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SmoothLife - A Continuous Conway's Life

mikejuk Re:Continuous? (2 comments)

Yes you are correct - the simulation is a digital approximation to a true continuous differential equation. If you like its the differential equation that corresponds to a class of 2D cellular automata.

about 2 years ago
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Raspberry Pi For The Rest Of Us

mikejuk Re:Get over it! (2 comments)

When you aim is to learn to program - in Python say - having to configure any OS is not a desirable first step. It isn't Linux is difficult, it's just not the object of the exercise and if you can avoid it then so much the better.

about 2 years ago
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The Chaos Within Sudoku - a Richter Scale of Difficulty

mikejuk Re:Tip for editors; (74 comments)

My fault - there is a missing greek (I always think that should be geek) letter before the comma and I didn't see that the gt lt signs had been removed.

about 2 years ago
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The Fastest Database One the Planet

mikejuk Re:Spell check title (2 comments)

Yes I saw it the instant I had pressed the Save button. I'd read the body text but not the title. But there is no edit facility so I can't correct it. Doh! indeed :-0

more than 2 years ago
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Japanese Researchers Create A Crab-Based Computer

mikejuk Re:Not Logically Complete (102 comments)

Once you have a NOT gate you simply put it after an OR and you have a NOR.

more than 2 years ago
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Japanese Researchers Create A Crab-Based Computer

mikejuk Re:Not Logically Complete (102 comments)

The AND gate also produces NOT X AND Y and X AND NOT Y outputs. All you have to do is hold Y high and you have a NOT X gate.

more than 2 years ago
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Google Introduces Gmail Tap — A New Way Of Writing Emails

mikejuk April fool (2 comments)

another google joke.

more than 2 years ago
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Google moves into NASCAR with its autonomous driving

mikejuk April fool (3 comments)

an expensive robot car in stock racing?

more than 2 years ago
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Classic Nintendo Games Are NP Hard

mikejuk Donkey Kong (1 comments)

Sorry folks the Donkey Kong was spellchecked to Donkey Kind --- come to think of it there might be scope for a new game here... mikej

more than 2 years ago
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$100,000 Prize - Prove Quantum Computers Impossible

mikejuk Re:Why Bother? (2 comments)

Don't agree - the knowledge obtained on the way to a proof that they don't work is likely to be as enlightening about QM as working quantum computers.

more than 2 years ago
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Kinect for PC to Launch With No Licence Fee

mikejuk Re:not worth $249 when it doesn't do anything (3 comments)

I think its a good compromise. MS could have charged a license fee for commercial use and so got a load of bad press for being restrictive and over controlling. By not charging a license fee they get some good will and can claim that they are only stopping you using the Xbox version because it is subsidized Also by keeping the Xbox version available they let people experiment and play with it with the option of moving to the Windows version if a commercial product results. Finally by offering an educational discount they even let education work with it at about the same price as the Xbox version. I don't really see what MS could have done more to make the pill of paying for Kinect any more palatable.

more than 2 years ago
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Open Source Software Reveals The Young Da Vinci

mikejuk Re:Was this translated from something? (2 comments)

Sorry it should have read Now, Amelia Carolina Sparavigna of the Dipartimento di Fisica Politecnico di Torin, with the help of some open source image manipulation software, HAS DONE the same job in a few minutes. I tried to move the HAS DONE and managed to leave the original where it was. Not translated just copy and pasted :-) Sorry. mikej

more than 2 years ago

Submissions

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Jibo, the friendly helpful robot, nets over $1 million on Indiegogo

