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How to defend your privacy online - The Boston Globe
Even as Amazon and the tech giants Facebook and Google scoop up every available fleck of our personal data, they insist they really care about privacy.

And they mean it, up to a point. These companies know that simmering public outrage about the abuse of our personal data is bad for business. So they’ve loaded their products and services with privacy features, trusting that most of us won’t use them.

They’re probably right. But if you’re one of the few who value privacy enough to do something about it, here’s a far-from-complete list of smart moves you can make to protect your data:
tech  privacy  security  data 
13 days ago by Weaverbird
Hidden Figures: How Donald Trump Is Rigging the Census – Mother Jones
Efforts to sideline minority populations in 2020 will undermine democracy for decades to come.
2019-05  politics  corruption  government  racism  gerrymander  democracy  demographics  stats  data 
22 days ago by Weaverbird
The data brokers quietly buying and selling your personal information
You’ve probably never heard of many of the data firms registered under a new law, but they’ve heard a lot about you. A list, and tips for opting out.
tech  privacy  surveillance  data  security 
march 2019 by Weaverbird
The internet thinks I want dresses and I love it | ZDNet
When you go undercover on the internet, ad networks don’t know who you are, so you aren't targeted by ads. And the ads you do see totally miss the mark. It really reduces your online friction. Here’s how you can test your browser and do it, too.
tech  privacy  security  surveillance  data 
march 2019 by Weaverbird
Fighting the surveillance economy — A practical guide for individuals and companies
Listing all the ways our realities are being tracked by companies is a challenging task. Browsing history, decisions, clicks and taps were the start, then with the rapid adoption of smartphones, fitness trackers and IoT devices, it’s now the data on how often you hit the breaks in your car, what products you pick in the supermarket and what you say during intimate conversations in your bedroom. There is little going on in your life that at least one major corporation doesn’t know about. Data collection like this can be framed as inevitability, as progress, as a necessity that brings us free services or convenience and personalized experiences. And it can be framed as something Shoshana Zuboff in her new book calls “surveillance economy”.

Considering the possibilities of where all this might take us by 2025 is an alarming exercise.
tech  surveillance  data  privacy  security 
february 2019 by Weaverbird
Bill would end state sale of voters’ data - NewsTimes
A new bill introduced by state Reps. Fred Camillo, R-Greenwich and Brenda Kupchick, R-Fairfield, would limit the disclosure of voter registration data — which includes things birth date, home addresses, party affiliation and more — and prohibit the sale of that data for commercial use.

Connecticut is the only state in the country that allows for the sale of voter registration data for commercial purposes, a vestige of the state’s strong Freedom of Information Act long before electronic privacy became an issue.
connecticut  data  privacy  security 
january 2019 by Weaverbird
I Gave a Bounty Hunter $300. Then He Located Our Phone
T-Mobile, Sprint, and AT&T are selling access to their customers’ location data, and that data is ending up in the hands of bounty hunters and others not authorized to possess it, letting them track most phones in the country.
privacy  security  data  surveillance 
january 2019 by Weaverbird
Why you should use a VPN in 2019
Prices for paid VPNs vary widely depending on the plan you choose and the company you go with. They’re subscription-based services, so you’ll generally be paying a monthly fee, just like you do with Netflix. However, some VPN providers do sell annual installment plans that allow you to pay for a year’s worth of service up front–and usually save quite a bit over the standard monthly cost. In general, expect to pay anywhere from $3 to $10 a month for monthly service or between $30 and $80 a year if you go with an annual plan.

WHICH VPN SERVICE SHOULD YOU USE?
I’ll recommend three VPN providers to give you a good place to start looking–but I would suggest you don’t sign up for any of them without researching them yourself and even contacting the companies to clarify their data-retention policies.
tech  privacy  security  advice  data 
january 2019 by Weaverbird
'Surveillance capitalism has led us into a dystopia' - BBC Ideas
In this opinion piece, activist Aral Balkan says we're living in a world where data companies have become factory farms for human beings.
2018-12  privacy  surveillance  data  society  dystopia  bbc  video 
december 2018 by Weaverbird
The great British Brexit robbery: how our democracy was hijacked | Technology | The Guardian
A shadowy global operation involving big data, billionaire friends of Trump and the disparate forces of the Leave campaign influenced the result of the EU referendum. As Britain heads to the polls again, is our electoral process still fit for purpose?
2018-12  #Brexit  money  power  data  democracy  politics 
december 2018 by Weaverbird
Tech's most egregious violations of user privacy - Axios
Technologies that have become ubiquitous in the daily lives of most Americans — from ride-sharing and dating apps to social media — are using sketchy practices and violating user privacy information, while most of us are unaware.

