Archive for the 'privacy' Category

Privacy on Fast Track Back to User Control

Google and Mozilla announce browser privacy tools

Congress should require all advertising and tracking companies
to offer consumers the choice of whether they want to be
followed online to receive tailored ads, and make that option
easily chosen on every browser.

— The New York Times

In response to the FTC December privacy report which endorsed support for a national ‘Do Not Track’ policy, Mozilla and Google recently moved to put privacy controls back in the hands of users.

‘Do Not Track’ is a first step in putting users in control of the way their information is collected and used online.

Both browser makers, Mozilla and Google, recently took independent initiatives in advance of a national policy.

Mozilla, the Open Source web developers and makers of the popular Firefox web browser says it is seeking ways to give users better insight and control into the ways their personal information is collected, used, stored and shared. They recently announced the coming release of a ‘Do Not Track’ feature for the Firefox web browser.

Chrome, the web browser of the eponymous parent company Google, released a browser extension that offers a “one-step, persistent opt-out of personalized advertising and related data tracking.”

Get the Google Chrome web browser.  Or try Mozilla’s Firefox web browser.

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5 Things Facebook Can Do To Improve Facebook Places for Users

Picture of notebook screen with Facebook and F...

Image via Wikipedia

Facebook Places:  Mobile Location Identification

The mobile app Facebook Places recently launched with quite a storm over its lack of privacy setting for Facebook users.

To better help users Facebook created a video (see below) on how to use Places and control user settings for greater privacy.

The key to moving forward as internet services advance
is to assure account security and information privacy
as framed within a quality experience.

Places offers a unique way to geotag yourself and other Facebook users by “checking in” to locations like cafes, parks, clubs, schools, and stores much like Foursquare or Gowalla. Yet, Facebook can still improve Places and its website for users to make Places more accessible and easier to use and trust for users and parents.

5 Things Facebook Can Do To Improve Places

Here are five things Facebook could do to give greater user control and assuredness of privacy, while offering quality experience in Places.

  1. Set the User Default Settings to “Private” or “Only Me”
    By setting the Facebook Places default setting to “Friends”
    Facebook exposes all users to being tagged or identified
    in any locations if a friend tags them, whether they are in
    that location or not.
  2. Add Security Feature to block Work, Education
    and Other Categories

    Just like selective privacy settings using in Photos and Videos
    or for your Wall, Facebook could add User Folders to Places
    privacy settings block groups of selected “friends,” Facebook
    could add a feature in Privacy Settings.
  3. Add Places icon on Home Page Apps Column
    to Enable “Friend Discovery.”

    This would add a conspicuous monitoring page of friend’s
    who allow their locations to be discovered. Also a great to have
    for conferences, when travelling in a group or family and at
    large venues or public events.
  4. Add Places link on
    Upper Menu Bar > Account Setting > Privacy page

    This would give Places its own Category row for greater visibility
    and easier access to user  Places privacy controls.
  5. Disable Status Tagging feature
    without select user approval
    .
    Facebook should give users the default controls to choose if
    and by whom they want to be tagged and identified at
    a location when someone else tags them.

What would you suggest Facebook do? Share your ideas here.

Facebook is an innovation leader in the social web. With services like Facebook Places, Gowalla, Google Places, and Foursquare we will eventually be able to extend our personal reach and business communications with geo-targeted ads, real-time updates, customer feedback, group offers, auto-reservation services and check ins, and more.

The key to moving forward as internet services advance is assuring account security and information privacy as framed within a quality experience.

Read Facebook’s blog here.  Or leave a Comment here.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Facebook Blows It Again

