I recently wrote an article for Mark Lives titled “Privacy — what do you expect?” where I explored a theme I’ve been thinking about for a while. The central challenge, as I see it, is how data subjects understand privacy and what their expectations are: The problem with the right to privacy, generally, is thatContinue reading “We have to understand the right to privacy before we can protect it”
Facebook has decided to shut down its Facebook.com email service where you could receive emails into your Facebook inbox. Apparently not many users were actually using it. You have the option of disabling the service in the meantime and, if you don’t, emails sent to your Facebook.com email address will be forwarded to your primaryContinue reading “Facebook.com email shuts down with a surprise”
The problem with free services is that they have to make money in some way or another and the way that they generally do this is through advertising which leverages our personal information in order to give some kind of value to their advertisers. We agree to this when we sign up for these services. The extent of our agreement is documented in privacy policies which few people read and truly consider.
What this means is that we are essentially trading information about ourselves for access to these services which, admittedly, we do see value in otherwise we wouldn’t use them quite so much.
Google’s business model, like many other consumer-facing companies’ business models, are changing to become far more context aware. We’re seeing that in apps that know our location and where we are going next and warn us when to leave to make it on time. That just scratches the surface and this trend can be tremendously helpful and useful if we can be sure that our personal information is not being abused or vulnerable to exploitation.
With the Protection of Personal Information Act signed and likely to be implemented to some degree sometime this year, it is fashionable to focus on POPI when thinking about data protection and privacy. While POPI is a very important Act, a complete data protection review has to take into account much more. I prepared aContinue reading “Don’t place too much emphasis on the Protection of Personal Information Act”
Facebook recently announced that it has stopped allowing users and brands to create new sponsored stories. Instead, it requires brands and users to purchase ads to promote themselves. [M]arketers will no longer be able to purchase sponsored stories separately; instead, social context — stories about social actions your friends have taken, such as liking aContinue reading “Facebook still uses you to sell ads, even without sponsored stories”
GigaOm has an interesting article titled “New breed of lenders use Facebook and Twitter data to judge borrowers” which looks at a growing trend in financial services industries. Banks and other lenders are starting to look at customers’ social media profiles when assessing their needs and the risks they may pose as debtors. An emerging South African consumer protection framework could support extension of this behaviour to South Africa, if it hasn’t already been adopted.
The Verge has an interesting article titled “Cellphone surveillance costs $5 per hour, according to report” which highlights an understated aspect of data protection: the cost of surveillance as a disincentive to conduct surveillance in the first place.