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The Supreme Court is weighing in on another Fourth Amendment privacy case, this one concerning a Los Angeles ordinance requiring hotels to surrender guest registries to the police upon request without a warrant.

Thejustices agreed(PDF) Monday to hear Los Angeles’ appeal of a lower court that ruled7-4 that the lawmeant to combat prostitution, gambling, and even terrorismwas unconstitutional. The law(PDF) requires hotels to provide the informationincluding guests’ credit card number, home address, driver’s license information, and vehicle license numberat a moment’s notice. Several dozen cities, from Atlanta to Seattle, have similar ordinances.

“The Supreme Court will consider both the scope of privacy protections for hotel guests and also whether the Fourth Amendment prohibits laws that allow unlawful searches,” EPIC wrote. “The second issue has far-reaching consequences because many recent laws authorize the police searches without judicial review. Thus far, courts have only considered “as applied” challenges on a case-by-case basis.”

The appeal is the third high-profile Fourth Amendment case the justices have taken in three years.

In 2012, the justices ruled that authorities generally need search warrants when they affix GPS devices to a vehicle. And earlier this year, the Supreme Court said that the authorities need warrants to peek into the mobile phones of suspects they arrest.

In the latest case,Los Angeles motel owners sued, claiming that the law was a violation of their rights. The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the motel owners in December and said the only documentsthey must disclose include a hotel’s proprietary pricing and occupancy information.

Businesses do not ordinarily disclose, and are not expected to disclose, the kind of commercially sensitive information contained in the records, Judge Paul Watford wrote for the majority. He said a hotel has “the right to exclude others from prying into the contents of its records.”

In dissent, Judge Richard Clifton wrote that neither the hotel nor the guest has an expectation of privacy.”A guest’s information is even less personal to the hotel than it is to the guest,” Clifton said.

In arguing to the justices that they should review the majority’s conclusion, Los Angeles city officials wrote(PDF), “These laws expressly help police investigate crimes such as prostitution and gambling, capture dangerous fugitives and even authorize federal law enforcement to examine these registers, an authorization which can be vital in the immediate aftermath of a homeland terrorist attack.”

Thehigh court did not set a hearing date.

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Supreme Court to decide if cops can access hotel registries without warrants

As Google’s Hummingbird update places more weight on social signals for search rankings, Google+ could become more important for marketers looking to boost SEO.

In an SES Denver panel discussion titled “Insights Into Future Search Trends,” Merry Morud, social advertising director for aimClear, said that social signals have replaced links in importance for SEO. “In the old days of SEO, link-building was the ultimate, but with social, SEO becomes democratized, more of an aggregate of symbols and authority.”

Because of these changes in the way search is ranked, Google+ might become a more important tool than Facebook for marketers looking to see a rise in their rankings. “Google+ is not a joke,” said Morud. “It’s not going away. If you are not active in Google+, start now. Google gets its purest social signals in Google+, and they can often impact SEO more than Facebook.”

And as advertisers see recommendations from Facebook count for less in terms of social signals in search, their ads on the platform could be further impacted by rampant “accidental clicks” on mobile, which could lead to inaccurate data.

“For social ad placements in mobile, Facebook creates desktop, mobile, and Right-Rail ads, but they heavily weight for mobile views,” said Morud. The problem with the uneven weighting is that “accidental clicks happen a lot. There’s a lot of discrepancy between clicks and actual website visits.” For example, one of Morud’s clients found that of Facebook’s reported 850 ad clicks, only four came from desktop, which indicates that many of the clicks may have happened by mistake. The discrepancy, according to Morud, could be attributed to what she termed “fat finger syndrome,” or accidental clicks that don’t actually result in page views.

To manage this, Cindy Krum, founder and chief executive (CEO) of MobileMoxie, encouraged Facebook advertisers to test ads across devices before pushing live, because many ads are ineffective on mobile. As an example, she used Stuart Weitzman’s “Design Your Own Loafers” landing page, which offered users an interactive design experience. However, “Facebook mobile couldn’t handle Ajax and JavaScript,” so users were abandoning the page when it wouldn’t load. “Test, test, test,” Krum said, “if you’re paying for Facebook ads expecting to be shown to mobile users.”

