(me and the sysop)

Big Data Is Here To Stay. So Can We Use It To Make Recalls Actually Work?

Sometimes products are unsafe. From bacteria-filled food to shrapnel-shooting airbags, on occasion even the most conscientious company will find itself needing to recall a product if it turns out to be harmful to consumers. But recalls are a big pain in the butt all around. One of the biggest issues? Actually letting consumers know that the stuff in their hands or on their shelves has, in fact, actually been recalled. [More]

The Privacy And Consent Issues With Apple’s New ResearchKit

The Privacy And Consent Issues With Apple’s New ResearchKit

Earlier this week, Apple gave us wrist computers and took away almost all of the ports in its notebook computers, and also announced something that gadget fans may not have expected: a set of apps called ResearchKit designed to help medical researchers collect data from ordinary citizens for their research. Tens of thousands of people have already signed up for studies, which is potentially great for science. Is it good for us, the potential research subjects, though? [More]

Lawmakers Want To Know Who’s Tracking You Online, And Where The Info Goes

Lawmakers Want To Know Who’s Tracking You Online, And Where The Info Goes

Everything you do online — on your phone, on your computer, with anything — leaves a digital wake. Put those trails together and you’ve got one massive big data industry that can (and does) track it all and sell it to the highest bidder. After decades of digital detritus building up, regulators and Congress both are contemplating some steps that would help protect consumers’ info. [More]

(frankieleon)

Is Your Social Security Number A Public Record? Depends Where You Live

A pile of sensitive personal data from Florida residents is now on the loose online. But it wasn’t leaked from a hack or a breach. It was from a completely legitimate public records dump by the state’s former governor. [More]

AT&T To Free Up More Data For Mobile Subscribers, At Cost Of Net Neutrality

AT&T To Free Up More Data For Mobile Subscribers, At Cost Of Net Neutrality

Most of us are used to mobile companies clinging tightly to every precious bit and byte of data like a dragon hoards gold. Unlimited data plans were everywhere for a while, then went away, and then kinda sorta came back but not really. This week, AT&T has announced two big changes that will work to free up “bonus” data for their subscribers. One is harmless and maybe even good, but the other could have big, negative repercussions for mobile internet use. [More]

(Amanda Hoffman)

Forget Computer Cookies: People Happily Give Up Personal Data For The Baked Kind

It’s never a bad time for a cookie. Warm, just sweet enough, fresh from the oven… man, I could totally use a cookie right about now. How about you? Yeah? Excellent. Just hand over your address, mother’s maiden name, and the last four digits of your SSN and you can have this fresh hand-made dessert for free. Wait, what’s that you say? Yes, all this personal information does seem like too high a price to pay for one baked confection, no matter how delicious. And yet it was a deal that nearly 400 people were happy to make. [More]

(Bob Avery)

Facebook’s New Ad Service Lets Advertisers Get Up Close And Personal Everywhere You Are

Facebook ads: we’ve all seen a million of them. While some are generic spam, many are very creepily on-target. Until now, Facebook has mostly used its massive hoard of detailed user data for itself, and to sell ads on its own site. But now the site you love to hate is finding a new way to bank on your favorite bands and brands, with a new advertising service that can let companies chase down and advertise to any specific group they want. [More]

People In Alaska Are The Best Tippers, People In Delaware The Worst

People In Alaska Are The Best Tippers, People In Delaware The Worst

Sure, Internet comment threads seem to be evenly split between generous tippers and people who resent the practice, but what about the population at large? Credit card payment service Square analyzed their transaction data and found some interesting patterns in tipping by state. We don’t want to draw any wider conclusions, but we’re also giving Delaware a sidelong glance. [More]

Sample 834 data. It's not supposed to be diagonal, don't worry.

What Is An 834 Transaction, And Why Should I Care?

