Top Tech News You Need to Know: Halloween Edition

Happy Halloween, good people! If you’ve been super stoked all week long for all the scary and unnatural experiences this weekend promises, then it’s likely you’ve missed out on some of the biggest tech and big data stories to hit the web. No worries, though, we’ve gathered them up for you. Here, the top three tech stories you need to know.

Twitter + IBM Partner Up

IBM and Twitter have announced a long-standing partnership to use data from the microblogging platform to solve business problems. 

The two companies also plan jointly to develop offerings for specific industries, such as banking, retail, travel, transportation and consumer products, said the Wall Street Journal

“Business decision- making will never be the same,” said Virginia Rometty in a video shown at an event in Las Vegas where the partnership was disclosed.

Businesses have only scratched the surface of what is possible” with Twitter data, Dick Costolo, Twitter’s CEO, said in a companion video.

Currently, Twitter users tweet out one billion tweets every two days. The Library of Congress, by contrast, has archived 55 million items over 250 years, said Chris Moody, vice president in charge of Twitter’s data strategy. And most of the entries in the Library of Congress reflect the views of wealthy famous men, he said. “Twitter represents the views of the planet.”

Australia Proposes Law to Require Data-Retention

Australia has introduced a new Data Retention Bill that would allow law enforcement agencies access to two-years worth of customer metadata without a warrant. The proposal includes emails, cell data, cable data and more. 

The move is a surprise for many in the industry, as the data rights of the people begin to take shape in places like Florida, where a court ruling earlier this year found that non-warranted searches of cell phones or phone data is unconstitutional. In the E.U., the ongoing battle with Google over the Right to be Forgotten has gained tons of press and raised overall awareness of data rights and privacy in our internet age. 

There are concerns the bill would impinge on people’s privacy, reports the BBC, but Attorney-General George Brandis said at the press conference the bill was not about granting security agencies greater powers.

“It is about consistent laws about metadata,” he said.

“There are concerns the bill would impinge on people’s privacy.”

The proposed legislation specifies six categories of metadata to be retained:

  • account or subscriber details
  • source of communication
  • destination of communication
  • date and time of communication
  • type of communication
  • location of the device

Details over how minute the data retention efforts can get is still up in the air, and regulation around such is still being decided upon.

People Trust NSA over Google

New polls have shown that people trust NSA data collection and use over that done so by tech giant Google. In a survey conducted by Survata, results show that Google is the least trusted when it comes to data collection and use, and that people would much rather have their bosses, their parents and, yes, even the NSA looking through their data than Google. 

The results are consistent with a Washington Post-Pew Research Center poll of last year. It revealed that the majority of Americans are perfectly accepting of the NSA tracking their phone records. In that survey, according to CNet, 45% even said they thought the NSA’s intrusions should go further.

The news of NSA data spying put a spotlight on the U.S. and raised awareness of big data collection and use in general. Since, major retail breaches including those at Target and Home Depot have continued to cause fear among the public over what data companies and the government are collecting, forcing the White House to publish a 148-page document on data transparency earlier this year. 

Nonetheless, when it comes to our data, most Americans feel far safer letting the government parse through it over the employees in Silicon Valley.