Monday, August 17, 2015

Naked Security - FaceBook and Twitter Combat Child Abuse

Naked Security

Naked Security

Google, Facebook and Twitter join forces to combat child abuse imageryWeb behemoths Google, Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft and Yahoo are set to remove potentially millions of child sexual abuse images from the web after joining forces with a UK charity.

The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) today announced that it will share hashes of such vile imagery with the online industry in a bid to speed up its identification and removal.

The anti-abuse organisation says the sharing of hashes – which are effectively a unique digital fingerprint – will also make it far easier for internet companies to prevent the constant uploading and resharing of child sex abuse images, as well as protect regular web users from accidentally discovering them.

The IWF says its highly-trained analysts will assist the industry by creating three different types of hashes – PhotoDNA (a child abuse image-detecting technology developed by Microsoft), MD5 and SHA-1.

The organisation says it will analyse images obtained from its own investigations as well as those submitted by the public and the online industry. IWF analysts will also apply hashes to images stored within the UK Home Office's new Child Abuse Image Database (CAID).

Through these sources, it says, it can identify and remove as many as 500 child sex abuse web pages every day. Considering that many of those pages will host multiple images, the IWF says it has the potential to reach millions of hashes of images.

Unfortunately, the Internet Watch Foundation notes that such an impressive number of hashes is still barely significant in the grand scheme of things – the internet currently hosts billions of vile images.

On the plus side, however, a hash of a single image allows the IWF or one of its vetted members to "pluck it out, like finding a needle in a haystack".

The IWF says the list of hashes it generates will be shared with a number of online companies, including those engaged in the uploading, storage and search of images, hosting and filtering services, social media and chat sites, as well as connectivity services and data centres.

The Internet Watch Foundation's CEO, Susie Hargreaves, said:

The IWF Hash List could be a game-changer and really steps up the fight against child sexual abuse images online. ...

It means victims' images can be identified and removed more quickly, and we can prevent known child sexual abuse images from being uploaded to the internet in the first place.

Whether the use of hash lists will prove to be a complete success is debatable – child sexual abuse images are, by and large, shared by online paedophiles who favour the anonymity granted by the dark web, an underground part of the internet which is beyond the bounds of the IWF's capabilities – but they certainly will help prevent some images appearing on the more public web and, I would hope, lead to follow-up convictions.

The sharing of hash lists has been welcomed by other child protection groups, including the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC).

In a quote published by Irish Breaking News, an NSPCC spokesman said:

This technological breakthrough is really positive and should enable the industry to take a far more pro-active role in blocking these horrendous pictures.

Of course not all graphic depictions of child abuse are presented as images – paedophiles are increasingly turning to video to record their crimes. While Google continues to develop new technology to combat this trend, the IWF says it is unable to hash videos at this time, though it does say it hopes to offer this feature in the future.

Even so, the news is likely to be welcomed by British Prime Minister David Cameron who, last year, set up a new GCHQ-NCA police unit to uncover child abuse images on the dark net.

Composite image of Google icon and Facebook and Twitter photos courtesy of tanuha2001 / Shutterstock.



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Saturday, August 15, 2015

ConnectEd Library Challenge

ConnectEd Library Challenge

ConnectED Library Challenge

The ConnectED Library Challenge is a way for communities throughout the country to create or strengthen partnerships so that every child enrolled in school can receive a library card.  The initiative calls upon library directors to work with their mayors, school leaders, and school librarians, to provide wider access to the learning resources and books of America's libraries.  As part of this effort, the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), in partnership with the American Library Association (ALA) and the Urban Libraries Council (ULC), will host a national convening in fall of 2015 to identify and share best practices in reaching universal library card use among public school students.

In addition to partnerships that improve library card access, participating libraries will also commit to:

  • Support student learning through programming that develops language, reading, and critical thinking
  • Provide digital resources, such as eBooks and online collections of traditional media
  • Provide broadband connectivity and wireless access within library facilities

The White House Fact Sheet provides additional details.

Click here to view communities that have already adopted the ConnectED Library Challenge.

