Tartle Best Data Marketplace
Tartle Best Data Marketplace
Tartle Best Data Marketplace
Tartle Best Data Marketplace
Tartle Best Data Marketplace
Tartle Best Data Marketplace

World Economic Forum and Cybersecurity

There are a lot of different threats to the global economy out there. Civil unrest, wars, natural disasters, disease, and probably a few other things. One of the top threats recently identified by the World Economic Forum is cybersecurity, or rather the lack of it. That makes sense. We don’t say we live in the digital age for nothing. The whole world runs off of data and the various electronic devices that process, store, generate, and transmit it. If that data is not properly secured, it poses a threat to the very people generating it. There are certain companies and countries that are so entwined with the global economy, a successful cyberattack could cause a ripple effect that would affect people around the world across a variety of industries. Just imagine the damage that could be done if data centers used by Tyson or Oscar Meyer, or Monsanto were attacked. These companies affect a lot of the world’s food. Not to mention the militaries of the United States or China. If the computer networks for either country’s military were taken down, chaos would probably ensue. 

If someone really wanted to cause economic chaos, they’d go after the stock exchanges. Over 80% of trades made these days are done by bots. A successful cyberattack could destroy the NYSE before people even knew what was happening. 

On the individual level, your data is constantly getting sent out into the ether. Every app you download involves you giving up some kind of data that could be manipulated by nefarious actors, either for very particular ends or because they just enjoy messing with people’s lives. Just think about the facial recognition software on our phones. A company develops it, puts it on their phones, uses data from scanning your face to refine the algorithm and then goes and sells that algorithm to a foreign country or a company so they can use the new and improved facial recognition for their own ends, whatever they may be. 

Cybersecurity has also been made a much bigger issue thanks to COVID. Now, many people are working from home instead of going to the office. That means individuals are doing potentially sensitive work and sharing it through their home networks, which are very likely not as secure as what they had at work. The potential for industrial espionage is massive. Files once centralized at work are now vulnerable to exploitation from malware the kids might accidentally download on their tablet, or to potentially lax security on the part of whatever cloud services are being used. 

Fortunately, for many people this is largely common sense. Lots of people now know at least at a surface level the kinds of dangers that exist online. Lots of people know about the dangers of malware, the need for a decent password (password is not a good password by the way) and even for a VPN to protect your IP address, making you much more difficult to track through the internet. 

Many companies are fully aware of the dangers as well. If you want to really see someone serious about cybersecurity, take a look at the financial institutions. Their firewalls have firewalls.

There is something that both individuals and corporations can do to keep their data secure. They can sign up with TARTLE. In doing so, they can sync their social media and other accounts with us, funneling your data through our VPN so it doesn’t just go to any number of third parties. We secure it and protect it. That means our users get full control over their data and who to share it with and when, giving all your data an extra layer of protection in the process.

What’s your data worth? Sign up and join the TARTLE Marketplace with this link here.

The Cost of Violence

We often hear people say, ‘violence is never the answer’. Outside of defending yourself few people have any problem with that cliché. This is true on the scale of someone getting mugged to warring nations. However, the truth is that it’s much more significant that violence also has a high cost in resources, enough resources that it could have a massively negative effect on that nation’s economy.

What kind of resources are we talking about here? Up to 34% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in some countries and globally up to 10.5%. Especially considering that those are figures for western, industrialized nations with fully developed economies, that is a lot of money. Money that could be used for a ton of other, better things. Before we get into that though, let’s look at some of the ways that violence winds up costing everyone. 

First, think of war. Everyone knows that wars aren’t cheap and while we often think about how much war costs the loser, it isn’t exactly cheap for the winner either. Tanks, missiles, and training all cost money, sometimes millions of dollars each. Then there is the cost associated with assimilating new territory, taking down street signs, removing statues, and the extended military presence it takes to prevent resistance. Don’t worry, this is in no way meant as a sympathy piece for aggressors. The point is that even the winner loses. 