mikejuk mikejuk writes  |  2 days ago

mikejuk (1801200) writes "After seven days the Jibo project has over $1.1 million. What is surprising is that Jibo isn't a complex piece of hardware that will do the dishes and pick up clothes. It doesn't move around at all. It just sits and interacts with the family using a camera, microphones and a voice. It is a social robot, the speciality of the founder, MIT's, Cynthia Breazeal. The idea is that this robot will be your friend, take photos, remind you of appointments, order takeaway and tell the kids a story. If you watch the promo video then you can't help but think that this is all too polished and the real thing will fall flat on its face when delivered. If it does work then worry about the hundreds of kids needing psychiatric counselling — shades of Robbie in I, Robot. Even if it is hopelessly hyped — there is a development system and I want one. It is the early days of the home computer all over again."
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New Raspberry Pi Model B+

mikejuk mikejuk writes  |  about two weeks ago

mikejuk (1801200) writes "The Raspberry Pi foundation has just announced the Raspberry Pi B+ and the short version is — better and the same price.
With over 2 million sold the news of a RPi upgrade is big news. The basic specs haven't changed much, same BC2835 and 512MB of RAM and the $35 price tag. There are now four USB ports which means you don't need a hub to work with a mouse, keyboard and WiFi dongle. The GPIO has been expanded to 40 pins but don't worry you can plug your old boards and cables into the lefthand part of the connector and its backward compatible. As well as some additional general purpose lines there are two designated for use with I2C EEPROM. When the Pi boots it will look for custom EEPROMs on these lines and optionally use them to load Linux drivers or setup expansion boards. What this means is that expansion boards can now include identity chips that when the board is connected configures the Pi to make use of them — no more manual customization.
The change to a micro SD socket is nice, unless you happen to have lots of spare full size SD cards around. It is also claimed that the power requirements have dropped by half to one watt which brings the model B into the same power consumption area as the model A. This probably still isn't low enough for some applications and the forums are no doubt going to be in full flow working out how to reduce the power even further.
There are some other minor changes, comp video is now available on the audio jack and the audio quality has been improved. But one big step for Raspberry Pi is that it now has four holes for mounting in standard enclosures — this really lets the Pi go anywhere.
http://www.raspberrypi.org/int..."

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EDSAC Diagrams Rediscovered

mikejuk mikejuk writes  |  about a month ago

mikejuk (1801200) writes "Due to its importance in the history of computing the UK's Computer Conservation Society embarked on a 4-year project to build a replica of EDSAC. The main challenge facing the team of volunteers who are working on the rebuild is the lack of documentation. There are almost no original design documents remaining so the rebuild volunteers have to scrutinize photographs to puzzle out which bits go where.
However, three years into the project a set of 19 detailed circuit diagrams have come to light and been handed to the EDSAC team by John Loker a former engineer in the University of Cambridge Mathematical Laboratory.
"I started work as an engineer in the Maths Lab in 1959 just after EDSAC had been decommissioned. In a corridor there was a lot of stuff piled up ready to be thrown away, but amongst it I spotted a roll of circuit diagrams for EDSAC. I'm a collector, so I couldn't resist the urge to rescue them. "
In the main the documents confirm that the team has been correct in most of its re-engineering assumptions, but the drawings have thrown up a few surprises. The most significant discrepancy between the original and the reconstruction that the papers reveal is in the "initial orders" (boot ROM in modern terminology). In the absence of fuller information, the reconstruction team had considered and rejected one possibility which was in fact the one that was used by the original engineers. That will now be rectified in the reconstruction which is due for completion in later 2015."

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Udacity Offers Nanodegrees

mikejuk mikejuk writes  |  about a month and a half ago

mikejuk (1801200) writes "Udacity has announced a new credential designed to appeal to employers and those wanting to embark on a high-tech career. The program will launch with nanodegrees for entry-level Front-End Web Developers, Back-End Web Developers, and Mobile iOS Developers.
In his announcement of this new initiative, which continues the career-readiness theme that distinguishes Udacity from other MOOC providers, Sebastian Thrun describes a nanodegree as delivering:
"a new kind of compact, hands-on, and flexible online curriculum. They are designed to help you effectively learn the most in-demand skills, when you need them, so that you can land your dream job."
The cost of a nanodegree is expected to be about $200 per month and one is expected to take between 6-12 month to complete with a time commitment of 10 hours per week. Scholarships are expected to be available for "underrepresented students""

