OUT of my body. Please and thanks.

We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Programming to Bring You This Very Important Public Service Announcement
Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement: Network Penetration Reporting and Contracting for Cloud Services (DFARS Case 2013-D018), Federal Register, Aug. 26, 2015
“DoD is issuing an interim rule [available here] amending the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) to implement a section of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 and a section of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015, both of which require contractor reporting on network penetrations. Additionally, this rule implements DoD policy on the purchase of cloud computing services.. . . This rule is intended to streamline the reporting process for DoD contractors and minimize duplicative reporting processes. Cyber incidents involving classified information on classified contractor systems will continue to be reported in accordance with the National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual (see DoD-M 5220.22 available at

Third Circuit Upholds the FTC’s Data Security Enforcement Authority, Cooley, Aug. 27, 2015
“This week, the Third Circuit issued its much-awaited decision in FTC v. Wyndham Worldwide Corp., No. 14-3514 (3d Cir. Aug. 24, 2015). The Court unanimously affirmed the FTC’s authority to bring actions challenging businesses’ data security practices under the “unfairness prong” of Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act, 15 U.S.C. § 45(a), without first promulgating rules or regulations that describe acceptable data security standards.”
Note: Such fancy talk. The jist? There was one ruling, which was a really big deal, and there was one piece of dicta which could be confused with being a huge deal. Dicta are comments that are not part of the ruling because they would amount to the court commenting on a hypothetical situation, which is prohibited by the constitution. To clarify, the opinion essentially says this:
The FTC can prosecute:
“A company whose allegedly deficient security practices led to a data breach in which consumers were actually harmed.”
The FTC may be able to prosecute (but you won’t be able to rely on this law):
A company who has allegedly deficient security practices, even if those practices have not led to a data breach, if, in the FTC’s view, the practices will likely cause consumers harm.

14-year-old added to police database for using Snapchat to send naked selfie, Ars Technica, Sept. 3, 2015
“As well as losing basic defence rights in this way, the boy doubly suffered because of his young age: possessing or distributing indecent images of a person under 18 is illegal, even, apparently, if they’re of yourself. And, perhaps more intriguingly, had he been an adult, then the sharing of his naked image by others at his school would have been classed as revenge porn and he would have been protected as a victim.”
Note: There has to be a better way. Seriously.

Who’s Down For A Movie Marathon?
You Can’t Understand Security Without These Classic Works, Wired, Sept. 1, 2015
“There are seminal books, movies, articles, and more that you’ve been meaning to get to but just haven’t made the time for. Well, the time is now, so here’s some essential background material for helping you understand the worlds of security and government today.”
Note: I’ll bring the popcorn.

The FTC is cracking down on video makers who don’t disclose who’s paying the bills, The Washington Post, Sept. 2, 2015
“When people see a product touted online, they have a right to know whether they’re looking at an authentic opinion or a paid marketing pitch,’ said Jessica Rich, the FTC’s Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection, in the release. ‘That’s true whether the endorsement appears in a video or any other media.'”

Hey Now, There’s Still Fun To Be Had
Smartphones Can Detect Boredom and Push Content to Relieve It, MIT Technology Review, Sept. 2, 2015
” A group of researchers say they’ve developed an algorithm that can suss this out by looking at your mobile activity, considering factors like the time since you last had a call or text, the time of day, and how intensely you’re using the phone.. . . The researchers also went a step further by sending bored smartphone users an alert to check out an article on BuzzFeed—which people who were judged to be bored clicked on more often than people who weren’t.. . . [one of the co-directors] says he’s excited by the promise of the study as it indicates researchers are tapping into a mental state using the smartphone data. ‘We know boredom leads to depression, so if you can infer the person is bored, you can do something about it,’ he says.”

Note: we might need to find a synonym for “bored”. I know some people who take it as an indictment on the universe when you say you’re “bored”. Did I mention I learned to embed gifs when I wanted to avoid studying?

How fixed-gear bikes can confuse Google’s self-driving cars, The Washington Post, Aug. 26, 2015
“The self-driving cars are notoriously careful, and tend to brake when anyone else is moving forward into the vehicle’s path. In a track stand, a rider on a fixed-gear bike may shift ever so slightly forward and back in an effort to maintain balance. (Watch video of a track stand here.) . . . .  ‘The odd thing is,’ wrote the cyclist, ‘I felt safer dealing with a self-driving car than a human-operated one.'”

Watch this farmer catch a fish with a drone , Fusion, Sept. 2, 2015
“Klingenberg told Popular Science that he caught the fish, a bluegill, in about 10 minutes ‘because there were a bunch of them in the lake and they bit pretty quick.'”
Note: Because, um, why not?

Debug This!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s