The SDK: 2015.10.16

Yes, it’s been awhile. Last week I spent my time at NewCo, and this week I wrote the NewCo Experience piece early on in the week, so finally, today I have time to write another SDK! Today’s headlines are Taylor Swift themed (all the headlines are names of T-Swift songs)

I Wish You Would

First, another shout-out to encourage you all to vote for The Hidden Genius Project to win the Google Impact Challenge grant. The grant would be a GAME-CHANGER for young Black men in Oakland. Please take a moment & vote for the project!

Sweeter Than Fiction

The Apple Watch Could Soon Predict Seizures, Thanks To Johns Hopkins University, The Washington Post, Oct. 15, 2015

“EpiWatch, an app the school launched on Thursday, will be the first to take advantage of the sensors in Apple’s wearable device for a medical study, said Gregory Krauss, a Johns Hopkins University professor of neurology and physician who specializes in the treatment of epilepsy.. . . The school is using Apple’s ResearchKit, an open-source toolbox for medical studies introduced in March. Building on Apple’s secure framework for collecting information, scientists can enroll study participants and collect data from Apple gadgets through specially designed apps. In addition to epilepsy, researches have used to the tool to gather data for studies on breast cancer, asthma, heart disease, autism and melanoma.
Note: Every time a new application for smartsphones and wearables gets released that isn’t just some game or app, it renews my faith in humanity.

Fitness Technology That Helps the Blind Get Moving, MIT Technology Review, Oct. 16, 2015

Professor Eelke Folmer’s Drone Running Guide

“A drone that guides blind runners around a track is just one of several new fitness technologies designed to assist the visually impaired.. . . Folmer says he hasn’t been able to test it outdoors yet because the university is so close to the Reno airport it is subject to FAA regulations on drones. He is currently seeking permission from the airport’s radio tower to override this rule.”

The article adds that “a few other projects also aim to make it easier for blind people to get fit, including:
Eyes-Free Yoga: created by Kyle Rector, a graduate computer science and engineering student at the University of Washington.
“A system that uses a Microsoft Kinect to guide visually impaired users through yoga workouts.. . . For standing poses, users get step-by-step verbal instructions and real-time feedback on how they can adjust their bodies for proper form. For sitting or lying poses—positions that are more difficult for the Kinect’s computer vision system to follow—users rely on audio instructions only.”
Note: MIT Technology Review actually store everyone’s thunder a little bit and started compiling their own list of articles “Recommended from Around the Web“. However, they don’t give any commentary, they just recommend the stories.
Also, I’ve always disliked how I couldn’t actually see the yoga posed on the videos when trying the more complicated ones… so I may even try this out.

I Knew You Were Trouble

Cops Are Asking Ancestry.Com And 23andme For Their Customers’ DNA, Fusion, Oct. 16, 2015
“If you’re a cop trying to solve a crime, and you have DNA at your disposal, you’re going to want to use it to further your investigation. But the fact that your signing up for 23andMe or means that you and all of your current and future family members could become genetic criminal suspects is not something most users probably have in mind when trying to find out where their ancestors came from.”
Note: It’s not like the Privacy community didn’t see this coming. Some clips from said warnings:

  • Genome Hackers, Forbes, Dec. 30, 2010
    • “As gene tests become common, possibilities for abuse will intensify. Banks might not offer you a mortgage if you were likely to die before it was paid off. A pregnant women might secretly get DNA from her lovers so she knows who the father is. Someone might check out a potential mate for genetic flaws. Politicians might dig up dirt on their rivals. Another question: How far should law enforcement be allowed to go? Should prosecutors be allowed to subpoena a company’s DNA database of thousands of people if they suspect it contains a match to a crime suspect?”
    • Why You Should Fear Giant Databases With Your DNA, Forbes, Jan 4, 2011
      • “There is a big and scary downside to the industrialization of DNA sequencing . . . As gene decoding becomes easier, so does the possibility of abuse–either for corporate profit, marketing purposes, or government big brother gone bad”

So it was only a matter of time before this happened:
Your Relative’s DNA Could Turn You Into a Suspect, Wired, Oct. 13, 2015

“Detectives had focused on Usry after running a familial DNA search, a technique that allows investigators to identify suspects who don’t have DNA in a law enforcement database but whose close relatives have had their genetic profiles cataloged. In Usry’s case the crime scene DNA bore numerous similarities to that of Usry’s father, who years earlier had donated a DNA sample to a genealogy project through his Mormon church in Mississippi. That project’s database was later purchased by Ancestry, which made it publicly searchable—a decision that didn’t take into account the possibility that cops might someday use it to hunt for genetic leads.”
I’ve told people before not to hand over their DNA. But now I plead on behalf of everyone you’re related to! Do you really want your desire to find out whether you’re 1/10000 Cherokee to interfere with your kindergarten teacher brother’s ability to live his life in peace, unaffected by your petty thief of a third cousin?

Everything Has Changed

California Leads on Electronic Privacy. Other States Must Follow, ACLU, Oct. 13, 2015

“The California Electronic Communications Privacy Act (“CalECPA”) breaks from the archaic “180-day rule” in federal law and replaces arbitrary distinctions between “electronic communications services” and “remote computing services” with a single rule for any online service: Get a warrant.. . . But what happened in California doesn’t have to stay in California.. . . Federal ECPA reform has moved at a glacial pace, with even modest reform a challenge  to enact despite 300 hardcore supporters in the House alone. CalECPA shows that states don’t have to wait for D.C. — they can lead it instead.. . . Who’s next?”
Note: I had the pleasure of working with the author of this article, Chris Conley, last Fall. The ACLU worked tirelessly with many others (“CalECPA was supported from the outset by tech giants like Google, Facebook, and Apple as well as more traditional civil rights and civil liberties organizations and community groups”) to make this change happen. All those involved made possible what was previously viewed as nearly impossible, and they all deserve a giant THANK YOU!!!

Keep Your Ey-eyes Open

Tesla’s Model S Autopilot Still Requires A Driver Behind The Wheel, Slate, Oct. 15, 2015

“The T stands for “turn down your expectations.””

“As those who’ve demoed the Model S update already have seen, the car actively works to make sure that the driver doesn’t drift off. When the autopilot system is activated, it occasionally tells you to put your hands back on the wheel “to make sure you’re still there.” And with good reason: While the system can read speed limit signs, it doesn’t know how to recognize traffic lights yet. (Though that capability, which is already showing up in other smart cars, may be around the corner.)”
Note: I, for one, am incredibly disappointed to hear this 😉 For real though, if it’s going to assist with parallel parking, I should be able to step out of the car, press a button, and tell it to pull into a tight parking space so that I don’t need to open the doors. Come on guys. Step up. You managed Biohazard mode (Tesla unveils the Model X (Wired UK), Wired, Sep. 30, 2015 “yes, it also has a set of ridiculous folding ‘falcon’ wings, and a specific button to guard against biohazards. This is a Tesla after all.“), this is the least you could do.

How to Protect Yourself from NSA Attacks on 1024-bit DH, EFF, Oct. 15, 2015
In this article, the Electronic Frontier Foundation presents “some practical tips to protect yourself from the surveillance machine, whether you’re using a web browser, an SSH client, or VPN software.”
Note: This is pretty highly technical, so this link is more me pointing the more tech-savvy of you towards a resource than translating it.

I Almost Do

Facebook Wants You To Spend All Your Time On Facebook, The Washington Post, Oct. 16, 2015
“The company’s testing new video tools that further its not-at-all secret plan to take over the world by supplanting the Web with its own apps.”



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