From Russia with Love

Cross-posted from the Particls blog.

With some hilarity, I present: Russian computer program fakes chat room flirting.

Internet chat room romantics beware: your next chat may be with a clinical computer trying to win your personal data and not your heart, an online security firm says.I find this both hilarious on a number of levels, but it illustrates so perfectly about how valuable (as users of the interwebs) our attention data is. It’s so valuable that some smart people have written what can really only be described as a Trojan horse for attention data!

PC Tools senior malware analyst Sergei Shevchenko says the program has a “terrifyingly well-organised” interaction that could fool users into giving up personal details and could easily be converted to work in other languages. “As a tool that can be used by hackers to conduct identity fraud, CyberLover demonstrates an unprecedented level of social engineering,” he said in a statement. “It employs highly intelligent and customised dialogue to target users of social networking systems.”This is not some script kiddy. Or some backyard Javascript peddler. This is some serious hardcore natural language processing prodigy who has the temerity and the wits to make a quick buck by collecting social and personal attention metrics. I can’t condone his actions; as I do find it highly immoral (and unethical) but I can definitely see why someone would do such a thing.

This also highlights the need for the general public to be more conscious and aware of their attention data, how to obtain it, how to control it and how to move it. It clearly demonstrates the value of the data we allow companies and products to collect about us with little or no hesitation. We allow these companies to collect whatever they like, without even letting us have a glimpse of what inside their walled gardens.

It’s long past due that we all stood up and asked them to open the doors.

It’s time we all started demanding Data Portability.

@MrsAngell == Spouse 2.0

As many of you know, today (in America at least) is Spouse 2.0. Some people assume that it’s like another opportunity to mirror Valentine’s Day, which is fine; but thats a holiday for love and Spouse 2.0 is about thanks, spun with a geeky name to make it more accessible for us geek types.

Let me explain my situation a little bit.

Julie is my loving wife. And obviously we care about one another a great deal, but being a start-up founder is very hard on the loved ones in your life. Constantly being at the computer distant conversations by the cool glow of an LCD screen (or three). And while she might tolerate my somewhat poor relationship behavior, because of the hope of financial freedom or because I am doing what I love; the fact remains that it must be incredibly hard.

Now while this is true for so many other partners out there, its my firm belief that Julie has it harder than most. You see, not only does she also work full time and do an amazing job looking after the 2 little ones, but she has to deal daily with TWO “start-up” founders in her house.

She cooks us dinner, cleans our house, does the shopping the laundry and basically makes our lives such that we don’t really have to think about much other than Particls.

She is a Particls user, however, so I do find some solace in the idea that we actually save her some time – somehow evening the score. But I don’t actually say “thank you” nearly as much as I should. So, here, in this public forum; “Thank you Julie”.

But alas, she does tolerate far more than even a cool and reasonable person, so I was more than happy to purchase her a gift (or two) to show my appreciation for her help and patience. I (well, actually “we” because Chris came with me) bought her the Jamie Oliver book “Jamie at Home” and the newish Michael Connelly book “Echo Park”.

So my last act of Spouse 2.0 day is to publicly thank Julie for her endless devotion to 2 start-up founders who love her unconditionally.

Happy Spouse 2.0 day Julie, and all the other Spouse 2.0’s out there.