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Safari On iOS8 Supports WebGL - At Last!

mikejuk mikejuk writes  |  about 2 months ago

mikejuk (1801200) writes "The biggest announcement at WWDC has mostly gone unnoticed and uncommented — WebGL support in the Safari browser on both OSX and iOS. Safari is the last browser to give in to the inevitable and offer WebGL — full 3D GPU accelerated graphics in web pages and apps.
Not only is it supported in the browser but in the WebView as well making it possible for web app wrappers such as PhoneGap/Cordova to support WebGL on all platforms.
One possible reason it has taken so long for Apple to recognize that a browser without WebGL is substandard is that it undermines its control of the App Store by allowing web apps that are just as powerful — think 3D games say — to be downloaded and run in the browser. It would be tough for Apple to invent a way to control or profit from freely downloadable web apps. While it might not be the end of the App Store it is a big hole in its walls."

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Safari On iOS8 Supports WebGL - The New Era Can Now Commence

mikejuk mikejuk writes  |  about 2 months ago

mikejuk (1801200) writes "The biggest announcement at WWDC has mostly gone unnoticed and uncommented — WebGL support in the Safari browser on OSX and iOS. At last the big browsers all support 3D graphics and web apps and web games in particular are effectively universal.Apple's revolutionary announcement has tended to be overlooked — perhaps because Apple didn't really make a great deal of fuss about it. You might suspect that it isn't that keen for the world to notice that the Safari browser has almost silently joined the growing majority of browsers that support GPU accelerated graphics via WebGL.Not only is it supported in the browser but in WebView as well, which means that native apps that want to show HTML content can now show it including advanced graphics. This also opens up the way for web app wrappers such as PhoneGap/Cordova to support WebGL on all platforms.
One possible reason it has taken so long for Apple to recognize that a browser without WebGL is substandard is that it controls the App store with an iron fist and makes a lot of cash in the process. The danger of WebGL is that it allows the creation of web apps that do as much as a native app. The point is that web apps don't need to be installed and hence they can't be controlled in the way that native apps can.
Is this the end of the app store?"

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Crowdfund A Film About Grace Hopper

mikejuk mikejuk writes  |  about 2 months ago

mikejuk (1801200) writes "Born With Curiosity is a proposed biopic about computer pioneer Grace Hopper http://developers.slashdot.org.... With a week to go before it closes on June 7, a crowdfunding campaign on Indigogo https://www.indiegogo.com/proj... has so far raised 94% of its $45,000 target.
Although there have been a couple of books devoted to Grace Hopper and recently was the subject of a Google Doodle, her story hasn't made it to celluloid, which is something that Melissa Pierce finds anomalous, stating on the Born With Curiosity Indigogo page:
"Steve Jobs had 8 films made about him, with another in pre-production! Without Grace Hopper, Steve might have been a door to door calculator salesman! Even with that fact,there isn't one documentary about Grace and her legacy. It's time to change that.""

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The Flaw Lurking In Every Deep Neural Net

