Author Archives: harris.1504

Data Brokers

I caught a glimpse of a 60 minutes segment that dealt with data brokers, which are people that track our internet history and other personal information in extreme detail to sell to others curious about us.60 Minutes explains that this data has been known to be collected for advertising, which brings to mind those “magical” Facebook ads that seem to know exactly what you have been looking and thinking about. This article makes it seem that this goes a little farther and this information to going to potential employers and the data being collecting isn’t something I expected. They mention products you buy, which I think we all know is tracked, but they somehow track other information such as, medical history, depression, cancer, genetic history, and even sexual orientation. Also, I didn’t realize that companies track your visits and clicks on other websites, Their example is Facebook tracking the and There are many others companies are in a crowd following your internet visits and every move you make on their websites. They also mention mobile devices and apps, Angry Birds and “Brightest Flashlight App” can access your GPS and track your movements, see where you are and your schedule.
Most of us know and understand that our internet traffic and other information can be tracked, but for information to be sold and especially when the information is commonly viewed as “private” like medical history, that seems a little unethical. I don’t quite understand why a company needs to track where you are and which places you commonly go to, it just seems like information that shouldn’t be known without explicitly asking me for that information. Companies, apps, and others need to be more open about what is being shared when you visit their website or use their programs.

Covering songs and Copyright

I decided to do a little research on how covering songs and copyright works. As stated in class, copyright attempts to protect distribution, performing, reproduction, displayed, and adapted. So when someone records or performs a cover song there must be some sort of rules that go along with putting it in front of the public. I found an article written by a guy who went through the process of making it legal to distribute covers on a CD. It turns out there are 2 types of licensing, mechanical and digital, which are self explanatory. Also, there are 3 main ways to do this, paying a legal firm specializing in musical licensing, going straight to the publisher to get legal right, or go to the library of Congress. All of which cost some amount of money, 8.50 cents for songs 5 minutes and then there is usually a filing fee. From Dan’s experience is mostly just seems like a lot of paperwork but not difficult (unless you get denied which there is nothing you can do about).

I was also interested in performing covers at concerts. And apparently it is completely legal to do so as long as the venue has the proper license. There is a fee  that venues pay to PRO, performing rights organization, and that makes it okay for bands to perform covers at there venue.

Also they covered Youtube covers, which is kind of complicated. But sometimes publishers and put ads and monetize cover videos, or the videos might be taken down.

Basically, it seems that as long as the publisher gets their royalties for the song, they will be happy.

Starbucks mobile app security

This seems to be a pretty common problem these days. An organization or company stores our data in some way that can easily be hacked or as in this case, in the open. According to this ComputerWorld article, Starbucks has apparently made the choice to save a person’s passwords directly on the mobile device to allow for quicker purchases that allows for convenience when purchasing items. However, if the phone is then connected to a PC, the data can then be found in clear text form. I guess all in all it’s not that big of deal, that should only allow a thief to purchase all the ridiculous amounts of caffeine fixes they want, unless you’re one of those people that uses the same username and password for everything (I was unclear when I read the article if the credit card information is easily found). I do think it rises some questions,

Why does a company think it’s a good idea to store data that allows quick purchasing in an easy to get to place? I think companies need to be a little more aware of what they doing in.

Are there other companies that allow “one-click” or quick purchases, storing financial and other user information in easy to access places. It is a great convenience to make fast purchases but at what cost to our security.