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Comment: Re:Just don't do it (Score 2) 120

by isaaccs (#41298737) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Practices For Collecting and Storing User Information?
There were little to no details given as to how the privacy disclosure would be phrased or provided to users. As it were, your assumption is wrong. There is no desire to squirrel away anything in legalese. Indeed, the question asks: "If you could write your own privacy policy, what would it contain?". You describe the "hidden" (which you've assumed) solution as unoriginal, but provide no alternative suggestions (which was the point of submitting the question to the community in the first place).

Comment: Re:Don't store the data. (Score 1) 120

by isaaccs (#41298647) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Practices For Collecting and Storing User Information?
To start, I do appreciate the spirit of the comment - as a professional in a field, it's an argument I make often. But I don't totally agree in this context. It would proove extremely difficult, for example, to build a search engine such as Google without collecting or correlating user information. To build Instagram without collecting pictures (which I'd very much consider private user data/personal identifiers) might also prove vexing. The question wasn't "Should I collect user information?" but "How can I do something that I must do - popular opinion of the widespread practice not-withstanding - responsibly". You suggest that it should only be done when done by an expert: I am admittedly not an expert in securing data. I am an expert in software development, and this is now an area I need to begin to explore. To simply suggest that an ambitious tech startup "shouldn't" innovate in a space because they don't have the material resources to hire an established specialist on one of the myriad topics that goes into building a software product, is, to me, quite close-minded and defies the spirit of do-it-yourselfedness and indeed innovation that makes the startup space and tech sector so exciting to begin with.

Comment: Re:I'm an experienced developer (Score 1) 120

by isaaccs (#41298519) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Practices For Collecting and Storing User Information?
In this forum, I submitted to seek the opinions of a community of technically minded individuals on a question that hinges on broader social concern. I did/do not expect a uniform or comprehensive answer. I expected to hear the voices of different people who have thought about, dealt with, or otherwise concern themselves with data collection. I am much aware that this is not a legal or technical venue - and I appreciate your acknowledgement that this may not be the only avenue I've pursued to inform myself.

Comment: Re:Break the association (Score 1) 120

by isaaccs (#41298227) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Practices For Collecting and Storing User Information?
There is validity to this point, but followed to it's conclusion, many of the great boot-strapped startups of our time wouldn't exist. As your exposure and user base grows, so does your ability to consult with specialists and experts - but everyone must start somewhere.
Privacy

+ - Ask Slashdot: Best practices for collecting and storing user information?

Submitted by isaaccs
isaaccs (1854142) writes "I'm a mobile developer at a startup. My experience is in building user-facing applications, but in this case, a component of an app I'm building involves observing and collecting certain pieces of user information and then storing them in a web service. This is for purposes of analysis and ultimately functionality, not persistence. This would include some obvious items like names and e-mail addresses, and some less obvious items involving user behavior. We aim to be completely transparent and honest about what it is we're collecting by way of our privacy disclosure. I'm an experienced developer, and I'm aware of a handful of considerations (e.g., the need to hash personal identifiers stored remotely), but I've seen quite a few startups caught with their pants down on security/privacy of what they've collected — and I'd like to avoid it to the degree reasonably possible given we can't afford to hire an expert on the topic. I'm seeking input from the community on best-pratices for data collection and the remote storage of personal (not social security numbers, but names and birthdays) information. How would you like information collected about you to be stored? If you could write your own privacy policy, what would it contain? To be clear, I'm not requesting stack or infrastructural recommendations."

Comment: Re:US-only problem? (Score 2) 913

by isaaccs (#36570992) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: CS Degree Without Gen-Ed Requirements?

I don't think that's it's as much a "problem" as a particular implementation of a shared social object (an education system/philosophy). As such, it has its ups-and-downs. The American system favors to promote well-rounded creative challenging thinkers as opposed to highly skilled scientists or mathematicians - that stuff is relegated to advanced and post-graduate study. From first grade through high school and college, even when you finally elect a speciality, you're still expected to study other things.

The down-side to this system is that it can discourage and neglect individual student's strengths. I'd be a better programmer today if I'd been on a tech track from an early age - I'll never know what I might have achieved if I hadn't spent so many hours of my formative years studying things that have little practical value for me now, some years into my career.

The up-side is that the system often produces what it alludes to in concept. Certainly America and Americans have plenty of problems education and otherwise, but American is still a place that places a huge value on creative thinking, of being a masterful engineer and just a little bit more - and it presents opportunities to those who can innovate in spaces where others are simply engineering.

