GDPR privacy notifications — primrose path of default settings

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Jun 012018
 

I’ve been getting a lot of privacy policy update notifications in my email since last month. As part of terms and conditions for use of a product or service. All in response to the GDPR — General Data Protection Regulation, a European Union Regulation which was implemented on May 25, 2018. Many companies sell products and services globally; hence, the notices for those of us in the United States.

Wiki: According to the European Commission, “personal data is any information relating to an individual, whether it relates to his or her private, professional or public life. It can be anything from a name, a home address, a photo, an email address, bank details, posts on social networking websites, medical information, or a computer’s IP address.”

The lead-up to the effective date of the GDPR led to many companies and websites changing their privacy policies and features worldwide in order to comply with its requirements, and providing email and on-site notification of the changes, … This has been criticized for eventually leading to a form of fatigue among end-users over the excessive numbers of messages.

I’ve read some of these notices in full. And supplied my consent when requested. Tedious. Once you read a few, others are similar. Generally, the GDPR has facilitated clarification of all the ways our personal data is collected and used and especially shared. So, at face value, such transparency is a good thing.

This Washington Post article (May 25, 2018) “Why you’re getting flooded with privacy notifications in your email” summarizes what’s happening.

European Union regulators have always been much tougher on tech companies than their U.S. counterparts, for instance forcing them to give users more control, imposing fines for noncompliance and requiring platforms to spot and delete illegal content.

But as this Washington Post article (June 1, 2018) “Hands off my data! 15 default privacy settings you should change right now” points out, compliance for the updated privacy policies has an insidious “buyer beware” side. In some cases, the GDPR changed nothing as far as your personal data. “The devil’s in the defaults.”

Say no to defaults. A clickable guide to fixing the complicated privacy settings from Facebook, Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Apple.

You’re not reading all those updated data policies flooding your inbox. You probably haven’t even looked for your privacy settings. And that’s exactly what Facebook, Google and other tech giants are counting on.

They tout we’re “in control” of our personal data, but know most of us won’t change the settings that let them grab it like cash in a game show wind machine. Call it the Rule of Defaults: 95 percent of people are too busy, or too confused, to change a darn thing.

Give me 15 minutes, and I can help you join the 5 percent who are actually in control. I dug through the privacy settings for the five biggest consumer tech companies and picked a few of the most egregious defaults you should consider changing. These links will take you directly to what to tap, click and toggle for Facebook, Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Apple.

Google has been saving a map of everywhere you go, if you turned on its Assistant when you set up an Android phone. Amazon makes your wish list public — and keeps recordings of all your conversations with Alexa. Facebook exposes to the public your friends list and all the pages you follow, and it lets marketers use your name in their Facebook ads. By default, Microsoft’s Cortana in Windows 10 gobbles up … pretty much your entire digital life.

I’ve increasingly noticed the tradeoff between convenience and personal privacy. For example, Google’s services can make finding things, navigating, and scheduling appointments rather seamless. A digital assistant, providing personalization (like having an amazing personal butler). But my digital footprint — comprehensive record of my contacts and times and places — is shopped and shared between apps and services in a somewhat spooky way.

Changing the defaults … mean you’ll get less personalization from some services, and might see some repeated ads. But these changes can curtail some of the creepy advertising fueled by your data, and, in some cases, stop these giant companies from collecting so much data about you in the first place. And that’s a good place to start.

Rankings of antivirus software 2016

 Computer  Comments Off on Rankings of antivirus software 2016
Feb 082017
 

As in past years, independent antivirus testing houses have published lists of the best antivirus products for 2016. PC World summarized these results in their recent article “The best consumer antivirus products of 2016 are Avira and Norton, test labs say.”

AV-Comparatives released its best antimalware product of 2016 on Tuesday, after AV-Test announced its choice last week. There was the usual dash of controversy, however, as Symantec again declined to submit its Norton product to AV-Comparatives for testing. Otherwise, the winners were clear: AV-Test anointed Norton Security 2016 as providing the best Protection of all consumer antimalware products it tested during 2016. AV-Comparatives named Avira Antivirus Pro 2016 as its best antimalware product of 2016, narrowly edging out Bitdefender and Kaspersky.

See the full article for comparison tables by the two test labs. Or, view/download the complete reports at:

https://www.av-comparatives.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/avc_sum_201612_en.pdf

https://www.av-test.org/en/antivirus/home-windows/

National Cyber Security Awareness Month

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Oct 192016
 

As noted by the Department of Homeland Security:

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month which is an annual campaign to raise awareness about cybersecurity. We live in a world that is more connected than ever before. The Internet touches almost all aspects of everyone’s daily life, whether we realize it or not. National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) is designed to engage and educate public and private sector partners through events and initiatives to raise awareness about cybersecurity, provide them with tools and resources needed to stay safe online, and increase the resiliency of the Nation in the event of a cyber incident.

Week 1: October 3-7, 2016 – Every Day Steps Towards Online Safety with Stop.Think.Connect.™

Week 2: October 10-14, 2016 – Cyber from the Break Room to the Board Room

Week 3: October 17-21, 2016 – Recognizing and Combating Cybercrime

Week 4: October 24-28, 2016 – Our Continuously Connected Lives: What’s Your ‘App’-titude?

Week 5: October 31, 2016 –Building Resilience in Critical Infrastructure

Check out the “Stop.Think.Connect. Toolkit” for tips regarding social media, the Internet of Things, Traveling, Public Wi-Fi, online banking, etc.