In the book I describe how researchers have been able to plot the incidence of flu and other health problems by looking at the geographical spread of queries to the Google search engine. Here’s another example of how extra information can be used; this time in order to make money.
This blog has been going since late November 2011. During this time I have got comments which have very little to do with the content; the latest concerned an advert for an electronic cigarette that would enable a tobacco addict to give up. Happily I have configured my blog so that I have to OK any comments before they are published. If any of you are keen to set up a blog then I would advise you to do the same.
I have started to receive emails to one of my addresses asking for details such as my email password, my date of birth and my profession. What is worrying is that this email address is not publicised. What I suspect is happening is that someone who has my address in their address book has had their email account compromised by replying to the sort of email that I am receiving. The first of the spam arrived yesterday. Deep sigh: there has been enough news about phishing over the last year or so and I am baffled that people still fall for it. The result is inconvenience for me and everyone else that was on the address book that was compromised.
Report from the Daily Telegraph about the fact that credit card fraud is decreasing. The bad news is that phone fraud and other low tech stuff is on the increase. Just remember your bank or anyone else will not ask you for sensitive data over the phone. About six months ago someone tried this on me. They sounded quite convincing; beware.
Along with two colleagues I have published a paper in the science journal Nature that makes a case for the release of program code to other researchers. It’s not as technical as you think it is. Here’s the link.
There’s an interesting article on the BBC business news site. It describes a secret part of the Internet not indexed by the search engines and used mainly for criminal activity. I was genuinely surprised by this as I thought the whole of the web was indexed.