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University Partners up with Leidos to Investigate How to Cut Costs in Healthcare with Big Data Usage

October 22, 2015

The article on News360 titled Gulu Gambhir: Leidos Virginia Tech to Research Big Data Usage for Healthcare Field explains the partnership based on researching the possible reduction in healthcare costs through big data. Obviously, healthcare costs in this country have gotten out of control, and perhaps that is more clear to students who grew up watching the cost of single pain pill grow larger and larger without regulation. The article doesn’t go into detail on how the application of big data from electronic health records might ease costs, but Leidos CTO Gulu Gambhir sounds optimistic.

“The company said Thursday the team will utilize technical data from healthcare providers to develop methods that address the sector’s challenges in terms of cost and the quality of care. Gulu Gambhir, chief technology officer and a senior vice president at Leidos, said the company entered the partnership to gain knowledge for its commercial and federal healthcare business.”

The partnership also affords excellent opportunities for Virginia Tech students to gain real-world, hands-on knowledge of data research, hopefully while innovating the healthcare industry. Leidos has supplied funding to the university’s Center for Business Intelligence and Analytics as well as a fellowship program for grad students studying advanced information systems related to healthcare research.
Chelsea Kerwin, October 22, 2015

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Genentech Joins the Google Enterprise Crew

October 22, 2015

Enterprise search offers customizable solutions for organizations to locate and organize their data.  Most of the time organizations purchase a search solution is to become more efficient, comply with procedures for quality compliance, and or to further their business development.  The latter usually revolves around sales operation planning, program research, customer service, contracts, and tech sales collateral.

Life sciences companies are but one of the few that can benefit from enterprise search solutions.  Genentech recently deployed the Google Search Application to improve the three areas listed above.  Perficient explains the benefits of enterprise search for a life science company in the video, “Why Life Sciences Leader Genentech Adopted Google Enterprise Search.”

“‘…we explore why life sciences leader Genentech executed Google Search Appliance. “No company is or should ever be static. You have to evolve,’ said CEO Ian Clark.”

Perficient helps companies like Genentech by customizing a search solution by evaluating the company and identifying the areas where it can be improved the most.  They host workshops to evaluate where people in different areas must stop to search for information before returning to the task.  From the workshops, Perficient can create a business prototype to take their existing business process and improve upon it.  Perficient follows this procedure when it deploys enterprise search in new companies.

The video only explains a short version of the process Perficient deployed at Genentech to improve their business operations with search.  A full webinar was posted on their Web site: “Google Search For Life Sciences Companies.”


Whitney Grace, October 22, 2015
Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph


Searching Tweets: Just $24,000 per Year

October 21, 2015

Short honk: Love Twitter. Want to search tweets and sort of make sense of the short messages? A new service from Union Metrics is now available, according to “Union Metrics d\Debuts Search Engine That Gives You Access to Twitter’s Entire Archive.” This is a link from News360 which is available, but slowly, to me in South Africa. For you? Who knows?

Here’s the pricing, which I assume is spot on:

Although available to all Social Suite subscribers today, the service costs extra. For $500 per month, companies can access up to 30 days of data from Twitter’s archive. For $1,000 per month, Union Metrics’ Echo 365 plan grants unlimited access to up to a year’s worth of data. Finally, for $2,000 per month, the company’s Echo Full Archive plan grants full access to everything.

Twitter is looking for revenue and customer love. Will this type of tie up help?

Stephen E Arnold, October 21, 2015

Algorithmic Bias and the Unintentional Discrimination in the Results

October 21, 2015

The article titled When Big Data Becomes Bad Data on Tech In America discusses the legal ramifications of relying on algorithms for companies. The “disparate impact” theory has been used in the courtroom for some time to ensure that discriminatory policies be struck down whether they were created with the intention to discriminate or not. Algorithmic bias occurs all the time, and according to the spirit of the law, it discriminates although unintentionally. The article states,

“It’s troubling enough when Flickr’s auto-tagging of online photos label pictures of black men as “animal” or “ape,” or when researchers determine that Google search results for black-sounding names are more likely to be accompanied by ads about criminal activity than search results for white-sounding names. But what about when big data is used to determine a person’s credit score, ability to get hired, or even the length of a prison sentence?”

The article also reminds us that data can often be a reflection of “historical or institutional discrimination.” The only thing that matters is whether the results are biased. This is where the question of human bias becomes irrelevant. There are legal scholars and researchers arguing on behalf of ethical machine learning design that roots out algorithmic bias. Stronger regulations and better oversight of the algorithms themselves might be the only way to prevent time in court.

