Posts filed under ‘Privacy and Big Data’

Privacy, Big Data, Civil Rights, and Personalization Versus Discrimination: When does someone else’s problem become ours?

By Mary Ludloff

There has been a great deal of media attention on the benefits of big data (just look at our @bigdatapbi twitter stream) lately. Certainly, PatternBuilders has been busy helping financial markets become more efficient, working with data scientists on various research projects, as well as helping other businesses with their big data initiatives. In fact, there are a number of companies (like ours) that are making significant strides in reducing the costs associated with legacy big data systems, helping to move big data out of the early adopter phase and into the mainstream. But as technology innovates, there is usually some “bad” thrown in with all that good. Such is the case with big data and privacy.

Two thought provoking articles on privacy were published this month—both considering privacy through a civil rights prism. In “Big data is our generation’s civil rights issue, and we don’t know it,” Alistair Croll states that:

“Personalization” is another word for discrimination. We’re not discriminating if we tailor things to you based on what we know about you — right? That’s just better service.”

(more…)

August 24, 2012 at 6:54 pm 1 comment

Privacy Identity Innovation (pii2012) Wrap Up—It’s All About Trust and Transparency

By Mary Ludloff

I have purposely given myself a week to reflect on pii2012 before blogging about it because there was a lot of information to absorb. As I look back on the conference, two themes come to mind: trust and transparency. Where to begin? Well, as Jim Adler (@Jim_Adler) tweeted:

“#pii2012 is the best collection of geeks, wonks, and suits.”

This was a conference chock full of interesting ideas, opposing views, and, at times, heated debate. One of the most interesting panels featured four people from very different backgrounds and points in their lives discussing the effect social media and the digital world has on how they conduct themselves online. There is a great post by Marina Ziegler (@Marina_Z) that covers it in depth, but like Marina, I felt that this was the key takeaway:

“The panel, while made up of experts, provided some very direct and honest understanding of how the average person is unaware, and how there is still work to be done in helping average folks understand how to navigate their social online lives, even down to the applications they use online.”

(more…)

May 26, 2012 at 5:21 pm 5 comments

Getting Into a Privacy Identity Innovation (pii2012) Frame of Mind: Will We See You There?

By Mary Ludloff

As you all know, privacy is one of my favorite topics. And when you’re talking or blogging about privacy, it almost always comes back to personally identifiable information (pii) which just happens to be the focus of the Privacy Identify Innovation Conference that will be held in downtown Seattle, May 14-16 (otherwise known as pii2012). Natalie Fonseca (@TechPolicy) is the co-founder and executive producer of the conference (now on its “third edition”), and she has assembled a group of speakers and sessions that make privacy-geeks (like myself) giddy with anticipation:

pii2012 Seattle will explore how to protect sensitive information while enabling new technologies and business models. The focus isn’t just on ensuring regulatory compliance. It’s about developing a forward-looking, strategic approach to avoiding risk while advancing innovation.”

(more…)

May 11, 2012 at 11:30 am 4 comments

On Privacy: The Supreme Court Finally Got It Right!

By Mary Ludloff

Today is a landmark day for those of us concerned about privacy as it applies to our government agencies. In United States v. Jones the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that police must have a search warrant before using GPS tracking devices to surveil criminal suspects. While all justices agreed that the tracking device placed on Jone’s jeep violated the Fourth Amendment’s unreasonable search and seizure protection, the justices were divided on how far the ruling should have gone. Justices Alito, Ginsburg, Breyer, and Kagan said that “the court should have gone further and dealt with GPS tracking of wireless devices, like mobile phones.”

While I agree that the ruling did not go far enough, it certainly is a sign that the court understands that technology capabilities aside, we (all citizens) do have a right to privacy within the vehicles we operate and that placing a GPS tracking device on a vehicle requires a search warrant. I must confess that I have been poring over the oral arguments and trying to figure out which way the court would rule, but felt that it was too close to call. So while the rest of the world was focused on SOPA and PIPA last week (my esteemed co-blogger included), I was anxiously awaiting the court’s ruling. And thankfully, as a card carrying member of the high tech community and American citizen, it was well worth the wait! (more…)

January 23, 2012 at 11:40 am Leave a comment

A quick thought on #BlackoutSopa day.