mikejuk mikejuk writes  |  about 2 months ago

mikejuk (1801200) writes "A recent paper "Intriguing properties of neural networks" by Christian Szegedy, Wojciech Zaremba, Ilya Sutskever, Joan Bruna, Dumitru Erhan, Ian Goodfellow and Rob Fergus, http://cs.nyu.edu/~zaremba/doc...
a team that includes authors from Google's deep learning research project outlines two pieces of news about the way neural networks behave that run counter to what we believed — and one of them is frankly astonishing.
Every deep neural network has "blind spots" in the sense that there are inputs that are very close to correctly classified examples that are misclassified.
To quote the paper:
"For all the networks we studied, for each sample, we always manage to generate very close, visually indistinguishable, adversarial examples that are misclassified by the original network."
To be clear, the adversarial examples looked to a human like the original, but the network misclassified them. You can have two photos that look not only like a cat but the same cat, indeed the same photo, to a human, but the machine gets one right and the other wrong.
What is even more shocking is that the adversarial examples seem to have some sort of universality. That is a large fraction were misclassified by different network architectures trained on the same data and by networks trained on a different data set.
You might be thinking "so what if a cat photo that is clearly a photo a cat is recognized as a dog?" If you change the situation just a little and ask what does it matter if a self-driving car that uses a deep neural network misclassifies a view of a pedestrian standing in front of the car as a clear road?
There is also the philosophical question raised by these blind spots. If a deep neural network is biologically inspired we can ask the question, does the same result apply to biological networks.
Put more bluntly "does the human brain have similar built-in errors?" If it doesn't, how is it so different from the neural networks that are trying to mimic it? In short, what is the brain's secret that makes it stable and continuous?
Until we find out more you cannot rely on a neural network in any safety critical system.."

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OpenWorm Building Life Cell By Cell

mikejuk mikejuk writes  |  about 2 months ago

mikejuk (1801200) writes "The nematode worm C. elegans is going where no worm has gone before — into cyberspace. The Open Worm project aims to build a complete and accurate simulation of the first animal to be transferred to code. The most important thing about C.elegans is that it has only 1000 cells and only 302 are neurons. The OpenWorm project aims to create a simulation of the worm working at the level of chemistry making it the first animal to be re-created as software. The project has been going a while but it recently made a successful pitch on Kickstarter for $120,000 to develop the simulation to the point where the neurons control the body of the worm. The rewards offered on KickStarter might strike some as bizarre: T-shirts featuring C.elegans and access to an online version of the simulation called WormSim.
The "why" is because it's the only way to find out if we understand C.elegans but it raises lots of philosophical questions — is the finished simulation alive being the biggest?"

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OTTO - The Hackable Raspberry Pi GIF Camera

mikejuk mikejuk writes  |  about 2 months ago

mikejuk (1801200) writes "Otto is the first product to make use of the Raspberry Pi Compute Module and it is open, hackable and takes animated GIFs which are automatically uploaded to your phone.
Otto is the brainchild of Next Thing Computing. It is currently on Kickstarter and at the time of writing well on its way to making its $60,000 goal. It doesn't look like a top notch semi-pro digital camera and that's by design. It looks like an old fashioned low-end film camera of the type you might give to kids. What is novel about this camera is that it may look like a cheapo plastic snapper but it can do some really interesting things.
The "film winder" on the top takes a sequence of stills as you rotate it to "advance the film" and when you "rewind the film" these are combined to create an animated GIF. Of course there might be some users who don't remember what film cameras were like and so might not get the reference to the older tech.
The animated GIF mode is enough to make Otto novel, but the fact that it uses a Raspberry Pi means it can be used in other modes and can be customized. "Using the OTTO SDK, you can modify every bit of OTTO’s software. Recompile the kernel, load it up with additional Linux packages, or just peek under the hood and see how it all works."
There is even a very weird hardware expansion option called Flashyflashy that looks like an old flash bulb attachment. How many users are going to remember those?
Perhaps the most exciting thing about Otto is that it is clearly going to be fun as soon as you take it out of the box but with some software and perhaps hardware skills you can have so much more fun with it.
I can't help but think that they might do even better with a cool futuristic design rather than something retro."

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Linus Torvalds Receives IEEE Computer Pioneer Award

mikejuk mikejuk writes  |  about 3 months ago

mikejuk (1801200) writes ""Linus Torvalds, the "man who invented Linux" is the 2014 recipient of the IEEE Computer Society's Computer Pioneer Award -
"For pioneering development of the Linux kernel using the open-source approach".
According to Wikipedia, Torvalds had wanted to call the kernel he developed Freax (a combination of "free", "freak", and the letter X to indicate that it is a Unix-like system), but his friend Ari Lemmke, who administered the FTP server it was first hosted for download, named Torvalds' directory linux.
In some ways Git can be seen as his more important contribution — but as it dates from 2005 it is outside the remit of the IEEE Computer Pioneer award.""

