Google, Facebook hidden trackers follow users around the web at alarming rates, says DuckDuckGo's CEO Gabriel Weinberg. To make any real progress in advancing data privacy this year, we have to start doing something about them. Not doing so would be like trying to lose weight without changing your diet. Simply ineffective.
Note: I'm writing this post on my personal blog as I'm still learning about GDPR. This is me thinking out loud, rather than making official Moodle pronouncements. 'Enjoyment' and 'compliance-focused courses' are rarely uttered in the same breath. I have, however, enjoyed my second week of learning from Futurelearn's
Doug Belshaw breaks down a number of points associated with the GDPR. During TIDE, he also makes the point that this will set a precedence moving forward in regards to the collection of data so will therefore have an influence on everyone. Eylan Ezekiel also provided a useful discussion a few months a go.
This style of technology isn't new, but the method of its use - and the kinds of people wielding it - is.
This is a strange article documenting the rise of NEC. In it, Ben Grubb provides a range of examples, including Crown Casino tracking VIPs and Westfield estimating age, gender and mood. On the one hand it can be read as both being positive – which you would assume as the author’s expenses to iEXPO2017 were paid for by NEC – in that we can now do all these things with technology, but at the same time it asks the question as to whether we should? It reminds me in part of post discussing –Hitachi’s use of cameras to improve student life at Curtin University. My question is probably, “why would you?”.
In the end your smartphone use is helping to build up a picture of who you are and the kind of advertising you're interested in for companies like Google, Facebook, and others -- even if an app isn't part of a massive advertising network, it may well sell its data to one. Apple stands apart in this regard, keeping the data it tracks for its own use and largely on a single device, though of course the apps that run on iOS have more freedom to do what they want. Even if you're reasonably content to put up with some monitoring on Android and iOS, it's important to know what kind of data you're giving up every time you switch your smartphone on. Whether it means you uninstall a few social media tools, or disable location tracking for a few apps, it gives you some semblance of control over your privacy.
Mark Nield explains some ways that phones track users, including capturing location settings via photographs. He also provides some tips for how to regain some of the control through the privacy settings. Along with Adam Greenfield’s breakdown of the smartphone, these posts help to highlight what data is being gathered about us and how.