Winners of WSJ's Data Transparency Weekend

I had written in my last blog post about the WSJ's Data Transparency Weekend.

Here are some very interesting applications and winners. There are some very lovely ideas here!

  • Outstanding Scanning Project: TOSBack2 – a project to scan the Web to build a “living archive” of all privacy policies online.
  • Outstanding Education Project: PrivacyBucket – software that lets users of the Chrome Web browser view the type of demographic estimates that Web tracking companies make about them based on their Web browsing history.
  • Outstanding Control Project: Cryptocat – an instant messaging service that lets people engage in encrypted chats inside their Web browsers or on their phones. Extra bonus: the program lets people generate random numbers (which are needed for encryption) by shaking their phone – allowing the creators to say that their program is powered by dance moves.
  • “Ready for Primetime” Award: MobileScope – a service that lets people see what data is being transmitted without their knowledge by their cellphone. It also offers ad-blocking and do-not-track services for cellphones.
  • Judge’s Choice Award: Site Scoper – a website that scans for tracking files and sensitive content on websites before you visit it.

And, finally, The Soup Cans and String Winner: Ostel, for its work on technology that allows people to make encrypted cellphone calls using voice-over-the-Internet technology.

Read more here


Join the WSJ's data transparency weekend!

Your data is the single biggest business for many existing and emerging companies across the world.

The web browsing you do is tracked thro' your IP and the cookies that get dropped in your PC or tablet leaves trails of our behaviour which many companies trade for money! The mobile phone that you use creates data repository on your location making it valuable information for  retailers, travel companies and leading brand marketers to name a few. Companies need to co-opt customers, collaborate and working with them closely if they want to build trust and meaningful conversations with them.



The need to be transparent about your data and its usage - is the single most important priority for companies. WSJ is conducting an event next week on data transparency and they are inviting developers to build free web tools to promote data transaparency and control. Think it is a great initiative and co-opting developers, customers by making them aware of their rights is great first step. 

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Touchcodes - More intuitive than QR Codes?


As QR codes are beginning to revolutionize the convergence between the web and mobile, building new ways for brands to interact with customers, adding the power of interactivity, data & information for advertising campaigns, I have always found that it is not easy for not so tech-savvy customers to appreciate & experience the power of this technology.I believe that for successful adoption of high-end or innovative technologies, simplicity is key. QR codes still are a bit complicated for wider adoption.

In fact, a few months back in India when I was a part in an internal company marketing conference,  some of the new marketing initiatives had QR codes being integrated as a part of their campaigns. Sadly, neither the channel partners nor the sales folks nor the senior management folks knew how to use or leverage it. It left me thinking about its challenges for wider adoption amongst consumers. 

Recently, I came across an interesting technology called Touchcodes which appealed a lot to me. I loved the simplicity and ease of use. It was a lot more intuitive and did not require new learning from the average consumer.

Here's how it works:

" the new technology works by embedding  a thin layer of capacitive material in printed items like business cards, tickets, magazine pages, or product packaging. When you hold the paper to a capacitive touch screen, it acts like a set of invisible fingers tapping out a complex code that’s interpreted by a Touchcode-enabled app or website."


I believe it has some lovely applications that are very intuitive and comes naturally to us in the way we  are used to doing things :

  • Imagine a coupons being distributed by retail stores and can be read on the phone by placing the coupon on the touchscreen of the mobile. This can ensure instant redemption and also trackback mobile nos available against the existing member databases.
  • Can be in ads in magazines and the customers can just cut the card and place it on the touchscreen of their mobiles to avail of instant trial/samples.
  • Catalogs can be customized with touchcode cards for availing customized offers.
  • Imagine holding your phone in a supermarket, touching the pasta box and getting instant recipes on your mobile phone!
  • The data captured can be very useful for customized marketing programs


QR Codes are not going away soon but I do see Touchcodes being adopted soon for many applications across offline media, web & mobile.

The "natural interactivity" they come with is a compelling story for marketers.