Why it matters: With tech becoming more and more sophisticated, users don't pay as close attention as they probably should to what they're signing on for and if their information is being inappropriately used.
2018-08  tech  privacy  data  security 
september 2018 by Weaverbird
How FREE VPNs Sell Your Data | TheBestVPN.com
At TheBestVPN, we generally advise against the use of free VPNs.

The reason is simple – many of them simply sell your data to 3rd party advertisers.

And this defeats the whole purpose of having a VPN in the first place.

But there’s more:
VPN  tech  privacy  security  advice  data 
august 2018 by Weaverbird
Hackers break into voting machines within 2 hours at Defcon - CBS News
Synack, a San Francisco security platform, discovered serious flaws with the WinVote machine months ahead of this weekend's convention. The team simply plugged in a mouse and keyboard and bypassed the voting software by clicking "control-alt-delete."

"It's really just a matter of plugging your USB drive in for five seconds and the thing's completely compromised at that point," Synack co-founder Jay Kaplan told CNET. "To the point where you can get remote access. It's very simple."

The Synack team also cracked the machine from a mobile application by installing a remote desktop program to it. In one case study, Synack found a Virginia poll worker hacked the machine to play Minesweeper.
2018-07  voting-rights  data  security  election 
july 2018 by Weaverbird
Cory Doctorow: Zuck’s Empire of Oily Rags – Locus Online
But while the acknowledgment of the problem of Big Tech is most welcome, I am worried that the diagnosis is wrong.

The problem is that we’re confusing automated persuasion with automated targeting. Laughable lies about Brexit, Mexican rapists, and creeping Sharia law didn’t convince otherwise sensible people that up was down and the sky was green.

Rather, the sophisticated targeting systems available through Facebook, Google, Twitter, and other Big Tech ad platforms made it easy to find the racist, xenophobic, fearful, angry people who wanted to believe that foreigners were destroying their country while being bankrolled by George Soros.
socialmedia  data  corruption  privacy  security  surveillance  politics  society  facebook 
july 2018 by Weaverbird
The Wayback Machine’s archives could be deleted with the click of a button | The Outline
It’s difficult to reckon with the (occasionally understandably) spotty nature of the Wayback Machine when it is one of the few remaining guardians of digital history. Other archival services exist, sure, but not on this scale, and the current fake news crisis raises the record keeping stakes even higher. High-profile removals like these are a sobering reminder of just how fragile the internet’s collective memory really is. If someone wants to wipe their digital history from the records, they can. And there’s really nothing we can do to get it back.
internet  data  security  history 
june 2018 by Weaverbird
Jeff Bezos Announces Customers Can Delete All Of Alexa’s Stored Audio By Rappelling Into Amazon HQ, Navigating Laser Field, Uploading Nanovirus To Servers
“We take privacy concerns seriously, and I want our valued customers to know they can erase all the information their Amazon Echo has gathered just by being dropped from a helicopter over one of our towers, using a diamond-tipped glass cutter to carve out a hole in a 32nd-story window, and then employing advanced cyberwarfare techniques to compromise our data centers,” said Bezos,
satire  humor  privacy  security  data 
june 2018 by Weaverbird
It's not just Facebook. Thousands of companies are spying on you (opinion) - CNN
Harvard Business School professor Shoshana Zuboff calls it "surveillance capitalism." And as creepy as Facebook is turning out to be, the entire industry is far creepier. It has existed in secret far too long, and it's up to lawmakers to force these companies into the public spotlight, where we can all decide if this is how we want society to operate and -- if not -- what to do about it.
privacy  security  surveillance  data 
may 2018 by Weaverbird
Three Types of Passphrases
A short guide on how to generate the best passphrases for your digital life.
security  privacy  data  tech  tutorial 
january 2018 by Weaverbird
Trump Justice Department Pushes for Citizenship Question… — ProPublica
“This is a recipe for sabotaging the census,” said one. The administration’s stated reason for the controversial move: protecting civil rights.
2017-12  data  government  police_state 
january 2018 by Weaverbird
Brave and DuckDuckGo Partner to Improve Privacy on the Web | Join Brave and change the web together
Brave and DuckDuckGo are thrilled to announce a partnership today to radically improve Internet privacy. Standard browsing and search compromise user data.  To combat this, we’ve integrated DuckDuckGo search within the Brave browser’s private tabs, providing users with a simple way to ensure privacy.
The feature is available today via the new Brave browser desktop release 0.19.116, and will be integrated in Brave Android and iOS apps in the first quarter of 2018.
privacy  security  surveillance  data  tech 
december 2017 by Weaverbird
No boundaries: Exfiltration of personal data by session-replay scripts
You may know that most websites have third-party analytics scripts that record which pages you visit and the searches you make.  But lately, more and more sites use “session replay” scripts. These scripts record your keystrokes, mouse movements, and scrolling behavior, along with the entire contents of the pages you visit, and send them to third-party servers. Unlike typical analytics services that provide aggregate statistics, these scripts are intended for the recording and playback of individual browsing sessions, as if someone is looking over your shoulder.
privacy  security  tech  surveillance  data 
november 2017 by Weaverbird
Who Decides What Websites You Visit?
Recently there’s been a lot of justified outrage over “fake news” and the fact that many people are living in an echo chamber online.

