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How much should we really expect privacy?

Derrick Harris wrote up a great piece for GigaOm today, Pondering Privacy, Part 2: Let’s get over ourselves already. In his article, he argues the following: While the work privacy advocates do to highlight the tactics and implications of online data collection is commendable, it’s a little misleading. No, it’s not ideal that companies and […]

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File photo of Germany's Chancellor Merkel using her mobile phone before a meeting at a European Union summit in Brussels

Snowden told us things we should have already known

Snowden’s stories of a far-reaching NSA shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to anyone working with Big Data. We’re entering a new age and the technology and techniques of the past won’t hold up. Just reading the headlines is all the evidence we need. German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cell phone was being monitored by […]

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Do we have a right to be forgotten?

The Web and Big Data are making the world a much smaller place. Uncomfortably small in some cases. As reported in the NY Times, many sites have sprung up across the Internet that post mugshots online in what could be best described as extortion…they’ll take them down for a fee. What truly makes it extortion […]

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Someday the magic will stop

The following is a guest post by Alistair Croll. I posted this on Facebook but it belongs here instead. There’s a meme running around that somehow the iPhone fingerprint scanner uploads your biometrics to Apple’s servers. The way these things work is that your fingerprint is turned into a series of numbers, usually through a one-way mathematical […]

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Thin walls and traffic cameras

The following is a guest post by Alistair Croll. A couple of years ago, I spoke with an European Union diplomat who shall remain nameless about the governing body’s attitude to privacy. “Do you know why the French hate traffic cameras?” he asked me. “It’s because it makes it hard for them to cheat on their […]

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Massive security hole

Is the Internet of Things a gaping security chasm?

Kashmir Hill’s piece in Forbes, The Terrifying Search Engine That Finds Internet-Connected Cameras, Traffic Lights, Medical Devices, Baby Monitors and Power Plants, reports on a search engine, Shodan, built for the purpose of crawling for devices on the Internet, many of which are programmed to answer and are sometimes easy to hack. Among the devices […]

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Do you spy on your child? Maybe you should…

Technology makes it easier than ever to spy on citizens, as we saw with the NSA’s Prism and other (…domestic) surveillance programs. By extension, technology also makes it easier to spy on just about anyone we have some control over, including employees and our loved ones, especially our children. Last week, we received an ad […]

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Securing school data

Are you securing my kids’ data?

The following is a guest post by Catheryne Nicholson.  If you’re an educator or a developer building and using cool technology to help teachers, children and parents, I’d like to give you a Momma Bear’s piece of advice: if you collect or store information about my kids, secure it. The minute you start gathering data about […]

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Amber Alert

When software ate police work

If you live in California and had your phone turned on one evening  last week, you were probably startled to get a text from the statewide system that alerts residents to emergencies. Boulevard, CA AMBER Alert UPDATE: LIC/6WCU986 (CA) Blue Nissan Versa 4 door While it was startling for many, what it showed us was […]

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Huntington Beach

A guy just can’t commit a crime nowadays

It’s getting harder and harder to get away with things, even in the biggest crowds…and especially in the biggest crowds. The London riots last year were captured in incredible detail by not just London’s ubiquitous street cameras, but by thousands of people in the streets, both good and bad, on smartphones. You’d think that people […]

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Crystal Ball

Going one step further on Big Data and civil rights.

The following is a guest post by Alistair Croll. Recently, I wrote a post about big data and civil rights, which seems to have hit a nerve. It was posted on Solve for Interesting and on Radar, and then folks like Boing Boing picked it up. I haven’t had this kind of response to a post before (well, I’ve had […]

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Snowden awakens the world to reign of Big Data

Thank you, Edward Snowden, for making my job easier. I’m withholding judgement on whether you made the world a safer or better place, but you’ve certainly awakened it to the concept of Big Data. I’ve spent the better part of the past few years involved in Big Data projects and writing about its power and […]

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Big Data and analytics as both hero and villain

As the NSA PRISM debacle continues to unfold and spreads across continents it’s probably good to stop and think about the technology and philosophy behind it all. Because this is big data and analytics in its most potent and controversial form and it’s certainly not the last time we’ll see this hit the headlines. The […]

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We’re headed for a surveillance society and that’s OK

The brouhaha over NSA’s PRISM project that involved spying on Verizon customers and asking Silicon Valley giants for access to their customer records is a bit of false indignation, if you ask me (what, you didn’t ask me?). First, there have been warnings for years about our loss of privacy. Secondly, and may more importantly, […]

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NSA monitors phone calls

Are we stupid? Of course the NSA crunchs our call data.

Most people working in technology are in some way part of the vast conversation taking place around Big Data. That has to be hundreds of thousands if not millions of individuals. “Powerful insights” is the commonly heard phrase. It should also be completely clear to the public by now that data in large enough sets, […]

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No where to hide

Yahoo is the latest to show us there’s no place to hide

Is there nowhere left to hide, even for the rich? Andorra announced that they’ll begin phasing in taxes to comply with European regulators looking to prevent tax cheats from hiding their money in this tiny mountain-locked country in the Pyrenees between France and Spain. Secrecy is a common reason to open bank accounts in places […]

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