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India's security services eye Google and Skype

Posted: 09/01/10 06:00 AM

Blackberry has cut a deal with security officials in India, allowing them access e-mail and data sent using BlackBerry’s network. But the Indian government isn’t done yet. It’s now applying pressure to some other high-tech players.

Indian officials say they’re exploring ways to track the contents of conversations on Google’s video chat service and on Skype.

This spat is just the latest international dispute over internet privacy.

We speak with Fred Cate, a law professor at Indiana University who specializes in privacy and security, to understand what - if anything - security services gain when they try to mine massive amounts of information in search of terrorists.

Comments | Filed Under: India Google Skype data mining privacy security

Gotta Hunch?

Posted: 08/06/10 08:08 AM

The internet thinks it knows you. What products you like, what movies, music, what you want to buy next. And it advertises to you accordingly, with all kinds of junk that it thinks you will want. And the internet thinks you’ve told it all there is to know about you by leaving behind data of where you shop, where you visit, a sort of accidental bread crumb trail.

The website Hunch had a big relaunch this week and it approaches things a bit differently. On Hunch, you create a profile of yourself, either directly or by importing your Twitter or Facebook information, and then you answer questions about yourself. Everything from age and location to what kind of lettuce you like to your thoughts on dolphins. There are tons of questions, you could answer them all day.

Then you ask the site a question, maybe about what car to buy, and it makes recommendations based on who you are.

Hunch was co-founded by Caterina Fake who joins us to talk about what she’s trying to get it to do. Fake is also the co-founder of the photo site Flickr, so she knows a thing or two about web collaboration.

We also check in with Andreas Weigend, former lead scientist at, a company known for making recommendations. We ask him about whether data provided by an individual provides a more accurate view of who they are than data gathered surreptitiously.

Comments | Filed Under: facebook twitter data mining

Working in a data mine, going down down.

Posted: 07/26/10 06:00 AM

Will privacy one day be just a blip in history? A quaint notion from another time? It’s easy to think that way if you spend any time looking at the issue of data mining. Here’s the deal: we as a society have struck a bargain. We want our high tech lovely things, we enjoy our mobile phones, our social media, our interconnectivity. But we pay for that brave new world with our data. We’re constantly giving over all sorts of information about ourselves through web browsers, cell phones, even when we use those little discount cards at the supermarket. Stacey Vanek-Smith of our sister program Marketplace has been looking into the world of data mining and we mine her data to see what she’s learned.  We also talk with Andreas Weigend is former chief scientist at He now consults with businesses on data issues. He says we’re serving it up on a platter.

Comments | Filed Under: data mining

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