Chelsea Kerwin, October 21, 2015

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Vodafone Improves Search Management

October 20, 2015

More than 8,000 call center agents use Vodafone’s internal knowledge management platform dubbed AskVodafone to access client information.  AskVodafone’s old system was not performing as well as it used, so the company decided to upgrade to ExorbyteMotor Traffic runs down Vodafone’s upgrade process in the article, “Exorbyte Matchmaker Managed Over 2 million Searches A Month On The Platform AskVodafone.”

Vodafone wanted to shorten an agent’s processing time on phone calls.  The solution required faceted search, keyword suggestions, more accurate search results, and information related to a caller’s issue.  Exorbyte created an individualized solution for Vodafone and they were given the job:

“Through the experience with the Exorbyte solutions and, of course, the existing site license used in the company the contract has been awarded directly to Exorbyte. These Andreas Vieth, Product Manager Search: ‘Due to the long and successful collaboration with Exorbyte it was logical for us to continue with them in the modernization of AskVodafone portal and to develop synergies between these and the Exorbyte search on the Vodafone website.’”

The solution indexes over 25,000 Web sites and it has increased the center’s data quality and results relevancy.  The end result is that over 8,000 calls and 50,000 searches performed on AskVodafone are resolved faster and with better information.

Whitney Grace, October 20, 2015

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Coveo Touts Secure, Intelligent Cloud Search

October 19, 2015

Security is a perpetual concern, especially for those who work in the cloud. Enterprise search firm Coveo want us to know they take security very seriously. Their press release, “Coveo Completes Security Evaluation for cloud-Based Intelligent Search Offerings,” is posted at MarketWatch. The question is, “What does secure mean?” The definition may depend on one’s knowledge of the exploit world.

The write-up states:

“Marking its commitment to be the most secure intelligent search provider in the marketplace, Coveo announced that it has completed a comprehensive evaluation of data security and compliance procedures and processes. Coveo engaged with Brightline CPAs & Associates, which conducted a series of tests to evaluate the effectiveness of operations and controls that address data integrity and security. With data security threats on the rise across various industries and around the world, Coveo recognizes how important it is to provide clients of its cloud, intelligent search offerings with the highest security standards. Over the years, Coveo has implemented a set of industry-standard operations, infrastructure and services to ensure the integrity and privacy of customer data, including:

—  SOC II and SOC I examinations

—  Strong logical and physical access controls

—  Systematic application and source code scanning

—  Comprehensive background checks on all employees

—  24/7/365 live, dedicated operations and security teams

—  Formal, ongoing 3rd party compliance and security reviews”

We are reminded that Coveo was recently named “most innovative leader” for the second year running in the Gartner Enterprise Search Magic Quadrant, with that report lauding the company’s “unusually rich security functions.” Founded in 2005, Coveo maintains offices in the U.S. (SanMateo, CA), the Netherlands, and Quebec.

Cynthia Murrell, October 19, 2015

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Add a Modicum or More of Value to Your Facebook Time with Detox

October 15, 2015

The article on Life Hacker titled Detox For Facebook Replaces Your Feed with Actual News begs the question: why search when you can graze like a millennial info ruminant? The idea of Detox is that Facebook wastes time. It is difficult to argue with that, especially as someone who has, on more than one occasion, closed a tab opened to Facebook only to be confronted with another tab, also open to Facebook, and perhaps even another. It is this mindless arena of continuous distraction. The article says,

“If you can relate, consider Detox: it replaces your Facebook feed with an actual news feed.

The browser extension is from previously mentioned news feed Panda. You simply download the extension, turn it on via Facebook, and it will replace your feed with content from sites available at Panda: Product Hunt, Hacker News, and Designer News to name a few. You can also use Detox’s “Auto Activation” and schedule specific days and times you want the extension to work.”

Perhaps you are someone immune to the onslaught of trite and meaningless status updates. But most of us are coping with a level of addiction that we really have no means of overcoming unless we “gasp” sign off entirely. If you aren’t quite ready for that, but hope to make your Facebook feed at least somewhat worth your perusal, this might be a nice compromise.
Chelsea Kerwin, October 15, 2015

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Mobile Search Is Not Objective: Is This a Surprise?

October 14, 2015

Running a query in a walled garden returns the flowers and trees in the walled garden. Maybe the garden owner has installed Chinese style pots with flowers from other gardens. Make no mistake. The garden is owned by a person who has an idea, however muddled, about what grows and what goes.

