Look at Cliqz news reader for iPad leads to discussion of privacy and "creepiness"

Cliqz is a news reader for iPads and iPhones that uses your sources you collect on social networks to find news for you. It's pretty cool and useful for me. Cliqz is led by Jean Paul Schmetz, a long-time executive at Germany's Hubert Burda Media and here he shows how it works and why it's more efficient at finding news than other approaches, like Flipboard. Nice to see +Linda Stone, too (she was an exec at Microsoft and Apple, and came up with the term "continuous partial attention."

That lead us to have a fun discussion of privacy and the "creepy line" where these systems know so much about you and what you like.

Get it at http://www.cliqz.com/

Regarding privacy and the "creepy line"

There has been a LOT of news about things that track you, or upload things to servers that you didn't realize, like various iOS apps uploading your address book to servers. Just this morning, on Techmeme, the Wall Street Journal reported that Google is using a special kind of cookie technology to track you on iOS devices without you knowing about it: http://www.techmeme.com/120216/p85#a120216p85

In a separate article, by the New York TImes, Target shows how they can figure out whether you are pregnant or not: http://www.techmeme.com/120217/p6#a120217p6

This stuff sounds so scary and it is.

We are being stalked, not just by advertising algorithms, but by each other (we joke around about that in the video, since you know what music I listen to, or what food I'm eating, or when I am exercising, if you are following me various places, especially like Facebook).

It's to the point now that it's really hard to hide in this world and, indeed, people who try to hide, say, by removing themselves from Facebook, seem weird and anti-social.

On the other hand, by letting it all hang out, we do get benefits. Cliqz demonstrates that. I have better news coming to me on it, and on other places, like Flipboard, because I've been so public and because I've collected such a great group of "friends" (the online variety, not the real world variety).

Yesterday I visited a set of startups in Los Angeles at the http://www.startengine.com/ accelerator. One of them showed me an app, coming soon, that uses publicly-available databases to show you who is nearby. It's amazing how accurate it is (similar to Highlight, which is an app that shows you other users of Highlight near you) but it doesn't require the others to use new apps, like Highlight or Glancee does.

We're living in a new world and I don't think we are going backward. The thing that will change because of the negative PR that +Path and other startups got over the past two weeks is that we'll see a lot more "nanny screens" explaining just what's being uploaded to servers.

Will that stop us from using this stuff? Absolutely not.

We're all pushing the creepy line and I believe we all know it. Heck, I know that every single word I write here is being studied by some algorithm. Write a new word and it'll get added to Google in seconds and eventually every word I write here will adjust some database's understanding of who I am.

It's a scary, creepy world, but one that I love quite a bit. Can't wait to see what's next and how humans change their behavior to both take advantage of it (with news readers like Cliqz) as well as get bashed by it (imagine if your store knows you are pregnant before even your parents do, read the Target article about just how that happened in real life).
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