All posts by EdwardM

How your phone’s location history is used against you

The FBI recently demanded from Google the data about all people using location services within a 100-acre area in Portland, Maine, as part of an investigation into a series of robberies. The request included the names, addresses, phone numbers, “session” times and duration, log-in IP addresses, email addresses, log files and payment information.

Source: Can the police search your phone? | Computerworld

Police may have used location history is to see who has crossed paths of a person they were tracking. For example, suppose police are tracking an illicit drug distribution ring. Dealers meet with customers to deliver drugs.

In order to identify potential customers, police can see whose location data puts them in close proximity to the distributor they are tracking. Merely by being around a distributor, you then become a potential target of police operations.

Lenovo Mirage Camera With Daydream VR180 Review

Source: Lenovo Mirage Camera With Daydream VR180 Review  – Guide to VR 3D Photos and Video

This VR camera, shooting VR 180 3D, looks very interesting. I enjoy shooting and viewing 3D still and video photography. This item could make it easier to create – and view 3D content. Ever since YouTube dropped their online 3D video player, viewing opportunities have migrated to VR viewing systems. But shooting 3D for VR is hard – VR 180 is an excellent solution.

Google admits turning off ‘location history’ does nothing

Google admits they spy on you always: Google has changed a help page that erroneously described how its “Location History” setting works,…

Even when Location History is set to off, Google’s Android continues to track your location. Google uses your highly detailed location information to discern your interests, where you shop, why type of health problems you may have (by virtue of which doctors or therapists you visit) and more.

Source: Google admits turning off ‘location history’ does nothing |

The reason Google tracks your location, everywhere you go

We now know that even with Location Services disabled, Google still tracks and records your every move. The data is collected, ostensibly, for targeted advertising. An advertiser could request thei…

Source: The reason Google tracks your location, everywhere you go |

It’s all about knowing where you shop, and where you go. An enormous amount of data may be discerned from your location data – even your health records. Seriously.

Social Panic is one of my other blogs. Please check it out.

San Francisco proposes to ban tech company free lunches

Ahsha Safaí and Aaron Peskin, two San Francisco supervisors, are proposing to ban companies moving into new office space in the city from offering their employees free meals, in hopes of getting tech workers to visit local restaurants.

Source: San Francisco proposes an end to free tech lunches

San Francisco wants to force workers to buy meals from local restaurants by using the force of government to prop up other businesses.

Companies have inside cafeterias (free or not) for many reasons, including

  • Cultivates a social environment for workers who hang out together, and enables workers to interact with staff from other departments.
  • Employees like the convenience of an onsite cafeteria and having one helps with recruiting.
  • Cuts down on long lunch breaks – employs who have to leave taking longer lunches.
  • Productivity goes up.
  • On site food services are, in some cases, tied to “employee wellness” programs.



Our temporary foreign work visas have turned into “spy visas”?

Politico says Silicon Valley is swarming with non-traditional spies, especially from China but also from other countries. Most are apparently working at tech companies in Silicon Valley and San Francisco.

It’s as if our program of recruiting hundreds of thousands of temporary tech workers from other countries (almost entirely from India and China) has turned into a self inflicted spying and IP theft operation. Who could have seen that coming?

Chinese officials bussed in 6,000-8,000 J-Visa holding students—threatening them with the loss of Chinese government funding


Chinese intelligence has long focused on surveilling, and attempting to control, Chinese nationals studying abroad. One well-documented mechanism for this effort has been the use of Chinese Students and Scholars Associations groups on university campuses.

Source: How Silicon Valley Became a Den of Spies – POLITICO Magazine

FDA hit with one quarter million fake comments to proposed rules

More than a quarter million comments submitted to the Food and Drug Administration about flavored vapor products were fake, according to a watchdog group.

Source: FDA hit with bot-generated wave of fake comments on flavored vapor products

About one half million comments were filed of which 255,000 have already been evaluated as fake; and additional 200,000 are also thought to be fake.

Fake news, fake reviews, fake social media propaganda, fake public comments – this isn’t the great Internet world of the future we were promised 🙁

Data mining enables many companies to discern your health conditions

Data brokers compile health and frailty profiles that have wide-ranging applications for drug companies, advertisers, insurers and other buyers.

Source: How bits of captured data paint a stealth portrait of your health

They do not need access to your protected[1] health care records. Instead, companies are data mining your credit card purchases, your public social media, your online purchase habits and a host of other data points to guess at your health situation and assign you a “health score”.

This secret health score could be used by insurance companies to change your life insurance premiums, or by a prospective employer to deny you a job because your health score is not good enough for them.

You have no idea what data they have collected and analyzed, nor what score they have assigned to you. The data itself is often incorrect (as I recently found) and their assumptions about you are often wrong too. But there is no way to correct their secret health score.

“Open office” floor plans decrease interaction, may lower productivity

Many companies have moved from individual offices or cubicles to open floor spaces, removing doors and presumed barriers to interaction.

A study that tracked workers before conversion to open offices, and after the conversion, found that open offices dramatically reduced employee face to face interaction – in favor of instant messaging and email. The latter, however, have been shown to reduce productivity.

Bottom line: open office layouts are failing to achieve improved interaction – and are actually making interaction worse.