Companies like Google use your profile to filter the results they show you, based on what they think you are most likely to click on. This is commonly known as the “Filter Bubble.”

It’s a form of corporate censorship that can be used to influence public opinion (even unintentionally), such as election outcomes and other political issues.
tech  data  privacy  news  search 
october 2017 by Weaverbird
Leaky-by-design location services show outsourced security won't ever work • The Register
It gets worse. As reported in El Reg, little bit of code published to Github a fortnight ago showed how any app granted access to the photos on your smartphone (hint: that’s quite a few of them) can simply walk through your database of images and generate an accurate map of your movements. In many cases this record of movements can go back years.

Every geek I’ve told about this had the same reaction: a facepalm. Of course our photos keep a record of our movements. Of course any app that has access to our photos can produce a map of our movements. Two unrelated features collide, generating a kind of retrospective self-surveillance of which the NSA would be proud.
2017-10  data  security  surveillance  tech 
october 2017 by Weaverbird
How Israel Caught Russian Hackers Scouring the World for U.S. Secrets - The New York Times
It was a case of spies watching spies watching spies: Israeli intelligence officers looked on in real time as Russian government hackers searched computers around the world for the code names of American intelligence programs.

What gave the Russian hacking, detected more than two years ago, such global reach was its improvised search tool — antivirus software made by a Russian company, Kaspersky Lab, that is used by 400 million people worldwide, including by officials at some two dozen American government agencies.

The Israeli officials who had hacked into Kaspersky’s own network alerted the United States to the broad Russian intrusion, which has not been previously reported, leading to a decision just last month to order Kaspersky software removed from government computers.
2017-10  data  tech  privacy  security  surveillance  russian 
october 2017 by Weaverbird
British courts may unlock secrets of how Trump campaign profiled US voters | Technology | The Guardian
A US professor is trying to reclaim his personal data from the controversial analytics firm that helped Donald Trump to power. In what legal experts say may be a “watershed” case, a US citizen is using British laws to try to discover how he was profiled and potentially targeted by the Trump campaign.
2017-10  data  privacy  tech  law  money  power  politics  campaign2016 
october 2017 by Weaverbird
Voices of the ancients – Bad Science
Every now and then you have to salute a genius. Both the Daily Mail and the Metro report new research analysing the positions of Britain’s ancient sites, and the results are startling: primitive man had his own form of “sat nav”. Researcher Tom Brooks analysed 1,500 prehistoric monuments, and found them all to be on a grid of isosceles triangles, each pointing to the next site, allowing our ancestors to travel between settlements with pinpoint accuracy. The papers even carried an example of his map work, which I have reproduced here.
science  humor  satire  anti-science  data 
october 2017 by Weaverbird
How to See What the Internet Knows About You (And How to Stop It) - The New York Times
The relentlessly unyielding (but highly profitable) personalization of the products and services we use is getting deeper and creepier than ever. This type of data is incredibly valuable, we’re producing a ton of it every day, and it’s all being used to turn us into products. As one Facebook developer famously said: “The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads.”

