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This post from Slate is spot on, in my humble opinion. It might be overkill, but I can say the same about my own posting habits, and did last year. (I can’t say the same about my wife, though …) There are plenty of reasons to not want a digital profile you didn’t ask for, and advances in behavioral analysis and facial recognition are only making them worse.

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In Brief

SwiftKey, a London-based startup that sells a popular “smart” keyboard for Android devices, has closed a $17.5 million series B led by Index Ventures. The company plans to spend the money on research to “fuel further innovation in the fields of Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning,” among other things, according to a press release. That’s probably not a bad idea given Google’s vested interest keyboard dominance and focus on cutting-edge text analysis.

On The Web

The New York Times continues the surveillance theme with a scoop about a project called Hemisphere, which involves the collection and long-term retention of phone metadata by AT&T in order to aid local and federal anti-drug law enforcement efforts. The length of the retention time (as much as 26 years) far outstrips anything the NSA is doing. It strikes me as notable that the biggest mass surveillance operations are being carried out in the name of unwinnable, unending wars, namely those on terror and drugs.

On The Web

I’d argue this is a prime example of when metadata is used correctly. If the other nearly 150,000 phone numbers were never investigated and the records were deleted once the feds found their guys, any invasion of privacy is only theoretical. There’s a big difference between this and GPS-tracking, or what the NSA is doing.

In Brief

Couchbase, a startup selling a NoSQL database of the same name, has raised a $25 million series D round. Adams Street Partners led the round and was joined by existing investors Accel Partners, Mayfield Fund, North Bridge Venture Partners and Ignition Partners. Couchbase doesn’t have the huge user base of MongoDB or the edginess of HBase, but it does have some big-name users (including Orbitz) and the company claims sales jumped 400 percent in the last year.

In Brief

Hadoop-based analytics startup Tresata last week open sourced a set of machine learning libraries built on Scalding and designed to run in Hadoop and make use of the Apache Mahout project. Tresata is calling the project Ganita, and has also written a couple of explanatory blog posts about it, including how to do k-means clustering. The barriers to doing good work on big data just keep getting lower.

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