August 24, 2018

By now it’s no secret that big tech companies routinely collect tons of data about their users’ online habits. And as Facebook’s recent scandal with Cambridge Analytica showed, sometimes they sell that information to outside parties without first telling users about it. As a result, people must always be careful about sharing too much information online. According to a new study conducted by a Vanderbilt University professor, however, even the most cautious users probably can’t escape the all-seeing power of Continue reading

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Over the last few weeks, you may have noticed all sorts of websites sending emails to your inbox about updates to their privacy policies. The timing of these messages is no coincidence: they’re all part of an effort to inform users about the changes that are set to come from a piece of legislation recently passed by the European Union. Named the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), this video details how the new law will let people opt-out of data Continue reading

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March 22, 2018

A couple of weeks ago, we looked at the hyperscale data centers that Facebook relies on to handle its userbase of more than 2 billion accounts. With so much information swirling around these enormous structures, it’s easy to assume that any data you provide to the social network will fade away in an ever-increasing crowd. But not only can Facebook access much of the data it collects, the company also routinely shares this information with scholars and researchers. Users consent Continue reading

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December 14, 2017

For many Americans the holiday season is the perfect time to relax and watch some TV as another long year draws to a close. Of course, one of the most popular genres among viewers in December are Christmas movies, such as Netflix’s recent hit A Christmas Prince. Along with its seasonal appeal, the movie also seems to have a “so bad it’s good” quality that many have found irresistible. In fact, social media users have been buzzing about it Continue reading

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Unless you’re a professional poker player, chances are that people can tell a lot about your mood just by looking at your face. After all, every furrowed brow or slight frown speaks volumes as the human face’s 43 separate muscles constantly communicate with the world around it. Recently, researchers have developed technology that can analyze all those muscles in detail, potentially unlocking the mystery of the many emotional cues hidden within our faces.

This information is especially interesting to a Continue reading

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April 26, 2015

As the largest chocolate manufacturer in North America, Hershey is always reshaping the way it does business in order to remain at the top. Technology especially helps the Pennsylvania-based company improve in a number of key areas. For instance, the prevalence of online shopping and self-checkout lines are hurting Hershey’s sales from impulse buyers. To encourage more “unplanned purchases,” the company plans to add small kiosks near self-checkout machines and curbside pickup stations that will give customers one last chance Continue reading

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April 11, 2015

Although the TV viewing habits of Americans have changed many times over the years, the statistics company Nielsen has remained a prime mover in the industry since the 1950s. The service uses various methods to measure the popularity of television shows, allowing media companies to come up with appropriate prices to charge advertisers for airtime. Each year, Nielsen provides the data that ultimately determines the allocation of more than $100 billion in ad spending.

With the rise of digital video Continue reading

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March 10, 2015

For many companies recruiting new employees, a traditional one-on-one interview only tells part of a potential hire’s story. Some small businesses simply don’t have time to hold deep conversations with interviewees: one family-owned car wash in Kentucky said that it receives more than 1,000 applications each year.

In order to streamline its hiring process, Finish Line Car Wash turned to a personality assessment company called PeopleClues. The service’s 30-minute online test gives applicants a series of statements and then asks Continue reading

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January 11, 2015

For decades the brand name Timberland has been synonymous with rugged outdoor footwear. At least, that’s how some people see the iconic boot company. If you’re a hip hop fan, you may associate “Timbs” with the dozens of rappers who have name-dropped the brand over the years. And if you happen to be Italian, you’re more likely to wear Timberland boots for a fashionable stroll about town, not a long hike in the woods.

All these overlapping interpretations of Timberland’s Continue reading

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December 16, 2014

Americans have a tendency to over share information through social media, which can lead to some off-putting online revelations. However, there’s one group of people out there who doesn’t mind reading a detailed status update about your cold symptoms: advertisers. In today’s increasingly personalized marketing landscape, companies are desperate for data about their customers. Along with standard stats like age and income, consumers’ medical histories have now become tools for target marketing.

While data miners can’t legally access confidential medical Continue reading

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