Daily Links and Deals: Choose A Book And Read To Your Barber, He’ll Take A Little Money Off The Top

daily_links_1Daily Links for Wednesday, October 12,  2016:

Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram surveillance tool was used to arrest Baltimore protestors (The Verge) Very disturbing use of technology.

Comcast fined $2.3 million by FCC for “negative option billing” practices (Ars Technica) Ah, Comcast. If you have ever argued with them over a bill, you know that getting them to take responsibility for accurate billing would be an amazing thing.

Dropbox rolls out PDF signing, iMessage integrations and picture-in-picture on iOS (Techcrunch) New features for the iOS app are geared towards the needs of corporate users.

How One Outrageous Law Turned the Samsung Phone Recall Into a Disaster (Gizmodo) Huh? Brands have to agree to the language used during a product recall?

New York Public Library Digitizes 137 Years of New York City Directories (NYPL) Want the address of someone who lived in New York City in 1786? These are a fascinating glimpse into history.

Choose A Book And Read To Your Barber, He’ll Take A Little Money Off The Top (NPR) What a great idea to get kids reading!

Deals of the Day:

Amazon’s selection of Kindle Daily Deals includes The Day of the Triffids (RosettaBooks Into Film Book 24) by John Wyndham. (Great post-apocalyptic classic!)

In Today’s Deals, the Silhouette Cameo — Starter Bundle cutting machine.

The Echo inow available in white. There is also an  All-New Echo Dot (2nd Generation) which will be available in both black and white and retails for $49.99. The Dot is also being offering in a “Buy 5, get 1 free” six-pack and a ““Buy 10, get 2 free” twelve-pack”. The new Echo Dot will be released on October 20, 2016.

The Barnes and Noble Nook Daily Find is a trio of Books by Robert Goolrick for $1.99 each  The Romance Daily Find is discounted pricing on all four books in D.L. McDermott’s sexy Cold Iron paranormal romance series.

Barnes and Noble also has a selection of NOOK Books Under $2.99.

Kobo’s Daily Deal is The Cinderella Murder: An Under Suspicion Novel by Mary Higgins Clark, Alafair Burke. The Extra Daily Deal is The Worth Series Boxed Set (Books 1-3) by Mara Jacobs.

Currently, you can save up to 90% on select titles in the Idiot Guides series.  Also, a selection of titles called Romance On The Ice for $4.99 or Less until October Until October 31st.

There is also a selection of Great Reads Under $5 and Bargain Reads in Fiction, in Mystery and other genres. The Kobo Aura One (and the Aura Edition 2 e-readers are now available for order at the Kobo store. (The Aura One is out of stock until October 14, 2016.)

iTunes’ Weekly Bestsellers Under $4 includes Drinking Coffee Elsewhere: Stories by ZZ Packer.

Google Books has a selection of Topsellers Under $10.

(A note on Daily Deals: All prices current at the time of posting and subject to change. Most items marked Daily Deals are good for only the day posted.

Many large promotions have discount pricing that is set by the publisher. This usually means that titles can be found at a discount price across most platforms (with iTunes sometimes being the exception). If you have a favorite retailer you like to patronize, check the title on that website. There is a good chance that they will be matching the sale price.)


Daily Links are interesting links I discover as I go about my online day. The frequency and number of links posted depend upon the daily news. I also post other, different links of interest on Twitter, Facebook, and on the Google Plus eBook Evangelist Page.

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Daily Links and Deals: Hundreds of Spotify credentials appear online

daily_links_1Today, stories about Spotify credentials appearing online, the Feds approve the Chartert-TWC merger, the dangers of a bluetooth pregnancy test and more. In deals, Watchesm headphones and Mother’s Days deals on Kindles and Fire tablets.

Daily Links for Tuesday, April 26, 2016:

Feds Approve $78B Charter-TWC Merger, Creating Broadband Colossus (Motherboard) How big is too big? Does this merger cross the line? Read this article on Comcast and tell me what you think!

