Who is getting rich off you? The insidious big data economy.

Where is your data now? Follow the money.

  • Your day to day actions on the Internet give businesses personal data that turns you into an ad target – or the opposite.
  • Facebook, for example, allowed landlords to block demographic groups such as African Americans, LGBTQ, or disabled people from seeing housing ads – a violation of the 1968 Fair Housing Act.
  • Data brokers have crossed a line, but the laws that should regulate them are outdated; just look at the billion-dollar data deal between 23andMe and Big Pharma. Is it ethical?
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FaceTime bug let users access the mic and camera on others' phones

The person whose phone was affected would have been given no indication that others were eavesdropping.

MacRumors via YouTube
  • A FaceTime bug enabled iOS users to access the microphones and cameras on the phones of people they tried to call, even when those people didn't answer.
  • Apple has temporarily disabled parts of its services to make such eavesdropping impossible.
  • In general, iOS tends to be the most secure of the popular mobile operating systems, but the recently discovered bug shows all systems have vulnerabilities.
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A.I. can predict your future tweets by looking at your friends’ accounts

A new study shows how machine-learning methods could examine your friends' past tweets to accurately predict your future behavior online.

  • The study examined the past tweets of hundreds of Twitter users, each within a particular social circle, in order to see how accurate of predictions it's possible to make with machine-learning techniques.
  • The results showed that machine-learning techniques can predict the future Twitter activity of a given user by looking only at about 9 of their friends, and that these predictions are about as accurate as predictions made with the benefit of looking at the user's past writings.
  • The findings have troubling implications for online privacy, namely that, in theory, not even leaving Facebook or Twitter would prevent someone from generating an accurate profile of you.
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Photo credit: Ian Waldie / Getty Images
  • The coalition argues that government agencies might abuse facial recognition technology.
  • Google and Microsoft have expressed concern about the potential problems of facial recognition technology.
  • Meanwhile, Amazon has been actively marketing the technology to law enforcement agencies in the U.S.
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Through an encrypted digital ID, Estonians can access about 99% of public services online

The country's paperless system serves as a model to other nations.

  • A new report from The Associated Press outlines Estonia's most recent advancements in its digital government.
  • Estonia allows its citizens to vote, obtains medical data and register business documents online.
  • Given security concerns and other complications, it remains unclear whether nations like the U.S. could implement similar systems.
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