Meeting – October 9th, 2007

For our October meeting, we’ve got two awesome speakers lined up. Each an expert in their field. It should prove to be one of the best meetings yet. Read on for the details.

First Topic: Security
Our speaker is: David Schaefer

David will briefly discuss the scope of Information Assurance (IA), and how it relates to our ever changing environment in Information Technologies (IT) and business. He will lay down a foundation and stress the importance of how IA is all around us every day and used to protect us, and our data. This will be a higher level presentation to point out some of the various layers and obstacles we all need to look out for in order to protect our data. David will then journey into the final frontier of host-based hardening to discuss the common pitfalls and best practices that we can follow as hobbyists and professionals in securing UNIX, and Microsoft Windows operating systems. During the presentation, he will point out some free tools/procedures that can be used to help us audit/benchmark, and lock down host-based systems to help your computers to live long and prosperous lives while staying free of any bad cling-ons.

David Schaefer is a Desktop Support Supervisor at Oakland Community College. David has over 9 years of experience in the education industry, and has held the roles from Desktop Support Specialist to Network Information Systems Professional. David has an MBA with a specialization of Information Assurance (IA) and a BBA with a concentration in Computer Information Systems (CIS) from Walsh College.

Second Topic: DRM — A Fiasco, Stuffed in a Debacle, and Wrapped up in a Blunder
Our speaker is: David J. Scholl

The Internet, as a collective machine composed of millions of computers interconnected for high-speed data transfer, can copy and distribute text, audio, and video on a scale that would have been unimaginable even half a century ago. Thanks to this modern-day genie, writers, musicians, and actors in even the narrowest of artistic niches can maintain a world-wide fan base, making and distributing digital copies of their work at negligible cost. Unfortunately, just as wishes granted by genies in ancient fables had unintended consequences, so too does this gift from the modern-day genie. Copyright infringement, the making of an illegal copy of an artistic work without payment to or permission from the owner, is now as easy as a click-and-drag with a mouse. In fact, the ease and near-anonymity of such copying has led to widespread tolerance toward copyright infringement in our society. In response, the corporations who profit from selling digital copies of artistic works are trying to use technical measures known as Digital Rights Management (DRM) to put the Internet genie halfway back into its bottle. The talk will review the most spectacular DRM-related failure ever to occur in the recording industry, the technical reasons why DRM has never worked and almost certainly never will, and how the industry’s current obsession with DRM is actually hastening its deterioration in the entertainment marketplace. Finally, there will be speculation about upcoming developments in DRM, which might lead to either (unlikely) the ultimate victory for DRM, or (probably) the end of DRM in our lifetime.

Dave Scholl holds a BA in Physics from Rice University, and an MA in Chemistry from Stanford University. Mr. Scholl worked in Thin-film physics at IBM Almaden Research Laboratory, and since 1991 has been at Ford Scientific Research Laboratory working on surface physics, nanotribology, combustion diagnostics, sound quality, and vehicle emissions. He has been a Linux user since Red Hat 4.2, a decade ago, and is an Open Source news junkie.