Online Privacy

Searching Google For Pressure Cookers and Backpacks Leads To A Visit From Federal Agents

I'll put this in the "It's on the internet so it's true" category, but assuming it IS true.... wow:

pressure cookers, backpacks and quinoa, oh my!:

"It was a confluence of magnificent proportions that led six agents from the joint terrorism task force to knock on my door Wednesday morning. Little did we know our seemingly innocent, if curious to a fault, Googling of certain things was creating a perfect storm of terrorism profiling. Because somewhere out there, someone was watching. Someone whose job it is to piece together the things people do on the internet raised the red flag when they saw our search history."

[Update a few hours later] Unsurprisingly there's more to the story: Updates At The Atlantic Wire.

[And a few hours later another update] Employer Tipped Off Police To Pressure Cooker And Backpack Searches, Not Google

NSA tool collects 'nearly everything a user does on the internet'

The NSA Has Some Really Cool Tools:
• XKeyscore gives 'widest-reaching' collection of online data
• NSA analysts require no prior authorization for searches
• Sweeps up emails, social media activity and browsing history

Google's Data-Trove Dance

Internal Debates Arise Over Using Collected Information and Protecting Privacy.
After much wrangling and many attempts to build the "slider" tool, whose three main settings were nicknamed "kitten," "cat" and "tiger," the idea was abandoned last year, according to people familiar with the matter. Because Google has so many Web services that operate differently, executives found it impossible to reduce privacy controls to so few categories, these people said. Also, allowing people to select the maximum-protection setting, known as the "tin-foil-hat option," went against Google's newer efforts to get more people to share information about themselves on the Google+ social-networking service, they said.

Obscurity: A Better Way to Think About Your Data Than 'Privacy'

Woodrow Hartzog and Evan Selinger:

Obscurity is the idea that when information is hard to obtain or understand, it is, to some degree, safe. Safety,here, doesn't mean inaccessible. Competent and determined data hunters armed with the right tools can always find a way to get it. Less committed folks, however, experience great effort as a deterrent.

Online, obscurity is created through a combination of factors. Being invisible to search engines increases obscurity. So does using privacy settings and pseudonyms. Disclosing information in coded ways that only a limited audience will grasp enhances obscurity, too.

Facebook private status updates made public by Storify

Pippert concludes, “It might ultimately be a human problem to solve: capture content from others mindfully and use it thoughtfully, with good communication. Let others know you’re using the content and make sure you are clear to friends your preference about your content being redistributed.”

This is yet another reminder that anything you say anywhere on the web, private or not, is always subject to being shared via third party apps, screenshots, or good old fashioned copy and paste, so never say something online that you wouldn’t say in public, because there really is no such thing as privacy, which is sad and unacceptable, but true.

3 Big Privacy Issues Of 2013 - And What You Can Do About Them

Facebook can still track users through its "Like" function. And Web surfers' online data can still be used by law enforcement and "market research" for the employment, credit, healthcare and insurance industries. And let's not even get into denial of service attacks and cybersecurity...

That said, here are three major privacy issues that everyone should pay attention to in 2013:

1.Transparency
2.Data sharing
3.Dodgy QR codes

Microsoft STALKS YOU even more than supermarkets do

The developers behind ad-tracking browser plug-in Ghostery said they'd logged 137 different trackers on the Microsoft website and 107 on Apple's site, while they logged 66 on Samsung's site and 65 on HP's. Dell has 106. All of these tech sites make greater use of trackers associated with behavioural advertising than specialist retail sites such as Tesco (64), John Lewis (46) and Dabs (12).

E-Reader Privacy Chart, 2012 Edition

Who's Tracking Your Reading Habits? An E-Book Buyer's Guide to Privacy, 2012 Edition
See the chart here

The holiday shopping season is upon us, and once again e-book readers promise to be a very popular gift. Last year's holiday season saw ownership of a dedicated e-reader device spike to nearly 1 in 5 Americans, and that number is poised to go even higher. But if you're in the market for an e-reader this year, or for e-books to read on one that you already own, you might want to know who's keeping an eye on your searching, shopping, and reading habits.

Unfortunately, unpacking the tracking and data-sharing practices of different e-reader platforms is far from simple. It can require reading through stacked license agreements and privacy policies for devices, software platforms, and e-book stores. That in turn can mean reading thousands of words of legalese before you read the first line of a new book.

Angry Birds Has A Ravenous Ability to Collect Personal Data

Angry Birds, a popular mobile app, is among the seemingly innocuous programs that are raising privacy concerns by collecting personal information that is used to focus advertising. When Jason Hong, an associate professor at the Human Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, surveyed 40 users, all but two were unaware that the game was noting and storing their locations so that they could later be the targets of advertising.

Do Not Track: an uncertain future for the web's most ambitious privacy initiative

With the fate of our beloved internet economy allegedly at stake, perhaps it's a good time to examine what Do Not Track is. How did the standard come to be, what does it do, and how does it stand to change online advertising? Is it as innocuous as privacy advocates make it sound, or does it stand to jeopardize the free, ad-supported internet we've all come to rely on?

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