Let’s go down this rabbit hole. Start with this neat and medium-scary site, which our friends at Gizmodo flagged, that shows you everything your browser knows about you the second you open it. Here’s another one.
privacy  security  internet  data 
july 2017 by Weaverbird
Persuasive proof that America is full of racist and selfish people - Vox
“Google is a digital truth serum,” Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, author of Everybody Lies, told me in a recent interview. “People tell Google things that they don't tell to possibly anybody else, things they might not tell to family members, friends, anonymous surveys, or doctors.”

Stephens-Davidowitz was working on a PhD in economics at Harvard when he became obsessed with Google Trends, a tool that tracks how frequently searches are made in a given area over a given time period.

He spent five years combing through this data. The idea was that you could get far better real-time information about what people are thinking by looking at Google Trends data than you could through polls or some other survey device.

It turns out he was right.
google  research  data 
june 2017 by Weaverbird
Your Data Is Way More Exposed Than You Realize - WSJ
To get a handle on your online privacy, first understand how much of your data is already out there, and how it can be weaponized
privacy  security  internet  data 
june 2017 by Weaverbird
Google Following Your Offline Credit Card Spending To Tell Advertisers If Their Ads Work – Consumerist
That said, “anonymity” is pretty much anything but.If anyone’s looking at your digital breadcrumbs, they can be reasonably sure you are you from shockingly little data. Studies have shown that it it only takes three pieces of data to identify you by credit card spending alone, or two to identify you from a social media app.

On top of that, the larger picture of big data is, frankly, kind of overwhelming. FTC research has found that has found that cross-device tracking is everywhere and poorly disclosed. And finely granular ad targeting can have real harms, from small scale price discrimination to unintentional racial discrimination or even completely illegal racial discrimination that perpetuates housing segregation.

You have a little more control over how Google uses your data (for now) than over Facebook does, at least. You can visit Google’s advertising and privacy settings to opt out of having some of your activity logged, and to opt out of being shown some ads. But your history of ad viewing is still going to be out there, tied to your credit card spending, without a whole lot you can actually do about it.
advertising  google  privacy  surveillance  data 
may 2017 by Weaverbird
Chicago just posted all the climate data deleted by Trump’s EPA. | Grist
“Here in Chicago, we know climate change is real, and we will continue to take action to fight it,” reads a statement city officials added to what is essentially a direct facsimile of what was once on the EPA’s site.

An archived “Jan. 19 snapshot”  of the climate science page is still linked on the EPA site, but there’s one tiny problem: As Climate Central reported, the archive is missing information.

“The Trump administration can attempt to erase decades of work from scientists and federal employees on the reality of climate change,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a press release, “but burying your head in the sand doesn’t erase the problem.”
2017-05  climate_change  data 
may 2017 by Weaverbird
Climate Change | US EPA
archived EPA climate pages (that were removed from official site by Trump Administration this week)
2017-04  climate_change  government  science  data 
april 2017 by Weaverbird
Uber’s C.E.O. Plays With Fire - The New York Times
For months, Mr. Kalanick had pulled a fast one on Apple by directing his employees to help camouflage the ride-hailing app from Apple’s engineers. The reason? So Apple would not find out that Uber had secretly been tracking iPhones even after its app had been deleted from the devices, violating Apple’s privacy guidelines.

But Apple was on to the deception, and when Mr. Kalanick arrived at the midafternoon meeting sporting his favorite pair of bright red sneakers and hot-pink socks, Mr. Cook was prepared. “So, I’ve heard you’ve been breaking some of our rules,” Mr. Cook said in his calm, Southern tone. Stop the trickery, Mr. Cook then demanded, or Uber’s app would be kicked out of Apple’s App Store.
2017-04  privacy  wtf  surveillance  data  security  uber 
april 2017 by Weaverbird
Microsoft finally reveals what data Windows 10 collects from your PC | PCWorld
The Windows 10 Creators Update is making it easier to understand what information the operating system wants.
microsoft  windows-10  data  privacy  security 
april 2017 by Weaverbird
If Congress Kills FCC Privacy Rules, 'Little' Would Protect Consumers From Providers : NPR
What Congress is trying to do is roll back the rules that keep your internet provider - so this is, you know, Comcast, Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile - keep them from doing this sort of basically snooping on your browsing history. And the major difference here is that your internet provider sees everything.

