* You are viewing the archive for the ‘Privacy’ Category

United States Responsible for 5x More Spam Than Any Other Country

Sophos, an internet-security company, released numbers on the amount of spam sent per country between this past July and September. And the United States is responsible for about 30% of it (see chart below). Despite legislation such as the CAN-SPAM Act, the U.S. hasn’t been able to do much to stop spam. And spam is getting more complicated: fake e-cards, virus-infected PDF attachments, and worthless MP3 files or ringtons are the latest methods. In fact, according to anti-spam company MXSweep, nearly one in ten spam e-mails attach MP3 files or ringtones.

I guess I wouldn’t know much about this. I use Google’s gmail and rarely see any spam.

Continue Reading »

Geoweb & Geotags vs. Geospam & Geohacking: The Latest in So-called Web 3.0

GeowebThe Economist (subscription required) dives into what it thinks is the next generation of the Internet: the Geoweb. Interestingly enough, it formalizes the thoughts of TechConsumer author Marion Jensen who received attention when he wrote on this subject two months ago. While Marion stopped short of calling the location-based Internet Web 3.0, it’s good to know he is not alone in his concept of the “next big thing.”

Apparently, the geoweb already has an emerging architecture: traffic jams, seismic tremors, crime rates, and melanoma stats are just a few areas where data is being collected and tied to location. A new discipline of “geographic information systems” (GIS) is on the rise, which includes fancy software used mostly by governments and companies to analyze spatial data. And the data “tend to be of impeccable quality.”

Continue Reading »

Purdue University To Use Text Messaging for Campus Emergencies

Purdue UniversityPurdue University plans to test a text messaging system in late September. So far, about 6,000 students, faculty, and staff have signed up, according to Scott Ksander, executive director of information technology networks and security. In order for the test to be valid, however, the university claims it needs three times that number.

Registration is a simple process. Users go to http://www.purdue.edu/securepurdue and click on “Change My Password.” They then enter their account name and password, and then select the “Emergency Contact Information” link.

Results from the test will be used to determine what works, what can be improved, and how best to evaluate a system for the campus. The university explained that it will use the system only for this test and emergencies involving public safety. Here are some more details (which you can only get to after logging into the system as a student or staff member):

Continue Reading »

The Irony of the Most Popular Anti-Virus Having the Worst Customer Service

SymantecComputerworld has an interview with Symantec CEO John Thompson, which discusses, among other things, the poor customer service the company has been dishing out lately. Apparently, it took hold times of over an hour for the anti-virus giant to realize something had to be done.

In answer to the question, “Have you sufficiently addressed related customer service issues and long telephone waits?” Thompson replies: “We think we have by overstaffing, but that’s not a sustainable model, so we have to fix the technology underpinnings… Wait times from their peak of well over an hour are down to now under two minutes.”

Continue Reading »

Top Ten “How To’s” Your IT Department Doesn’t Want You to Know

The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) has compiled a top ten list of “How To’s” that IT Departments want to keep a secret. Along with the article is a video interview with a “security expert” from PricewaterhouseCoopers’s. The issue at hand (in a nutshell): should companies be able to monitor and/or limit your non-work activity in the office?

This seems to be a complicated issue that will never go away. I’m usually one to stand up for privacy and flexibility in the workplace. But then, it only takes one bad experience (spyware / virus / porn) for an employer to tighten up for a legitimate reason (even if often in an over-reacting way). In any event, see below for the video interview and the top ten workarounds:

Continue Reading »

Erasing or Changing Emails Even After They’re Delivered: Good Idea?

BigStringBigString is a company set on eliminating “email sender remorse” by allowing you as the email sender to control emails even after they’ve landed in the recipient’s inbox. I was intrigued both from a technical perspective (i.e., how does it work?) and from a sociological perspective (i.e., what does potentially needing this technology tell us about ourselves?). The company even hosts a weekly contest where it asks for your worst emails (sent to wrong person, reply all mistakes, email while drunk, etc.) and awards the most embarrassing ones with cash prizes. So, first off, here’s how it works:

Continue Reading »

Will Google Come to Microsoft’s Consumer Privacy Party?

SearchTrafficSo the big news today comes in the form of a Microsoft press release explaining a strategic alliance of sorts between Microsoft and Ask. The two companies are “joined together in the commitment to call on the industry to develop global privacy principles for data collection, use and protection related to searching and online advertising. The companies will work with other technology leaders, consumer advocacy organizations and academics to come together and join them in working on the development of these principles, which could include developing and sharing best practices to provide more control for consumers.”

Continue Reading »

Report: For Every $2 Spent on Legit Software, $1 Goes To Pirates

A new study / survey results conducted by the U.S. Business Software Alliance (BSA) claims that the rate of global software piracy has been static for three years even if the cost to businesses is still rising. The conclusion is that for every $2 spent on legitimate software, $1 goes to pirates.

BSA CEO Robert Holleyman explains how static isn’t necessarily a good thing: “The bad news is that overall global piracy rates have remained stagnant… Overall dollar losses have gone up because the overall market is growing.”

Continue Reading »