Quartz: Android phones send location data even when location services are turned off

“When you use Google services, we may collect and process information about your actual location. We use various technologies to determine location, including IP address, GPS, and other sensors that may, for example, provide Google with information on nearby devices, Wi-Fi access points and cell towers.” – Google Privacy Policy Google says it collects location data when you use … Continue reading Quartz: Android phones send location data even when location services are turned off

Major changes to online privacy – except in the U.S.

Some big changes are coming to online privacy, especially when it comes to companies like Google and Facebook.  The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) establishes a new set of rules designed to give people more control over their data. Think about how much of “you” is online.  Things like who you associate with, … Continue reading Major changes to online privacy – except in the U.S.

Ad industry revolts against Apple’s browser blocking ad tracking

Apparently the entire digital advertising community is up in arms because Apple is baking anti-tracking into its Safari browser.  Marketers will only be able to track your online behavior for 24 hours before it restarts in the upcoming release. So no more “visit a shoe website once and gets ads for shoes for the next … Continue reading Ad industry revolts against Apple’s browser blocking ad tracking

Facebook: Tracking your in-store visits and serving ads?

When ads target you on-line from where you’ve gone in the real world If clicking on a website once and having its ads stalk you wherever you go on-line wasn’t enough, now there’s real world targeting.  Go to a physical store and they’ll re-target you online. Now Facebook appears to be getting in the game.  … Continue reading Facebook: Tracking your in-store visits and serving ads?

If you share it on networking websites, does it become public or can access be limited?

It’s a battle over privacy rights that has constitutional law implications.  At the heart of it if a simple question with an incredibly complex answer:  If you share it on social networking websites, does it become public or can access by limited? Right now, the case features two companies going to court:  LinkedIn and hiQ.  … Continue reading If you share it on networking websites, does it become public or can access be limited?

Can public officials block citizens on social media or is it a violation of their constitutional rights?

Here’s an interesting debate: If you’re a public official, should you have the right to block people from your social media page? A number of public officials are being sued, including Governor’s in Maryland, Kentucky, and Maine, by state ACLU chapters. Kentucky Governor Sued In Kentucky, the ACLU there filed suit on behalf of some 600 … Continue reading Can public officials block citizens on social media or is it a violation of their constitutional rights?

Find out if your data was compromised in the Equifax breach – 143 million people are affected

Equifax, one of the world’s largest credit reporting agencies had a major data breach – affecting 143 million people (nearly half the US population).  Released was personal data, and some 200,000 SS# and some credit card numbers. You can go online here to check and see if you are affected.  Equifax is also giving anyone … Continue reading Find out if your data was compromised in the Equifax breach – 143 million people are affected

Facebook refuses to release political advertising data

Television stations must disclose to the public which politicians bought advertising on which station, how much they spent, and where the ads run.  It’s available for anyone that wants to go the station’s section on the FCC website for all to see. Not so for the internet.  Facebook, not known for its transparency when it … Continue reading Facebook refuses to release political advertising data

Safari will also limit ad tech, auto-play videos, and tracking

With ad-tech being so intrusive these days in tracking our movements, you had to wonder when people would say “enough is enough.”  Maybe we’re getting closer. Two moves this month certainly should send a message to providers that are pushing the envelope on online advertising tactics that visitors don’t like.  First, Google confirmed that its … Continue reading Safari will also limit ad tech, auto-play videos, and tracking

FTC cracks down on Zombie Cookies that track your online behavior even after you opt-out

The Federal Trade Commission has finalized a settlement with Turn over its use of Supercookies (also called Zombie Cookies). The FTC has accused Turn of deception by tracking consumers for ads even after people tried to opt out.  While not admitting any wrongdoing, the settlement will prohibit Turn from misrepresenting what it does in gathering … Continue reading FTC cracks down on Zombie Cookies that track your online behavior even after you opt-out

Facebook’s 10-year road map includes typing with your brain, listening with your skin, and no more smart phones

Mark Zuckerberg laid out his 10-year road map at the F8 Facebook developers conference and hinted at some of the projects in the works at the social media company.  It’s either genius or madness. Cameras, Zuckerberg said, were really the first augmented reality platform.  Michael Abrash, Chief Scientist of Oculus Research, shared his vision for … Continue reading Facebook’s 10-year road map includes typing with your brain, listening with your skin, and no more smart phones

Robert Martin complained about his internet-connected garage door opener. Company responded by remotely turning off his service.

Robert Martin bought an internet-connected garage door opener from Garadget. When he had problems with his product, he posted an angry rant on the company’s community board: “Just installed and attempting to register a door when the app started doing this. Have uninstalled and reinstalled iphone app, powered phone off/on — wondering what kind of piece of … Continue reading Robert Martin complained about his internet-connected garage door opener. Company responded by remotely turning off his service.

