April 15, 2013
With Internet users posting an increasing amount of information online, the question has arisen regarding what happens to that data once an individual passes on. Google may now have an answer with its new Inactive Account Manager. With this technology, users of any Google service can set a time to delete their “digital life” or send selected elements to a person of their choosing, after the account or accounts become permanently inactive. Continue reading Google Creates Manager for Permanently Inactive Accounts
April 12, 2013
The Federal Trade Commission has made changes to the COPPA laws in regards to the definition of a “children’s app.” Changes to the online privacy rules will go into effect July 1, with an emphasis on data collection practices, which could mean that requesting information or images from mobile devices could be viewed as a violation. Several developers are scaling back on game production in order to avoid being penalized by the FTC. Continue reading COPPA Changes Could Affect Mobile Game Development
April 11, 2013
Facebook has created a new way to use ads that appeal more directly to its users. Through third party marketers, the social media site will use offline information in order to show advertisements that cater to a user’s specific interests. Even though personal information will reportedly stay secure, the approach is raising concerns regarding whether or not Facebook is trying to collect too much information from consumers. Continue reading New Facebook Ad Strategy May Cause Privacy Concerns
California Assemblymember Bonnie Lowenthal (D-Long Beach) has introduced AB 1291, an update to California law that intends to broaden the definition of personal data and make information more accessible to consumers. The “Right to Know Act” would force businesses to inform customers what data is being used and where it is being shared on the Web. The bill comes after increased lobbying efforts from privacy groups. Continue reading Proposed Bill Gives Consumers Access to Personal Data Info
March 25, 2013
During a presentation at last week’s GigaOM Structure:Data conference in New York, Ira “Gus” Hunt, the CIA’s chief technology officer, detailed the Agency’s vision for collecting and analyzing information people put on the Internet. The presentation came just two days after it was reported that the CIA is about to sign a cloud computing contract with Amazon worth up to $600 million over 10 years. Continue reading CIA Discusses Plans for Collecting and Analyzing Big Data
By Phil Lelyveld
March 22, 2013
The symbiotic ideas of controlling your online personal data and the value of big data analytics to companies were major themes during the March 19-20 New Digital Economics conference produced by STL Partners. Thought leaders addressed personal privacy concerns that could lead to a social movement and industry self-regulation as well as changes to how companies manage strong relationships with their customers. Continue reading New Digital Economics Conference: Big Data Versus Privacy
By Rob Scott
March 15, 2013
After a two-year investigation into whether or not Google’s Street View violates privacy protections, law enforcement officials have again told the company it is time to shape up. Google acknowledged breaches this week and said no longer will there be a scenario in which a midlevel engineer launches a program to secretly gather data from possibly millions of unencrypted global Wi-Fi networks, unbeknownst to his bosses. Continue reading Coalition of 38 States Draws Up Security Steps for Google
March 11, 2013
According to a study from researchers at Carnegie Mellon University, which followed the privacy practices of 5,076 Facebook users over the course of six years, Facebook succeeded in reversing users’ inclination to avoid public disclosure over time. And even as some sought to keep personal data private from strangers by limiting what was available on their profiles, they increased what they shared with friends throughout the years. Continue reading Study Finds Increase in Willingness to Share on Facebook
As Internet users become more aware of online privacy issues, Internet companies are working to prove that consumer data is safe and under control. Some companies are even trying to gain advantage in the market by promoting themselves as more privacy-friendly than their rivals. Mozilla recently took this approach when it announced it would allow users to disable third-party tracking software. Others have taken similar tacts. Continue reading Industry Responds to Upswing in Online Privacy Concerns
February 19, 2013
After Congress reintroduced the controversial Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), a collection of Internet freedom activists quickly jumped into action. “Among them have been Demand Progress and Fight for the Future, who this week helped 300,000 citizens send a petition against CISPA to the lawmakers behind it,” reports Mashable. Continue reading CISPA Reintroduced: Activist Groups Fuel Online Response
January 24, 2013
Despite federal law that states authorities do not need warrants for e-mails stored for longer than 180 days, Google demands probable cause warrants when asked for user data from Gmail or other cloud-based services. “Google requires an ECPA search warrant for contents of Gmail and other services based on the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, which prevents unreasonable search and seizure,” Google said in a statement. Continue reading Google Demands Warrants for Access to Email and Cloud Data
By Emily Wilson
December 20, 2012
By Rob Scott
December 19, 2012
Despite panicked reports regarding recent changes to Instagram’s terms of service, The Verge notes that the Facebook-owned photo-sharing service always had an expansive license to use and copy images, not unlike the agreements of other Web services that store user data. There has been an uproar to the following sentence, released earlier this week: “You agree that a business may pay Instagram to display your photos in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions without any compensation to you.” Continue reading Instagram Users and Privacy Advocates Riled by New Terms of Service
By Rob Scott
December 17, 2012
Facebook will offer improvements to its privacy settings by the end of the year to allow users to change and understand their privacy settings without going to a remote privacy settings page.
The social network will provide a dropdown box on “almost every page,” reports The Atlantic. Facebook will also include messages alongside posts to help people understand who can see the specific status update or picture.
Changes to the privacy settings are intended to help people understand who can see content, and to help users target and remove inappropriate or unwanted content.
The changes will not affect Facebook’s data sharing, and Facebook will continue to leverage user data to build targeted advertising.
While The Atlantic classifies the changes as mostly “cosmetic,” it still says they are important because simplifying privacy control could help Facebook gain user trust.