Welcome to Your Promiscuous Data – Our new data privacy and security series. Over the next few weeks we will be delving into various subjects all related to your electronic data, who might be using it for what and how you can potential keep it safe. This week we kick off with Your Promiscuous Data – Data Privacy Primer
Who Stands to Benefit from your Data?
Global corporations, political movements, and just about every possible person you can think of has access to things you that you have no idea about. Universities, prestigious and dubious, are now offering data analytic, and cyber security majors. Two seemingly opposing forces, the battle of good and evil. Essentially anyone with access to it.
When it comes to Data Privacy odds are you not only live in a glass house but the windows and walls are spotless, you always are naked, it’s cold and if you are like me no where near ready for swimsuit season. It is also very well lit and the entire world is watching when it suits them. Don’t worry they are mostly liking and sharing but there is the occasional laughing face icon.
What is Data Privacy?
“A. Simply put Data Privacy is just privacy” ~ Data Privacy Explained by Elliott Long
It sounds simple enough but data privacy at it’s core is how the information you access through computers, smart phones, “apps” – applications, and a myriad of other wonderful little gadgets like smart home products, wifi networks, stores and shops “loyalty” programs, and websites get collected, and used – Most to determine what you are most likely to buy. The best explanation I have ever heard is every single thing you do online creates a digital foot print. You can do things to cover those tracks, but odds are you can’t hide completely.
Did you every think that Siri or Alexa, Google Assistant (Or Bixby for Samsung Users) are spying on you? It’s called Ambient Listening. And yes they are. How’s that for privacy?
Did you know God Mode is a thing? It is. Just ask Uber. Not they they respond to any requests or inquires. They have ghosted me more than my eight grade girlfriends.
The Future of Your Personal Data – Privacy vs Monetization | Stuart Lacey | TEDxBermuda
Why should you care about who has access to your data?
Because large tech companies across the gamut have proven their real goal is to profit from you and your data either directly; I’m looking at you Amazon! Or indirectly through advertising sales and selling your info to 3rd party companies. Ahem clears throat- Google, Microsoft, and Facebook I’m looking at you. They have no shame. The minute the service is free you are the product.
Who knows what about you and when and how the data you create is used absolutely matters. It’s not just data privacy but also true privacy at risk. As was with the Cambridge Analytica Scandal (Watch “The Greatest Hack” on Netfilx).
Of course there are always scary new things should you be concerned about in terms of privacy…
Facial Recognition! Jumped to the front of the line this week.
If Google has reservations about facial recognition and privacy you should be scared. As they stated in a 2011 Huffington Post Article that was updated in 2017
“I’m very concerned personally about the union of mobile tracking and face recognition,” he explained, adding that the company feared that these capabilities could be used both for good and “in a very bad way.” Schmidt described a scenario in which an “evil dictator” could use facial recognition to identify people in a crowd and use the technology “against” its citizens.
Though Google may not be releasing products with facial recognition capabilities, Schmidt acknowledged that the open nature of Google’s Android and Chrome platforms “could enable third parties to develop and distribute this technology.”
Cnet reported in November of 2019 that Facebook had discontinued using facial recognition software internally and reported on Amnesty International’s criticism of both Google and FB along with calling on governments to limit third party tracking, and other privacy measures.
Data Privacy – Who Can We Trust?
In fact Google, who we rely on everyday, has disregarded so many conventional laws (Copyright of the books they scanned anyone?) and Facebook as well have proven time and again that we are their product. Our data is how they profit. I am more likely to trust a Times Square sex worker with my wallet than trust the promises of these companies to behave better and “protect” us in the future.
The fears that a 3rd party will profit from such tech were brought to light. The New York Times told the world that a small company called Clearview AI had more than 600 law enforcement already as customers. They “invented a tool that could end your ability to walk down the street anonymously, and provided it to hundreds of law enforcement agencies, ranging from local cops in Florida to the F.B.I. and the Department of Homeland Security.”
Truly a game changing beginning and the end to privacy as we know it and not just data privacy either as soon enough there surely will be commercial versions. Ones that will be used to separate us from out money, sway elections and public opinion and ultimately control populations.
Hacks and Exploits of Note
Do you run a site or blog using the wordpress software? If so Cipher has created a tool to determine in your admin logins were in the 300,000+ that were compromised. You can reach their tool here
“WP-Admin/LeakCheck is a tool that allows you to check if your WordPress Administrator password was part of a massive collection leaked (more than 321.876 administrator username-password combinations) identified by DOGNÆDIS (now Cipher), during a digital forensics test. Based on the collected evidence, we believe that the credentials harvesting started mid-2018.”
Windows Seven Support Ended on January 13 2020. If you haven’t upgraded it’s probably time.
Want a quick plain English primer on ransomware? Your small business, town, church and school should be very worried. You are no doubt a target.