Archive for the ‘data’ Category

COVID-19 hospital data is a hot mess after feds take control

July 31st, 2020
Members of the medical staff treat a patient in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at the United Memorial Medical Center on July 28, 2020 in Houston, Texas. COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have spiked since Texas reopened, pushing intensive-care units to full capacity and sparking concerns about a surge in fatalities as the virus spreads.

Enlarge / Members of the medical staff treat a patient in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at the United Memorial Medical Center on July 28, 2020 in Houston, Texas. COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have spiked since Texas reopened, pushing intensive-care units to full capacity and sparking concerns about a surge in fatalities as the virus spreads. (credit: Getty | Go Nakamura)

As COVID-19 hospitalizations in the US approach the highest levels seen in the pandemic so far, national efforts to track patients and hospital resources remain in shambles after the federal government abruptly seized control of data collection earlier this month.

The Trump administration issued a directive to hospitals and states July 10, instructing them to stop submitting their daily COVID-19 hospital data to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—which has historically handled such public health data—and instead submit it to a new database in the hands of the Department of Health and Human Services. The change was ostensibly made to streamline federal data collection, which is critical for assessing the state of the pandemic and distributing needed resources, such as personal protective equipment and remdesivir, an antiviral drug shown to shorten COVID-19 recovery times.

Watchdogs and public health experts were immediately aghast by the switch to the HHS database, fearing the data would be manipulated for political reasons or hidden from public view all together. However, the real threat so far has been the administrative chaos. The switch took effect July 15, giving hospitals and states just days to adjust to the new data collection and submission process.

Read 13 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Posted in CDC, COVID-19, data, database, healthcare IT, HHS, hospitalization, Infectious disease, IT, pandemic, public health, SARS-CoV-2, science | Comments (0)

Ousted scientist says she was asked to manipulate Florida COVID-19 data

May 20th, 2020
Florida began allowing businesses to reopen this week, but the ousted manager of the data behind that decision warns it may not be solid.

Enlarge / Florida began allowing businesses to reopen this week, but the ousted manager of the data behind that decision warns it may not be solid. (credit: CHANDAN KHANNA | AFP | Getty Images)

As Florida tries to move past the COVID-19 crisis and reopen businesses and venues, the former manager of the state's novel coronavirus data project alleges she was fired for refusing to cook the numbers and make the state look better.

Rebekah Jones said Friday she was removed from her position, local outlet Florida Today was the first to report.

Jones built and managed the COVID-19 data dashboard for the state from March until until May 5. Last week, she explained that for "reasons beyond my division's control," her office lost all connection to the portal, and neither she nor her team was any longer involved with it, its data, its publication, or answering questions.

Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Posted in coronavirus, COVID-19, data, Florida, Policy | Comments (0)

Blogger says she got an injunction for a post published five days earlier

August 8th, 2019
Blogger says she got an injunction for a post published five days earlier

(credit: Chris Potter)

The blogger behind a widely followed data-breach reporting service said an online counseling service has obtained an injunction barring her from publishing an article that went live five days earlier. The blogger says her article is also the subject of a criminal complaint.

The August 1 post on DataBreaches.net reported that a misconfigured Amazon Web Services bucket exposed more than 300,000 records relating to people who sought counseling-related services from 1to1Help. Writing under the pseudonym "Dissent," the blogger said she first notified the company of the exposure on June 10. More than two weeks later, when the data still hadn't been taken down, she said she began contacting multinational companies that had contracted with 1to1Help to notify them that their employees' information was exposed. The reported also regularly notified parties of her deadline for publishing.

On July 4, the blogger reported, she finally received a response from a 1to1Help lawyer. The lawyer said the exposed data came from an archive that was older than five years. For the past three years, the lawyer said in a statement, the company encrypted sensitive data in a way that prevented even company administrators from accessing it. "This has data which is gathered from our website usage such as articles read, quizzes taken, various self-help resources used and only includes a small percentage of counselling [sic] information from the partial data," the lawyer added.

Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Posted in Biz & IT, data, Exposure, lawsuits, Policy | Comments (0)

Still available via Google Analytics: Data slurped from 4 million browsers

July 24th, 2019
Still available via Google Analytics: Data slurped from 4 million browsers

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson / Getty)

Six days after Ars revealed an online service selling links to tax returns, prescription refills, and reams of other sensitive information collected from more than four million browsers, the data remains available to existing customers—thanks, in part, to essential assistance from Google Analytics.

In a July 11 email, Nacho Analytics founder and CEO Mike Roberts told customers the site suffered a permanent data outage after its third-party supplier was no longer available. The site would no longer accept new customers or provide new data, he said, but customers who kept accounts open would still be able to access any existing data they bought previously.

As the redacted screenshots below demonstrate, the existing data is imported directly into customers’ Google Analytics accounts. That existing data can include the same sensitive information that led to Nacho Analytics being shut off in the first place. The first image shows the names of medical patients who obtained lab results through a Dr. Chrono, a patient care cloud platform that contracts with medical services. The one below that shows non-public project management issues taken from inside Tesla’s network, funneled to Nacho Analytics, and then imported into Google Analytics.

Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Posted in Biz & IT, data, personally identifiable information, PII, Privacy | Comments (0)

Here are the most popular PlayStation games, based on public trophy data

March 6th, 2019
<em>GTA</em>, <em>Call of Duty</em>, and <em>FIFA</em> dominate PlayStation's most popular games, according to new trophy-based public estimates from Gamstat.

Enlarge / GTA, Call of Duty, and FIFA dominate PlayStation's most popular games, according to new trophy-based public estimates from Gamstat. (credit: Gamstat)

Back in December, a holiday promotion for Sony's PlayStation Network inadvertently leaked total player counts for hundreds of PlayStation titles. Now, one site is building off that work to create an ongoing database of player count estimates for every game on PSN.

Gamstat launched in December as a clearinghouse for information gleaned from that "MyPS4Life" data leak. But in recent weeks it has unveiled a new algorithm—as outlined on the about page and in more detailed discussions with Ars Technica—that takes inspiration from previous efforts like Steam Gauge and Steam Spy (before Valve shut off the data spigot, in any case).

Time traveling with trophies

First, the Gamstat algorithm takes a semi-random sample of the entire universe of PlayStation Network users. Gamstat's administrator, who goes by Dennis, outlined this sampling procedure to Ars but asked that it not be shared to prevent potential meddling by Sony.

Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Posted in “Analytical Framework for Intelligence”, data, estimates, Gaming & Culture, leak, MyPS4Life, PlayStation, sales, Sony | Comments (0)

Sony inadvertently leaks player counts for PS4 titles

December 17th, 2018
Sony inadvertently leaks player counts for PS4 titles

Enlarge

Here at Ars, we have a longstanding obsession with revealing the hidden numbers in the secretive world of video game sales and gameplay data. So we were intrigued this weekend when we heard that Sony seems to have inadvertently revealed the total number of players for a large majority of the PS4's library.

The leak centers on Sony's recent My PS4 Life promotion, which lets users generate a personalized statistics video for their PSN Gamertag. Amid some aggregate statistics and "total hours played" numbers for your favorite games, the video also lists your "rarest" trophy and, crucially, the precise number of PSN users who have earned that trophy.

Sony has long made public the percentage of a game's players that have earned any specific trophy on PSN (rounded to the nearest tenth of a percent). Combining that percentage with the "My PS4 Life" numbers, that makes it relatively simple to reverse-engineer an overall "players" estimate for that game.

Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Posted in data, Gaming & Culture, leak, Playstation 4, ps4, Sony, Steam, Valve | Comments (0)