The Secret Life of Data

Location: King's Suite
Average rating: ****.
(4.54, 13 ratings)
Ever searched for loose change down the back of the sofa? Ever wondered where all those odd socks go? Or the missing biros? How about the tea spoons from the work canteen? No? Well nor have I, much more important things to do after all. But I have searched for data in the cracks between software architectures, trailed people down the street watching them leak data, data that can tell me and others about their everyday lives, and mined unstructured data for their secrets. Big data isn’t just multi-terabyte datasets hidden inside eventually-concurrent distributed databases in the cloud. It’s also about the hidden data you carry with you all the time, data that is generated for you and about you, but not necessarily by you. Hidden data, your data, carrying on its secret life without your knowledge, but with your implicit and implied consent.
Photo of Alasdair Allan

Alasdair Allan

Babilim Light Industries

Alasdair Allan is a director at Babilim Light Industries and a scientist, author, hacker, maker, and journalist. An expert on the internet of things and sensor systems, he’s famous for hacking hotel radios, deploying mesh networked sensors through the Moscone Center during Google I/O, and for being behind one of the first big mobile privacy scandals when, back in 2011, he revealed that Apple’s iPhone was tracking user location constantly. He has written eight books, and writes regularly for Hackster.io, Hackaday, and other outlets. A former astronomer, he also built a peer-to-peer autonomous telescope network that detected what was, at the time, the most distant object ever discovered.

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