5 cutting-edge privacy considerations for Big Data

White House, MIT host discussion on the new implications for privacy and learning with Big Data

bigdata Big Data is taking higher education institutions by storm; however, the discussion has moved from whether or not Big Data is useful to whether or not institutions can actually manage the data received, and not just in capacity, but in privacy—privacy that, according to leading experts, is just an illusion.

During a “Big Data Privacy Workshop: Advancing the State of the Art in Technology and Practice,” co-hosted by the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy (OSTP) and the MIT Big Data Initiative at CSAIL in Cambridge, MA, thought leaders from academia, government, industry and civil society came together to discuss the future role of technology in protecting and managing privacy.

The workshop, one of a series of events being held across the country in response to President Obama’s call to review privacy issues in the context of increased digital information and the computing process to power it, offered cutting-edge considerations for not only higher education institutions, like MIT, but business and the health care industry.…Read More

Facebook messaging glitch raises fresh privacy concerns

Social networking behemoth Facebook reported a glitch in a software update that caused users’ private messages to land in the wrong in-boxes, stoking new fears over the site’s security, eWeek reports. A Facebook spokesperson released a statement via eMail acknowledging the problem and explained that while the problem was being fixed, the affected users were not able to access the site. “During our regular code push yesterday evening, a bug caused some misrouting to a small number of users for a short period of time,” the statement read. “Our engineers diagnosed the problem moments after it began and worked diligently to get everything back in its rightful place.” The statement did not include specifics on how widespread the problem was or how long it took the company to fix the hiccup. The incident puts Facebook back in the security spotlight as questions are again raised regarding the level of security and privacy of its users’ accounts…

Click here for the full story

…Read More

Privacy group files FTC complaint on Google Buzz

A privacy watchdog group complained to federal regulators on Feb. 16 about Google’s new Buzz social networking service, saying it violates federal consumer protection law, reports the Associated Press. The Electronic Privacy Information Center filed its complaint with the Federal Trade Commission just days after Google Inc. altered the service to address mounting privacy concerns. Since launching Google Buzz as part of Gmail a week ago, the search company has come under fire for automatically creating public circles of friends for users based on their most frequent Gmail contacts. Over the weekend, Google altered the service to merely suggest contacts for its users’ social networks. Despite the changes, EPIC argues that privacy violations remain because Google automatically signs up Gmail users for Buzz, rather than waiting for them to do so themselves. EPIC wants the FTC to require Google to make Buzz a “fully opt-in” service. It also wants the company barred from using Gmail address book contacts to compile social networking lists…

Click here for the full story

…Read More

Google tweaks Buzz social hub after privacy woes

As it introduced a new social hub, Google quickly learned that people’s most frequent e-mail contacts are not necessarily their best friends, the Associated Press reports. Rather, they could be business associates, or even lovers, and the groups don’t necessarily mix well. It’s one reason many people keep those worlds separate by using Facebook for friends and LinkedIn for professional contacts, or by keeping some people completely off either social circle despite frequent e-mails with them. Google Inc. drew privacy complaints this week when it introduced Buzz and automatically created circles of friends based on users’ most frequent contacts on Gmail. Just days later, Google responded by giving users more control over what others see about them. Google introduced Buzz on Tuesday as part of its existing Gmail service. The service includes many of the features that have turned Facebook into the Web’s top spot for fraternizing with friends and family. Like Facebook, Buzz lets Gmail users post updates about what they are doing or thinking. Gmail users can also track other people’s updates and instantly comment on them for everyone else in the social circle to see. But while Facebook requires both sides to confirm that they are friends before making that relationship public, Google automatically does so by analyzing how often they’ve communicated in the past. Those frequent contacts become part of the circle of people you follow and who follow you.

Click here for the full story

…Read More