There’s a sad, but true, statistic that every entrepreneur knows by heart: 9 out of 10 startups fail. Unfortunately, PatternBuilders is adding its number to this pile. We have been procrastinating writing this post because shutting down a company is hard. When you put your heart and soul into something, you need time to process, reflect, and eventually get to the point where you can move on.
But moving on does not mean that we are disappearing; after all, shutting down the company does not end our passion for big data, privacy, and all things tech-related (especially IoT). To that end, we will be maintaining this blog, as our main place to write and comment about those issues. We are also consulting around all areas involving big data and/or privacy (via our existing consulting organization, Ludloff-Craig Associates) and are working on some other things that we are keeping under wraps for now. But if you follow our blog, @terencecraig, or @mludloff, you will be the first to know. And if you have interesting opportunities, consulting projects, or for the right company – a full-time job – please get in touch.
There are a number of reasons why we are shutting our doors, but suffice to say, we made some decisions we knew might have an adverse effect on the company. And we stand by those decisions. (more…)
We’re back with the fourth post in our series on how to get value from your data, including how to ensure that new “data” and “analytics” products are designed for successful delivery to new and existing customers.
In the previous posts in this series, we discussed our methodology and what is required in terms of understanding your target customer—who they are and what they need—as well as making sure you have the right Team in place to work on the project. In this post, we are going to discuss how you build your Data Ecosystem:
- What is needed to ensure that data processes will support the new product(s)?
- How do you identify appropriate data partners and enhancements?
- What privacy- and security-related issues must you be aware of and address?
CISA Rears Its Ugly Head Once Again: Privacy Loses as U.S. Technology Companies Try to Quietly Jump on the CISA Bandwagon
Well, unfortunately today’s news validates the last sentence in my previous post regarding Congress and the current administration blindly following the NSA’s lead. CISA has been passed out of the House and with White House support, there is a real chance this badly conceived bill could become law. The disturbing fact is that this is largely due to support from almost every major U.S. technology company. Why would they support a piece of legislation so odious that even the DHS is against it? Surprisingly, the DHS calls the bill fundamentally flawed, deriding:
“…the bill’s failure to mandate a privacy scrub of personal data, explaining that DHS will be forced to ‘contribute to the compromise of personally identifiable information by spreading it further.’ Companies and the government should be securing our personal information, not sharing it unnecessarily.” (more…)
Congratulations to Mozilla on their new Firefox plugin Lightbeam.
Lightbeam allows consumers to see who is tracking their web browsing. It is a part of a much needed trend where internet technology companies are stepping up to the plate to protect their users’ privacy from unchecked government surveillance.
Thankfully, almost all of the big internet companies (like Google and Microsoft) have taken a proactive role in attempting to protect their users’ privacy from surveillance overreach. (more…)
Welcome back to the third post in our series on how to get value from your data.
As we stated in a previous post:
“Data, without the proper use of analytics, is meaningless. If data is the new oil, think of analytics as the oil drills—you need both to be successful.”
Of course, getting to “success” is not easy as anyone involved in an analytics project will tell you. This series walks you through our methodology on what it takes—from inception to proof of concept to implementation and deployment—to navigate project pitfalls. However, if you’ve assembled a great team, you will be able to drill for all that oil. In our experience, great teams tend to develop, manage, and sustain successful analytics projects: It all comes down to having the right people with the right skill set. (more…)
Trend #1: Digital Advertising Comes of Age and Continues to Propel the Growth of Data Brokers and Markets
Authors’ Note: As promised, this is trend number one in our take on the top ten privacy trends or the more things change, the more they stay the same. Although similar to David Lettermen’s Top Ten lists, our list is not as funny (unless we get points for sarcasm). We would like to remind you that sifting through the media coverage, books, blog posts, and research studies has been no easy task and trying to understand how all of it fits into the larger privacy landscape has been even harder. Added to that, our list is sure to elicit a litany of trends that we missed. We certainly hope that it does and welcome your input in our comments section! Now, on with the trend number one!
It is safe to say that continued media attention (mostly negative) has not had an impact on the rising use of third party tracking mechanisms to collect personal information. According to the Web Privacy Census, an undertaking sponsored by the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology, which measures and benchmarks Internet tracking over time:
- The number of cookies discovered on the top 100, 1,000, and 25,000 websites are all significantly increasing. For example, in May of 2012 5,795 cookies were found on the top 100 sites and in October of 2012 the number reached 6,485.
- The percentage of cookies set by a third party host was 84.7%. In other words, most of us are being tracked by a host of parties that we have no data collection agreement with.
- The top trackers were BlueKai (the largest online auction marketplace), Rubicon Project (one of the larger real-time bidding systems that sells ad space on web pages), and Adnxs (the advertising exchange for advertising exchanges).
We’ve been promising an update to our book, Privacy and Big Data, since the just pre- and mostly post-Snowden era. When we proposed and wrote the book it was to fill a void. At the time, there was a lack of mainstream attention to the issues of privacy by the media and a lack of understanding of the issues and implications we all face in the digital world. As tech veterans of long standing, we have seen our world transformed for better and for worse by our industry. Much of the “worst” we chronicled in our book and at the time its release, many relegated our book and ourselves to the “foil hat” and “black helicopter” brigade. Yes, that was a “we told you so” but we promise it’s the last one.
Then came the Snowden revelations which raised its own hailstorm of media attention, information, misinformation, and disinformation (primarily by our government officials, legislative leaders, and the President as well as the Prime Minister of the UK) on exactly how our data was being collected and what it was being used for. Cynics though we are, we wondered if digital privacy issues had finally reached a tipping point, that we would have a national conversation about civil liberties, how to fix FISA, what is the acceptable collection and use of our data by commercial and government entities, and moving forward, how our liberties and data could be protected from corporate and government spying. (more…)