By Terence Craig

In our book Privacy & Big Data that was written pre-SOPA, Mary and I spent a fair amount of time looking at the ways that big media interests are pushing both technical and legislative solutions that were inimical to both privacy and free speech. On this day when the Internet is raising its collective voice against one of the most ill thought laws of the Internet age, I thought it would be a great time to quote from the conclusion of Chapter 4 – The Stakeholders.

“Powerful groups, like the MPAA and RIAA and their international counterparts, have borrowed from advertising’s playbook and extended it to every device we own. Today, it’s not just about tracking our online behavior; it’s about tracking what we do within the “four walls” of any device that we own and being able to remotely control them without our permission. These technologies and policies could end up delivering a mortal blow to privacy as well as cede to the government and IP holders unprecedented control over what media we are allowed to consume and share. However you look at this, it’s a pretty high price to pay to support an old business model that is unable to adapt to new technology.”

Tell your congressperson – SOPA/PIPA is bad for the Internet, bad for free speech and bad for due process and should be rejected! More info on the law here.

January 18, 2012 at 2:30 pm 4 comments

PII Venture Forum: Session Videos Available

By Terence Craig

Mary and I had the distinct pleasure of presenting at the PII Venture Forum on the players and business models forming around PII.  As usual for a PII event, we learned more than we taught and had a great time meeting the other speakers and participants.

One presentation tip learned from the day: following a panel that includes uber VCs Fred Wilson and Roger McNamee, our friend Jim Adler from Intellus, David Glazer from Google and All things Digital’s Kara Swisher is like being the house band that is asked to follow The Who when Daltry still had the best voice in rock roll!

But Mary and I managed to survive and were happy with the results. You can see the video of our presentation here.

The blog is shutting its door for the Thanksgiving Holiday here in the US but we will back next week.  We wish you and your families all the best, whether you are celebrating Thanksgiving or not!

November 22, 2011 at 10:33 am 1 comment

Three Things Everyone Should Know About Privacy (in honor of the Engaging Brand)

By Terence Craig

Last week I had the privilege of being interviewed by Anna Farmery for her podcast, “the Engaging Brand.” The topic was our book (Mary is the co-author) “Privacy and Big Data.” For those of you who may not know, the Engaging Brand is a multiple awarding winning, business-focused podcast with a large international audience.  The interview was filled with insightful questions and will be posted this early next week (please check it out as well as their other great content here). Anna is a prolific twitter commenter about all things social media and is well worth following (@engagingbrand).    Anna asked me to follow up with a post that talks about three things that everyone should know about privacy for her listeners, so here we go:

  1. What happens in Vegas should stay in Vegas is a well know phrase and the Internet corollary is: What happens on the Web STAYS on the Web (forever).  Even if you trust the company you are sharing your information with, do you trust the person that buys your data from them, or the company they merge with, the government agency that serves them with a warrant, or the 14 year old that hacks their server? So keep it simple: Don’t share data that you are not comfortable with being public.
  2. Don’t assume that local laws will protect your privacy – privacy laws differ markedly and which laws that apply to your data is a guessing game. Bottom line:  the intersection of local and international privacy laws almost never leads to more privacy.
  3. Remember the positive – while it’s true that our lives are becoming a much more open book, it is also true that the actions of large corporations and governments are becoming more transparent as well. I firmly believe that this increased transparency will help the 21st century avoid some of the horrors of the 20th by ensuring that we know what is being done in our name.

Thanks again to Anna for this opportunity to reach out to her audience.  Please send me any questions or comments about the book, or privacy in general to big-privacy@patternbuilders.com or @terencecraig.  Also, we arranged for a special discount on our book, “Privacy and Big Data,” for The Engaging Brand audience:

  • 50% off the electronic version
  • 40% off the printed version

Simply enter AUTHD as the discount code at the O’Reilly book page.

October 26, 2011 at 3:09 pm Leave a comment

Older Posts Newer Posts


Video: Big Data Made Easy

PatternBuilders Corporate

Special privacy section!

Previous Posts


%d bloggers like this: