5. Dataveillance

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Dataveillance doesn’t suggest that it’s going to be an interesting topic, but once you think about what you can do with data, and how much of it we give away… then it becomes interesting!

Here’s a great example of taking some fairly dry data and turning it into something of interest:

Also, here’s a big graphical representation of average internet usage patterns as another lovely data visualisation.

We’ll be looking further at how much data people are putting online, and what and whom that is useful to. There are plenty of examples of worrying trends in young people posting extremely revealing information and even pictures about themselves available to the world, but for a second, lets stay on the marginly more positive. With all this information being gather about our lives, there are some really stunning examples of data visualisation available, like Lee Byron’s Last.FM listening history stream graphs, this visual RSS reader called Voyage, there are 50 great examples of other data visualisations here, so remember that even though the man may know everything about you, he might also be looking at it using some of these fantastic graphics.

Looking at this recent vote on Lifehacker, the majority of people think the internet should be ‘private’ by default, so why aren’t people changing their privacy settings to protect that privacy, especially on social media?

So what do you think this site knows about you already? It knows you’re in , . It might be able to guess your postcode… . Also it knows your IP Number is 54.226.80.196 which is a unique identifier. With different software you could easily pick up other details like who your ISP is, etc. That’s all before you’ve even volunteered any information. In the class we’ll look at Google Analytics, and maybe Google Adwords to see the power of what they have to offer. Speaking of Google, they’ve just announced they’ll be crowd-sourcing live traffic data for their ever popular Google Maps service.

This week’s lecture is suitably at the end of Safer Internet Week. Have a look to see what they’ve isolated as the key issues.

Just before you despair too much in what the internet means for data, there are some very clever things it can do. There have been some fantastic projects using distributed computing (and some zombie disasters), but here’s a nice example. Stanford are running a project where as your computer goes into screen saver mode, it can start helping them process data in an effort to understand folding proteins and ultimately, hopefully cure Alzheimers, ALS, Huntington’s, Parkinson’s, and many cancers. Similarly boffins at Harvard University have developed data mining software that analyses people’s medical records for signs of domestic violence.

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Related posts:

  1. Semantic Web (Web 3.0)
  2. Concepts of dataveillance in literature
  3. Censorship and hacking
  4. 5 Dataveillance slides
  5. Why bother trying to access these tricky social media platforms?

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One Response to “5. Dataveillance”

  1. [...] Clarke refers to software that picks out information about the individual online – start reading this blog post – scroll down to the fourth paragraph after the video – this is a perfect explicit [...]

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