Today I took a field trip with some people to the IBM Campus in Research Triangle Park. The facility was really nice, although I didn’t get to see much of it. Today was both their University day and their Cyber Security day, and so I watched multiple talks about security, cryptography, and privacy. There were some interesting ones, some boring ones, and some that went straight over my head. I was surprised to see that at a conference with presumably esteemed speakers, only one used Beamer for her slides. The others used Power Point…really badly. There were moving graphics galore and lots of complicated diagrams. I felt like almost all the slides were far too cluttered.
One talk that I did find interesting was this guy that was talking about implementing rules in our “monitoring systems” to control when and when we can share our info with the world. With social networks and smart phones and the increasing interconnectedness of people today, this also means that people are (intentionally or not) sharing more information about themselves. He proposed a rule-based system where you could tell your GPS “while I am on IBM Campus, you may track me, but when I leave, stop recording information”. Something like that would be really cool and useful to have I think. He also talked about “fooling the system” such as with Google’s location services. While a normal GPS will show your actual location, he purposely enters in false locations to confuse the system and kind of beat them at their own game of targeted advertising and tracking. I’m a very big proponent of controlling your data and your privacy on the internet, so I thought these were definitely cool ideas.