The KIT ─ Knowledge & Information Technology
No. 164 - 16 March 2016
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In This Issue
Privacy: Reader Comment
OMG Opens Office in Washington DC
Human-Computer Interaction Seminar Online
Discount for Data-Driven Production Conference
Data for Humanity
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"You Still Believe in Privacy?"
That's the question that KIT reader Laurent Butré asked after reading the February 15 article entitled " US Data Privacy and Safe Harbor Issues." As usual, the answer is a bit more complex than the question, but this is how we tried to clarify things.

We need to distinguish between three cases:
  • Using personal information that was shared willingly, even if the user was somewhat careless or naive. You could say that it's up to people to educate themselves better and refrain from sharing information they might regret later.
  • The use of personal data that was supposed to be protected, and that is being shared without the knowledge or consent of the data owner; for example, when a highway toll operator gives (or sells) the travel times of cars between toll plazas with the police or an insurance company. This is a violation of trust. It can be solved through legislation, through the judiciary system (lawsuits that create jurisprudence) or it can be turned around to become a voluntary "data market" in which some people share their data in exchange for some benefit (we know at least one startup in San Francisco that is working on this idea, using location data acquired while people run for exercise).
  • The third case is the deliberate intrusion of governments in the name of public security. It is obviously difficult to oppose this in most countries; however, it is at least good to be informed (whether by controversial actions like those of Edward Snowden or others) that it is going on.
Regardless of the fact that our privacy expectations may be unrealistic in some cases, the inconsistency among international regulations has legislative, political and legal implications means that the subject is important. The negotiation between the US and EU has at least had the merit of highlighting the lower level of legal data protection in the US.
Mr. Smith OMG Goes to Washington
The Object Management Group (whose members are meeting right now in Reston, Virginia) has opened an office in Washington, DC, in order to facilitate collaboration with the US government. One of the key connections that are expected from this initiative is with the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST), which has been a member and contributor to OMG standards for many years.
Stanford CS547 (HCI) Online!
Successive lectures from Stanford University's Computer Science course CS547, the Human-Computer Interaction Seminar, are available online for free. The Stanford Center for Professional Development (SCPD) has published the 10 lectures, given from January 8 to March 11 by various experts in the field. The lectures vary between 60 and 70 minutes.

According to the SCPD site:
"Dynamic professionals sharing their industry experience and cutting edge research within the human-computer interaction (HCI) field will be presented in this seminar. Each week, a unique collection of technologists, artists, designers, and activists will discuss a wide range of current and evolving topics pertaining to HCI."
Data Driven Production: Registration Discount
We are pleased to offer our readers from the Oil & Gas industry a 20% discount on the registration fee for the Data Driven Production conference in Houston on June 7-8. Just register with code PARTNER20 and let us know so we can notify the conference organizer, Upstream Intelligence.
Data for Humanity -- or "First Do No Harm"
A new high-tech version of the doctors' Hippocratic oath, which begins with "first do no harm," is being proposed.

Professors in Germany and the Netherlands started an open letter, with a call for additional signatures from everyone who works with big data to commit to positive uses, helping rather than harming humanity. Many prestigious signatures already, starting with Google's Vint Cerf, one of the "fathers of the Internet."
Seen Recently...
"My opinion is that unless you really understand your IT economics and also have world-class talent, you have no business running your own cloud."
-- Bernard Golden, cloud guru, @bernardgolden