privacy

9 posts
Secret army bases seen in public fitness tracking map

Last year, fitness tracking app Strava released a high detail map of public activity data. Looking more closely, security student Nathan Ruser noticed activity in various parts of the globe that revealed secret US army bases. Alex Hern for The Guardian reports: Zooming in on one of the larger bases clearly reveals its internal layout, as mapped out by the tracked jogging routes of numerous soldiers. The base itself is...

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800 pages of Tinder data

Judith Duportail, writing for the Guardian, requested her personal data from dating service Tinder. She got back 800 pages of all the information she voluntarily gave away. As I flicked through page after page of my data I felt guilty. I was amazed by how much information I was voluntarily disclosing: from locations, interests and jobs, to pictures, music tastes and what I liked to eat. But I quickly realised...

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Uber got hacked and then paid the hackers $100k to not tell anyone

This is fine. Totally normal. Eric Newcomer reporting for Bloomberg: Hackers stole the personal data of 57 million customers and drivers from Uber Technologies Inc., a massive breach that the company concealed for more than a year. This week, the ride-hailing firm ousted its chief security officer and one of his deputies for their roles in keeping the hack under wraps, which included a $100,000 payment to the attackers. Ugh....

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Google collected Android users’ location without permission

Keith Collins reporting for Quartz: Since the beginning of 2017, Android phones have been collecting the addresses of nearby cellular towers—even when location services are disabled—and sending that data back to Google. The result is that Google, the unit of Alphabet behind Android, has access to data about individuals’ locations and their movements that go far beyond a reasonable consumer expectation of privacy. What. Google says they didn’t store or...

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Roomba selling maps of home interiors

Newer Roomba vacuums form a map of your house to more efficiently clean areas. The company plans to sell the data, per Rhett Jones for Gizmodo: The Roomba is generally regarded as a cute little robot friend that no one but dogs would consider to be a potential menace. But for the last couple of years, the robovacs have been quietly mapping homes to maximize efficiency. Now, the device’s makers...

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Infinite Twitter ad campaign, based on data profiles

As you probably know, Twitter (and all social media) collects data about you and infers your likes, dislikes, wants, dreams, hopes, etc. Sam Lavigne set up a scraper to find out all the user segments, ranging from “buyers of cheese” to “households with people who have recently moved into a new home.” It can get pretty detailed. Lavigne then used this data to automatically generate an infinite ad campaign, on...

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Love in the age of data, without data

We live in a time when personal data leaves digital traces of what we do, what we like, and who we care about. Quinn Norton makes a concerted effort to not leave behind such traces using layers of security and encryption, which ironically makes for an old-fashioned love story. My love affair has taught me that the age of data makes time solid in a way that it didn’t used...

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Data Selfie: Chrome extension logs what Facebook learns about you

Facebook logs data about you and how you use their application. I know this. You know this. From there, Facebook makes inferences and serves you ads that might be relevant. Data Selfie is a Chrome extension that attempts to log similar data about you so that you can see what Facebook sees. The data stays local on your computer, and you can export it or delete it. You also get...

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Deep fried data

Maciej Ceglowski, the creator of bookmarking site Pinboard, spoke at the Library of Congress a couple of weeks ago about deep-fried data. In our case, the deep-fryer is a toolbox of statistical techniques. The names keep changing—it used to be unsupervised learning, now it’s called big data or deep learning or AI. Next year it will be called something else. But the core ideas don’t change. You train a computer...

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Breaking the algorithmic black box

The general public kind of knows about data privacy issues. But not really. Or they know, and they’re willing to trade for the ability to share things easily on social media. I liken it to people who eat hot dogs but avoid animal parts that aren’t in the shape of a steak. As long as it’s packaged right and you can’t see the bits, it must be okay. It’s similar...

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