Beyond all of that, imagine a war that ends with no one getting occupied, borders return to what they were before hostilities began. There are still costs. When the soldiers come home, they are often physically injured, hampering their ability to make a living, at least without expensive medical care like prosthetics. Mentally, the issues are often even greater. Just the culture shock of going from civilian life to the rigid structure of the military and back can be significant. Having gone through combat, especially the violent house-to-house combat that many have seen since the invasion of Iraq in 2002, takes that culture shock and dials it up to 111. That can also result in a reduced ability to contribute and lots of money spent on therapy. Obviously, this hurts the individual’s ability to earn for himself but the ripple effects go far beyond that. His immediate family will suffer as will the local community and it also affects the nation’s productivity. 

That’s a quick overview of the many costs of war. But that’s just one kind of violence. There are many, many more. Muggings, riots, gang wars, domestic violence, child abuse, police brutality all feed into this. Every death, every injury in some way hurts everyone else through the effects that go through our communities. In the face of gang wars or riots, people will spend their money on defending themselves, not on donating to charities and research groups. And no one can blame them. Again, the point is that violence forces people to redirect their own resources to things that may be less productive but are more urgent in the here and now. 

Just think of all the great things we could be doing with all that money if it wasn’t getting spent dealing with the horrible aftereffects of violence. How many scholarships could we give? How much medical research could get done? How many addicts could get treated and kept off the streets?

How to get there? One thing that would help is to use something like TARTLE to get in touch with the people affected by violence to learn exactly how they are affected. What are the problems that they experience in their daily lives? What policies have they seen make a difference? With our global reach, TARTLE’s members could provide an extensive cross-section of all the various kinds of violence in a number of different contexts. That can help people learn how to make a real difference and get some of that money put towards things a little more productive than more tank shells. 

What’s your data worth? Sign up and join the TARTLE Marketplace with this link here.

Draw the Line Between Risk and Reward

The world is full of lines. They are everywhere, they are on the road, on walls, on maps, in the sand, in our minds. Like I said, everywhere. The lines themselves are like a tool, they can be good or bad. Lines on the road keep us from driving off into a ditch or into oncoming traffic. A line on a wall might lead the way to an exit in an emergency. The lines on a map represent the separation between a horrible dictatorship and a free and prosperous country. However, a line can also be totally arbitrary and be based on not on protecting or helping people but on manipulating or separating them.

A while back we talked about how some manufacturing companies would set their production goals by drawing a line on the wall. So along as the product stacked up at least as high as the line at the end of the day everything was good. If not, the bosses were upset and looking for ways to get people to be more efficient, which in the minds of too many means firing people in the hopes of finding someone to work faster. Not to mention scaring people into working faster. 

Or back to the example of the map. Look at the lines in the Middle East and Africa. A lot of those countries didn’t exist as defined entities until after WWI and some as recently as WWII. Those lines were drawn arbitrarily as the empires of France, Britain, and the rest of the European powers retreated. Those lines have not exactly been beneficial for humanity. 

Let’s spend some more time though with a couple of mental or psychological lines, one is the bottom line and the other is the line between risk and reward. The bottom line of course is a big deal for business. If your bottom line isn’t big enough, you won’t be in business for long. So it’s a valid concern. However, it can become too big of a focus. When it becomes all consuming, your business has gone from the beneficial endeavor it started out as to a monster intent on growing itself regardless of who get in the way. 

Our attitude towards the bottom line also has an effect on that risk/reward line. On one hand, a desire to grow the bottom line can drive a person to take a little more risk in the hopes of doing so. An excessive focus on that line has a tendency to make a person overly cautious to avoid any risk if it means a potential loss of money. That leads to absolute stagnation. 

The other big thing in that equation that is often neglected is people. Could the risky endeavor help people or not? Could it be a benefit not just to oneself but to others? Could it just be something that leads to a breakthrough in technology, or expanding our knowledge?