First Response’s Bluetooth pregnancy test is intriguing — and a privacy nightmare (The Verge) This is a case study illustrating why you should always read the permissions.

Congress demands to know how many citizens are being spied on (Ars Technica)I would like to know the answer to that question as well. Wouldn’t you?

The Real Power of Platforms Is Helping People Self-Organize (Harvard Business Review) Extremely interesting way to look at what plaforms like Uber do.

Hundreds of Spotify credentials appear online – users report accounts hacked, emails changed (Techcrunch)

Deals of the Day:

Amazon’s selection of Kindle Daily Deals includes The Leap: The Science of Trust and Why It Matters by Ulrich Boser for $1.99.

In Today’s Deals, Anne Klein Watches for Mother’s Day and SMS Audio Street by 50 Cent Wired On-Ear Headphones.

Just in time for Mother’s Day, Amazon has some deals on both e-ink Kindles and Fire tablets. First, you can get $20 off the Kindle, Kindle Paperwhite and theKindle for Kids bundle.  Amazon is also offering the Fire HD 10 for $50 off for a limited time.

Amazon is still offering savings on the Fire HD 6, and deals on pre-owned Fire tablets. I am also still seeing the option for 5 payments of $58 for the Kindle Oasis pre-order. Yes, it is still not too late to order one, especially with the basic black cover.

You can also take advantage of a trade-in offer from Amazon on your old Fire tablet.

The Barnes and Noble Nook Daily Find is From the Ashes by Jeremy Burns  for $1.99. The Romance Daily Find is Brokedown Cowboy by Maisey Yates for $1.99.

Kobo’s Daily Deal is The Paris Winter by Imogen Robertson for $2.99.

iTunes’ Weekly Bestsellers Under $4 includes Wine and War: The French, the Nazis and the Battle for France’s Greatest Treasure by Donald and Petie Kladstrup

Google has a selection of Topsellers Under $10.

(A note on Daily Deals: All prices current at the time of posting and subject to change. Most items marked Daily Deals are good for only the day posted.

Many large promotions have discount pricing that is set by the publisher. This usually means that titles can be found at a discount price across most platforms (with iTunes sometimes being the exception). If you have a favorite retailer you like to patronize, check the title on that website. There is a good chance that they will be matching the sale price.)


Daily Links are interesting links I discover as I go about my online day. The frequency and number of links posted depend upon the daily news. I also post other, different links of interest on Twitter, Facebook, and on the Google Plus eBook Evangelist Page.

Your devices’ latest feature? They can spy on your every move

phoneBy H V Jagadish, University of Michigan

We now have dozens of smart devices in our houses and even on our bodies. They improve our lives in so many ways – from lowering energy consumption in our homes to egging us on to be active.

But these smart devices respond to whatever commands they are given: we’ve had security experts demonstrate how cars can be hijacked remotely and medical devices in your body can be hacked and turned into lethal weapons. These risks are now well-recognized by technology developers, and there is a great deal of excellent work going on toward how to avoid them.

But there are other dangers we should be more concerned about that are getting less attention. Your gadgets could be providing a window that any hacker could see right through to spy on you.

Your stuff is surveilling you

Your laptop has a video camera built into it. When it’s recording, a little green light blinks on so you’re aware you’re being recorded. But it can be instructed to videotape your activities without the green camera light being on. And this is not just an in-laboratory warning of a hypothetical danger; it has actually been done, by over-eager school officials and by peeping Toms.

At least you can turn off your laptop: when it is shut, the camera can see only “the other side” of the laptop. But this quick fix doesn’t apply to sound recording devices, like microphones. For example, your phone could listen to conversations in the room even when it appears to be off. So could your TV, or other smart appliances in your home. Some gadgets – such as Amazon’s Echo – are explicitly designed to be voice activated and constantly at the ready to act on your spoken commands.