Facebook adds a rocket to its lineup

  You may have noticed a little rocket icon pop up on your mobile version of Facebook.  Tap it and it will take you to alternative news feed.  No, not “alternative facts,” but an algorithmic design feed of content similar to what you interact with on your regular feed, but from sources you don’t follow.  … Continue reading Facebook adds a rocket to its lineup

Lawsuit: Google is reading emails and using info to target ads (whether you use Gmail or not)

Settlement on hold as judge trashes agreement We’ve been watching the case of Matera V. Google for some time now.  At issue is the practice of scanning emails sent on Gmail accounts and using the information to send targeted ads to Gmail users.  The case alleges that Google violated the Wiretap Act by intercepting the … Continue reading Lawsuit: Google is reading emails and using info to target ads (whether you use Gmail or not)

A huge number of Millennial Men aren’t watching any TV on any device

  How big a deal is this cord-cutting thing for TV?  It may depend on who you ask.  The number of people cutting out cable has slowed, but it’s still a growing number.  But when you slice and dice those dropping (cord-cutters) or never subscribing (cord-nevers), this new report shows one demographic that’s cutting at … Continue reading A huge number of Millennial Men aren’t watching any TV on any device

FTC smacks Vizio for tracking what you watch on TV and selling data without permission

Consumers have bought more than 11 million internet-connected Vizio televisions since 2010. But according to a complaint filed by the FTC and the New Jersey Attorney General, consumers didn’t know that while they were watching their TVs, Vizio was watching them. The lawsuit challenges the company’s tracking practices and offers insights into how established consumer … Continue reading FTC smacks Vizio for tracking what you watch on TV and selling data without permission

Twitter users targeted by government for “national security”

Read the actual order letters after the jump. For the first time, Twitter is able to speak openly about national security requests it received about surveillance and requests for data on Twitter account holders. Even though the requests date back to 2015 and 2016, they were accompanied by a “gag order” which legally prohibited the social … Continue reading Twitter users targeted by government for “national security”

Facebook testing targeted ads in Messenger app

A test in Australia and Thailand this week may lead to more ads from the folks at Facebook.  This time, they’re testing adding advertisements to its Messenger app. “This means that a business is able to place an ad in an area of Messenger below your recent conversations, similar to how we surface birthday notifications … Continue reading Facebook testing targeted ads in Messenger app

Is your TV set gathering and sharing your habits?

I knew my “Smart TV” was a little different when I got my first one and discovered that just like a computer, it might sometimes reboot for no particular reason. I certainly never thought it was listening to me and sharing what I said. Things certainly have changed now the TV’s are connected to the … Continue reading Is your TV set gathering and sharing your habits?

Advertising groups say online “opt-in” rules violate First Amendment

Is advertising protected speech? And can internet companies use your personal information in advertising without your permission? These answer to these questions seems to be yes if you agree with the advertising trade associations that are asking the FCC to change its opt-in privacy rules for online service providers. The Association of National Advertisers, the … Continue reading Advertising groups say online “opt-in” rules violate First Amendment

Four times people were threatened or sued for leaving bad reviews on Yelp… and won

Put a bad review on line and you risk not just making the business mad, but maybe lawsuits and fines. You may not even know you’re doing something that could get you in trouble, but buried in the TOS (term of service agreements) you never read, or buried in some small type on a contract … Continue reading Four times people were threatened or sued for leaving bad reviews on Yelp… and won

FCC on privacy – Internet Service Providers will no longer be able to share data without your explicit consent

The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) voted to require broadband/internet providers to get “explicit consent” before sharing data with marketing companies.  That means no more forcing people to “opt out” of obscure user agreements.  In other words, if they want to share our data with advertising companies, they’ll need to ask us… and we’ll have to … Continue reading FCC on privacy – Internet Service Providers will no longer be able to share data without your explicit consent

Why do people keep giving their personal info when they don’t trust social media to safeguard it?

It’s an interesting case study.  People give up incredible amounts of private, personal information everyday on social media:  Who they date, where they go, what they eat, where they live, who they are connected to, and on and on.  At the same time, just about nobody trusts social media to keep things private. More Americans … Continue reading Why do people keep giving their personal info when they don’t trust social media to safeguard it?

Facebook Live: Man commits suicide during live broadcast

You knew it was going to happen sooner or later:  someone committing suicide on Facebook live. 22-year old Erdogan Ceren from Turkey was in front of his computer camera holding a shotgun.  He told anyone watching that “No one believed when I said I will kill myself, so watch this.”  Ceren was reportedly distraught over … Continue reading Facebook Live: Man commits suicide during live broadcast

When did we become an opt-out world?

We all know that nobody reads Terms of Service on anybody’s website, or User Agreements when downloading an app. We have just come to accept that there’s probably bad stuff in there that we won’t want but it’s the price we have to pay. I say enough! It’s time to become an opt-in world. Want … Continue reading When did we become an opt-out world?

14 year old sues Facebook for allowing naked picture to appear on shaming pages in so-called “revenge porn” case

It could lead to significant changes in how social media deals with the situation. Every day, approximately 1.8 billion photos are uploaded to the internet.  Microsoft estimates some 720,000 of these pictures contain online child sexual abuse.  Every single day. If the exact image is uploaded to sites multiple times, it can be blocked.  But … Continue reading 14 year old sues Facebook for allowing naked picture to appear on shaming pages in so-called “revenge porn” case

See how Facebook labels your political views: Liberal, Moderate, or Conservative

You know Facebook is gathering information on you all the time, right?  What you click on, what you like, what you share is all compiled in some hard drive somewhere.  With that information, Facebook makes decisions about what to show you – or what not to show you. So it only makes sense that, based … Continue reading See how Facebook labels your political views: Liberal, Moderate, or Conservative

Journalists get some help in battle over public records

It’s nice to see both parties working together on something, but it does happen. Both the House and Senate passed the FOIA Improvement Act and President Obama signed it into law. Now we’ll see if it makes any difference. The bill is designed to “boost government responsiveness” to Freedom of Information Act requests. It says, … Continue reading Journalists get some help in battle over public records

Another reason to watch what you put on social media

"Social media has become an integral - and very public - part of the fabric of most American's daily lives…We cannot afford to ignore this important open source in our effort to safeguard our secrets - and our nation's security." - Bill Evanina, ODNI's National Counterintelligence and Security Center Director in a statement. And just … Continue reading Another reason to watch what you put on social media