James Butler's Blog

Category: Ethics

Rootkit of All Evil?

Ohhhh ... I was sooo hoping that the Android ecosystem would be driven by enlightened self-interest instead of by the money- and data-grubbing tradition. This 11/14/2011 article from XDA-Developers exposes a disturbing piece of software installed with Android that puts the lie to my naive...

Circular Logic

I don't have much comment on the following link, except to duplicate the link text as written by  Hacker News : IBM Patent Trolling Patent Application Turns out that IBM is trying (2007) to patent the practice of enforcing patents (exploiting assets). Imagine that....

Google Apps SNAFU

At my day job, we have used  Google's AdWords  program exhaustively ever since it was rolled out (and before that we were charter GoTo/Overture members). While there have been numerous issues related to Google programming, over the years, I had to write about the latest SNAFU which...

HTML5 Data Storage No-No

A  recent article from ARSTechnica  calls attention to a company called  Ringleader Digital  and its practice of using Apple devices' internal database storage system to hold tracking identifiers. This practice not only evades normal user tracking identifier management...

Apple's Watchful Eye

How much information about you does the maker of your cell phone need? This is the big question in my mind after reading about  Apple's newly-exposed patent application . The broad strokes of what Apple wants to be able to do to iUsers from a remote location include: Take a...

The Sherrod Charade

The supposed outing, then demand for resignation, then resignation, then rehiring of Agriculture employee Shirley Sherrod over the past several days is an example of how unethical behavior from a blogger can have a big impact on our world. I won't link to the blog, because I don't want to be...

Who's Scooping Who?

In  an interview piece about U.S. General Stanley McChrystal in Rolling Stone  magazine it was revealed that the good General had a less-than-stellar opinion of some of his superiors. I suppose it is a good thing that this perspective was brought to light, and disciplinary action...

GGL: Street View WiFi Data Capture

When  Google's "Street View" roaming image/data collection vehicles collected more than simple location and machine information , it put itself directly in harm's way. Google maintains fleets of vehicles outfitted with 360° cameras that capture images for use with the...

Apple: Bad, AT&T: Stupid

From  Gawker.com  (paragraph sequence is mine): " According to the data we were given by the web security group that  exploited vulnerabilities on the AT&T network , we believe 114,000 user accounts have been compromised, although it's possible that confidential...

You can, but should you? Part 2

Continued from Part 1... Part 2: "Scraping" Competitor Websites "Scraping" data from websites is how Google gets its listings, so where's the ethical challenge?   There is a distinction between operating a search engine's probing "spider" algorithm...

You can, but should you? Part 1

I recently became involved with a project that eventually gained an unusual element. After several weeks of development, it was revealed that data containing the initial membership of the site was to come from what were essentially competitor websites. The plan was to write a program to...
 
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