Digital Privacy: Ethical Practices in the Data Age

I had the privilege to host and moderate the digital privacy panel at Henley Club with Ivan Chua. Joining us on the panel were four privacy-conscious researchers, experts, and consultants: Dr Vanessa Teague, Ellen Broad, Gabor Szathmari, and Prof Dali Kaafar.

Many threads of digital privacy were had. I took away some key points as below:

  1. We need to be transparent about how we anonymise, encrypt & handle data. Publish the method ahead for critique.
     
  2. Data is a messy—'thing'—that everyone talks about, but has different meanings. For example, open access versus closed, specific access
     
  3. Consumers should be able to request from companies what they have on them. For that to be useful, data need to be in small digest forms
     
  4. Being transparent in data sharing / analysis practices also helps others to learn by example. You can also learn from public inspections.
     
  5. Ethical practice is a fluid thing. Everyone has a different reaction to the same way their data is shared.
     
  6. Pay attention to context: you can infer items about someone with small info, even when they haven't given you anything new about them.
     
  7. Differential privacy: the maths to maximise accuracy of data while minimising the chance of its records being re-identified.

Got tips on digital privacy? Feel free to reach out.

WWW 2017

I was invited to be on a mixed reality panel at WWW2017 with Mark PesceViveka WeileyStuart Anderson, and Kate Raynes-Goldie. The panel was well received and had a good turnout, following Mark Pesce’s keynote on Mixed Reality Service that morning.

As part of the conference, I attended the Trust Factory, and learned a lot about governance, policy, and research on trust and security on the web. The most notable one was probably W3C Verifiable Claim, a third-party certifiable process that prove some information to be genuine. I also learned about distributed ledgers, and by the way, did you know that Amazon checkouts do not go through a centralised choke point, and they have to deal with possible backorders?

I also attended a workshop held by Rossano Schifanella (who recommended me to try out Mapzen, good idea), Bart Thomee, and David Shamma. (They are all ex-Yahoo! engineers who went separate ways.) They delivered a crash course on geography/cartography literature, geospatial analytics, and visaulisation. I also met Martin Tomko at the workshop, who is doing very interesting work at Unimelb, and hope to catch coffee with him one day.

For the rest of the conference I saw various industry and research talks. Some interesting ones include setting up an internet service for people on Mars (fun fact: it takes 8–48 minutes to relay), and Gmail uses inbox history to predict new emails and filter spams. You can see the entire WWW 2017 proceedings here.

Last but not the least, the day before our panel, Nature published a climate forcing paper discussing a strong correlation between solar intensity and CO2 concentration in our atmosphere. We decided to do a 3-hour hackathon to produce a visualisation of the paper to explain the effect by visuals, all done in WebGL. Hope you like it.

Jump From Giants

Jump From Giants

You can't stop the future, you can't rewind the past
The only way to learn the secret is to press play
Jump from the shoulders of giants, gliding freely in control
And in that moment, I swear we are infinite

Imagination is our only weapon against reality
And fiction is the truth inside the lie
Love like you'll never be hurt, and remember
You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough

So read what you like and write what you want
A whole new world, a new horizon to pursue
So stay hungry, stay foolish, and remember
Do what you do best, make good art