• Mar 19, 2020
  • Glyn Moody
  • Governments, News, Open Source, Privacy, Programming,

As Covid-19 spreads around the globe, so does the idea of using smartphones to track everyone to help contact tracing

It seems extraordinary that it was only a month ago that this blog wrote about the new coronavirus, also called Covid-19. At that time, it was not yet clear whether it would turn into a full-blown pandemic. Now, there is no doubt on the matter. As that blog post reported, Covid-19 began in China, and … Continue reading “As Covid-19 spreads around the globe, so does the idea of using smartphones to track everyone to help contact tracing”

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New study quantifies how much Americans value their private information: about $3.50

A new study by the Technology Policy Institute (TPI) has identified how much money a Facebook user would want to be paid in exchange for having their contact information shared by Facebook: $3.50 per month. Across the pond, German users indicated that they would require $8 per month for the privacy violation of having their … Continue reading “New study quantifies how much Americans value their private information: about $3.50”

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  • Feb 7, 2020
  • Glyn Moody
  • Governments, News, Privacy,

Why the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) risks turning into a paper tiger

Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC) has just announced two new GDPR inquiries. One of them concerns Tinder, as a result of “concerns raised by individuals both in Ireland and across the EU”. The other inquiry will examine Google’s processing of location data and the transparency surrounding that processing. The issue is whether consent to share … Continue reading “Why the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) risks turning into a paper tiger”

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  • Jan 31, 2020
  • Glyn Moody
  • Governments, News, Privacy,

What can we learn from the Clearview “end of privacy” story?

A couple of weeks ago, a story in the New York Times put facial recognition, and the serious problems it raises, firmly into the mainstream. It concerned the start-up Clearview AI, which, as the headline breathlessly informed us, “might end privacy as we know it.” The reason for this worrying description is not any breakthrough … Continue reading “What can we learn from the Clearview “end of privacy” story?”

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  • Jan 6, 2020
  • Glyn Moody
  • Governments, News, Privacy,

Why 2020 will be make or break time for transatlantic personal data transfers

The transfer of personal data lies at the heart of much of online activity. Since many of the leading online companies were founded and have their headquarters in the US, that typically means that huge quantities of personal data cross the Atlantic every day. If information concerns EU citizens, those data flows are governed by … Continue reading “Why 2020 will be make or break time for transatlantic personal data transfers”

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Facebook reversed cryptocurrency ad policy ahead of Libra announcement

Facebook, the social media platform used by billions, had banned cryptocurrency related ads for a year and a half starting in January of 2018. During this time period, Facebook’s ad approval algorithms and moderators were so sensitive to potentially cryptocurrency tangential ads that even ads for physical events that had cryptocurrency sponsors weren’t allowed. An … Continue reading “Facebook reversed cryptocurrency ad policy ahead of Libra announcement”

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At last, some good news for privacy: signs that micro-targeted advertising may be on the way out

At the beginning of this year Privacy News Online wrote about how people were waking up to the dangers of micro-targeted advertising. Despite that, nothing much happened – until now. One reason for the shift is the heightened awareness of the role of social media in politics and elections. Twitter has said it will drop … Continue reading “At last, some good news for privacy: signs that micro-targeted advertising may be on the way out”

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  • Nov 7, 2019
  • Glyn Moody
  • Governments, News, Privacy,

Google, Facebook and many others are coming for your health data: watch out for your privacy

Last week, Google announced that it would be buying Fitbit, valuing the 12-year-old company at $2.1 billion. Many have seen this as an attempt to boost Google’s position in the wearables sector. So far, the company’s Wear OS platform has made relatively little impact. The acquisition certainly improves Google’s position, but it is only part … Continue reading “Google, Facebook and many others are coming for your health data: watch out for your privacy”

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  • Sep 18, 2019
  • Glyn Moody
  • Governments, News, Privacy,

Now is the time to defend the final haven for privacy: your brain

One of the principal concerns of privacy is to prevent others – typically governments or companies – from monitoring what we think. They have to do that indirectly, by spying on what we say or write, and inferring what is going through our minds from that data. We assume that our actual thoughts are immune … Continue reading “Now is the time to defend the final haven for privacy: your brain”

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  • Sep 13, 2019
  • Glyn Moody
  • News, Privacy, Programming,

Should apps share details of women’s menstruation and sex lives with Facebook and other sites? Some already do

Back in January, Privacy News Online wrote about some important research from Privacy International. It found that 61% of the Android apps it investigated automatically transfer data to Facebook the moment a user opens them. This happens whether or not people have a Facebook account, and regardless of whether they are logged into Facebook or … Continue reading “Should apps share details of women’s menstruation and sex lives with Facebook and other sites? Some already do”

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  • Aug 31, 2019
  • Glyn Moody
  • News, Privacy, Programming,

Google says: “Privacy is paramount to us, in everything we do”; here’s why that can’t be true

Back in May Mark Zuckerberg proclaimed: the future is private“. Now Google is joining in: Privacy is paramount to us, in everything we do. So today, we are announcing a new initiative to develop a set of open standards to fundamentally enhance privacy on the web. We’re calling this a Privacy Sandbox. As a slogan, … Continue reading “Google says: “Privacy is paramount to us, in everything we do”; here’s why that can’t be true”

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  • Aug 1, 2019
  • Caleb Chen
  • Governments, News, Security,

UK, US, Australia, Canada and New Zealand meet to discuss the “ghost protocol” aka built in encryption backdoors

Representatives from the UK, US, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand recently finished a two day meeting in London where the countries renewed their commitment to seeking encryption backdoors from technology companies around the world. The meetings were held by the UK’s Home Secretary, Priti Patel, and the official topics were strengthening the countries’ abilities to … Continue reading “UK, US, Australia, Canada and New Zealand meet to discuss the “ghost protocol” aka built in encryption backdoors”

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Why you need to use a VPN to stop Google and Facebook from tracking your porn habits

A team of researchers from Microsoft, the University of Pennsylvania, and Carnegie Mellon have revealed a study showing that Google and Facebook are keeping tabs on your porn viewing habits with trackers and using incognito mode or private browsing does not stop it. The researchers analyzed 22,484 porn websites and noted a whopping 93% of … Continue reading “Why you need to use a VPN to stop Google and Facebook from tracking your porn habits”

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  • Jul 8, 2019
  • Glyn Moody
  • Governments, News, Privacy,

The writing is on the wall for ads based on real-time bidding in the EU – and maybe everywhere

Privacy News Online noted back in February a growing disquiet at the huge amounts of personal information that sites like Facebook and Google routinely gather about us, and how it is used for personalized advertising. Of particular concern is real-time bidding (RTB), which sees often extremely private information sent out to hundreds of potential advertisers, … Continue reading “The writing is on the wall for ads based on real-time bidding in the EU – and maybe everywhere”

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  • Jul 5, 2019
  • Glyn Moody
  • Bitcoin, Governments, News, Privacy, Programming,

Why Facebook’s new Libra cryptocurrency will be a privacy disaster

Facebook has been appearing on this blog with increasing frequency. In one way, that’s natural. A social network, by definition, is about people and their personal information, and so is likely to be of interest to readers of this site. But Facebook is frequently cavalier in how with how it uses that information, despite repeated … Continue reading “Why Facebook’s new Libra cryptocurrency will be a privacy disaster”

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