Category Archives: Analytics


It’s one thing when an insurance company asks you to install an appliance that tracks your driving habits.  You can qualify for rate discounts.  But what if the car manufacturer installs an app that sends the data to the insurer?

“App Tracks Driving Habits,” The Wall Street Journal, July 6, 2018 B3.  Mitsubishi installs app and offers to arrange to send data to insurers.

Again, this looks like someone else stepping in and trying to make money from sharing your data, not theirs.  Will this, as this article says, lead to insurers economically forcing you to share this information?  How you drive is one thing; but this would also include where you go, and when.  And can be tied to your credit rating, ZIP code, age, gender, etc.

What’s this data worth to you?  More or less than what it is worth to Mitsubishi and the insurance companies?  What will they do with this data once they have it?  Will they keep it secure?  Do they do this on cars sold in Europe or, for that matter, Japan?  Both countries have significantly stronger privacy protections than the US.


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Filed under Access, Analytics, Controls, Information, Privacy, Security, Technology, Third parties, Value

How to prevent contamination?

“Amazon Delves Into Health Data,” The Wall Street Journal, July 2, 2018 B3.  Amazon buys a company with a bunch of personal health information.

It’s not like Amazon doesn’t have to deal with a whole host of privacy regulations, including the EU and, more recently, California.  But personal medical information is different, and subject to different controls.

How does a company that lives on finding relationships in large bodies of information deal with information that can’t be used freely?

We’ll see.

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Filed under Access, Analytics, Compliance, Compliance (General), Controls, Corporation, Directors, Duty, Duty of Care, Employees, Governance, Internal controls, Oversight, Policy, Privacy, Third parties

Old dogs, new tricks

“Old Spy Plane Tries to Learn New Tricks,” The Wall Street Journal, June 8, 2018 A3. Using new data analytical techniques to harvest more information from U2 spy photos taken from 70,000 feet, freeing up human viewers for other duties.

What old information do you have that you could process differently with newly available technology?  What value could you harvest?


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Filed under Analytics, Collect, Data quality, Information, Management, Operations, Technology, Use, Value

Face the facts

“Amazon’s Tool for Facial Recognition Fans Privacy Fears,” The Wall Street Journal, May 23, 2018 B4.  People reach to Amazon’s sale of facial recognition technology to law enforcement authorities, fearing such technology might be misused.

I guess the law enforcement types could misuse the technology, but then they could misuse their guns, too.  How is this different?  Isn’t technology neutral?  Is the issue really, “What controls does the user have in place to prevent misuse?”

Don’t corporations have a duty to their shareholders to make revenues by selling legal products?  Why should Amazon prefer the views of the ACLU over the interests of Amazon shareholders?


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Catching up

  1. Bad employees are bad

    “Suspect In Massive CIA Leak Identified,” The Wall Street Journal, May 16, 2018 A2. Did a former employee leak CIA hacking tools?  How do you protect yourself from former employees leaking your information?

  2. Does this displace doctors?

    “New Methods Aim to Speed Stroke Care,” The Wall Street Journal, May 15, 2018 A3. Algorithms compare a patient’s brain scans against a database, allowing quicker diagnosis and treatment, even by non-experts.  Is this closer to using AI to practice medicine?  Is this using information better, faster, and, hopefully, cheaper?

  3. Failure to use information

    “Paris Attacker Was Flagged as Risk,” The Wall Street Journal, May 14, 2018 A8.  Attacker in Paris was in the database, but nevertheless was able to kill.

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Value through use

The value of information is in its use, or perhaps in the ability to prevent others from using it.

“H&M Ramps Up Data Use,” The Wall Street Journal, May 8, 20189 B4. Store chain mines social media to identify and track trends, and analyses store-specific information to determine what to stock in that store.

So, they use a common technology approach to data analysis chain-wide to derive a store-specific stocking strategy.  They find that computers don’t get distracted by emotions as much as humans.

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A handful for May Day

A departure from the one-story-one-post approach.

  1. “Israel Targets Iran Accord,” The Wall Street Journal, May 1, 2018 A1. Israel releases Iranian documents about a nuclear weapons program found in an abandoned warehouse. At least two themes: (a) What does information mean? Did Iran lie during negotiations? (b) Do you destroy documents/information that are/is no longer useful to you?  What does it say when you don’t?
  2. “‘Fake News’ Law Snares an Offender,” The Wall Street Journal, May 1, 2018 A16. A visitor to Malaysia convicted and sentenced for publishing “fake news” about how quickly/slowly emergency services responded to a shooting. Interesting that the first conviction under the new law was of a foreigner.
  3. “Banks Draw Bead on Guns,” The Wall Street Journal, May 1, 2018 B1. Banks and credit card companies discuss tracking your purchases of guns.  What will they do with that information? Is there other information they can deduce from your purchases that someone would like to track? Would your health insurer/doctor like to track your food and alcohol purchases?  Whose information is that, anyway?
  4. “Guilty Verdict in Autonomy Case,” The Wall Street Journal, May 1, B2.  Former CFO of Autonomy convicted of fraud in connection with the sale of Autonomy to HP for $11 billion in 2011.  This was not some lower-level accountant accused of misstating aspects of a tax-motivated deal. Instead, the fraud overstated Autonomy’s revenue and generally misstating financial results.  The former CEO has also been sued in the UK for damages.
  5. “Facebook Shares the Shared,” The Wall Street Journal, May 1, 2018 B5. Now you can download any of 25 categories of the information that Facebook keeps on you.  Your search history.  When you liked or didn’t like something.  Which and how many advertisers have your contact information.  How many categories does Facebook have?  We don’t know.

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