Category: Locative/Privacy

Searching without searching: Expect Labs taps Nuance for bold predictive computing tech

We’re now getting the first taste of a world where our computing devices fetch us relevant information without our asking. Google Now is the most notable example; it’s Google’s Siri-esque competitor that can learn from your daily routine and parse information in your e-mail.

In that same vein there’s Expect Labs, a small startup that’s been working on an “Anticipatory Computing Engine” that can understand conversations in real time and deliver relevant information to you. Today the company announced that its technology is getting a big accuracy boost with the addition of Nuance’s voice recognition technology, which also powers Siri, Google Now, and most other voice-recognition implementations.

“I really think, in the next 10 to 20 years, that the huge changes that we’re going to be seeing in software are really around becoming more intelligent,” said Tim Tuttle, the chief executive officer of Expect Labs, in an interview with VentureBeat. “It’s inevitable, and the way we’re going to use computers then will be fundamentally different.”

Read the complete article at VentureBeat.

Video network Koozoo puts a friendlier, crowd-sourced spin on Big Brother

Big Brother isn’t just a dystopian nightmare or bad television show anymore — it’s a growing part of the Internet age where people are connected all the time.

Koozoo is a platform that crowd-sources live video from public places to create a continuously broadcasting network. Members of the community can post and watch user-generated video feeds from places such as cafes or world landmarks.

Read more at VentureBeat.

 

Apathetic Facebook Users Relinquish The Right To Vote On Facebook Privacy Changes

For the last few years, Facebook had a slightly odd nod toward corporate democracy. If a change to the agreements it made with its users sparked thousands of comments — indicating users were upset by the change — it would trigger a voting mechanism by which users could reject the change. The site, whose value is created by the personal information eagerly handed over by its hundreds of millions of users, wanted to maintain a sense that those users were in control of how that information was being used by Facebook. In order for the vote to be binding though, 30% of the site’s over one billion users had to participate.

The vote has been triggered three times now. Each time, the turn-out was worse than what you’d get at a state fair in the middle of a hurricane. While Facebook has previously lamented voter apathy, it did little to force users to vote. It sent out an email last week, and included a “share” button on the voting site so that people could tell their friends about it, but did not otherwise force it upon users when they signed onto the site. Facebookers were more likely to see that fake copyright notice than to encounter information about voting. “Ironically, as nonsensical as it is, that fake status update went viral because it was less confusing than Facebook’s actual site governance process,” writes Will Oremus at Slate.

Read the complete article at Forbes.

The Artist Google Street View Photographed Twice

Getting your picture taken by Google Street View twice was just luck? Or did you have an idea that they were photographing the neighborhood? What are your thoughts on Street View?

Yes yes, it was just luck. I had no control.

Street view is a great tool but the way it was implemented (imposed) was, in my opinion, at least questionable. They made private agreements with governments to scan the globe skipping any kind of people’s feedback, people who happen to be the subjects, beside the public environment, of this pretty intrusive practice.

I would be interested to know if these agreements were “economic”. This is an important step because in the end all the Street View material is copyrighted and private owned, resulting in contradiction with the subject matter, and of course, above all when you find yourself featured in it twice.

Read the complete article at Rhizome.

Get Ready for Ads that Follow You from One Device to the Next

Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan calls herself an “advertising quant.” Most people with a PhD in her field of information theory are recruited onto Wall Street if they decide to leave the halls of academia, she says.

She chose to go into advertising instead, and, with her startup, Drawbridge, is applying her expertise to a problem central to the bottom line of a wide swath of digital companies: how to make advertising pay as audiences move over to mobile devices. Founded in 2010, Drawbridge is using statistical methods that rely on anonymous data to track people as they move between their smartphones, tablets, and PCs.

Read the complete article at Technology Review.

Julian Assange’s book an exercise in dystopian musings

Julian Assange‘s new book is not a manifesto, he writes in its introduction – “There is no time for that”. Instead the short volume, entitled Cypherpunks: Freedom and the Future of the Internet and published on Monday, is intended to be what the Wikileaks founder calls “a watchman’s shout in the night”, warning of an imminent threat to all civilisation from “the most dangerous facilitator of totalitarianism we have ever seen” – the web.

