Beacons And iBeacons Create A New Market – Business Insider

Beacons And iBeacons Create A New Market – Business Insider.

An upcoming trend for business to look out for is the “Beacon”. This is small device which businesses can place within their business to either gather information on its customers or push information to the customers by interacting with their smart phones (typically by a low-energy Bluetooth connection).

While this is not new technology, recent advances in the cost and power-efficiency of such beacons and the greater prevalence of smartphone users in general and smartphone users who use their devices while shopping, dining, or otherwise engaged in commerce in specific has made beacon deployment a far more attractive proposition for data-savvy businesses. Beacons allow businesses to not only engage in very accurate location tracking of customers, but to push messages directly to customers based upon their location (ex. As customer walks by a rack of clothing, a message can be pushed to them, letting them know that everything on that rack is 20% off for today only.). Likewise, businesses can track the flow of customer traffic, where they do and do not go, what order they visit places within an establishment, and even, potentially what items they stop an look at. This can, clearly, be powerful data for businesses to use, not only for interacting with customers, but in choosing layout of a business and other “customer experience” considerations.

On the downside, there are potential privacy and security implications of this technology, not only for the customers / consumers, but also for the businesses collecting this data. The more intrusive (and non-anonymous) the data a business collects on its customers, the greater the need for policies, procedures, and infrastructure for dealing with this data safely, securely, and withing the parameters of what the law requires. That having been said, this is very exiting technology that can open many new doors for businesses in terms of business intelligence and customer interaction.

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Ford Exec: ‘We Know Everyone Who Breaks The Law’ Thanks To Our GPS In Your Car – Business Insider

Ford Exec: ‘We Know Everyone Who Breaks The Law’ Thanks To Our GPS In Your Car – Business Insider.

While Ford’s VP of Global Marketing and Sales has since tried to retract his statements, it is fairly obvious that his original assertion that “[Ford] know[s] everyone who breaks the law, we know when you’re doing it. We have GPS in your car, so we know what you’re doing.”  is, in fact, spot-on the truth. While Ford may not be currently doing nefarious things with the data is collects from the GPS devices is it now installing in all of its vehicles, it does highlight the fact that companies that create products we buy and own are now collecting data on us over which we, as consumers, have zero control or ownership.

Data collection of this scope and nature raises huge privacy concerns, and certainly offers even further potential in-roads for the government to collect surveillance data on individuals. As you may be aware, recent court decisions have held that law enforcement cannot palce GPS trackers on automobiles without first obtaining a warrant from a court to do so. With the collection of this kind of data by car companies such as Ford, there is now no deed for law enforcement to obtain a warrant to track a suspect. They can simply demand the records maintained by Ford, for which, based on current case law, there is no requirement for a warrant.

While I am neither a Luddite decrying the dangers of technology, nor a paranoiac assuming that either the Governement or “Big Business” are out to get us, this sort of widespread and pervasive data collection clearly points out the need for a robust public debate over the meaning and boundaries of privacy in the digital age. While there is immense good (economic, social, and otherwise) that we can do with all the data we are now capable of (and are in fact) collecting and analyzing, there comes with it significant dangers of destroying personal privacy altogether and eroding the civil rights accorded to U.S. citizens under the U.S. Constitution.

While this debate had begun to come to the forefront of many people’s consciousness with the revelations of the activities of the NSA by Snowden, it is increasingly clear that the definition of privacy and privacy rights of individuals (and even businesses) is something that requires wide ranging thought, analysis, robust public debate, and in the end decisive legal action. Both our economy and our personal freedoms depend the outcome of the process. We cannot simply afford to sit by and “see what happens”. The statekes are far to great.


Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/ford-exec-gps-2014-1#ixzz2q0Y51SBy

Google Chromes cache makes data easy to steal – Is you credit or business at risk?

Google Chromes cache makes data easy to steal.

For those using the Google Chrome web browser, it is important to know that a critical privacy bug has been found in the browser software which has not yet been fixed by Google.