These problems downloading ads on mobile and the sheer volume of ads on Facebook could be driving users toward Google+. “Facebook is getting too busy,” Morud said. “People are outgrowing [the platform]. Google+ being ad-free is going to be a plus for them.”

Now that social signals count toward SEO rankings, advertisers can no longer afford to ignore their presence on Google Plus, according to Morud. “Google is going to make social signals from Google Plus so important that they can’t be denied,” she said.

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CDC Mobile Units For Ebola Screening Virginia Illuminati Ebola Out Break 2014
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CDC Mobile Units For Ebola Screening Virginia Illuminati Ebola Out Break 2014 – Video

In their zeal to collect as much operational data as possible, organizations hoping to gain an advantage through the use of big data will also need to rethink how they process, analyze and present that material.

When all this information finally gets to the business, it is difficult for the business to understand what to glean out of the data, said Sharmila Shahani-Mulligan, CEO and co-founder of big-data startup ClearStory Data. We know this has been a problem for several years now.

Shahani-Mulligan was one of a number of speakers at the OReilly Strata + Hadoop World conference Thursday in New York to offer tips on making the move from data to big data. She suggested that the executive dashboard is giving way to emerging technique of interactive storytelling, which gives data more readily apparent context and meaning.

Meanwhile, organizations should watch Google closely, advised M.C. Srivas, chief technology officer of Hadoop distributor MapR Technologies. Google, with its vast and varied infrastructure, can provide us with a glimpse into the future of where computing is going, said Srivas, who worked at Google before co-founding MapR.

One of the basic rules to pick up from Google is that more data beats complex algorithms, Srivas said. This is something that Google has demonstrated again and again: The company that can process the most data will have an advantage over everybody else in the future.

A number of MapR customers are following this principle, Srivas said.

Millennial Media, a leader in the mobile advertising market, collects up to about 4TB of mobile user data each day, combining with petabytes of data on hand to build profiles of mobile users.

Cisco collects data from its firewalls worldwide, aggregating about a million events per second, all to better detect security threats. Credit agency TransHuman collects data from multiple sources to provide real-time credit scores.

But once an organization has committed to collecting more data, the question becomes what to do with it.

Visualization is a handy tool, but picking the correct visualization is vitally important, advised Miriah Meyer, an assistant professor in the University of Utahs School of Computing.

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Hadoop World: The executive dashboard is on the way out

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WA beaches closed after shark attacks boat

Oct 062014

Search engine optimization adherence in the website relaunch/redesign process is a topic I enjoy talking about. In the past few years I have covered a few topics of what to think about from an SEO perspective when undertaking a redesign effort and how to assess potential SEO issues you are experiencing after your new site has launched.

After seeing some clients launch ineffectively recently, it made me revisit a few of these articles and consider the need for a relaunch SEO checklist. We may now know what to consider during the redesign phase and how to remedy issues, but we must follow these items below to have a truly effective relaunchat the time of pressing go. Some of these checklist items reflect technical SEO considerations for content visibility to search engines and users, items pertaining to on-page SEO, and also analytical tracking items you dont want to overlook.

Ensure that the development team and content team are in a cohesive understanding of the intended new page naming conventions and URL structure. It helps to have a current/proposed URLs spreadsheet shared in Google Drive for these parties to collaboratively assess and revise. This file can be a direct reference in the redirection of URLs during the relaunch. A lack of communication between these two parties could leave you with 301 page redirection from current URLs to page names/structures that do not exist in the new site. This becomes a 404 error nightmare and you can watch your existing rankings fly away post-relaunch.

While your new site is transitioning from a staging site to production, you may have placed proper exclusion efforts to rid search engine crawling in the staging area such as a full staging site robots.txt disallow or Meta Robots usage within individual page source code. That is great, but dont allow these elements to migrate to the production site. Again, you will watch your rankings and organic traffic disappear.

