Personalized information filtering by online search engines, social media, news sites and retailers represents a natural evolution in the development towards ever more finely tuned interaction with the users. Since the internet provides an overwhelming quantity of information on most topics, information overload has become one of the main concerns for users. Perceived quality of information services is therefore strongly determined by the ease with which the user can obtain some information that satisfies their current desires. For many of the most highly success internet service, like Google, Amazon.com, YouTube, Netflix and TripAdvisor, the recommender system is a key element in their success over rival services in the same sector. Some, like Netflix, openly acknowledge this even to the extent of awarding large prizes for anyone that can improve their recommender system.
As part of the “Conditions for Consent to analyze Social Media data” project within CaSMa, we have recently launched a survey to ask for your views about the type of information you would want to have before participating in social media research.
Willing consent from all parties involved in a transaction is generally accepted to be a corner stone in the foundation of ethical behavior, no matter if the interaction is of a personal (e.g. sex), professional (e.g. participation as research subject) or public (e.g. being quoted in the media) nature¹. And yet, when dealing with research, or any other interactions online, the mere facts that the interaction is mediated by machines appears to blur this fundamental concept in people’s minds.
Based primarily on the past success of the Apple marketing machine, there is a great expectation that the Apple Watch will give a dramatic push to the sale of wearable technology. For CaSMa wearable tech of the Apple Watch variety raises a number of potential concerns relating to the way in which the data is managed and the limited control that users often have over this information stream.
Horizon Digital Economy Research Institute has 13 summer internships available at The University of Nottingham, two of which are connected to the CaSMa project. Each internship is funded for 10 weeks. The internships are aimed at undergraduate students and current postgraduate students. Postgraduate students from The University of Nottingham are able to apply, on the understanding they suspend their stipend this is due to the nature of the funding source, for oversees students a Visa has to be in place already and to cover the duration of the internship to be eligible.
For more details of each internship and how to apply, see the webpage at http://www.horizon.ac.uk/Internships-available
The closing date is Sunday 31st May 2015.
The CaSMa internships are:
It’s been a busy week in the world of digital rights. On April 11th the UK’s Liberal Democratic party decided to put digital rights on the election campaign agenda by launching a proposal for a Digital Bill of Rights. On April 15th, the Global Commission on Internet Governance released a statement titled “Towards a Social Compact for Digital Privacy and Security” in the run up to the 2015 Global Conference on Cyber Space in the Hague, which culminated with the launch of the Global Forum on Cyber Expertise.
On March 30th, Martha Lane Fox delivered the annual Richard Dimbleby Lecture on BBC with an eloquent and passionate call for the creation of a new civic institution charged with making the UK the “most digital nation on the plant”. The institution she envisaged, and provisionally named “Dot Everyone”, would boost the needs of the civic, public and non-commercial side of the internet while simultaneously providing the infrastructure, skills and training which private companies are desperately looking for.
On March 24th, 2015, the United Nations Human Rights Council’s (UNHRC) adopted a resolution to appoint a special rapporteur on the right to privacy, to be appointed in June. By choosing to adopt this resolution the UNHRC is raising the international recognition and protection for the right to privacy.
This week saw the launch of the Apple Watch, one more product in a growing number of “smart” sensor rich devices that promise to make life easier and better by monitoring user behaviour. Will the Apple Watch be a game changer among these devices? Technologically, the only really new sensor included in the watch that wasn’t already in smart phones appears to be the LED based heart rate sensor, which for some reason is receiving relatively little attention in the popular tech magazines. The Apple marketing machine, however, may prove to be a game changer in terms of popularity of such devices. What might the consequences be if wearable, sensorized, tech truly does become the next big consumer trend?
From February 9 to 11 Ansgar participated on behalf of CaSMa at the ICISSP 2015 (1st International Conference on Information System Security and Privacy) conference in Angers, France. The conference featured talks covering both technical and social issues that were addresses both from practical and theoretical perspectives. Topics included Data and Software Security, Trust, Privacy and Confidentiality, Mobile Systems Security, and Biometric Authentication.
Over the last couple of years concerns about privacy and control of personal data have increasingly moved from the fringes of the hacker community (e.g. Chaos Computer Club) to the mainstream, driven there by seemingly endless reports of ethically questionable treatment of personal data by (social media) companies, the introduction of increasingly powerful ‘smart’ devices that capable of deep intrusions into people’s private lives, and seemingly never ending reports of privacy invasive behaviour by spy agencies.