Posted in Online Privacy

Trending

The Secret Life of Webcams

By Jedidiah Bracy, CIPP/US, CIPP/E

They’re easy to miss but almost ubiquitous. They’re convenient for video chatting and, most importantly, they’re great for selfies.

But webcams allow for some pretty nefarious things to happen, too.

Take, for example, the case of Jared James Abrahams. For more than two years, the now 19-year-old Abrams hacked into at least two dozen computers belonging to young women.

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Practical Privacy

COPPA, Behavioral Ads, Mobile Marketing and Other Big PPS Takeaways

By Annie C. Bai, CIPP/US

Jed’s not the only one who was having a good time at last week’s Practical Privacy Series in NYC. Across the way, many of us found that an entire day was barely enough to devote to Online Marketing. First, it was all about the kids, then it was all about the web, and finally we ended with a rousing roundtable on Big Data. Here are some of the tidbits from the day that caused me to take pause and grab my pen.

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Transparency

What Acxiom Can Teach the NSA About Transparency

By Jedidiah Bracy, CIPP/US, CIPP/E

At last month’s IAPP Privacy Academy, I attended a session on “taming Big Data.” Much of the discussion involved the difficulties of conveying Big Data collection and use practices to consumers. As IAPP VP of Research Omer Tene has said, explaining the online tracking landscape would be equal to placing an average person in the cockpit of a fighter jet and asking him or her to fly it. Good luck with that.

Being transparent about such complex processes is understandably challenging for Big Data businesses and the privacy pros fully immersed in the weeds. We also hear folks talk about fostering consumer trust through corporate accountability. Good companies will be as transparent as possible, but must continuously demonstrate to their customers that they are trustworthy. Transparency is but one step toward a truly accountable organization and it’s a process that never really ends. 

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Trending

When Embarrassing Photos Metastasize Online and How One Person Took Control of It

By Jedidiah Bracy, CIPP/US, CIPP/E

What are you going to be for Halloween? If you do plan on dressing up, what are the chances photos of you in your glorious costume will be taken and posted online? Well, we’ll come back to this…

A few months back, I wrote about the nightmare of having an ex-spouse post embarrassing and vengeful photos of Lee David Clayworth online. The generativity of the Internet allows information to flow and metastasize so quickly, such disturbing posts can be almost impossible to take down or control.

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Do Not Track

IAPP Westin Research Center

DNT 2.0: What Next for Policymakers?

Could the appointment of Justin Brookman of the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) and Carl Cargill of Adobe salvage the World Web Consortium (W3C) Do Not Track (DNT) process? Hopefully, all sides will work together to pursue an agreed-upon solution, since an implosion of the process, which seemed inevitable on Tuesday as the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA) announced its departure from the group, would cast a long shadow over the prospects for multi-stakeholder resolutions to the burning privacy problems of our time.

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Big Data

When “All About You” Isn’t Much About You at All

By Jedidiah Bracy, CIPP/US, CIPP/E

After much rumination, I “took the plunge” today and signed in to Acxiom’s new “About The Data” portal. For those who are not familiar, Acxiom is one of the world’s largest data aggregators. They create digital dossiers of people based on publicly available data, survey data and other “general data from other commercial entities,” and sell it to marketers trying to sell us stuff. They were also, not coincidentally, arguably the first company to have a CPO —I detailed their efforts here.

And this week, they became the first so-called data broker to offer consumers a portal into what they’ve collected.

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Opinion

Sensationalist Headlines Might Drive Page Views, but Not Good Privacy Law or Policy

By Tanya Forsheit, CIPP/US

Skimming through my daily privacy law newsfeeds last week, I came across the following headline on multiple occasions:  Google says e-mail users have “no reasonable expectation of privacy.” In quotes. Meaning Google actually said that. “Really?” I thought. That can’t be right. I bet Google did not actually say that. 

Guess what? Google did not actually say that. 

I’ll preface the rest of this piece by making clear that I am not in the business of defending or apologizing for Google. Those who know me well know that’s not the case. Not in the least. But what happened last week reaches far beyond Google and demonstrates the folly of letting the media drive the privacy debate in this country—and, consequently, the development of privacy law and policy.

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Opinion

410,000 Lavabit Users Weren’t Edward Snowden

By Andrew Clearwater, CIPP/US

Lavabit founder Ladar Levison shut down his company rather than cooperate with a government investigation. Recent reports indicated that Lavabit’s secure e-mail service included NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden among its users. Now the Lavabit website shows only a letter stating in part: “I have been forced to make a difficult decision: to become complicit in crimes against the American people or walk away from nearly ten years of hard work by shutting down Lavabit.” It seems that Lavabit has lived up to its mission to be the “e-mail service that never sacrifices privacy for profits.”

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