Posts tagged ‘Smartphone’

Privacy and Big Data: An Update is in the Works and We Want Your Input!

By Mary Ludloff

In July of 2011, Terence and I were doing our day jobs (which in startup-land is way more than 8 hours) and working on “Privacy and Big Data” during the evenings and weekends. It was, by all accounts (at least according to our friends and family), a lovely summer and we missed most of it! We spent “our” July, August, and September combing through research, studies, media reports, blogs (we stopped counting the number of pages when we got to 4,000) to put together a book that was our humble attempt to cover the full spectrum of the privacy landscape:

  • Our rights and expectations of privacy historically and in the digital age.
  • The current “state” of privacy regulations here (U.S.) and abroad.
  • The players (governments, industries, movements, and companies) that have a stake in the privacy debate and their often contentious and competing agendas.


July 3, 2012 at 6:25 pm 2 comments

McKinsey Study: Location, Location, Location, Part 1

By Mary Ludloff

Yes, it’s that time again: a deep drill-down into a specific big data area, courtesy of McKinsey’s voluminous report on “Big data: The next frontier for innovation, competition, and productivity.” You may be wondering about the five month delay since my last foray into this particular study but, well, we have been just a bit busy with our book (Privacy and Big Data) while working on some very cool features for our Analytics Platform as well as handling all our other PatternBuilders responsibilities!

I also must confess to a bit of angst regarding location data, especially when it pertains to where we are located as opposed to where things (like shipping boxes) are located. From a privacy standpoint, this is a rather large (okay, huge) area of concern but it’s not the data itself that we should be worried about. As in most things surrounding the privacy debate, it is how the myriad of companies, organizations, and government agencies collect and use our personal location information without our knowledge or consent that we should be worried about. (more…)

December 6, 2011 at 7:38 pm 3 comments

Why I Dislike GPS Tracking (and My SmartPhone): Wired’s Article on Telecoms’ Retention of Personal Data

 By Mary Ludloff

Before I begin, I must admit my own personal bias: I have a love/hate relationship with personal devices and technology. Yes, I love that all the devices I now use have made my life so much easier in more ways than I can count (and keep track of). At the same time, I really do hate how much more information is captured about me and how there are so few regulations regarding the use of it. Now, if you read our (Terence and I co-authored) book on Privacy and Big Data or listened to our recent O’Reilly webcast you might not be surprised by this but, just in case, I needed to come clean before I dived into Wired’s article on how much data our major mobile providers are keeping about all of us. Put simply, it’s a lot.

The ACLU of North Carolina managed, under a Freedom of Information Act claim, to obtain a Department of Justice document entitled “Retention Periods of Major Cellular Service Providers.” This document (one page) was designed to help law enforcement agencies understand what information they could get from the major cellular service providers—Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T/Cingular, Sprint, Nextel, Virgin Mobile—as well as how long that data was retained:

“Verizon, for example, keeps a list of everyone you’ve exchanged text messages with for the past year, according to the document. But T-Mobile stores the same data up to five years. It’s 18 months for Sprint, and seven years for AT&T… That makes Verizon appear to have the most privacy-friendly policy. Except that Verizon is alone in retaining the actual contents of text messages. It allegedly stores the messages for five days, while T-Mobile, AT&T, and Sprint don’t store them at all.”


September 30, 2011 at 3:03 pm 1 comment

Privacy and Big Data: Post-Book Thoughts, Mary’s POV

By Mary Ludloff

Well, our book is almost done—it’s now in production phase and Terence and I are finished with most of the heavy writing (unless our editor has some additional thoughts!). In terms of time, it really has not been that long since we signed on to do it—less than six months from initial concept to publication date.  In terms of thought and brain-power, well now, that’s a very different story!

It has been a long, arduous, sometimes acrimonious (in the nicest possible way, of course) journey. You know, working for a small, privately held company means that even in the best of times, you already have multiple jobs so when you add writing a book on top of those, you tend to get a little fractured. This means that your family and friends may get a wee bit irritated with you because you simply do not have time and even when you do, you are usually talking about some aspect of privacy. So, to all my friends and family (Terence can mea culpa in his own post) thank you for being so understanding and for reading and reviewing our chapters! (more…)

August 29, 2011 at 7:46 am 4 comments

IDC’s Latest Digital Data Study: A Deep Dive

By Mary Ludloff

IDC Digital Universe Study Infogrpahic, Sponsored by EMC

IDC 2011 Digital Universe Study and Infographic, Sponsored by EMC

The PatternBuilders team has been “crazy busy” the last couple of weeks! Terence and I continue to work on our Ebook (plugged again!), I am still working my way through the McKinsey study on big data (long but incredibly interesting), the team is putting the final touches on a very cool analytics demo (that’s all I am going to say right now but you’ll hear more about it over the next couple of weeks), and we are all testing the latest release of our platform. That being said, when the IDC paper on “Extracting Value from Chaos” came out, I set everything aside to read through it (and you should too).