Your internet provider sees when you go to Facebook, sees when you go to Google, sees when you buy something, sees when you order a latte. So it's really scary that all of this information could be collected and really abused in one place.
2017-03  audio  npr  internet  privacy  data  congress  law 
march 2017 by Weaverbird
How Uber Used Secret Greyball Tool to Deceive Authorities Worldwide - The New York Times
Uber has for years engaged in a worldwide program to deceive the authorities in markets where its low-cost ride-hailing service was being resisted by law enforcement or, in some instances, had been outright banned.

The program, involving a tool called Greyball, uses data collected from the Uber app and other techniques to identify and circumvent officials. Uber used these methods to evade the authorities in cities such as Boston, Paris and Las Vegas, and in countries like Australia, China, Italy and South Korea.

Greyball was part of a broader program called VTOS, short for “violation of terms of service,” which Uber created to root out people it thought were using or targeting its service improperly. The VTOS program, including the Greyball tool, began as early as 2014 and remains in use, predominantly outside the United States. Greyball was approved by Uber’s legal team.
2017-03  uber  shenanigans  law  data  tech 
march 2017 by Weaverbird
Privacy Badger | Electronic Frontier Foundation
Privacy Badger is a browser add-on that stops advertisers and other third-party trackers from secretly tracking where you go and what pages you look at on the web. If an advertiser seems to be tracking you across multiple websites without your permission, Privacy Badger automatically blocks that advertiser from loading any more content in your browser. To the advertiser, it's like you suddenly disappeared.
privacy  security  tech  data  internet  firefox 
march 2017 by Weaverbird
André Staltz - What happens when you block internet giants
I started with the basic premise that “I want to be in control of my data”. Sometimes that meant choosing when to interact with an internet giant and how much I feel like revealing to them. Most of times it meant not interacting with them at all. I don’t want to let them be in full control of how much they can know about me. I don’t want to be in autopilot mode.
privacy  security  tech  data  internet 
march 2017 by Weaverbird
Crowd Scientists Say Women’s March in Washington Had 3 Times More People Than Trump’s Inauguration - The New York Times
The women’s march in Washington was roughly three times the size of the audience at President Trump’s inauguration, crowd counting experts said Saturday.

Marcel Altenburg and Keith Still, crowd scientists at Manchester Metropolitan University in Britain, analyzed photographs and video taken of the National Mall and vicinity and estimated that there were about 160,000 people in those areas in the hour leading up to Mr. Trump’s speech Friday.
post-Jan-20  science  data 
january 2017 by Weaverbird
From Tape Drives to Memory Orbs, the Data Formats of Star Wars Suck (Spoilers) | Motherboard
Rogue One is a great addition to the Star Wars universe because it takes a glaringly stupid plot mechanism—the exhaust port vulnerability in the Death Star—and attributes it to an architect’s sabotage. One of the dumbest things about the Star Wars franchise then becomes something sad, poignant, and believable.

But Rogue One also raises new questions about its fictional world. Some really burning, important questions.

Like, what’s the deal with the disk formats of the Star Wars universe?
starwars  data  geekery  tech 
january 2017 by Weaverbird
Master List of Data Broker Opt-Out Links -
Opt Out List

StopDataMining.me is the central source for consumers to learn what kinds of information data brokers have about them and how to exercise their opt-out choices.

