A transparent approach to privacy policies

Richard Beaumont’s article “Transparency Should Be the New Privacy” echoes a point I’ve also been making recently: data protection or privacy is mostly about transparency and trust. Sure, compliance is essential but from a data subject or consumer’s perspective, how transparent you are about how your process the data subject’s personal information and whether yourContinue reading “A transparent approach to privacy policies”

SnapChat privacy is not what you think

SnapChat’s privacy controls are what made it both enormously popular and troubling to its young users’ parents. When SnapChat launched, it gave users the ability to share photos and videos which promptly vanished into the ether. This appealed to its typically young and privacy conscious users because they finally had a way to share stuffContinue reading “SnapChat privacy is not what you think”

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.

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.

LinkedIn’s expanded and more intelligible privacy policy

LinkedIn recently announced an update to its privacy policy and user agreement in a blog post titled Updating LinkedIn’s Privacy Policy. Although LinkedIn updated the user agreement too, the emphasis was more on updates to its privacy policy. The new policy expands on a number of issues and reinforces the extent to which users needs to take responsibility for their actions when using the service.

Instagram’s revised 2013 Terms of Use and Privacy Policy may not be better

Two steps back and to the side Instagram revised its controversial Terms of Use after reviewing feedback on and criticisms about its proposed changes due to take effect in January 2013. Kevin Systrom published a blog post a few hours ago in which he included the following: Earlier this week, we introduced a set ofContinue reading “Instagram’s revised 2013 Terms of Use and Privacy Policy may not be better”

What changes to Facebook’s governance structure mean for users

An Overview of the Proposed Changes Introduction Facebook’s changes to its Statement of Rights and Responsibilities and its Data Used Policy generally attract a fair amount of attention and consternation. It’s latest changes are no exception and while there is reason for some concern, the proposed changes won’t have the radical impact many fear itContinue reading “What changes to Facebook’s governance structure mean for users”

Privacy, reputation and vacation ownership

I was asked to present at the 2012 VOASA Conference in Durban and I thought I would share my presentation slides and a few other relevant links and materials with you, my readers and clients, as well as the conference delegates in this post. The two other lawyers presenting at the event were asked toContinue reading “Privacy, reputation and vacation ownership”

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“. WeContinue reading “Google’s new privacy policy: much ado about very little”

Austrian law student’s crusade against Facebook highlights users’ responsibilities

Austrian law student, Max Schrems, has embarked on a crusade against Facebook aimed at exposing what he considers to be Facebook’s misuse of users’ personal information. Schrems has lodged 22 Reclamacións (I understand these to be a form of complaint) against Facebook with the Irish Data Protection Commissioner (Facebook’s legal presence outside the US isContinue reading “Austrian law student’s crusade against Facebook highlights users’ responsibilities”