WELCOME to Connected Rights, your sentinel in the outer ring of digital rights news and analysis.
FORMER SILICON VALLEY EMPLOYEES ARE BANDING TOGETHER to fight against their former employers by battling tech addiction and tech-derived depression among young people: http://nyti.ms/2s9YlPS
The Center for Humane Technology’s campaign will be called The Truth About Tech, and it will involve school tours and broadcasts (with free airtime from Comcast and DirecTV). According to Tristan Harris, a former Google ethicist who’s in charge here: “We were on the inside… We know what the companies measure. We know how they talk, and we know how the engineering works.”
Others involved in the campaign include a bunch of former Facebookers – an operations manager, the guy who invented the Like button, and former exec Dave Morin. Here’s an interesting bit from the New York Times piece:
“The group expects its numbers to grow. Its first project to reform the industry will be to introduce a Ledger of Harms – a website aimed at guiding rank-and-file engineers who are concerned about what they are being asked to build. The site will include data on the health effects of different technology and ways to make products that are healthier.”
I’m generally a little sceptical about talk of “technology addiction” because this sort of thing is hard to quantify and there are likely many confounding factors. But if these people want to make the tech industry less exploitative, by all means, go right ahead. It will be interesting to see if they can achieve inside-out reform that lessens the need for regulation. I’m not holding my breath, though.
JIM CARREY IS HOPPING ON BOARD THE ANTI-FACEBOOK bandwagon. He tweeted yesterday: “I’m dumping my Facebook stock and deleting my page because Facebook profited from Russian interference in our elections and they’re still not doing enough to stop it. I encourage all other investors who care about our future to do the same. #unfriendfacebook”: http://bit.ly/2Bd3GZA
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MATT HANCOCK, THE UK’S “DIGITAL SECRETARY”, is the guy who’s in charge of data protection in the country. So it must be rather embarrassing for him to be accused of flagrantly breaking British data protection law with his new app: http://bit.ly/2nKk9Mq
(Side note: Who would download an MP’s app? I mean, really.)
THOSE WHO BOTHERED TO RESPOND TO A PUBLIC CONSULTATION on Singapore’s new data protection law (all 68 of them) were mostly in favour of bringing in a strict breach notification regime: http://bit.ly/2nNHtJn
POLITICO HAS A NICE PIECE ON HOW THE EU uses its data protection laws to export its privacy standards around the world: http://politi.co/2nBn3TB
RUSSIA IS BIG ON BLOCKING WEBSITES – as in, hundreds each day – and someone is reportedly taking advantage of this fact by impersonating the state censor and emailing internet service providers with phony deletion orders: http://bit.ly/2sb0ril
CHINESE COPS ARE NOW USING SMART GLASSES TO IDENTIFY wanted criminals as they pass through public transport facilities. The glasses scan people’s faces and link to a tablet to search for matches, and have in recent days reportedly helped their users identify seven fugitives “plus 26 cases of identity fraud” at one railway station: http://bit.ly/2nNXBug
WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO AVOID INTERNET-ENABLED VIBRATORS? Users of the smartphone-connected “Vibratissimo Panty Buster” had their private data exposed via a leaky database, in great detail. It may even be possible to remotely operate the thing: http://bit.ly/2FQ4N0s
If you’d like me to write articles for you about digital rights issues, speak at your event or provide privacy advice for your business, drop me an email at email@example.com.
HP HAS JOINED LENOVO IN OFFERING LAPTOPS WITH built-in webcam covers. Very few manufacturers provide this option, which removes the need to cover the webcam with something makeshift (in my case, black insulation tape). The new HP models don’t offer the option if you choose a touchscreen, though. http://bit.ly/2FU2nhi
FRANCE’S HIGH COURT HAS RULED that drivers can’t even use their phones when they’ve pulled over to the roadside, unless they park in a specially designated spot and turn off the engine: http://bit.ly/2E8iRpE
ARE JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES SUBJECT TO DATA PROTECTION LAW when they take notes about the people they doorstep? The Finnish data protection authority said yes but the Finnish courts (and the Jehovah’s Witnesses, obviously) said no. Now the advocate general of the Court of Justice of the European Union has sided with the privacy regulator: http://bit.ly/2EI1uJb
It’s an interesting opinion (and not, it should be noted, a ruling – this is supposed to advise the Court). The Jehovah’s Witnesses argue that, when they go and make notes about people, they do so in their personal capacity. They also say the notes don’t get centralised and filed.
Advocate-general Paolo Mengozzi, however, said: “… The set of personal data collected, otherwise than by automatic means, by members of a religious community, in the context of an activity such as that at issue in the main proceedings, on the basis of a specific geographical allocation and for the purposes of preparation for subsequent visits to people with whom a spiritual dialogue has been begun, is capable of constituting a filing system.”
Also: “… A religious community arranging proselytising activity in connection with which personal data is collected may be regarded as a controller even though it does not itself have access to the personal data collected by its members.”