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.”
‘They track every move’: how US parole apps created digital prisoners
Written by Todd Feathers on The Guardian.
“Critics also argue that the data-gathering and experimental predictive analytics incorporated into some tracking apps are bound to generate false positives that lead to arrests for technical violations of probation or parole conditions.”
”Often it’s people of colour who are having their data extracted from them. This valuable commodity is literally the body of black individuals” -Prof Chaz Arnett, Maryland University
Ahead of the Small is Beautiful livestream this evening, I thought I’d share what I’ve been working on recently in text too.
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.
Planned Parenthood let Facebook track how often I logged my period
Written by Ruth Reader on Fast Company.
[L]ots of health companies use Facebook to advertise. As my “off Facebook activity” download showed, much of what gets shared with Facebook is indirect information, such as dates and times I visited a website or app, products, or prescriptions I have looked at or purchased, and products I put in a digital shopping cart.
But glued together, these scraps of information create a collage of my overall health, which Facebook can then sell advertisements against. In collecting data about my health behavior and interests, Facebook probably knows more about my health than my doctor.
At the end of last year, Planned Parenthood decided to stop using Facebook’s mobile software development kit to make ads for its period tracking app Spot On. When I downloaded my off-Facebook data in January, an outdated version of the Spot On app on my phone had recently pinged Facebook’s servers (this stopped once I updated the app).
The organization decided that it was worth losing access to some of Facebook’s targeting capabilities in exchange for better user privacy in this instance.
Good on Planned Parenthood for doing the right thing and removing the Facebook tracking. But it’s shocking that developers are ignorant to the tracking embedded in these frameworks and libraries.
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.
Chrome is ditching third-party cookies because Google wants your data all to itself
Written by Maya Shwayder on Digital Trends.
“They’re not really changing underlying tactics [of how they track us], they’re just channeling it all through Google,” [Elizabeth] Renieris told Digital Trends.
“At least we knew how cookies worked. Instead, Google will shore up its surveillance power with even less oversight and accountability, black-boxed behind its proprietary technology. Not good news at all.”[— Christopher Chan]
This means Google will now have full functional, filled out profiles on every single movement and purchase that every one of its billions of users makes across the internet.
Mental health websites don't have to sell your data. Most still do.
Written by Privacy International on Privacy International.
“In other words, whenever you visit a number of websites dedicated to mental health to read about depression or take a test, dozens of third-parties may receive this information and bid money to show you a targeted ad. Interestingly, some of these websites seem to include marketing trackers without displaying any ads, meaning they simply allow data collection on their site, which in turn may be used for advanced profiling of their users.
It is highly disturbing that we still have to have to say this, but websites dealing with such sensitive topics should not track their users for marketing purposes. Your mental health is not and should never be for sale.”
I went to add this article to the lens, then saw it goes on to recommend our tracker blocker, Better Blocker. Kismet!
Teens have figured out how to mess with Instagram's tracking algorithm
Written by Alfred Ng on CNET.
“These teenagers are relying on a sophisticated network of trusted Instagram users to post content from multiple different devices, from multiple different locations.
Teens shouldn’t have to go to those lengths to socialize privately on Instagram, said Liz O’Sullivan, technology director at the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project. … ‘I love that the younger generation is thinking along these lines, but it bothers me when we have to come up with these strategies to avoid being tracked,’ O’Sullivan said. ‘She shouldn’t have to have these psyop [psychological operations] networks with multiple people working to hide her identity from Instagram.’”
When you visit this website, I don’t track you.