Archive for the ‘Web’ Category

Privacy Unions: an idea

August 7, 2013

I have been kicking this around for a few months now.  The idea is to use a federation of software that controls  what information is shared about a user  (Ad-block, No-Script, Firefox, Tor) in combination with some sort of higher level group or organization of people that sign up-and-in by installing the software package in their browser. Lets call this a “Privacy Union.”

In rough, hand-waving terms you could use this concept/software package to strike a deal between the union and one of the many corporate entities that are interested in mining your data. There could be levels of tiered access, so that if you give away more data you would get more from the company.

What could you get? What could you possibly demand from a Google? Well for one thing you could ask them for your profile. Yeah google, tell me what you’ve got on me. Show me the “me model.” This might actually be good for something like Google, especially if you enable some kind of interactivity where the user can edit the profile to express their actual interests.


I have recently discovered that Mozilla Labs seems to be pursuing a project that would let users share specific interests with websites.

This idea is in that same direction, except it would take back some of what is already shared by users instead of giving out more. Privacy unions could be a valve on the outflow of information about you, your habits, and interests. I suppose you could volunteer more information (similar to above) to sweeten the pot.

To start (as part of the install) you could use something like Vortex a gamified tool to scramble your information

You could also potentially add email aliasing to the mix. The union provides you with “unlimited” email aliases that you can use to sign up for different services, make purchases etc. So when emails come back to you via that alias you know who sold your information. (not sure exactly how to work this last part in)

Browsing history, search profiles, purchase history, contacts, posts, etc. This information, in aggregate, is worth a lot of money. And most people are giving it away for free.


Cool Sites

January 7, 2011

I recently finished teaching a college programming course. During the semester I decided to crowd source my class for websites they frequent or find interesting. Some are well known, some not so much. This is the list I got:

Escapist Magazine Zero Punctuation Funny, short video reviews of select video games

mSpot Stream your music to wherever you are on phone, browser etc. (2GB free)

Know Your Meme Documenting internet phenomena

W3schools Learn all kinds of web development

Ninite Batch installing for multiple programs

Kiva Micro-loans to developing countries (awesome)

Github Social code hosting

SDL Tutorials Programming in SDL a 2D cross-platform graphics library

Wallbase Cool wallpapers

99 bottles of beer Programs that output 99 bottles beer implemented in many different programming languages

OvertoneLabs Support network and code for programming CUI32 microcontroller

Sikuli Programming using screenshots

XIM3 Adapter for using mouse and keyboard on xbox 360

Color Scheme Designer Cool color wheel website

CodingBat Feedback programming practice for Java and Python

Reddit Social news site

Slickdeals and Bensbargains Deal hunting sites

CourtHouseNews Original news content on recent rulings (not just what gets picked up by the major news providers)