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Entries in software (3)

Thursday
Dec012011

Is Your Android Phone Violating Your Privacy?

If you’re like me, you love your Android phone. But like me, you’re not in love with the news that Android software called Carrier IQ is recording everything you do on said phone.

That’s right: all your texts, Google searches, passwords and keystrokes are being grabbed—all in the name of “making your user experience better” through research. Scarier still, the software seems to log each user’s location data. We have to wonder, is “research” the only way this info is being used?

Check out the video, created by Android developer Trevor Eckhart, to see how Carrier IQ works.

Carrier IQ said in a statement that it “assists operators and device manufacturers in delivering high-quality products and services to their customers … by counting and measuring operational information in mobile devices – feature phones, smartphones and tablets.

“The information gathered by Carrier IQ is done so for the exclusive use of that customer, and Carrier IQ does not sell personal subscriber information to third parties,” it added.

Tuesday
Nov292011

New Software Will Uncover the Lies of Photoshop

Ever wondered how "touched-up" a photo of your favorite celebrity is? Now, a new software tool is uncovering the truth that Photoshop is so good at hiding.

The New York Times reports today on an effort by researchers at Dartmouth to develop an algorithm that measures how much, on a 1-to-5 scale, fashion and beauty photos have been altered.

One of the researchers, Hany Farid, said he was inspired by people’s concerns over the impact that highly Photoshopped images can have. For example, some studies have linked advertising and fashion images to body-image anxiety and eating disorders. These problems are more likely to affect young women, particularly when they don't realize that advertising and fashion images are heavily altered.

Several European cities in particular have seen a backlash over images that have been greatly altered. In France, Britain and Norway, advocates have called for digitally altered images to be labeled as such.

Dr. Farid and company want to take a slightly different approach. Their software algorithm uses statistics to measure how much an image of a person’s face and body has been Photoshopped. Using before-and-after images of hundreds of volunteers, the researchers trained their software to detect common alterations and rank them from “minimally altered” (1) to “starkly changed” (5).

If fashion and celebrity photography were labeled according to that 1-to-5 scale, Farid says, the people producing this artwork would be more likely to show some Photoshop restraint. And, in the end, put a little truth back into photography.

The research has been published in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. From there, we may be hearing about this software a lot more in the next few years.

Tuesday
Jul262011

Computers Can Spot Phony Reviews Better than People

Computer software, developed at Cornell, is able to spot fake reviews with almost 90-percent accuracy. 

Volunteers were asked to write fake postive reviews to supplement actual certified positive reviews of 20 Chicago hotels -- 800 reviews were tested in total.

After three human scorers weren't able to consistently spot the fake reviews, the software got its turn.

Applying rules, such as truthful reviews typically mention specific aspects of the hotel and decievers use more verbs than nouns, the computer was able to spot the fake reviews with 89.8 percent accuracy.

The researchers are quick to point out that the software only works for positive Chicago hotels for now. In the future, they hope to apply this software to both negative and positive reviews of restaurants and products.