Before I begin my deep dive into the paper, I must say something about IDC: when it comes to research, nobody does it better. As a marketer, I am often asked about the different analyst firms and where a company should “spend” its analyst budget. IDC is always on my “short list” because I find its research to be both broad and deep and filled with useful insights. (Full disclosure: we are not an IDC client but hope to be one in the future.) (more…)

July 8, 2011 at 11:04 am 3 comments

Data Security Reminder: Strong Passwords are Your Best Line of Defense

By Mary Ludloff

Yes, I am still working on my second post about the McKinsey Report which focuses on the U.S. health care system and what we can do to “analytically” fix it but I am also, as always, keeping an eye out for interesting news items to pass along. In particular, a WSJ blog post about data security (yours and mine) caught my eye because it reminded me of the importance of passwords.

As you may remember, a while back the WJS “broke” a story that smartphone apps are hijacking our personal information. Well, according to the WSJ, this is still the case:

“Computer security firm viaForensics has found the applications for top Internet companies LinkedIn Corp., Netflix, Inc., Foursquare and Square, Inc. stored various forms of users’ personal data in plain text on a mobile device, putting sensitive information at risk to computer criminals… The Android applications of LinkedIn, Netflix and Foursquare stored user names and passwords in unencrypted form on their Google-powered devices. Storing that data in plain text violates a commonly accepted best practice in computer security. Since many people tend to use the same usernames and passwords across any number of sites, the failing could help hackers penetrate other accounts… ViaForensics also found the iPhone version of Square’s mobile payments app exposed a user’s transaction amount history and the most recent digital signature of a person who signed an electronic receipt on the app.”


June 10, 2011 at 3:26 pm 2 comments

On Social Media: The Real Marketing Transformation

By Mary Ludloff

We are going to be releasing the beta version of our Social Media Analytics solution in the near future and as a result, have been steeped in what I like to call the social media monitoring versus analytics debate. As a B2B marketer I have some thoughts on this topic as do some of my B2C marketing colleagues (hah! I feel a metrics faceoff in the making) but I am going to save that discussion for our beta announcement post. That being said, the whole topic of social media got me thinking about marketing in general and how the advent of social media has had a profound effect on the way we communicate.

In the “olden” days we B2B marketers were focused on the message as in “be on message.” We spent a great deal of time on the message platform, carefully crafting messages that articulated the pain of our targeted audience and spelled out our value in words that would resonate with them. To begin the process, we’d throw a bunch of executives, our top sales performers, and one or two product marketing folks into a room and begin with this simple exercise: if our company was a car, what kind of a car would it be? Pretty silly huh? And what has this to do with messaging? (more…)

April 28, 2011 at 5:06 pm 1 comment

Mobile Apps: Be Really Careful Out There

By Mary Ludloff

Although Terence and I have been “knee deep” in preparing for the launch of our latest vertical analytics solution (PatternBuilders Social Media Analytics) and our Ebook (on Privacy in the Age of Big Data), I came across an article recently that sent up red flags for me and should do the same for you, if you’re a smartphone user. Yes, it’s all about data privacy and your cell phone and yes, I’ve talked about this previously but this time it’s not about what you can do to protect yourself, but what you might not be aware of regarding all the mobile applications you’re using.

What do I mean when I’m talking about mobile, or smartphone applications? Well, they’re all the “things” you use to do something on your phone: search for a restaurant, play a game, read an Ebook (like ours—shameless, shameless plug!), or get directions. Behind each of these actions is an application that makes “it” happen. Now, there are thousands of mobile applications out there and apparently, many of them are hijacking your personal information without your knowledge or consent. According to the Wall Street Journal:

“The Wall Street Journal reported in December that popular applications on the iPhone and Android mobile phones, including Pandora, transmit information about the phones, their users and their locations to outsiders, including advertising networks.

…The Journal tested 101 apps and found that 56 transmitted the phone’s unique device identifier to other companies without users’ awareness or consent. Forty-seven apps transmitted the phone’s location in some way. Five sent a user’s age, gender and other personal details to outsiders. At the time they were tested, 45 apps didn’t provide privacy policies on their websites or inside the apps.”


April 15, 2011 at 4:32 pm 1 comment

Data Security, Privacy, and Your Mobile Phone

By Mary Ludloff

 As we’ve blogged about topics such as data privacy, security breaches, and the like, we often get the following comment: is there anything I can do to protect myself? You know, most companies like ours are “good privacy and security citizens” and we adhere to, and often surpass, privacy regulations and guidelines. However, just like always, there are companies and individuals who try to “game” the system (and even some who unwittingly cause problems through lack of knowledge). One of our goals is to keep you, the consumer, informed about what you can do to protect yourself from data security breaches that may lead to data privacy breaches.  This is why I would like to talk to you about your cell phone. (more…)

March 7, 2011 at 11:34 am 8 comments

Video: Big Data Made Easy

PatternBuilders Corporate

Special privacy section!

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