Now that the Personal team has caught up (somewhat) on sleep after an exciting few days at the first-ever Wall Street Journal Data Transparency Weekend, we wanted to share a handful of highlights and takeaways from our point of view as both a participant and a sponsor.
First of all, our hats go off to all of the organizers, track leaders and speakers who made this weekend one to remember: Julia Angwin, Jennifer Valentino-DeVries, Allen Gunn, Alessandro Acquisti, Sid Stamm, Daniel Weitzner, Andrew McLaughlin, Dan Kaminsky, Ashkan Soltani, Brian Kennish and Jacob Appelbaum. We were impressed with how well-organized, full of camaraderie and downright awesome the event proved to be from the very beginning.
What truly made the event special, of course, were the participants we met and the many projects that came out of it. While all of them were great, here are a few highlights in no particular order:
Voted the “Ready for Primetime” Winner, MobileScope was developed by David Campbell, Aldo Cortesi, Ashkan Soltani and Pascal Van Hecke to provide all desktop and mobile users with “privacy enhancing features via an intercepting proxy in the cloud.” Such features include Collusion, Do Not Track, Certificate Pinning, AdBlock and visualization of your personal data usage. This is the first implementation that specifically caters to non-jailbroken mobile devices.
Make Myself Clear
Our friends at Ghostery joined forces with a few others to build a web app that scans social networks for sensitive information – e.g. references to drugs and alcohol, health issues, etc. – about users. As employers become increasingly insistent on investigating our digital lives, even going so far as to demand job applicants’ Facebook passwords, Make Myself Clear gives us the tools to self-audit and preview the information that a company with access to our social profiles might see.
Dan Kaminsky, Joe Geffen and Michael Tiffany teamed up to build a Web app based on the premise that there should be a simple way for everyone (read: a way that doesn’t require people to install code) to visit a website and figure out what has been censored. The first version of the app is live and ready for you to try.
What did the Personal team build?
As far as our own project, Zogger, goes: it’s a Firefox extension that, once enabled, stores data about the sites you visit and gives you a quantified-self analytics view to help you better understand where you go and what data you give up in the process. While it’s still a work-in-progress, you can download the extension and give Zogger a try today.
If you’re a developer, we invite you to fork our extension and build on it.
We are proud to have sponsored this forward-thinking and collaborative event and are already looking forward to continuing the fight for privacy, transparency and, yes, freedom at next year’s Data Transparency Weekend.