piranha: red origami crane (Default)
i've temporarily set a captcha for anonymous commenters because there seems to be a massive spam run right now, and i'm tired of deleting the screened crap. if that doesn't stop it, i'll turn off anon commenting altogether for the time being -- anyone who wants to can get a code from me to create a journal journal creation is free and easy.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
ah, the joys of living in a surveillance society:

apparently apple has applied for a patent to spy on the users of their phones, to secretly collect, store, and potentially use sensitive biometric information about you.

more detail: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/08/24-0

United States Patent Application 20100207721: http://www.patentvest.com/console/reports/docs/app/20100207721.html
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
AOL releases 20 million search entries from 650,000 users, with associated information, and poorly anonymized.  what were they thinking?  did they not pay attention when the USDOJ got raked over the coals for asking search engine companies for this data (ostensibly to protect The Childruuun)?  no, they must have known, since they handed over their data then, all compliant-like (bastards!).  did they miss that google actually fought this tooth and nail?  or did they somehow think that provided an opportunity for them? i boggle at the stupidity of this move.

they took the page and the dataset down after the news hit the blogosphere and was clearly not received with delight, but not fast enough -- i got a copy. which means thousands of other people also got one. and since the data is now out there it will spread.  while i won't do anything with this, the net is rife with opportunists.  the data includes personal names, addresses, social security numbers.  hello, identity theft!  this will probably also affect google, since AOL just repackaged google's engine, and this data will provide a gold mine for spammers whose method of choice is google's adsense.

these news come on the same day as this (which is how i came across it):  AOL lays off 5000 people. it has lost 9 million paying subscribers in the past four years - almost one in three from its peak.

if i were on AOL i'd be cancelling my account today. in a poll taken after the above-mentioned USDOJ scandal, 56% of people didn't appreciate their private data being given to the government.  guess how many will appreciate having it given to criminals?

i imagine those won't remain the only layoffs.  and you know? i am not gonna weep if AOL hits the big bitbucket in the sky. that company made the internet a bit crappier by offering bad value via an interface designed for "dummies" (in the yellow book sense, not the "stupid people" sense).  it's always september on the net now in large part due to AOL.  seems they've caught their own stupidity virus.

2006-08-08 addendum:
well, that didn't take long.  somebody has put the dataset into an SQL database and put up a query interface -- so if you're concerned that you might have sensitive private data out there, you can check for yourself rather easily now.

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piranha: red origami crane (Default)
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