Henny Sender and Vanessa Friedman
Just weeks after Mr Obama was inaugurated wearing a Hickey Freeman suit, HMX, the Chicago-based owner of that brand as well as Hart Schaffner Marx among others, filed for bankruptcy protection. After an auction in August last year, Mumbai-based SKNL became the latest Asian group to buy a collection of premier western fashion brands.
In doing so, it joined Megha Mittal, of the Indian Mittal steel dynasty, who last year bought the German luxury brand Escada; Li & Fung of Hong Kong, which two years ago snapped up Hardy Amies, couturier to Britain’s royal family; and Hong Kong-based S.C. Fang & Sons, which bought Pringle of Scotland in 2000.
From individual consumers of luxury goods, the Chinese and Indians have become consumers of luxury companies, in a shift that has far-reaching implications for the $80bn (€63bn, £52bn) a year industry. Many of the recent acquisitions have been driven by a wish to raise production standards in Asia and, in the long term, change a tenet of the luxury industry: the importance of production in “country of origin”. The notion that to merit its price tag, a luxury item must be made in the country where it is designed and where its label was born is on the wane.
Vijay Srinivasan, John Stankovic, and Kamin Whitehouse via Bruce Schneier:
Abstract: In this paper, we first present a new privacy leak in residential wireless ubiquitous computing systems, and then we propose guidelines for designing future systems to prevent this problem. We show that we can observe private activities in the home such as cooking, showering, toileting, and sleeping by eavesdropping on the wireless transmissions of sensors in a home, even when all of the transmissions are encrypted. We call this the Fingerprint and Timing-based Snooping (FATS) attack. This attack can already be carried out on millions of homes today, and may become more important as ubiquitous computing environments such as smart homes and assisted living facilities become more prevalent. In this paper, we demonstrate and evaluate the FATS attack on eight different homes containing wireless sensors. We also propose and evaluate a set of privacy preserving design guidelines for future wireless ubiquitous systems and show how these guidelines can be used in a hybrid fashion to prevent against the FATS attack with low implementation costs.
The group was able to infer surprisingly detailed activity information about the residents, including when they were home or away, when they were awake or sleeping, and when they were performing activities such as showering or cooking. They were able to infer all this without any knowledge of the location, semantics, or source identifier of the wireless sensors, while assuming perfect encryption of the data and source identifiers.
Air travel is no picnic, though it is possible to see humanity every now and then.