An open letter.
Facebook blew it again. There is no disputing it.
Many, perhaps millions are upset, even distrustful of Facebook. The launch of Facebook Places put users privacy at risk. This again exhibits a repetitive practice of a seemingly careless company whose computer servers hold and serve out users personal information and identifying their locations to 3rd parties, advertisers and now potentially everyone.
Should Facebook users expect Facebook to change its behavior? Probably not. Should they expect another privacy policy change? *Sigh* To what end, even I would ask?
Users have received a privacy policy change in March of this year, 2010. And, oops, Facebook does it again with Places.
The time for a Federal Policy on computer privacy rights is now. Perhaps, in this particular instance for the federal government to step in and investigate the apparent lack of respect and blatant disregard for its citizen’s Constitutional rights to privacy. It is time for a national discussion that debates the online practices of Facebook and all other companies that use electronic communications and or computer servers to transmit, collect, store, access, manage, provide 3rd party access to, or resell the private citizen’s personal information and or data.
This is at least the fourth betrayal of privacy by Facebook of its users’ information in the past 4 years. What has to occur for there to be greater oversight or punitive measures put in place to deter a company from such practices?
This is not a post to berate Facebook.  The online social networking platform has provided both positive technological and social innovation and progress of historic proportion. Facebook ecosystem provides a previously unimaginable ability to reconnect, maintain, follow and grow relationships with past and current friends and consumers, with increasing business marketing and sales potentials.
However, Facebook users and even business and government, must press for greater accountability to protect citizens, netizens, the online users in the wake of Facebook’s latest privacy misstep. We must call on Facebook and other online companies to maintain users’ and businesses privacy rights as default privacy policy, and not as an elective check box that must be discovered to be unchecked.
Related posts

How to Set Your Privacy Settings for Facebook Places: 14 Things To Do

How to Set Your Privacy Settings for Facebook Places: 14 Steps Things to Do Facebook Places logo

Another Facebook User Privacy Blunder?

Facebook Places app was released this week without assuring adequate user rights of privacy in setting the default app settings to OFF. This would have enabled users to learn the full extents of the Places app before they chose to use it and potentially expose themselves or others locations. As a result, Facebook unleashed a firestorm of discomfort and even causing the ACLU to step in.

What is Facebook Places and How Can I Use It Securely?

Facebook Places is the location sharing “check in” service that allows you to share your location with friends or everyone or no one if you choose. Places enables Facebook users to check in to a location to make themselves discoverable to their friends or to everyone in Facebook.

Using Places is a way to find friends or to discover new people who have the same interest in the place you both are in when you “check in” using the Facebook Places app.

Places is currently available only in the United States.

Tagging and Control in Places

Places enables you to tag your friends or anyone else at a common location who has their Places settings set wide open to “Everyone.” This will notify your Facebook network and their network just like tagging them in a Photo or a Note.

Places Privacy and Discovery

According to Facebook, only your friends can see when you visit or are tagged at a place. However, if you have your Privacy Settings (http://www.facebook.com/settings/?tab=privacy) set to “Everyone,” then anyone can discover your location.

Why? Setting to “Everyone” opens up your profile information to the entire Facebook network.

Tip: See Privacy for Places > Will my friends applications be able to
access to my location information?  http://www.facebook.com/help/?page=1080

14 Steps to Secure Your Facebook Places Privacy Settings

Not everyone wants nor chooses to be found or tagged by friends. It would have been good if Facebook had released the Places app with a default setting as non-Discoverable. but they did not.

If you want more control over your Privacy and Tagging you just need to change your settings.

Disabling Places Tagging

Facebook Places does offer user location privacy with tagging control for those who choose not to participate in Places Tagging.

Facebook-Places-Privacy-1

Turning off Places tagging will disable the ability for friends to check you in at any location, follow these steps:

Go to Privacy Settings

1. Select Account Settings. (upper right of the Facebook window under the Account Settings tab)

2. Change your Privacy Settings.

Tip: If logged into Facebook, just click or copy and paste this link:
http://www.facebook.com/settings/?tab=privacy

3. Selecting Privacy settings will open the Choose Your Privacy Settings page.

4. Look for the Things I share section.

Facebook-Places-Privacy-2

5.  Find and Choose your Security Settings for “Places I check in to.”

6.  Select your desired Level of Security to whom you want to make yourself discoverable if you choose to use Places to check in to a location.

a) “Everyone” broadcasts your location to everyone on the Facebook network, that’s 500 Million possible people.
b) “Friends of Friends” broadcasts your information to your friends and their friends networks.
c) “Friends Only” only broadcast your location to your immediate friend network.
d) Choosing “Custom” enables you to selectively choose who you want, or no one at all.

7.  Selecting Custom give you the most restrictive options.

Facebook-Places-Privacy-4

8. Custom Privacy enables you to make yourself visible no one at all by selecting Only Me. You can also set it to a select group or a few chosen friends.

How To Do It?
Privacy Settings > Customize setting > Things I share > Places I check in to > Customize > Select Make this visible to > [Select] ONLY ME

Facebook-Places-Privacy-5

Control How Others Discover or Tag You in Places

9. Next, go to Include me in “People Here Now” after I check in to control others ability to tag you.

10. You can uncheck “Include me in “People Here Now” after I check in” to disable others from discovering your location. (see below image) Leaving “Enabled” checked will make you visible to friends and any other people on Facebook checked in nearby.

Facebook-Places-Privacy-6

Secure Control Settings to Let Friends Check You In

11. You can Control settings to “Let Friends Check Me In.”
This will disable your location from being tagged to a place should a friend choose to tag you.

12. Go to the Things others share section and

13. Go to Friends can check me into Places options

14. Select your desired Level of Security

a) Enabled: allows others to check you in, and tag you.
b) Disable: prevents others from checking you in, or tagging you

Facebook-Places-Privacy-7

Location Check-in and People Discovery with “People Here Now”

Since Facebook Places is a mobile app, in the “People Here Now” section, you can see others who are checked in with you at that place. This section is visible for a limited amount of time and only to people who are checked in there. That way you can meet other people who might share your interests.

Making Your Location Private after Checking-in

If you prefer not to appear in the People Here Now” section, uncheck the “Include me in ‘People Here Now’ after I check in” privacy control.

How to Secure Your Mobile Settings

Check out this great slide show on Mashable for mobile users.

Learn More About Your Privacy on Facebook

Facebook Help: Facebook places
http://www.facebook.com/help/?page=1080

Facebook Blog; Places Launches
http://blog.facebook.com/blog.php?post=418175202130

ACLU: Facebook Privacy Resources Page
http://dotrights.org/facebook-places-your-friends-are-here-what-about-your-privacy

Related posts

How to secure your Facebook in 5 secs!

Have you done this already?

See this post to secure your Facebook account from hackers in seconds.

This good advice comes from All Facebook, the self proclaimed “unofficial facebook resource.” All Facebook is an excellent resource on the hacks and hazards, as well as good tips and best practices of everything Facebook.

The only setback to selecting this Facebook Security Option is that it will ask you to confirm your login location every time you want to login if you clear your browser cache. Otherwise, it gives you greater notice and control over your account.

HT @AndyKaufman for the tweet.

Journalism in the information age

NBC News Washington
Image via Wikipedia

What is journalism in the information age?

An unpublicized, prototype smart phone is meticulously detailed
in a blog post unbeknownst to its creators.

The whole Apple vs. Gizmodo blogger Jason Chen is unfortunately helping to define a soft spot in the information age: what activities establish and define a blogger as or from a journalist?

Are Bloggers Journalists?

From the headlines, it is clear that legal statutes and opinion are unclear and un-unified on the subject.

In Defense of Journalist Bloggers
http://trueslant.com/kylebrady/2010/04/29/in-defense-of-journalist-bloggers/

“…as Old Media continues to collapse, those very same institutions and individuals that once panned the digital world are now scrambling to embrace it…”

“If this case goes to court, as it appears to be doing, the appropriate legal definition of journalism should be expanded to include individuals that work for online news organizations and those that participate in legitimate journalistic activities on a regular basis, with blogger status becoming finally irrelevant.”

Are Bloggers Journalists and Should They Get to Use Shield Laws?
http://www.blogher.com/are-bloggers-journalists-and-should-they-get-use-shield-laws

“Yet bloggers often act as journalists — journalists outside the mainstream media — and this ruling could muzzle ordinary citizens from using their voice to point out the foibles of companies without protection from lawsuits. At the same time, this ruling could also protect citizens and companies from having slanderous statements made about them on the Internet. It’s a ruling that cuts both ways.”

“At the heart of the case is the question of whether bloggers are journalists — and if so, should they be held to the same standards as well as receive the same protections.

Journalistics points out that the self-perception of bloggers as journalists has risen.

PRWeek and PRNewswire recently teamed up on a study that found 52% of bloggers consider themselves journalists. The last time they did this study, roughly a third of bloggers felt this way. Why do more bloggers consider themselves journalists these days?”

Reporters’ Privilege
http://www.eff.org/issues/bloggers/legal/journalists/privilege

“What makes a journalist a journalist is whether she is gathering news for dissemination to the public, not the method or medium she uses to publish. So the better way to frame the debate is: Can journalists blog?”

“As the California Supreme Court acknowledged, “The press’ function as a vital source of information is weakened whenever the ability of journalists to gather news is impaired. Compelling a reporter to disclose the identity of a source may significantly interfere with this news gathering ability; journalists frequently depend on informants to gather news, and confidentiality is often essential to establishing a relationship with an informant.” (Mitchell v. Superior Court)”

Are bloggers journalists? Do they deserve press protections?
http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0202/p03s02-usju.html

“Unlike traditional news outlets, however, many blogs have no editors, no publishers and, often, a staff of only one. And while some are supported by advertisers and contributions, many bloggers make no money at all.”

“Ultimately, the issue comes down to whether bloggers act like traditional journalists, says University of Iowa law professor and First Amendment specialist Randall Bezanson. Simply expressing opinions to a tiny audience doesn’t count, he says.”

Md. shield law now includes protection for college student journalists
http://www.splc.org/newsflash.asp?id=2081&year=

The bill’s language extends protections to those “employed by the news media in any news gathering or news disseminating capacity,” or to anyone “enrolled as a student in an institution of postsecondary education and engaged in any news gathering or news disseminating capacity recognized by the institution as a scholastic activity or in conjunction with an activity sponsored funded, managed or supervised by school staff or faculty.”

The “news media” covered by the bill currently includes “newspapers, magazines, journals, press associations, news agencies, wire services, radio, television and any printed, photographic, mechanical, or electronic means of disseminating news and information to the public.”

Government Online
http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2010/Government-Online.aspx

“[S]ocial media and just-in-time applications have changed the way Americans get information about current events or health information”

– Aaron Smith, a Research Specialist at the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project and author of a report based on a new national phone survey.

Giz Your Own Adventure: Bloggers, Journalists, and Case Law
http://www.fastcompany.com/1628695/giz-your-own-adventure

“Yes, bloggers count as journalists. See the precedent of O’Grady v. Superior Court, a 2006 case in which bloggers were sued by Apple for revealing a confidential new product. The court ruled that bloggers do indeed qualify for protections offered all other journalists, both in California and federally.”

Times  Reporter Called to Grand Jury for C.I.A. Book
http://www.observer.com/2010/media/times-reporter-called-grand-jury-cia-book

“He [Times reporter and subpoenaed  author, James Risen] intends to honor his commitment of confidentiality to his source or sources,” Mr. Kurtzberg [Risen’s lawyer] said. “We intend to fight this subpoena.”

Troubling Precedent: NJ Court Says Bloggers Are Not Journalists
http://bigjournalism.com/jlakely/2010/04/29/troubling-precedent-nj-court-says-bloggers-are-not-journalists/

Sign of the Times

The Apple Gizmodo incident is one of many of today’s issues that demand we discuss and reconsider what use to be the most common assumptions:

What is news? What is a journalist?

Who makes news? Who reports news? What is a news source?

Are bloggers journalists?

Are bloggers and online content creators protected with the same rights and by the same laws that protect journalists in our offline world?

Visualization 2.0

It was more than 3 years ago – a light year in internet time – that I saw Michael Wesch‘s mind breaking video The Machine is Us/ing Us.

In summary, due to the internet’s malleable nature that genuinely promotes creativity, remix, and innovation, we will need to rethink: copyright, authorship, identity, ethics, governance, privacy, commerce, love, family, ourselves.

Apple Gizmodo only seems to have expedited our need to truly grapple with this question now.

Are you a Blogger Journalist or Citizen Journalist?

Learn about Reporter’s Priviledge in your State here.
Learn about the protections journalist have in Shield Laws here.
Learn more about Retraction statutes here.

    Related articles on journalism in the information age

    The Gizmodo iPhone Fiasco: Infographic

    Gizmodo iPhone Saga: Infographic via FastCompanyGizmodo iPhone Saga: Infographic via FastCompany

    In case you were wondering how it all began
    and how it was to turn out.

    Read the post here.


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