Is Craig Wright the real creator of Bitcoin?

The internet has been blowing up since it was revealed on Monday that Craig Wright is the creator of Bitcoin.

Bitcoin is a new currency that was created in 2009 by a phantom developer that went by the name Satoshi Nakamoto. The currency is unique because it allows its users to make transactions without a bank, and has grown popular enough to allow Bitcoins to be used to buy items from pizza to websites.  Nakamoto’s identity has always been shrouded in mystery, and added to the allure of the culture around Bitcoin. As of Monday, it was revealed to the world that Nakamoto is really an Australian businessman with 9 degrees. But everyone is not convinced.

This isn’t the first time the the creator of Bitcoin was said to be revealed. Just last year Wired and Gizmodo magazines claimed that Wright was Nakamoto. The reports were immediately criticized, with Wired reporting that claims of Wright as the creator of Bitcoin was a hoax. This time, Wright wrote his own blog post staking the claim as Nakamoto himself. This post was backed up by Bitcoin Foundation chief scientist Gavin Andresen, who showed support by writing a blog post of his own.

So how can we tell if Wright is really the creator of Bitcoin? It all comes down to signed cryptographic keys. Wright claims to be in possession of cryptographic keys that only the real Satoshi Nakamoto would have access to. Encryption works by using two keys, a private and public key to move data safely over the internet. Wright is claiming to have a private key that shows that he is the real Nakamoto. But even the existence of a private key has been contested. Having a private key doesn’t prove identity, it just proves that the person that is signing has access to the private key.

While Wright has taken steps to prove that with his private key, he can link to a bitcoin address mined by Satoshi Nakamoto, it makes you wonder how much it matters. Satoshi Nakamoto left the Bitcoin project. Although his work is the backbone of Bitcoin, it isn’t necessarily important to know who the real creator of Bitcoin is as far as Bitcoin’s future is concerned. But at least for now, there will still be a hint of mystery attached to Bitcoin’s creator.

Article via Mashable, 2 May 2016

Photo Vires In Numeris by Zach Copley [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]


Introducing MIRLN: miscellaneous IT-related legal news

MIRLN (Miscellaneous IT-Related Legal News) is a free e-newsletter that began in 1997. It is delivered every 3 weeks to members of the American Bar Association’s Business Law Section via Business Law Today and to other members. MIRLN has about 2,000 individual subscribers; 2 of which were former Attorney Generals of the United States.

About Know Connect:

Vincent I. Polley acquired his Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics from Harvard and his Law degree from the University of Michigan.

In 2006 and 2007, he co-chaired the Information Technology and Security Law practice group at the Dickinson Wright PLLC law firm. He helped clients prevent, plan, and effectively manage IT-related security and privacy problems. Since he was an expert in the area, he oversaw the firm’s specialized law IT assistance such as privacy and e-contracting.

Polley was co-chair of the ABA Commission on Second Season of Service, and served on the Advisory Commission for the ABA World Justice Project and the Council of the ABA’s Section of Business Law.  He’s a former member of the ABA’s Standing Committee on Law and National Security, former chair of the ABA’s Standing Committee on Technology & Information Systems, and the immediate past-chair of the ABA’s Standing Committee on CLE. Polley currently chairs the ABA Content Convergence Working Group, and is the member of the Editorial Board for the ABA Journal.

Since 1997, Polley continuously publishes posts for the Internet Law blog, MIRLN.

Subscribe to MIRLN: Send email to Vince Polley with the word “MIRLN” in the subject line.

MIRLN is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/us/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 543 Howard Street, 5th Floor, San Francisco, California, 94105, USA.

Contact Information:

E-mail: info@knowconnect.com

Skype: vpolley

Twitter: @vpolley

Article via KnowConnect

Photo: Moo cards for blogging workshop via Steve Bridger [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]

 

 


FBI hack to remain secret from Apple

The FBI has no plans to reveal how they hacked the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone, not even to Apple.

