FBI, Encryption, Facebook, More: Monday Afternoon Buzz, December 7th, 2015


The FBI is testing a new eFOIA system. “The FBI recently began open beta testing of eFOIA, a system that puts Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests into a medium more familiar to an ever-increasing segment of the population. This new system allows the public to make online FOIA requests for FBI records and receive the results from a website where they have immediate access to view and download the released information. Previously, FOIA requests have only been made through regular mail, fax, or e-mail, and all responsive material was sent to the requester through regular mail either in paper or disc format.” There are several restrictions – be sure to read the full announcement.

The Let’s Encrypt Project has entered public beta. “We’re happy to announce that Let’s Encrypt has entered Public Beta. Invitations are no longer needed in order to get free certificates from Let’s Encrypt. It’s time for the Web to take a big step forward in terms of security and privacy. We want to see HTTPS become the default. Let’s Encrypt was built to enable that by making it as easy as possible to get and manage certificates.”


Facebook has started rolling out its live-streaming feature to everybody — not just famous people. “For those who have the live-streaming feature available, it will appear as a “Live Video” option in their status update. As with Periscope and Meerkat, you can preface each video with a description of what you will be streaming. Once live, broadcasters will be bale [sic] to see who is watching and viewers are able to comment on streams in real time. When the broadcast has ended, videos are saved to your Timeline like any other video post.”

Google has added a bunch of 360-degree views, mostly of performing arts venues. “Today, the Google Cultural Institute announced a new partnership with 60 performing arts institutes around the world to bring 360-degree view, live performances to online audiences. Think of it as Street View, but instead of a suburban ranch house or office complex, you get dynamic performances from the American Ballet Theatre or Carnegie Hall or the Royal Shakespeare Company.”

Linux Mint 17.3 — “Rosa” — is now available. “Rosa is built on the Ubuntu 14.04 package base and features kernel 3.19. In other words, it is hardly cutting edge or radical. Actually, it is quite conservative. With that said, there are some notable changes.” I have switched pretty much completely from Ubuntu to Mint. I find it more stable and easier to work with; your mileage my vary.


From Forbes: What is Periscope and how can you use it for business video streaming? “From a business perspective, Periscope is actually an excellent way to gain visibility. You may not have much of an audience at first, but because the app is free it’s easy to test out and start promoting your channel to get more engagement. Below are a few different ways you can use the app to benefit your business.”


Wondering how Yahoo got to where it is today? Check out this article from Gizmodo: 7 of Yahoo’s biggest eff ups. (I have changed the headline slightly. Guess how.) Missteps including failing to buy Google (twice), failing to buy Facebook, and failing to get bought by Microsoft (for $44 billion dollars). And, based on what I’ve heard and observed, letting great projects die horrible slow deaths, and not treating tech employees that great.

Is Google working on “energy kites”? “The division has said that its experimental technology can produce 50% more energy with 90% less materials than traditional wind turbines. The 16 most recent postings on Google’s hardware engineering careers page advertise positions at Makani, including electrical engineer of avionics hardware, aerodynamicist, and offshore wind program manager.”


It’s not just Web sites that have software vulnerabilities — hardware has them too. “Unfixed vulnerabilities in eight modem and router models used in Russia and around the world allow attackers to compromise the modem/router itself and PCs on the modem’s network.” Apparently researchers told manufacturers about the problems six months ago and nothing’s been fixed.

Three men in Japan have been charged with changing facility names on Google Maps. “The police said the three men allegedly put the wrong names on Google Maps for the Diet building in Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward, the Atomic Bomb Dome in Hiroshima and Izumo Taisha Shrine in Izumo, Shimane Prefecture, between April 15 and April 20, creating fictitious names of religious facilities using the law office’s name.” Even with the changes Google put in place, it is still WAY too easy to do this. Good afternoon, Internet…

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