Submitted by Blake on March 1, 2012 - 8:26am
RSA 2012: Bruce Schneier on the Threat of "Big Data, Inc."
"I mean Big Data as an industry force, like we might talk of Big Tobacco or Big Oil or Big Pharma," Schneier told an overflow crowd of attendees. "I think the rise of Big Data is as important a threat in the coming years, one we should really look at and start taking seriously."
Submitted by Blake on February 24, 2012 - 7:11am
Obama Administration Sides with Consumers in Online Privacy Debate
Among the key points, as outlined in the report's executive summary:
1.Individual Control: Consumers have a right to exercise control over what personal data companies collect from them and how they use it.
2.Transparency: Consumers have a right to easily understandable and accessible information about privacy and security practices.
3.Respect for Context: Consumers have a right to expect that companies will collect, use and disclose personal data in ways that are consistent with the context in which consumers provide the data.
4.Security: Consumers have a right to secure and responsible handling of personal data.
5.Access and Accuracy: Consumers have a right to access and correct personal data in usable formats, in a manner that is appropriate to the sensitivity of the data and the risk of adverse consequences to consumers if the data is inaccurate.
6.Focused Collection: Consumers have a right to reasonable limits on the personal data that companies collect and retain.
7.Accountability: Consumers have a right to have personal data handled by companies with appropriate measures in place to assure they adhere to the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights.
Submitted by Blake on February 22, 2012 - 9:27pm
Everyone’s Trying to Track What You Do on the Web: Here’s How to Stop Them
The adage goes, "If you're not paying for a service, you're the product, not the customer," and it's never been more true. Every day more news breaks about a new company that uploads your address book to their servers, skirts in-browser privacy protection, and tracks your every move on the web to learn as much about your browsing habits and activities as possible. In this post, we'll explain why you should care, and help you lock down your surfing so you can browse in peace.
Submitted by Blake on February 21, 2012 - 10:43am
A Response to Seth Godin's "The Illusion of Privacy"
"In the end, Seth has propagated a lie that many before him have told. He's just a big public figure. Privacy is hard, you can't knee jerk it. Online/electronic privacy is an active field of research, and improvements should be supported not put down with tired throw-away lines. What's more, technical ways of doing this are available and should be investigated, no matter their surprise value."
Submitted by Blake on February 19, 2012 - 10:35am
The complex interplay of social media and privacy
But assessing the price of admission to join the super-networked, digital class is not so simple; even experts on the issue admit that they don't have a full picture of the way personal information is collected and used on the Internet. But here are some basic guidelines to keep in mind.
Submitted by Blake on February 17, 2012 - 9:12am
Are your mobile apps spying on you?
Why is this a big deal? Because phone numbers are some of the most personal information available about anyone. They are a semi-permanent unique identification number that also serves as a direct way to reach you at all times. Giving someone else your number means you trust them to not abuse it, call you at 3 a.m. for no reason, or spray paint it on a restroom wall.
But can you trust these Web apps -- especially those that grab your numbers without asking -- to not abuse it? The answer is that we shouldn't have to. Maybe now, thanks to the Path debacle, we won't.
Submitted by Blake on January 31, 2012 - 6:51pm
5 Key Points From Google's Privacy-Policy Letter to Congress
Point No. 1: Google still isn't selling your personal data.
Point No. 2: You're still up the creek if you get reeled in by a phishing scam.
Point No. 3: You can still use Google and YouTube for searching without Google knowing that you are the one doing the search.
Point No. 4: Users still have lots of options over how they're tracked across the Web.
Point No. 5: If you don't love the new integrated Google, you can always leave it.
Submitted by Blake on January 27, 2012 - 6:55am
The fact of the matter is, Google doesn't appear to be doing anything worse than what companies likeApple, Microsoft, Yahoo, and Facebook have doing for years. It's just that Google has taken arguably unprecedented pains to alert the public of imminent changes to its privacy policies and has made the new policy approachable enough for the average person to read it. (Or skim it. Or skim what someone else wrote about it after skimming it.)
