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Daily Archives: June 12, 2023

We Found 650,000 Ways Advertisers Label You

The MarkUp: “A spreadsheet on ad platform Xandr’s website revealed a massive collection of “audience segments” used to target consumers based on highly specific, sometimes intimate information and inferences.” – By Jon Keegan and Joel Eastwood. “If you spend any time online, you probably have some idea that the digital ad industry is constantly collecting data about you, including a lot of personal information, and sorting you into specialized categories so you’re more likely to buy the things they advertise to you. But in a rare look at just how deep—and weird—the rabbit hole of targeted advertising gets, The Markup has analyzed a database of 650,000 of these audience segments, newly unearthed on the website of Microsoft’s ad platform Xandr. The trove of data indicates that advertisers could also target people based on sensitive information like being “heavy purchasers” of pregnancy test kits, having an interest in brain tumors, being prone to depression, visiting places of worship, or feeling “easily deflated” or that they “get a raw deal out of life.” Many of the Xandr ad categories are more prosaic, classifying people as “Affluent Millennials,” for example, or as “Dunkin Donuts Visitors.” Industry critics have raised questions about the accuracy of this type of targeting. And the practice of slicing and dicing audiences for advertisers is an old one. But the exposure of a collection of audience segments this size offers consumers an unusual look at how they and their families are packaged, described, and categorized by ad companies. Because the segments also include the names of the companies involved in creating them, they also shed light on how disparate pools of personal data—collected by tracking people’s online activity and real-world movements—are combined into bespoke, branded groups of potential ad viewers that can be marketed to publishers and advertisers…”

The US Is Openly Stockpiling Dirt on All Its Citizens

Wired – The US Is Openly Stockpiling Dirt on All Its Citizens “A newly declassified report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence reveals that the federal government is buying troves of data about Americans…Perhaps most controversially, the report states that the government believes it can “persistently” track the phones of “millions of… Continue Reading

Projected Health Outcomes Associated With 3 US Supreme Court Decisions in 2022

Gaffney A, Himmelstein DU, Dickman S, et al. Projected Health Outcomes Associated With 3 US Supreme Court Decisions in 2022 on COVID-19 Workplace Protections, Handgun-Carry Restrictions, and Abortion Rights. JAMA Netw Open. 2023;6(6):e2315578. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2023.15578. “Several recent US Supreme Court rulings have drawn criticism from the medical community, but their health consequences have not been quantitatively… Continue Reading

The dos and don’ts of using home security cameras that see everything

Washington Post (free link via MSN) Know who could be watching videos of your home and when, and how to lock your cameras down to keep the feed private. Private cameras are supposed to make people feel safer. The small internet-connected devices can be mounted outside your home to deter or record potential criminals, or… Continue Reading

An interactive guide to rights the Supreme Court has established and could take away

ProPublica – Supreme Risk – “Last summer, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the constitutional right to abortion established 50 years ago in Roe v. Wade, raising concerns about the future of other rights rooted in Supreme Court rulings. Although most rights are secured by statutes and regulations, others are guarantees extrapolated by the court from… Continue Reading

Plagiarism Engine: Google’s Content-Swiping AI Could Break the Internet

Tom’s Hardware: “Search has always been the Internet’s most important utility. Before Google became dominant, there were many contenders for the search throne, from Altavista to Lycos, Excite, Zap, Yahoo (mainly as a directory) and even Ask Jeeves. The idea behind the World Wide Web is that there’s power in having a nearly infinite number… Continue Reading

ISOO Publishes its FY 2022 Annual Report to the President

“Today, ISOO published its FY 2022 Annual Report to the President. Each year, ISOO reports to the President on the implementation of the Classified National Security Information (CNSI) and Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) programs, following requirements in Executive Orders 13526 and 13556. These Reports summarize ISOO’s oversight activities and make key recommendations that seek to… Continue Reading

Free Webinars from GPO

Webinar: Drive Thru Data: Using NLM APIs to Access Information Fast Register to attend the live training webinar, “Drive Thru Data: Using NLM APIs to Access Information Fast.” Tuesday, June 13, 2023; 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. (EDT): The NLM provides millions of people access to health information via its portfolio of products and services. But… Continue Reading

Large Constellations of Satellites Mitigating Environmental and Other Effects

United States Government Accountability Office, Highlights of GAO-22-105166, a report to congressional addressees September 2022. Technology Assessment. Large Constellations of Satellites Mitigating Environmental and Other Effects. “What GAO found – There are almost 5,500 active satellites in orbit as of spring 2022, and one estimate predicts the launch of an additional 58,000 by 2030. Large… Continue Reading

OIP’s Redesigned Website Now Released

DOJ – “The Office of Information Policy (OIP) is pleased to announce the release of its redesigned website to align with the broader modernization of  The redesigned page provides enhanced functionality to meet the requirements of the 21st Century Integrated Digital Experience Act and a new design based on the U.S. Web Design System… Continue Reading