While your mind may be focused on your new design and how great the new site will look, dont forget that optimized on-page elements need to transition into the new site, too. You must ensure that the title elements from the staging site will transition to the new site. This also applies to Meta descriptions and other page elements such as H tag usage. Has page copy changed? Ensure that your on-page keyword targeting and copy have contain a synergistic relationship.

A redesigned site close to launch can be rife with internal linking flaws. Before the site goes live you should do manual review of important links. I also prefer using the Chrome plugin Check My Links to quickly assess what links may are broken. Beyond broken links, review the coded link targets to make sure they will link to the true page URL and are not redirecting.

Above, we mentioned a few code related considerations such as the Meta Robots tag and Meta tag elements, however, there are other items in the code we want to review before launch. You will want to make sure you retain Open Graph and Twitter Card tagging if you currently have this on the live site. Also review the code to ensure there are not any old CSS or JS server side referenced file requests that will not be used in the new site. Having requests to dead files in the future and be hiccups for search engines. I prefer to use a tool such as Pingdom Web Speed to pick up on this type of issue.

The new site looks really cool to youbut what about everybody else? You must ensure that your new design will provide the same experience for every user based on their browser and browser version. Additionally, be cognizant of what the mobile display will look like and if responsive, how the display order renders. Here you can use tools such as Browserstack or Cross Browser Testing.

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7-Point Relaunch SEO Checklist

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FREE SPEECH #FSM50 is a “cloud film” created by Let it Ripple: Mobile Films for Global Change in partnership with UC Berkeley. The video was produced in honor of the 50th anniversary of the…

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Freedom Kicks: D.C. United, MLS, and CONCACAF Champions League links for Wednesday September 24th, 2014

Silicon Valleys smartphone snitching has come to an end. Apple and Google have promised that the latest versions of their mobile operating systems make it impossible for them to unlock encrypted phones, even when compelled to do so by the government. But if the Department of Justice cant demand that its corporate friends unlock your phone, it may have another option: Politely asking that you unlock it yourself, and letting you rot in a cell until you do.

In many cases, the American judicial system doesnt view an encrypted phone as an insurmountable privacy protection for those accused of a crime. Instead, its seen as an obstruction of the evidence-gathering process, and a stubborn defendant or witness can be held in contempt of court and jailed for failing to unlock a phone to provide that evidence. With Apple and Google no longer giving law enforcement access to customers devices, those standoffs may now become far more common. You can expect to see more cases where authorities are thwarted by encryption, and the result is youll see more requests that suspects decrypt phones themselves, says Hanni Fakhoury, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. And by requests, I mean demands. As in, you do it or youll be held in contempt of court.

In some cases, the Fifth Amendments protection against self-incrimination may block such demands, under the argument that forcing defendants to unlock their phone would compel them to testify to their own guilt. But the few cases where suspects have pleaded the Fifth to avoid decrypting a PCthe legal equivalent of a smartphonehave had messy, sometimes contradictory outcomes. This is not a settled question, says James Grimmelmann, a professor at the University of Maryland Law School. And it likely wont be, he says, until more appeals courts or the Supreme Court consider the issue.

Grimmelmann does, however, offer one general guideline for whether a Fifth Amendment argument will keep the cops out of your locked phone and you out of jail: If the police dont know what theyre going to find inside, he says, they cant make you unlock it.

In 2011, for instance, a Florida man identified only as John Doe had two computers and five external hard drives seized in a child pornography investigation. (He was never charged with a crime, so his name was not revealed in court.) Doe had encrypted his drives with TrueCrypt, and took the Fifth to avoid having to unlock them. The court ruled that forcing him to surrender his password and decryption keys would be the same as making him provide self-incriminating testimony, and let him off the hook.

