Consumer Privacy

Instagram, Jetliners, and Human Computation Engines (Friday links)

Instagram, Jetliners, and Human Computation Engines (Friday links)

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 4:20pm
Instagram has lost half its daily users in just one month as a result of all the bad publicity over its new terms of service, according to a story in the International Business Times. That is a stunning report—perhaps the most surprising indication of mass rebellion over an online policy issue since the defeat of SOPA. Perhaps I am overly conditioned to thinking that these kinds of seemingly obscure issues about the distribution of power on the internet—privacy, openness, intellectual property, etc.—are the provenance of geeks and policy nerds and reporters looking for stories. But losing half their daily users in one month? I think that’s a reminder that for all the assaults on our privacy by internet advertisers and others, people do still want and demand a sense of control when it comes to their online lives. Especially when it comes to services that people have made a part of their daily existence—which they feel they have a relationship with. Many privacy and other internet issues seem abstract and removed, and may not trigger a passionate backlash, but sometimes (as with this story, SOPA, and Facebook Beacon) they do.
Is Privacy a Modern Phenomenon?

Is Privacy a Modern Phenomenon?

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 1:02pm

I recently came across this piece by the author William Deresiewicz (from his consistently insightful “All Points” blog), in which he comments on the observation that privacy and solitude are privileges of the modern era that are “rare…

FTC Busts Advertisers In Browser Snooping Scandal, But Web Sites Shouldn't be Off the Hook

FTC Busts Advertisers In Browser Snooping Scandal, But Web Sites Shouldn't be Off the Hook

By Chris Soghoian, Principal Technologist and Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project at 7:16pm

Today, the FTC announced a settlement with Epic Marketplace, an online advertising company that had abused a security flaw in popular web browsers in order to covertly “sniff” other websites visited by consumers.

According to the…

Data Brokers Release Information About Their Operations In Response to Congressional Inquiry

Data Brokers Release Information About Their Operations In Response to Congressional Inquiry

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 5:18pm

Yesterday Reps. Ed Markey (D, Mass.) and Joe Barton (R, Texas) released a batch of important details about the operation of the nation’s largest data broker companies. The information came in responses from nine data broker companies to a list of questions posed by a group of Members led by Markey and Barton seeking details of their operation in light of the privacy sensitivity of what they do. The responses released yesterday provide a good snapshot and reminder of what it is these companies are doing.

Protections Against Commercial Internet Spying: Why Delay is Deadly

Protections Against Commercial Internet Spying: Why Delay is Deadly

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 12:13pm

I wrote last week about how the ad industry is going on the attack against Do Not Track. Then yesterday, as the New York Times reported, the Direct Marketing Association kicked off a $1 million public relations campaign to try to persuade policymakers…

Doesn’t the Ad Industry Trust the Free Market?

Doesn’t the Ad Industry Trust the Free Market?

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 12:33pm

The advertising industry continues to mount a strong attack on the Do Not Track concept for protecting online privacy. As my colleague Chris Calabrese described last week, the industry threw an “epic hissy fit” (in the words of Ed Bott at ZDNet)…

Newest Video Analytics Technique “Product Recognition” Aims to Judge You By What You Wear

Newest Video Analytics Technique “Product Recognition” Aims to Judge You By What You Wear

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 4:56pm

I blogged recently about video analytics, the attempt to build intelligence into video surveillance so that cameras can not only record our every move in public, but also in some respects understand what they are seeing. Now comes word of the latest…

Corporate America: We Want to Track You

Corporate America: We Want to Track You

By Chris Calabrese, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 5:44pm

On Monday an extraordinary letter went out from a who’s who of major corporations claiming a mandate to track all of us on the internet.  In tone and substance, it is an amazing, over-the-top screed against efforts to give consumers even…

FTC Proposes Changes to Privacy Law That Collide With Free Speech

FTC Proposes Changes to Privacy Law That Collide With Free Speech

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 11:59am

Back in the waning years of the Clinton administration, Congress quietly enacted an important internet privacy bill (the passage of which was overshadowed by other, more salacious developments). The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”)…

Lie Detection, Special Treatment at the Airport, and Recursive Cameras (Friday Links Roundup)

Lie Detection, Special Treatment at the Airport, and Recursive Cameras (Friday Links Roundup)

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 4:26pm

Salon has a nice piece on how research shows the difficulty of detecting lies—the impossibility, really—and how people consistently overestimate their ability to do so. And, how people consistently misidentify signs of stress (from a variety…

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