Archive for the ‘privacy’ Category

meeting on privacy at imperial college

Monday, September 27th, 2010

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

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Google threatens to withdraw from China

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

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)

Who’s Viewed You? The Impact of Feedback in a mobile location Sharing System

Monday, November 9th, 2009

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

Facebook Advertising With Your Pictures (+ How to Opt Out)

Sunday, July 26th, 2009

A recent post here discussed emerging technologies that can be used for advertising on the go- and the threat that they pose to individual privacy. It seems a similar case is now found in online social network sites; places where users volunteer personal information as they interact with their friends. As Daniele mentioned on twitter, a recent TechCrunch article reports on how Facebook now wants to move user information from the private to the public domain (in order to compete with Twitter?)

One of the small steps in doing so involves using your photos to advertise products to your friends:

Facebook occasionally pairs advertisements with relevant social actions from a user’s friends to create Facebook Ads. Facebook Ads make advertisements more interesting and more tailored to you and your friends. These respect all privacy rules. You may opt out of appearing in your friends’ Facebook Ads [..].

Interestingly, until I saw some facebook status updates like this one below, I had no idea:

ATTENTION! FACEBOOK has agreed to let 3rd party advertisers use YOUR posted pictures WITHOUT YOUR PERMISSION! To prevent this: Click on SETTINGS up at the top where you see the Log out link, select PRIVACY,then select NEWS FEEDS & WALL next select the tab that reads FACE BOOK ADS, there is a drop down box, select NO ONE. Then, SAVE your changes. ( RE-POST to let your friends know!)

I’m curious to see what kind of photos will appear, and if facebook measures any change in click-through rates with this feature. However, one of the points this seems to make is that a central aspect of privacy is not only giving users control over the flow of their information, but telling them where it may flow in the first place.

Advertising on the go – privacy, privacy, privacy

Sunday, July 19th, 2009

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.

On social web: open & privacy-friendly

Thursday, January 8th, 2009

From the Economist: Socialising all over the web? Websites can now let visitors bring along their friends. A NEW button is appearing on some websites. It says “Facebook Connect” and saves visitors from having to fill out yet another tedious registration form, upload another profile picture and memorise another username and password. Instead, visitors can now sign into other sites using their existing identity on Facebook. …The big new idea, says Dave Morin, a Facebook Connect manager, is “dynamic privacy”. It means that, as the social network reaches out across the wider web, users will in theory take their privacy settings with them. Wherever on the web they are, they will be able to choose who among their friends will and won’t see what they are up to. As soon as a user demotes a “friend” from intimate to arm’s-length in his Facebook settings, this will also take effect on other sites.

Predicting Where You’ll Go and What You’ll Like

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

“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.

Summary of IFIPTM’08 conference sessions

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

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.

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IFIPTM Monday workshops (CAT, W2Trust)

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

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.

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Intl Workshop on Trust in Mobile Environments

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008

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…)

Two great workshops at iTrust

Friday, February 8th, 2008

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:

  • sitting down in utter apathy towards the issue of trust being context-dependent – if (context=category of trust), as “rock music” is in “I trust you for recommending rock music”.
  • passing over exciting percom applications – if (context=space of interaction) as “my company premises” is in “my PDA is trusted for accessing confidential documents only within my company premises”.

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 ;-)

Netflix Prize dataset de-anonymised

Wednesday, December 19th, 2007

Two researchers at the University of Texas have de-anonymised (re-nymised? nymified?) the Netflix Prize dataset.

Recommendation or Spam?!

Thursday, November 22nd, 2007

As part of my PhD I am interested in investigating the effect of spam in pub-sub and how to use social networks to minimize amount of delivered spam in MANETs. Recently I came across an article about Facebook starting their ‘Social Advertising‘. The idea is putting your face on advertisements for products that you like.

For example, a Facebook user who rents a movie on Blockbuster.com will be asked if he would like to have his movie choice broadcast out to all his friends on Facebook. And those friends would have no choice but to receive that movie message, along with an ad from Blockbuster.

Facebook says that many of its 50 million active users already tell friends about particular products or brands they like, and the only change will be that those communications might start to carry ad messages from the companies that sell them. Facebook is letting advertisers set up their own profile pages at no charge and encouraging companies like Blockbuster, Conde Nast and Coca-Cola to share information with Facebook about the actions of Facebook members on their sites.

Facebook users will not be able to avoid these personally recommended ads if they are friends with participating people. Participation can involve joining a fan club for a brand, recommending a product or sharing information about their purchases from external Web sites.

Although I agree the idea of sharing information with your friends is very useful but at the same time it can potentially create too much spam. So the question is that, are recommendations going to be new labels for spamming?

You can find the main article by Louise Story in here

DelFly: Tiny Robotic Ornithopter Spy

Saturday, November 3rd, 2007

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.

Back to school

Friday, September 7th, 2007

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.