Privacy

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10 Years Later, Google Stops Scanning Your Email, But Not For the Reasons You’d Think

EUGENE – Google’s pseudonymous parent company Alphabet Inc. announced late last week that it would discontinue the use of controversial in-email advertisements. For over a decade, the company scanned the content of users’ emails for keywords and then displayed relevant ads right in Gmail. Despite ongoing protest from consumer and digital rights activists, as well […]

Facebook Town Hall Feature Trades Privacy for Efficacy

// In the wake of the 2016 election, Facebook unveils Town Hall. The new feature will ‘strengthen the online community’ by connecting users to the elected officials that represent them. If keeping users on-site to create marketable data is in Facebook’s best interest, can Town Hall really deliver? Will the ad platform use Town Hall data for targeting? Who […]

First They Came for Our Zunes

// If private employees must agree to remote access of work issued devices like cellphones, laptops and tablets, shouldn’t the same security measures be in place for our government employees? In this quick blog post I try to look at the DOJ/Apple decryption debacle from another angle.

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Square Pegs in Round Holes: Facebook Real Name Reporting Policy

// This is a follow up to a previous article on Facebook’s Real Name Policy, “Pseudonyms: Not Who You Share With, But Who You Share As”

Back in early October, I wrote a lengthy piece on pseudonymity online – the way we assume multiple identities based on context. Just like you may act and speak differently with close friends than you would at work, so too (generally) goes conduct online. This is accomplished through usernames, avatars, and other privacy tools. […]

Comey’s Backdoor: What We Got Wrong After Paris

// In this blog post, I’ll explore media and government reactions to acts of terror in both Paris and San Bernardino, California. FBI Director James Comey and California Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein suggest radical changes to how we look at cryptography in the United States, often in direct defiance of security and civil rights experts.

A […]

Pseudonyms: Not Who You Share With, But Who You Share As

// In this post I’ll dive into pseudonymity, and the challenges posed by real-name policies that sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google put in place. With quips and quotes from the EFF, m00t, Facebook’s Chris Cox and danah boyd, this should be a fun one.

A few things came across my desk this week that brought me […]

Block it to me, Block it to me, RESPECT. (Part 2)

//  Part 1 of the Block It To Me series explored the consequences of using an ad block for users, content writers and advertisers. Part 2 will focus on the ways major ICTs like Apple, Facebook and Twitter are hedging their bets – and stirring up the digital marketing industry – all while returning to basics.

Rotten […]

A Sordid State of Affairs: AshleyMadison.com Hack

In this blog post, I’ll be examining the recently publicized hack of AshleyMadison.com – a 37 million user-strong social networking site with an unabashedly upfront focus on facilitating marital infidelity. Yup – you read that correctly.

A group of hackers, self-identified as “The Impact Team” are making clear ‘stop-doing-that’ demands, and starting to release AshleyMadison.com user […]

ICANN of Worms – The Freedom to Proxy May Suffer Latest Blow

A major change to the Internet’s global address book ICANN raises privacy concerns around the globe. I’ll shed light on the situation, explore potential consequences and contextualize the debate in a larger discussion around outdated rules in the fastest growing industry in human history.

Lurking, Creeping, Stalking: Facebook Turns to Web’s Oldest Signals for Relevance Algorithm Change

// In a June 12th post on their public relations blog, Facebook introduced a new change to their content relevancy algorithm. Software Engineers Ansha Yu and Sami Tas discuss including “how much time you spend viewing a story in your News Feed” when calculating what content to display in your News Feed. In this blogpost, I explore some of the use […]