Tag Archives: Data

Obamacare Critics Said Obama Was 'Cooking the Books.' New Data Shows He

Obamacare Critics Said Obama Was 'Cooking the Books.' New Data Shows He
Another talking point against Obamacare just went poof. In the spring, as enrollment in the Affordable Care Act surpassed 7 million and settled above 8 million, critics said that the figures were an illusion. Insurance companies had warned that not …
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Who can get Obamacare between enrollment periods
The first open enrollment period on the federal marketplace ended March 31 and was followed by a grace period that lasted through mid-April. The next open enrollment period runs from Nov. 15 to Feb. 15. But a qualifying life event creates a 60-day …
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Obamacare enrollment dips to 7.3 million
That's a 9 percent reduction from the government's May estimate of 8 million, which reflected only how many people had signed up, not how many had paid and were enrolled in the coverage. The number has been long sought by Republican lawmakers who …
Read more on Crain’s Chicago Business

Obamacare Enrollment Data: Employer Based Coverage Declines

Obamacare Enrollment Data: Employer Based Coverage Declines
That was because almost all the gains in individual coverage through the Obamacare exchanges were offset by reduced enrollment in employer-sponsored group coverage. During the same period, Medicaid enrollment increased by about 5 million, …
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Latest Obamacare freakout: enrollment 'plummeting' (Spoiler: not so)
In the latest leg of their endless journey to find bad news about the Affordable Care Act, conservative analysts and websites have seized on some ambiguous figures to declare that enrollment is "plummeting," "shrinking," "sinking rapidly"–choose your …
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Wellpoint, Humana Obamacare Enrollment On The Rise
Wellpoint (WLP), parent of several Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans across the country, enrolled more Americans than it thought via public exchanges under the Affordable Care Act and expects even more people to sign up to its Medicaid plans for the …
Read more on Forbes

Use crowdsourced data to find what’s draining your iPhone battery

A new app called Normal might help you finally get to the bottom of your iPhone’s disappointing battery life. Unlike any other iPhone battery tracking app, Normal uses crowdsourced data from everyone using the app to provide personal advice on how to improve your battery. Once installed, Normal starts giving actionable suggestions like ‘kill Google to save 1 hour of battery life’ rather than just presenting you with stats. The real beauty of Normal is being able to see if your battery drain is normal compared to others using the same model of iPhone. Each app listing tells you if your apps are draining…

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Apple releases information about iOS in response to claims of a ‘backdoor’ for data collection

Apple's Latest iPhone Models Go On Sale Across U.S.
Apple has published new information about the diagnostic capabilities of iOS, in what appears to be a response to suggestions that it includes a ‘backdoor’ that could enable governments and other third-parties to access user data. The controversy arose after security consultant Jonathan Zdziarski documented a vulnerability that could leave usage data on iOS device exposed. Rebutting subsequent reports that linked the vulnerability with government data collection, Apple told iMore that it has “has never worked with any government agency from any country to create a backdoor in any of our products or services.” In addition to detailing the capabilities of three diagnostic features in its new document, the…

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Facebook lifts the lid on its battle against New York court’s ‘unprecedented’ user data request

Facebook has been striving for transparency in its dealings with various law enforcement agencies around the world, particularly with its Government Requests report which was first released in August 2013, but it faces several challenges. To illustrate this (and reassure users of its transparent approach), the company has just revealed details of its fight against a set of sweeping search warrants issued by a court in New York last summer. As reported by Bloomberg, the case concerned an investigation conducted by the Manhattan District Attorney to weed out people suspected of cheating to obtain disability benefits. Facebook’s deputy general counsel, Chris…

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UK operator Three will limit data tethering to 2GB for new customers, even if the plan is ‘unlimited’

UK mobile operator Three – best known for offering unlimited data to its customers – is introducing new tariffs  for customers signing up to the network that will see the amount of data they can use while tethering limited to 2GB, even if the agreement includes ‘unlimited’ data consumption via a smartphone. The move is unlikely to win Three any fans – it was the only network to continue offering unlimited data tariffs when it switched on its 4G LTE service at the end of last year, even for customers who wanted to use that superfast connectivity to tether to…

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iPhone owners can now transfer iCloud data to a Motorola device using the Migrate app

Screen 6  Migrate 2013.12.03 43 iPhone owners can now transfer iCloud data to a Motorola device using the Migrate appGoogle Chairman Eric Schmidt shared a detailed guide on how to migrate from iPhone to Android last November, but now that process can be fully automated by an application, assuming that your device of choice is a new Motorola smartphone.

That’s because Motorola Migrate, an app that launched last August, has finally added support for iCloud, allowing iPhone owners to transfer their contacts and calendar events directly to a Moto X, Moto G, or Droid device. The app already lets users beam over photos, videos, text history, call history and SIM contacts.

Motorola began offering iCloud migration via its Moto Maker site in October, but this new Migrate feature makes things even more convenient. Motorola (and Google) will hope that, alongside a significant price difference and greater customization options with the Moto X, this sweetens its appeal.

