Weekly News #7

Weekly News #7

Facebook privacy issues
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, the 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 extremely unreasonable.

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 bigger than ever – are you ready for it?

Is that kid browsing? AI can now tell…

CEO Dylan Collins, of company known as SuperAwesome, which 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”.

Weekly News #6

Weekly News #6

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 hint companies toward having better data management. Australian data breach affects 10 million civilians.

Smart Homes: Not so Smart

Smart homes definitely 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 paying a price. 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, as they don’t 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 essentially 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 and CCPA in place, businesses now need to allow for firmer data privacy enforcement. 

Every company we interact with uses our data-from The Weather Network to IBM. “The companies used the 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 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, the breach was disclosed to be between January 1, 2019, and March 31, 2019. Furthermore, private health was yet again the most affected sector.

 

Weekly News #5

Weekly News #5

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 them with cookies
  • Incognito mode on Google Search and Maps

Not to mention, by reducing the cost of their hardware, they have an 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 investigations are made. “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 15000 customers. They were warned by researchers days before the breach, but Freedom responded only after the warnings. 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 full-proof in terms of data breaches and privacy protection.

 

 

Weekly News #4

Weekly News #4

Facebook privacy issues

Nearly half of U.S.-based employees unfamiliar with emerging California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which could affect businesses and innovators. Zuckerberg explains how Facebook gets ‘privacy-focused’, including how they will work with the online education site, Udacity. Similarly, Microsoft 365 to offer tighter security and privacy controls.

The CCPA basically oversees the collection and usage of data. Unfortunately, 46% of US workers do not know what CCPA is. Additionally, since experts expect the law to apply to more than 500,000 U.S. companies, more work is needed to train U.S. employees of this regulation.

Recently, a survey testing privacy knowledge was conducted on 1000 employees. Reports suggest that 12 percent of employees said they were unsure if they should report a cybercriminal stealing sensitive client data while at work. This issue demonstrates that there is a strong need for privacy awareness training in protecting sensitive information. That being said, a national data privacy standard must be addressed by Congress this year. However, there are risks involved, for example, if data rules are not done properly, it could harm startup culture and have a negative effect on innovators.

In other news, Zuckerberg’s plans to become more privacy-focused include end-to-end encryption for Messenger conversations and secure WhatsApp statuses that only friends can see. They are spending $3 billion to cover possible fines from the Federal Trade Commission over privacy violations in the past. In the future, they plan to emphasize private messaging and attain a bigger role in communities. Additionally, they will remove groups that have harmful content, supporting their motto, “The future is private”.

Facebook wants AI researchers to figure out privacy. They are currently working with Udacity, which is an online learning site, to try to enable AI research that doesn’t affect or harm privacy. As an incentive, they are offering scholarships to 5,000 people to encourage them to take a new Udacity course called Secure and Private AI. The idea is for people to learn how to apply techniques that AI powers are using.

Microsoft is also gearing towards better security, by strengthening security options available to Microsoft 365 customers. With access to new data controls, businesses will be able to better manage encrypted emails, prevent sharing of sensitive information, and investigate possible data errors. Using these controls, people can hone in on specific security issues, such as data leakage or phishing attacks. On top of that, Microsoft 365 is also adding a feature called Secure Private Channels, to help protect sensitive information from being unintentionally shared or leaked.

With large companies working to protect their consumers’ personal data, and CCPA working to enforce consumer rights, privacy has never been more prominent.

CES and Data Privacy

CES and Data Privacy

Facebook privacy issues

James Martin/CNET

Data privacy was present at the Consumer Electronics Show, however, the way in which tech companies are protecting privacy is still unclear.  

This week, more than 180,000 people gathered in Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) expecting to be impressed by the latest technology products. However, attendees found that data privacy was present among the new technologies and companies.

The first proof of the importance of privacy in this year’s CES came from Apple in the form of a giant billboard on a building in Las Vegas that read “What happens on your iPhone, stays on your iPhone.” Since 2016, Apple has used privacy as a competitive advantage going as far as Tim Cook denouncing that data is being “weaponized against us with military efficiency by the data-industrial complex.” Even though Apple does not have a presence inside the CES, it’s marketing brilliance was made evident with the billboard.

Inside the event, privacy was present in various ways:

  • Steve Koening, Consumer Technology Association Vice President, spoke about the importance of data for today’s technology and how data privacy and security are more relevant than ever.
  • BlackBerry announced “BlackBerry Secure,” a new branding that aims to position the company among consumers and manufacturers as a referent in data security and privacy.
  • LG introduced ThinkQ, an AI platform that gives personalized recommendations based on usage patterns. David Vanderwaall, SVP of marketing for LG Electronic’s US Arm, mentioned that the company is using a hybrid privacy-protection method in which the device stores individual usage data, but only aggregated data is sent to the cloud.
  • Mycroft, a smart assistant that competes with Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assitant, does not collect or store any data from the users as do the other two. It will be interesting to see how intelligent the assistant can be without collecting data.
  • A conference titled “American Privacy Regulations in a Post-GDPR World” featured Walmart’s Director of Global Public Policy, Consumer Technology Association’s SVP of Government and Regulatory Affairs, among others, discussing privacy regulations.

In 2019 we will see data privacy becoming a business imperative, either because organizations have to comply with regulations and/or because consumers are demanding it. However, organizations have the responsibility to move from using data privacy as a marketing/buzzword to educating customers on how personal data is protected. 

Weekly News #3

Weekly News #3

Facebook privacy issues

Experts predict that data privacy will take the center stage in 2019 and that organizations will have to fully embrace it. Google and other cloud providers are already jumping into the privacy wave by offering de-identification tools for healthcare data. 

Data privacy became a major topic in 2018. On one hand, GDPR came into effect in Europe affecting organizations from all over the world. On the other hand, massive cases of data breaches and data misuse where reported leading to customer concerns and legislators proposing new privacy laws.

2019 is expected to be a year in which organizations shift from considering privacy as a nice-to-have to a must-have. This shift will come in part from legislation but also from consumers demanding stronger data protection. Kristina Bergman, CEO of Integris Software Inc., predicts that in 2019 :

  • we will see the rise of the Chief Information Security Officer;
  • privacy and security will be seen as a continuum;
  • a growing conflict between privacy vs. the Data Industrial Complex;
  • the growth of data privacy automation.

In Canada, Howard Solomon interviewed four privacy and security experts, and these are their predictions:

  • David Senf, founder and chief analyst at the Toronto cyber consultancy Cyverity, predicts an increase in the demand of cybersecurity experts to protect against data breaches.
  • Ann Cavoukian, Expert-in-Residence at Ryerson University’s Privacy by Design Centre of Excellence, predicts that 2019 will be a “privacy eye-opener” with a growth of decentralization and SmartData.
  • Imran Ahmad, a partner at the law firm of Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP, advises that HR should become more involved in preventing data misuse.
  • Ahmed Etman, managing director for security at Accenture Canada, warns that organizations have to be careful of cyberattacks against their supply chain.

Meanwhile, some organizations are jumping into the privacy wave by launching products to help their customers make better use of their data while protecting privacy:

One thing we can be sure in 2019 is that data privacy and security will continue to make headlines.