Last week, I gave a talk titled “Promoting Location Privacy … One lie at a time” at a workshop on privacy at Imperial. The slides of all
the talks are here
Google is threatening to pull out of China because of attacks on its servers aimed at Chinese human rights activists:
“These attacks and the surveillance they have uncovered — combined with the attempts over the past year to further limit free speech on the web — have led us to conclude that we should review the feasibility of our business operations in China. We have decided we are no longer willing to continue censoring our results on Google.cn, and so over the next few weeks we will be discussing with the Chinese government the basis on which we could operate an unfiltered search engine within the law, if at all. We recognize that this may well mean having to shut down Google.cn, and potentially our offices in China.”
(Via The Lowy Interpreter)
nice user study (CHI’09)
a mobile location sharing system. In our study, (n = 56), one group was given feedback in the form of a history of location requests, and a second group was given no feedback at all – feedback allays privacy concerns
New technologies make it possible to run “web-like targeting in the real world. For example, a system developed by Singapore’s research agency lets advertising screens detect the genders of passers-by: it will soon be able to tell how old they are, too. IBM has worked on systems that can scan a crowd and estimate numbers, demographics, and where people are looking. And now that facial recognition has become a consumer technology it wouldn’t be difficult to install a series of ad screens that tracks individuals as they move through a subway system or mall, greeting them at each turn with a particular message or character. It’s hard to see how opt-out could be efficiently implemented for billboards on the street – at least without a new wave of devices that can communicate their owners’ preferences to nearby advertising systems.” More here.
“That’s the title of a story from the Sunday NYT Business page, on a company called Sense Networks, which aggregates billions of bits of location data to predict future movements. Two applications mentioned are predicting where taxis will be needed and what nightclubs people are likely to head toward.
Where does the location data come from? For the taxi application, it’s easy; just put GPSs on all your taxis and let the data roll in, all nicely timestamped. For the nightclub application, cell phone data.” From here.
The IFIP trust management conference, this year joined for the second time with the Privacy, Security and Trust (PST) conference, was held in June 18th – 20th in Trondheim, Norway. The conference has also been previously known as iTrust. Next year, PST and IFIPTM split again, as PST returns to its roots as a local event in Canada; next year, IFIPTM is organized in the US, and in Japan after that. We’ve summarized IFIPTM workshops on Monday and Tuesday in earlier posts, and now give a quick run-through of what this year’s conference program held.
The Monday workshop sessions of IFIPTM 2008 were a combination of the second workshop on Context-awareness and trust (CAT) and first workshop on Web 2.0 trust (W2Trust). See the W2Trust website for the full list of papers. In this post, we summarize what we saw.
Yesterday was the first International Workshop on Trust in Mobile Environments (TIME 2008), co-located with the IFIPTM 08 conference in Trondheim, Norway. The workshop merged with the Workshop on Sustaining Privacy in Autonomous Collaborative Environments (SPACE), and consisted of three sessions. Here is a brief summary on what we saw: (more…)
1) Security and Trust Management (STM). Papers by April 2nd.
The intersection of security and the real world has prompted research in trust management. This research should ideally translate into proposals of solutions to traditional security issues. But, more often than not, it’s all proposals and few solutions. That is why STM focuses on how trust management may practically solve security issues and, in so doing, how it may enable new applications (eg, reputation, recommendation, collaboration in P2P or mobile nets). The call covers a wide range of topics.
2) Combining Context with Trust, Security, and Privacy (CAT). Paper abstracts by March 28th.
A research field might claim to have entered mainstream status only after it has been accepted by established conferences. Context-awareness and trust management have had that honour, but they have had it separately. We know by now how to design context-aware systems and trust management systems, but how to integrate the two is still the province of unexplored territory. That is why CAT will feature intrepid researchers who will stop us from:
Last year, CAT was terrific – I still remember the informing talks by Maddy, Tyrone and Linda. This year, it is likely to be even better. That is because CAT is like Math – one does context plus trust, and then multiplies by many researchers to equal stimulating discussion
Two researchers at the University of Texas have de-anonymised (re-nymised? nymified?) the Netflix Prize dataset.
BoingBoing has a video of a tiny camera-carrying ornithopter developed at the Delft University of Technology. The ornithopter has a 35 cm wingspan and can carry a camera and video transmitter for 17 minutes. The next model will have a 10 cm wingspan.
As usual, the researcher “suggests that it could be used to locate victims in collapsed buildings”. If that happens before they’re used for police surveillance or military targetting, I’ll be pleasantly surprised.
At this time of year the return to school is heralded by the purchase of new school uniform for thousands of children. Trutex, a clothing supplier in the UK, has recently announced that it is considering including GPS tracking devices in future ranges of its uniform products following an on-line survey of parents.
Mobile phone GPS tracking services targeted at parents for monitoring the whereabouts of their children are inexpensive and becoming more widely available in the UK. Advertisements often exploit parental concerns, heightened by high profile incidents of child abduction and violence from street gangs. ARCH, Action on Rights for CHildren, has raised key privacy issues with the UK government including the fact that there is no statutory regulation covering these devices beyond the Data Protection Act 1998.
Ethical issues abound, can a child or young person really give consent freely to be monitored in such a situation? Inevitably, cases of misuse are starting to emerge. Last month a man in the U.S was accused of tracking a child by implanting a GPS device in a picture frame the boy owned.
Returning to the subject of “smart” school uniform, human nature may rule the idea impractical in the end. In my experience by week 2 of term many children have lost the most expensive items of clothing you bought them or are just walking around in someone else’s.