To learn more about the ConnectED Library Challenge and how you can get involved, send an email to LibraryChallenge@imls.gov.

Event Launch:

President Obama at the Anacostia LlibraryOn April 30 at the Anacostia Branch of the District of Columbia Public Library, President Obama announced two new efforts to strengthen student learning by improving access to digital content and to public libraries. The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is supporting several library and non-profit partners to develop the Open eBooks initiative and the ConnectED Library Challenge. These efforts leverage the extensive resources of the nation's 16,400 public libraries to help kids develop a love of reading and discovery by making e-books and library services broadly available, particularly to students from low-income families.

Learn More:

June 25, 2015 White House Fact Sheet: ConnectED: Two Years of Delivering Opportunity to K-12 Schools & Libraries

April 30, 2015 IMLS Press Release: President Obama Announces Open eBooks and ConnectED Library Challenge

April 30, 2015 White House Blog Post: ConnectED: Open Books and Open Doors

May 2, 2015 White House Weekly Address: Ensuring Every Child Gets a Great Education

May 1, 2015 White House Blog Post: From Sherlock Holmes to The War of the Worlds: 13 E-Books Students Can Read For Free

White House Fact Sheet: Spreading the Joy of Reading to More Children and Young Adults

Watch on White House Live: President Obama Participates in a "Virtual Field Trip" with Students Around the Country

Follow #BooksforAll on Twitter for updates.

Related IMLS Research:

Cover of Research Brief No. 6Research Brief No. 6: First Grade Student Library Card Ownership Linked to Library Visitation
A library card provides greater independence and access to literacy and information, while signifying increased responsibility and self-efficacy. Are there differences between children who do or do not have a library card? This brief focuses on children's library card ownership in the first grade. Read more.

a group of kids show off their new library cards
Los Angeles Public Library

Project Partners:

ALA logo

About the American Library Association
The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world,with approximately 58,000 members in academic, public, school, government, and special libraries. The mission of the American Library Association is to provide leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.

ULC logo

About the Urban Libraries Council
The Urban Libraries Council (ULC) is a membership organization made up of North America's premier public library systems. While ULC's members primarily represent urban and suburban settings, the work done by ULC is widely used by all libraries including those in rural settings. ULC strategically addresses issues important to every community including education, workforce and economic development, public safety, environmental and social equity, health, and wellness. ULC members are thought leaders dedicated to the continuous evolution and strengthening of libraries to meet changing community needs. ULC focuses on helping library leaders develop and utilize skills and strategies that match the challenges of the 21st century. Learn more at www.urbanlibraries.org.



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ConnectED | The White House

ConnectED | The White House

ConnectED

In June 2013, President Obama announced the ConnectED initiative, designed to enrich K-12 education for every student in America. ConnectED empowers teachers with the best technology and the training to make the most of it, and empowers students through individualized learning and rich, digital content.

Preparing America's students with the skills they need to get good jobs and compete with other countries relies increasingly on interactive, personalized learning experiences driven by new technology. Yet fewer than 40% of America's schools have the broadband they need to teach using today's technology. Under ConnectED, however, 99% of American students will have access to next-generation broadband by 2018. That connectivity will help transform the classroom experience for all students, regardless of income.

The President also directed the federal government to make better use of existing funds to get Internet connectivity and educational technology into classrooms, and into the hands of teachers trained on its advantages. And he called on businesses, states, districts, schools, and communities to support this vision, which requires no congressional action. Following the 2014 State of the Union address, the President announced major progress on the initiative, highlighting commitments by the FCC and the private sector.

Read all the ways we're connecting America

How ConnectED Works

Resources for Schools, Teachers, and Students

If you're a school administrator, teacher, or student, get more details below about these companies' commitments — and find out how you can take advantage.

Note: These are private funding programs administered by the respective sponsors. These are not government grant programs. The availability and administration of these funding opportunities, including the selection of recipients and all other decisions of the funding program, are not endorsed by any federal agency or office. No federal funds are being used in or for the administration or awarding of these private funding opportunities.

