Posts Tagged ‘Poll’

Yea or Nay: Data-Mine Bank Records to Find Tax Evaders

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

The lower house of the Swiss Parliament voted Tuesday to reject a deal with the United States to transfer bank data from 4,450 American clients of UBS suspected of tax evasion…

What kind of data-mining is the IRS doing within the U.S.? The Right to Financial Privacy Act protects our personal banking data from government searches.

However, should the government be asking for aggregate data from banks about customer account activity that could help them identify suspicious behavior?

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Yea or Nay: Credit Checks on Job Applicants

Monday, April 12th, 2010

Should employers continue to be allowed to check your credit history as a part of the job application process?

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The biggest argument against this appears to be the lack of evidence showing a connection between credit history and job performance.

Sort of interesting to think about this in the context of other things employers ask about that may or may not have anything to do with job performance.

  1. Have you ever set a world record in anything?
  2. Do you play World of Warcraft?
  3. You have one fox and two chickens…

Yea or Nay: NYPD Skywatch crime surveillance…coming to a corner near you.

Friday, March 19th, 2010

One of these just showed up nearby. Here’s more info on what these things are.

Not the most subtle device in the world. But really that’s just the point?

Mobile crime surveillance units?

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Yea or Nay: Sympathetic Advertising

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

Using facial recognition technology, an internal computer determines your gender and your age. The billboard then pulls up an ad based on your demographic, targeting your best possible interest. The billboard I tried out saw that I was indeed a woman in her thirties and… lo and behold, pulled up a very appealing lunch advertisement.

The author of this article compares this new technology to retina scanning technology in the movie “Minority Report” that allowed “billboards” to play ads that are tailored to YOU, personally, not you, as a member of a demographic group. Is that a fair comparison?

After all, the data behind the Japanese advertising technology probably looks more like this Wikipedia page on Japanese demographics than this IMDB page on Tom Cruise.

Still, it’s very easy to see the slippery slope between these two scenarios, in particular because they are collecting the faces they’re reading.

So the question remains, where’s the bright line between tracking people to gain a “general understanding” of what’s going and tracking individuals so they can’t get away with anything? Has this face-reading advertising technology already crossed that line?

What do you think?

Read faces to play demographically targeted ads?

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Yea or Nay: Track Taxis with GPS?

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

We talk a lot on this blog about how tracking personal activities and collecting data can be extremely useful. We also talk about the need for better laws, regulations and shared social understanding of how such data should be collected, shared and used.

As part of our ongoing work to make sense of such a complicated and confusing set of issues, we’ll be collecting interesting “moral dilemmas” related to the issue of tracking human behaviors and posting them as a series of online polls. It’s an attempt to take a more “empirical,” case-by-case approach in an effort to keep high-level policy thinking rooted in reality.

If you come across something an interesting moral dilemma, please send them our way.

Without further ado, here’s the first poll:

Using G.P.S. technology installed in cabs, the (Taxi and Limousine) commission discovered more than 1.8 million trips where passengers were charged the higher rate.

Should we track taxis with GPS devices?

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