The Demons Of On-Demand

Originally posted on TechCrunch:

Are today’s on-demand and local services really about catering to the lazy rich, as claimed, or are they about a new way to book services from local providers by satisfying demand more efficiently through the use of geolocation and advanced software that can map out where customers are, what they need and when?

I’d argue it’s likely the latter, but I also understand the criticism here.

When one’s life is easy, even the little things seem more difficult. And that’s frankly pretty offensive to those of us who know what true struggle looks like. But when your time is more valuable than your money, it’s worthwhile to pay for the help: someone to fold your laundry, clean your house, drive you around and buy your groceries.

And, of course, there are those who vilify the new suite of apps claiming they’re built by and for a sort of vapid elite…

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Der Spiegel details Treasure Map, the NSA’s “Google Earth for global data traffic”

Originally posted on PandoDaily:

snowdenfeature

The National Security Agency and its British counterpart, GCHQ, have access to information stored by German telecoms and the devices connected to them, according to documents leaked by Edward Snowden to the German publication Der Spiegel.

The access was gained as part of a program, Treasure Map, meant to create an “interactive map of the global Internet” in “near real-time.” In its report, Spiegel explains the scope of the program and what agency employees can do with it:

Employees of the so-called “FiveEyes” intelligence agencies from Great Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, which cooperate closely with the American agency NSA, can install and use the program on their own computers. One can imagine it as a kind of Google Earth for global data traffic, a bird’s eye view of the planet’s digital arteries.

Creating that map requires access not only to the information on telecoms’ databases, but also information contained on…

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