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President Obama Impressed By ASIMO But Finds Robots Creepy

mikejuk mikejuk writes  |  about 3 months ago

mikejuk (1801200) writes "During his state visit to Japan, President Obama interacted with Honda's humanoid robot ASIMO at Tokyo's Miraikan museum, which showcases Japanese emerging science and innovation. After bowing and making a formal introduction in English, ASIMO kicked a soccer ball to Obama who responded with "Good job" — see the video. Asimo also seemed pleased with his performance and jumped around to celebrate his own prowess in suitable soccer-star style. Compared to other soccer-playing robots, such as Nao, Asimo appears rather slow, although his aim is pretty good but President Obama's reservations, expressed later to students according to the Wall Street Journal is that the robots he met on this and previous visits to Japan are "too lifelike"."
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Drones On Demand

mikejuk mikejuk writes  |  about 3 months ago

mikejuk (1801200) writes "Now this really is an interesting iOS app. Gofor is a new company that is promoting the idea of drones on demand. All you have to do is use the app to request a drone and it shows you were they are and how long before one reaches your location.
You want to take the ultimate selfie? Scout ahead to see if the road is clear or just find a parking space? No problem just task a drone to do the job. For the photo you simply flash your phone camera at it and it pinpoints your location for an aerial selfie. If it is scouting ahead then it shows you what awaits you via a video link. See the promo video to see how it might work.
Flight of fancy? Possibly but the company claims to be operational in five US cities."

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Ties Of The Matrix

mikejuk mikejuk writes  |  about 4 months ago

mikejuk (1801200) writes "The Matrix Reloaded started something when "The Merovingian" wore a number of very flashy ties. The problem was that we thought we knew how many ways you can tie a tie. The number of ways had been enumerated in 2001 and the answer was that there were exactly 85 different ways but the enumeration didn't include the Matrix way of doing it.
So how many "Merovingian" knots are there?
The question is answered in a new paper "More ties than we thought", by Dan Hirsch, Meredith L. Patterson, Anders Sandberg and Mikael Vejdemo-Johansson. http://arxiv.org/pdf/1401.8242... The methodology is based on the original enumeration and an interesting application of language theory. The idea is to create a programming language for tying ties and then work out how many programs there are.
  For single depth tucks there are 177147 different sequences and hence knots. Of these there are 2046 winding patterns that take up to 11 moves, the same as the The Merovingian knot and other popular knots, and so these are probably practical with a normal length necktie.
Who would have thought a little movie would have attracted so much attention...."

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Robot TED Talk - The New Turing Test?

mikejuk mikejuk writes  |  about 4 months ago

mikejuk (1801200) writes "As if we didn't have enough of a distraction in the form of the Loebner prize, the Turing Test turned into a circus. Now we have AI Xprize for a robot that can give a TED talk that gets a standing ovation.The new AI Xprize is: ...for the development of artificial intelligence (AI) so advanced that it could deliver a compelling TED Talk with no human involvement
Want input from you in the form of suggestions as to what the competition should be. The idea seems to be that there will be 100 predetermined topics and the AI agent will be given 30 mins to prepare a 3 min talk on one of the topics. The agent doesn't have to be a bipedal humanoid robot but as the audience gets to vote on its performance it certainly has to have an attractive presentation. After the talk it will be asked to answer some questions on the topic.
once you set a task this specific clever programmers can start to exploit its regularities and the intelligence of the audience to fool them into thinking that agent is indeed intelligent. This is what happened in the case of the Turing test and the chatbots. Attempts to understand language and respond with meaning were quickly replaced by automatic language transformations and tricks to make the observer interpret the output as intelligent.
I suppose anything is better than nothing but the AI Xprize could so easily be about something that is less easy to subvert. Perhaps this is what we should suggest on the website http://www.xprize.org/ted rather than detailed rules?"