Submitted by Blake on November 29, 2011 - 2:03pm
Facebook’s Settlement With FTC Confirmed: Privacy Changes Must Be Opt In
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg just issued a statement on the Facebook Blog confirming that his company has settled with the FTC over charges that it has violated user privacy over the year. Facebook is now “required to obtain consumers’ affirmative express consent before enacting changes that override their privacy preferences”, effectively making all future privacy control changes opt in. Facebook must also submit to privacy audits every 2 years for the next 20 years, bar access to content on deactivated accounts, and avoid misrepresenting the privacy or security of user data. The settlement will hinder Facebook’s ability to release new products, as users are typically resistant to change and may be reluctant to opt in to new privacy controls.
Submitted by Blake on November 20, 2011 - 3:17pm
How Facebook is ruining sharing
"Sharing and recommendation shouldn't be passive. It should be conscious, thoughtful, and amusing--we are tickled by a story, picture, or video and we choose to share it, and if a startling number of Internet users also find that thing amusing, we, together, consciously create a tidal wave of meme that elevates that piece of media to viral status. We choose these gems from the noise. Open Graph will fill our feeds with noise, burying the gems."
Submitted by Anonymous Patron (not verified) on November 18, 2011 - 3:03pm
"Reading anonymously doesn't look deviant yet--but things will change as we bypass public libraries and start borrowing books from Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The former would never think of selling our data to third parties; the latter wouldn't think twice about it. In fact, they would give us coupons for sharing our reading habits."
Submitted by Blake on October 5, 2011 - 8:36am
Keep Yourself Privately Held
Your personal information is valuable. It is so valuable that companies are doing everything they can to gain more information about you. Since it is valuable, you should hoard it. The more difficult it is to acquire your personal information, the more valuable it becomes, and the better return you will get when you commoditize the information.
Submitted by Blake on October 2, 2011 - 11:39am
Libraries: Be careful what your web sites “Like”
So if any of your web sites (especially your online catalogs or other discovery and delivery services) use third party web services, consider carefully where and how they’re being invoked. For each third party, you should ask what information they can get from users browsing your web site, what other information they have from other sources (like the “real names” and exact birthdates that sites like Facebook and Google+ demand), and what real guarantees, if any, they make about the privacy of the information. If you can’t easily get satisfactory answers to these questions, then reconsider your use of these services.
Submitted by Blake on September 20, 2011 - 6:30am
Setting Boundaries for Internet Privacy
For 18 months, the European Commission has been considering how to put into practice a 2009 law that regulates software cookies, the unique digital markers that Web sites place on visiting computers to identify consumers and deliver ads tailored to individual interests.
Submitted by Blake on August 22, 2011 - 10:07am
Just Give Me the Right to Be Forgotten some politicians, regulators and companies want to give Americans more control over their personal information — with limits on data use and retention, says Christopher Wolf, a lawyer who specializes in privacy and the co-chairman of the Future of Privacy Forum in Washington.
“We need to move more toward that regime in order to empower consumers,” Mr. Wolf says. But any limits, he emphasizes, would have to carefully balance personal privacy against the right to free speech and public access to information.
Submitted by Blake on August 22, 2011 - 8:49am
On Pseudonymity, Privacy and Responsibility on Google+
Persistent pseudonyms aren't ways to hide who you are. They provide a way to be who you are. You can finally talk about what you really believe; your real politics, your real problems, your real sexuality, your real family, your real self. Much of the support for "real names" comes from people who don't want to hear about controversy, but controversy is only a small part of the need for pseudonyms. For most of us, it's simply the desire to be able to talk openly about the things that matter to every one of us who uses the Internet. The desire to be judged—not by our birth, not by our sex, and not by who we work for—but by what we say.
