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All posts tagged "privacy"


Friday, September 10, 2010

Social Networking Services Know Who You Are

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 12:30 PM

http://www.focus.com/fyi/informatio...k-google-apple/

"In order to use any facebook application, the user must agree to the terms of use, which include accrss to their personal information. Decide not to download the application? Too bad. If your friend decides to use an application, that platform can access your personal information."

Security, privacy and convenience all rarely work together. You usually have to compromise on at least one thing in order to have the others. This is especially true with social networking sites such as Facebook. In some ways, it really makes me wonder why people are complaining about privacy on Facebook and its brethren. The whole purpose of sites like Facebook is to share information, not hide it. You put things up on Facebook so that your friends, family, and maybe even the whole world knows what you have been doing. My general policy follows a quote supposedly from Benjamin Franklin, "Three can keep a secret, if two of them are dead." If there is something you do not want anyone to know, do not post it, do not record it. Keep it tucked away in that little box you have under your bed. Assume that anything you send on the Internet can be copied, altered and redistributed at any time. Assume that anything you do on the Internet is recorded in one fashion or another. When it comes to technology, there is very little in the way of privacy anymore.


Friday, April 30, 2010

Advertising in the Information Age

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 01:00 PM

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/repo...article1548509/

"Advertising is one of the few industries where it’s virtually impossible to know if money spent is money well-spent. Is a Super Bowl commercial really worth $3 million? Is Tiffany & Co. a more alluring brand if its ad appears in The New York Times instead of USA Today? And what makes a good ad, anyway? These and other questions have plagued marketers for decades as they seek to refine the murky art of persuasion."

I think the writer of the article either has a thing against Google, or is just using the Google name to try and gain a few eyeballs. Google, while excellent at its job, is not the only company that participates in data collection and data mining. In a world where things are increasingly personalized, it seems only natural that advertising takes advantage of that individual connection to improve whatever it is advertising. At first, I worry about privacy, but am I not participating in this voluntarily? When I go to Tim Horton's, the server already knows what I want to order. How is that any different that Google knowing that I like searching for the latest gossip about the next Sex in the City movie? It is only that now becoming economically feasible and technically possible to collect all that data together to create a unified profile of who I am. Something about that still makes me a bit uneasy, but I just cannot put my finger on it. I really do hope that all this will help advertising. The ones that show up for me can sometimes be really laughable!


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Public Schools are Watching You. They See Your Every Move.

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 02:30 PM

http://consumerist.com/2010/02/publ...e-included.html

"The lawsuit claims that the school district used a webcam shot as evidence of mysterious "improper behavior" at home on the part of the student. The high school's vice president confirmed to the parents that the school district can remotely activate webcams to spy on students."

Issues about privacy on the Internet have been making the rounds again. There is the site PleaseRobMe.com, which scrapes Twitter posts to find out who is not at home, and now there is news of how some school provided laptops have spyware installed, allowing officials to see what their students are doing through the laptop's webcam. At the moment, I think these are just accusations and there is no conclusive proof outside of an ambiguous statement by the school president. While I know that the technology exists for schools to do this, there are a wealth of reasons why doing so could open them up to a lot bucket truck load googolplex of litigation. Especially if they caught one of their students changing; Remember, these are minors. There is the flip side, being to what extent should publicly subsidized equipment be monitored? Do schools have the right to make sure their hardware is being treated properly and not used to surf questionable content? Would we be seeing the same brouhaha if all they monitored was Internet traffic? Is that any different than a parent monitoring their children through web tracking software?


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Computing Privacy Outlook Cloudy

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 11:30 AM

http://techdirt.com/articles/201001...232247789.shtml

"The paper does a good job separating out the thinking here, and explaining why the Fourth Amendment absolutely should apply to information you store online. As it notes, while the Smith case said that phone numbers dialed might not be private, that did not extend to the contents of the phone call itself. And that's key"

The only way to keep a secret is to not tell anyone. That is the general principle I have when it comes to information. If I do not want the world to know of my hidden love for Japanese hip hop, that I believe that bacon should be its own food group or that I think that the Carebears franchise deserves a "reboot" I do not tell anyone. Anything that I tell a company, I accept the fact that they might share it with someone else short of any privacy policy they have posted. The only exception to this for me, would be data stored by the government. As a critical part of life that functions for the community, information that the government stores about me (whatever that is) should be considered private. I am sure that some of you out there believe that this should be imposed on companies as well, but why?


Monday, December 14, 2009

Firefox Executive Recommends Bing Over Google

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home News" @ 07:00 PM

http://arstechnica.com/microsoft/ne...tm_campaign=rss

"Asa Dotzler, Mozilla's director of community development, used his personal blog to urge Firefox users away from Google and to use Microsoft's search engine Bing, instead. Dotzler cited privacy concerns, specifically pointing to comments recently made by Google CEO Eric Schmidt. "I think judgment matters," said Schmidt. "If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place." Dotzler then links to the Bing add-on for Firefox, stating that Bing's privacy policy is better than Google's (and notably fails to mention Yahoo at all)."

At the least this is a really poor choice of words by Schmidt, if it is more than that, then it is pretty scary. Whether you just don't want to be embarrassed by someone finding out you spend your days searching Twilight fan fiction or more seriously don't want a potential employer or insurer inferring some of the more intimate details of your personal life based on searches, you should have the ability to keep this information private. Plus, what you search is really just raw data and all sorts of conclusions could be inferred by someone not knowing your reasons for performing the search.


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