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Tag Archives: data

Waze will provide its traffic data to US cities

Waze's real-time, crowdsourced info will soon do a lot more than help you avoid traffic jams. The Google-owned company is widening a partnership with Esri to provide its live alerts for free to American cities and municipalities that are part of its...

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Spotify is testing a data-friendly ‘Lite’ app for Android

Spotify is the latest tech company to join the ‘Lite’ app party after a data-friendly version of its music streaming app surfaced for Android devices. ‘Spotify Lite’ — which was first spotted by the eagle eyes at Android Police — is designed to take up less space on smartphones and to consume less data, too. That’s particularly important for cheaper smartphones, which tend to have less memory, and people who use metered mobile data. In that respect, the app is just 15MB in size, as opposed to 100MB for the main Spotify app, while it also tracks the amount of data that the app uses each month. However, like most things in life, there’s a compromise here… although we can’t quite be sure exactly what. That’s because the app is being trialed in Brazil only — tough luck if you live elsewhere and want to get it — although Android Police got hold of an SDK which it said shows the app is devoid of some key features. That apparently includes — or, rather, doesn’t include — offline playback and Spotify Connect for streaming to other devices. It looks like Lite app users can’t select specific songs and must instead rely on the shuffle button, even if they are a Spotify Premium subscriber. Of course, the app is in beta right now so that list of missing features may change as/when it gets a full worldwide release. For now, app tracking firm Sensor Tower suggests Spotify Lite has racked up just 4,000 downloads so this is very much a test deployment. Here’s Spotify’s non-committal statement on the Lite app. “At Spotify, we routinely conduct a number of tests in an effort to improve our user experience. Some of those tests end up paving the path for our broader user experience and others serve only as an important learning.

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California passes landmark data privacy bill

A data privacy bill in California is just a signature away from becoming law over the strenuous objections of many tech companies that rely on surreptitious data collection for their livelihood. The California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 has passed through the state legislative organs and will now head to the desk of Governor Jerry Brown to be enacted. Update : The Governor has signed it and the bill will take effect at the end of next year: Got the call informing me that @JerryBrownGov signed #AB375 . Thank you everyone for this landmark legislation. #CaCPA2018 #privacy pic.twitter.com/cW9TAChCN4 — Ed Chau (@AsmEdChau) June 28, 2018 The law puts in place a variety of powerful protections against consumers having their data collected and sold without their knowledge. You can read the full bill here , but the basic improvements are as follows: Businesses must disclose what information it collects, what business purpose it does so for and any third parties it shares that data with. Businesses would be required to comply with official consumer requests to delete that data. Consumers can opt out of their data being sold, and businesses can’t retaliate by changing the price or level of service. Businesses can, however, offer “financial incentives” for being allowed to collect data. California authorities are empowered to fine companies for violations. As you can imagine, that puts something of a damper on the businesses of Facebook and Google in particular, and indeed those companies have aligned with others in opposition to the law, either individually or via trade organizations. Naturally, internet providers like AT&T and Verizon, which have for years made money from sharing the data of their customers with third parties, are also opposed

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A huge spreadsheet naming ICE employees gets yanked from GitHub and Medium

A massive database of current U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) employees scraped from public LinkedIn profiles has been removed from the tech platforms hosting the data. The project was undertaken by Sam Lavigne , self-described artist, programmer and researcher in response to recent revelations around ICE’s detention practices at the southern U.S. border. Lavigne posted the database to GitHub on Tuesday and by Wednesday the repository had been removed. The database included the name, profile photo, title and city area of every ICE employee who listed the agency as their employer on the professional networking site. A more in-depth version of the data pulled all public LinkedIn data from the pool of users, including previous employment, education history and any other information those users opted to make public. The total database lists this information for 1,595 ICE employees, from the agency’s CTO on down to low-level workers and interns. The project accompanied a Medium post about the project’s aims that has since been removed by the platform: While I don’t have a precise idea of what should be done with this data set, I leave it here with the hope that researchers, journalists and activists will find it useful… I find it helpful to remember that as much as internet companies use data to spy on and exploit their users, we can at times reverse the story, and leverage those very same online platforms as a means to investigate or even undermine entrenched power structures. It’s a strange side effect of our reliance on private companies and semi-public platforms to mediate nearly all aspects of our lives. The data set appears to have violated GitHub and Medium guidelines against doxing. Medium’s anti-harassment policy specifically forbids doxing and defines it broadly, preventing “the aggregation of publicly available information to target, shame, blackmail, harass, intimidate, threaten, or endanger.” Because it doesn’t include personal identifying information like home addresses, phone numbers or other non-public details, Lavigne’s project isn’t really doxing in the normal sense of the word, though that hasn’t made it less controversial. GitHub’s own policy leading to the data’s removal is less clear, though the company told The Verge the repository was removed due to “doxxing and harassment.” The platform’s terms of service forbid uses of GitHub that “violate the privacy of any third party, such as by posting another person’s personal information without consent.” This leaves some room for interpretation, and it is not clear that data from a public-facing social media profile is “personal” under this definition. GitHub allows researchers to scrape data from external sites in order to aggregate it “only if any publications resulting from that research are open access.” While Lavigne’s aggregation efforts were deemed off-limits by some tech platforms, they do raise compelling questions. What kinds of public data, in aggregate, run afoul of anti-harassment rules?

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