In March, the FBI announced that they would be dropping their case with Apple after having purchased a hacking tool from a third party to aid in breaking into the phone. Apple had cooperated with the FBI, but would not create new firmware to break their own encryption. The high profile nature of this case brought the debate about privacy and security to the national stage. Although there was a judge assigned to rule on the case, the FBI’s purchasing of a hacking tool put the need for a ruling to bed.

Since then, the FBI has been mum on how this hacking tool was able to be successful and how it works. Prior to purchasing the tool, the FBI insisted that it needed Apple to update the firmware in order for them to do a hack on the shooter’s iPhone. The security on iPhone only allows 10 consecutive attempts to break the passcode before all data is erased on the phone.

Apple has a vested interest in understanding the hack, because the tech company would want to patch any vulnerabilities that allowed the FBI to use this tool to access the iPhone.  Hacking into this iPhone will make all iPhones vulnerable to the same sort of attack, which ultimately puts many iPhones around the world at risk.

An Apple attorney has stated that the company has no plans to sue the government to reveal how the San Bernardino iPhone was unlocked.

The government already has policies in place, called theVulnerabilities Equities Process, which governs disclosure of security problems to companies. This policy is notoriously shrouded in secrecy, but the government is generally supportive of vulnerability disclosure in order to ensure that vulnerabilities are not exploited by malicious hackers.

The FBI has found success with this tool, but it doesn’t mean that they are in a place to support vulnerability disclosure. The agency has already made plans to argue that it does not know enough about the hacking tool that it purchased to substantively explain how it works. FBI director James Comey has revealed that his agency spent more than $1 million to obtain the tool.

Article via TechCrunch, 26 April 2016

Photo El FBI no necesita a Apple para desbloquear un iPhone by iphonedigital [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]

 


ESPN fires Schilling over transgender comments

ESPN fired Curt Schilling, a major league baseball analyst, over expressing offensive comments regarding transgender people.

“ESPN is an inclusive company,” the network said in a statement emailed to The Washington Post. “Curt Schilling has been advised that his conduct was unacceptable and his employment with ESPN has been terminated.”

Schilling’s conduct has been called into question before by ESPN for offensive or political statements that the analyst has made. But, it was his social media post on Tuesday that was the last straw for the network. Schilling posted a meme that depicted a man wearing a wig and ripped clothing. His comments accompanying the post read, “A man is a man no matter what they call themselves,” referring to the recent bathroom laws that have been passed in several states. “I don’t care what they are, who they sleep with, men’s room was designed for the penis, women’s not so much. Now you need laws telling us differently? Pathetic.”

After receiving backlash from readers, Schilling went on to say, “You frauds out there ranting and screaming about my ‘opinions’ (even if it isn’t) and comments are screaming for ‘tolerance’ and ‘acceptance’ while you refuse to do and be either.”

Schilling is known for his outspoken comments, so this isn’t the first time that he has garnered controversy over social media. Just last month Schilling was in hot water after telling a radio station that Hillary Clinton“should be buried under a jail somewhere,” violating ESPN policy about sharing political opinions on the election.  He was suspended by ESPN in August, for making comments that compared Muslims to Nazis. This suspension was eventually extended for the rest of the baseball season.

It appears that Schilling expected that his days were numbered with ESPN. Shortly after his suspension during the baseball season, a filing with the Federal Election Commission showed that Schilling, while donating $250 to Ben Carson’s presidential campaign, had listed his employer as “ESPN (Not Sure How Much Longer)” and, under “Occupation,” he wrote, “Analyst (For Now Anyway).”

Article via The Washington Post, 20 April 2016

Photo 150730-D-FW736-016 by DoD News Features [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]


Facebook hires blind engineer to improve tech

Matt King joined Facebook in June as the company’s first blind engineer. His mission is to improve Facebook for the visually impaired. With Billions of daily users, Facebook is one of the most visited sites on the web. Yet, much of it’s content is driven by visuals and images that software isn’t designed to translate.