In a Vermont case in 2009, by contrast, a child pornography defendant named Sebastien Boucher made the mistake of allowing police access to his computer following his arrest at the Canadian border. They found child pornography, but after seizing his computer realized the portion of the hard drive containing the incriminating files was encrypted. They demanded Boucher cough up the password. He refused, pleading the Fifth. A judge ruled against him, calling the contents of the computer a foregone conclusion. The police didnt need Bouchers testimony to get the files, in other wordsthey only needed him to stop obstructing access to them.

Not every case is so clear-cut. In 2012, a Colorado district court ruled thatRamona Fricosu, a defendant in a mortgage fraud case, had to surrender the password to her locked laptop after she was heard on a recorded phone call telling her co-defendant husband that the incriminating evidence was encrypted. That call was enough to nullify her Fifth amendment argument. As with Boucher, the judge ruled that she give police access to the files or be held in contempt.

Even if you have a Fifth Amendment right to avoid compelled decryption, you have to be very circumspect in how you behave, warns Grimmelmann. The court may only find in favor of defendants who have been very careful about not talking to law enforcement and who have been very well advised in keeping in their head down.

Depending on where the law settles, it could leave few cases where the Fifth Amendment protects locked phones at all. Former prosecutor and George Washington University Law Professor Orin Kerr argued in a piece for The Washington Post on Friday that merely confirming that a phone belongs to you and admitting you know the passcode circumvents the Fifth Amendment. If the phones in the suspects hand or in his pocket when the government finds it, thats not going to be hard to show, he wrote. He pointed to the Boucher case. Under the relevant case law, that makes all the difference: Entering in the password no longer raises a Fifth Amendment problem.

Using Apples TouchID to unlock a phone represents another way to compel suspects to open their phone. As defense attorney Marcia Hofmann wrote for WIRED last year, a fingerprint isnt testimony. So demanding a suspect extend their hand allows for no Fifth Amendment defense. Other biometric unlocking mechanisms would be equally vulnerable. We cant invoke the privilege against self-incrimination to prevent the government from collecting biometrics like fingerprints, DNA samples, or voice exemplars. Hofmann wrote. The courts have decided that this evidence doesnt reveal anything you know.

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An internal study finds that female-led proposals to use the in-demand device are less likely to be selected

The Hubble Space Telescope, launched in 1990, is still in high demand among scientists. Less than a quarter of proposals for observation time are approved. NASA