It’s not just audio and video recording we need to be concerned about. Your smart home monitor knows how many people are in your house and in which rooms at what times. Your smart water meter knows every time a toilet is flushed in your home. Your alarm clock knows what time you woke up each day last month. Your refrigerator knows every time you filled a glass of cold water. Your cellphone has a GPS built into it that can track your location, and hence record your movements. Yes, you can turn off location tracking, but does that mean the phone isn’t keeping track of your location? And do you really know for sure your GPS is off simply because your phone’s screen says it is? At the very least, your service provider knows where you are based on the cellphone towers your phone is communicating with.

We all love our smart gadgets. But beyond the convenience factor, the fact that our devices are networked means they can communicate in ways we don’t want them to, in addition to all the ways that we do.

Is this thing on?
Amazon.com, Inc

Next generation wiretapping

A bad actor could figure out how to take control of any of these technologies to learn private information about you. But maybe even more worryingly, could your technology provider become, voluntarily or under compulsion, a party to a scheme through which you unwittingly reveal your secrets?

The recent battle between Apple and the FBI revolved around the feds’ request that Apple develop a custom insecure version of iOS, the operating system of the iPhone, to facilitate their hacking into a terrorist’s cell phone. Is breaking into a locked phone just the next step beyond a traditional wiretap in which the government asks an Apple or a Samsung to use its technology to bug the conversations of a suspected terrorist?

But modern phones can be used to do a lot more than listen in on conversations. Could companies be asked to keep location tracking on while indicating to the suspect that it is really off? It would seem to me hard to draw a line between these cases. No wonder some Apple engineers came out as “objectors of conscience” in the Apple-FBI matter. This case was dropped before Apple could be compelled to do anything, so there’s no legal precedent to guide us on how these next-step examples would play out in court.

It is, of course, valuable for law enforcement to monitor criminal suspects, to investigate ongoing criminal behavior and to collect evidence to prosecute. This is the motive behind wiretap laws that allow law enforcement to listen to your phone conversations with no notice to you.

Wiretaps actually got their start in the 1800s as tools of corporate espionage. In 1928, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Olmstead v. U.S. that it was constitutional for law enforcement to use wiretaps, and that warrants weren’t required. This decision was superseded only in 1967, by Katz v. U.S., which established a citizen’s right to privacy, and required law enforcement to obtain warrants before bugging a phone conversation. This was long after Congress had passed an act carefully restricting wiretaps, in 1934.

In the early days of wiretapping, there was a physical “tap” – a side connection – that could be applied to a real wire carrying the conversation. Newer technologies eventually permitted the telephone company to encode and multiplex many telephone calls on the same physical wire.

Technology has moved on, but the law isn’t clear yet.
Gawler History, CC BY-SA

In the United States, the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) was passed by Congress in 1994, due to worries about law enforcement’s ability to keep up with new communications technologies. It requires communication companies to provide a way for law enforcement to place a wiretap even on newer communication technologies.

The law explicitly exempted information services, such as email. This legal differentiation between communications technologies and information services means companies are obliged to help the government listen in on your phone calls (with a warrant) but are not obliged to help it read your email messages (at least on account of this specific law).

In 2004, the Federal Communications Commission ruled that services such as Voice Over IP (think Skype) were communications services covered by CALEA, and not exempt information services.

Some have since wanted to further broaden this law, and doubtless the Apple FBI dispute brings this issue to the forefront again. Law enforcement will presumably push for greater surveillance powers, and civil liberty advocates will resist.

Nothing to hide?

Perhaps you don’t care about the privacy of criminals. But note that surveillance is not just of known bad actors, but also of suspected bad actors.

History teaches us that lists of suspects can sometimes be drawn way too broadly. You may remember the McCarthy era and J. Edgar Hoover’s reign at the FBI, which infamously included bugging Martin Luther King Jr.’s bedroom. Even today, there are attempts by the British Government Communications Headquarters to monitor everyone who visited the Wikileaks website, even just to browse. Some laws don’t make sense or aren’t fair, so even some “criminals” may still deserve privacy.

And it’s not just law enforcement overreach we have to worry about. Technologies like Finspy are commercially available today to install malware on your computer or phone and “recruit” it to spy on you. Such technologies could be used by anyone, including the “bad actors,” without the cooperation of your device manufacturer or service provider.

