Privacy when on the Internet is a hot topic, and quite rightly so. When I say ‘on the Internet’ that’s probably a misleading thing to say; many of us are ‘always on’ whether we’re actually doing something or not. No longer is this something to do with our laptops or mobile phones but increasingly it is other things within our household.
Why is privacy important to me? Well, for a number of reasons, one of which is that I am sick to the back teeth of pervasive, annoying, obstructive advertisements. It seems that in the past few years the web, social media etc. has become nothing more than an advertisers paradise, something we have to ‘put up with’.
Before writing this blog I was trying to read what seemed like a really interesting article on a popular UK news website. I gave up! The flashing images that follow your every mouse movement was just too much.
Privacy is obviously more important for lots of other reasons, and whilst I don’t want to go into specifics within this blog, I would ask the question whether you have really considered what information is used about you, how, by whom, was your permission to use that data implied?
Two articles have recently caught my attention:
The first article HERE was from the website of Wired which briefly details the privacy threat of flashlight apps. Really? An app that uses your smartphone camera flashlight is a privacy threat? It seems so! The article describes one particular flashlight app that accesses your data such as your calendar, your location and your camera and more, and then shares that data with a number of Ad networks. Of course this isn’t the only app that uses (or abuses!) your data, it’s pretty common.
Why would they do this? Simple. Money! There’s no such thing as free!
But what about the title of this article – Privacy and your Smart TV? Well this was an article that caught my attention last night. It shouldn’t have surprised me but it did. You can read the full article HERE but what it is essentially saying is this:
A man purchased a new Smart TV to replace his old one.
The man, Michael Price states ““The amount of data this thing collects is staggering. It logs where, when, how, and for how long you use the TV. It sets tracking cookies and beacons designed to detect ‘when you have viewed particular content or a particular email message.’ It records ‘the apps you use, the websites you visit, and how you interact with content.’ It ignores ‘do-not-track’ requests as a considered matter of policy.”
So what can you do? Switch the internet access off? It isn’t a Smart TV anymore, it’s a standard dumb TV
Let me balance this out a little. Generally speaking I have no problem with advertising and marketing, I sometimes find it genuinely useful. I’m a business owner so I have to do it myself, I have to make a living, and in fact there’s an ad on this very page for my new e-Safety Academy initiative. But when it is pervasive, obtrusive and downright annoying to the point that it spoils my whole online experience I have an issue. When your privacy is set out in 46 pages of legal jargonistic claptrap I have an issue.
Privacy is a massive issue, and this is just the tip of the iceberg.