4417749 Thelma Arnold Lilburn, Georgia
numb fingers 60 single men dog that urinates on everything dogs that urinate on everything. The Times went to visit her and ran a great caption to the photo accompanying the story:
Viacom v Google by Viacom,
parent company of Paramount, Dreamworks, MTV, and Nickelodeon. In March 2007, Viacom sued Google over YouTube claiming that its copyrighted TV shows were available on YouTube and that Google wasn’t doing enough to prevent this unauthorised copying and distribution.
U.S. District Judge Louis L.
Stanton In July this year, ﬁve months after Google announced their “anonymize after two years” policy, U.S. District Judge Louis L. Stanton granted a motion to give Viacom
“the motion to compel production
of all data from the Logging database concerning each time a Y ube video has been ouT viewed on the Y ube ouT website or through embedding on a third-party website is granted” a copy of the YouTube access logs. This information includes:
“The reality is though that
in most cases, an IP address without additional information cannot [identify you]” - Google Blog, Feb ‘08 alone isn’t identifying information. Fortunately Viacom are on top of the privacy concerns raised by their request for YouTube logs. They say they will limit access to the data
“is going to be limited
to outside advisers who can use it solely for the purpose of enforcing our rights against Y ube and ouT Google” - Michael D. Fricklas, Viacom’s general counsel to Viacom’s advisers. Whew, thank you Viacom. And thank you, Google, for choosing to retain that data and only anonymize after two years!
“the retention of data generated
or processed in connection with the provision of publicly available electronic communications services or of public communications networks” the retention of data generated or processed in connection with the provision of publicly available electronic communications services or of public communications networks.
6 months - 2 years
For anywhere between 6 months and 2 years, depending on the type of data. Fortunately it only covers
telephony, mobile telephony, Internet access,
Internet email and Internet telephony. telephony, mobile telephony, Internet access, Internet email and Internet telephony. Member states have the option to delay the Internet bits until March 2009 and most have opted to delay. Member states also have the option to go beyond the EU recommendations, as
every single internet data packet
every single Internet data packet. I’m reasonably conﬁdent this is impossible, but it does show the ambitions of the states here. The states are all conﬁdent that the data won’t be
“Cloud” “the cloud” (air quotes).
It’s a broad and popular term, and like all broad popular terms it’s become more of a buzzword to get venture funding, or to sound like you know what you’re talking about than a useful marker of technological progress.
“Cloud” = On Demand +
Utility Computing + SOA + ASP + SaaS + ... It covers a multitude of sins. We talked about Software As A Service (YouTube), and that’s a real trend. Lots of different types of software are moving into “the cloud”.
Google Healthcare slips through a
crack in the medical record legislation in the USA-- because they’re not holding records on behalf of providers, no security is mandated. The expectation is that the market will determine an appropriate level of security. Hoorah for the market! And as we all know, markets immediately ﬁnd the appropriate level of security with no incentive to provide too little. And fortunately there can be no privacy problems ﬂowing from an inadequate level of security. Right? Right?
Amazon EC2 their “Elastic Compute
Cloud”, EC2. You upload a virtual machine image (think: copy of a hard drive) and Amazon runs it for you. No longer do you have to worry about managing bandwidth, installing operating systems on servers, replacing hard drives, and all the stuff that IT departments used to have to do. Consequently
many people have build their
companies on EC2 and its sister storage service, S3. Many of these are startups, attracted because it lets them scale without substantial investment, but many EC2 customers (Eli Lilly, for example) are sizable. Amazon’s services are getting a lot of use,
Google also have a utility
computing play: you write your program to run on their environment and away you go, all of Google’s more than 2 million servers are yours for the using. Like Amazon, you’re charged by the CPU-hour.
35,000/month 2,500/container $500M/data centre 35,000
new servers every month in data centers. They’re building the data centers from 40- foot shipping containers that each house 2,500 servers. The new data center in Chicago cost $500M. These numbers aren’t unusual for the industry.
