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Why should we care about data privacy?

Is your personal information protected? Did Trump win through leveraging psychometrics? Are you vulnerable from using an Android VPN app? Are Smart Cities beneficial or threatening to privacy? What makes a data scientist the best? Could hiring a data scientist be as easy as booking an Uber? What does your Facebook profile say about you?

On reflection of international Data Privacy Day (DPD) yesterday, this week's issue will be mainly focused on privacy. DPD aims to educates consumers on how they can protect their data and their online privacy.

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A new survey, conducted by Pew Research Center, has revealed that although many Americans fear their data isn't safe, few are actually taking the necessary precautions to safeguard themselves. 🤔 Notably, federal government and social media sites are regarded the least trustworthy to protect personal information.

In addition, the 2017 Thales Data Threat Report shows similar findings - with 88% of respondents claiming to feeling vulnerable to data threats. 💀💀 Extremely worrying but UNSURPRISING considering the frequency of data breaches, despite increases in security spending. 💰

Furthermore, 'anonymised' user data isn't really anonymous. For example, individuals can be identified by linking the PII stripped data with social media activity. 📲 A different system is needed to protect privacy.

This week Facebook released an easily digestable and mobile friendly 'Privacy Basic' policy. Great for helping young people understand their digital footprint and managing their privacy.

Slightly old but EXCELLENT perspective on why we should all care about our privacy and why it should be protected as a basic human right. Simply put: "Don’t confuse privacy with secrecy. I know what you do in the bathroom, but you still close the door. That’s because you want privacy, not secrecy." As recent events have shown, you can't predict the future. Personal data can become dangerous if it falls into the wrong hands.. 🙃

Gillian Tett argues that Cambridge Analytica (behavioural microtargeting pros) helped Trump win the election - by targeting thousands of individuals in swing states. Trump used this to decide where to spend his campaigning time and what message would be most effective. Cambridge Analytica, which is a massive Republican donor, claims to hold 5,000 data points on every adult in America. 😳

This is extremely concerning for digital privacy and the way data science is changing opinion and even democracy "in ways most people do not understand". 😶 Read more about about psychometrics and the (counter)revolution in marketing that helping bring fascism to power. 🕵

It was revealed that the NHS has been sharing patient data with the Home Office in an attempt to crackdown on immigration. Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbot has called the data sharing "unacceptable" - but the guidelines do strictly state that data can only be shared when "other reasonable and appropriate efforts to locate them have failed".

Using an Android VPN app? It was revealed that more than a third of the VPN apps on the Google Play Store have been leaking sensitive data - by "tracking users through malvertising or malware". Check this list to see if you have been effected. 📴 This comes after last week's revelation that Meitu's selfie app is sharing your phone's location and data with China. 👀

Looking forward: are Smart Cities the next step or just a privacy threat? With the potential to hold data on every aspect of life, "from energy usage to how and where we travel", are the potential benefits worth the dangers? Giving this information to governments is risky, especially considering recent events, as it could easily be used to identify potential "troublemakers" or "use movement tracking to preempt political gatherings or protests". 😨


Thomas Redman explains why the BEST data scientists get out and talk to people. 🗣 WORTHWHILE read - brief summary of Redman's steps to being the best:

  1. See how the data is actually collected

  2. Get to know the full context in which you work

  3. Integrate these efforts into your day-in, day-out work

Could hiring a data scientist be as simple as booking an Uber? London based startup Pivigo has launched an "on-demand data science marketplace". Interesting idea. 🦄🦄

Nathan Yau shows 25 different ways one dataset can be visualised - with "each chart providing a different focus and interpretation". 📈📊 See one example below, or here to see the rest.

What does your Facebook profile say about you? Apply Magic Sauce translates digital footprints into psychological profiles. Somewhat comically insightful if you regularly 'Like' things. 🙎

Arianna McClain and Rohini Vibha explain how they use data to inspire design. Leverage data to explore "the tension between what people say versus what they do". 🎨

Excess heat from data centres in Stockholm is soon to be used to warm homes. Green computing! ✅

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