Big Auto Is Watching

Kashmir Hill published an article in the New York Times this week: Automakers Are Sharing Consumers’ Driving Behavior With Insurance Companies(free share link). This prompted some follow-ups by Bruce Schneier, Nick Heer, et al. In recent years, insurance companies have offered incentives to people who install dongles in their cars or download smartphone apps that monitor their driving, including how much they drive, how fast they take corners, how hard they hit the brakes and whether they speed....

March 14, 2024 · 5 min

Zooming

Since we launched Zoom as a campus platform on March 13, 2020, there have been 36,439 meetings conducted by our community. And 3 reports of ZoomBombing (so far). There may have been others, but we have only 3 reported cases at this time1. We have spent much time and effort adjusting the configuration of our campus Zoom account to address security and privacy concerns. Default settings for meetings have been modified, making it more difficult (if not impossible) for intruders to barge into a meeting/class and ZoomBomb it....

April 10, 2020 · 3 min

How to Turn Off Attention Tracking in Zoom Campus Accounts

An article by Mehreen Kasana on Input Magazine made the rounds, talking about the “attention tracking” feature in Zoom, and how creepy and invasive it is. It is. But it can also be disabled for any account - and if disabled for a campus account, it can also be locked out for all users. Embedded tweet broken due to Twitter's arbitrary changes to how embedded tweets work. Thanks, Elon. And, note to self: don't rely on embeds from third party sites for archival purposes because they will all eventually break....

March 23, 2020 · 1 min

Surveillance Capitalism

Shoshana Zuboff, in the New York Times: We thought that we search Google, but now we understand that Google searches us. We assumed that we use social media to connect, but we learned that connection is how social media uses us. We barely questioned why our new TV or mattress had a privacy policy , but we’ve begun to understand that “privacy” policies are actually surveillance policies. and Surveillance capitalists are fast because they seek neither genuine consent nor consensus....

January 26, 2020 · 1 min

Lockdown - privacy app for iOS

I was sure I saw a link to this from Daringfireball, but can’t seem to find it again. Anyway. I’ve been running Lockdown on my phone for a couple of weeks now, and it’s been working great. It’s an app that integrates with the VPN feature in iOS, so all network requests get pushed through the app for filtering. It doesn’t actually do a VPN, but uses that as a hook to block domains that are requested in any app....

August 9, 2019 · 2 min

How Google Took Over the Classroom - The New York Times

Natasha Singer wrote a piece for the NYTimes on Google in the classroom. Is it a marketing ploy? (of course it is - there is no such thing as a free lunch, etc…) Google says “of course it isn’t - we just want kids to learn! It’s about the learning!” 🤔 These two quotes, one from Bill Fitzgerald, the other from the director of Google’s education unit, Bram Bout, outline the tension nicely:...

May 13, 2017 · 2 min

Doc Searls - The Castle Doctrine

I thought he might be talking about where we host our stuff as our castles, but he means it in a much more personal and direct way - web browsers (and other internet-abled apps, I would add) are extremely personal spaces where we invite content and code from outside the walls. I think I have the right to make sure guests leave surveillance devices and weapons outside before entering....

October 29, 2016 · 1 min

Doc Searls - The problem for people isn't advertising, and the problem for advertising isn't blocking

Doc Searls, writing on Medium 1 about some important projects to help pull the balance of power on the internet back to the individuals that make it awesome in the first place. There’s a new sheriff on the Net, and it’s the individual. Who isn’t a “user,” by the way. Or a “consumer.” With new terms of our own, we’re the first party. The companies we deal with are second parties....

October 23, 2016 · 2 min

Nick Heer on web hosting and user data

These are all concerning avenues for users. Adding advertising tends to mean user privacy is compromised, as ads become increasingly targeted by the day; shutting a company down means all user data gets removed, and it's up to each user to find a new product or service to fill the hole. Rinse and repeat. Arguably worse is when the company and all attached user data is acquired. There's very little control any user has over that decision: they may like the original product, but are uncomfortable with the new owner....

July 29, 2016 · 1 min

Papacharissi. (2010). Privacy as a luxury commodity

Papacharissi, Z. (2010). Privacy as a luxury commodity. First Monday, 8(2), 1–4. Notes: p.2: The balance between privacy and sociality takes on new meaning as Internet–based platforms, like social network sites, afford sociality for privacy, at the expense of personal autonomy. All Web–accessible platforms, offer services, mostly social, in exchange for personal information. This simple step, taken by many, transforms our personal information into currency, and our privacy into a commodity....

January 31, 2016 · 1 min