Dec 122014

Quoting the linked article, “A new report on sexual assault released today by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) officially puts to bed the bogus statistic that one in five women on college campuses are victims of sexual assault. In fact, non-students are 25 percent more likely to be victims of sexual assault than students, according to the data. And the real number of assault victims is several orders of magnitude lower than one-in-five.

“The full study, which was published by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, a division within DOJ, found that rather than one in five female college students becoming victims of sexual assault, the actual rate is 6.1 per 1,000 students, or 0.61 percent (instead of 1-in-5, the real number is 0.03-in-5). For non-students, the rate of sexual assault is 7.6 per 1,000 people.”

Awkwardly, UM relies on the myths in its now-mandated training programs on sexual assault.

 Posted by at 11:19 am on December 12, 2014
Nov 132014

Major auto makers address the question of how to deal with your data. They promise to be good.

Remember, cars are no longer something that gets value for a company up front – now that they are rolling computers, the potential is for on-going revenue. We’re probably not quite to the point where they will give you a car in return for free access to your information, but there is plenty of potential value in tracking your location, listening, searching and browsing habits. What would a pizza company pay to be able to direct you to specials if they’re on your route? To bring them in more business?

They’ll be good. They promise.

 Posted by at 5:24 pm on November 13, 2014
Nov 042014

Price discrimination on the internet is the practice of showing consumers different options and prices depending on profiling information compiled by the various vendors involved. Today’s WP has a nice exercise in trying to untangle some of what goes on in the business logic.

As you read that article (and we recommend that you do) keep in mind that profiling isn’t just to determine what hotel rooms to offer or widgets to push first at a shopping site, it can be used to determine what performance you might see from your service provider (possibly on a session to session basis). what search results you will see from your visit to Google or Bing, and someday even what connectivity you might have to one or another part of the deep internet.

 Posted by at 8:40 am on November 4, 2014
Jun 292014

A 2012 experiment run through Facebook showed that moods expressed via social networks influence the emotions of others. Probably that result is not a huge surprise, but it is described as the first study of its kind to confirm it, and (more to the point in a privacy forum) they did this study by manipulating the digital feeds of over 600,000 users without their knowledge or consent.

 Posted by at 12:34 pm on June 29, 2014
May 202014

Earlier in the semester, for our honors class project, I created a youtube video of a hypothetical scenario where health insurance companies track health and fitness apps and then charge rates accordingly.

You can find the video here:

Well, just today the Washington Post is reporting that tech companies are considering fitness tracking! The first step of what I predicted! It really is scary stuff, and is what I believe a huge violation of privacy.

The Washington Post article can be found here:

-Brandon Madsen

 Posted by at 4:07 pm on May 20, 2014