Outsourced IT Outsourced IT. Every
program on every machine is a pain in someone’s ass. IT departments must keep the versions up to date, deal with bitrot (when Windows stops working and everything has to be reinstalled), etc. Using Google Docs means all the administrative hassle of Microsoft Office has become Google’s problem. And part and parcel of outsourced IT is
Where’s the problem? Many people
ask “so what?” when you tell them that they’ve outsourced their privacy. “Google will look after me, right?” they say. There are two reasons why this isn’t necessarily true.
perfect security you might as
well look for perfect happiness. There is no such thing as perfect security, just acceptable levels of risk. Your company makes decides upon that acceptable level every time they decide not to train their IT staff in the latest security practices, every time they choose between one antivirus product and another, every time they decide not to buy a $75,000 network security appliance. That’s perfectly normal. What’s different in the world of the cloud, though, is that
decide you don’t get to
decide. Your vendor does. And no vendor will tell you all the security precautions and procedures they have. Their security is
opaque opaque. Few vendors even
report incidents, and even fewer countries have mandatory reporting laws. So you’re asked to make a security (and thus privacy) decision on the basis of imperfect, or even absent, information. That’s the ﬁrst reason that outsourced privacy isn’t all good.
(b) Gubmint = Black Hats
The second reason is that it’s not just rogue teenagers hellbent on getting your credit card details that you have to worry about. As the EU directive clearly show, governments are black hats, bad guys. They just have
subpoena / court order /
search warrant / request different attack vectors from those of your average 21 year old Ukrainian virus writer. And as
Y ube ouT usernames IP
addresses Viacom Viacom’s logﬁle data grab shows, many private companies have learned to piggyback on the judicial and legislative’s attack vectors.
statutory = weaker and generally
require law enforcement to have less justiﬁcation than do the constitutional standards. This difference between two standards means law enforcement can more easily intercept your data outside the home than in it -- bad news for hosted apps like Google Docs, Mail, etc. Let me go over this again:
D ! E data in
the cloud N P W and the police need only a court order, which has a much lower hurdle to clear. A recent lawsuit,
Warshak v USA Warshak v
USA has lead to a ruling that the two should be treated the same (and Constitutional standards should apply to getting data from ISPs). It’s bouncing around appeals at the moment, and the double standard will continue until and unless it’s resolved in Warshak’s favour.
“Relying on the Government to
ensure your privacy is like asking a peeping T to install om your window blinds.” - John Perry Barlow In short, security and privacy are as much threatened by legal and regulatory means as by viral and Trojan.
trends trends, growing numbers of
similar things done by people who live on the cutting edge of what’s possible with today’s technology, because Alan Kay knew how to do futurism:
“The best way to predict
the future is to invent it.” - Alan Kay He invented object-oriented programming, the the windowing system, pulldown menus, GUIs and computer interfaces as we know them today basically. So I look for people or projects that seem to be to be inventing the future. Here are a few.
Let’s start in an unlikely
place: the foot. The Nike+ is a shoe with a accelerometer that counts steps. It communicates with an iPod and syncs your running record to a web site. People who use it report a new way of thinking about their run: it’s become a
“My run is now a
videogame, and I want you to play with me.” - Jane McGonigal video game. You can have collaborative and competitive challenges and you get virtual trophies. Now many pieces of gym equipment can also report to the iPod, so people can track their treadmill, cross-trainer, and bike miles on the same web site as they keep track of their running.
Or take the Amazon Kindle.
This is an electronic book reader--super high resolution screen, keyboard, and all that but the main innovation behind it is cellular connectivity. You don’t buy a network contract when you buy the Kindle, but the books you buy (from Amazon.com, naturally) arrive via the cellular data network. Introduced a year ago, Amazon will have sold 380,000 of them by the end of this year.
This is the Wattson. It’s
a power meter that reports the information to you, not just the power company. This is the display, there’s also a transmitter that clips onto a mains cables. There’s companion software, Holmes, that uploads your energy usage to the Holmes web site and lets you track and compare over time.
This is Botanicalls, a gizmo
that sends Twitter updates when your plants need watering. What you see is a sensor that clips into the potplant’s soil and a network cable to send the updates.
