Data spies: The dark and shady practices of Silicon Valley

This is how data harvesting really works. You're not going to like it.

  • In this absorbing talk spanning the last 20 years of tech, Roger McNamee starts at the origins of the PayPal Mafia (which included entrepreneurs like Elon Musk, Peter Thiel, and Reid Hoffman) and traces them to Silicon Valley's global domination.
  • Data is used by online vendors in all industries to make behavioral predictions for profit – often in unethical or cloaked ways.
  • Did we sign up for this? Roger McNamee calls for a halt to blind participation and asks for a national debate on whether commerce based on personal data (but not for personal benefit) should be legal.
Keep reading Show less
Videos

Privacy is a human right, we need a GDPR for the world: Microsoft CEO

Half of Americans do not trust the federal government or social media sites to protect their data.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella answers a shareholders question during the Microsoft Annual Shareholders Meeting at the Meydenbauer Center on November 28, 2018 in Bellevue, Washington. Microsoft recently surpassed Apple, Inc. to become the world's most valuable publicly traded company. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)

Against the backdrop of a "techlash", the CEO of Microsoft called for new global norms on privacy, data and Artificial Intelligence.

Keep reading Show less
Technology & Innovation
A woman looks at her phone as she walks inside an exhibition centre in Shanghai on September 8, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / CHANDAN KHANNA

Sixty-seven percent of smartphone users rely on Google Maps to help them get to where they are going quickly and efficiently.

A major of feature of Google Maps is its ability to predict how long different navigation routes will take. That's possible because the mobile phone of each person using Google Maps sends data about its location and speed back to Google's servers, where it is analyzed to generate new data about traffic conditions.

Keep reading Show less
Technology & Innovation

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?
Keep reading Show less
Videos

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.
Keep reading Show less
Technology & Innovation