Now tracking 50 data broker companies.
data  privacy  security  surveillance  tech  resources  #0000 
december 2016 by Weaverbird
Follow Schofield's Three Laws of Computing and avoid disasters | ZDNet
These "Laws", developed over three decades, may highlight things you're doing wrong, or help you avoid the worst screw-ups. Violate them at your peril…
data  security  privacy 
june 2016 by Weaverbird
July 2015: Hottest July on record.
When will the GOP start taking this national and global threat seriously? They’re fiddling while the world burns.
science  data  climate_change  politics 
august 2015 by Weaverbird
How to access Pew Research Center survey data | Pew Research Center
There are two ways to locate and download this and any other Pew Research Center dataset. Each research area at the center has a “Datasets” or “Data and Resources” section with the available data listed in reverse chronological order by when the survey was fielded:
data  research  polling  science  resources 
april 2015 by Weaverbird
Inside the Koch data mine - Mike Allen and Kenneth P. Vogel - POLITICO
The Koch brothers and their allies are pumping tens of millions of dollars into a data company that’s developing detailed, state-of-the-art profiles of 250 million Americans, giving the brothers’ political operation all the earmarks of a national party.
koch  data  politics  money  power 
december 2014 by Weaverbird
What I've Learned from Two Years Collecting Data on Police Killings
Nowhere could I find out how many people died during interactions with police in the United States. Try as I might, I just couldn't wrap my head around that idea. How was it that, in the 21st century, this data wasn't being tracked, compiled, and made available to the public? How could journalists know if police were killing too many people in their town if they didn't have a way to compare to other cities? Hell, how could citizens or police? How could cops possibly know "best practices" for dealing with any fluid situation? They couldn't.
police_state  data 
december 2014 by Weaverbird
When data gets creepy: the secrets we don’t realise we’re giving away | Technology | The Guardian
An interesting side-effect of public data being indexed and searchable is that you only have to be sloppy once, for your privacy to be compromised. The computer program Creepy makes good fodder for panic. Put in someone’s username from Twitter, or Flickr, and Creepy will churn through every photo hosting service it knows, trying to find every picture they’ve ever posted. Cameras – especially phone cameras – often store the location where the picture was taken in the picture data. Creepy grabs all this geo-location data and puts pins on a map for you. Most of the time, you probably remember to get the privacy settings right. But if you get it wrong just once –
data  privacy  security  tech  surveillance 
december 2014 by Weaverbird
Facebook’s New Mandatory Messenger App Raises Concerns « The New Bull @ 100.3
Here is a short list of the most disturbing permissions it requires and a quick explanation of what it means to you and your privacy.
facebook  privacy  surveillance  data 
august 2014 by Weaverbird
Everything We Know About Facebook's Secret Mood Manipulation Experiment - Robinson Meyer - The Atlantic
The experiment is almost certainly legal. In the company’s current terms of service, Facebook users relinquish the their data “data analysis, testing, [and] research.” Is it ethical, though? Since news of the study first emerged, I’ve seen and heard both privacy advocates and casual users express surprise at the audacity of the experiment.
facebook  ethics  data  research  privacy 
june 2014 by Weaverbird
Distrust Your Data - Learning - Source: An OpenNews project
Specifically, a story about online pornography consumption in “red” vs. “blue” states that exploded onto social media a few weeks back. I first noticed it because of a story on Vox that reaggregated an Andrew Sullivan post which in turn reposted a chart made by Christopher Ingraham of the data provided by Pornhub for their study. That chain of links reflects how news spreads online these days, and yet none of those professional eyes caught some glaring flaws in the data.
journalism  data  media 
may 2014 by Weaverbird
The Brian Lehrer Show: A Running List of What We Know the NSA Can Do. So Far. - WNYC
The trove of documents leaked by Edward Snowden has revealed the elaborate tricks the NSA can use to monitor communications and data around the world. Here, a running list of things we now know the NSA can do, based on media reports and other publicly available documents -- so far. I
NSA  data  leaks  surveillance 
january 2014 by Weaverbird
BBC News - Facebook v academia: The gloves are off
In December we learned that Facebook was "dead to teens", according to anthropological researchers from University College London, whose conclusions seemed questionable. Now this week we've heard from academics at Princeton University that Facebook is like an infectious disease which will die out, losing 80% of its users by 2017.
facebook  research  science  data  bbc 
january 2014 by Weaverbird
Report Details NSA's Alleged High-Tech Tricks For Snaring Data : The Two-Way : NPR
Intercepted packages. Custom-made cables that steal data. Towers that mimic a commercial cellphone network. Those are a few of the tricks used by elite units of the National Security Agency to monitor potential threats, according to Germany's Der Spiegel. The magazine published those revelations Sunday and Monday, detailing what it calls a catalog of the NSA's high-tech spying products and methods.

