When is okay to publicly reveal people’s personal information?

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A recent query from a reader raised some interesting points about when it’s okay to post things online — and when it’s a violation of privacy. This is a challenging question, and one that might generate a lot of disagreement, so I think it’s worth exploring. I’ll start with what I’ve developed as general principles, … Continued

Mortgaging your privacy with AccountChek

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Because I’m moving, I’ve needed to start a bunch of new accounts and apply for various financial instruments. It’s become clear that where corporations used to speak about protecting your privacy, nowadays, they don’t even try. The most outrageous violation was committed by the bank providing my mortgage, which uses and automated data collection system … Continued

Can you sue for libel and then keep your name a secret?

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People are saying mean things about you. You’d like to sue them to get them to stop. Can you do this and maintain your privacy — including keeping your name a secret? This principle is being tested right now in Cincinnati. Bloggers accused a police officer of flashing a white power sign at protestors and … Continued

How Zoom is reclaiming its brand . . . and why it will succeed

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Zoom is the easiest to use of all videoconferencing systems, but its security was questionable. After two weeks of spectacular advances, it’s now on a path not only to fix its security, but to restore its brand. Zoom surged in popularity because it was easy to use for both novices and experts in a variety … Continued

Zoom CEO Eric Yuan takes a step in the right direction on privacy

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As we all try to work from home, Zoom videoconferencing has become the hottest company on the planet. It’s also at the center of a firestorm of criticism on privacy and security. Yesterday, CEO Eric S. Yuan tried to address the problem. His post is a good first step, but now Zoom has to follow … Continued

How Facebook’s “privacy-focused vision” will further violate your privacy

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Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg announced a major strategy shift towards messaging and “privacy.” Don’t be fooled. It’s not about making you feel safer — at all. At the center of this two-step are two different definitions of privacy. When you think about privacy, you are thinking “I don’t want my private information shared.” That’s not what … Continued

Can you have fun with a GDPR announcement? JibJab did

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Your mailbox is full of GDPR announcements. They’re obligatory, and you’re almost certainly ignoring them. Writing in this context is a challenge — but humor and video site jibjab.com decided to have a little fun with it. On the policy side, though, it’s still legalese all the way down. Here’s the email my friend got … Continued

The best questions that senators asked Mark Zuckerberg yesterday

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Based on my Twitter feed yesterday, people in Congress were asking some pretty dumb questions of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg yesterday. (One analyst tweeted that her head was going to explode.) So I looked at the transcript. What I found was some excellent questions that don’t have any simple answers. Here’s a good sampling. (The … Continued