Andy Stanford-Clark, an IBM “Master
Inventor”, has instrumented his house and hooked it up to Twitter. You can follow his house and see his power consumption, when the phone rings, when the motion-sensitive lights turn on and off, etc. These people use Twitter, by the way, because Twitter runs a free SMS gateway in the USA and so it has become a cheap and easy way for programs to send SMS. For example,
This is the Availabot by
Matt Webb and Jack Schulze. It’s a little toy that plugs into your USB port and stands to attention whenever a particular instant message buddy comes online.
These researchers from Iowa State
University are holding sensors that will help farmers understand nutrient and water ﬂow in their soil. They’re 2 inches by 4 inches at the moment and will live underground, communicating wirelessly with a central computer.
WineM is a prototype of
a smart wine rack: a reader senses the RFID tags on bottles and uses lights to display the type of wine so you don’t have to turn the bottle to check the label. When you add a new bottle to your collection, the hardware scans the UPC code and uses public databases to translate that into a variety of wine--no keyboard necessary.
This is a MobileTEEN GPS
unit. AIG, before they needed bailing out, offered a Teen GPS insurance. In exchange for lower premiums (anyone here tried to insure a teenage driver lately? You know what I’m talking about) your teen (or their car) must carry this GPS device around, which reports their location back to AIG. You can tell AIG’s web site to SMS you if your teenager speeds, and you can even set up a GeoFENCE (that’s a registered service mark, by the way) and it’ll SMS you if they leave that area.
This is the Dash mobile
GPS unit for your car. It has a cellular network card in it, and uploads your location to the Dash servers. In return, you get incredibly accurate up-to-the-second traffic information as reported by the Dash units of the other cars in the city.
This is the next President
of the United States of America, using his Blackberry. The Blackberry is a mobile phone with email, it lets you send and receive email no matter where you are. The latest news is that Obama will have to give up his Blackberry because the emails will be a matter of public record, and because it’s not a good idea for a cellphone company to have a database in which can be easily found the location of the President of the United States of America.
(0) Don’t collect it The
most obvious solution is simply not to collect the data in the ﬁrst place. A lot of these advertising-driven companies are packrats--think of Google and the two year lifetime of unanonymized data (after the Viacom ruling, by the way, they announced they were changing those two-year lifetimes to nine months). They keep this data because it might be useful to their future selves and not for you or your future self.
(1) Same goals Next, vendors
should have the same goals as you do. Amazon does: when you run your web site on EC2, you’re paying Amazon for that service. Amazon isn’t mining what you do and they’re not storing your data for later use. Google’s business model, however, is advertising. So you get GMail and it looks like it’s free, but the price you pay is Google’s data collection.
(2) Cryptography Finally, your data
should be encrypted in such a way that the service provider can’t decrypt it without you. We can do this technically, but few companies do it in practice.
0) data makes services better
It’d be sad if Google weren’t to collect data because the data that Google collects makes its services better. And we beneﬁt when this happens. Yes, it makes Google rich, but it also makes the Internet navigable, our email spam-free, and ﬁlls the world with unicorns and rainbows.
1) free is cheap Aligning
interests is all very well, but advertising business models make services free that would otherwise be a direct cost. We can all host our domains and our email on Google without paying a cent, whereas ISPs typically charge for it. Aligning Google’s interests with our privacy interests may damage our pecuniary interests. And, ﬁnally,
(3) shared data makes individual
experiences better If you encrypt personally-identifying data, you make it very difficult to create those sites that crunch everyone’s data and make suggestions or recommendations. If the Holmes web site can’t see the power use of my Wattson, how can I compare myself to other people?
Wesabe is a Quicken-like program
on the web, like Mint. These guys get privacy right. First, they don’t hold the keys to your Internet banking to download them: you run an uploader on your PC that fetches your electronic statements from the bank and then sends them to Wesabe. Second, Wesabe encrypt your personal data so your records can’t be subpoena’d because your records can’t be tracked back to you. Third, it’s a commercial service and not advertising supported--your best interests are their best interests. And ﬁnally, Wesabe still manages to provide collective intelligence (you’re not saving as much as everyone else, for example). I contract to O’Reilly Media, who invested in Wesabe precisely because they get this so right.