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Category: Privacy (page 1 of 2)

GDPR: How Businesses Will Be Affected

CCTV cameras looking at couple

Do you know who’s watching you?

What is the GDPR?

On April 27, 2016, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was adopted in the European Union after four years of negotiations. This law will strengthen data protection for individuals residing in the European Union (EU).

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Low Battery? Your Privacy May Be Compromised

battery status impact on privacy

Your battery status can have an unexpected impact on your privacy

The remaining battery power on your smartphone may reveal your location to websites, concerning privacy-conscious web users. This occurs from a simple HTML web script that repeatedly monitors the status of identifiers and obtains information from the Battery Status API.

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Privacy Regulation: US vs. EU

Comparing Both Sides of The Pond

Internet-based applications are building up privacy concerns worldwide. The UN has even named privacy in its Universal Declaration of Human Rights. How exactly does privacy regulation differ in the United States and in the European Union? See below for the top ways in which privacy regulation varies between these two large economies.

 

UR is a web browser focused on user privacy. Learn more more about the privacy feature here.

How Does UR Protect You?

promo image UR browser

UR Protects You in Three Ways:

Focusing on three axes—security, anti-tracking and anti-profiling—we explain how UR protects your privacy and keeps you safe online.

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How to Protect Your Digital Privacy at the U.S Border

EFF guide to digital privacy at the US border

Be prepared when traveling

If you are traveling through the US border, you may be subjected to an invasive device search. This is beginning to raise questions amongst those who want to protect the private data on our computers, phones, and other digital devices.

On these grounds, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has released a new guide for those traveling to the US. In a long or short format, this guide gives travelers the facts they need in order to prepare for border crossings while protecting their digital information.

See more on the EFF website: https://www.eff.org/press/releases/digital-privacy-us-border-new-how-guide-eff

Useful resources:

Digital Privacy Guide at the U.S. Border
EFF’s pocket guide
Your constitutional rights

The Dark Side of Big Data

big-data

Every click, like, purchase and search is potentially recorded, analyzed and stored. What impact does this have on our privacy?

What is Big Data? 

“Big Data” is an umbrella phrase used to mean a massive volume of both structured and unstructured data that is so large, it is difficult to process using traditional database and software techniques.

Big Data has the potential to improve operations and make faster, more intelligent decisions. It’s not just companies that are collecting and analyzing these massive stores of data.

  • The healthcare industry is using it to better research cures and treatment options.
  • City planners are using it to build smarter cities that waste less.
  • Environmental organizations are using it to track the progression of climate change.

This data, once captured, formatted, manipulated, stored, and analyzed can help a company or organization gain useful insight to predict behavior, increase revenues, obtain or retain customers and recognize emerging patterns, among others.

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Party time? A Refresher in First, Second and Third Party Data

Advertisers, websites and data brokers are having a ball with your data.

The Breakdown on Your Data

First-party data is the data you give away willingly to websites. Advertisers and publishers can extract and compile data by requiring you to register online and by then analyzing your activity.

Example: your email address, name, pages you like, ads you click, etc.

Third-party data is information that’s collected by an entity that doesn’t have a direct relationship with consumers. This data is normally compiled by specialist firms who pay websites to collect information about their visitors. This data is then used to piece together detailed profiles about users’ tastes and behaviors as they browse the Internet.

Example: an advertising tracker will place a cookie on your browser and see where you go so you see ads for things you want. (Maybe those shoes?)

Second-party data is the newcomer to the scene. It is essentially first-party data that another party obtains directly from the source. This data isn’t given away directly—it usually is obtained through a direct relationship with another entity. Deals can be made between publishers or a Data Management Platform (DMP). Or simply between two parties who could benefit from each other’s first-party data.

Example: a pet store sharing data with a veterinarian, who both have similar clients.

The Wider Scope of Your Data

Collecting and dealing with all that information requires a wide range of different players. Data brokers earn their living by helping advertisers and publishers manage their own first-party data, as well as selling them more data about users.

“Companies stress that they do not know users’ names. But they identify them by numbers, and as they build up detailed profiles about those numbered users, there is concern that the information might be traced to individuals.”

– The Economist

All this data is divided into segments defined by location, device, marital status, income, job, shopping habits, travel plans and many other factors. These segments are then are then auctioned off to buyers of ad space in real time.

While data sharing can lead to products and services that make your life easier, more entertaining, economical or even informational, it is important to be aware of your data. So, whether it’s your first-, second- or third-party data, it is important to understand where your data goes, and how it is used.

Sources

http://www.economist.com/news/special-report/21615871-everything-people-do-online-avidly-followed-advertisers-and-third-party

https://hbr.org/2015/05/customer-data-designing-for-transparency-and-trust

https://www.wired.com/insights/2015/03/internet-things-data-go/

How Trump’s Executive Order Affects EU-US Privacy Rights

Donald Trump

What does the Trump Administration mean for the EU-US Privacy Shield?

 

It’s no secret that the Trump administration is causing a big stir in the global, political soup. Initially enacted in July 2016, the EU-US Privacy Shield set out to regulate what data can be shared between businesses on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean and how that data can be utilized. It is inherently designed so data protection laws can be sustained between European Union member states and the United States.

What is the Privacy Shield?

