quantifiable self

At MIT Conference, Warnings of Big Data Fundamentalism

At MIT Conference, Warnings of Big Data Fundamentalism

A senior Microsoft researcher issued a stern warning about the negative consequences of the current mania for data harvesting saying that a kind of “fundamentalism” was emerging regarding the utility of what’s been termed “Big Data” that could easily lead to a Orwellian future of ubiquitous surveillance and diminished freedom. Speaking to an audience of around 300 technology industry luminaries at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s annual Emerging Technology (EMTECH) conference, Kate Crawford, a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research in Boston said that the technology industry’s fetish for “Big Data” had blinded it to the limits of analytics, and the privacy implications of wholesale data harvesting. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT’s) annual Emerging Technologies (EMTECH) conference, a high-gloss event that throws entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and academics together to talk ‘big ideas’ on TED-inspired sets. Crawford’s speech, coming on the heels of a talk about transforming healthcare with big data […]

FDA Will Regulate Some Apps As Medical Devices

FDA Will Regulate Some Apps As Medical Devices

In an important move, the U.S. Food And Drug Administration (FDA) has released final guidance to mobile application developers that are creating medical applications to run on devices like the iPhone and Android mobile devices. Some applications, it said, will be treated with the same scrutiny as traditional medical devices.* The statement is the final word from the FDA on the approach it will take when enforcing federal regulations regarding the safety of medical devices to the large and fast-growing category of medical applications. The agency said on Monday that, while it doesn’t see the need to vet “the majority of mobile apps,” because they pose “minimal risk to consumers,” it will exercise oversight of mobile medical applications that are accessories to regulated medical devices, or that transform a mobile device into a regulated medical device. In those cases, the FDA said that mobile applications will be assessed “using the same […]

Nicholas Percoco (Photo courtesy of Black Hat.)

Podcast: Black Hat Preview With Trustwave’s Nick Percoco

Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadSubscribe: Android | RSS | MoreNext week, the world’s attention will shift to Las Vegas for the annual Black Hat and DEFCON hacking conferences. What will be the big trends this year? We sat down last week with Nicholas Percoco of Trustwave’s Spider Labs to get his thoughts on the show. Nick is a regular at Black Hat and other events – both in the audience and on the stage. He said one of the big themes this year will be hacks on consumer electronics and home automation systems. As we reported, two Trustwave researchers have delved into the security of a wide range of “smart home” technologies, including home automation gateways and even a bluetooth enabled “smart toilet.” Percoco said that manufacturers of these devices need to pay more attention to security, and can’t assume that the people buying their devices are technically […]

HBR: Internet Of Things Has ‘Profound’ Impact On Risk

HBR: Internet Of Things Has ‘Profound’ Impact On Risk

The advent of a global network of Internet connected devices – sometimes referred to as the “Internet of Things” will bring about a “data democratization” that will upend traditional IT security models and pose considerable risks for organizations.   That’s the conclusion of two leading authorities on the so-called “Internet of Things” (IoT), Christopher J. Rezendes and W. David Stephenson, who write that its impact on businesses will be “profound,” and that cyber security will be one of the biggest challenges that organizations must address. In a guest post on the Harvard Business Review blog on Friday, Rezendes, the president of INEX Advisors, and Stephenson, an author and consultant specializing in the Internet of Things argue that  “the very principle that makes the IoT so powerful — the potential to share data instantly with everyone and everything (every authorized entity, that is) — creates a huge cybersecurity threat.” The authors predict […]

Missing in Action At BlackHat: The PC

Missing in Action At BlackHat: The PC

Once the target of choice for hackers of all stripes, personal computers (PC) will be -at most- a side attraction at this year’s annual Black Hat Briefings show in Las Vegas, where presentations on ways to attack mobile devices and other networked “stuff” will take center stage. Just over ten percent of the scheduled talks and turbo talks at The Black Hat Briefings in early August (5 of 47)  will be devoted to attacks against what might be considered “traditional” endpoints, like end user systems and servers running Microsoft’s Windows, Apple’s Mac OSX and Linux. By contrast, more than 30% will discuss security flaws and attacks against mobile phones or other “smart” devices including wireless surveillance cameras, home automation systems and smart meters. The dearth of PC-focused talks isn’t a new trend in and of itself. As far back as 2006, talks that explicitly discussed security issues with components of Microsoft’s […]