Tag Archives: laptop

Ummm FBI…what are you doing with my UDID?

When I first heard about the recent hack of 12 million Apple device UDIDs, I wasn’t too concerned.

I caught a sound bite on Fox 5 News, on my way out the door, so the details were necessarily sketchy.

But hackers hack.

So what?

In my mind, the 12 million hacked UDIDs was a drop in the bucket relative to the total number of Apple devices out there.

I felt my nonchalant attitude was warranted.

But then I learned that these IDs had allegedly been lifted from a FBI laptop that hackers had somehow gained access to.

And then I started to be a little more concerned.

Why is the FBI just leaving laptops with sensitive information laying around?

And why the hell does an FBI laptop have 12 million UDIDs on it?

What legitimate purpose could the FBI possibly have for acquiring the UDIDs in the first place?

And then I learned that it wasn’t just random UDIDs.

The laptop allegedly also contained specific information about the users connected to those device IDs, including their names, email addresses and credit card information.

And now I’m concerned.

My colleagues, in the office, were following the story and passed around the link to the site where you could check to see if you were among the victims of this latest digital security breach.

We joked about how not being on the list didn’t mean that you were any more secure, than if you had been.

All jokes aside – I immediately checked to see if any of my devices were among those compromised.

Luckily they were not.

But despite my relief, I can’t help but be a tad ticked off.

The infamous hacks and blatant privacy policy violations of Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Chase, et al, can leave no doubt that ‘online security’ is a misnomer.

With this latest gaffe, we’ve learned that even the Feds are in on the chicanery.

And although both the FBI and Apple have denied that any such leak occurred, in light of the frequency with which hacks occur it’s hard to believe either of them.

It seems like every other day, we hear about some major leak of private or secure data.

And if it’s hackers, doing their thing, then so be it.

Hackers serve a legitimate role in keeping these corporations, who have a fiduciary duty to safeguard our information, on their collective j-o-b.

Without hackers exposing the flaws in corporate firewalls and security protocols, our shit would be a whole lot less secure than it is.

On an aside – I’m waiting for September 29th – the day after hackers have threatened to release Romney’s tax returns.

I digress.

This latest incident has exposed a reality that few of us really consider…

That online information is inherently insecure.

Each time you fill out an online form, use your credit card to make a purchase from your mobile phone, or create a digital profile on some site, you compromise your data.

And in this increasingly digital world we live in, this compromise is virtually inescapable.

Of course, most many some a few of us take steps to safeguard our information online.

We use services like 1password to avoid the trap of using common passwords for all of our online accounts.

We change our passwords frequently and don’t share them with anyone.

We do whatever we have to do to avoid having our private info floating around in cyberspace.

At the end of the day, I pray that these cats get their acts together.

And despite the denials, if this hack is real, then Apple and the FBI, you’ve got some splainin’ to do!

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Filed under digital advocacy, opinion, privacy, rant, technology

Digital Stewardship: PAL Digital U.N.I.Verse.City

A PAL Digital U.N.I.Verse.City workstation.

If you’re a forty-something like me, computer classes in high school involved learning to program in ASCII or DOS on a monochrome screen.

If you attended college, there may have been more advanced computer classes, for which you likely moved and stored content on floppy disks.

After college, you used a PC running some version of Windows at the job, and computer proficiency meant that you knew how to use Microsoft’s Office Suite.

You’re up on the latest gadgets, even if you don’t own an iPad or mobile tablet.

You probably have a smartphone, a laptop and an mp3 player.

And you probably consider yourself pretty savvy when it comes to digital technology.

Right?

Wrong!

We are dinosaurs!

Present company excluded, of course.

Today’s youth are exposed to technology, not as a stiff class taught by some bored out-of-touch professor, but as a natural extension of their everyday existence.

Their access to and adoption of technological gadgets, is second nature to them, almost intuitive.

And unlike us, who came into the ‘technological age’ of massive building-size ‘super computers,’ today’s youth have microprocessors in virtually every device they touch.

The Macbook Pros, Xboxes, Playstations, Wiis, Leapsters of today are tens of thousand times more powerful than anything we ever used growing up.

With Facebook, Twitter, texting, etc., kids are more immersed in interactive technology and applications than we ever were.

They can access and touch virtually any part of the digital universe, and regularly use technology to communicate, socialize and interact with one-another and others.

This intimacy, however, has it’s consequences, though.

Cyber-bullying, internet plagiarism, and the regular posting of questionable (and often inappropriate) content are norms, that we didn’t experience when we were using computers and cell phones.

Social media, as we know it today, didn’t even exist.

It’s no wonder that kids are acting…like kids, when they use them these different tools.

I think it’s important that we take stock of what our children are exposed to (from a digital, content and technological perspective), and give them real guidance on the appropriate and responsible use of technology.

To that end, I want to share a project that I’ve been working on with the Police Athletic League of New York City (PALNYC).

It’s called the PAL Digital Digital U.N.I.Verse.City and its a class being offered as part of an apprenticeship program.