The Privacy Shield is crucial for both American and European businesses to guarantee citizens of both countries to have protected transfer of data that it is not subject to mass surveillance. The European Commission outlines it in their Citizen’s Guide:

“The Privacy Shield allows your personal data to be transferred from the EU to a company in the United States, provided that the company there processes (e.g. uses, stores and further transfers) your personal data according to a strong set of data protection rules and safeguards. The protection given to your data applies regardless of whether you are an EU citizen or not.”

On January 25th, just a few days into his presidency, Trump signed an Executive Order ensuring that “…privacy policies exclude persons who are not United States citizens or lawful permanent residents from the protections of the Privacy Act regarding personally identifiable information.”

The new administration brings up questions concerning privacy and what this means for technology companies based in the US.

Read more on TechCrunch.

With its headquarters in Europe, UR abides by strict EU laws which strongly favor user privacy. Your private data is yours—nothing is collected or stocked. Learn more here.

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

Cross-Device Targeting and Those Shoe Ads That Won’t Go Away

Do you know why the shoes you looked at on Amazon suddenly appear on different sites around the web, even from your computer to smartphone?

Researchers from the School of Information Studies (iSchool) recently published a study that uncovers the general public’s blindness towards online behavioral advertising and the privacy implications behind information that advertisers collect.

converse-shoes

You didn’t buy them and now they’re going to follow you everywhere.

Consumers are generally in the dark not only about how much they are being tracked online but exactly how it works.

According to the research, a sweeping two-thirds of consumers did not realize that most online advertising involved third-party cookies. This research demonstrated that consumers are not well informed enough about just what types of information are being collected about them.

“These guys [third parties] have an agreement with Amazon, they are like, ’Oh, I’m just going to take information from this guy’. Facebook gets money by displaying the ads sent by these guys [third parties]…this branch [third parties] allows that to happen. So in a way it is a neutral third party.”

– One research participant, when explaining how she believes third-party cookies to operate

Advertisers are increasingly employing cross-device tracking, which presents additional privacy and security risks. Cross-device tracking actually allows ad companies and publishers to construct a consumer’s profile based on their activity throughout computers, tablets, smartphones, smart watches and various IoT devices.

What is cross-device tracking? 

Also referred to as cross-device targeting, this is in fact several different methods that are used to identify and track you across multiple devices—smartphones, tablets and desktop computers. The goal of this is to match your browsing data on one device with another. For example, knowing that Tablet X and Computer Y are the same person.

Publishers, platforms and ad tech companies want to know as much about you as possible, so they can target you across multiple screens. Imagine shopping for sunglasses on your computer, seeing an ad for them later on your tablet, and then receiving a text message with a special promotional code on your smartphone.

Offline data is often combined with online data to reveal consumer tendencies such as browsing history, physical location, retail purchases, watched TV programs, vacation plans and so on. This study confirmed that the majority of the people are more concerned about what types of personal information are being collected on them, rather than who is doing the collecting. The fear of consumer data falling into the hands of those with malicious intentions alludes to why consumers block advertisers and advertising networks from their browser in the first place.

While some advertising companies already offer the ability to reject behavioral targeting, internet users are generally not given any indication that they are being tracked, let alone how. If these blocking tools operated on an information-based blocking model, rather than a tracker-based model, consumers could decide the information to share, and advertisers could still receive some data from consumers, which would help them correctly target ads. It is indeed a compromise, yet it yields benefits to both parties involved.

Read the entire study here.

If you’re concerned about your online privacy, you’re not alone. UR is a web browser created specifically to keep your online data private and safe. Learn more here.

Sources

Federal Trade Commission, https://www.ftc.gov/system/files/documents/public_comments/2016/10/00030-129045.pdf

AdExchanger, https://adexchanger.com/data-exchanges/2016-edition-marketers-guide-cross-device-identity/ 

AdTriba, https://blog.adtriba.com/2016/06/28/cross-device-tracking-and-marketing-attribution/

How a VPN Can Help Protect Your Privacy

It's like an online seatbelt

Protect your online traffic with a VPN.

What is a VPN?

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a group of discrete, private networks linked together over a public network—namely, the internet. For anyone who is concerned about keeping his or her online data private, a VPN is a must-have.

A VPN scrambles all the data that passes through the networks by acting as a secure “tunnel” between your computer and the sites you visit online. By encrypting your computer’s internet connection, sites that you visit and data that you send and receive is safe from prying eyes.

Using a VPN encrypts your data.

Other uses for a VPN
  • Change your IP address and appear in another location
  • Make public wifi connections safe, which are often unprotected
  • Watch content from other countries without restrictions
  • Buy airplane tickets in a country with lower rates
  • For remote workers, to connect to a work server and share files
  • Bypass local internet networks, which can be slower than with a VPN

Overall, using a VPN secures your internet browsing and gives you more autonomy with the sites you can visit.

With a VPN built right into it, UR makes staying private online easy! Access the VPN with just a click—look for the ninja icon in the upper right corner of the browser.

Think of UR as an armored car for your online traffic. We respect privacy and created a web browser to keep you safe and private as you navigate the internet highways. 🚗 Learn more here.

Sources

Techhive http://www.techhive.com/article/3158192/privacy/howand-whyyou-should-use-a-vpn-any-time-you-hop-on-the-internet.html
PlanIT http://www.planitcomputing.ie/blog/?p=337
Technet https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb742566.aspx

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