Posted in Personal Privacy

Opinion

On Making Consumer Scoring More Fair and Transparent

To score is human. Ranking people by grades and other performance numbers is as old as time itself. Consumer scores—numbers given to people to describe their characteristics, habits or predilections—are a modern day numeric shorthand that ranks, separates, sifts and otherwise categorizes people and also predicts their potential future actions.

More from Pam Dixon

From the Wire

Tuning the Privacy/Customer Service Dial

By Jedidiah Bracy, CIPP/US, CIPP/E

Twitter handles can be valuable commodities, and no story better demonstrates that than one described by web developer Naoki Hiroshima. Originally published on his personal blog and then republished with permission by TheNextWeb, “How I lost my $50,000 Twitter username” describes the ordeal he went through when a hacker decided he wanted Hiroshima’s Twitter handle @N—registered to Hiroshima since 2007.

In a nutshell, a hacker decided he wanted @N and was going to do just about anything to get it—without paying any money, of course. To do so, according to the hacker himself (someone call “Ripley’s Believe It or Not”), he socially engineered his way into Hiroshima’s GoDaddy account, which controlled several of his website domains, in order to wrest control of @N from Hiroshima. Give up the Twitter handle and the hacker would take his hands off the throat of Hiroshima’s websites.

Extortion at its finest.

More from Jedidiah Bracy

Privacy Engineering

Which Information Do Consumers Most Closely Guard?

We know that consumers don’t always understand how companies collect their data, and that these misconceptions can create a trust gap between retailers and shoppers.

This doesn’t mean that consumers are completely unwilling to share their data with retailers, though. Our team at Create with Context surveyed 800 consumers in the U.S., asking them which information they’d be willing to give up in exchange for 50 percent off of three different items: a gallon of milk, a large-screen television and a new car.

More from Ilana Westerman

Trending

Was This a Week of “Tangible” Privacy Harm?

By Jedidiah Bracy, CIPP/US, CIPP/E
Photo taken from Ukranian protests in Kiev

Two events this week got me thinking of privacy harms. Now, I know the mere mention of “privacy harms” brings with it a lot of baggage and a ton of research, legal uncertainty, opinion and, well…ambiguity. I couldn’t possibly link to all the countless scholars, lawyers and activists who have tackled the question of what does, or does not, count as a harm, but I couldn’t help think that we may have seen some tangible harms we can all agree on this week.

More from Jedidiah Bracy

Opinion

Old School Privacy is Dead, But Don’t Go Privacy Crazy

By Stanley W. Crosley, CIPP/US, CIPM
Image from “Redneck Crazy” video by Tyler Farr

When I have the occasion to drive the kids to school, our music selections range almost as widely as our breakfast choices—some Christian, some country and some 80s, to which I alone know the lyrics. Recently, a particularly funny, somewhat concerning country song, “Redneck Crazy” by Tyler Farr, caught my attention. The song includes the following line, “You done broke the wrong heart baby ... drove me redneck crazy.”

More from Stanley W. Crosley

Big Data

Data-Driven Dating: How Data Are Shaping Our Most Intimate Personal Relationships

When we talk about Big Data, we mostly refer to large-scale conglomerations of information about our collective behavior, aggregated by governments and big corporations. But there’s another way data have become big: Our interpersonal connections are being infiltrated by data to an unprecedented degree, changing how we relate to one another. A focus on everyday data-collection practices reveals that we are active participants in gathering, interpreting and deploying data—not just passive data points about whom data is collected and aggregated.

Nothing makes the rise of the data mentality clearer than the proliferation of tools for creating and using data in budding romantic relationships.

More from Karen Levy

Trending

When What You Had for Lunch Comes Back To Bite You: A Social Media Experiment

By Jedidiah Bracy, CIPP/US, CIPP/E
Image from Jack Vale’s “Social Media Experiment”

This week here in the office, a number of folks sent us a link to a video-gone-viral of a social media experiment. Maybe you’ve seen it. The host, Jack Vale, wanted to know “how easy it would be to get personal information from complete strangers.” He did so by searching for public social media posts by using his own location, then identifying the posters in real life.

Pretty simple stuff. And, it turns out, getting their personal information was very easy … in a creepy way.

More from Jedidiah Bracy

Opinion

Vint Cerf is Wrong. Privacy Is Not An Anomaly

Google Chief Internet Evangelist Vint Cerf

“Privacy may actually be an anomaly,” said Vint Cerf, one of the architects of the Internet, at an FTC workshop on the Internet of Things on Tuesday. Cerf, who’s currently Google’s Chief Internet Evangelist, argued that privacy is a construct of the modern industrial age. In the past, his thinking goes, people lived in small self-contained villages, where pretty much everyone knew who was dating the baker’s daughter and what the sheriff had for lunch. It is only when populations started migrating en masse to cities that anonymity emerged as a byproduct of urbanization.

The view of privacy as an anomaly is not new, particularly among Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, who time and again express a cavalier approach to what is a fundamental, deep-rooted social, moral and legal value. It is however wrong, and may lead businesses and governments astray in making weighty policy choices.

More from Omer Tene