Social APIs for Social Evil

Note: To be clear, I am not accusing AirBnb or Facebook – or anyone else – of allowing this. According to my understanding of their Acceptable Use Policies and the law, this is way out of bounds and likely to result in trouble for all involved. Do not do it. Updated March 2018: I have […]


OPM Background Check Hack – A Different Angle

Last week, the Office of Personnel Management announced that the security clearance background information (the dreaded SF-86 form) was compromised. I wrote about it in “Why this security breach is worse than all the others combined” and considered the implications of it. But this snippet from Arstechnica made me think of something else: A consultant who […]


Don’t Attend a Hackathon

This past weekend was our third annual ATX Hack for Change. It was still hosted at St Edwards University, but this time it was organized by the City of Austin’s Innovation Office. While Kerry O’Connor is the Chief Innovation Officer, her staff ran much of the show over the weekend. I was lucky enough to be invited […]


Broken Heart Grunge by Nicolas Raymond

Working for a Dating Website

Over this past weekend, I came across a Wired called “Write the Perfect Email to Anyone with this Creepy Site” on using machine learning and natural language processing to analyze a person’s social media profiles and offer tips on how to communicate with them effectively. Most people immediately thought about sales, but one thread of the conversation […]