ENTRIES TAGGED "cryptography"

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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The technical aspects of privacy

The first of three public workshops kicked off a conversation with the federal government on data privacy in the US.

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. Read more…

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Four short links: 5 February 2010 Four short links: 5 February 2010

Four short links: 5 February 2010

Public Domain, Science Code, Bad Crypto, Javascript Grids

  1. The Public Domain Manifesto — eloquent argument in favour of the public domain. (via BoingBoing)
  2. Clear Climate Code — project to write and maintain software for climate science, with an emphasis on clarity and correctness. What a wonderful way for coders who aren’t scientists to contribute to open and better science. (via the interesting OKFN blog)
  3. Don’t Hash SecretsOne area of secure protocol development that seems to consistently yield poor design choices is the use of hash functions. What I’m going to say is not 100% correct, but it is on the conservative side of correct, so if you follow the rule, you (probably) can’t go wrong. You might be considered overly paranoid, but as they say, just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not after you. So here it is: Don’t hash secrets. Never. No, sorry, I know you think your case is special but it’s not. No. Stop it. Just don’t do it. You’re making the cryptographers cry.
  4. Javascript Grid Editors — nice wrapup of available Javascript editable grid components, divided into “data driven”, “light edit”, and “spreadsheet”. (via joshua on Delicious)
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Four short links: 18 January 2010

Four short links: 18 January 2010

Google Wave Uses, Open Data Reddit, Crypto Flaw, and Foursquare for Good

  1. On How Google Wave Surprisingly Changed My Life — mandated in his small company that non-critical emails be turned into waves instead. Saw: more resolutions to arguments, less rehash of old territory, conversation gained structure and could be referred to afterwards, remote employees able to participate even when timezones prevented real-time. I’ve been looking for the use case that says “this is what Google Wave is really good for”, and this is a great start. Note: small # of people, and in a company, so critical mass issue easily overcome.
  2. Open Data and APIs on Reddit — a new subreddit created just for Open Data and APIs.
  3. Smart Meter Crypto Flaw Worse Than Thought — poor seeding of the pseudorandom number generator in various chipsets, including those heavily used in embedded networked applications such as smart meters, means those devices are trivially insecure. (via Hacker News)
  4. Foursquare is Changing Our World (Mashable) — Foursquare was perhaps the first to change our day and night life experiences into a social competition to essentially answer the question, “who has the most interesting life?” In fact, one key side effect of playing the game is that it inspires users to lead more active and interesting social lives. While this may all sound superficial and silly, the implications of social location gaming are quite significant. One of the many reasons that O’Reilly invested in Foursquare–glad to see someone noticing. (via timo on Delicious)
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Four short links: 21 July 2009

Four short links: 21 July 2009

Semweb, Comedy Java, Mobile Spyware, Crypto

  1. On Data Reconciliation Strategies and Their Impact on the Web of DataFor years, I’ve been a fairly vocal advocate for the elegance and scalability of a-posteriori reconciliation via equivalence mappings as a superior mechanism (scale-wise) to a-priori reconciliation efforts… but this started to change very rapidly once I started working for Metaweb and saw first hand how much more effective a-priori reconciliation can be, even if drastically more expensive and limiting in the data acquisition front. (via straup on Delicious)
  2. Java Spring’s Biggus Dickus EffectNonstop administrative debris as dadaist poetry. Écriture automatique of the programming office manager or his parrot. (via mattb on Delicious)
  3. Arabic Blackberry Spyware — update pushed out to Arabic Blackberries CC:ed all email to the authorities. A powerful case for multi-distro platforms, which reduces the size of the market captured with one distro is pwned like this.
  4. NaCl – Networking and Cryptography Library — open source high-level crypto library. NaCl (pronounced “salt”) is a new easy-to-use high-speed software library for network communication, encryption, decryption, signatures, etc. NaCl’s goal is to provide all of the core operations needed to build higher-level cryptographic tools. Of course, other libraries already exist for these core operations. NaCl advances the state of the art by improving security, by improving usability, and by improving speed. Creator of qmail is one of the developers. (via Simon Willison)
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