Running Naked through the Internet category archive
El Reg reports on the intrusiveness of the Zoom app, which is trending as more and more persons use it to work from home in these viral times. A snippet:
“What makes this extra creepy is that Zoom is in a position to gather plenty of personal data, some of it very intimate (for example with a shrink talking to a patient) without anyone in the conversation knowing about it. (Unless, of course, they see an ad somewhere that looks like it was informed by a private conversation on Zoom.)”
Read the rest, then pick up the landline.
Farhad Manjoo points out that it can–is–happening here. A snippet:
In China, the government is building a frightening surveillance dragnet in broad daylight, stitching together facial recognition, fingerprint and other databases into an all-seeing eye aiming to closely watch more than a billion citizens.
Indeed, because of a dearth of laws protecting our privacy — and almost no high-profile political discussion about the stakes at hand — Americans are sleepwalking into a future nearly as frightening as the one the Chinese are constructing. I choose the word “sleepwalking” deliberately, because when it comes to digital privacy, a lot of us prefer the comfortable bliss of ignorance. As a result, much of the surveillance engine operates underground — just beyond where many of us dare to look.
Speaking of sleepwalking, I was talking with someone this morning–in person, in fact–who dismissed our own corporate digital surveillance society by saying, “Everyone does it anyway.”
At the San Francisco Chronicle, Joseph W. Cotchett note the efforts of Big Data to weasel out from under the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). Here’s a snippet (emphasis added):
At first glance, the CCPA looks like it is finally wresting control of our private information from these companies and returning it to the users. However, we shouldn’t feel totally empowered yet. Some companies have expressed their intent not to follow the CCPA. It’s been reported that Facebook claims it is not subject to the CCPA because it does not sell information, but instead, “shares” information.* This is typical of the anything-goes attitude of the internet and the power that flows from personal information. This follows a $5 billion penalty and new restrictions on Facebook in July for violating consumer privacy.
Face, we have admitted–nay, invited–these parasites into our most private lives and now, like electronic bed bugs, they have no intention of leaving.
*A distinction without a distinction, methinks.
I only turn on “Location Services” when I have a positive need, which is hardly ever, but, after reading Zandar’s comments at the end of his post, I explored my “smart” phone and found and changed some privacy settings I was previously unaware of.
David describes the pressure being put on his podcast to allow his listeners’ and viewers’ data to be tracked.
The EFF has issued a report on how Big Data is all up in your business. Here’s a bit from the press release:
“Behind the One-Way Mirror” focuses on third-party tracking, which is often not obvious or visible to users. Webpages contain embedded images and invisible codes that come from entities other than the website owner. Most websites contain dozens of these bugs that go on to record and track your browsing, activity, purchases, and clicks. Mobile apps are equally rife with tracking code which can relay app activity, physical location, and financial data to unknown entities.
If you use the inner webs, you need to follow the link.
The New York Times reports on how stores use bluetooth beacons to track your every move. A snippet (emphasis added):
In order to track you or trigger an action like a coupon or message to your phone, companies need you to install an app on your phone that will recognize the beacon in the store. Retailers (like Target and Walmart) that use Bluetooth beacons typically build tracking into their own apps. But retailers want to make sure most of their customers can be tracked — not just the ones that download their own particular app.
So a hidden industry of third-party location-marketing firms has proliferated in response. These companies take their beacon tracking code and bundle it into a toolkit developers can use.
The makers of many popular apps, such as those for news or weather updates, insert these toolkits into their apps. They might be paid by the beacon companies or receive other benefits, like detailed reports on their users.
Professor of Communications Joseph B. Walther explores why persons continue to use Facebook despite the recent spate of revelations about the craven venality of its algorithmic manipulative tactics and porous “security” protection. A snippet (emphasis added):
I have been studying the social dynamics of the internet for 30 years, and I suspect what’s behind these apparent contradictions is something psychological. People know about Facebook’s problems, but each person assumes he or she is largely immune – even while imagining that everyone else is very susceptible to influence.
The psychological tendency at work here is called “the third person effect,” the belief that media don’t fool me, and maybe don’t fool you, but all those other people are sitting ducks for media effects.
Ironically, this dynamic can encourage people to support restrictions on media consumption – by others. If someone uses, say, a social media site and feels immune to its negative influences, it triggers another psychological phenomenon called the “influence of presumed influence.” When that happens, a person worries that everyone else falls victim, and supports efforts to protect others, even if they think they themselves don’t need the protection.
I commend the piece to your attention.
At Psychology Today Blogs, Mike Brooks argues that no one really cares about your “social” media posts, certainly not in proportion to the amount of time most “social” media users spend using “social” media. He offers several arguments.
Among other arguments, he suggest that others care about your posts to the same degree that you care about theirs:
If you were able to recall someone’s post from last week that you “liked,” how much time did you spend thinking about their post after liking it? My guess is, “None.” This assumes a previously “liked” post did not pop back up on your social media feed for other reasons.
Follow the link to see what you think of the rest, then be sure to use one of icons at the bottom of his article share it on soc–oh, never mind.
Bloomberg reports on how Big Data is trying to steal all privacy. Here’s a bit:
For several years, Amazon and Google have collected data every time someone used a smart speaker to turn on a light or lock a door. Now they’re asking smart-home gadget makers such as Logitech and Hunter Fan Co. to send a continuous stream of information.
In other words, after you connect a light fixture to Alexa, Amazon wants to know every time the light is turned on or off, regardless of whether you asked Alexa to toggle the switch. Televisions must report the channel they’re set to. Smart locks must keep the company apprised whether or not the front door bolt is engaged.
This is not good.
I second the advice that Farron gives at the end of the video: Turn off the “Location Services” in your phone or tablet unless you have a positive need for it. Also, when considering installing a new app, inspect the permissions it requests carefully. If they seem hinky, find an alternative.