December 4th, 2013
The Atlantic takes a look at “people analytics,” what it defines as “the application of predictive analytics to people’s careers.” The article notes that “there is no denying the vast increase in the range and depth of information that’s routinely captured about how we behave, and the new kinds of analysis that this enables.”
By one estimate, more than 98 percent of the world’s information is now stored digitally, and the volume of that data has quadrupled since 2007. Ordinary people at work and at home generate much of this data, by sending e-mails, browsing the Internet, using social media, working on crowd-sourced projects, and more—and in doing so they have unwittingly helped launch a grand new societal project. “We are in the midst of a great infrastructure project that in some ways rivals those of the past, from Roman aqueducts to the Enlightenment’s Encyclopédie,” write Viktor Mayer-Schönberger and Kenneth Cukier in their recent book, Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think. “The project is datafication. Like those other infrastructural advances, it will bring about fundamental changes to society.”
Some of the changes are well known, and already upon us. Algorithms that predict stock-price movements have transformed Wall Street. Algorithms that chomp through our Web histories have transformed marketing. Until quite recently, however, few people seemed to believe this data-driven approach might apply broadly to the labor market. Read more »
December 3rd, 2013
Under terms of the settlement, Dataium has agreed to a $400,000 payment to the State, with $99,000 to be paid over the next two years, and the $301,000 balance suspended. The suspended amount will be due immediately if Dataium fails to honor all terms of the settlement. The suspended payment obligation will be vacated after five years if Dataium continues to comply with all settlement terms, and does not violate the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act.
In addition to the settlement’s monetary terms, Dataium is required under the agreement to create a privacy program designed to protect consumers, and to post a page or pages within its Web site informing the public about what type of consumer information it collects, and what it does with that information. [...] Read more »
December 2nd, 2013
The Associated Press reports that the United Nations is moving forward with a resolution concerning online privacy:
UNITED NATIONS — The U.N. General Assembly’s human rights committee on Tuesday unanimously adopted a resolution sponsored by Brazil and Germany to protect the right to privacy against unlawful surveillance, following months of reports about U.S. eavesdropping abroad.
The symbolic resolution, which seeks to extend personal privacy rights to all people, followed a series of disclosures of U.S. eavesdropping on foreign leaders, including Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, that surprised and angered allies. [...]
The resolution expresses deep concern at “the negative impact” that such surveillance, “in particular when carried out on a mass scale, may have on the exercise and enjoyment of human rights.” [...] Read more »
December 2nd, 2013
The New York Times reports that France is investigating allegations of privacy violations and spying by executives at furniture retailer Ikea:
PARIS — Prosecutors have placed three senior Ikea executives in France under investigation amid allegations that they authorized illegal spying on employees and customers.[...]
French prosecutors said this week that the chief executive of Ikea France, Stefan Vanoverbeke, and two other people were being investigated for possible involvement in a conspiracy to collect a range of personal information, including criminal records, automobile registrations and property records.
The prosecutors said the information was collected to check on employees or to reveal unflattering background information about customers bringing complaints or lawsuits against Ikea, a Swedish home furnishings giant with operations in more than 40 countries. [...] Read more »
November 25th, 2013
I’m taking the week off. Enjoy the holiday!
November 22nd, 2013
Reuters reports on the increasing collection of data on individuals, both online and offline, by marketers and companies. Now, stores are deploying technology to gather facial features, track cellphones and more.
BERLIN — The next time you walk into a shop, consider this:
You may not be using your phone, but it is giving out a unique signal that the retailer may be monitoring. A face scanner may check your age and gender while sensors pick up your body heat to help locate popular parts of the store. [...]
To counter the online threat, bricks and mortar retailers are playing catch-up, using increasingly sophisticated technology to improve staffing, layout and marketing.
Some people are less comfortable being watched in the offline world, prompting many in the business to promise to use only anonymised and aggregated data unless shoppers explicitly give their permission to be tracked. Read more »