Tagged 'Privacy'

NSA vs. IAB – Where To Look for Privacy Threats

Posted by Bill Guild on March 26th, 2014 at 1:37 pm

Recently there have been stories in the national news about digital privacy violations: messages being intercepted by social media platforms, phone data being collected by the government, and internet users having their online behaviors tracked without consent. Due to breaches in internet privacy, U.S. legislators are calling for restrictions on data use by advertisers. It seems that the issue of privacy is not about to blow over anytime soon. As such, it may be useful to examine how we think about privacy – not what our individual positions are on privacy, but rather the process of evaluating the uses and users that cause us to define our individual positions.
When evaluating privacy, there are two questions to consider:

Is the information that another party can request or acquire about me potentially harmful, if used in an unacceptable manner?
Can the party that requests the information use it in an unacceptable manner or transfer it to another party that might use it in an unacceptable manner?

For example: does the National Security Agency (NSA) have or collect any information that could be used to harm someone? The answer is: they have names, addresses, and current GPS coordinates. If they wanted, they have the capability to... Read more

The Case for Cookies: 5 Ways They Make Life Better

Posted by Nick Matarazzo on October 14th, 2013 at 10:05 am

Recent talk around big data, retargeting, and the potential impact on consumer privacy has unleashed a torrent of criticism and controversy, especially in the wake of the NSA shake-up.
Individual privacy is important, and no (sane) person supports identity theft. But we should be talking more often about how credible businesses are using data to create better consumer experiences.
Recent research has turned up a few insights into how consumers feel about retargeted advertising. An August 2013 eMarketer article citing a study by Adroit Digital and research company Toluna revealed that, “Thirty percent [of those surveyed] had a positive or very positive reaction to retargeted ads vs. 11% who felt negatively about them.”
Our search engines anticipate our queries, music streaming sites know what we want to hear, and our favorite e-commerce companies know what incentive will get us to “add to cart,” so why wouldn’t we want advertising with relevancy?
Here are the five reasons I’m making the case for cookies.

1. We Get Relevancy
The age of unleashing a barrage of ads on every user is over. Attention span is short, space is limited, and marketing dollars are being spent as efficiently as possible. If I’m in the market for a new luxury... Read more

Does Google read what you're reading?

Posted by Brandt Dainow on August 16th, 2013 at 2:26 am

There is a suggestion Google is reading every webpage you visit when you are logged into Google.

How Private is Your Back Yard?

Posted by Bill Guild on August 7th, 2013 at 1:54 pm

When I go in my home and shut the door behind me, I have privacy – a lot of privacy. Anyone stomping on my bushes and peeking through my curtains can be prosecuted. I expect other people to understand these boundaries, and I expect the government to protect my right to privacy. If I did bother to read my lease, I would even find a clause that stipulates when and under what conditions the owner of my building can get into his own property.  Our home is our private space because we own it, or lease it, or rent it.
When I step into my yard, I have very different expectations of privacy—and so does the government. In my yard I know I have to tolerate a neighbor who walks right up to my hedge and watches me play with my dog.
Let’s keep walking. When I step out onto the sidewalk, my expectations shift again. And when I step into a store I have to adjust my expectations once more.
My local hangout is called Hellen’s. I expect that Hellen will recognize me. Hellen does facial recognition using an optical system coupled to a cognitive processor (in other words, we’ve known each... Read more

Why Mozilla Needs To Look Beyond Users Alone

Posted by Alex White on April 16th, 2013 at 5:17 am

We are all aware of the uproar incited when Mozilla announced that it was releasing a patch that would effectively block third party cookies for their users. Mozilla is doing this, it claims, because users are scared of companies tracking their whereabouts and are crying out for better privacy protection.
But a browser company that owns 30 percent of the browser market has a greater responsibility to the industry they operate in than to just the user. Mozilla is ignoring a huge portion of these parties. I really believe that the company feels that they are working on behalf of their users, but I also don’t think Mozilla realizes all of the touch points that they are operating within. The user is the main party they interface with, but the Firefox browser interfaces with the web, and there are a number of parties involved beyond just the User. Let’s take a look at those parties.
Meet the surfer: The surfer, or “the user,” as many like to call this constituent, is the innocent person who traverses the web, day in and day out, reading this and purchasing that, watching that video and looking at this friend’s latest pictures or update. The surfer... Read more