Tag Archives | Data

Chicago Police Harassing Non-Criminals Predicted To Commit “Future Crime”

lookingNothing like being threatened and stalked by people with guns – no harm done, right? Cop Block writes:

For 22-year old Robert McDaniel, there was [worry] when a police commander showed up at his house simply to issue a threat that he was being watched by police. McDaniel’s grew up in a gritty neighborhood, but was guilty of no crime, and had no recent interactions with police of any kind. Yet there with this official authority standing there on his porch, issuing a stern warning that he was being watched and there would be severe consequences if he committed a crime.

University professors have teamed up with the Chicago police department to develop a new technology which will allegedly predict violent criminal behavior. A computerized algorithm has now generated a “Heat List” which indexes approximately 400 individuals they see as likely to commit violent crimes in the future. And some of the people on the list are not criminals at all.

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UK Government To Make The Entire Population’s Medical Records Available For Sale To Drug And Insurance Firms

medical recordsThe move will allow insurers to more efficiently serve the public and pharmaceutical companies to better target their life-saving new drugs…because surely those are the only reasons why those industries would pay to access vast troves of personal medical data. The Guardian reports:

Drug and insurance companies will from later this year be able to buy information on patients – including mental health conditions and diseases such as cancer, as well as smoking and drinking habits – once a single English database of medical data covering the entire population (harvested from GP and hospital records) has been created.

Privacy experts warn there will be no way for the public to work out who has their medical records or to what use their data will be put. The extracted information will contain NHS numbers, date of birth, postcode, ethnicity and gender.

Once live, organisations such as universities – but also insurers and drug companies – will be able to apply to gain access to the database, called care.data.

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Algocracy: The Threat Of Rule By Algorithm

microchip

Will democracy give way to algocracy? Via the Institute for Emerging Ethics & Technologies, John Danaher writes:

In brief, modern technology has made it possible for pretty much all of our movements, particularly those we make “online”, to be monitored, tracked, processed, and leveraged. We can do some of this leveraging ourselves, by tracking our behavior to improve our diets, increase our productivity and so forth. But, of course, governments and corporations can also take advantage of these data-tracking and processing technologies.

Data-mining [could create] a system of algorithmic regulation, one in which our decisions are “nudged” in particular directions by powerful data-processing algorithms. This is worrisome because the rational basis of these algorithms will not be transparent:

Thanks to smartphones or Google Glass, we can now be pinged whenever we are about to do something stupid, unhealthy or unsound. We wouldn’t necessarily need to know why the action would be wrong: the system’s algorithms do the moral calculus on their own.

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How Accepting A Friend Request Will Soon Alter Your Credit Score

credit scoreThe The Next Web writes that you will soon be “empowered” by having every mundane aspect of your life mined for data:

Are you only as good as the company you keep? Before you accept that next friend request, consider what that person says about you, what that association might eventually cost, or be worth – even in the financial sense.

Where you live, who you friend on Facebook, the frequency you shop at Trader Joe’s, how much you spend – all of this information will be picked up, shared, and analyzed amongst the various connected devices and services you use.

This wealth of data will also be applicable to your financial decisions. “Who you are” as a consumer will no longer be based solely on your purchases, investments or credit file, but will also consider your daily routines, such as browsing the Internet, where you shop, and more.

Technology and new services are now making it possible to incorporate entirely new, more relevant data into a credit profile — data that is mostly consumer controlled or contributed and generated by simply gathering and delivering your lifestyle data.

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Data Companies Sell Lists Of Rape Victims, HIV Sufferers, People On Various Medications For 8¢ Per Name

rape-sufferers-listHonestly, I think what will most spur members of Congress to action on this issue is that databases of Americans with erectile dysfunction are among those being sold. Forbes writes:

In a congressional hearing this week, Pam Dixon, executive director of the World Privacy Forum, revealed disturbing lists that she has found for sale from data brokers you’ve likely never heard of, including a “Rape Sufferers List” from a company called MEDbase 200, which sells lists about the medical industry.

The list, which was taken down yesterday after an inquiry from the Wall Street Journal, is still cached, as are some other disturbing lists such as “erectile dysfunction sufferers,” “alcoholism sufferers” and “ AIDS/HIV sufferers.“ All the lists promised 1,000 names for the low of $79:

“Select from families affected by over 500 different ailments, or who are consumers of over 200 different Rx medications. Lists can be further selected on the basis of lifestyle, ethnicity, geo, gender, and much more.”