The report centers on how the NSA's Tailored Access Operations division purportedly uses everything from networks' technical flaws to modified USB plugs to access targets' systems and data. The unit, known as TAO, is seen as an elite group whose focus is on producing high-quality and hard-to-gain intelligence, Der Spiegel reports, citing internal NSA documents.
NSA  surveillance  privacy  tech  shenanigans  data  npr 
january 2014 by Weaverbird
Amazon Does The Math, Anticipates Your Needs : NPR
Amazon has a patent for what it calls "anticipatory shipping" — shipping goods to a warehouse near you before you've bought them. Renee Montagne talks to Tim Stevens, editor-at-large for CNET, about Amazon developing a sales method to ultimately read your mind.
data  privacy  marketing  tech  npr  audio 
january 2014 by Weaverbird
Abortion polls 2014: Do most Americans think most abortions should be illegal?
This poll question, which NRLC has been using for 25 years, is a textbook set-up job. Here’s how it works. First, it overloads the pro-life side of the spectrum. Of the six possible abortion policies you’re offered, three are quite strict: completely illegal, illegal except to save the woman’s life, and illegal except in cases of rape or incest. So if you’re inclined to pick whatever option is in the middle, as many respondents are, there’s about a 50 percent chance you’re going to take option #3, the exceptions for rape and incest. Sure enough, half the sample picks option #3 or option #4, and option #3 gets most of these respondents. This pushes the overall pro-life number above 50 percent.

On the other side of the ledger, the current law in most states—legal abortion until about the sixth month of pregnancy—doesn’t get offered until option #5. So even if you pick the other middle option, #4 (as 20 percent of the sample did), you get counted against the 22 percent of respondents who, according to NRLC, “supported the effect of Roe v. Wade.” By stacking the options, the poll essentially pushes the middle to the right.

When you stack the options differently, you get a different answer.
abortion  polling  data 
january 2014 by Weaverbird
Putting The Brake On Who Can See Your Car's Data Trail : All Tech Considered : NPR
"When you think of the services we get like mapping and routing around traffic jams or a notification that we're going too fast, you start to think about [how] our car can tell where we are, when we're there, if we're exceeding the speed limit," he says. "Cars just have a lot of data. They really look at everything you're doing."
data  privacy  cars  tech  npr  audio 
january 2014 by Weaverbird
Post-9/11 Panel Criticizes NSA Phone Data Collection : The Two-Way : NPR
An independent panel created after the 9/11 attacks says bulk collection of billions of American phone records violates the letter and the spirit of the law.

The new report from the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board undercuts the foundation of the National Security Agency's long-running phone metadata program, and suggests it conflicts with plain language in the Patriot Act and other laws on the books.

NPR obtained a copy of the report, which will be discussed and voted on Thursday at an open board meeting.
NSA  law  surveillance  privacy  data  npr 
january 2014 by Weaverbird
You don’t want your privacy: Disney and the meat space data race — Tech News and Analysis
Disney World is like a petri dish for advanced analytic techniques because the hotels and parks are all tied together in one large, heavily controlled environment. If you ever wanted to star in The Truman Show, a trip to Disney is the next best thing — it feels like a centrally planned North Korea only with more fun, less torture and the same amount of artifice.
privacy  data  surveillance  marketing 
january 2014 by Weaverbird
How Netflix Reverse Engineered Hollywood - Alexis C. Madrigal - The Atlantic
If Netflix can show such tiny slices of cinema to any given user, and they have 40 million users, how vast did their set of "personalized genres" need to be to describe the entire Hollywood universe?

This idle wonder turned to rabid fascination when I realized that I could capture each and every microgenre that Netflix's algorithm has ever created.

Through a combination of elbow grease and spam-level repetition, we discovered that Netflix possesses not several hundred genres, or even several thousand, but 76,897 unique ways to describe types of movies.
movies  media  data  technology  research  film  geekery 
january 2014 by Weaverbird
Your Digital Trail, And How It Can Be Used Against You : All Tech Considered : NPR
While the collection of private information by the National Security Agency is under scrutiny worldwide, a remarkable amount of your digital trail is also available to local law enforcement officers, IRS investigators, the FBI and private attorneys. And in some cases, it can be used against you.
tech  privacy  security  data  NSA  audio  npr 
december 2013 by Weaverbird
With the New Gmail, People Will Know When You Open That Message | Wired Business | Wired.com
Beware: Google just made it easier for people to know if you’re opening their email messages.

