Big data and privacy: an uneasy face-off for government to face

MIT workshop kicks off Obama campaign on privacy

Thrust into controversy by Edward Snowden’s first revelations last year, President Obama belatedly welcomed a “conversation” about privacy. As cynical as you may feel about US spying, that conversation with the federal government has now begun. In particular, the first of three public workshops took place Monday at MIT.

Given the locale, a focus on the technical aspects of privacy was appropriate for this discussion. Speakers cheered about the value of data (invoking the “big data” buzzword often), delineated the trade-offs between accumulating useful data and preserving privacy, and introduced technologies that could analyze encrypted data without revealing facts about individuals. Two more workshops will be held in other cities, one focusing on ethics and the other on law.

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Who do you trust? You are surrounded by bots.

Preview of upcoming session "Who is Fake?" at the Strata Conference

By Lutz Finger 

In the Matrix, the idea of a computer algorithm determining what we think may seemed far-fetched. Really? Far-fetched? Let’s look at some numbers.

About half of all Americans get their news in digital form. This news is written up by journalists, half of whom at least partially source their stories from social media. They use tools to harvest the real time knowledge of 100,000 tweets per second and more.

But what if someone could influence those tools and create messages that look as though they were part of a common consensus? Or create the appearance of trending?

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Join me for the Strata Online Conference on data warfare on January 22nd

Learn more about potential attack vectors and how to defend against them

Jeez, the days are flying by,” I muttered to myself the other day. The next Strata Online Conference on data warfare is just around the corner. I’ve been excited about this event for some time. How could I not be excited? There will be discussions on using data for evil, hacking cybersecurity, crowdsourcing identity theft, black hat data science, and more.

As I have referred to before, I just love thought provoking and candid discussions.

I first heard about the event when Kathy YuAlistair Croll, and I met at the SF Ferry Building to talk about Strata over breakfast. I’m not a morning person. It takes a few moments for the caffeine to take effect. Alistair is the opposite. I don’t know if Alistair had his dose of caffeine earlier that day or if he just generates his own energy. Whatever it is, it enables him to chair Strata, run his own business, keep up with his precocious two-year-old daughter, and co-author the forthcoming Lean Analytics. Yet, that morning, I was half-tuning Alistair out while I was sipping on my coffee and taking a picture of my crispy caramelized waffle. Yes, I’m that person. But when Alistair started talking about data warfare, he had my full attention. As we rely more upon data, we become more vulnerable to various attacks. It is important for us to learn more about what the potential attack vectors could be and how to defend against them. The speakers at the upcoming Strata Online Conference on data warfare will get us all thinking about this.

The speakers and the topics of their sessions include: Read more…

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How ZeroVM changes analytics in the cloud

What's so interesting about another open source virtualization platform?

ZeroVMZeroVM was the piece of technology that caught my attention during the recent Bay Area Apache Drill Meetup. What’s so interesting about another open source virtualization platform? To find out I did more reading and spoke with LiteStack founder, Camuel Gilyadov.

ZeroVM has its roots in the OpenDremel project. Camuel and his team needed a lightweight virtualization framework but couldn’t find one that suited their requirements for OpenDremel. They created ZeroVM and along the way addressed issues relevant to cloud applications, including security, multi-tenancy, and instant1 elasticity. I’m not claiming ZeroVM is mature technology, but there are two potential applications that data scientists will like: Read more…

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Big data is the next big thing in health IT

Big data introduces unique healthcare challenges and opportunities.

The proliferation of digital health information, including both clinical and claims information, is creating large datasets and significant opportunity.

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The year in big data and data science

The year in big data and data science

Hadoop, security and open data defined the data world in 2011.

From wide adoption of Hadoop to personal data empowerment, Radar data correspondent Audrey Watters looks back on the data trends that shaped 2011.

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Strata Week: Hadoop adds security to its skill set

Strata Week: Hadoop adds security to its skill set

Hadoop and security, surprising results from a consumer data survey, and disconcerting data retention legislation.

In the latest Strata Week: Will big data offer us more security insights? Or will large data stores become targets for security threats? Plus: A very old map gets a digital upgrade.

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Why you can’t really anonymize your data

It's time to accept and work within the limits of data anonymization.

Because we now have so much data at our disposal, any dataset with a decent amount of information can be matched against identifiable public records. To keep datasets available, we must acknowledge that foolproof anonymization is an illusion.

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Strata Week: Will data make stock exchanges unnecessary?

Strata Week: Will data make stock exchanges unnecessary?

Data could disrupt the stock world, how stolen data is sold, and geography data's predictive power

Will big data kill the stock exchange? That question was recently explored by Andy Kessler. Plus: How recent security breaches could shape the black market and a look at how "island biogeography" predicted Osama Bin Laden's location.

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