Ontario Takes Action Against Privacy Breaches. GDPR After One Year.

Ontario Takes Action Against Privacy Breaches. GDPR After One Year.

Facebook privacy issues
Ontario looking into stronger privacy control to further protect citizens. Facebook under scrutiny once again over data privacy issues. Taking a look at GDPR one year later. 
Ontario takes action to protect privacy and personal data

79% of surveyed Ontarians believe data about people and businesses in Ontario need stronger protection. “Our government recognizes that the tremendous economic potential of emerging data technologies needs to be balanced with thoughtful and robust protections for the privacy and personal data of all Ontarians,” said Bill Walker, Minister of Government and Consumer Services. “We believe that Ontarians deserve to know and actively consent to the collection of data, how that data is used, and by whom”.

Three areas of focus include:

  • Promoting public trust and confidence
  • Creating economic benefit
  • Enabling a better, smarter, and more efficient government

Walker states that the Ontarian government is making sure the principal focus is the protection of personal privacy. He hopes our municipal and federal cohorts will do the same.

Judge orders Facebook to turn over records on data privacy

Facebook has been asked to turn over internal records regarding data privacy and access to user data by a judge in Delaware. This was the result of a lawsuit accusing Facebook’s mismanagement of data breaches. Furthermore, Facebook’s counter-argument claiming that the investors had not stated a proper purpose for searching the company’s records, was rejected.

One year in, GDPR helps EU combat data privacy concerns and raises the bar worldwide

The world as we know it changed when the GDPR came into action. Companies that were using data seamlessly were forced to invest in data centres and to regulate their data collection processes.

GDPR has introduced many new guidelines into the European consumer-business scene, such as the right to be forgotten, which simply means the company has to completely remove the user from their system altogether.

Every country or region is now trying to implement their own versions suitable for their citizens. India was the first to come out with a similar law, followed by Brazil, Vietnam, China, Japan, Thailand and South Korea.

This cascading effect from GDPR shows light to a promising future of consumer privacy and regulation against the misuse of data. We look forward to seeing what these laws will do for us!

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The Privacy Risk Most Data Scientists Are Missing

The Privacy Risk Most Data Scientists Are Missing

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Data breaches are becoming increasingly common, and the risks of being involved in one are going up. A Ponemon Institute report (an IBM-backed think tank), found that the average cost of a data breach in 2018 was $148 per record, up nearly 5% from 2017.

Privacy regulations and compliance teams are using methods like masking and tokenization to protect their data — but these methods come at a cost. Businesses often find that these solutions prevent data from being leveraged for analytics and on top of that, they also leave your data exposed.

Many data scientists and compliance departments protect and secure direct identifiers. They hide an individual’s name, or their social security number, and move on. The assumption is that by removing unique values from a user, the dataset has been de-identified. Unfortunately, that is not the case.

In 2010, Netflix announced a $1 million competition to whoever could build them the best movie-recommendation engine. To facilitate this, they released large volumes of subscriber data with redacted direct identifiers, so engineers could use Netflix’s actual data, without compromising consumer privacy. The available information included users’ age, gender, and zip code. However, when these indirect identifiers (also known as quasi-identifiers) were taken in combination, they could re-identify a user with over 90% accuracy. This resulted in the exposure of millions of Netflix’s consumers. Within a few months, the competition had been called off, and a lawsuit was filed against Netflix.

When it comes to the risk exposure of indirect identifiers, it’s not a question of if, but when. That’s a lesson companies have continuously found out the hard way. Marriott, the hotel chain, faced a data breach of 500 million consumer records and faced $72 million in damages due to a failure to protect indirect identifiers.

Businesses are faced with a dilemma. Do they redact all their data and leave it barren for analysis? Or do you leave indirect identifiers unprotected, and create an avenue for exposure that will lead to an eventual leak of your customers’ private data?

Either option causes problems.

That’s why we founded CryptoNumerics. Our software is able to autonomously classify your datasets into direct, indirect, sensitive, and insensitive identifiers, using AI. We then use cutting-edge data science technologies like differential privacy, k-anonymization, and secure multi-party computation, to anonymize your data while preserving its analytical value. Your datasets are comprehensively protected and de-identified while maintaining the integrity needed for machine learning and data analysis.

