Evil Mashup

Now, neither of these services by themselves are evil, but I was thinking about setting up a new kind of mashup for collecting sensitive information - more like trade secret kind of stuff.

scanR and qipit are service where you use your phone to take a picture of something you need to pass through OCR. You use your phone to send the bits to the provider, who then does OCR on it, then they email you a PDF of the results. They recommend doing this for things like meeting notes on a whiteboard. Doing something like this is every bit as dangerous as putting sensitive business documents on Google Docs - why would you want to do it? Well, services like that depend on people who just assume they're trustworthy. Now, these services may or may not be completely trustworthy and secure from outside attack - but that's not the point.

Combine that with something like reCAPTCHA, and now you've got something really powerful. Use the reCAPTCHA model of displaying two images, the user solves both of them, and they solved OCR for your sensitive data mining operation. Human handwriting is pretty hard for a computer to work out, but a humans can generally work out the meaning of sloppy writers by using context.