Daily Tech Digest - November 10, 2018

How the Blockchain Could Break Big Tech’s Hold on A.I.

Unlike Google and Facebook, which store the data they get from users, the marketplaces built on Ocean Protocol will not have the data themselves; they will just be places for people with data to meet, ensuring that no central player can access or exploit the data. “Blockchains are incentive machines — you can get people to do stuff by paying them,” said Trent McConaghy, one of the founders of Ocean Protocol, who has been working in artificial intelligence since the 1990s. The goal, Mr. McConaghy said, is to “decentralize access to data before it’s too late.” Ocean is working with several automakers to collect data from cars to help create the artificial intelligence of autonomous cars. All the automakers are expected to share data so none of them have a monopoly over it. Another start-up, Revel, will pay people to collect the data that companies are looking for, like pictures of taxis or recordings of a particular language. Users can also let their phones and computers be used to process and categorize the images and sounds


Unit Testing – Abstracting Creation of Simple Values

When writing your unit tests you can use your chosen mocking framework to provide a fake implementation of IDateTimeProvider that provides a static value for _dateTimeProvider.Now. This is a very practical pattern for many situations, especially if the requirements of the provider become more complex. However, there are some notable disadvantages to this approach. Firstly, the actual requirements here are very simple, so it could be considered overkill to create an extra class for the provision of a single date time object. Especially if you consider that you’ll also need to configure dependency resolution if you’re using an IOC container and instantiate mock objects in your tests. Maybe creating a provider object is more effort than it’s worth. Secondly, as noted with method injection it is reasonable to suggest that the responsibility of choosing and applying a timestamp should be with the DocumentService itself.


Linux cryptocurrency miners are installing rootkits to hide themselves

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Besides allowing KORKERDS to survive OS reboots, the rootkit component also contained code a slightly strange feature. Trend Micro says that KORKERDS' authors modified the rootkit to hide the cryptominer's main process from Linux's native process monitoring tools. "The rootkit hooks the readdir and readdir64 application programming interfaces (APIs) of the libc library," researchers said. "The rootkit will override the normal library file by replacing the normal readdir file with the rootkit's own version of readdir." This malicious version of readdir works by hiding processes named "kworkerds" --which in this case is the cryptominers' process. Linux process monitoring tools will still show 100 percent CPU usage, but admins won't be able to see (and kill) the kworkerds process causing the CPU resource consumption problems.


Why Is Data Science Different than Software Development?

Because the exact variables and metrics (and their potential transformations and enrichments) are not known beforehand, the data science development process must embrace an approach that supports rapid testing, failing, learning, wash and repeat. This attitude is reflected in the “Data Scientist Credo”: Data science is about identifying those variables and metrics that mightbe better predictors of performance; to codify relationships and patterns buried in the data in order to drive optimized actions and automation. Step 5 of the Data Scientist Development Methodology is where the real data science work begins – where the data scientist uses tools like TensorFlow, Caffe2, H20, Keras or SparkML to build analytic models – to codify cause-and-effect. This is true science, baby!! The data scientist will explore different analytic techniques and algorithms to try to create the most predictive models.


The New Cross-Platform Standard: Version 2.0


Microsoft has a new approach: Standard Class Library projects. A Standard Class Library consists of those APIs that "are intended to be available on all .NET implementations." The news here is that there is only one Standard and it supports all the .NET platforms -- no more profiles agglomerated into an arbitrary set of interfaces. The catch here is that the Standard may not include something you want ... at least, not yet. With PCLs there was always the possibility that, if you dropped one of the platforms you wanted to support, you might pick up the API you wanted. That's not an option with the Standard, which is monolithic. In some ways it's like setting the version of the .NET Framework you want to support in your project's properties: The lower the version you pick, the less functionality you have. Obviously, then, what matters in the .NET Standard is comprehensiveness. There have been several iterations of the .NET Standard specification, each of which includes more .NET Framework APIs.


Increasing value of personal data a 21st century challenge


“Something had to be done, and if it has achieved nothing else, the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation has focused people’s minds and got company executives and board members to take this issue seriously because now they have to be accountable and declare breaches,” he said. This means data protection in Europe, said Shamah, is no longer just the concern of technical teams in organisations, but also chief executives and shareholders. “In the light of the recent revelations about the misuse of data, everyone needs to consider what kind of digital footprint they want to leave; a permanent one like those left by the first astronauts on the surface of the moon or temporary like those left in the sand on a beach.” The aim, he said, should be for digital footprints that last only for as long as they are needed and then erased without a trace.


Why employees’ lapses in protecting data can sting organizations


In assessing the facts in the URMC case, it seems like attention focused on the departing/departed nurse practitioner asking for a patient list, which was provided in spreadsheet form. More often, when an employee leaves, there is a clear acknowledgment that the employee is cut off from all of the employer’s patient information because HIPAA does not allow continued access. The seemingly voluntary transmission offers a plausible basis for fining an entity when the ultimate bad act was on the part of the departed employee. As such, the takeaway from the URMC case is to not be overly generous, as misuse of information can come back to haunt the organization. Ensuring the privacy and security of patient information needs to be a paramount concern at all times. While it is impossible to control all the actions of employees, organizations can and must take reasonable and appropriate action to secure information as much as possible.


Why open source isn't just about code

We've seen things like Firefox really succeed where people come together from all over the world to build a product openly, and invite contributions. And we've seen that succeed and really take down a monopoly. And we've seen this work, time and time again, in more than just code, but in businesses, in government, in science. Where people, when they work openly, when they're inviting contributions, they're more innovative, they get better ideas. And they get more buy-in from the community who wants to use them. ... If it's open source you can hear more from the people that are using it. Places like Lego actually use that, if they're thinking about what Lego line to produce next, they have surveys and people can suggest things. And company-creating. You get better innovation when more people, and the right experts, are really working on the products. There's a lot of different advantages. Those are three of them that I can think of now.


Dutch Police Bust 'Cryptophone' Operation

Dutch police say they discovered the cryptophone operation while investigating an alleged money laundering operation. Police didn't just shut down the network. Instead, they seized a server and began monitoring the service. "We had sufficient evidence that these phones were used among criminals. We have succeeded in intercepting encrypted communication messages between these phones, decrypting them and having them live for some time," Dutch police said on Tuesday. "This has not only given us a unique insight into existing criminal networks; we have also been able to intercept drugs, weapons and money." Police say their investigation has already allowed them to bust a drugs lab in Enschede, Netherlands, and make 14 arrests, including a 46-year-old man from Lingewaard who's suspected of running the cryptophone company, as well as his alleged partner, a 52-year-old man from Boxtel.


Data Lake and Modern Data Architecture in Clinical Research and Healthcare

The primary challenge in implementing a data lake architecture in healthcare has to do with making sure the data platform is architected with data security, privacy and protection in mind while enabling real time data transmission, collection, ingestion and integration at scale. Not to mention, challenges in dealing with unstructured and binary data in the data lake cannot be underestimated. From the data lake architecture perspective, supporting both batch and near time data integration and business intelligence are a real practical challenge. Making integrated data available to all constituents in a self-service manner is another big challenge. ... Our enterprise data lake is a consumer to our MDM platform, which collects all master entities from all of our operational and transactional systems, and masters them in real time using sophisticated matching and merging algorithms, metadata management and semantic matching.



Quote for the day:


"Individual commitment to a group effort - that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work." -- Vince Lombardi