Bits and Bytes

Privacy Today Edition

By Paul Rosenzweig
Saturday, February 11, 2017, 10:38 AM

Pixelization can't protect privacy. Tech improvements make privacy harder all the time. "Google Brain, an offshoot of the Silicon Valley behemoth working on a form of artificial intelligence called deep learning, is finding ways around" pixelization.

Big data, criminal justice and racial bias. "Big data has expanded to the criminal justice system. In Los Angeles, police use computerized “predictive policing” to anticipate crimes and allocate officers. In Fort Lauderdale, Fla., machine-learning algorithms are used to set bond amounts. In states across the country, data-driven estimates of the risk of recidivism are being used to set jail sentences."

Your smart TV is watching you. "Smart televisions can collect more information about you than you think. That's a lesson that resurfaced this week when TV-maker Vizio agreed to pay $2.2 million to settle government charges that its TVs collected their owners' information without their knowledge. But the truth is, Vizio is not the only TV maker that's getting a look at its users' habits."

Africa watches the social stream. "Julius Ikena’s trade business is at a standstill because he cannot make electronic payments to his partners. Andrew Mofor cannot get access to the small fortune — 800 euros, or about $850 — that his daughter sent him through an online banking system. And Angela Atabong, a 29-year-old economics student in Cameroon’s capital, can no longer tap out sweet nothings on the internet messaging service WhatsApp to her fiancé, who lives six hours away."