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Privacy

  • Three quarters of Android apps track users with third party tools – study.

    More than three in four Android apps contain at least one third-party “tracker”, according to a new analysis of hundreds of apps.

    The study by French research organisation Exodus Privacy and Yale University’s Privacy Lab analysed the mobile apps for the signatures of 25 known trackers, which use various techniques to glean personal information about users to better target them for advertisements and services.

  • How to Debug Your Content Blocker for Privacy Protection.

    Millions of users are trying to protect their privacy from commercial tracking online, be it through their choice of browser, installation of ad and tracker blocking extensions, or use of a Virtual Private Network (VPN). This guide focuses on how to correctly configure the blocking extension in your browser to ensure that it's giving you the privacy you expect. We believe that tools work best when you don't have to go under the hood. While there is software which meets that criteria (and several are listed in the final section of the guide), the most popular ad blockers do not protect privacy by default and must be reconfigured. We'll show you how.

    Also, check the new Panopticlick.

  • Private Companies Look to Cash in as Homeland Security Brings Facial Recognition to U.S. Borders.

    In a crowded conference room earlier this month in Menlo Park, California, representatives from companies around the world listened intently as officials from the Department of Homeland Security explained the bidding process for contracts to develop facial recognition capabilities at land border crossings. The companies were eager to get on the ground floor of the government’s pilot program for using facial scanners and databases at the border. The pilot program, managed by the DHS Silicon Valley Innovation Program, in conjunction with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, is one of several initiatives to use image-recognition technology designed for security purposes on a grander scale.

  • An artificial intelligence algorithm developed by Stanford researchers can determine a neighborhood’s political leanings by its cars. This rings a bell, I'd say I've read about this in the past.

    From the understated opulence of a Bentley to the stalwart family minivan to the utilitarian pickup, Americans know that the car you drive is an outward statement of personality. You are what you drive, as the saying goes, and researchers at Stanford have just taken that maxim to a new level.

    Using computer algorithms that can see and learn, they have analyzed millions of publicly available images on Google Street View. The researchers say they can use that knowledge to determine the political leanings of a given neighborhood just by looking at the cars on the streets.

  • Google collects Android users’ locations even when location services are disabled.

    Many people realize that smartphones track their locations. But what if you actively turn off location services, haven’t used any apps, and haven’t even inserted a carrier SIM card?

    Even if you take all of those precautions, phones running Android software gather data about your location and send it back to Google when they’re connected to the internet, a Quartz investigation has revealed.

Tech

  • How Reuters’s Revolutionary AI System Gathers Global News. The paper.

    The new system is called Reuters Tracer. It uses Twitter as a kind of global sensor that records news events as they are happening. The system then uses various kinds of data mining and machine learning to pick out the most relevant events, determine their topic, rank their priority, and write a headline and a summary. The news is then distributed around the company’s global news wire.

Visualizations


Data Links is a periodic blog post published on Sundays (specific time may vary) which contains interesting links about data science, machine learning and related topics. You can subscribe to it using the general blog RSS feed or this one, which only contains these articles, if you are not interested in other things I might publish.

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