Think back to the birth of the digital age in the 1990s. The tech world was bursting at the seams with innovation. New programs, hardware and applications for them were being developed faster than it was possible to keep track of them. Suddenly we could snap photos, get directions, make calls, and keep in contact with friends old and new almost anywhere. Computers and programs to make them useful became affordable for almost everyone who wanted them. How was all that possible? 

The venture capitalists back then understood that to get some reward, you needed to take some risk. They put forth some of their money understanding that they might lose it. But they saw the risk as being worth the potential reward. Whether their motive was profit or helping people, they understood that to make progress of any kind you have to be willing to take a risk. Today, everyone is more interested in how money is going to get made than in the idea and its potential. We need to recover some of that spirit, that desire to take risk, to get out in front before anyone else. 

TARTLE is doing that, getting out before others and creating a new way of looking at and treating data. With your help, we can remind others that we need to get back to people, back to being willing to take a chance. That’s the only way anything worth doing gets done. 

What’s your data worth? Sign up and join the TARTLE Marketplace with this link here.

Google Antitrust

Coming out of Massachusetts is a new antitrust lawsuit against Google. This is hardly an unheard of situation. However, this one is pretty interesting. The plaintiff is alleging that Google is unfairly using unpaid labor for its own profit. How? It’s really quite ingenious. You know those captcha/recaptcha things we all deal with from time to time so we can convince the algorithm that we aren’t bots? If you’ve noticed, they tend to be some form of distorted text. Letters that are blurry, poorly written or with extra lines through them for some reason. Sometimes you even need to do that twice. 

Well, the lawsuit is alleging that at least that second captcha text is being used by Google to train its text recognition AI. That matters because Google Books scans in thousands upon thousands of books, digitizes them and uploads them to the internet for free. Those scans though, are often from rough copies that might have pen marks on them, suffer from damage due to age or just have artifacts from the original printing. By making use of the captcha system, Google is teaching its AI to better deal with those problems and thus create more accurate digital versions of the work. 

So what’s the big deal? Sure, they’re sort of tricking people into doing work for them but at least they are doing it for the end of making more knowledge available to more people. Obviously that’s a good thing in itself. It’s a little shady that they didn’t really tell people about it, but if that was all it was, no harm no foul. Yet, as often happens, Google goes right ahead and takes it to the next step, eating up some of that good will that we would otherwise have. How so?

There are newspapers (yes, they still exist) and magazines that are interested in digitizing their archives. Universities and governments are also trying to get their documents, books and research converted to a digital format. Along comes Google, offering their scanning and conversion software to take care of that. For a substantial price of course. That is where problems arise. Because now Google is profiting off the software that you (and everyone else) helped develop. It’s pretty understandable why that might bother someone. And in all honesty, if Google were upfront about what they were doing with the data gleaned from the captcha system, then it would be fine. People would have the opportunity at least to know what they were doing and why. But again, Google doesn’t tell people about that. It seems only fair that since Google is making a profit, they should offer at least a shekel or two for the trouble. 

In fact, if they were willing to both be upfront about how they are using the data and offer something to the people helping them with it, it would be great if Google expanded the program. They could scan documents not just individually but as part of a searchable and cross-referenced database that would be a massive benefit to researchers everywhere, making it easy to find not just the one item you’re looking for but several related documents that could then be compared and contrasted. It would make Wikipedia look like LiveJournal. Hopefully, Google or someone else gets to work providing something like that in the near future. 

In the meantime, this kind of situation is exactly why TARTLE exists. For a long time now, businesses have been benefiting from data generated by others. We’re offering people the ability to take control of their data again by signing up with us and funneling all of your data through TARTLE, which allows you to actually be rewarded when you share it. If you even want to share it. The choice is yours.

What’s your data worth? Sign up and join the TARTLE Marketplace with this link here.