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Larry Page - Where Is Google And Where Is It Going?

mikejuk mikejuk writes  |  about 4 months ago

mikejuk (1801200) writes "An "off-the-program" conversation at lat week's TED 2014 Conference in Vancouver between Charlie Rose and Larry Page reveals some of what is on the mind of Google's Founder and CEO.
It ranges over so many topics you can't really come to any particular conclusion, but it is well worth listening to.
The interview starts off with a discussion about Google's recent acquisition of Deepmind, an AI company. Page explains how Google has used neural networks to learn how to recognize a cat from YouTube videos — and the audience doesn't laugh.
When the conversation turns to privacy he turns it round to privacy depends on security and then emphasises that you don't want to throw the baby out with the bathwater. He points out that allowing access to anonymised medical records could save 100,000 lives per year. When it comes to his own recent voice problems he said that
"I was scared to share but Sergey encouraged me and we got thousands of people with similar conditions,"
The interview ends with a contemplation of business and technology.
  "Most businesses fail because they miss the future,""

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Happy Pi Day!

mikejuk mikejuk writes  |  about 4 months ago

mikejuk (1801200) writes "Yes it is Pi day again, but this year it feels as though we aren't celebrating alone. For the first time it looks as if the momentum has built up to the point were a few people have heard about pi day and there are even attempts to sell you Pi connected items — as if it was a real holiday.
But there is always some one to spoil the party so what ever you do to celebrate don't miss Vi Hart's Anti-Pi Rant video."

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Does John Conway Hate Life?

mikejuk mikejuk writes  |  about 5 months ago

mikejuk (1801200) writes "Conway's game of Life is huge among programmers and mathematicians alike. It has generated a community of "Lifers" dedicated to constructing whole worlds in Life and investigating it as if it was a universe of its own. And yet, in this new video, John Conway, its inventor admits to hating it...
You can see his point.
Conway is a talented mathematician with lots of other, arguably more important, results, inventions and insights and they are all overshadowed by his creation of the cellular automata we call Life.
In a second video he explains how it came to be invented. There are lots of interesting bits of background such as how the glider was almost called the ant but overall it is the impression that like a serious musician who has become famous for a TV jingle Conway wishes it wasn't so."

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Apple Closes OpenNI The Open Source Kinect Framework

mikejuk mikejuk writes  |  about 5 months ago

mikejuk (1801200) writes "The OpenNI website, home to the widely used framework for 3D sensing, will be shutdown in April.
When, in November 2013, Apple bought PrimeSense for $350 million, people speculated how this would affect the Capri mobile technology but no mention was made of what would happen to OpenNI, the open source SDK most often used as an alternative to Microsoft's closed SDK for the Kinect..
After Apple acquired PrimeSense, its website quickly shut, but the Developers link still points to Open NI.
The status of OpenNI is a not-for-profit whose framework allows developers to create middleware and applications for a range of devices, including the Asus Xtion Pro. It claims to be a widely used community with over 100,000 active 3D developers.
Surely that, together with the "open" nature of its software could have guaranteed it a longer future?
It seems not."

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Why You Shouldn't Collect Data - What The Government Could Do With Location Data

mikejuk mikejuk writes  |  about 5 months ago

mikejuk (1801200) writes "Programmers often think that users are overly sensitive about their data. What could it hurt to allow the collection of location data, for example. Here is a short video from the ACLU that might make you stop and think about persisting any data you capture.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) says:
"Since mobile carriers are retaining location data on their customers, government officials can learn a tremendous amount of detailed personal information about you by accessing your location history from your cell phone company, ranging from which friends you're seeing to where you go to the doctor to how often you go to church. The Justice Department and most local police forces can get months' worth of this information, without you ever knowing — and often without a warrant from a judge."
If you don't like the idea of your location data data being under scrutiny, then the ACLU has a page where you can lobby your representatives in favor of the GPS Act, which seeks to control access to location data."

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