Your email providers don’t require a warrant to read your email

Our email providers give themselves much more convenient access to your data through their terms of service or privacy policies. On one hand, this is level of access may be necessary to prevent disruptions and limit liability but, on the other hand, these permissions we, as users, grant providers like Microsoft, Google, Yahoo and others pretty broad access to our data without requiring them to obtain court orders or satisfy any external legal requirement.

Your connected home knows you intimately and, soon, so will Google

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.

You are a soldier in Google’s Cold War with Facebook for social dominance

The underlying dynamic that likely drives Facebook's and Google's amendments to their policy and terms frameworks is that we users tend to place more value on recommendations from our friends and family. Facebook and Google's advertising and promotional models (as well as a number of other services that personalise ads) are increasingly designed to manufacture these recommendations using our activities on the various services without the need for us to actively apply our minds to what we are recommending and what we choose not to. At the moment, the dominant model is one in which we choose to signify our approval of a brand, product or service by Liking or +1'ing it. These changes start to make those actions less important as a recommendation signal and are made possible through contractual models which include privacy policy frameworks and terms and conditions.

Hangout: SME’s and taking your business online

Michael Cowen over at No Picket Fence just interviewed me in a Google+ Hangout about some of the legal challenges facing SME's (Small and Medium Enterprises). The Hangout was streamed to YouTube live and is also available to watch now, after the interview concluded: Google+ Hangouts are terrific. They are easy to use, set up... Continue Reading →

Google’s new privacy policy: much ado about very little

Google's recent privacy policy update has caused great consternation. Some commentators have expressed concern about the new policy's compliance with various privacy law frameworks (particularly the EU's data protection laws); the aggregation of users' personal information and others have made ridiculous claims about the policy being the "end of privacy as we know it". We... Continue Reading →

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