Friday, November 18, 2005

Robots Rising Up & Being Shoved Down

It's out. Daniel's book is on the bookshelves. It's a two thumbs up recommendation. Fun and educational (sorta).

Read Me: How to Survive a Robot Uprising

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Facebook Fancies

Ralph Gross (of the Data Privacy Lab) and Alessandro Acquisti are publishing a paper on social networking sites and the privacy concerns, such as identity theft and stalking, regarding the information and pictures people post to their profiles.

Now, if that's not that much of a concern to you, consider the following. According to recent reports, parents, employers and others (hmm... could this be another potential honeypot for government fingertips?) are using sites like Facebook to gather information on their children, potential employees, clients, etc...

Interestingly enough, people from the aforementioned groups are gaining access to profiles by creating accounts using their alumni email accounts. Wonderful.

But this begs the question, can you really trust information that is posted to such an account? I can understand marketers not caring (or at least caring less) about what is true vs. not, but employers?

Read More in this George Washington University article.


It must be one of those days. You know - one of those days where you're waiting in line for coffee, counting your change, and ask yourself, "Why is it that the value of US coins doesn't increase with size?" I'm sure others have thought about it, maybe written about it, but I'm still standing in line pondering this little mystery... Was it designed this way to thwart some kind of money laundering scheme? Or maybe it's just plain bureaucracy? Who knows... maybe it has something to do with the time period in which each coin was introduced? Damn you little mysteries of life!

And then, after hitting the Internet, all is set right.

Friday, November 04, 2005

MIT Tracking the WiFi's

Old and Busted: Track all of your Wi-Fi users in real time

New Hotness: Make that information public

Well, at least that's how MIT sees the world. They've decided to map where people are on the campus WiFi - and put that information online. It doesn't seem so problematic right? This is no different than the CMUSky project at Carnegie Mellon University which went online last year.

Except, MIT raises the bar. In what way you say? Well, if you want you can let them publish who you are. Hmm... not only do you have to worry about the tracking issues - now you have to worry about the inference problem (i.e. if enough people reveal where they are, then I can figure out where the non-named people are). Oh, this is going to be fun.

It's currently on display at the MIT Museum (MIT news story).

Some more info: ISPOTS @ MIT

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Taking DNA Privacy to the Next Level

Earlier this year I wrote about how genealogical information could be used for DNA re-identification purposes.

It seems that some of my prophesies, albeit in a twisted manner, are coming true. Several people (namely Bedirhan Cinar and Spike Gronim) have drawn my attention to a recent story in which Y chromosome databases, constructed from "anonymous" semen donors, are being used by the children of the donors to find their biological fathers.

Oh what an untangled web we unweave...

Micro Lobby?

Hmmm... it seems Microsoft is now lobbying for legislation to improve data privacy. It appears Microsoft is trying to complement their research and development in trustworthy computing. I'm not against legislation, but I hope that it this doesn't turn into a policy without enforcement ability situation:

Read the MS Q&A.

Thanks to Lorrie Cranor for pointing out this story.