Tag Archives: 101s

Machine Learning: An Explanation

Have you ever wondered how the spam in your mailbox is automatically detected? And what about speech recognition or handwriting recognition? These are quite challenging problems. But luckily they have one thing in common – that is data, and a good deal of it.

Machine learning aims at creating systems that learn from data using various computer science and mathematical techniques. To put it differently, machine learning is the study of computer algorithms that improve  automatically through collected information of experience, i.e., data. Continue reading Machine Learning: An Explanation

Advertisements

Battling Goliath: An Analysis of the National Privacy Principles (Part I: Principles One to Four)

(Image Source: https://flic.kr/p/igPaVp)

This is the first in a two-part post on the National Privacy Principles(NPPs). This post provides with a bit of background, and then deals with Principles One through Four, while the next will deal with Principles Five through Nine. Footnotes are especially important. Disclaimers: The first post is a bit on the longer side. Feedback, comments, recommendations, are welcome. The second part is available here.


A Bit of Background

Most of the works of fiction use, and have perhaps always used, old and established plot devices. One of the most tried, tested, and overused plots is an underdog triumphing against the ‘giant’. This is illustrated quite concisely by the legend of David and Goliath (though there are disagreements here), where David of Israel is a normal human without armor and just a sling and five pebbles who fights and wins against Goliath, the giant of a man who is the champion of the Philistines.

The current dimension of debate around the concept of ‘privacy’ on the Internet is, arguably, a situation quite similar to that of this well know plotline. ‘David’ in this situation is us, the data subject, and Goliaths are the multitudes of companies with vested interests in collecting our information, for their own direct or indirect profit. Continue reading Battling Goliath: An Analysis of the National Privacy Principles (Part I: Principles One to Four)

Battling Goliath: An Analysis of the National Privacy Principles (Part II: Principles Five to Nine)

(Image Source: https://flic.kr/p/igPaVp)

This is the second in a two-part post on the National Privacy Principles. This post deals with Principles Five through Nine. Footnotes are especially important.
Disclaimers: I have taken a bit of artistic license with these two posts, so do allow for that. Feedback, comments, recommendations, are welcome.


Following up on the previous post, I discuss National Privacy Principles Five through Nine of the Justice AP Shah Report, continuing the parallel with the story of David and Goliath. Continue reading Battling Goliath: An Analysis of the National Privacy Principles (Part II: Principles Five to Nine)

The Right to Be Forgotten – An Explanation

(Image Source: https://flic.kr/p/9RovZB)

This is the first in a two-part post on the Right to be Forgotten. This post is part of our 101 series of posts, which seek to explain the issue at hand, and the next post shall address the issue and the debate surrounding it in more detail.

In 2010, a Spanish citizen filed a complaint against a Spanish newspaper, Google Spain and Google Inc. with the national Data Protection Agency. The complaint objected to an auctioned notice of his repossessed home that kept coming up on Google’s search results.  The proceedings against the petitioner had been fully resolved and he claimed the reference to the proceedings on Google to be entirely redundant and a violation of his privacy rights. The Spanish court referred the case to the Court of Justice of the European Union.  Continue reading The Right to Be Forgotten – An Explanation

An Explanation of Bitcoins, Part II (The Technology)

(Image Source: https://flic.kr/p/e9LG7B)

(This post is based in part on a paper earlier published by Rostrum Law Review)

This post first explains the Bitcoin Network itself and some of its vulnerabilities, and then the cyptography used by Bitcoins that gives it the title of Cryptocurrency. Continue reading An Explanation of Bitcoins, Part II (The Technology)

An Explanation of Bitcoins, Part I (The Philosophy)

(Image Source: https://flic.kr/p/e9LG7B)

(This post is based in part on a paper published by Rostrum Law Review)

Most of the currencies in the world right now, and all the reserve currencies, are fiat currencies, declared to be currencies by a legal tender, and unsupported by any physical commodity, only the rules of supply and demand (Incidentally, the term ‘fiat’ is Latin for “let it be done” or “it shall be”). These currencies usually have a central regulatory body which issues them, and are consequently called ‘centralised’.

Satoshi Nakamoto (the name is a pseudonym), the creator of Bitcoins, had a problem with this centralisation of currency, responding to it in the following terms in one of his earlier worksThe root problem with conventional currency is all the trust that’s required to make it work. The central bank must be trusted not to debase the currency, but the history of fiat currencies is full of breaches of that trust. Banks must be trusted to hold our money and transfer it electronically, but they lend it out in waves of credit bubbles with barely a fraction in reserve. We have to trust them with our privacy, trust them not to let identity thieves drain our accounts. Their massive overhead costs make micropayments impossible.
Continue reading An Explanation of Bitcoins, Part I (The Philosophy)