This is the first Data Links article under the new and shiny SSL certificate. Also, from now on I am going to try to categorize the content a bit by using headlines. In some past editions I have linked to a lot of different articles and it was a bit chaotic.

New data analysis competitions



Ride-hailing giant Uber says it’s using smartphone gyrometer data to double-check if drivers on its platform are speeding. At least, it does for a portion of its drivers on a new pilot program. Joe Sullivan, Uber’s chief security officer, explained that the tactic is meant to corroborate whether a low “star rating” from a passenger may have stemmed from how fast their Uber driver was going.

Vigilant Solutions, one of the country’s largest brokers of vehicle surveillance technology, is offering a hell of a deal to law enforcement agencies in Texas: a whole suite of automated license plate reader (ALPR) equipment and access to the company’s massive databases and analytical tools—and it won’t cost the agency a dime. [...] EFF has long been concerned with this technology, because ALPRs typically capture sensitive location information on all drivers —not just criminal suspects— and, in aggregate, the information can reveal personal information, such as where you go to church, what doctors you visit, and where you sleep at night.

Facebook [...] does not let candidates track individual users. But it does now allow presidential campaigns to upload their massive email lists and voter files – which contain political habits, real names, home addresses and phone numbers – to the company’s advertising network. The company will then match real-life voters with their Facebook accounts, which follow individuals as they move across congressional districts and are filled with insightful data.


Using data from the US Census Bureau, Alasdair Rae, a geographer and urban planner at Sheffield University, built maps of every congressional district—all 435 of them—to show just how screwed up they really are. When Rae maps them individually, removed from the context of their surrounding districts, you can really see the extent of the problem. “There are some shapes that are quite egregious,” Rae says.