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Jellyfin, Superset, and PrivacyBot

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Projects

superset

Apache Superset is a data visualization and data exploration platform.

language: Python, stars: 39707, watchers: 1426, forks: 7667, issues: 1005

last commit: July 31, 2021, first commit: July 02, 2015

https://twitter.com/TheASF

jellyfin

Jellyfin is a free software media system.

language: C#, stars: 11335, watchers: 248, forks: 1145, issues: 576

last commit: July 30, 2021, first commit: July 12, 2012

https://twitter.com/jellyfin

toolz

Toolz is a functional standard library for Python.

language: Python, stars: 3587, watchers: 83, forks: 223, issues: 104

last commit: April 22, 2021, first commit: September 11, 2013

https://twitter.com/eriknwelch

privacybot

PrivacyBot is a simple way to delete your data from all the data brokers.

language: JavaScript, stars: 376, watchers: 11, forks: 20, issues: 2

last commit: May 12, 2021, first commit: May 12, 2021

https://privacybot.io/


An Interview With Archana Kulkarni of PrivacyBot

Hey Archana! Thanks for joining us! Let’s start with your background. Where have you worked in the past, where are you from, and what languages or frameworks do you like?

I'm from Bangalore, India and I have a Bachelor's Degree in Information Science and a Master's Degree in Information Management and Systems. I have worked as a Solutions Architect at Akamai and as an Information Security Specialist at Standard Chartered Bank. I was always writing Python scripts as a part of my job, and I started building products while doing my Masters. PrivacyBot was one of them. I'm most comfortable in Python and I like Django and React frameworks. 

What's an opinion you have that most people don't agree with?

Programming is hard, but can be learnt by anyone at any age. 

How would you suggest someone go about learning?

To start off - start building projects (like a basic todo list app) so you get an idea of how backend and front end web architectures work. Practice Leetcode/Hackerrank problems to strengthen your understanding of data structures and algorithms. Elements of Programming Interviews is an excellent book and I'd highly recommend it.

What is one app on your phone that you can’t live without that you think others should know about?

Kindle. I usually read whenever I get time, in queues, while waiting for someone, just before sleeping, etc.

If you could dictate that everyone in the world should read one book, what would it be?

A Wasted Hour by Jeffrey Archer. It's an excellent short story that can be read in 20 minutes. 

If you could teach every 12 year old in the world one thing, what would it be and why?

Cooking. Learn to cook one dish with basic ingredients well enough to take it to potlucks. Best if it's some unique recipe from your culture/family. Food brings people, even programmers, together. 

If I gave you $10 million to invest in one thing right now, where would you put it?

Welfare of children who were orphaned due to the pandemic in India. 

What are you currently learning?

Kotlin, Docker Security, Kubernetes Security

What have you been listening to lately?

Carnatic Classical Music (South Indian)

Any suggestions?

This is actually Carnatic EDM fusion, but something I truly love :)

How do you separate good project ideas from bad ones?

How clear the impact of a project is, and how clear the path to achieve this impact is. 

Why was PrivacyBot started?

James Carney, a privacy enthusiast and my classmate at UC Berkeley started the work on PrivacyBot with his friend Austen. I spoke to him about the idea to simplify the process of CCPA data deletion requests and I was fascinated by it. We were joined by two other members of our cohort - Joanne Jia and Cameron Lopez and with the guidance of Prof. Chris Hoofnagle we adopted this idea for our capstone project. 

Who, or what was the biggest inspiration for PrivacyBot?

The ease with which the tool could help consumers initiate data delete requests with data brokers. This has a huge impact as currently the process is elaborate and different for every data broker. PrivacyBot automatically initiates data delete requests to over 500+ data brokers in a few minutes. 

Are there any competitors or projects similar to PrivacyBot? If so, what were they lacking that made you consider building something new?

Currently our competitors offer this service for a fee (for ex, PrivacyDuck charges a fee starting from $500 onwards). PrivacyBot was, is and will always remain free. The codebase is also available on our Github repo and can be forked by privacy enthusiasts to build their own versions. 

What was the most surprising thing you learned while working on PrivacyBot?

Even though PrivacyBot has a reasonably simple codebase, the impact it has had is huge. The most surprising thing was that we don't always need incredibly complex softwares to build a great product. 

What is your typical approach to debugging issues filed in the PrivacyBot repo?

We kept a private repo for the dev environment and the public repo as the prod environment. We ensured there was a clear cut testing endpoint to ensure the functionalities work as expected. Since the tool can be used to initiate over 500+ email conversations with a few clicks, we wanted to be sure that the test environments don't unnecessarily initiate these emails. 

Do you think any of your projects do more harm than good?

The one downside is the number of email conversations that get initiated. There is currently no other way to initiate the CCPA data delete requests with an exhaustive list of data brokers automatically other than via email. We hope this helps lawmakers understand that while making laws and ensuring rights for consumers, it is also important to ensure these rights can be easily exercised by all.  

What is the best way for a new developer to contribute to PrivacyBot?

Through our GitHub repo - https://github.com/privacybot-berkeley/privacybot 

Where do you see the project heading next?

We're currently working on wrapping our codebase into an installer so it's much easier for consumers to use it. 

What motivates you to continue contributing to PrivacyBot?

We truly believe that this project will be useful to the privacy community. It also sheds light on how tough it is to exercise privacy rights for consumers. The fact that this project shows how tough it is to maintain online privacy and tries to make it slightly easier is what motivates me.