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More Demands on Cell Carriers

July 13, 2012

In the first public accounting of its kind, cellphone carriers reported that they responded to a startling 1.3 million demands for subscriber information last year from law enforcement agencies seeking text messages, caller locations and other information in the course of investigations.

The cellphone carriers’ reports, which come in response to a Congressional inquiry, document an explosion in cellphone surveillance in the last five years, with the companies turning over records thousands of times a day in response to police emergencies, court orders, law enforcement subpoenas and other requests.

While the cell companies did not break down the types of law enforcement agencies collecting the data, they made clear that the widened cell surveillance cut across all levels of government — from run-of-the-mill street crimes handled by local police departments to financial crimes and intelligence investigations at the state and federal levels.

AT&T alone now responds to an average of more than 700 requests a day, with about 230 of them regarded as emergencies that do not require the normal court orders and subpoena. That is roughly triple the number it fielded in 2007, the company said. Law enforcement requests of all kinds have been rising among the other carriers as well, with annual increases of between 12 percent and 16 percent in the last five years. Sprint, which did not break down its figures in as much detail as other carriers, led all companies last year in reporting what amounted to at least 1,500 data requests on average a day.

With the rapid expansion of cell surveillance have come rising concerns — including among carriers — about what legal safeguards are in place to balance law enforcement agencies’ needs for quick data against the privacy rights of consumers.  Source

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Cloud Computing: Managing File Transfers in the Cloud: 10 Points to Demystify the Process

May 14, 2012

Managed file transfer is a well-accepted way for organizations to share business files point-to-point, quickly, reliably and securely. This is a subject that requires attention, especially when it comes to thorny issues, such as enterprise security and compliance. MFT uses different types of applications to securely transfer data from one computer to another. This small but important area of IT management earned attention in recent years after IBM bought Sterling Commerce for more than a $1 billion, and MFT specialist Ipswitch merged with Message Way. Over the years, despite having lost a bit of its novel cachet, MFT is as effective as ever. But now, due to greater demands for the secure transfer of data through cloud systems, MFT is being refreshed as it morphs and expands to play a critical role in moving large data sets (the so-called big data)—as well as traditional business files—through the cloud. Here, eWEEK offers some key data points about MFT, the cloud, and big data. Our expert source is Robert Fox, director of B2B/EAI Software Development at Liaison Technologies in Alpharetta, Ga. Liaison Technologies cleanses and validates business data for master data management purposes and securely integrates and manages complex business information on-premise or in the cloud. Read More

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What Great Bosses know about Leadership Styles

May 9, 2012
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Google Drive Wants a Piece of the File Sharing and Storage Pie – But It Might Not Taste So Sweet for Businesses

May 1, 2012

This week Google announced its newest offering, Google Drive. The launch of Google Drive, a cloud-based file storage and synchronization tool, places Google’s hat in the ring with other file sharing services. In response, Vice President of Sales and Client Services at FilesAnywhere, Shayne Mehringer, gave this statement:

“Google is king when it comes to Internet searching, and websites around the world count on them for outstanding targeted advertising abilities. However, this doesn’t necessarily make them right for the business and consumer file storage market. Oversaturation in the online storage and collaboration market is actually a good thing for us. Smart, professional consumers and corporations will now be forced to do their homework. Source 

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8 Core Beliefs of Extraordinary Bosses

April 26, 2012

1. Business is an ecosystem, not a battlefield.

Average bosses see business as a conflict between companies, departments and groups. They build huge armies of “troops” to order about, demonize competitors as “enemies,” and treat customers as “territory” to be conquered.

Extraordinary bosses see business as a symbiosis where the most diverse firm is most likely to survive and thrive. They naturally create teams that adapt easily to new markets and can quickly form partnerships with other companies, customers … and even competitors.

2. A company is a community, not a machine.

Average bosses consider their company to be a machine with employees as cogs. They create rigid structures with rigid rules and then try to maintain control by “pulling levers” and “steering the ship.”

Extraordinary bosses see their company as a collection of individual hopes and dreams, all connected to a higher purpose. They inspire employees to dedicate themselves to the success of their peers and therefore to the community–and company–at large.

3. Management is service, not control.

Average bosses want employees to do exactly what they’re told. They’re hyper-aware of anything that smacks of insubordination and create environments where individual initiative is squelched by the “wait and see what the boss says” mentality.

Extraordinary bosses set a general direction and then commit themselves to obtaining the resources that their employees need to get the job done. They push decision making downward, allowing teams form their own rules and intervening only in emergencies.

4. My employees are my peers, not my children.

Average bosses see employees as inferior, immature beings who simply can’t be trusted if not overseen by a patriarchal management. Employees take their cues from this attitude, expend energy on looking busy and covering their behinds.

Extraordinary bosses treat every employee as if he or she were the most important person in the firm. Excellence is expected everywhere, from the loading dock to the boardroom. As a result, employees at all levels take charge of their own destinies.

5. Motivation comes from vision, not from fear.

Average bosses see fear–of getting fired, of ridicule, of loss of privilege–as a crucial way to motivate people.  As a result, employees and managers alike become paralyzed and unable to make risky decisions.