Wiretap laws, such as CALEA, apply to explicit communication actions taken by someone, such as actually making a phone call. Wiretaps do not track your movements in the house, they do not listen to your conversations when you are not on the phone, they do not videotape you in your bathroom – but these are all actions our various devices are now capable of performing. With the proliferation of devices in our lives, it is certainly possible to use them for surveillance purposes. There’s no question that by doing so, authorities will catch many bad actors. But there will also be a huge price to pay in terms of privacy and possibly wrongful arrests.

Finally, this may feel futuristic, but I assure you it is not. The FBI was already using a cellphone microphone to eavesdrop on organized crime as long as a decade ago. Commercial interests are not too far behind in doing much the same, with the purpose of targeting a better sales pitch.

Our omnipresent networked devices raise big questions that we should openly debate. How we balance these costs and benefits will determine the type of society we live in.The Conversation

H V Jagadish, Bernard A Galler Collegiate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, University of Michigan

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article. Reposted under a Creative Commons license.

Daily Links and Deals: E-books are more than just digital facsimiles, and publishers need to realize that, pronto

daily_links_1In today’s links, we have news on the potential of ebooks, DVD screeners, burner cell phones and much more.  Today’s book deals include series starters in SF and romance and a Kobo Supersale.

Daily Links for Sunday, March 27, 2016:

Original DVD screeners widely available on eBay   (Torrent Freak) All the MPAA’s piracy measures are facing an overwhelming tide of opposition.

E-books are more than just digital facsimiles, and publishers need to realize that, pronto (Techcrunch) Are publishers taking full advantage of what the ebook format has to offer?

A new bill seeks to kill anonymous ‘burner’ phones by requiring registration (The Next Web) Obviously, the persona who sponsored this bill has never heard or stalkers or domestic abuse. There are legitimate reasons to want a burner phone.

Advertising’s hottest surveillance software is surprisingly legal (Engadget)  This is so creepy….

The 50-year digital relationship (Techcrunch) No, the Internet is not going away. It’s really too much a part of our lives at this point.

How Musicians Deal With Smartphone-Obsessed Crowds During Shows (Vocativ) How our smartphones have changed music performance.

Deals of the Day:

Amazon’s selection of Kindle Daily Deals includes Wizard’s First Rule (Sword of Truth Book 1) by Terry Goodkind for $1.99.

The Barnes and Noble Nook Daily Find is It’s Not What You Think: Why Christianity Is About So Much More Than Going to Heaven When You Die by Jefferson Bethke for $1.99. The Romance Daily Find is Wonderful Lonesome (Amish Turns of Time Series #1) by Olivia Newport for 99 cents.

Barnes and Noble is still running several promotions” First, you can take 50% or more off teen bestseller Nook books. They are also running a special where you can get a NOOK Bundle Offer: 10″ NOOK Device, Free Screen Film and Free Cover of Your Choice- a $330+ Value for Just $199.99. And finally, you can take 25% off all Nook Accessories.

Kobo’s Daily Deal is Room by Emma Donoghue for $2.99.

In other deals, Kobo is having a Supersale, offering up to 80% off and  5X Super Points on all purchases. And, continuing through March 28, Kobo is still featuring  bestsellling memoirs for $2.99 and under.

iTunes’ Weekly Bestsellers Under $4 includes Lady Macbeth by Susan Fraser King for $1.99.

(A note on Daily Deals: All prices current at the time of posting and subject to change. Most items marked Daily Deals are good for only the day posted.

Many large promotions have discount pricing that is set by the publisher. This usually means that titles can be found at a discount price across most platforms (with iTunes sometimes being the exception). If you have a favorite retailer you like to patronize, check the title on that website. There is a good chance that they will be matching the sale price.)


Daily Links are interesting links I discover as I go about my online day. The frequency and number of links posted depend upon the daily news. I also post other, different links of interest on Twitter, Facebook, and on the Google Plus eBook Evangelist Page.