Posts filed under ‘Privacy and Big Data’
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…)
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…)
By Mary Ludloff
Although this year has been extremely busy for us, Terence and I always find time for this event: The Privacy Identity Innovation Conference. Natalie Fonseca, the Co-Founder and Executive Producer of it, is the driving force behind its ongoing success. This year’s program focuses on:
“… the latest developments in areas like mobile, biometrics, the Internet of Things and big data. Learn about emerging trends and business models driving the personal information economy, and get guidance on developing strategies and best practices to build trust with your users.” (more…)
New Year (2014) Rumination: Death of privacy as we know it? Or inflection point signaling better things to come?
I am, and always have been, a glass half-full kind of gal. In fact, way back in September 2011 when Terence and I published our book on Privacy and Big Data, I was far more optimistic than he was on the future of privacy—of course, it’s easy to sound optimistic when your co-author states that privacy is dead. (And yes, we are still working on our book update but we do have day jobs and a significant release in the works so it is slow going but going it is.)
At that time, those in the “digital privacy know” characterized our book as a decent overview. Our intent at the time was to help those NOT in the “digital privacy know” get their arms around the privacy issues from a legislative, corporate, and government perspective. To our surprise, those not in the know included lots of folks in the high tech community! We did a number of interviews and dealt with informed and somewhat uninformed media folk—those in the mainstream focused on social media and those on the fringes (left and right) wanted to do deep dives into legal issues, government uses of data, and fourth amendment rights. Some seemed to think that we were members of the tin foil hat brigade, others that we were naïve, and still others that we were on point. (more…)
There are times when Terence and I look at each other and say, “What on earth were we thinking?” And this is one of those times! PatternBuilders is crazy busy right now putting out release 3.0 of our Analytics Platform (the secret sauce for our analytics applications that we like to call data-science-in-a-box), ramping up on a funding round, working with partners on a University of Sydney research project on the impact of social media on a company’s stock price (a really fun project and a post about it is in the works), and, of course, supporting customers and prospects on their big data initiatives. So… since we did not have enough to do (sarcasm on), we decided it was time to update our book, participate in a pre-Strata East webcast, speak at the Strata Conference and the MongoDB User Group (that is collocated with Strata) in New York City! In the words of the immortal Bette Davis in All About Eve (and ever so slightly revised):
“Fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy night ride!”
Really, what were we thinking????? (more…)