Saturday, April 28, 2018

Public DNA Data Helps Solves Murder Case

Data privacy continues to title the headlines when it comes to the latest news on data. Recently, however, it seems that data privacy worked in a positive manner, in which it helped to track a murderer. According to the Wall Street Journal article attached authorites used a DNA website by the name of “GEDmatch” GEDmatch is a website that stores your DNA and other genetic information in order to make tracking your relatives easier. The problem with this, there is no way to stop relatives from uploading DNA that could ultimately be traced back to you. As it turns out, that is just about exactly what happened in the Sacramento murder case. Authorites were able to track down DNA through the suspects relatives, in which he most likely had no prior knowledge of his DNA being in an online database, searchable by just about anyone.

Typically, law enforcements use their own databases when searching for DNA evidence when solving cases. Though, recently there have been controversial case filings against various law enforcement centers arguing that police databases are bias and contain more DNA information for minorities, therefore they are much more likely to be found in the system than someone without previous convictions and/or family convictions. GEDmatch is a website that primarily focuses on connecting people with each other through their personal ethnic backgrounds, hence their idea of uploading your own information, rather than having it uploaded by the state or other law enforcement facilities.

Personally, I think that it was a very clever idea to target GEDmatch when searching, because a lot of the DNA that was placed in their database is uploaded by people who are more likely than not uploading it for personal reasons. That opens up a whole new sample size for testing, not only can law enforcements use their own DNA databases to piece together mysteries, they can also now tap into this whole other database that may contain critical information that someone may not have even known they put online. On the other hand, I do understand that this does bring into question how private is your data. There could be DNA information just sitting in a public database that you had no idea was there, and the person who uploaded it probably had no intention of invading your privacy. As more and more data like this is stored and analyzed, the more subject it becomes to hackers and other information thieves.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Data Breach

Facebook being one of the more popular social medias has been informing its users that their data has been misused by Cambridge Analytica. This data breach has definitely affected many users including myself. While on Facebook earlier this week I received a notification regarding misused data similar to the picture provided in the article. Facebook

The notification basically explains to users like myself that the company understands how important it is to keep our data safe. Also the fact that Facebook has decided to make a major decision and banned “This Is Your Digital Life,” the app that the data breach was caused by. The app had a feature that allowed users to use their Facebook log in information (data) in order to access the app. However, the problem came about when the app misused users information by sharing it with a different company called Cambridge Analytics. Most of the data that was shared only gave basic information like one’s public profile, their pages likes, birthday and current city. Yet, there were other cases where much more information was disclosed, more than there should have been.

This situation is a bit scary. Social media has become an integral part of our daily lives.
It allows for both instant and constant connection between people. In addition it is an important driver for acquiring and spreading information in different domains such as business, entertainment, science, crisis Management, and politics. Social Media gives everyone a voice and allows their opinions to be heard. As social media grows, so does the overall amount of data. This results in new opportunities for analyzing overall  patterns in communication. However, will people want to continue using social media if they feel like companies are violating their privacy?

I do think it is permissible  for  companies to use your information on social media in order to communicate with you and potentially show you a product that you may like. However, there should definitely be boundaries to what amount of information they are allowed to have access to.

This article is a great read and very informative to the way Facebook has handled this data breach. Although security has definitely improved over time, situations like these allude to questions about what companies are really doing to the data people like us use every day.

An article such as this one brings light to how important data really is. Along with how important it is to be careful with your personal and business information on social media. I am sure as time goes on Facebook will find a way to securely make sure that information is being used properly. I personally do not think this breach will do as much damage to the company that it could have, especially since the breach involved third parties. Yet, this is definitely a less for Facebook along with other companies that have large data services and users who utilize their sites, games, apps and data daily.

Fish and Data

Fish and Data
Determining the sex of a fish in extremely important the fish farming industry in the united states. The right ratio of male to female sex fish in the stock tanks produce the best yields. To accomplish this feat, researches from University of Austin Texas had to assemble an annotated genome. This genome has over six hundred million pieces that all need to be connected like a puzzle.
Researchers were able to complete this genome due to supercomputers. Because the genomes are so large, they take up an enormous 500 gigabytes of storage to complete. It took recent advances in high-throughput DNA sequencing, and supercomputing with over six thousand nodes with twelve terabytes. This supercomputer performing a basic local alignment search tool. This program examines each piece of the puzzle to than connect the pieces together. What would typically take over a year of computing time turned into a couple weeks. Currently the genome sequence process is hypothesized to help with identifying mutations, and deformities in the fish being farmed. With the advancement in supercomputing power we are moving into a new age of data collection, and genetic material identification.
Through sequencing technology, big data can solve sustainable food problems, and the fish farming of California Yellowtail is just the beginning.