Collaborating Authors

Seattle 'trash cops' pit environmental concerns against invasion-of-privacy issues

Los Angeles Times

Even in this eco-friendly city, efforts to police recycling by sifting through resident's garbage and slapping emerald-green warning sticker on offending trash bins is drawing protests. A group of residents who sued to prevent the city's so-called trash cops from peering into waste bins contends the city's eagerness to be green has run afoul of their most basic constitutional rights -- that's my trash, and you have no business rifling through it. "Where does the intrusion of privacy on our personal lives stop?" asks Sally Oljar, a Seattle resident and plaintiff in the lawsuit. She said the trash inspections seem to have stepped straight out of George Orwell's "1984." For years, trash and the Constitution have collided in court, as attorneys have debated whether a person's privacy extends to their refuse.

How IoT makes electricity generation more efficient


For roughly 75 years, the utility industry in the U.S. has been set in its ways: big, centralized power plants and high-voltage transmission lines that send power to substations which then distribute that power to homes and businesses. But the times are changing. And that means CIOs at utilities are feeling the pressure to bring about digital transformation that can deliver greater efficiencies and enable the integration of new, innovative technologies. Those big power plants and high-voltage transmission lines are still part of the equation, but so are community solar power, wind farms, microgrids, battery storage and more. Connecting these technologies to the existing grid -- handling settlements in an enclosed market, linking up transactions between energy producers and buyers (perhaps via blockchain technology) -- requires a serious IT overhaul.

Big data will fix internet security ... eventually


I've always thought that improved computer security controls would "fix" the internet and stop persistent criminality -- turns out it might be big data analytics instead. I've long written that only a large-scale improvement of the internet's authentication mechanisms (that is, pervasive identity) could significantly reduce crime. If everyone on the internet had a default, assured identity, attackers would have a much harder time committing and getting away with cybercrimes. We've seen some progress over the years, such as two-factor authentication and better access controls. The days are numbered for simple logon names and passwords.

Microsoft Outlook users with Office 365 get a security perk: Unsafe email warnings


There's no need for a hacker to attack a server or network if they can simply trick someone into disclosing confidential information. Microsoft is adding an additional layer of defense to help stop that from happening--if you subscribe to Office 365. In the coming weeks, Microsoft said it will begin showing what it calls "Safety Tips" at the top of email: colored bars to let you know whether an email is safe, suspicious, or known to be fraudulent. Microsoft said Safety Tips will be managed by Exchange Online Protection, the back-end protection mechanism used to secure email sent through Office 365. Why this matters: Everyone tells you, don't click on suspicious links!--and yet we do, because we don't necessarily think the link is suspicious.

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton tackle security issues

Al Jazeera

Donald Trump has suggested that Russia's President Vladimir Putin had been a better leader than US President Barack Obama. The Republican presidential candidate's remarks came at a televised forum on Wednesday in New York City that paired him with his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in separate appearances. He suggested that US generals had been blocked by the policies of Obama and Clinton, who served as Obama's first secretary of state. Trump's praise for Putin and his suggestion that the US and Russia form an alliance to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group could trouble foreign-policy experts who feel Russia is interfering with efforts to end the Syrian civil war. "If he says great things about me, I'm going to say great things about him," Trump said of Putin at NBC's Commander-in-Chief forum attended by military veterans.