Archive for the ‘The basics’ Category

This company has built a profile on every American adult. Or so it says.

A file on every American

6 August 2016 – Every move you make. Every click you take. Every game you play. Every place you stay. They’ll be watching you. IDI, a year-old company in the so-called data-fusion business, is the first to centralize and weaponize all that information for its customers. The Boca Raton, Fla., company’s database service, idiCORE, combines public records with purchasing, demographic, and behavioral data.

Chief Executive Officer Derek Dubner says the system isn’t waiting for requests from clients — it’s already built a profile on every American adult, including young people who wouldn’t be swept up in conventional databases, which only index transactions. ‘We have data on that 21-year-old who’s living at home with mom and dad,’ he says.

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Stealing passwords from the cloud. Scary stuff from Las Vegas …

Amazon Web Service re Invent conference


Gregory P. Bufithis

Eric De Grasse


7 October 2015 – Thousands of cloud fanatics have descended on Las Vegas this week for Amazon Web Service’s re:Invent conference. One item that grabbed our attention was the announcement of a group of researchers from Massachussets who published a concept test which uses a failure in the AWS virtual machines to steal their RSA cryptographic passes. Nowadays the failure is already patched, but according to the researchers we really need to think more seriously about the security on the cloud.


The group of professors … at Worcester Polytechnic Institute … demonstrated in a recently published paper named “Seriously, get off my cloud! Cross-VM RSA Key Recovery in a Public Cloud,” a proof of concept hack of secret cryptography keys used in an AWS virtual machine. The now-patched flaw – which was not specific to AWS — showed that a hacker could theoretically gain a user’s secret keys that are used to encrypt sensitive data.


Security experts say the risk of this specific attack being used is quite low … Read more

L’internet des objets: gadget, serpent de mer ou révolution ?

Internet of things graphic no text


7 Avril 2014 – Les mauvaises langues prétendront, non sans quelques arguments, que l’IoT n’est qu’un autre serpent de mer de l’industrie informatique, au même titre par exemple que les systèmes de traduction automatique dont on nous promet l’avènement imminent depuis des lustres. Les premières évocations de l’IoT remontent en effet au début du siècle alors que la prophétie tarde visiblement à se réaliser. Pourtant depuis quelques mois les signes avant-coureurs d’une concrétisation se font plus insistants. Qu’on en juge par exemple à l’acquisition récente par Google de Nest Labs, un spécialiste de la domotique, ceci pour la modique somme de trois milliards de dollars. Ou encore par son activité R&D consacrée aux lentilles intelligentes capables de mesurer le taux de glucose dans les larmes, une étape peut-être pour remporter la bataille du diabète. Non content d’avoir organisé l’information au niveau global, le géant de Moutain View ambitionne désormais d’assoir son hégémonie en concevant les technologies de capteurs qui, demain, récupèreront l’information directement dans le monde physique plutôt que de passer par les humains, peu fiables et … Read more

The Republicans scramble to learn data science to combat Democrats’ sophisticated data-analytics platform


Data science word scramble



12 February 2014 – President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign relied on a sophisticated data-analytics platform that allowed organizers and volunteers to precisely target potential donors and voters. The centerpiece of that effort was Project Narwhal, which brought voter information—steadily accumulated since Obama’s 2008 campaign—onto a single platform accessible to a growing number of campaign-related apps.

We covered this in detail in our post How Big Data, cloud computing, Amazon and poll quants won the U.S. election (click here).

The GOP has only a few short years to prepare for the next Presidential election cycle, and the party is scrambling to build an analytics system capable of competing against whatever the Democrats deploy onto the field of battle. To that end, the Republican National Committee (RNC) has launched Para Bellum Labs, modeled after a startup, to produce digital platforms for election analytics and voter engagement.

Is this a genuine attempt to infuse the GOP’s infrastructure with data science, or merely an attempt to show that the organization hasn’t fallen behind the Democratic Party when it … Read more

Researchers connect 91% of phone numbers with names in metadata probe


Metadata 2

24 December 2013 – One of the key tenets of the argument that the National Security Agency and some lawmakers have constructed to justify the agency’s collection of phone metadata is that the information it’s collecting, such as phone numbers and length of call, can’t be tied to the callers’ names.


Some quick investigation by some researchers at Stanford University who have been collecting information voluntarily from Android users found that they could correlate numbers to names with very little effort. The Stanford researchers recently started a program called Metaphone that gathers data from volunteers with Android phones. They collect data such as recent phone calls and text messages and social network information.

The goal of the project, which is the work of the Stanford Security Lab, is to draw some lines connecting metadata and surveillance. As part of the project, the researchers decided to select a random set of 5,000 numbers from their data and see whether they could connect any of them to subscriber names using just freely available Web tools.

