Monthly Archives: August 2014

Is an ad-based business model the original sin of the web — and if so, what do we do about it?

Is the lack of a transparent and convenient payment system for consuming content hinder Internet growth? There is a vicious circle the author did not mention. Ad-based business model fuels the creation of content specially fit for ads, both format and subject! User behaviour also adopt to bite size content. We are stuck but very few is searching for a way out.

Gigaom

Ethan Zuckerman, director of the Center for Civic Media at MIT and co-founder of the blog network Global Voices, argues in a fascinating post at The Atlantic that the “original sin” of the internet was that almost every web business defaulted to an advertising-based business model — and that this in turn led to the privacy-invading, data-collecting policies that are the foundation of companies like Facebook and Google. But is that true? And if so, what should we do about it?

Zuckerman says his thoughts around advertising and its effects were shaped in part by a presentation that developer Maciej Ceglowski gave at a conference in Germany earlier this year. Ceglowski is the founder of Pinboard, a site that allows users to bookmark and store webpages, and someone who has argued in the past that free, ad-supported services are bad for users, since they usually wind up having…

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Now even Germany’s postal service has an encrypted messaging app

Just installed this secure mobile message app. A few things to note:
-in Singapore AppStore
– need access to your phone address book to find others installed this app. I need to invite people to use this app!

Gigaom

Last year’s NSA revelations sparked a great deal of interest in secure messaging apps, from Threema to Telegram to TextSecure, particularly in German-speaking countries where people and businesses are highly sensitive about surveillance. Now you can add another one to the list – and this one comes from the German postal service itself.

Deutsche Post, known internationally as delivery firm DHL, launched a free messenger app called SIMSme on Wednesday, promising end-to-end encryption with passphrases left in the user’s hands. According to the firm, all data is stored on German servers as it passes between users, and is deleted as soon as messages are delivered.

The app is quite comprehensive, featuring group chat and location sharing. What’s more, those willing to pony up 89 euro cents ($1.19) can add a self-destruct function for very sensitive messages and photos, effectively making SIMSme a Snapchat alternative of sorts. The first million users…

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Data enabled decision making is not to play God.

Reading a law professor letter to NYTimes, I notice a line of thoughts encroached our society: Truth, fairness and objectivity are within reach with data analytics.  The author arguing against using data scores to calculate sentencing said

“Data-driven predictions grounded in legitimate factors might be about as accurate as current profiling schemes. There is no persuasive evidence that the current troubling variables add much predictive value, once criminal conduct is already taken into account. But even if they do improve accuracy, this gain doesn’t justify sacrificing fairness.” 

In turn, she tried to weight traditional and data driven methods, when justices and fairness are concerned. The underlying tone is that there is a correct sentencing and judges should pursue it whenever possible. 

Human hunt of fairness and objectivity goes astray. A correct sentencing doesn’t exist, no matter how we hard we try, how smart our algorithms become. Using data driven decision making tools should not let us to play God’s (or Gods’ ) role. 

If we accept data is not truth and we are not God, then the seemingly unfair situation “that people should be imprisoned longer because they are poor” is a fallacy. One way of the other, judges make decision based some references point, be it his/her visit to Disneyland or prison, be it the risk score of the convicted. There is no faultless human decision. 

Russian hackers reportedly amassed 1.2 billion username-password combinations

Gigaom

1.2 billion username and password combinations, and more than half a billion email addresses, are in the hands of a Russian crime syndicate, according to a New York Times report.

The database was apparently discovered by researchers at Hold Security. They haven’t disclosed which websites are affected, but there’s a whopping 420,000 of them and they range from Fortune 500 firms to “very small websites.” Hold, which is about to present its findings at Black Hat this week, isn’t naming any of the affected sites just yet because of non-disclosure agreements and the fact that many remain unpatched.

This is probably the biggest illicit stash of personal information that has yet been found. However, as Forbes has pointed out, Hold also charges companies to tell them whether or not their website has been breached — there’s arguably a potential conflict of interest here, though it’s worth noting that the…

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Oh, boo hoo. CISOs get no respect from their C-suite peers

Gigaom

What is it about the schadenfreude that infects the hallowed executive suite?

According to new research by ThreatTrack Security, a whopping 74 percent of 203 C-level bigwigs surveyed said that Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) should not get a seat at the big-boy table. And almost half (44 percent) think that the biggest benefit of having a CISO at all is to have someone to blame should a security breach occur. And, not to pile on, but 61 percent of respondents said they didn’t believe that their CISO would succeed in another role at the company.

With colleagues like this, who needs enemies?

This bad blood could be bubbling up because of the paranoia over security breaches that can — and have — cost CEOs and other top execs their jobs. Most notably in May Target CEO Greg Steinhafl resigned after the epic breach that rocked his company. He’d been with Target for more 35…

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