I thought about gardening when I read “Mobile Is Not a Neutral Platform.” The word “neutral” is an interesting one. Math is neutral. A numerical recipe is not necessarily neutral. Weeds growing in the median of I 95 may be neutral or at least hardy. Decisions about what orchids to put in a Nero Wolfe novel is not neutral.

The write up, in my view, shows a bit of wonderment with regard to what happens when the iPhone uses various Apple services or what the intent is when the Alphabet Google thing snags a user in its ecosystem. Think about the pitcher plant. Same idea, prey trapping.

The write up included this passage which I highlighted in Venus flytrap green:

Apple and Google keep making decisions, enabling or disabling options and capabilities and creating or removing opportunities.

I noted this comment as well:

But the deeper issue is that we haven’t just unbundled search from the web into apps – we’re now unbundling apps, search and discovery into the OS itself. Google of course has always put a web search box on the Android home screen (and indeed one could ask why there needs to be an actual browser icon as well) but this is much more fundamental.

Forget neutral. Forget objectivity. The online world has rolled back into the walled garden model. The issue, gentle reader, is control and money. That neutrality and objectivity yammer is, in my opinion, irrelevant. You want information unbiased and unfettered? You will have to work hard for that type of information. How will this go over with the online consuming folks?

Answer: About as well as expecting every visitor to the garden to read the information about Utricularia on a small plastic tag tossed amongs the bladderworts tended by Apple, Facebook, Google, et al.

And search? You may not know what you are missing, gentle reader. If a company is not on an Apple or Google map, does that company exist?

Stephen E Arnold, October 14, 2015

Microsoft: Yandex Looking Better than Bing

October 13, 2015

I read “Russia’s Yandex Teams Up with Microsoft for Windows 10.” Microsoft has its work cut out in the search and retrieval sector. The Fast Search & Transfer deal for $1.2 billion, the Powerset technology, the infusion of wizards from Australia, and the wild and crazy promotion for Bing—much activity, questionable payoff.

According to the write up:

Russia’s biggest search engine Yandex said on Tuesday Microsoft would offer it as the default homepage and search tool for Internet browsers across its Windows 10 platform in Russia and several other countries.

I understand the Yandex does a better, no, make that, a much better job indexing content than Bing. In my lectures for professionals engaged in law enforcement and intelligence activities, I show comparisons of output from Bing next to outputs from Yandex. Less Dancing with the Stars and more substance is one way I point up the difference between consumery Bing and Yandex.

According to the write up Microsoft and Yandex have a “strategic cooperation agreement.”

Several observations:

  • Microsoft has talked about search for many years. Its products and services are okay. Outfits like Yandex offer results that are more useful for the types of queries I run. Yandex has been around since 2008. Microsoft leaps into action.
  • Microsoft’s Bing search has evolved along a trajectory I did not foresee. The colors, the pop culture feel, the intrusiveness of Cortana, and the exclusion of content from Microsoft research baffle me.
  • I use Google to locate information about Microsoft’s products and services. That, to me, points to some fundamental problems with Bing.

Net net: Microsoft and search remain and unhappy couple. One question: Will the Microsoft food service people add solyanka to the menu?

Stephen E Arnold, October 13, 2015

Sell Your Soul for a next to Nothing on the Dark Web

October 13, 2015

The article on ZDNet titled The Price of Your Identity in the Dark Web? No More Than a Dollar provides the startlingly cheap value of stolen data on the Dark Web. We have gotten used to hearing about data breaches at companies that we know and use (ahem, Ashley Madison), but what happens next? The article explains,

“Burrowing into the Dark Web — a small area of the Deep Web which is not accessible unless via the Tor Onion network — stolen data for sale is easy to find. Accounts belonging to US mobile operators can be purchased for as little as $14 each, while compromised eBay, PayPal, Facebook, Netflix, Amazon and Uber accounts are also for sale. PayPal and eBay accounts which have a few months or years of transaction history can be sold for up to $300 each.”

According to the  Privacy Rights Clearinghouse the most common industries affected by data breaches are healthcare, government, retail, and education sectors. But it also stresses that a high number of data breaches are not caused by hackers or malicious persons at all. Instead, unintended disclosure is often the culprit. Dishearteningly, there is really no way to escape being a target besides living out some Ron Swanson off the grid fantasy scenario. Every organization that collects personal information is a potential breach target. It is up to the organizations to protect the information, and while many are making that a top priority, most have a long way to go.

Chelsea Kerwin, October 13, 2015

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

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