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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Garlik - a boon or a curse for Web data?

A fantastic story for Halloween is the emergence of Garlik to protect users from the vampires that would suck up their data across the Web.
One argument I have with AEPOC (below) is their claim about DRM and protecting data, so the proposal is spot on.
These are the guys who set up the Egg internet bank, and are now turning their attention to protecting user data across the Web. Well, not exactly protecting, but letting you know when it changes, and so highlighting any risks (identity theft etc) as soon as possible. It uses technology developed by Prof Nigel Shadbolt of School of Electronics & Computer Science at the University of Southampton, (specialising in artificial intelligence) and tracks your data through databases across the Web. That's brilliant, and very, very worrying, for if they can do it, who else can.
This is a model obviously synchronised with a subscription (GBP30 a month), as there have to be deals with the database holders (although drilling into databases easily is a very two edged tool). It also makes it a target for identity thieves. They have a very strong management team and connections, and will be the darling of the venture capital. But just how scalable this is remains to be seen, and I would like to see a tool open to everyone rather than a subscription service.
They are in beta mode at the moment, and I wonder what else they provide apart from an automated credit checking service. It'll take two weeks for the initial report to come through (that's the scalability worry) and to see how detailed my digital footprint is, so watch this space.
There is another security service called BankClarity where you put in your bank and credit card details and it 'learns' your transactions. Again, GBP30/month, and it claims to be 100% secure (which is hubris that worries me!)

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