For schools:

For teachers:

For students:


Commitments

Since the President's announcement in February 2014, there has been more than $10 billion of total value committed as part of the five-year program to transform American education. This includes Federal Communications Commission (FCC) funding for school and library connectivity with $2 billion specifically for Wi-Fi, and $1.5 billion more in annual funding, and more than $2 billion in private-sector commitments. These commitments will dramatically expand high-speed Internet connectivity for America's schools and libraries — connecting 20 million more students to next-generation broadband and wireless.

Participating hardware, software, wireless and professional development companies include:

  • Adobe, which will provide more than $300 million worth of free software to teachers and students, including Photoshop and Premiere Elements for creative projects; Presenter and Captivate to amplify e-Learning; EchoSign for school workflow; and a range of teacher training resources
  • Apple, which will donate $100 million in iPads, MacBooks, and other products, along with content and professional development tools to enrich learning in disadvantaged U.S. schools
  • AT&T, which pledged more than $100 million to give 50,000 middle and high school students in Title I districts free Internet connectivity for educational devices over their wireless network for three years
  • Autodesk, which pledged to make their 3D design program "Design the Future" available for free in every secondary school in the U.S. — more than $250 million in value
  • Coursera, which will provide no-cost online professional development at every school district over the next two years, including opportunities for teachers to earn Coursera's completion certificates that may be used for continuing education credits
  • edX, which will provide all students with free access to online Advanced Placement-level courses offered through edX by partner institutions like UC Berkeley, MIT, and Georgetown in addition to more than 40 other courses and modules
  • Esri, which will provide $1 billion worth of free access to ArcGIS Online Organization accounts – the same Geographic Information Systems mapping technology used by government and business – to every K-12 school in America to allow students to map and analyze data
  • Microsoft, which will launch a substantial affordability program open to all U.S. public schools by deeply discounting the price of its Windows operating system, which will decrease the price of Windows-based devices
  • O'Reilly Media, which is partnering with Safari Books Online to make more than $100 million in educational content and tools available for free to every school in the U.S.
  • Prezi, which will provide $100 million in Edu Pro licenses for high schools and all educators across America
  • Sprint, which will offer free wireless service for up to 50,000 low-income high school students over the next four years, valued at $100 million
  • Verizon, which announced a multi-year program to support ConnectED through up to $100 million in cash and in-kind commitments

In April 2015, the President announced commitments from the following publishers, who will provide thousands of eBooks — valued at over $250 million — to students in low-income families:

  • Bloomsbury, providing unlimited access to over 1,000 of its most popular titles
  • Candlewick, providing unlimited access to all relevant children's and young-adult e-book titles in their catalog
  • Cricket Media, offering full digital access to all of its market-leading magazines for children and young adults, including Ladybug and Cricket
  • Hachette, offering participating students access to a robust catalogue of their popular and award-winning titles
  • HarperCollins, providing a robust selection of their award-winning and popular titles
  • Lee & Low, the leading independent publisher of multicultural books, is providing unlimited access to over 700 of its titles
  • Macmillan, providing unlimited access to all of the K-12 age-appropriate titles in their title catalog of approximately 2,500 books
  • Penguin Random House, committing to provide a robust offering of their popular and award-winning books
  • Simon & Schuster, providing access to their entire e-catalog of books for children ages 4-14, comprised of 3,000 titles

Investing in Next-Generation Professional Development

To support teachers as they use new technology to improve learning enabled by ConnectED, the President has asked Congress help school districts and schools as they provide high-quality professional development and transition to digital learning. The proposed Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT) Program would enable more school districts to support teachers to deliver high-quality, digital learning resources and content; use a wide range of devices and digital tools; leverage data to personalize learning; and increase engagement with families and collaboration with other teachers.

In addition, the Department of Education has released guidance to states, school districts, and schools on ways that existing federal funds can be best leveraged immediately to support schools and educators in the transition to digital learning in support of the President's ConnectED Initiative. Specifically, the guidance letter outlines ways in which current federal education funding available to states and school districts can be used to provide professional development, access to high-quality digital content, and devices for learning.