Extraordinary bosses inspire people to see a better future and how they’ll be a part of it.  As a result, employees work harder because they believe in the organization’s goals, truly enjoy what they’re doing and (of course) know they’ll share in the rewards.

6. Change equals growth, not pain.

Average bosses see change as both complicated and threatening, something to be endured only when a firm is in desperate shape. They subconsciously torpedo change … until it’s too late.

Extraordinary bosses see change as an inevitable part of life. While they don’t value change for its own sake, they know that success is only possible if employees and organization embrace new ideas and new ways of doing business.

7. Technology offers empowerment, not automation.

Average bosses adhere to the old IT-centric view that technology is primarily a way to strengthen management control and increase predictability. They install centralized computer systems that dehumanize and antagonize employees.

Extraordinary bosses see technology as a way to free human beings to be creative and to build better relationships. They adapt their back-office systems to the tools, like smartphones and tablets, that people actually want to use.

8. Work should be fun, not mere toil.

Average bosses buy into the notion that work is, at best, a necessary evil. They fully expect employees to resent having to work, and therefore tend to subconsciously define themselves as oppressors and their employees as victims. Everyone then behaves accordingly.

Source

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The Winners of WSJ’s Data Transparency Weekend

April 17, 2012

magine installing a service on your cellphone that lets you see all the data – from location to address book info – transmitted by your phone. Or a simple website where you and your friends could have private chats that couldn’t be read by the most aggressive spying agencies. Or a service that lets you know how many tracking codes are on a site before you clicked on it.

Lam Thuy Vo
One of the coders at the Data Transparency Weekend models the official T-shirt from the event.

Over the weekend, more than 100 computer programmers built those tools and many more at the Wall Street Journal’s first-ever Data Transparency Weekend in New York.

The event was an outgrowth of the Journal’s extensive reporting about how companies and government’s are increasingly using technology to collect personal data. The event was designed to promote the creation of tools that let people see and control their personal data.

After a weekend of coding, nearly 20 projects were submitted for judging on Sunday. The entries were judged by Alessandro Acquisti, professor of information technology and public policy at Carnegie Mellon, Sid Stamm, Web security and privacy strategist at Mozilla and Andrew McLaughlin, former deputy chief technologist at the White House and vice president at Tumblr.

Danny Weitzner, the deputy chief technologist at the White House, handed out the certificates to the winning teams. The winners were:

Outstanding Scanning Project: TOSBack2 – a project to scan the Web to build a “living archive” of all privacy policies online.

Outstanding Education Project: PrivacyBucket – software that lets users of the Chrome Web browser view the type of demographic estimates that Web tracking companies make about them based on their Web browsing history.

Outstanding Control Project: Cryptocat – an instant messaging service that lets people engage in encrypted chats inside their Web browsers or on their phones. Extra bonus: the program lets people generate random numbers (which are needed for encryption) by shaking their phone – allowing the creators to say that their program is powered by dance moves.

Judge’s Choice Award: Site Scoper – a website that scans for tracking files and sensitive content on websites before you visit it.

“Ready for Primetime” Award: MobileScope – a service that lets people see what data is being transmitted without their knowledge by their cellphone. It also offers ad-blocking and do-not-track services for cellphones.

The judges also dreamed up their own three award categories:

The Zuckerberg/Systrom Memorial Award for Opportunistic Optimism Award: Pestagram, for its blatantly commercial mashup of hot Web technologies Instagram and Pinterest.

Best Listener Award: The Price of Free, for the fact that the project was generated by Professor Acquisti’s speech kicking off the weekend, in which he challenged participants to find ways to quantify how much people are paying with their data for free services.

And, finally, The Soup Cans and String Winner: Ostel, for its work on technology that allows people to make encrypted cellphone calls using voice-over-the-Internet technology.

Source: The Winners of WSJ’s Data Transparency Weekend

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Top 10 managed file transfer considerations

April 11, 2012

 1. Platform Openness – To reduce the points of connection to sensitive data and reduce the risk of exposure to those without a need-to-know the MFT solution should be installed on the server operating system where the sensitive data and applications reside. If your corporate data mostly resides on the IBM X, then it would make sense to get a MFT solution that runs on the IBM X.

2. Authorization Controls – To meet many compliance regulations, the MFT solution must provide role based access to limit user access to certain servers or MFT functions based on user credentials.

 3. Secure FTP – Plain FTP is not secure. The MFT solution must support both SFTP (FTP over SSH) and FTPS (FTP over SSL) protocols for secure FTP transfers.

 4. Encryption Standards – At minimum, the solution should support the industry standard encryption standards: AES, Open PGP, AS2, SSH, SSL, TLS and S/MIME.

5. Database Integration – The MFT should readily connect to DB2, SQL Server, Oracle, MySQL and other popular database servers for extracting and inserting data.

6. Data Transformation – Is the ability to translate data between popular data formats including XML, CSV, Excel and fixed-width text formats.

7. Data Compression – Compresses and packages data using popular standards such as ZIP, GZIP and TAR to reduce transmission times.

8. Application Integration – The MFT should provide commands and APIs for interfacing with your applications.

 9. Scheduling – Allows transfers and other MFT functions to be scheduled for future dates and times.

10. Key Management – Does the MFT include management tools for creating, importing and exporting keys and certificates?