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Category Archives: Privacy

Commentary – Google and Amazon make us worse people

CNET – “Let me show you a magic trick. Make a choice — any choice. You’re already online, so maybe you want to read the news, check your email, surf your newsfeed, buy some food or any other number of things. Now for the trick, I’m going to tell you the companies that facilitated whatever choice you just made. It was almost certainly Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft or Facebook. OK, not much of a trick. After all, everyone knows these five tech giants control vast swaths of the internet, directly or indirectly — Amazon alone, for instance, facilitates nearly 40% of online commerce in the US and holds a whopping 23 million IP addresses thanks to its subsidiary Amazon Web Services. That online control has material ramifications. Last week, leaders of companies like Sonos and Popsockets took shots at Amazon, Google, Apple and Facebook in a House antitrust hearing, arguing that the tech giants exert unfair control over their respective markets — shutting out competitors, squashing startups and exploiting smaller companies to maintain their immense power and profit. Ah, monopoly: It’s a tale as old as, well, the board game, at least. But the problem goes deeper than the economy. These massive companies might actually be making us worse people. They’re narrowing our choices online, intentionally corralling us toward behavior that benefits them. Rather than outright coercing us, though, these companies use a handful of key motivators — convenience chief among them, not to mention the “approval, attention, retweets, shares and likes” of social media — to condition us to behave in certain ways. But that conditioning has an unexpected outcome: As we practice decision-making driven more by impulse and economic self-interest than by any more deeply held values, we erode our conscience over time. In short, we’re becoming worse human beings…”

Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues January 18, 2020

Via LLRX – Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues January 18, 2020 – Privacy and security issues impact every aspect of our lives – home, work, travel, education, health and medical records – to name but a few. On a weekly basis Pete Weiss highlights articles and information that focus on the… Continue Reading

Microsoft discloses security breach of customer support database

Is this the year that we finally admit we have no privacy? – Today’s news via ZDNet – Microsoft discloses security breach of customer support database – Microsoft disclosed today a security breach that took place last month in December 2019. In a blog post today, the OS maker said that an internal customer support… Continue Reading

The browser wars are back but it’s different this time

The Verge – It’s about privacy, not marketshare: “…First: there are new browser technologies and limits coming that could radically change how ads work and could make it easier for you to protect your privacy no matter what browser you use. Since this is the web, it’ll take time, but everybody seems committed. Second: the… Continue Reading

Banning facial recognition – it is not enough to ensure privacy

The New York Times Opinion – We’re Banning Facial Recognition. We’re Missing the Point. The whole point of modern surveillance is to treat people differently, and facial recognition technologies are only a small part of that. “…These efforts are well intentioned, but facial recognition bans are the wrong way to fight against modern surveillance. Focusing… Continue Reading

2020 Edelman Trust Barometer

“The 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer reveals that despite a strong global economy and near full employment, none of the four societal institutions that the study measures—government, business, NGOs and media—is trusted. The cause of this paradox can be found in people’s fears about the future and their role in it, which are a wake-up call… Continue Reading

The Secretive Company That Might End Privacy as We Know It

The New York Times – “A little-known start-up helps law enforcement match photos of unknown people to their online images — and “might lead to a dystopian future or something,” a backer says. Until recently, Hoan Ton-That’s greatest hits included an obscure iPhone game and an app that let people put Donald Trump’s distinctive yellow… Continue Reading

Alexa, How Do I Protect My Organization’s Data From You?

Law Technology Today: “Has Alexa infiltrated your company yet? There are 3.25 billion users of digital voice assistants in the world. It stands to reason that if you haven’t seen one of these devices on employees’ desks yet, you soon will. The industry is expected to grow to eight billion users by 2023…” Continue Reading

Google ends third-party cookies in ad-tracking

MyBroadBand: “Google is planning to “render obsolete” a key tool advertisers use to track people around the web, increasing user privacy but also disrupting the marketers and publishers who rely on the search giant’s ad products. Over the next two years the Alphabet Inc. unit intends to stop supporting third-party cookies in its Chrome browser,… Continue Reading

Verizon Media launches OneSearch a privacy-focused search engine

VentureBeat: “Verizon Media, the media and digital offshoot of telecommunications giant Verizon, has launched a “privacy-focused” search engine called OneSearch. The launch comes at a time when public trust in big technology companies has hit rock bottom following countless reports of breaches, lapses, and data harvesting escapades. Consequently, “privacy” is pretty much the buzzword of… Continue Reading

More than 600M users installed Android ‘fleeceware’ apps from the Play Store

ZDNet: A new set of 25 Android apps caught illegally charging users at the end of a trial period. “Security researchers from Sophos say they’ve discovered a new set of “fleeceware” apps that appear to have been downloaded and installed by more than 600 million Android users. Our editors hand-picked these products based on our… Continue Reading