Gun Industry Immunity Policy/Law (Bush Administration 2005)

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In 2005, Congress passed the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA)1, a federal statute which provides broad immunity to gun manufacturers and dealers in federal and state court. Generally speaking, the PLCAA prohibits “qualified civil liability actions,” which are defined as civil or administrative proceedings which “result[] from the criminal or lawful misuse” of firearms or ammunition.2

Read more at http://smartgunlaws.org/gun-industry-immunity-policy-summary/

There are six exceptions to the blanket civil immunity provided by the PLCAA:

  1. an action brought against someone convicted of “knowingly transfer[ing] a firearm, knowing that such firearm will be used to commit a crime of violence” by someone directly harmed by such unlawful conduct;
  2. an action brought against a seller for negligent entrustment or negligence per se;
  3. an action in which a manufacturer or seller of a qualified product knowingly violated a State or Federal statute applicable to the sale or marketing of the product, and the violation was a proximate cause of the harm for which relief is sought;3
  4. an action for breach of contract or warranty in connection with the purchase of the product;
  5. an action for death, physical injuries or property damage resulting directly from a defect in design or manufacture of the product, when used as intended or in a reasonably foreseeable manner, except that where the discharge of the product was caused by a volitional act that constituted a criminal offense, then such act shall be considered the sole proximate cause of any resulting death, personal injuries or property damage; or
  6. an action commenced by the Attorney General to enforce the Gun Control Act or the National Firearms Act.4

The PLCAA was enacted by Congress under its power to regulate interstate commerce.  There have been several constitutional challenges to the PLCAA, but to date (June 2016) none have been successful.5

There are several reported decisions involving the third exception to the PLCAA, commonly referred to as the “predicate exception.”  The predicate exception applies when the plaintiff proves that a manufacturer or seller knowingly committed a violation of an underlying statute, referred to as a “predicate statute,” that is “applicable to the sale or marketing” of a firearm or ammunition.

There have been several reported decisions interpreting the “predicate exception” and the results have been mixed.  The only two federal appellate courts to consider the issue – the Second and Ninth Circuits – have both found in split decisions that the PLCAA barred claims brought under generally applicable public nuisance statutes. The same result has been reached by state courts in Alaska and Illinois and a federal district court in Washington, D.C.

State appellate courts in Indiana and New York, however, have allowed such suits to proceed. Unlike the other cases, these two cases involved allegations that gun manufacturers and distributors knowingly sold firearms to straw purchasers who, in turn, were selling the firearms to criminals.

Lean more form: http://smartgunlaws.org/

Data Security – Don’t Underestimate what’s possible

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In this video Samy Kamkar explains a stealthy Arduino-based device, camouflaged as a functioning USB wall charger, that wirelessly and passively sniffs, decrypts, logs and reports back (over GSM) all keystrokes from wireless keyboards.

In this video Samy Kamkar explains a stylishly device you wear around your neck which can quickly and covertly install a backdoor and override DNS settings on any unlocked machine via USB in a matter of seconds.

This is just two examples of what’s possible!

Our Hyper-Reality – 5 Years or sooner?

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HYPER-REALITY from Keiichi Matsuda on Vimeo.

FTC Fines Software Maker over False Data Encryption Claims

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One of my pet peeves in the SaaS industry is when vendors that make false claims about their conformance to security requirements and it was encouraging to read this article where the Federal Trade Commission took some action over false claim.

The article states that the “software vendor was lying through its teeth” about its conformance with the HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) security standards. HIPAA states that data should be encrypted with top-grade encryption algorithms like AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) and higher. The company also lost a laptop containing medical information which would be exempted from reporting a data breach incident to law authorities if the medical data was encrypted (with AES and higher).

As US-CERT learned in 2013, Henry Schein’s Gentrix G5 did not use minimal HIPAA encryption levels, despite saying so in its brochures, online website, newspaper interviews, and newsletters. The US-CERT team issued a public vulnerability note in June 2013, warning Henry Schein customers of the lack of proper encryption in its product. The warning also addressed an issue with a similar software product sold by Faircom, another software maker. According to CERT, both companies used DES (Data Encryption Standard) to secure data. DES is an outdated symmetric-key method of data encryption.

Promising to meet security regulations is easy but meeting them is tough – its like an arms race! As one method of data encryption is declared outdated/crackable and new  more secure algorithms become available software vendors have to keep replacing core components to keep up. 

Assessment software is a prime target for attacks as these systems contain Personal Identifiable Information (PII), valuable content and test results. Questionmark has invested heavily to “keep up” but maintaining security is a constant challenge and requires smart people and constant investments. Let’s hope that government actions help expose the fraudsters so that secure systems and appreciated by those that rely on them.

CentERs caught rigging construction safety exams

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imageThe flagship scheme for certifying UK builders has been called into question after a string of test centers were caught rigging health and safety exams. Construction workers across the UK are required to hold a CSCS card to prove skills and grasp of health and safety. But a joint BBC London/Newsnight investigation revealed widespread, organised cheating, allowing untrained builders on to dangerous sites.

Full BBC article by Guy Lynn and Ed Davey BBC News, London

3M Privacy For E-assessment Candidate Privacy

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With an increasing number of online e-examinations replacing traditional paper based tests, protecting exams is a growing issue. In 2012/13 over 1600 Scottish University Students were caught cheating in some form and more than 100 students a year are expelled from Universities in the UK for cheating offences.

WebRTC

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WebRTC is a free, open project that provides browsers and mobile applications with Real-Time Communications (RTC) capabilities via simple APIs. The WebRTC components have been optimized to best serve this purpose.

Unintended Consequences of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act

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The controversial law in Indiana just became more controversial. It turns out that not only does the gays, lesbians and transgendered community are potential victims of the new law but also pet owners, restaurateurs and farmers. Indian’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act now permits discrimination based on the pets that you own.

Based on religious writings some pets are considered ‘unworthy’ and owning such a pet is now a justifiable reason to evict someone from their home and even foreclose on their mortgage. Sen. Rubio Marco said on Foxy news "I think the fundamental issue in that some pets, especially cats, are annoying and can draw attention to the mental instability of their owners; these laws will help restore some right thinking into American life.” The Senator continued to say that “…discriminated against cat owners, as long as they are based on religious views, and is both fair and reasonable."

Recent disclosure that farmers, specifically those that raise animals such as pigs and cows, are now a protected group under the law has drawn widespread criticisms from the Jewish and Hindu communities as it does not permit them to discriminate effectively.

Wisconsin Gov. Walker Scott took a different approach, saying he needs to get ahead of the issue and is promoting a law to protect cheese eating as a religious freedom. Scott said "We don’t plan to discriminate against non-cheese eaters, however, we will if we have to.”

A family that takes exams together stays together!

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This photo shows parents scaling a multi-story building to help their kids cheat on an exam.

That people are apparently willing to risk a 20-foot fall to help children cheat on a test speaks to how important parents see these exams as being for a child’s future. But the blatantness of it all shows the total lack of taboo around cheating: these amateur spidermen were happy to scale the walls in broad daylight. Source Article.

Thank you Monica Lewinsky

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