For an astronomer, winning precious observation time on the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) for your study is a big dealmore than three quarters of proposals are rejected. It turns out, however, that this honor is a bit easier for men to achieve than women. An internal Hubble study found that in each of the past 11 observation proposal cycles, applications led by male principal investigators had a higher success rate than those led by women. Its fascinating and disturbing, says Yale University astronomer Meg Urry, who formerly led the Hubble proposal review committee for several years and admitted to frustration that some of the results occurred during her tenure. I made a lot of efforts to have women on the review committees, and during the review I spent time listening to the deliberations of each panel. I never heard anything that struck me as discriminationand my antennae are definitely tuned for such thingsso its clear the bias is very subtle, and that both men and women are biased. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore runs the HST program and began the study about two years ago. After manually reviewing all proposals and categorizing them by gender the researchers found that mens applications fared better than womens in every cycle they examined. The results will be published in an upcoming issue of Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. The effect is smallit translates to about four or five fewer proposals from women being selected each cycle than one might expect based on how many were submitted. You can kind of explain it away as just sampling statistics in any given cycle, but it happens every year, says Neill Reid, an STScI astronomer who oversees time allocation for Hubble. It is a systematic effect. The effect is stronger for older principal investigators (PIs); among recent graduates, the success rates for men and women are closer to equal. I could speculate whether the proposals are being written in a different way or whether the younger astronomers are more visible because theyre giving more talks. Maybe it has something to do with the institutions theyre at, Reid offers. Because the Hubble scientists have no information about the cause of the gender imbalance, they plan to analyze their data for contributing factors and consult social scientists who research bias about the best strategies to combat the trend. Already STScI has implemented some changes to try to level the playing field for men and women. The scientists who oversee proposal evaluation now tell reviewers before each cycle that this systematic effect exists, and that they believe unconscious bias might contribute to it. Sometimes people talk about the proposer rather than the proposal, Reid says. We ask them to focus on the science. The proposal format has also changed. Whereas the PIs name used to be in large type on the first page, they are now included among the rest of the team on page 2, and only first initials are used. Thus far, these steps have not reversed the trend, however: Women fared no better in the latest proposal-review cycle than they had before. I know STScI has tried very hard to minimize the effects of unconscious bias, Urry remarks. The only thing left is to do blind reviews, removing the names of the proposers altogether. But this is very difficult because the panels are supposed to evaluate the ability of the team to deliver what they propose. I am not sure what the answer is. A further complication is that the astronomy field is small, and reviewers may be able to guess the identities of proposers even if names are minimized or removed. Nevertheless, taking steps to make review processes as anonymous as possible has been shown to reduce bias in other scientific settings. Susan Benecchi, an astronomer at the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Ariz., won observing time on Hubble during the latest round of applications and previously served on a review panel. She said shes never been aware of any bias in the process. Except for the fact that PI names are on the proposal, it’s really not about the PI or team or anything other than: Do we think they can get the result they are after and is that science interesting, timely and uniquely requiring of HST? Ultimately, allocating time on Hubble is a subjective and human process, and therefore open to biases. It may be unsurprising, then, that signs of gender discrimination show up, as they do in many sectors of society. Indeed, preliminary studies at several other U.S. observatories, such as Kitt Peak National Observatory and Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory, appear to show the same gender disparity in proposal success. This is a community issue not an HST issue, Reid observes. One positive development, the STScI team found, is that more and more women are applying for Hubble time. In the most recent cycles women have contributed close to 25 percent of all proposals, with the latest round featuring a greater ratio of female-led petitions than ever before. The scientists hope that this trend, at least, is one that continues.

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Los Angeles, CA and New York, NY (PRWEB) September 02, 2014

For the third consecutive year, 180fusion has been selected as the 2014 Best of Manhattan Award in the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) category and awarded into the Hall of Fame for Top SEO Company. 180fusion has been recognized as a local company that has enhanced the positive image of small businesses through exceptional customer service, SEO Results, and community support.

The Program identifies prominent companies that are leaders in their local community and business category. The Award was established to recognize the best of local businesses in each community. Nationwide, only 0.5% (1 in 140) of 2014 award recipients qualified as Three-Time Award Winners. To choose recipients, the committee gathered and analyzed various sources of information including data provided by third parties.

180fusion is honored to be recognized as the #1 provider of high-quality Local SEO. Our team continues to focus on helping SMBs increase sales by generating qualified traffic from our SEO products and services, Scott Cohen, CEO of 180fusion.

As one of the fastest growing private companies as recognized by Inc 500, 180fusion has grown the digital marketing team by 85+ employees to deliver an integrated suite of SEO, SEM and Social Media solutions for clients in all industries from startups to large enterprise companies.

About 180fusion 180fusion is a nationally recognized search engine marketing company specializing in helping companies increase sales, generate qualified leads, and expand market share by taking full advantage of the internet. Its suite of integrated solutions include National and Local SEO, PPC Management, Mobile Search, and Social Media Marketing to help thousands of small and medium sized companies to Fortune 1000 companies succeed online. 180fusion is offering expert insight, best-in-class products, and continuous innovation to address emerging digital marketing challenges for its customers and channel partners. 180fusion was recognized in the Inc. Magazine Top 500 Fastest Growing Private Companies in America in 2014 as #176 overall and top 25 fastest growing in the Advertising and Marketing industry. The LA Business Journal also awarded 180fusion for Top 100 Best Places to Work at #18. The company is headquartered in Los Angeles, California with regional offices across North America. For more information, please visit:

About Manhattan Award Program The Manhattan Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Manhattan area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.

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180fusion Recognized as Top SEO Company by Best of Manhattan Award

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