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Project Turns GPS Phones Into Traffic Reporters 119

narramissic writes "Starting on Monday, researchers from Nokia and UC Berkeley will kick off the Mobile Millennium project. The researchers hope that thousands of volunteers will download a free Java program that figures out by their movement and location when they are driving, and then transmits that information to the project's servers, which then crunch it into a Bay Area traffic map. 'The whole concept here is that if everyone shares just a little bit of what they're seeing ... then everyone can benefit by seeing the conditions ahead of them,' said Quinn Jacobson, a research leader with Nokia in Palo Alto."

Google to Begin Storing Patients' Health Records 214

mytrip writes with news that Google's health record archive is about to be tested with the assistance of the Cleveland Clinic. Thousands of patients (who must approve the transfer of information) will have access to everything from their medical histories to lab results through what Google considers a "logical extension" of their search engine. We discussed the planning of this system last year. "Each health profile, including information about prescriptions, allergies and medical histories, will be protected by a password that's also required to use other Google services such as e-mail and personalized search tools. The health venture also will provide more fodder for privacy watchdogs who believe Google already knows too much about the interests and habits of its users as its computers log their search requests and store their e-mail discussions. Prodded by the criticism, Google last year introduced a new system that purges people's search records after 18 months. In a show of its privacy commitment, Google also successfully rebuffed the U.S. Justice Department's demand to examine millions of its users' search requests in a court battle two years ago."

Microsoft Giving Away Vista Ultimate, With a Catch 495

Opinari writes "In case you haven't heard, Microsoft is giving away copies of Windows Vista Ultimate (32-bit or 64-bit DVD), Microsoft Office Ultimate 2007, Microsoft Money Plus Premium, Microsoft Student with Encarta Premium 2008, or Microsoft Streets and Trips 2008 — you can choose any one. The caveat is that you have to let them monitor your use of the program."
Social Networks

Facebook Users Complain of New Ad-Based Tracking 173

Tech.Luver noted a story about facebook users complaining over ads where their shopping habits are shared with their friends as if they are endorsing products. The neatest part is that you can opt out- if you click a box that disappears after 20 seconds... wait to long, and they assume you are totally fine with it.

Verizon Wireless Opt-Out Plan For Customer Records 216

An anonymous reader writes to let us know that Verizon Wireless is planning to share its customers' calling records (called CPNI) with "our affiliates, agents and parent companies (including Vodafone) and their subsidiaries." The article explains that CPNI "includes the numbers of incoming and outgoing calls and time spent on each call, among other data." Some subscribers, it's not known if it's all of them, received a letter in the mail giving them 30 days to opt out of this sharing by calling 1-800-333-9956. Skydeck, a mobile and wireless services company, seems to have been the first to call attention to the Verizon initiative on their blog; they also posted a scan of the letter (sideways PDF) from Verizon.

Firefox 3 Antiphishing Sends Your URLs To Google 296

iritant writes "As we were discussing, Gran Paradiso — the latest version of Firefox — is nearing release. Gran Paradiso includes a form of malware protection that checks every URL against a known list of sites. It does so by sending each URL to Google. In other words, if people enable this feature, they get some malware protection, and Google gets a wealth of information about which sites are popular (or, for that matter, which sites should be checked for malware). Fair deal? Not to worry — the feature is disabled by default."

MS Wants To Identify All Web Surfers 281

Moochman writes "New Scientist reports on a technology Microsoft is developing to identify users based on their browsing habits. Quote: 'The software could get its raw information from a number of sources, including a new type of 'cookie' program that records the pages visited. Alternatively, it could use your PC's own cache of web pages, or proxy servers could maintain records of sites visited. So far it can only guess gender and age with any accuracy,' but the aim is to be able to identify name, occupation and location as well. On a related note, The Inquirer reports on Microsoft's plans to widen the use of its identity-verification technology CardSpace, which is built into Windows Vista and available as an add-on to XP. It's being envisioned as an identity solution for the entire internet: says Kim Cameron, pioneer of the technology, 'We feel it has to solve all use cases.' (Aha, so the anonymous use cases, too, eh?) One might ask, with all of this user-ID information on hand, how long will it be until the Feds come knocking on Microsoft's door asking for help? They already have."

Flying To the US? Pay In Cash 452

pin_gween writes to point us to a report in the Telegraph that British travelers using a credit card to purchase their ticket may now have their credit card and email accounts inspected by US authorities. This has been true since October, when the US and the EU agreed about what information the US could demand from airlines and how this information would be handled. But details of the agreement only recently came to light following a Freedom of Information request. The US says it will "encourage" US carriers to reciprocate to any requests by European governments. From the article: "[T]he Americans are entitled to 34 separate pieces of Passenger Name Record (PNR) data... Initially, such material could be inspected for seven days but a reduced number of US officials could view it for three and a half years. Should any record be inspected during this period, the file could remain open for eight years...'It is pretty horrendous, particularly when you couple it with our one-sided extradition arrangements with the US,' said [a human rights activist]. 'It is making the act of buying a ticket a gateway to a host of personal email and financial information. While there are safeguards, it appears you would have to go to a US court to assert your rights.'"

George Orwell Was Right — Security Cameras Get an Upgrade 499

Jamie stopped to mention that Bloomberg is reporting on a recent addition of speakers to public security cameras in Middlesbrough, England. From the article: "`People are shocked when they hear the cameras talk, but when they see everyone else looking at them, they feel a twinge of conscience and comply,' said Mike Clark, a spokesman for Middlesbrough Council who recounted the incident. The city has placed speakers in its cameras, allowing operators to chastise miscreants who drop coffee cups, ride bicycles too fast or fight outside bars."

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