Assange announced in October his intention to publish the book, based largely on the transcript of an interview conducted earlier in the year with three fellow “cutting-edge thinkers” on the web, and broadcast on the Russian state-controlled TV channel RT.

But in his introduction, written from the small room in the Ecuadorean embassy in London to which he has been confined for more than five months, the Australian has described for the first time how he views the context for its publication.

Read the complete article at The Guardian.

 

iPhone App Makes Map Navigation Easier to Visualize

 

Crossfader has developed Version 1.4 of AR-MAPS, an iPhone app that supports augmented reality (AR) on maps. AR is one of visualization solutions. This map application represents the ground on the bottom half of the screen, showing a map there. On the top half, it shows a video, with AR tags attached to destinations on it. This makes navigation easier to visualize.

“AR-MAPS supports the iPhone. On the iPhone 5 (recommended models are iPhone 4S/5), you can choose between standard maps and Google Maps. Regarding Version 1.4, the first point is, this version supports English. Also, with AR-MAPS, you can switch between AR and Map modes by changing the way you hold the iPhone.”

Read the complete article at Dig Info.

Government Surveillance Is on the Rise, Says Google

Google released its sixth Transparency Report on Tuesday, showing what it believes is a clear trend: around the world, government requests for user data is on the upswing.

“As you can see from the graph below, government demands for user data have increased steadily since we first launched the Transparency Report,” wrote Dorothy Chou, senior policy analyst at Google, in a blog post. “In the first half of 2012, there were 20,938 inquiries from government entities around the world. Those requests were for information about 34,614 accounts.”

Read the complete article at Mashable.

Let’s not hide behind the argument that anonymity isn’t possible on the web

What can be wrong, in this internet age of harsh and ready opinion, with venting one’s view of the world in 140 characters online? When footballer Ched Evans was convicted of raping a 19-year-old earlier this year a motley bunch of supporters – a teenage cousin, some drunken fans and even an unrelated biology teacher – shared their opinion that a woman too drunk to give consent but was raped anyway was a “money-grabbing slut” and a “dirty slapper”. Apparently, they didn’t even know that in shaming and, specifically, naming her, they were breaking the law.

After pleading guilty nine people must each pay £624 to the victim – a total of £5,616, which awards her less than a pound for each of the 6,000 times her name was dragged through the mud on Twitter. And who said the internet was free? In passing his verdict, judge Andrew Shaw said: “For reasons that I had thought were within the common knowledge of most intelligent people in this country we offer further protection for the victims of rape by prohibiting the publication of their names and personal details.”

Read the complete article at The Guardian.

Why We Need New Rights to Privacy

Thanks to the real state website Zillow, it’s now super easy to profit from your neighbor’s suffering. With a few easy clicks, you can find out “if a homeowner has defaulted on the mortgage and by how much, whether a house has been taken back by the lender, and what a house might sell for in foreclosure,” as the Los Angeles Times recently reported. After using the service, you can stop by the Johnsons’ to make them a low-ball offer, perhaps sweetening the exploitation with a plate of cookies.

Maybe that’s not fair. Zillow doesn’t let people opt-out, but the company omits borrowers’ names, has a process for correcting mistakes, and uploads only legal information that was previously—albeit inconveniently—available.

Zillow is cutting the cord of time-consuming real estate bureaucracy, but it’s just part of a larger story presciently described in a 2007 SMU Law Review article by University of Colorado Law School professor Harry Surden. According to Surden, big data networks persistently chip away at privacy interests and expand the surveillance society’s reach—and we’re about to see a lot more of it. Surden argues that privacy is safeguarded by barriers that make it hard for others to thwart our interest in limiting access to information. Bring down these walls—which Surden calls constraints—and prying eyes can capitalize on newfound vulnerability. Accordingly, we need to reassess how we think about our privacy rights, and what personal information should be included in that class.

Read the complete article at Slate.