King’s first big project at Facebook is to improve this experience for the visually impaired. His software gives broad descriptions of what may be in the photos shared on a users feed. It is the first step in looping a user in on what is on their timeline beyond the artificial intelligence that dictates the words on the screen. This software was officially released by Facebook on Tuesday. At a demo for the new software, the artificial intelligence describes a friend’s photo in the timeline as, “may contain sky, tree and outdoor.” A second photo from another Facebook contact is said to include “pizza.” The references fill a void that was not being addressed. Before this software, a visually impaired user would not have any information about the photo.

Matt King didn’t come into the world completely blind. He was born with  a condition called retinitis pigmentosa, which destroys the retina. This made him legally blind at birth, but still able to see well enough to do schoolwork and ride his bike. But by the time he graduated Notre Dame with and electrical engineering degree, he was totally blind. He joined IBM in 1998, met the accessibility team which worked on making computing more accessible to this with disabilities, and ended up working with them for nearly two decades.

IBM’s accessibility department was created in 1985, well before most of Silicon Valley was thinking about the issue, partly in response to an IBM researcher who had gone blind.“The sense that was happening was that every person who was blind on the planet was losing access to the computer. There was no solution. You couldn’t write an email. You couldn’t go to work. You couldn’t go to school,” says Schwerdtfeger, an early member of the accessibility team who later worked closely with King.

“There were other blind people and several of them provided good input from the standpoint of a user, but what Matt brought to the table was an understanding of the technology underneath,” says one current IBM staffer. Looking for a chance to make more of an impact, Matt King left IBM and joined Facebook. The decision was somewhat personal for him, as King remembers the disappointment in creating his own Facebook page, and not know what was in the pictures. “Here’s one more thing, just like driving a car. Here’s another barrier for people who are blind,” said King. Now he is in a position to change that, and improve the platform for all its users. Kings technology will help the visually impaired, as well as those in situations where they cannot easily see their screens, such as when driving.

“The fact that you have somebody who has worked on accessibility who actually has the disability, is in a leadership position at probably the most pervasive application on the planet and is willing to put themselves out there like that,” Schwerdtfeger says, “that’s a big deal.”

Article via Mashable, 5 April 2016

Photo: First Ever Braille Library in Paradise, Mauritius by Exchanges Photos


Undergraduate majors that get the biggest pay boost from law degrees

A new study conducted by Michael Simcovic and Frank McIntyre available at the SSRN showed that humanities majors get a median $45,000 pay boost in annual earnings with a law degree. This is compared to a $29,000 boost for STEM majors- science, technology, engineering, or mathematics. These figures are derived from the Census Bureau data that identifies occupations and professional degree holders.

To estimate the group of law school graduates, the study authors looked at professional degree holders which excluded those who worked as medical professionals, accountants, teachers, education administrators, clergy and psychologists—fields where many people with professional degrees other than law degrees are likely to work.

When the study looked more closely at earnings for professional degree holders working only as lawyers, the median boost in annual earnings was $60,000 for  humanities majors, $54,000 for social sciences majors, $49,000 for business majors, and $66,000 for STEM majors.

This study also took notice of the average annual income for specific majors among the professional degree holders. In the business category, economics majors holding JD’s make the most on average: about $187,000 a year. In the STEM category, electrical engineers make the most; about $166,000 a year. In the humanities category, history majors make about $151,000 and in the social sciences, political science majors make about $150,000.

Michael Simcovic is a law professor at Seton Hall University and Frank McIntyre is an economics and business professor at Rutgers University. These same professors published a controversial study finding that a law school graduate makes about $1 million more than an undergraduate college graduate.

When looking at the proportion of law degree holders, 48% have undergraduate degrees in humanities or social sciences. Only 18% were STEM majors. “Thus the majors that are disproportionately over-represented among law graduates—humanities and social sciences—are also the majors for whom the expected benefits of law school are the greatest,” the study says.

Article via ABA Journal, March 9, 2016

Photo: LAW749_20120518_0539 via Villanova Law [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]