Concern trolls and power grabs: Inside Big Tech’s angry, geeky, often petty war for your privacy
Written by Issie Lapowsky on Protocol.
”Snyder and others argue these new arrivals, who drape themselves in the flag of competition, are really just concern trolls, capitalizing on fears about Big Tech’s power to cement the position of existing privacy-invasive technologies.”
… ”If the privacy advocates inside the W3C have been put off by Rosewell’s approach, he hasn’t exactly been charmed by theirs either… From his perspective, browsers have too much power over the community, and they use that power to quash conversations that might make them look bad.”
A long read where everyone comes out looking bad. (And those portrayed as the ”defenders of privacy” aren’t necessarily doing so out of the goodness of their hearts either!)
International coalition calls for action against surveillance-based advertising
Written by Finn Myrstad and Øyvind H. Kaldestad on Forbrukerrådet.
“Every day, consumers are exposed to extensive commercial surveillance online. This leads to manipulation, fraud, discrimination and privacy violations. Information about what we like, our purchases, mental and physical health, sexual orientation, location and political views are collected, combined and used under the guise of targeting advertising.
The collection and combination of information about us not only violates our right to privacy, but renders us vulnerable to manipulation, discrimination and fraud. This harms individuals and society as a whole, says the director of digital policy in the NCC, Finn Myrstad.”
Includes a detailed list of the consequences of surveillance-based advertising.
Google’s Quest to Kill the Cookie Is Creating a Privacy Shitshow
Written by Shoshana Wodinsky on Gizmodo.
“Digiday reported this week that some major players in the adtech industry have started drawing up plans to turn FLoC into something just as invasive as the cookies it’s supposed to quash. In some cases, this means companies amalgamating any data scraps they can get from Google with their own catalogs of user info, turning FLoC from an ”anonymous” identifier into just another piece of personal data for shady companies to compile. Others have begun pitching FLoC as a great tool for fingerprinting—an especially underhanded tracking technique that can keep pinpointing you no matter how many times you go incognito or flush your cache.
[W]hat if that guy regularly visits websites centered around queer or trans topics? What if he’s trying to get access to food stamps online? This kind of web browsing—just like all web browsing—gets slurped into FLoC’s algorithm, potentially tipping off countless obscure adtech operators about a person’s sexuality or financial situation. And because the world of data sharing is still a (mostly) lawless wasteland in spite of lawmaker’s best intentions, there’s not much stopping a DSP from passing off that data to the highest bidder.”
Deadline draws near to avoid auto-joining Amazon's mesh network Sidewalk
Written by Katyanna Quach on The Register.
“Owners of Amazon Echo assistants and Ring doorbells have until June 8 to avoid automatically opting into Sidewalk, the internet giant’s mesh network that taps into people’s broadband and may prove to be a privacy nightmare…
‘A stalker can abuse it to stalk people better. There are no mitigations mentioned’…”
Stop Letting Google Get Away With It
Written by Shoshana Wodinsky on Gizmodo.
“Like the majority of Google’s privacy pushes that we’ve seen until now, the FLoC proposal isn’t as user-friendly as you might think. For one thing, others have already pointed out that this proposal doesn’t necessarily stop people from being tracked across the web, it just ensures that Google’s the only one doing it.”
22 September 2020 14:22 UTC
This is really useful if you want to check your own site or even point out privacy issues with your organisation’s site to your boss.
(Devs:) it’s worth reading the writeup on what’s being checked: How we built a real-time privacy inspector.
Today the Smashing Podcast came out with its 13th episode, featuring me talking to Drew McLellan about privacy.
A Letter from the President (at The Markup)
Written by Nabiha Syed on The Markup.
“You also deserve to hear these facts from an independent source. We want to investigate the ecosystem of data exploitation, and we don’t think we can do that while shackled to it. And so we make a privacy promise to you, our readers: We will not track you. Unlike many companies, we put your privacy first. We collect the minimum amount of data possible when you visit our site, and we will never monetize this data. We won’t display advertisements on our site, because they too often contain tracking technology. This makes our work more complicated and more expensive—but your privacy is worth it.”
A media organisation that’s leading on privacy. This is SO COOL.
Google’s decision to shift control of UK user data to the US looks like a calculated political bet that Brexit will be a privacy disaster
Written by Isobel Asher Hamilton on Business Insider.
“UK users remain protected by Europe’s strict privacy rules for now, even if their data is legally controlled by a US entity. It does, however, raise the specter of reduced privacy in future if a post-Brexit UK alters its laws to become less privacy-oriented.”
“That political context is critical to understanding Google’s decision. This is not the action of a company which believes the UK will secure an adequacy agreement or intends to continue aligning itself with the European data protection framework and its user rights. They are moving fast on that belief, and it’s safe to say they are not engaging in this work out of a concern for UK citizens’ human rights,” said [Heather] Burns.
“Google mentioning law enforcement at all in the Reuters announcement was a bit of a red herring, in other words, to distract from the everyday user data at stake,” Burns added.
Every tech policy article needs Heather Burns doing bullshit detection.
Chinese Hacking Is Alarming. So Are Data Brokers.
Written by Charlie Warzel on New York Times.
“Using the personal data of millions of Americans against their will is certainly alarming. But what’s the difference between the Chinese government stealing all that information and a data broker amassing it legally without user consent and selling it on the open market?”