XXX in Tech
When last we checked in on creepy technologies that wholly encroach on your sense of personal privacy, Microsoft had registered a patent that would allow the Kinect to detect how many people are in a room and stop playback on a movie if it sensed more people than the copyright allowed. But a new patent filed by Verizon takes that concept a step further by allowing a set-top box to observe what’s going on in your house and serve you ads based on what it hears.
The king of revenge porn had just slept with a girl on her 18th birthday at an inconspicuous hotel in Chinatown, and he claimed he had the cell phone snap of her driver’s license to prove it. Though he lives in San Francisco, the notorious Hunter Moore was in New York to serve a community service sentence following an incident in which he’d headbutted a go-go dancer.
“I was so coked out,” Mr. Moore told Betabeat, as we made our way from the lobby of his hotel to a Broome Street bar called Lolita. Tall and thin with ink-colored hair and eyes to match, wearing a black sweatshirt with the hood pulled over his head, Mr. Moore sipped a rum and coke as we slid into a booth toward the back. Black tattoos reached like spiders across his arms.
On Thursday the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), sponsored by Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy, was unanimously passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The ECPA has actually been around since 1986; the new version has been updated for the 21st Century. Now law enforcement will be required to have a search warrant if they want a peek at emails, private messages and data that’s been uploaded to the cloud.
As The Next Web reports, the ACLU is pretty happy the new version of the act has come this far:
Perhaps it’s time for a burner phone? The New York Times reports that the NYPD has begun quietly and methodically accumulating heaps of call logs and putting them into a searchable database called the Enterprise Case Management System.
It works like this: When someone has their cell phone stolen, the NYPD frequently subpoenas the call logs for that phone, hoping that if the thief used the phone, the recordings will provide evidence that can help track him or her down. But instead of deleting the logs after closing the case, they continue to exist in the NYPD’s database, and could “conceivably be used for any investigative purpose.”
When Google launched its new worldwide alternative reality game earlier this month, the web lit up with widespread questions. The game, called Ingress, allows users to move through the physical world with their Android devices, collecting pockets of energy in various locations that they can then use to complete virtual quests. It was an interesting idea, but on the surface appeared to not make any significant contributions to the company’s bottom line. Why would Google, which has $217.59 billion market cap, allocate time and resources to a free Android game?
Technology Review called it “augmented reality’s first killer app.” AllThingsD reported that because the game incorporates real stores and businesses into its plotline, it’s a natural next-level venue for advertisers–Zipcar, Jamba Juice and Chrome apparel have already all signs on to host ads on Ingress.
Thanksgiving beat out Hurricane Sandy as the most-Instagrammed event ever, solidifying the photo platform as more of a Path-type social network than the future of citizen journalism. [PandoDaily]
The Wiki Weapon Project could be testing its 3D printed guns by end of year. [The Guardian]
Courts continue to wrangle over the legality of collecting texts and data from cell phones to use as evidence. [The New York Times]
Facebook has finally admitted it will soon share the data it collects from your profile with external websites and ad networks. [GigaOm]
Can the Wii U save Nintendo? [The New York Times]
Gmail has improved its search capabilities, making it possible to now search for emails by size or specific date parameters. This should make finding all those embarrassing emails you sent to your ex even easier. [Gmail Blog]
NY Senator Charles Schumer proposed an initiative yesterday that would create two new high school diplomas that focus on promoting high-tech industries. Gotta start ‘em young? [Press Connects]
The Queen of England prefers the Galaxy Note over the iPad for some unknown reason. [CNET]
Here’s something to alarm you before 9 a.m.: Mat Honan, the Wired writer who was famously hacked, on why passwords are basically useless in protecting your personal information. [Wired]
Americans are too prudish to get into the spirit of fancy butt-washing Japanese toilets. [Priceonomics]
In an effort to catalog the underappreciated diversity of style in gentrified Williamsburg, a team of Brooklyn technologists has set up a camera outside their apartment that records the street stylings of passersby and posts the images online. But if passersbys don’t want to be recorded, they’re kind of out of luck.
The site, called Styleblaster, aims to “become a destination for New York City peacocks to traipse by and show off what makes the neighborhood hop.” Using a camera perched a block from the Bedford Ave. L train, the site captures and immediately uploads images of Brooklynites walking by in real time. Users can then click a tophat to signal whether or not the subject is “stylin’.”
Whenever Facebook is taken to task for its complicated yet miraculously ineffective privacy settings, its canned response typically amounts to, “We’re working to make our privacy settings as nuanced as possible.” But this statement, and the concept that Facebook cares about its users’ privacy, is almost antithetical to the actual business of Facebook–mainly, that it makes its money off of users using their real names and lax privacy settings.
As the Wall Street Journal puts it, “The company says its commitment to ‘real names’ makes the site safer for users. It is also at the core of the service they sell to advertisers, namely, access to the real you.”