➤ Motorola Migrate [Google Play] | Via Punit Soni

Image via Spencer Platt / AFP

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It’s time that we knew more about what startups are doing with our data

network 520x245 Its time that we knew more about what startups are doing with our data

Earlier today we reported on an apparent security problem with trivia app QuizUp that saw users’ contact data sent in plain text. Developer Plain Vanilla blamed a fault with third-party software that has now apparently been fixed, but the episode highlighted an important issue – we don’t know enough about how well startups protect our data.

We’re giving increasing amounts of personal data to teams that are often small, inexperienced and making their company up as they go along. From a business point of view, these attributes can be an advantage but from a security point of view… well, we just don’t know. We’re handing over our data entirely on trust that it’s being looked after properly.

A quick look at my phone reveals multiple apps from startups that have a detailed record of my location history, a copy of my photographs, access to my email accounts, a record of my physical activity data… the list goes on. How well is that information being protected on those startups’ servers? I have no idea.

The recent attack on Buffer, where it was revealed that the company wasn’t doing everything possible to protect itself (and users) is a recent example of a company with good intentions that didn’t keep security as tight as it could be.

The recent promo video for credit card replacement device Coin made me chuckle, as security was literally an afterthought in the sales pitch. “Oh, security,” it says towards the end of the video, and even then it’s the security of the device, not your data, that’s discussed. Not to pick on Coin (this was an ad for a product that’s still in development after all), but it really does seem to sum up the attitude to a lot of the industry at the moment.

A solution? User data audits

So, what’s the solution? One that I’ve been mulling for a couple of weeks now is the idea of a data security audit program for startups. Any startup that met a suitable standard of security could display a certification logo on its website, within its app or wherever it felt appropriate.

The audits would have to be affordable for startups, and to ensure they were run in users’ best interests, I’d suggest that a non-profit trust be set up to operate them. The trust would be overseen by a board made up of a diverse range of industry heavyweights, and audits would be offered at-cost as a way of ensuring that public trust in the tech industry remains solid and security awareness remains high.

Kitemark Normal Size black 300 220x220 Its time that we knew more about what startups are doing with our data

The BSI Kitemark is a recognized symbol of quality on products in the UK. Audited startups could use a logo in a similar fashion.

In the past week, I’ve put the concept of startup security audits to a number of tech entrepreneurs who are in the business of collecting user data. All were supportive of the idea, although most preferred not to be quoted about it on the record. In some cases, they preferred to stay publicly silent on the issue was because they didn’t want to draw attention to their own current security setups. However, it was reassuring to hear that some had contracted independent consultants to check their data security arrangements were up to scratch.

Martin Källström, CEO of Narrative, a startup that will be storing an image from every 30 seconds of its users’ lives when its much-delayed wearable camera launches, was particularly positive: “Only speaking for my own company, this would be very interesting and something we would love to be part of. We already have regular audits planned from computer security experts, but that is only one facet of user data. Of course since we are investing a lot in doing things right, we are looking for ways to make that clear to the outside world. A third-party auditor with good reputation would be great.”

Källström suggested that the ‘certification’ could be ”modularized much like (Creative Commons) licensing is, and neutral in its communication about in what ways a company is working to protect user integrity, without being damning to companies that are doing at least some things right.”

Security at scale

This isn’t a flawless idea. Scaling the audits to accommodate demand would be a problem, as would ensuring that they were affordable while also being carried out by people with the skills to do them properly.

Then there’s the role of big companies. Adobe and Sony aren’t startups and they’ve both suffered big user information losses in the past couple of years. Perhaps, companies of that size could participate too, and pay significantly more into the system to help pay for small startups.

There’s also the risk that displaying a security audit certification to users would encourage more sophisticated attacks from hackers. Maybe ‘security through obscurity’ isn’t such a bad thing.

Either way, we (users, the industry and the media) need to have more of a conversation about data security, because as time goes on, increasingly personal data will be available in more places, to more people than ever before. Right now, we have no way of knowing who to trust, and how much we should trust them.

Image credit: luchunyu / Shutterstock

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The NSA Probably Gained Access To Google And Yahoo’s Data By Tapping Their Cable

Source: www.businessinsider.com – Tuesday, November 26, 2013
As part of its domestic spying program, the NSA may have gained access to Google and Yahoo's servers by "tapping" the fiber optic cables that connect the world's major data centers, reports the New York Times . These cables are owned by private companies that help facilitate the daily grind of making the Internet work. One such company is called Level 3 and counts both Google and Yahoo as customers. An anonymous source for the NYT said,  "The Internet companies’ data centers are locked down with full-time security and state-of-the-art surveillance, including heat sensors and iris scanners. But between the data centers — on Level 3’s fiber-optic cables that connected those massive computer farms — information was unencrypted and an easier target for government intercept efforts." When they realized that this may be the means the NSA was accessing their data, Google and Yahoo began encrypting the data then transmit over these cables. They point to their doing so as proof that they aren't cooperating with the NSA to spy on citizens. Join the conversation about this story »

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