The EFF is calling for comments on proposed new federal regulations for black-box data recorders in all new cars and trucks. It’s a good read, and something to keep in mind if you are planning to buy a new car.
The NHTSA states that it is agency policy “to treat EDR data as the property of the vehicle owner.” That’s not enough. There needs to be a clear statement, both in the regulation itself, and in the owners manual, that any data recorded by the EDR are the sole property of the vehicle owner, and that the owner may expect that the EDR data remain private except if he or she consents to . . . → Read More: New Rules for Black Boxes in Cars
The BBC has an article posted today about a research paper that offers some provocative conclusions. The premise is that a Harvard professor did a study which purports to show that Google searches on people’s names return results with a racial bias, based on stereotyped racial associations of the names themselves:
She found that names like Leroy, Kareem and Keisha would yield advertisements that read “Arrested?”, with a link to a website which could perform criminal record checks.
Searches for names such as Brad, Luke and Katie would not – instead more likely to offer websites that can provide general contact details.
“There is discrimination in the delivery of these ads,” concluded Prof Sweeney, adding that there was a less than 1% chance that the findings could be based on chance.
The article also contains this response attributed to Google:
“It is up to individual advertisers to decide which keywords they want to choose to trigger their ads,” the search giant said.
It seems the real issue here is that the prof doesn’t understand how A/B testing for AdSense advertising works.* Continue reading Harvard Professor Doesn’t Understand AdSense
So I hear Michigan has a new law that says employers are not allowed to ask employees for their facebook passwords. Maybe I’m just out of the loop, but I can’t think of a legitimate context in which an employer could claim it was appropriate to ask an employee, or a potential employee, to give up their password to any email or personal social network account. *
Although employees have more protections, the new law doesn’t prevent employers from gaining access to any electronic devices they provide such as an iPad, laptop or cellphone. Which is why employers should have a clear policy so employees know what to expect when they use company-owned technology.
Employers can still restrict and prohibit access to certain websites on electronic devices if they pay for them in whole or part.
I mean, come on guys. That’s pretty entry-level stuff. Employees don’t have an expectation of privacy covering activity on work computers. And if you don’t have a policy prohibiting pr0n at work or on company devices, maybe that’s something you should think about. And if you have managers who claim the need to snoop through your employees’ social media use to decide whether or not they . . . → Read More: WHAT IS YOUR PASSWORD
It’s so secret, they won’t even tell the Supreme Court whether or not it actually happened. Or if it’s still going on (it obviously still is).
If the only way to gain redress for your injury is in court, but the DOJ says that your injury is so secret that it’s illegal for you (or them!) to tell the court about it… well, sounds like you’re out . . . → Read More: Super-Double-Secret
I’ve seen this story reported in a couple of places and it still doesn’t make any sense. Unless you assume that she’s so desperate to have the movie taken off Youtube that she is willing to engage in frivolous lawsuits and attempt fraudulent copyright registration in order to accomplish that end.
Good luck with that, honey. Maybe nobody has told you this yet, but that’s not how the internet works.
I’m looking forward to . . . → Read More: Actress In Mohammed Riot Trailer Grasping At Straws
The ACLU has filed a Freedom of Information Act complaint against several US Federal Government agencies, requesting more information about how those agencies collect and use data from automated license-plate tracking camera systems.
“When agencies retain data about people not suspected of wrongdoing and pool data from discrete ALPR systems into state, regional, and national databases, ALPRs raise the prospect of pervasive and prolonged surveillance of innocent Americans’ movements and start to pose a serious threat to Americans’ privacy,” the complaint states.
Despite this risk, there is allegedly very little information about the system and use of the technology remains highly unregulated nationwide, the . . . → Read More: ACLU Demands License-Plate Tracking Records From FBI, DEA
On MLive, Dave Alexander is proud of his new electric meter and poo-poohs privacy and security concerns about smart grid components:
My neighbors and I will be the first in Muskegon County to be subjected to the radio waves emitted once a day by the meter as it “talks” back to Consumers Energy’s smart meter control in Jackson through the Verizon Wireless cellular network. The critics say that I have opened my house up to “Big Brother” on the other end of the electrical line.
I think Dave misunderstands the privacy and security criticisms of smart grids. It’s not so much that people are worried that Consumers Energy will know when you are running your hair dryer, it’s that unless they systems are designed with customer safeguards in place, attackers will inevitably find a way to compromise the system and cause problems for everyone in a way that simply isn’t possible with equipment that isn’t networked.
SCADA software systems and smart grid controls are increasingly targets of industrial espionage, both here and abroad. And for the motivated cracker, it will always be possible to find a flaw and compromise a piece of software. In this sense, the old meters with the . . . → Read More: SmartMeters: What could possibly go wrong?
a war over who will control our computers. It’s a long read but essential for anyone thinking about technology and its applications over the next hundred years.
Back in 2006, a 314-car Robotic Parking model RPS1000 garage in Hoboken, New Jersey, took all the cars in its guts hostage, locking down the software until the garage’s owners paid a licensing bill that they disputed.
They had to pay it, even as they maintained that they didn’t owe anything. What the hell else were they going to do?
And what will
do when your dispute with a vendor means that you go blind, or deaf, or lose the ability to . . . → Read More: Cory Doctorow forecasts a civil war
At O’Reilly publishing, Alistair Croll makes the argument that it’s a fight we can’t avoid any longer:
In the old, data-is-scarce model, companies had to decide what to collect first, and then collect it. A traditional enterprise data warehouse might have tracked sales of widgets by color, region, and size. This act of deciding what to store and how to store it is called designing the schema, and in many ways, it’s the moment where someone decides what the data is about. [...]
With the new, data-is-abundant model, we collect first and ask questions later. The schema comes after the collection. Indeed, big data success stories like Splunk, Palantir, and others are prized because of their ability to make sense of content well after it’s been collected — sometimes called a schema-less query. This means we collect information long before we decide what it’s for.
And this is a dangerous thing.
Go read the whole thing. Because in light of stories like this one, about Minnesota police collecting and storing data indiscriminately for all vehicles they pass on public roads, and this one about Tiburon, California which records the plates of every single car entering and leaving the city, makes you wonder . . . → Read More: Is the Right to be Deleted the coming civil rights battle of our times?
I get a lot of calls and emails from potential clients that begin like this:
Potential Client: I got this letter from Comcast. It says I have until next week to file a motion to quash the subpoena. How much do you charge for that?
Steve: … Well, that’s one option, but…
Potential Client: No really, I want to keep my name private.
Continue reading Why I Generally Don’t Recommend Filing MTQs in Bittorrent Cases