Data is the new oil. Artificial intelligence and machine learning represent the future of technological value, and any company that does not keep up will be left behind and disrupted. Businesses cannot afford to leave data siloed or uncollected.

Likewise, data privacy is no longer an issue that can be ignored. Scandals like Cambridge Analytica, and policies like GDPR, prove that, but the industry is still not knowledgeable on key risks, like indirect identifiers. Companies that use their data irresponsibly will feel the repercussions, but those that don’t use their data at all will be left behind. Choose instead not to fall into either category.

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Share Your Data to Live Longer. Companies Use AI to Protect Children.

Share Your Data to Live Longer. Companies Use AI to Protect Children.

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Share your data to live a longer life. Build a complete privacy toolbox and stay privacy compliant. A.I. can now tell if a user browsing a site is an adult or a child. 

For a Longer, Healthier Life, Share Your Data

Share your data with others. Wait. What? You read it correctly. We don’t mean all of your data, just your health-related data.

According to data scientist, Luke Miner, from the New York Times’ Privacy Project, privacy-protection regulations are hindering AI programs in their quest to diagnose severe illnesses and even scan for genetic disorders. He says that we may not understand “that the scarcity of health care data imposes a significant cost on society” and that “A.I. has the potential to advance medicine across a broad range of subfields”.

Imagine what AI and health data combined can do for us. We could widen our knowledge of the human genome, segment cancerous cells, and even improve diagnoses accuracy. However, HIPAA, or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, has made it difficult for medical professionals and hospitals to share their data with researchers and the fees associated with compliance of that data are monstorous.

Build the Complete Privacy Toolbox

Avoid data breaches and bad publicity by constructing a solid toolbox. Privacy breaches are not just about fines. They are also about deteriorating reputation, as customers are now becoming more and more aware of their rights and options.

The truth is, knowing how to apply different privacy management and privacy techniques at different times for different problems is very crucial. For example, tokenization is ideal for credit card data, but it is not effective when protecting dates of birth.

Live by these principles and make privacy easier to manage:

  1. Centralized privacy policy
  2. De-identified and masked data
  3. Controlled and managed data linkages
  4. Strong data governance

Not only do your customers benefit, but so do you, as a business. Your reputation remains untarnished, and your customers start trusting you, thus enhancing retention. Data privacy is more significant than ever – are you ready for it?

Is that a kid browsing? AI can now tell…

Dylan Collins, CEO of SuperAwesome, a company that makes safe internet products for children, says ticking a box to confirm you’re an adult is not enough these days. Of course kids will tick that box pretending to be adults!

There are many problems with this. First off, their privacy is now at risk. Secondly, they are now being tracked unnecessarily. In response to that, the company claimed that they have been undergoing testing on an AI system that detects whether a child or adult is browsing, thus eliminating the need for the skewed tick-box results.

“The signals we use range from the physical device to the nature of the content and how the content is being interacted with, to where on the screen is being tapped,” Collins said, at the Collision Conference in Toronto this week. “If it determines the person browsing is a child, the company can then decide to trigger additional privacy controls that prevent it from collecting browsing information or soliciting personal data from the child on the site, allowing it to remain compliant with federal law”.

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Productivity at the Cost of Privacy? WhatsApp Has Been Compromised.

Productivity at the Cost of Privacy? WhatsApp Has Been Compromised.

Facebook privacy issues

Smart homes are not so smart when it comes to protecting privacy. WhatsApp gets hacked by Israeli spies. Intel notifies customers about security flaws with chipNew regulations push companies to have better data management. Australian data breach affects 10 million civilians.

Smart Homes: Not so Smart

Smart homes reduce effort and make life easier, but it comes at a cost. You and your family’s privacy is put at risk because of the trade-off between productivity and safety.

One of the most popular forms of a smart home is the digital assistant. Google Home and Alexa are the major players in this area. These devices are continuously listening for “activation” words or phrases, and thus, your entire conversation history is saved in their server. As a result, many scary and embarrassing stories have surfaced, and yes, even from Amazon and Google products. 