The ConnectED Library Challenge

In April, 2015, the President announced the ConnectED Library Challenge, calling upon library directors to work with their mayors, school leaders, and school librarians to create or strengthen partnerships so that every child enrolled in school can receive a library card. Over 30 major cities and counties have announced they are taking the challenge, which will also include a commitment to support student learning through programming that develops their language, reading, and critical thinking; provide digital resources, such as eBooks and online collections of traditional media; and provide broadband connectivity and wireless access within library facilities.

To support the implementation of the ConnectED Library Challenge, there have been several important commitments: the Institute of Museum and Library Services will host a national convening to identify and share best practices in reaching universal library card use among public school students; the Urban Libraries Council will lead an initiative that provides a forum for community, library and school leaders to work together to meet city and county education goals by leveraging resources and measuring outcomes; and the American Library Association will align the challenge with existing support and technical assistance provided through their Every Child Ready to Read initiative as well as using its 55,000 members to drive adoption across cities and counties nationwide.

Click here to learn more about the ConnectED Library Challenge.


Guidelines for Logo Use

  • The ConnectED Initiative logo may not be used to endorse any commercial product or service, nor may the logo be used in advertising or in any manner that could give rise to the appearance of endorsement.
  • The ConnectED Initiative logo may not be used in any matter that could give rise to the appearance that the U.S. Government owns, operates, or is affiliated with any nongovernmental entity or its programs, products or services.
  • The ConnectED Initiative logo may only be used in connection with distribution of information about the White House ConnectED Initiative, as found on the ConnectED Initiative website. Any other uses are unauthorized.


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Friday, August 14, 2015

Surge in number of prisoners killing themselves in solitary confinement revealed by report - Crime - UK

Surge in number of prisoners killing themselves in solitary confinement revealed by report - Crime - UK - The Independent

Surge in number of prisoners killing themselves in solitary confinement revealed by report

One inmate hanged himself after officers refused to give him a book

Jails were urged to scale back the use of "18th-century" punishments against offenders perceived as being disruptive or in danger from other inmates.

The alarm over the deaths was raised by the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman who said eight prisoners – four of whom had been assessed at risk of killing themselves or self-harming – took their lives last year while in segregation units in England and Wales.

Nigel Newcomen listed mistakes by prisons leading up to the deaths and urged that inmates are only put in isolation in the most exceptional circumstances.

Among the vulnerable inmates who took their lives in 2013-14 was a man with a history of depression and self-harm who was segregated after being threatened by other prisoners.

Recent research has found that 11 per cent of prisoners have spent a night in a segregation unit (Rex) Recent research has found that 11 per cent of prisoners have spent a night in a segregation unit (Rex)

He asked for a book to keep him occupied as there was no television in his cell but was told he would have to wait until the next day. The next morning he was found hanged.

The man, who was not identified, had a history of depression and suicidal behaviour, including taking an overdose four months before imprisonment and cutting his wrists several years before.

"There is no evidence anyone took into account these factors when the decision was made that he was fit for segregation, either at the initial screen or the review," the ombudsman said in a report on self-inflicted deaths in custody.

Read more: Report calls for 'urgent' survey of inmates' sex lives
Rainsbrook G4S youth prison: The history of a 'ghetto' institution
Justice groups: 'Women in prison equals children without mothers'

Mr Newcomen said inmates in solitary confinement should at least be given reading material and a radio to occupy themselves during their long hours without human contact.

His investigation into another suicide in solitary confinement uncovered "numerous procedural, organisational and management failings" in a segregation unit.

He said officers should follow detailed guidance over the segregation of offenders considered at risk of suicide or self-harm.

"When prison staff do not know these rules or put them into practice appropriately, prisoner safety can be compromised with potentially fatal consequences," he said.

Mental Health Awareness: Facts and figures

1 of 9
  • Mental Health Foundation: Living With Anxiety report 2014
 

The ombudsman warned that segregation should be regularly reviewed  when there was no alternative and a care plan should be drawn up to tackle mental health problems.