The good news is that Healthcare.gov, the health insurance marketplace for states that haven’t set up their own exchanges, is now up and functional. Well, the front end is working. Now that eligible people in need of insurance are able to log in and sign up, the next step is for the site to send their information over to the health insurance companies. That’s where things might go very wrong. [More]

(robertnelson)

Progressive Snapshot Car-Monitoring Device Helps Man Beat Murder Charge

There may be an upside to having a device in your car that monitors your driving habits on behalf of your car insurance company. Yes, really. A Cleveland-area man who also happened to be a Progressive customer with a Snapshot device at the time his infant daughter suffocated to death was acquitted of murder thanks to its data. [More]

(yoshiffles)

Ann Taylor Scrambles My Data With My Friend’s, Shrugs

Patty set out to make a purchase from Ann Taylor Loft. Her friend who lives in a different state did not. And yet, their data is somehow tangled. Patty’s friend’s credit card info is part of Patty’s Ann Taylor account record, and no one has any idea why. [More]

(rockmixer)

Straight Talk Cuts Off My Data, Will Only Explain Why In Confusing Doublespeak

Mike’s phone spent two weeks in the repair depot at Samsung. When it came back, shortly afterward his data stopped working. Oh, no! Would it have to go back for more repairs already? Well… no, that wasn’t the problem. The problem is that his mobile carrier, Straight Talk, has throttled his data access down to nothing. [More]

(bikeoid)

I Can’t Make My Son Use Less Data On HIs iPhone Without Giving AT&T More Money

Mark has a teenage son. His son has an iPhone. Like many teens (and quite a few adults, come to think of it) his son has trouble managing his usage on his 200-megabyte data plan. Most of the time he’s near wi-fi…but that’s only most of the time. Mark called up AT&T to see whether there was any way that he could lock down the phone from his account so it just can’t access the data network at all after reaching its limit. That would be a nice feature, wouldn’t it? Too bad that AT&T doesn’t offer a way to do that without somehow giving them more money. [More]

Facebook's New Mobile Ad Network Uses Your Data To Target You In Other Apps And Sites

Facebook's New Mobile Ad Network Uses Your Data To Target You In Other Apps And Sites

Yesterday, Facebook announced that it’s new mobile ad network (the one that analysts are counting on to rescue the company’s stock price) would allow advertisers to pay to use your Facebook data to target you with ads outside the Facebook environment. So, for example, if you’ve authorized Facebook on an outside mobile website, you’ll begin to see ads targeted to your Facebook profile data. [More]

Ask The Consumerist: Is There Any Point To All These Stupid Surveys?

Ask The Consumerist: Is There Any Point To All These Stupid Surveys?

Rachel is sick of surveys and writes in to ask if we think they serve any purpose. [More]

House Passes Bill To Track All Federal Spending On Single Website

House Passes Bill To Track All Federal Spending On Single Website

The federal government has never exactly been known for its transparency, especially when it involves exactly where all our tax money goes every year. But things could get slightly clearer thanks to legislation passed yesterday by the House of Representatives. [More]

T-Mobile Customer Demands Refund For Two Years Of Too-Slow Data… And Gets It

T-Mobile Customer Demands Refund For Two Years Of Too-Slow Data… And Gets It

When Sam was having problems with his T-Mobile smartphone, he did what he thought he was supposed to do: call up support. The agent on the phone couldn’t restore his phone’s Internet connectivity, but they did try to upsell him on some new services. He’d rather have the services he was already paying for working, thanks. When he took the phone to a retail store for help, he learned the real cause of his problems: he’d been wandering around for two years with an old 2G SIM in his 4G phone. He thought that he should have the extra cost of a 4G data plan refunded to him, and T-Mobile acquiesced… but only after he launched an executive e-mail carpet bomb. [More]

Cheap Ways To Back Up Computer Data

Cheap Ways To Back Up Computer Data

Your computer seems to know when you’ve neglected to back up important data so it can choose those times to crash and burn. To protect your precious work, you’ve got to preemptively strategize against your devices by making a habit of backing up data as often as possible. [More]