Category Archives: Privacy

Placeraider and Virtual Theft

In the past we have had websites and services such as pleaserobme.com that attempted to alert the public to the ways in which greater online and social media vigilance is required to protect ourselves. Recent studies have pointed out vulnerabilities and the potential for malware to snoop on spoken credit card numbers or to capture keystrokes tapped on the screen. Now we have a fascinating and scary paper published at Cornell exploring the ways in which augmented reality on smartphones is being employed to maliciously use the camera and other sensors to create a surreptitious virtual picture of your physical enviromnment enabling others to virtually steal financial documents or snoop informatoon displayed on computer screens. They demonstrate an application called PlaceRaider that conducts remote reconnaisance and also suggest ways that we can protect ourselves from such a  threat.

People Know It’s Dangerous … But They Still Do It

According to a new report by the ISACA, ‘Nearly 60 percent of smartphone users employ apps that access their location data despite having concerns about risks to their privacy and even personal safety.’ So basically although they know the risks, people weigh them and consider the benefits worthwhile. Or do they? Do people really get it? Are they really aware of the risks. It’s intriguing that many people are more concerned about the inconvenience of having advertisers drown them with offers than those with criminal intent mining the social media and using geolocation apps to target victims. What do you think??

But even if you’re following the law, you can do things where people get queasy

I wanted to briefly carry on our discussion on data privacy issues and our thoughts on how companies datamine purchase data to profile and predict your buying patterns and possibly pinpoint future needs and wants. This short article appeared in Forbes claiming that Target (the US retailer) figured out his 16 year old daughter was pregnant before he did.The larger article speaks to the ways in which Target in particular mines individual customer purchases through their loyalty card programme by running it through specific BI profiling tools to deduce very specific future buying needs and to invent customer purchasing at Target. This is of even greater has even greater velocity when we consider the impact of geolocation services next week.

Citizens in a Mapped and Map-Driven Society

This thoughtful piece from the BMW Guggenheim Lab Blog discusses the way in which participatory cartography is changing the way in which we perceive our cities. Christine McLaren argues in New cartographers: How citizen mapmakers are changing the story of our lives that the popular availability of open data about social use of space is gaining widespread popular appeal and altering the way in which we interact with place and with others through location.