Mr Newcomen said: "Segregation is an extreme and isolating form of custody used for prisoners who have misbehaved or who cannot be kept safely in normal prison  accommodation.

"It inherently reduces protective factors against suicide and self-harm, such as activity and interaction with others, and should only be used in exceptional circumstances for those known to be at risk of taking their own life."

His report comes ahead of a ruling expected next month by the Supreme Court into a claim by two prisoners that putting them into solitary confinement breached their human rights.

Frances Crook, the chief executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said the use of solitary confinement – both formal and informal – was rising in adult and youth prisons.

"It's the most extreme measure there is, with no activity, no contact," she said. "In places like Pentonville [prison, north London] they use dungeons – stone cells, which are very cold and very damp. It's like something from the 18th century."

Recent research found that 11 per cent of prisoners had spent a night in a segregation unit; the figure rose to  23 per cent of young adults behind bars.

Prisoners with learning disabilities are more than three times as likely to have spent time in segregation.

The Prisons and Probation Ombudsman said assessments and monitoring arrangements for those at risk of suicide were poor (PA) The Prisons and Probation Ombudsman said assessments and monitoring arrangements for those at risk of suicide were poor (PA)

Overall numbers of prison deaths in England and Wales have risen by 38 per cent since 2012. The former Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling, denied there was any link between staffing cuts and the rise in self-inflicted deaths.

The Commons Justice Select Committee said his stance "could be construed as complacency and a lack  of urgency".

Segregation Suicides

* "Mr A" was taken to a segregation unit after being found in an area of his prison where he should not have been. Soon afterwards he cut his wrist with a plastic knife but was assessed as fit for segregation. When he threatened to smash up his cell and harm himself again, the furniture was removed, leaving him with only a mattress. He was found hanged after making a ligature from the blanket.

* "Mr C" claimed to be in danger from other inmates. He was moved to segregation and refused to leave. During his three months in "seg" his mental health deteriorated. He was moved to the healthcare unit, where he was also locked away from other prisoners. He told staff several times he was hearing voices and having suicidal thoughts before hanging himself.



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Prison laptop scandal: How the computers were hacked - Crime - UK - The Independent

Prison laptop scandal: How the computers were hacked - Crime - UK - The Independent

Prison laptop scandal: How the computers were hacked

Once they were in, the plotters could work late into the night

Unlocking the "dog" was key to the plotters' attempts to use the computer to smuggle drugs. Using an east European hacker inside the prison, the gang obtained a coded pen drive that was smuggled into the prison by a visitor.

When inserted while the computer was booting up, the pen drive was able to detect the password required to unlock the administrator privileges. The ruse revealed that the authorities were using rudimentary passwords to protect their machines: the lapel numbers of prison officers.

Once they were in, the plotters could work late into the night. Any checks by guards would reveal an inmate working on a legitimately obtained laptop on their case.

"It's extremely difficult to lock devices down if you have physical access to a machine. In that case all bets are off," said Don Smith, a security expert and Technology Director at Dell SecureWorks. "It's highly likely that a determined adversary would find a way on to a system."

Read more: Gang orchestrated £30m drug deal from jail
Too many prisoners, not enough security – history of Wandsworth
Surge in prisoners killing themselves in solitary confinement

Inmates are allowed to have computers to prepare for their legal cases under article six of the Convention on Human Rights – which protects the right to a fair trial. Government guidance states that if the eligibility criteria are met, inmates could be supplied with a laptop and photocopies of legally privileged papers.

The National Offender Management Service said that laptops were given to inmates for three months, but could be supplied for longer on request.

Under the regime at Wandsworth around 2010-13, laptops were usually issued following a request by family or the inmate's solicitor and vetting by prison officials. They were sometimes withdrawn after some 28 days for a couple of days of checks, before being returned to the inmates.

A general view of Wandsworth Prison (Getty) A general view of Wandsworth Prison (Getty)

In practice, they were rarely withdrawn but the plotters were believed to have fixed the computers to return to factory settings in the days before the anticipated seizure.



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