Oct 6 – 12

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This week’s headline story: Data Discrimination May Create the Next Digital Divide

discriminationYou’ve probably heard the buzz word “Big Data.” It refer’s to the huge amount of data being collected and stored about individuals from their online interactions and transactions. Big data has become important to businesses and organizations because it provides insight into human activity that has never been available before. By tapping into big data with powerful analytics software, companies can develop detailed customer profiles to assist in targeting each individual’s interests.

Microsoft researcher Kate Crawford worries that big data is being used to implement a subtle form of discrimination. In a recently published report Crawford states that “highly sensitive personal attributes”— including sexual orientation, personality traits, use of addictive substances, and even parental separation—are highly predictable by analyzing what people click on to indicate what they “like” on Facebook. “When these data sets are cross-referenced with other sources, as big data is designed to do, it is possible to generate a detailed picture about a person’s health, politics, and beliefs including information a person may never have disclosed to a health provider, or anyone else.” Crawford believes that such personal information might be used behind the scenes to deny a person health insurance, employment, or even an apartment. She and her colleagues are advocating for a legal framework they call “big data due process.” Under this concept, a person who has been subject to some discrimination—whether denial of health insurance, rejection of a job or housing application, or an arrest—would have the right to learn how big data analytics were used.

Data Discrimination Means the Poor May Experience a Different Internet [MIT Tech Review]

and elsewhere in Tech News.

  • Gartner Predicts Digital Disruption Accelerating for IT [NewsFactor]
    Gartner senior vice president Peter Sondergaard, told more than 8,000 CIOs and IT leaders gathered at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Orlando that every corporate budget these days is an IT budget, and every company is a technology company. He said that this ‘digital industrial economy” is being “built on the foundation of the nexus of forces,” including the confluence of cloud, social collaboration, mobile and information, as well as the emerging Internet of Everything, including sensors and data tracking of inventory and of customers in brick-and-mortar stores, as well as analysis of every type of data. Gartner made several predictions regarding digital disruption including that there will be a loss of at least $100 billion annually in intellectual property by 2018 because of 3D printing. 3D printing of tissues and organs, what it calls “bioprinting,” will become a global issue by 2016 and will require regulation or even bans for biological use. By 2017, “over half of consumer goods manufacturers will receive 75 percent of their consumer innovation and R&D capabilities from crowdsourced solutions.” Other predictions include that by 2017 more than three-quarters of consumers will collect, track or barter their personal data for cost savings, convenience or customization. Also by 2017, 10 percent of computers will be learning instead of processing. By 2020 governments and businesses will realize that they cannot protect as much as 75 percent of their sensitive data, and they will simply grant broad access to it.
  • GE’s ‘Industrial Internet’ Taps AT&T Network [NewsFactor]
    GE intends to build a wireless Internet of Industrial Things to improve business productivity through equipment monitoring. GE has partnered with Intel, Cisco and AT&T to provide GE industrial machines with the ability to communicate with each other and with workers over the Internet. Workers will be able to use the Industrial Internet to remotely track, monitor, record and operate GE machinery virtually anywhere and everywhere. These smart machines connected to GE’s Industrial Internet will allow companies to harness the power of advanced analytics to increase productivity while reducing costs.
  • IBM, Semtech Announce Wireless Solution for Internet of Things [NewsFactor]
    Semtech and IBM have announced an advancement in wireless technology to boost the range of low-powered sensors from 1.2 miles to 9 miles. The new technology is expected to spur the growth of the Internet of Things providing people with more information about our environment.
  • Human Brain Project, World’s Most Ambitious in Neuroscience, Officially Started Today [Science World Report]
    The Human Brain Project has officially begun [Kurzweil]
    The world’s most ambitious effort to duplicate the functioning of the human brain in computers was launched this past week. The Human Brain Project involves the collaboration of 135 partner institutions, with a budget of $1.6 billion, to study the human brain in six areas: neuroinformatics, brain simulation, high-performance computing, medical informatics, neuromorphic computing and neurorobotics.
  • UltraHaptics – it’s magic in the air [University of Bristol]
    Researchers at the University of Bristol have developed a new Input/Output technology named Utrahaptics that allow users to interact with computers by manipulating invisible objects in the air. Utilizing ultrasonic vibrations emitted from a display, a user can feel sensations in the air above or in front of a display. By manipulating these invisible objects felt in the air, the user can control the computer.
  • Your car is about to go open source [Computerworld]
    Automakers have been struggling to get consumers to buy in-vehicle infotainment or IVI systems with their new cars. Car buyers don’t want to pay extra for a system that can do 10 percent of what their mobile phones can do. The reason IVI systems aren’t very robust is because they are proprietary systems developed by third-party suppliers limited to running only software provided by the vendors. In order to provide more apps to drivers, Automakers are working to standardize on a open source Linux-based operating system for their IVI systems that would make it easier for cars to act more like smartphones.

and in Information Security news this week…

  • Several top websites use device fingerprinting to secretly track users [Ku Leuven]
    A new study has revealed that 145 of the Internet’s 10,000 top websites track users without their knowledge or consent using a technique called device fingerprinting. Device fingerprinting, makes it possible to identify users online, without the use of cookies, by collecting properties of the user’s device such as screen size, the versions of installed software and plugins, and the list of installed fonts. A 2010 study by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) showed that, for the vast majority of browsers, the combination of these properties is unique, and thus functions as a ‘fingerprint’ that can be used to track users without relying on cookies.
  • Google May Put Your Face On Its Next Ad [NewsFactor]
    Google has announced that it will soon start including product recommendations made by Google+ users in paid advertisements. So if you are a Google+ user over the age of 18, your friends might soon see your face and comments in ads posted in Google search results or in other Google products.
  • Facebook Says No More Secret Profiles [NewsFactor]
    Facebook is doing away with the privacy option that allows users to hide their Timeline from everyone. Users who have used that option to hide from detection will soon become visible to all other Facebook users and search engines. Facebook advises users to select a privacy option for each individual item on their timeline, if they are concerned about privacy.

and in Tech Industry news…

  • Samsung’s Galaxy Round: First Phone with a Curved Display [NewsFactor]
    Samsung has released the first mobile phone with a curved display. The Samsung Galaxy Round has a big curved HD Super AMOLED screen that makes it easier to hold onto, and carry in your pocket. The new phone is selling for $1003 with 2-yr contract in South Korea.
  • Comcast and Twitter Sign TV Partnership [NewsFactor]
    Comcast and Twitter have partnered to provide Xfiniti customers with the ability to control their television viewing through tweets, Users will be able to view a show, or record a show by clicking a “see it” button in a tweet.
  • Google’s New HP Chromebook 11 Is Light in Weight, Price [NewsFactor]
    If you are a user of Gmail and Google Docs, you might be interested in the latest Chromebook from HP. Chromebook 11 has an 11.6-inchhi-resolution display, 2 GB of memory, 16 GB of flash storage two USB 2.0 ports, a headphone jack and the cellphone-charger-friendly microUSB port, all for only $279. The only catch is that you have to do all your work online using Google Apps.

and finally…

  • Some iPhone Users Encountering Blue Screen of Death [NewsFactor]
    Most people associate the Blue Screen of Death with earlier versions of Microsoft Windows. Soon it might be associated with the iPhone. Some iPhone users are reporting that while using the latest iOS update some apps will suddenly turn the display solid blue for about 2 seconds, followed by a system reboot.

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