Microsoft has been trying to make Google seem like a threat to privacy, when in fact it’s both of them,” says Jeff Chester, the executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy (CDD). “We may now have two companies that will rival the National Security Agency in their ability to compile detailed profiles of users wherever they go online.”
BusinessWeek has an article that shines some light on a conflict of interest between the airlines and the FAA safety inspectors. It’s the inspector’s job to make sure the airlines are operating safely—but inspectors who blow the whistle may face pressure from the airlines and retaliation from the FAA’s upper management
The inspectors are the on-the-ground cops who ensure that engines fire up properly, that the wing flaps function, and that all of the other complex machinery in an aircraft is in good working order. They have broad discretion to halt and delay flights–power that often rankles the thinly stretched, financially strapped carriers. When an inspector launches a formal investigation into an apparent safety violation at a passenger airline, something that happened more than 200 times last year, it often triggers costly repairs. And when the bill exceeds $50,000, the FAA must issue a press release alerting the world to the problem.
From the folks that brought you the credit score system in all it’s glory, here’s MedFICO! It’s a new business project underway with the goal of assessing patient’s ability to pay their medical bills. The system would gather patient’s bill payment history from hospitals around the country and then assign patients a score similar to a credit score. Critics are worried if the same problems with people getting erroneous information in their credit report and then having an insanely difficult time cleaning it up would also affect MedFICO. They also worry whether hospitals would use MedFICO to determine the level of care offered, like whether the person gets a hospital stay or not. FICO scores are now being used by some employers to screen out potential employees, would they use MedFICO to see who might take a bigger chunk out of the health benefits?
Researchers from Department of Computer Sciences at the University of Texas at Austin say they can reverse Netflix’s anonymous data (which was released in to the public as part of a contest to see if someone could design a better rating system) by comparing it to only a few ratings on IMDb. The result? Specific users can be identified and linked to their (ostensibly) private ratings.
Releasing the data and just removing the names does nothing for privacy,” Shmatikov told SecurityFocus. “If you know their name and a few records, then you can identify that person in the other (private) database.”
Judge Dismisses Class Action Lawsuit Against Overstock.com Due To Mandatory Binding Arbitration Clause
Did you know that every time you purchase something from Overstock.com you agree to a mandatory binding arbitration clause and have no legal recourse against the company? Even if they illegally disclose too much of your information on your receipt?
Faced with foreclosure on her Russellville, Indiana home, Christina Snyder allegedly concocted the kind of plan that now has insurance executives on edge.
The ongoing subprime meltdown is merely the first destructive wave of credit catastrophe to wash over Wall Street, according to Slate’s resident explainer. Americans drunkenly bandy credit around in several forms: mortgages are the most prevalent loans turning sour, but credit card debt, student loans, and auto loans are silently conspiring to threaten our macroeconomic well-being.
According to the FAA, Southwest flight 438 returned to Dallas’ Love Field on November 17 when the plane “experienced a vibration in the number 2 engine” shortly after take-off.
The site of the most infamous mob murder in New York City history is now a Starbucks, but does anyone care? Nah. We certainly don’t care… but it’s a chance to learn about a mob murder:
It’s Walmart’s policy, clearly visible on their website and in their stores, that all sales of guns and ammunition are final. One San Diego man didn’t like that policy so he tried to return the ammunition in another way. By firing it in the Walmart parking lot.
A googlemaps mashup of 2007 foreclosures to-date in Minneapolis area puts the acceleration in failed mortgages into a different perspective.
Max started his journey with a credit score in the low 500s, and now, in a matter of months, it had crested above 600. Eventually, and through great discipline, Max managed to eliminate every negative item on his credit report, simply by asking for proof that they belonged there in the first place.
- When people see something they want to purchase, a portion of the brain called the nucleus accumbens “lights up” on a brain scan. If the price is too high, another region of the brain called the insula is activated and the mesial prefrontal cortex (MPFC) is deactivated, Dr. Brian Knutson of Stanford University in California and colleagues report.
Is cloned meat safe? The government seems to think so. According to the Seattle Times, “A long-awaited study by federal scientists concludes meat and milk from cloned animals and their offspring are safe to eat and should be allowed to enter the food supply without special labeling.”
According to Reuters, Cingular has cut a deal to offer MySpace on almost all of its cell phones. For a measly $2.99 a month, people not old enough to have cell phones, let alone MySpace profiles, can update photos, check MySpace messages, and update their blogs…all from their phones! It looks like the holidays have come early for internet predators!—MEGHANN MARCO