Facebook to Offer Expanded User Data for More Targeted Ads

Facebook recently announced that it plans to expand the amount of information it provides to advertisers by including data from its billion-plus users regarding their Web-browsing habits. While the news may cause repercussions amongst Facebook users and critics in terms of privacy concerns, the move would also allow advertisers to better target their ads. The social network already allows advertisers to target users based on their activity, including “likes” and fan pages. Continue reading Facebook to Offer Expanded User Data for More Targeted Ads

NSA Turns to Web Images for Facial Recognition Programs

According to top-secret 2011 documents released by Edward Snowden, the NSA is collecting online images of people for its facial recognition programs. As estimated in the documents, the agency intercepts about 55,000 images that have facial-recognition quality. Civil liberties advocates are concerned that these technologies could result in an invasion of privacy. However, neither privacy nor surveillance laws protect against the government’s use of facial images. Continue reading NSA Turns to Web Images for Facial Recognition Programs

Forrester Sees Growth in Use of Big Data Despite Confusion

In a survey of 259 marketing and business development execs in finance, retail and consumer products, Forrester Research found that one-third of the respondents were confused about big data, and only 9 percent plan to implement related technologies in the next year. Forrester also found in a parallel survey that 452 technology execs at the same companies claimed they were more familiar with big data. Despite the confusion, the report encourages companies to take advantage of data supplied by Internet users and connected devices.

Continue reading Forrester Sees Growth in Use of Big Data Despite Confusion

FTC Report Exposes Depth of Data Broker Info on Consumers

The Federal Trade Commission released a report urging Congress to require data brokers to be more transparent. Data brokers collect information on nearly all U.S consumers, typically without their knowledge, and create profiles based on online purchases, public records, and online tracking cookies. The FTC recommends creating one Internet site where each company explains their purpose and method of data collection and gives consumers a chance to opt out. Continue reading FTC Report Exposes Depth of Data Broker Info on Consumers

House Passes USA Freedom Act to Curb NSA Surveillance

Late last week the House overwhelmingly passed legislation that is intended to bring an end to the National Security Agency’s bulk phone records program. The USA Freedom Act is designed to restrict the federal government’s ability to collect records about citizens in bulk, a program that had sparked debate regarding privacy and civil liberties. The House voted 303-to-121 in support of the USA Freedom Act, which could signal a change in how both political parties view the power of the NSA. Continue reading House Passes USA Freedom Act to Curb NSA Surveillance

Small Ad Networks May Suffer from “Do Not Track” Proposals

The Worldwide Web Consortium and the Digital Advertising Alliance have been working on separate efforts to draft rules that would allow Internet users to browse without being tracked by online marketing companies. However, the proposals from both groups will still allow Google or Facebook to track consumers on their own sites or properties such as Gmail or any site with a Facebook “Like” button. Small ad networks say the new proposals will undercut their business. Continue reading Small Ad Networks May Suffer from “Do Not Track” Proposals

Facebook Changes Default Settings, Pushes Privacy Checkups

Under pressure that its users may start sharing less, or make a move to more anonymous services, Facebook announced yesterday that it would provide a privacy checkup to every one of its global users. In an effort to help its 1.28 billion users better manage “private” information, the company is also recommending a privacy checkup be conducted on a regular basis, perhaps annually like a physical exam. And for new users, Facebook is initially setting content to be seen only by friends. Continue reading Facebook Changes Default Settings, Pushes Privacy Checkups

Users Lose Interest in Facebook and Google Login Services

Facebook and Google have benefited from the social login button, which allows consumers to log in to other websites and apps using their social media accounts. While app makers have found the tactic useful as users are spared the hassle of signing up, Facebook and Google+ use the information to track what their users do on the Internet. In reaction to users’ decreasing interest in social logins, both companies are shifting tactics to allow for more anonymity.  Continue reading Users Lose Interest in Facebook and Google Login Services

Snapchat Agrees to Settle with FTC Over Deceptive Marketing

The Federal Trade Commission recently charged Snapchat of deceiving users about the privacy of their personal data and their image and video messages. Under the terms of a new settlement with the FTC, Snapchat will be required to implement a privacy program that will be independently monitored for the next 20 years. If Snapchat violates the agreement, the company may be subject to fines. Snapchat has reportedly resolved most of the privacy issues over the past year. Continue reading Snapchat Agrees to Settle with FTC Over Deceptive Marketing

Reset the Net: Campaign Opposes Mass Internet Surveillance

More than twenty tech companies and civil liberties groups have started a coalition to fight the National Security Agency’s mass Internet surveillance programs. On June 5, these groups will participate in a “Reset the Net” day of action by posting the campaign’s splash screen on websites and mobile apps. The coalition is distributing free privacy protection software tools to users and calling on developers to add NSA resistant features to sites and apps. Continue reading Reset the Net: Campaign Opposes Mass Internet Surveillance

Cybersecurity Focus Shifts From Blocking to Spotting Threats

Companies such as IBM and Symantec are investing in new technologies to detect viruses and hackers and make stealing customer data more difficult. The companies believe that traditional antivirus software that erect barriers to keep out threats is becoming increasingly ineffective as hackers around the world regularly create novel bugs. IBM plans to analyze behavior in computer network data to detect irregularities. Symantec is launching its own division that will help hacked businesses respond to security breaches.  Continue reading Cybersecurity Focus Shifts From Blocking to Spotting Threats

Yahoo No Longer Honoring ‘Do Not Track’ Requests by its Users

In a blog post this week, Yahoo announced that its privacy policy will no longer recognize when users activate “Do Not Track” signals in their browsers. Although users purposefully use this setting to indicate they do not want companies to monitor their online behavior, the tracking is necessary for Yahoo to create a more personalized experience for its users. The move is part of larger strategy by CEO Marissa Mayer to brand Yahoo as a “personalization company.” Continue reading Yahoo No Longer Honoring ‘Do Not Track’ Requests by its Users

Government Considers Limits on Customer Data Collection

As the next step in the ongoing privacy debate sparked by the actions of Edward Snowden, the White House has released a report that recommends the government create limits on how companies make use of the information they gather online from customers. The report’s chief author is John Podesta, a senior White House adviser. Private companies fear a government initiative that could regulate how they profit from data gathered through mobile communication and Internet surfing habits. Continue reading Government Considers Limits on Customer Data Collection

Senate Intelligence Committee Drafts Cyber Threat Legislation

The U.S. government has had little success in passing bills to establish security standards and facilitate data sharing between the private and public sectors, but the Senate Intelligence Committee is currently drafting a new bill that would serve that purpose. Senator Dianne Feinstein and Senator Saxby Chambliss co-authored a bill which states that a company cannot be sued for sharing threat data to any entity or the federal government to prevent or investigate a cyberattack. Continue reading Senate Intelligence Committee Drafts Cyber Threat Legislation

Wearable Tech: Google Glass Finds Customers in the Workplace

While some consumers have been skeptical of Google Glass since it was first announced, it looks like the wearable tech is finding initial interest in the workplace, including areas such as law enforcement, medicine, manufacturing and athletics. In contrast, bars in San Francisco have already banned patrons from wearing Google Glass. Google is making the product available to the public later this year, but critics are skeptical of how it will be received by general consumers. Continue reading Wearable Tech: Google Glass Finds Customers in the Workplace

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