The other day the German minister of justice, Heiko Maas, was asked in an interview how often he is using Google to crawl the Internet. His answer: "Everyday and in an exorbitant manner. Therefore, unfortunately, I am part of the problem."
Friends and acquaintances across the Middle East/North Africa region often ask for advice on matters related to journalism, media in general, ethics, and how to prepare young people for this very exciting and ever-changing field.
Every business is increasingly interested in mining data and analytics to learn more about their customers in order to yield higher returns. Companies are often in competition with one another to figure out how they can collect more data and do it more efficiently than anyone else.
It's free, accessible and user-friendly. It has many functionalities that schools and teachers love. But is it worth risking the privacy of students who use it as well as potentially that of their families?
It's increasingly clear that the online world is, for both government surveillance types and corporate sellers, a new Wild West where anything goes. This is especially true when it comes to spying on you and gathering every imaginable version of your "data."
Global information surveillance, data-mining -- call it what you want. Thus far, we have failed to apply democratic brakes to slow the inexorable expansion of corporate/state amassing of every shred of our personal information.
So let's stop pulling the small fruit off the tree, and start dealing with the real mega giants of megadata. Why isn't Congress holding disclosure hearings, preparing legislation to rein in Google and Facebook, Apple and Microsoft?
If privacy protection is taken as the shared responsibility of both the participant and the database host, the risks don't disappear, but they shrink down to a size that makes it possible to balance them with the upside potentials.
Shredding privacy is the essence of Tumblr's appeal to Yahoo, and even though it has said it will retain the social networking site's founders in key positions, one way or another that very personal data will be mined and inevitably fall into what users will discover to be the wrong hands.
Congress has just spent an agonizing several weeks debating background checks for gun purchasers and whether such checks would violate the second amendment. Yet at the moment there is no law to stop foreigners from electronically sending bomb-making instructions into the United States.
It's a very ambitious plan that will require a gargantuan effort on journalists' part given the stakes involved, as members of parliament and ministers are not obliged to divest themselves of business interests.
Two weeks after the GigaOm Conference on Structure Data in New York, Gerstein Fisher held its annual Real Talk series. The subject of the investment management firm's lecture followed GigaOm's footsteps, as if by design.