Very perceptive mannequins

Wow. So… some mannequins spy on you.

In the lead-up to the holiday shopping season, BusinessWeek reported that “bionic mannequins are spying on shoppers to boost luxury sales” at five unnamed companies. The $5,130 EyeSee mannequins from Almax have cameras embedded in their eyes that use IBM Cognos software to record the number of shoppers checking out window displays and clothes, while also noting their age, gender and race. They don’t keep any images of the customers, just the aggregate data about who’s been considering blowing money on cashmere sweaters and $300 jeans. But it may not stop there.

“To give the EyeSee ears as well as eyes, Almax is testing technology that recognizes words to allow retailers to eavesdrop on what shoppers say about the mannequin’s attire,” reports BusinessWeek. This is the second time I’ve heard a business float the idea of recording customers’ conversation in order to better advertise to them. The desire for better marketing may just be the biggest threat out there to your privacy.

Yeah, we know, multi-tasking is bad

Constant multi-tasking makes us worse at everything — including multi-tasking.

Do Not Track in Google Chrome

Do Not Track

Shows the “Do Not Track” option in Google Chrome v.23 and up.

To turn this on, click Chrome’s Settings menu | Show advanced settings… | Privacy | “Send a ‘Do Not Track’ request with your browsing traffic.”

Facebook using Datalogix tracking

Datalogix has purchasing data from about 70m American households largely drawn from loyalty cards and programmes at more than 1,000 retailers, including grocers and drug stores. By matching email addresses or other identifying information associated with those cards against emails or information used to establish Facebook accounts, Datalogix can track whether people bought a product in a store after seeing an ad on Facebook.


Silent Circle’s privacy-enhancing service expected to launch later this year

The need for privacy-enhancing technologies continues. If all our communications are routinely intercepted and scrutinized, some of us will need the assurance that our good work is done without observance. Certain countries don’t like human rights workers “poking around,” for instance, or want to closely observe the movements of aid agency observers.

With that in mind, Phil Zimmermann, the original brain behind PGP, expects to launch Silent Circle later this year. The company’s main offering is a $20-a-month encryption service for voice, SMS, videoconference and e-mail traffic.

Mulititasking and distraction hurts IQ

That’s interesting.

Dr. Glenn Wilson, a psychiatrist at King’s College London University, monitored the IQ of workers throughout the day.
He found the IQ of those who tried to juggle messages and work fell by 10 points — the equivalent to missing a whole night’s sleep and more than double the 4-point fall seen after smoking marijuana. [Dr. Wilson did not originally make the comparison to marijuana. – eds.]
“This is a very real and widespread phenomenon,” Wilson said. “We have found that this obsession with looking at messages, if unchecked, will damage a worker’s performance by reducing their mental sharpness.
“Companies should encourage a more balanced and appropriate way of working.”
Wilson said the IQ drop was even more significant in the men who took part in the tests.

Drupal Security Team response to bogus 7.12 CSRF issues

“The Drupal Security team has concluded that this does not constitute a valid vulnerability. The attack depends on a ‘Man In the Middle’ attack or sniffing software, which is outside of Drupal and presents a much bigger problem.

The Drupal Security team provides an easy way to report issues by sending emails to, and we will credit researchers with all issues they report in this manner. No formal report of this issue was filed directly with our team. We encourage all researchers to follow the practice of responsible disclosure, and report directly to our team to ensure both that we can provide public credit for authentic vulnerabilities, and keep our users as secure as possible.”

Well, there ya go.


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