If consumers do their part and take the necessary security steps, they should be able to enjoy the benefits of their smart home without sacrificing privacy. Here are some ways you can secure your smart home:

  • Review and delete your voice history from time to time.
  • Secure your network.
  • Change your wake or activation word or phrase.
  • Delete old recordings.
  • Strengthen your passwords.

Do everything you can to secure your home from being vulnerable to attacks.

WhatsApp Gets Hacked

WhatsApp, an app used by millions of people worldwide, has been compromised. On Tuesday, an Israeli spy firm injected malware into targeted phones to steal data, by simply placing a call. Recipients did not even need to answer the call. What’s worse, the call could not be traced in the log. The company states that only a select few have been affected, but they do not know the exact number.

Intel Chip Suffers Security Flaws

In other news, Intel, also known as the worldwide computer chip maker, has just notified the world about a security flaw that can prove to be harmful to millions of PCs. Attackers are able to get their hands on any data that a victim’s processor touches. Not scary at all…

New Regulations Call for Better Data Management

With privacy laws, such as the GDPR, in place, businesses now need to implement firmer data privacy enforcement. 

Every company we interact with uses our data -from The Weather Network to IBM. “[C]ompanies use… data to calibrate advertising campaigns to potential customers’ preferences, a type of personalization 90 percent of consumers say they find appealing,” says, Eric Archer-Smith, from BETA News. Although it helps with preferences and marketing, if found in the wrong hands, it could prove to be dangerous. Thus, companies today must find the perfect balance between personalization and privacy when collecting consumer data for analysis.

Australian Data Breach Affects 10 Million Civilians

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) recently reported that over 10 million people were hit in a single Australian data breach. Although the report did not specify the origin of the breach that affected these people, it specified that the incident took place between January 1, 2019, and March 31, 2019. Private health was, yet again, the most affected sector.

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See How Companies Are Taking Part in Privacy Awareness Week

See How Companies Are Taking Part in Privacy Awareness Week

Facebook privacy issues

It’s Privacy Awareness week! This year, the theme is how “protecting privacy is everyone’s responsibility.” Google is trying to fix their privacy blunders even though experts are not impressed, while Amazon is still making the same blunders as before. Beware Canada, a rise in data breaches prompts significant warning. Canadian wireless carrier, Freedom Mobile, exposed for leaking 15,000 of their customers’ data.

Google wants us to know they have changed. They are emphasizing privacy like never before. For example, they are enhancing existing and adding new features.

A lot of their new moves are straight out of Apple’s playbook, such as:

  • On-device machine learning
  • Better in-app privacy controls
  • More control over websites tracking with cookies
  • Incognito mode on Google Search and Maps

Not to mention, by reducing the cost of their hardware, they have the upper hand over Apple’s costlier hardware.

However, with their announcement on how they plan to give people more privacy control, experts are not very impressed. Ad-blocker company, Ghostery, says these changes are more to save face and less to save consumer privacy. These are marginal improvements, as they may be ignoring larger problems associated with consumer data privacy.

Regardless, Google’s new privacy features put the responsibility on users. They recently announced Android Q, its latest mobile OS, combined with 50 privacy and security features, including enhanced location tracking controls. Additionally, Google users can now set time limits for how long Google retains a certain type of information.

While Google is trying to make up for its data sins, Amazon is still making the same mistakes. Amazon Echo’s kid version, Echo Dot Kids, has been accused of tracking kids data without consent. Complaints have been filed to the Federal Trade Commission urging investigation. “We urge the FTC to investigate Amazon’s violations of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) for the safety and privacy of American children”.

Specifically, in Canada, the BC Office for the Information and Privacy Commissioner and the Better Business Bureau are warning individuals and companies to do a better job protecting their personal data. Last year, online shopping scams reached a whopping 3.5 million across Canada. “People get caught in the excitement to capitalize on a sale, grab that risk-free trial or purchase the last item before it goes out of stock and ends up jeopardizing their privacy.”

That being said, a Freedom mobile data breach has hit 15,000 customers. They were warned by researchers days before the breach, but Freedom responded only after the breach was made public. Luckily, they found no evidence leading them to believe data has been misused and they are now “conducting a full forensic investigation to determine the full scope of impact”.

With privacy awareness week upon us, now is a great time to stay informed on the best tools to help your business remain fool-proof in terms of data breaches and privacy protection.

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