 

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The NSA Has Built A Shadow Social Network With Your Profile On It

data_modelSatirical imaginings of the NSA creating its own online social network are actually a fairly accurate depiction of the reality, Techdirt reports:

The NY Times has an article by James Risen and Laura Poitras detailing how the NSA has basically built its own “shadow” social network in which it tries to create a “social graph” of pretty much everyone that everyone knows, foreign or American, and it all happens (of course) without a warrant.

The agency can augment the communications data with material from public, commercial and other sources, including bank codes, insurance information, Facebook profiles, passenger manifests, voter registration rolls and GPS location information, as well as property records and unspecified tax data, according to the documents. They do not indicate any restrictions on the use of such “enrichment” data, and several former senior Obama administration officials said the agency drew on it for both Americans and foreigners.

The policy change came in January of 2011, when the NSA was told it could start creating this massive “social graph” on Americans without having to make sure they weren’t Americans any more.

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European Union To Curb Transfer Of Internet Data To United States

networkThe Guardian reports that under new laws, American internet companies improperly sharing Europeans’ personal data (with the U.S. government or otherwise) will face billions of dollars in fines:

New European rules aimed at curbing questionable transfers of data from EU countries to the US are being finalised in Brussels in the first concrete reaction to the Edward Snowden disclosures on US and British mass surveillance of digital communications.

The draft would make it harder for the big US internet servers and social media providers to transfer European data to third countries, subject them to EU law rather than secret American court orders, and authorise swingeing fines possibly running into the billions for the first time for not complying with the new rules.

Data privacy in the EU is currently under the authority of national governments with standards varying enormously across the 28 countries, complicating efforts to arrive at satisfactory data transfer agreements with the US.

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Does Information Overload Cost The United States A Trillion Dollars Per Year?

information overload

Will contemporary society’s ever-growing, never-ending stream of information gradually paralyze and destroy us all? In 2008 the IT consulting firm Basex claimed this as a conservative estimate, with the figure presumably rising since then:

According to our latest research Information Overload costs the U.S. economy a minimum of $900 billion per year in lowered employee productivity and reduced innovation. This is a fairly conservative number and reflects the loss of 25% of the knowledge worker’s day to the problem. The total could be as high as $1 trillion.

Information overload describes an excess of information that results in the loss of ability to make decisions, process information, and prioritize tasks. It is nothing new – it was very much on the minds of thought leaders centuries ago, including Roger Bacon, Samuel Johnson, and Konrad Geßner whose 1545 Bibliotheca universalis warned of the “confusing and harmful abundance of books” and promulgated strategies for coping with the overload of information.

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The Future Of Data Mining Your Health

data mining

In a few years, will corporations, employers, insurers and others track “diseased lists” of individuals whose social media, smartphone, and purchasing activity hints that they may have health problems? Via PandoDaily, Michael Carney writes:

According to a sales rep for a midwest data co-location and analytics startup who asked to remain anonymous, regional hospitals, insurers, and grocery retailers are already investigating ways to work together to translate consumer purchase data into health risk profiling insights.

Kevin Pledge, CEO of underwriting-technology consultancy Insight Decision Solutions told the Economist last year that he has forgone the use of supermarket loyalty-cards and begun paying cash for his burgers to avoid this very type of profiling. The same article mentions a life-settlements firm declining to purchase an insurance policy based on social media activity that contradicted the supposed poor health of the policy-holder.

As we document and share more of where we go, what we do, who we spend time with, what we eat, what we buy, how hard we exert ourselves, and so on, we create more data that companies can and will use to evaluate our worthiness – or lack thereof – for their products, services, and opportunities.

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NSA, CIA, And FBI Swap Classified Data With Media And Tech Corporations

classifiedCould Microsoft, Google, et al. be considered bureaus of the national security apparatus? Bloomberg reports that the providing of sensitive information is a two-way street:

Thousands of technology, finance and manufacturing companies are working closely with U.S. national security agencies, providing sensitive information and in return receiving benefits that include access to classified intelligence, four people familiar with the process said.

These programs, whose participants are known as trusted partners, extend far beyond what was revealed by Edward Snowden, a computer technician who did work for the National Security Agency.

Michael Hayden, who formerly directed the National Security Agency and the CIA, described the attention paid to important company partners: “If I were the director and had a relationship with a company who was doing things that were not just directed by law but were also valuable to the defense of the Republic, I would go out of my way to thank them and give them a sense as to why this is necessary and useful.”

Intel Corp’s McAfee unit, which makes Internet security software, regularly cooperates with the NSA, FBI and the CIA, for example, and is a valuable partner because of its broad view of malicious Internet traffic, including espionage operations by foreign powers, according to one of the four people, who is familiar with the arrangement.

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