The apprenticeship program is the initiative of Marcel Braithwaite, the Director of Centers for PALNYC.

Marcel manages PALNYC’s eleven (11) centers, located in the five boroughs of New York City.

And he wanted to develop a program that exposed kids to technology as a means of both skills/workforce development and keeping them off the streets.

The curriculum we are using for the program was developed by Mark Hines, a graduate of Princeton University, and the CEO and Founder of Marksmen Productions, Inc., a New York city-based creative agency.

Mark has designed a program that teaches real life skills to the youth, using live scenarios which give the students active participation in projects with real time results.

The Digital U.N.I.Verse.City (DU) is a six (6) month intensive audio, video and technology training program, tailored to students of varying degrees of technical proficiency.

Digital U.N.I.Verse.City classes meet two (2) times a week to provide students instruction in digital media production, it’s cultural impacts and ethical and moral responsibilities that accompany the use of these tools.

The program officially launches next Wednesday at the Harlem Center on 119th Street, and Digital Uni.Verse.City students will study media (news, tv, movies, music, art), how it is produced, and begin rudimentary hands-on manipulation of video and audio (DU101/102) in preparation for the Advanced Studio Workshop (DU201).

The Time Warner Center in the Harlem Center has been converted into the PAL Digital U.N.I.Verse.City classroom.

Students who successfully complete the intro courses will be invited to participate in the Advanced Studio Workshop, focusing on professional skill development in (one of the following) music production, audio/visual engineering, video production and direction, video editing, motion effects, journalism and musicianship.

Digital U.N.I.Verse.City instructors include many of our professional colleagues, who are experts in their respective fields.

From Grammy-winning musicians, to New York Times best-selling authors, the Digital U.N.I.Verse.City instructors will offer students hands-on training and skill development on live projects.

The Digital U.N.I.Verse.City curriculum starts with a review of the DU Acceptable Use Policy, which lays out the foundation for every student’s participation in the program.

Most people have never seen (much less read) an acceptable use policy.

But it is the most important thing, for people living in a highly interconnected digital world – and the point of this rambling post.

I helped to develop (read: wrote) our acceptable use policy, which came together after many long sessions, during which we worked diligently to draft something that actually made sense.

For the majority of people who have ever read (read: scanned) an AU Policy, you know its a statement by the owners, administrators or other gatekeepers of any digital or online environment, which provides a code of conduct that users must observe while utilizing (or as a member of) a particular system.

As an advocate for technology, the Digital U.N.I.Verse.City program, gives me a constructive way to address the issue of responsible use of technology by our youth.

More importantly, working on this project has forced me to address the fact that most of us operate without a set of guiding digital principles.

Obviously, I always promote best practices with my clients, and have helped draft numerous Terms of Use, Privacy Policies and various other online instruments governing the use of certain online programs or environs.

But that’s not quite the same thing, when the audience for my usual written verbosity is the youth.

Next Wednesday is our first class (did I say that already?) and I’m excited.

The pictures above were from our dry-run, when we set up the local Moodle we’re using for the class.

Be sure to look out for future posts about how the program is coming along.

Also, feel free to donate to or volunteer at your local PAL!

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To Twitter Or Not To Twitter

A little over 9 months ago I started using Twitter.  Although it had been around for a minute, I was into other things, and didn’t really see the relevance of posting every minute detail of my life with yet another online social networking tool.  Call me short-sighted.

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When I joined  Twitter, however, I noted that there were already a few people that I knew, who were active ‘tweeters,’ which gave me more of an incentive to stay tuned-in.  Interestingly, James Andrews, the one person who I feel understands branding more than any person I’ve met to date, was an active tweeter/twitter-er(?) (pardon my ignorance of the actual term to describe people who tweet).

Over the course of the next few months, my use of Twitter has increased (albeit incrementally), and I’ve come to appreciate the cult of Twitter.  My complete and unadulterated adoption of Twitter occurred recently, when I downloaded the Twitterific application onto my iPhone a few days ago, and began Twittering(?) on the go.  (I also downloaded the Twitterific widget onto my laptop.)

I’ve got to admit, being free of my laptop, but still being able to Twitter from anywhere is quite cool.  The iPhone app puts all my posts, as well as the posts of all the folks I’m following (29 to date) in a simple to use interface, accessible with a click.  Twitter’s features, like twitpic, allow me to customize my posts, and I’ve been going hog wild ever since copping the app.

Today, for example, I Twittered (?) my morning commute, compete with pictures of my stops along the way.  It was really a personal case study of the utility the Twitterific app in action, and I was pretty stoked with the results.  The only thing I didn’t like is the fact that I don’t get automatic confirmations that my posts have posted (I don’t like having to check my feed in order to see the post).  A simple ‘message sent’ would be great.

Another great thing is the Twitter Facebook app that allows me to update my Facebook status via Twitter.  I always found it annoying that these apps both had some status update feature, since the activity of Twittering(?) is like a constant status update, and it seemed redundant to post another (or different) stauts in Facebook.

Anyway, if you’re interested in my daily musings, feel free to follow me on Twitter.

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