 

Specifically, Chrome routinely stores sensitive information, such as names, e-mails, contact information, and/or even credit card information which are typed by users into web forms at trusted websites. It appears that Chrome stores this information within the program in plain text which can be easily accessed by anyone with access to the user’s computer.

 

As such, until Google addresses this vulnerability, users should be extremely cautious in entering private data into websites using the Chrome browser if there is any chance that the user’s computers can be accessed by others. Furthermore, because the information is cached in the program without any encryption or any other security measures, any trojan horse or similar malware on a user’s computer could potentially access this information and forward it on to identity thieves.

While this clearly has serious potential repercussions for individuals using Chrome, the situation is even more serious for businesses, who could, as a result, be out of compliance with PCI-DSS security rules which are usually mandated by credit card processing companies, if the business wants to be able to accept payments by credit card.

As such, individuals and businesses alike need to take this vulnerability very seriously.

Adobe says hackers accessed data for 2.9 million customers – Oct. 3, 2013

Adobe says hackers accessed data for 2.9 million customers – Oct. 3, 2013.

If you have purchased products directly from Adobe, you need to be aware of this and (i) be on the lookout for notification for Adobe about whether this affects you, and (ii) monitor your identity (particularly with respect to any card used to purchase the Adobe product), to ensure you are not a victim of identity theft.

The dark side of Apple’s iBeacons

Interesting. I can see the interesting things that can be accomplished with this technology, but the specter of getting barraged with adds on my phone when I walk into a mall is not attractive. I, for one, can say: if a place starts spaming based on proximity, that is one of the fastest ways to keep me from going to that location. Ever.

BGR

Alongside the introduction of Apple’s latest mobile operating system iOS 7, the company also rolled out its answer to the NFC technology it has gone out of its way to avoid in iPhones, iPads and iPod touch handhelds. The solution is called “iBeacon,” and it allows for the creation of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons that emit signals iOS 7-powered devices will automatically react to when they come within range of the beacon. These beacons can be apps installed on Apple’s iOS devices or they can be dedicated hardware that use BLE to interact with Apple handsets and tablets. There are some great use cases out there that really could make fantastic use of Apple’s new iBeacon feature, but there is also a darker side of iBeacons that could become a huge annoyance for iPhone owners and other iOS device users.

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1-800-Hackers: Why cyber crime is no longer a dark art | Marketplace.org

1-800-Hackers: Why cyber crime is no longer a dark art | Marketplace.org.

Marketplace has aired an interesting piece on the growing trend of using “white hat” hackers as a part of corporate IT strategy as a means of testing and improving IT security.

It is well worth a listen, and is an excellent starting point for consideration of your businesses security and privacy measures. If some form of auditing of your security and privacy measures (not just hardware and software, but policies, procedures, and practices, as well) then your company may needlessly be laying itself open to significant liability, expenses, and damage to business reputation.

As F.B.I. Pursued Snowden, an E-Mail Service Stood Firm – NYTimes.com

As F.B.I. Pursued Snowden, an E-Mail Service Stood Firm – NYTimes.com.

This is an interesting piece on the IT company Lavabit, which, before its shutdown, provided secure e-mail services to its customers. The story details the steps taken by the FBI to force Lavabit to turn over encryption keys and take other steps which would not only provide the FBI with access to Edward Snowden’s e-mail account on the service, but would render vulnerable the accounts of any individual or company making use of the service, without warrant and without court oversight.

In pressuring Lavabit to capitulate to its requests for “technical assistance” including divulging the private encryption keys used by the service, the owner of the company was pursued for contempt of court, fined $10,000.00, and then threatened with arrest when he publicly announced his intention to shutter the company.

The tale of Lavabit is something of a cautionary tail for companies that provide IT services. But even more, it should be a wake-up call to both users and providers of IT services regarding the boundaries of privacy and the lengths to which the government is willing to steamroll even legitimate businesses which seek to guard their customer’s privacy.