Please mind what you say in the comments this week; you never know who's watching. Welcome to the all-data-privacy edition of Searchlight. Thanks to NSA traitor/patriot Edward Snowden, stories about leaked secrets saturated the Web this week. Not that you'll hear any complaints here. As both Snowden and President Obama have said, this needs to be talked about. (But if that's true, then why -- oh, never mind.)
Questions need to be asked of and answered by the powers that be. But we also need to ask some questions of ourselves. This week's lead item does that by looking at why we're comfortable with what we're comfortable sharing, and why data privacy takes on different levels of importance depending on who is peering through the keyhole. National Public Radio reporter Linda Holmes calls it an "economy of queasy trust." If you're on the corporate side of this relationship, bully for you. You're winning the Team Corporations vs. Team Government popularity contest at the moment.
But then even that gets muddied when man-of-the-hour Snowden enters the picture. Poll results included in The Informers, this week's Time magazine cover story (and the numbers are similar elsewhere), show a majority of Americans believe Snowden should be prosecuted. That's the guy whose espoused motive was to expose the reality of what Team Government was up to -- the side folks are typically more wary of! It's vastly complicated stuff, twisting together political, ideological, ethical and even technological questions. There will be no easy answers, so let's just keep talking.
Also in this week's Searchlight, additional items on the Snowden case, Google's fear of big data, some hacking we can all get behind, and more.
- Is a dollar off salad dressing worth giving up data privacy? The information your grocer has gathered indicates "yes."
- Can't claim to know how the world will end, but I'm betting a thumb drive will somehow be involved. Seriously, they're the ticking time bomb of the conference swag bag.
- Part J. Edgar Hoover, part Dr. Strangelove, a completely engaging portrait of NSA director Gen. Keith Alexander.
- So, Google shuns any association with, and refuses to use the term "big data". Wonder how they feel about the word "irony"?
- All the hard work you [patsies] put into becoming Foursquare mayor of every coffee shop and restaurant in your neighborhood has been cheapened -- the company is now using your data as fodder for advertising. The nerve!
- Finally, a breath of fresh air (albeit one that would require an oxygen mask) -- an entirely technology-free "hacking" session also free of ethical ambiguity. Sounds pretty nice right about now.
Is big data at odds with personal data privacy?
Sobering stats about online privacy and data security
Big data and our number-crunching nation