Privacy

17 stories
hide and seek
4 Talking Points: Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith on privacy, technology, Edward Snowden
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It's been about 17 months since Edward Snowden leaked details about the National Security Agency's tracking practices, information that triggered a firestorm of investigations into the US government's access to private data and the way technology companies secured and shared consumer information. On Tuesday, Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith spoke at Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society, facing an audience that included some of the loudest critics of the NSA's activities in the US. Read More
Social Commentary
An interview with danah boyd, author of 'It's Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens' (and drag queens)
Photo via <a href="http://www.danah.org/itscomplicated/">danah.org</a>
If you've read danah boyd's new book, "It's Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens" you'll understand just how complicated online privacy, identity, and the use of real names on Facebook can be. Boyd is a Research Assistant Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication at NYU, a Fellow at the Harvard Berkman Center for Internet and Society, and also a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research. Boyd is in Boston this week to deliver a keynote address at the Marketing Profs B2B Conference in Copley Square. I caught up with her and asked her a few questions about her new book and other issues surrounding online privacy. Read More
Putting up walls
Facebook apologizes to drag queens, but politics of online identity and privacy persist
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Two weeks ago, Facebook began suspending the accounts of members of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a drag and community service organization. Members who'd been active on Facebook under their stage names were locked out until they registered with their legal names. For those members who wanted to keep their stage identities separate from the rest of their lives, at least online, Facebook's actions threatened to tear down a critical wall of privacy. After attempted discussions with Facebook, a whole lot of media (and social media) attention, and a Change.org campaign that's collected more than 36,300 signatures, on Wednesday Facebook's chief product officer Chris Cox apologized to the group. Read More
Forget your password
Can the fitness-tracking Apple Watch offer a healthy alternative to passwords?
Via Apple
Apple showed off its Apple Watch today and demonstrated how it's also a sophisticated fitness and health tracker that measures your heart rate, various activity levels, and syncs with your phone. Apple, the company that once held your photos and emails and contacts, can now collect a whole other kind of additional private data that's even closer to your skin—heart rate, movement patterns, sleeping patterns, and more. They also have a unique opportunity to use that very same information for security. But will they take it? Read More
What stays in vegas
When casinos gather data, the customer also wins
(Shutterstock)
Personal data about customers is increasingly valuable to businesses, and casinos are among the most voracious data gatherers of them all. But unlike others, the gambling industry goes the extra mile to reward patrons for sharing their personal information. That’s one surprising lesson from “What Stays in Vegas,” a new book about how businesses everywhere—and the gambling and entertainment industry in particular—collect and use data about their customers.  Read More
Party Photos
Boston Calling attendees were guinea pigs in IBM surveillance pilot
Via Dig Boston
A new three-part series (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 forthcoming) from Dig Boston is looking at how IBM lured the city into trialling a new model of a "smarter city": One that watched and listened to its citizens, seeking out suspicious activity while tracking faces and clothing, tying together tweets and hundreds of cameras in a system the current administration ultimately found no "practical value" in. Read More
Future Facing
Real Life Analytics will watch your face while you shop
realLife-founders
The trio behind Real Life Analytics is aiming for a Minority Report future. The MassChallenge finalists are building a system that will help retailers watch customers entering their stores and eventually serve them ads based on their age, race, and gender, sort of like the personalized treatment Tom Cruise’s character gets at the GAP. Read More
Servers Logged
NSA's Xkeyscore program targeted visitors to MIT server, Tor Project for enhanced scrutiny
Tor-Privacy-Womens-Shelter
A new report from noted security researchers — first published in conjunction with German news program Tagesschau — states that the NSA's Xkeyscore program, which determines who is flagged for enhanced tracking and monitoring, targeted every visitor to a particular MIT server, visitors seeking information on the privacy-focused Tor Project, which is based in Cambridge, and those who simply searched for information on the privacy-enhanced TAILS operating system. Read More
The abuse in your pocket
As domestic abuse goes digital, shelters turn to counter-surveillance with Tor
Tor Privacy Womens Shelter
Sarah's abuser gained access to every password she had. He monitored her bank accounts and used her phone to track her location and read her conversations. She endured four years of regular physical and emotional trauma enabled by meticulous digital surveillance and the existing support services, from shelters to police, were almost powerless to help her. Read More
Sales pitch
These are the slides Digital Recognition Network uses to sell police and repo companies on its license plate surveillance database
ALPR Boston
Last week, BetaBoston provided a glimpse into how a handful of private data brokers have compiled massive databases of vehicle location records. By mounting high-speed license plate readers on tow trucks and repo "spotter" cars in nationwide networks, these brokers claim to have compiled scans for a majority of vehicles registered in the United States. Read More
Protecting big data
Former White House tech official has new privacy startup, TrustLayers
TrustLayers co-founder Danny Weitzner, former Deputy CTO at the White House.
Danny Weitzner, an MIT researcher who served as Deputy Chief Technology Officer at the White House under President Obama is hatching a new startup related to data privacy: TrustLayers, which is out now raising a seed round of funding. Weitzner's co-founder is Adam Towvim, a long-time executive at the mobile advertising startup Jumptap, acquired last year by Millennial Media. Read More