Today, the web giant announced a change to its popular Gmail service: Images embedded in emails will now be automatically displayed, saving users from clicking on a “display images” link and, Google claims, making “your messages more safe and secure.” But buried in the fine print, a different picture emerges.

The new setup also means that people and companies who send you email will be able to find out when you’ve opened and read their messages, because loading these images requires a call back to the sender’s server.
google  email  surveillance  data  privacy  marketing 
december 2013 by Weaverbird
NSA tracking cellphone locations worldwide, Snowden documents show - The Washington Post
The National Security Agency is gathering nearly 5 billion records a day on the whereabouts of cellphones around the world, according to top-secret documents and interviews with U.S. intelligence officials, enabling the agency to track the movements of individuals — and map their relationships — in ways that would have been previously unimaginable.
NSA  privacy  surveillance  data 
december 2013 by Weaverbird
The Snowden Leaks and the Public by Alan Rusbridger | The New York Review of Books
The British state had decreed that there had been “enough” debate around the material leaked in late May by the former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. If The Guardian refused to hand back or destroy the documents, I, as editor of The Guardian, could expect either an injunction or a visit by the police—it was never quite spelled out which. The state, in any event, was threatening prior restraint of reporting and discussion by the press, no matter its public interest or importance. This was par for the course in eighteenth-century Britain, less so now.
NSA  journalism  data  censorship  government  uk 
november 2013 by Weaverbird
Report: NSA Has Broken Into Google And Yahoo Data Centers : The Two-Way : NPR
In just 30 days ended Jan. 9, the Post says, the documents indicate that "field collectors had processed and sent back 181,280,466 new records — ranging from 'metadata,' which would indicate who sent or received e-mails and when, to content such as text, audio and video."
NSA  surveillance  data  privacy  google  yahoo  npr 
november 2013 by Weaverbird
The NSA is infiltrating private networks - The Washington Post
The NSA, working with its British counterpart, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), secretly taps into the internal networks of Yahoo and Google, the two biggest Internet companies by overall data traffic. The operation intercepts information flowing between the enormous data centers that those companies maintain around the world.
NSA  surveillance  data  privacy  google  yahoo 
november 2013 by Weaverbird
NSA Reportedly Uses Data To Chart Americans' Social Ties : The Two-Way : NPR
"The agency can augment the communications data with material from public, commercial and other sources, including bank codes, insurance information, Facebook profiles, passenger manifests, voter registration rolls and GPS location information," the newspaper says, "as well as property records and unspecified tax data, according to the documents."
NSA  data  privacy  surveillance  npr 
september 2013 by Weaverbird
Double Standard | Open Mind
I think I finally understand the Aunt Judy/Willard Tony approach to science. When data says we have a problem, either it’s just “natural variability,” or the data are either faulty or fraudulent. But whenever data says we don’t have a problem — even if it’s just a single year’s data — voila! Scientific proof.
science  climate_change  data 
september 2013 by Weaverbird
FourFreedomsBlog - Hypocritical? No, it's Expected.
The National Rifle Association has rallied gun-owners — and raised tens of millions of dollars — campaigning against the threat of a national database of firearms or their owners.

But in fact, the sort of vast, secret database the NRA often warns of already exists, despite having been assembled largely without the knowledge or consent of gun owners. It is housed in the Virginia offices of the NRA itself. The country’s largest privately held database of current, former, and prospective gun owners is one of the powerful lobby’s secret weapons, expanding its influence well beyond its estimated 3 million members and bolstering its political supremacy.
NRA  gun-control  hypocrisy  data 
august 2013 by Weaverbird
Raiding the "Corporate Store": The NSA's Unfettered Access to a Vast Pool of Americans' Phone Data | American Civil Liberties Union
The director of National Intelligence declassified three documents on Wednesday related to the NSA's mass collection of Americans' telephone records. One of these — a so-called "primary order" issued by the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) — describes in new detail the rules that the NSA must follow when it collects and queries this trove of sensitive telephone data. What it reveals is not reassuring.
NSA  surveillance  law  phone  data  privacy 
august 2013 by Weaverbird
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