Comment: Re:level (Score 1) 456

by isaaccs (#35951906) Attached to: Minnesota School Issues iPad 2 To Every Student
None of the "studies" cited are anything more than anecdotal - but the bigger shortcoming of this assessment, is that it's entirely predicated on the assertion that typing is the most important part of being a student. I don't think there is anyone in the world who would consider *any* tablet superior at typing/note-taking than a laptop - that's an obvious conclusion. It may very well be that taking notes and transcribing lectures will remain the primary utility of higher-education technology, but I think that's a sad and limited view - and certainly not one that this article takes any interest in thinking past.

Comment: Re:level (Score 1) 456

by isaaccs (#35924036) Attached to: Minnesota School Issues iPad 2 To Every Student
I'm sorry is there some evidence of this "bribing" you speak of? Schools do and have pay for fancy gadgets - when I was in school, they were shelling out a couple hundred bucks a pop for graphing calculators that probably cost TI $15 to make. I guess we didn't "need" them given that most of us had a few pcs in a class and likely one at home, but it was still a particular tool suited to a particular job, and it furthered the goal of assisting education as described and overpaid for. This goes on every day, but of course the Apple logo irks many to the extent they'd refuse to acknowledge any actual benefit that the device would provide - and I'm sorry, but I just can't help but think that it would.

Comment: Re:level (Score 1) 456

by isaaccs (#35923950) Attached to: Minnesota School Issues iPad 2 To Every Student

With all due respect, that's a pretty subjective opinion. After we acknowledge that their isn't an equivalent product on the market today that sells for less (please spare me the "But you could just build your own linux tablet/netbook!" slashpartyline), we can admit that while, yes, Apple does make margins on iPads, so do educational text book publishers - and have you seen what those cost? The profit margin on a secondary school hard-bound biology book is probably orders of magnitudes higher than Apple's take on an iPad.

Tablets offer us new and rich mediums for teaching. Of course there will be downsides to a digital shift, but anyone who takes a stand firmly against the proliferation of tablets in schools does so in the face of overwhelming and obvious evidence that they can serve an unprecedented function - sitting around and saying "a laptop is better and cheaper!" totally misses the point - tablets and laptops can and should work in harmony in the future, they're not mutually exclusive in task or function, but each certainly can have it's place - and different schools are free to choose (here's wishing they all had the means to make whatever choice they wanted) different devices from different manufactures for different platforms. That's how schools have made decisions about technology for years, and despite lack of funding, it seems to have worked just fine.

Comment: Re:level (Score 1) 456

by isaaccs (#35912624) Attached to: Minnesota School Issues iPad 2 To Every Student
More cumbersome? I mean, there are plenty of arguments against tablets but that's not one. Headline: School uses tablets as education tool! Wow, really controversial. Toss the Apple label on it, and despite the fact that every other manufacture of tablets (yeah, all two, a year after Apple) costs either the same or more, and you have a bevy of irate slashdoters, all irate at the notion. Absurd.

Comment: Re:devalued content (Score 2) 256

by isaaccs (#35590048) Attached to: Why Paywalls Are Good, But NYT's Is Flawed
You're absolutely right. The amount of sensationalist and utterly pointless crap that passes for news these days is pathetic in main stream media. The New York Times isn't mainstream, and doesn't behave this way. Occasionally they get something wrong, yes. But every single day, they publish a paper that gives comprehensive insight into the world's affairs, written with clarity and which demonstrate the talents of arguably the world's best news journalists and writers. It's of huge value to our society, and it's worth paying for, not just via ads.

Comment: Re:devalued content (Score 5, Insightful) 256

by isaaccs (#35589964) Attached to: Why Paywalls Are Good, But NYT's Is Flawed

How many reporters do you know? I happen to know one or two writers for the NYT that make a pittance of a salary. Yes, they get reasonable expense accounts. Most journalists in this country would be lucky to have *that*.

And why do they get expense accounts? Why does anyone in any industry get an expense account? For one thing, it enables (in principle) the worker to perform their job better than they otherwise might. For a journalist, it's the opportunity to meet people over drinks and lunch, make connections, learn about things. You may consider this superfluous, but there are plenty of people who are willing to pay for journalism that realize it isn't.

Second, the accounts are a perk, yes. And why shouldn't they be? News and journalism works in free-markets like everything else. In every sector, you have people who do mediocre work, bad work, good work, and amazing work. Companies and markets strive to compensate them accordingly. So if you're a top tier journalist, who's to say a company shouldn't offer you an expense account to do your job? You can argue again that it's a waste, but you'd better toe the same line when it comes to every other business sector under the sun.

Journalists, editors, publishers, all are individuals who do potentially rough work (not in every case, but in some) that serves broader society in a way that is both practically relevant and creatively compelling. They deserve to be compensated, compensated well in some some cases, and not just by someone looking to make a buck off an ad placement on a blog.

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