The result: They found … Read more

How in HELL do you visualize a yottabyte?! Well, by use of a brilliant infographic.


Data on big screen


26 November 2013 – Nowadays, data size measurements such as kilobyte and megabyte are commonplace in tech parlance, but a new infographic puts those measurements into context, and takes a look at drive technologies, too. One byte? One character. 10 bytes? One word. A megabyte? A short novel. 10 terabytes? The entire printed collection in the U.S. Library of Congress. Etc., etc., etc.

Its source is our good friends at datascience@berkeley who are part of the University of California Berkeley and who offer a professional Master of Information and Data Science (MIDS) which is delivered online and which features a multidisciplinary curriculum designed to prepare data science professionals to solve real-world problems using complex and unstructured data. For more information just click the link above. Two of our staffers are currently enrolled.

The infographic begins with the humble bit and works its way up in file size all the way to zettabyte and yottabyte. A yottabyte is equal to 1,000 zettabytes and one yottabyte is the size of the entire world wide web, according to the infographic.


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How cloud computing helps reduce the costs for media producers

Cloud computing and media producers


15 October 2013 – I have been in Israel for almost two weeks due to a fortuitous concatenation: an IBM Research event on Watson, the DLD Tel Aviv conference, and BrainTech Israel 2013.  As the Israeli press was reporting, Tel Aviv was a “city on steroids”.  I will write more on each of these events next week but a major highlight was to hear … and later meet … Yossi Matias, the managing director of Google’s R&D Center in Israel and Senior Director of Google’s Search organization. Clearly one of the smartest guys around.  Maybe on the entire planet.

Most of my work these days is centered in the TMT space … technology, media and telecom. Through the work of my TMT companies, Project Counsel Media (operating out of Frascati, Italy and Barcelona, Spain) and EAM Capital (based in Paris, France) we have been able to hit the TMT space from multiple angles as it undergoes a rapid and continuous development and evolution driven by changes in technology, liberalization of markets and adjustments in the way consumers connect.… Read more

Now THIS is artificial intelligence at work! The EU is to develop smart clothing in a cloud computing structure

 AI in smart clothing


14 October 2013 – The European Union (EU) has launched a project for the development of smart clothing with wearable technology in cloud computing at the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI-Rhineland-Palatinate) in Kaeserslautern, in southwest Germany.

The project is titled “Easy-IMP” — Collaborative Development of Intelligent Wearable Meta Products in the cloud — and was launched in September 2013 with an investment of € 4.4 million for over three years.  The EU has developed an interdisciplinary team of experts in sensor technology, computer science, web programming, biomechanics, rehabilitation and sports, to find new methods and tools for creating the smart clothes.
According to a statement issued by DFKI, a typical example of such type of clothing is to provide a common platform that can be used and customized by downloading apps for a variety of applications. A part of this concept has been utilized in Easy-IMP smart clothing, where the garment can be configured via a smart phone to detect motion or vital data of the user and to use in conjunction with an app for … Read more

How the cloud is disrupting the business landscape [INFOGRAPHIC]

Business on a laptop


3 October 2013 – Cloud computing isn’t going anywhere soon, with IT research and advisory company Gartner Inc forecasting that nearly half of large enterprises will have hybrid cloud deployments by the end of 2017. There is a stronger recognition today that this is more than just one shift of technology. Unlike the shift from mainframe to client/server, which was a switch from one technology architecture to another technology architecture, this shift moves out of the realm of technology architecture change and into the realm of behavioral relationship and business change, making it more akin to the change at the end of the 1990s from on-premises systems to the web and e-business.

Another key contribution made to the cloud computing debate is the emerging role played by Cloud Service Brokers – third parties that add value to cloud services on behalf of cloud service customers.

A new infographic, in the meantime, takes a closer look at just how the cloud is disrupting the business landscape.

The folks at ClickSoftware have created a dandy infographic that begins by highlighting the … Read more

The cloud computing industry could lose up to $35bn due to the NSA disclosures


PRISM and cloud computing


By: Eric De Grasse, Chief Technology Officer

7 August 2013 – The U.S. cloud computing industry could lose between $21.5bn to $35bn in revenues over the next three years as a result of concerns about the National Security Agency’s electronic surveillance programs, according to an independent Washington-based policy think-tank. The figures, calculated by the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, are the first serious attempt to calculate the impact on US cloud computing providers including Amazon, Google and Microsoft of the recent NSA revelations.

They come amid growing evidence that non-US companies are cancelling contracts and curtailing their use of US-based cloud service providers because of their concerns about the extent to which the NSA and other US law enforcement and national security agencies may be using provisions in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and Patriot Act to obtain electronic data from third parties. In a report published on Monday, the Foundation said the NSA Prism program and related revelations, “will probably have an immediate and lasting impact on the competitiveness of the US cloud computing industry if … Read more