This piece was originally published in Issue 2 of GDFC Mag; a magazine run by Goal Diggers FC, a London-based football club for women and non-binary folk.
On the 17th of June 2020, aljazeera.com reported that there were 20 Indian soldiers killed in a violent skirmish against China, due to an ongoing border dispute. India chose to retaliate digitally, by banning 59 Chinese apps, including TikTok and WeChat, from Indian app stores. In their government announcement, they stated that their reasons for doing this were because these apps “engaged in activities … prejudicial to [the] sovereignty and integrity of India.”
It’s boring, abstract, and honestly ‘privacy’ isn’t even the right word. After being immersed in the data privacy space for a solid year, I’ve noticed some common themes in rhetoric and attitudes — as well as problems where there still aren’t solutions, and summarised these into five main points:
Here’s something that privacy advocates desperately need to understand: privacy is unimportant and expensive. Sure apps like TikTok are built with intrusive SDKs, and have the most aggressive recommendation algorithms out there, BUT: the people using TikTok don’t care. They just want some fun social media to briefly distract them from…
Picture this: you’re a delivery person going door to door dropping off packages. You’re over-worked and under-paid. You arrive at a house and ring the doorbell. You wait patiently for someone to answer. Everything is normal. Oh, except: you’ve just been profiled on a facial recognition database owned by Amazon. Wow, what a time to be alive.
The scenario above has been made possible by Ring, an Amazon-owned company who make smart doorbells for Karens. These doorbells are powered by Rekognition, Amazon’s facial recognition technology. Which works very well, actually (at automating the already heavily embedded systemic racism that exists…
Today NHSX, the digital arm of the NHS, are piloting their contact tracing app in the Isle of Wight. Before we dive in to the privacy concerns I would like to point out that the app itself is shoddy — it will not work properly as a contact tracing app, and therefore, it probably won’t work very well as a secret spying app either. Once again, the sheer ineptitude of this government stops them from even being evil effectively. Classic.
Okay just for a second imagine that this whole Coronavirus thing doesn’t exist, and that you get to be an early adopter of a cool new app. As an early adopter of this app, you get to choose:
☝️OPTION ONE: the app will be built by both Google and Apple, working together, in an unprecedented tech giant mega-merge, the likes of which the world has never seen.
✌️OPTION TWO: the app will be built by the UK government, a group of people who get their emails printed out for them by their interns.
Gosh what a TOUGH choice. Of…
When the GDPR bomb finally dropped in 2018, there was a desperate scramble among Big Tech companies — whose business models revolve around the exploitation of user data — to make some changes. But are these changes only cosmetic?
This falls under what I like to call the privacy promise — the persistent messaging we get from Big Tech about how much they value our privacy.
We all know that there’s a lot of money in health, because humans have frail, sensitive bodies which are prone to disease and ageing — all of us need to access healthcare at various stages all through our lives.
But what kind of world are we walking into when Google suddenly becomes your gateway to healthcare? Can a large tech company replace a hospital or doctors office?
Should Google be your doctor?
Because SIM swapping is extremely easy: all it takes is one phone call to the victim’s mobile carrier, to request they move their number over to a new sim. Once this is done, the hacker (or Cyber Criminal if you want to be cool), can intercept two-factor authentication texts and get into a social media account by doing a password reset.
Here’s something we must understand about free platforms such as Facebook: it is an ad network, designed to take in as much information about humans as possible, so it can thrive on a bed of behavioural data — in a lot of ways, this is a threat to our autonomy, because free platforms like this profit from our private experiences.
Here’s the problem: Facebook is useful to a lot of people. So is Google. So is Amazon. But, is all the tracking and surveillance worth what they give us in return, even though many of these platforms don’t cost money…
By Georgia Iacovou
If you’ve read Incognito before, you may have come across April, our fictional dummy for privacy related experiments. Last time we saw her, she used an app that was putting all her data on a blockchain, making her unable to delete it. We also had a look at what might happen if her data was made more easily accessible to her, the government, and her employer (sucks for April).
Consistently gathering behavioural data on a mass scale has a lot of potential — this data is very versatile, and is used by ad networks to predict what…
Writing about data privacy and tech ethics; dismantling what Big Tech firms are doing in a way that’s easy to understand