Submitted by Blake on August 18, 2011 - 10:43am
Why Facebook and Google's Concept of 'Real Names' Is Revolutionary
In your head, adjust the settings for this thought experiment (you say it at work or your hometown or on television) or what you say (something racist, something intensely valuable, something criminal) or who you are (child, celebrity, politician) or who is listening (reporters, no one, coworkers, family). What I think you'll find is that we have different expectations for the publicness and persistence of a statement depending on a variety of factors. There is a continuum of publicness and persistence and anonymity. But in real life, we expect very few statements to be public, persistent, and attached to your real identity. Basically, only people talking on television or to the media can expect such treatment. And even then, the vast majority of their statements don't become part of the searchable Internet.
Submitted by Blake on August 11, 2011 - 7:04am
Speaking Of Privacy, Did you know Facebook is giving your cell phone number to all your friends. Go there now and start grabbing cell phone numbers to drunk dial from Internet Librarian in Monterey! 'Account' -> 'Edit friends' -> 'Contacts' you'll see any cell phone numbers people have entered. You should probably follow the steps given by Facebook to remove your cell number and to prevent others from seeing yours.
If you're like me (and you know you want to be) you have a LinkedIn account, but you're really not sure what to do with it, well good news, LinkedIn just found how to use YOU... Someplace in the 6000+ word "privacy" policy they've decided it's ok for them to use your name and picture in social advertising. So LinkedIn will watch what you do, figure out what you might sell for them, and then use your name and picture in an endorsement they make for some crap they'll stick on your friends pages. From the pulldown menu under your name at the top right of your LinkedIn pages, choose Settings. Then choose the Account tab at bottom left, and click Manage Social Advertising. While you're there, check all the other settings, there's some icky stuff in there.
Submitted by Blake on August 10, 2011 - 12:53pm
This is Part Two in my many part series on IT Security In Libraries
. In Part One
I tried to lay the foundation for security. This week we'll talk privacy, and up next will be a general "Staying Safe Online" that will cover a million and one tips on how to keep you and your computer safe.
Privacy is a relative term. That is, the things that I consider important to my privacy, someone else might not care about. As librarians we usually key in on Confidentiality Threats. We want our patrons records safe. We also don't share that information with ANYONE else. In general, we are fierce about protecting our patrons’ privacy. This is something that has always set us apart from everyone else. Amazon won't do it. Google won't do it. Do I even need to say Facebook won't do it? People who come into the library or use our web sites don't worry about what's going to happen with their information (or at least they shouldn't need worry about it). They should know we are doing our best to guard their privacy. Keeping all our IT resources secure should be a large part of guarding that privacy.
There are no big events, dead bodies or explosions in privacy violations. It's something that is slowly eroding over time. The troubles are more subtle and are caused by errors, or intential misues and a shocking lack of transparency, accountability and security. We don't think about privacy much, we only think about it when things are going wrong. Most people tend to think privacy isn't very important, and don't give it a second thought. Most companies make money by keeping our information as free as possible so it can be used, shared, and sold.
Let’s start this section with some general arguments FOR privacy, some reasons why privacy is so highly valued in our profession:
Submitted by Blake on August 5, 2011 - 4:32pm
why pseudonymity matters
Andromeda Yelton: "Anything less would be me trying to colonize their identity: to tell them that their assessment of who they are matters less than mine, and that my norms dominate their understanding of themselves. And this is what real-names policies do. They posit that some normative concept of our own identity and self-presentation has primacy over our understanding of those things; they rip away structures that allow us to participate respectfully, or even acceptably, in communities with diverse norms, and in doing so privilege the most mainstream of those norms; they threaten people who are already vulnerable by removing their ability to engage with communities where certain parts of themselves are safe, or risking reprisal from more powerful people and norms if they do. And they are not necessary. The internet can be civil without them, or uncivil with them — and either way civility is not a more important value than free expression, or employability, or physical safety. Sometimes some of us are lucky enough to not have them be in conflict; let us not assume this is, therefore, true for everyone, at all times."