Tag Archive 'Privacy'

Who can you trust with your data? Twitter, yes. Apple, AT&T and Verizon, not so much.

You may not be aware of this, but: We are officially in the middle of Privacy Awareness Week, according to the FTC. To mark it, the Electronic Frontier Foundation published its annual “Who Has Your Back?” report, which details how major Internet companies share data with the government. Seeking a company that will stand up […]

What the hell am I doing on the BBC?

So this week I’m on the BBC blabbing about how Web tracking companies are out to get us. What did the Beeb want with me? Read on for the details. It started with this blog post I wrote a few weeks ago about how certain ads – one in particular for Jitterbug smartphones – were […]

Why opt out is a cop out

About a week ago I wrote a piece asking why RapLeaf, a data mining company with a controversial history, had failed to remove my personal profile from its database, despite my strong recollection of having opted out some two years ago. With some help from RapLeaf, I finally figured out what happened: I did in […]

Online security? It’s dead, Jim. Now what?

A couple of days ago I received a scary sounding email from Twitter. It started like this: Twitter believes that your account may have been compromised by a website or service not associated with Twitter. We’ve reset your password to prevent others from accessing your account. My first thought was that this email was bogus […]

When privacy collides with politics, privacy loses

At this point in this especially insane political season there’s still no telling who will end up winning it all next Tuesday. But it’s very clear to me who has already lost: You and me. More specifically, what little personal privacy we may once have had. The amount and scope of data collection employed by […]

Big data, big problems? Here’s one possible solution

By now it’s kind of a truism that Big Data is going to be Big Business. Marketing companies want to comb big data sets to determine what you’re likely to buy, so they can show you the right offers at the right time. Health care providers want to analyze big data so they can determine […]

Passwords suck. Here’s what you can (and can’t) do about it

Last June, 6.5 million Linked-In passwords were stolen by hackers and posted online. eHarmony lost 1.5 million passwords; Yahoo Voice another 450,000. Among the most common passwords used: 123456, welcome, and the ever popular “password.” The problem isn’t that these sites should have done a better job protecting user data (though they should have). It’s […]

Once something sticks to the Web, how do you get it unstuck?

A few months ago I got an email from a woman about a story I’d written nearly three years ago. To protect her privacy I’ll call her Samantha Sugarlips. In that story, which I’d written for my somewhat more sarcastic blog, I mocked this woman for posting photos and other personal information to Facebook, then […]

The 10 biggest mistakes people make on Facebook

I know, I know: Some out there will say merely using Facebook is a mistake. This blog post isn’t for you — feel free to move along to the comment forums on OldGuysWhoSmellLikeAsparagus.com. As for the rest of you, take heed. I’m using Facebook as the primary example here, but the many of the same […]

Google’s data pervert wants your children

Imagine wandering through Times Square and seeing a 60-foot-tall animation depicting you (yes, you) as a creepy child-baiting ice cream truck driver. How would you feel? That’s probably how Google’s Eric Schmidt feels today. A group calling itself Consumer Watchdog, which has decided that Google is Evil Incorporated, has taken the unusual step of buying […]

Beware of Flash (eating) Zombies

Don’t look now, but the Flash Zombies are after you. This week privacy attorney Joseph Malley filed his third lawsuit against major media sites and their ad firms, accusing them of using Flash cookies to illegally collect information about visitors to their Web sites. Malley’s defendants aren’t exactly Joe Blow — they’re deep-pocketed media companies […]

Facebook: What’s the real story?

As I noted earlier this week, Facebook just crested 500 million members, and it’s been pulling out all the stops to draw attention to that fact. Mark Zuckerberg is making the TV rounds, talking to Diane Sawyer on ABC last night. Rumors swirl that a cartoon version of Zuckerberg may even appear on "The Simpsons" […]

Spanking Facebook for its many crimes

When you’re a social network with tens of millions of users and you’ve got the attention of the US Congress, that’s almost never a good thing. And so it goes with Facebook and its naked attempt to become the central repository of consumer preferences on the Web (see "What’s to like about Facebook’s ‘Like’ Button?"). […]

The Google-China plot thickens

It’s been just two days since I last wrote about the Google China soap (not soup) opera, and yet it feels like weeks, so much has happened in the interim. To wit: Earlier this week, Google’s US executive bio page suddenly displayed in Chinese. (A "bug, Google called it. Yeah, right.) On Wednesday, YouTube, Twitter, […]

Is privacy making a comeback?

Privacy is all over the news these days, including social networks, where it seems the Feds like to play.

Webcamgate: The principal is watching…

Sometimes even I am blown away by how mind-numbingly stupid people can be when it comes to technology. I’m not talking about people who can’t find the ‘any’ key. I’m talking about institutional stupidity, the kind you only get when you mix technophobic bureaucrats and geeks with no sense of boundaries. In case you haven’t […]

Information Imperialists unite! You have nothing to lose but your gmail.

Yes, "information imperialists." That’s what the People’s Republic of China is calling us now, thanks to Google and the US State Department. Hey, it’s as good a description as any. The blowback against Google’s announcement that it was hacked by Chinese cyber agents– and in response would be lifting the restrictions that keep users of […]

Facebook, Google, and China

So far, 2010 has started off with a bang. Google decides to take on Apple in the ultra-smart phone market, while Apple appears on the verge of creating yet another new market for touchscreen tablet PCs. Google says "bite me" to China, after Chinese cyber-attackers target it and three dozen other tech firms. Yahoo chimes […]

The spy that lives inside your pocket

Location, location, location. It’s not merely the key to success in retail. It’s also the key to your privacy — or what little is left of it. And that too is rapidly disappearing, thanks to that wondrous gizmo you probably carry with you at all times: the cell phone. Earlier this week, security researcher and […]

Google Dashboard: No so transparent after all

What does Google know about you and when did they know it? Those are the questions Google claims it’s trying to answer with the new Google Dashboard unveiled yesterday. Simply put, the Dashboard gathers up almost every Google service you’ve signed up for and displays the most basic settings for each on a single page. […]