This Week in Data – March 15

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New York Police now solving crimes with data tools

This is pretty cool. The NYPD is now using a data tool that analyzes hundreds of thousands of case files, with a view to finding patterns or information that might have been missed. Important to note, though, this isn’t a prediction system. It’s merely looking at incidents that have already occurred to see if there’s a link between them. And it’s already working – the system helped find a man alleged to have committed theft.


“According to NYPD assistant commissioner of data analytics Evan Levine, the, and former director of analytics Alex Chohlas-Wood, the department spent two years developing the software, and claim that the NYPD is the first to use such a system in the US.”


Can fintech boom without open banking?

Maybe! The conversation around open banking standards in Europe and Australia has created a buzz around fintech firms – they’re excited about new product opportunities. But as points out, data sharing can thrive even without this type of system. How? Acquisitions. Banks are snapping up fintech firms left and right.

Of course, this brings up all sorts of privacy questions. No doubt we’ll see more of this in the future.


“Acquisitions are an increasingly popular strategy for other financial services players, too…94% of banks and financial institutions in the U.S. have plans to acquire a FinTech in the next 12 months as they pursue heightened digital transformation.”


Apple and others shared files on insecure Box accounts

Yikes. Companies including the Discovery Channel and Apple used insecure sharing methods to transmit files including passports and social security numbers. But this isn’t technically a security flaw. Box, the system used by these companies, uses private links – it just turns out the companies shared them.

Just shows how much user training plays a huge role in security.


“Ultimately, the major issue here appears to be a disconnect between how people use Box’s public URLs and not so much a security concern. To that end, Box is improving the user education when people use its product to share URLs to make it clear what potential there is for data exposure so that users choose the security level that’s right for them.”


Australian government hits back over consumer data right

Things are getting feisty down under. The government has been accused of botching the consumer data right consultation process, but now the Treasury has something to say about that. The Australian Privacy Foundation was behind the slam, but the Government says it’s spent more time on this bill than many others. Consultation is ongoing.


“Committee chair Jane Hume also accused those who are criticising the government for “rushing” the legislation as having a “vested interest in seeing the slowing down of the passage of this legislation”.


Zuckerberg unveils vision for a privacy-focused Facebook

Really, what else was he going to do? Facebook’s been backed into a corner and responds accordingly: Zuckerberg says he wants to rethink the social network to be more privacy-focused in a very, very long manifesto. There are few specifics, only principles so far: an emphasis on private interaction, encryption, safety, reducing permanence, secure data storage, etc.

It’s hard to see this response as anything other than Zuckerberg being on the back foot, especially after being slammed by Apple for its privacy principles. Let’s see if they actually follow through.


“Over the next few years, we plan to rebuild more of our services around these ideas. The decisions we’ll face along the way will mean taking positions on important issues concerning the future of the internet. We understand there are a lot of tradeoffs to get right, and we’re committed to consulting with experts and discussing the best way forward.”


That’s our wrap for this week. Thanks for reading – we hope you found it entertaining and informational. We’d love to hear your thoughts on these articles and anything else data related! Email us anytime at!

Until next week,

Team Data Republic

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