EU Data Law Soon Goes into Effect, May Spark Privacy Debate

On May 25, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) goes into effect. Although the law bans companies from forcing its users to give up personal data as a condition of service, it allows for exceptions, such as when the information is necessary to fulfill a contract. Those exceptions are the new battlefield over privacy issues, including what “freely given” consent means. At the crux is “behavioral advertising,” worth billions of dollars annually, that targets users based on their Internet activity. Continue reading EU Data Law Soon Goes into Effect, May Spark Privacy Debate

Facebook Establishes Team to Integrate Privacy into Products

In the wake of criticism over data privacy issues and in anticipation of the European Union’s stricter data regulations, Facebook has formed a new team devoted to privacy. The 300-person team, headed by product director David Baser, is tasked with integrating stronger privacy features into all Facebook products. The first such tool is Clear History, which the company introduced at last week’s F8 conference. This feature allows users to opt out of Facebook collecting and matching their browsing history to their profile. Continue reading Facebook Establishes Team to Integrate Privacy into Products

Facebook Aims to Balance New Services with Protecting Data

At Facebook’s F8 conference, chief executive Mark Zuckerberg unveiled the company’s new “Clear History” tool that gives users the ability to clear their browsing history on the social media platform. The tool is still under construction — Zuckerberg said it will take a few months to build — so there were no further details about its user interface, but Facebook said that, in addition to clearing browsing history, users will also “be able to turn off having this information stored with your account.” Continue reading Facebook Aims to Balance New Services with Protecting Data

In Response to User Outcry, Snap Retreats on Chat Redesign

Snapchat fans have loudly complained about the company’s redesign of its app, with more than 1.25 million people signing a Change.org petition and Kylie Jenner tweeting that the changes were “sad.” Parent company Snap announced that it would redesign the redesign (at least part of it), in response to the complaints and slowed business. The company reported a 54 percent revenue increase to $231 million and a rise in daily users to 191 million, both below analyst expectations, causing stock to fall more than 15 percent. Continue reading In Response to User Outcry, Snap Retreats on Chat Redesign

Facebook Lists its Privacy Principles as EU’s Data Laws Loom

Before the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) goes into effect on May 25, Facebook plans to debut a new privacy center that will be a hub for all its privacy settings. The company also published its “privacy principles” for the first time, with details of how it handles user information. Chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg says the result will be a “good foundation” for meeting GDPR’s requirements. The GDPR limits how technology companies collect, store and utilize users’ personal information. Continue reading Facebook Lists its Privacy Principles as EU’s Data Laws Loom

Europe to Employ Stricter Protection Rules for Personal Data

Since 1995, European businesses and organizations have operated under data protection rules specific to an era of much less digital data. To update the rules, the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will launch on May 25, 2018, and numerous GDPR experts are ready to profit off of their offer to help businesses get ready. U.K. information commissioner Elizabeth Denham dubs much of the activity as “scaremongering,” saying that companies that complied with the older rules won’t have to deal with major changes. Continue reading Europe to Employ Stricter Protection Rules for Personal Data

Fitness Wearables Evolve from 10,000 Steps to New Features

Fitness wearables have exploded in number over the last two to three years. The industry has seen some consolidation, and predictions just prior to CES 2017 were that wearables were no longer the hot category of yesteryear. A panel on fitness trackers, moderated by KTLA-TV reporter Rich DeMuro (himself the owner of multiple fitness trackers), proved that assessment to be simplistic. Fitness trackers in particular are evolving beyond 10,000 steps into new territory, including the ability to intelligently track your heart rate. Continue reading Fitness Wearables Evolve from 10,000 Steps to New Features

Feds, Tech Titans Grapple Over Approaches to Cybersecurity

President Obama’s Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity met with tech industry executives at UC Berkeley to gather suggestions on how to improve cybersecurity. Executives from Google, Facebook, Dropbox and others had their own agenda: to move the issues of consumer data privacy, transparency and sharing of cyber threats towards more openness. Former NSA director General Keith Alexander and Uber chief security officer Joe Sullivan are among the members of the commission. Continue reading Feds, Tech Titans Grapple Over Approaches to Cybersecurity

Europe and U.S. Introduce Updated Data Transfer Agreement

After months of contentious debate, American and European officials have hammered out a new trans-Atlantic data transfer agreement, dubbed the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield, a formal version of an agreement made early last month. But, despite the fact that the new agreement holds companies and the U.S. government to stricter rules regarding how they move individuals’ digital data — including social media posts, search queries and e-commerce purchases — from the E.U. to the United States, not everyone is happy with the new pact. Continue reading Europe and U.S. Introduce Updated Data Transfer Agreement

The Internet of Things Brings Benefits, Risks and Public Policy

Consumer taste, technology development are two of the forces impacting the growth and direction of the Internet of Things. A group of experts focused on policy issues surrounding IoT’s evolution at CES. Moderator Alan Davidson, director of digital economy for the Department of Commerce, reports that, about seven years ago, the number of Internet-connected things surpassed the number of people on the planet. “By 2025, this is an area that will have an economic impact of $4 to $11 trillion on the global economy,” he said. Continue reading The Internet of Things Brings Benefits, Risks and Public Policy

Facebook to Track ‘Like’ and ‘Share’ Buttons for Ad Targeting

Next month, hitting the “Like” or “Share” button on Facebook will do more than signal approval. Facebook’s algorithms will begin to share data on peoples’ browsing history into its ad targeting systems, which means that, depending on what a user “Likes” or “Shares,” he or she can be served related ads on Facebook, photo-sharing service Instagram or any mobile app that uses Facebook’s ad network. Facebook’s “Like” button, which adds a bit of code to the page, was first offered to publishers in 2010. Continue reading Facebook to Track ‘Like’ and ‘Share’ Buttons for Ad Targeting

Silicon Valley and Security Experts Face Off Over Encryption

A group of 14 preeminent international cryptographers and computer scientists reported that offering government access to encrypted communications puts the world’s confidential data and infrastructure at risk. The report is in response to demands by the U.S. and British governments that technology companies provide a digital key for encrypted data. Conflict has been heating up between privacy advocates and government agencies over encryption, and the report is the latest move by technologists to counter government demands. Continue reading Silicon Valley and Security Experts Face Off Over Encryption

Cisco’s Intercloud and the Argument for More Internet Control

Cisco announced last week that the Internet requires a greater amount of control, and companies will work with governments to make that happen. Cisco and its partners have been developing the “Intercloud,” a proposed network designed to enable the next generation of standardized cloud applications by offering high performance, improved security and more control. The network intends to help companies comply with regulations involving the data that moves within their borders. Continue reading Cisco’s Intercloud and the Argument for More Internet Control

Internet Of Things Has Arrived, So Have Security Concerns

The “Internet of Things” has arrived and companies across multiple industries are developing means of linking smartphones, vehicles, household appliances and more to industrial-strength sensors, the Internet and each other. Wired notes that while it may seem to be resulting in somewhat mundane technical features as of now, “the potential benefits to lifestyles and businesses are huge” — in both good and bad ways. Continue reading Internet Of Things Has Arrived, So Have Security Concerns