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Privacy News & Analysis

Google's New Terms of Service Raise Privacy Concerns

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Google has more rights to the personal content users share than most people may have realized.

In its recently updated terms of service, the company acknowledges that it not only scans email, but retains the right to use personal content for marketing and internal development purposes.

If that's not enough to make you jittery, consider this: There could be even less privacy down the line. Google has significant mobile ambitions, including its modular smartphone dubbed Project Ara. Google previewed the phone, now in the earliest stages of development, at a developer event in Santa Clara, Calif. this week.

Cell phones pose multiple privacy problems, including lack of anonymity, location tracking and easy interception.

Fractal CEO: Consumers Want Control of Their Data

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The next time you’re downtown, stop and look around you: people, stores, banks, transit, restaurants, stoplights -- all of them constantly generating and consuming data. Now think back to the people, all of them with their own destinations, purpose, concerns, needs and schedules -- more data.

Since 2000, when he co-founded Fractal Analytics in Mumbai, Srikanth Velamakanni has been looking closely at the data that defines our lives, our jobs, our towns, even ourselves. Fractal has helped scores of clients sort it all out to better serve each customer, analyzing client data along with its in-house data warehouse to provide near real-time solutions. 

Fractal moved to New Jersey in 2005, then relocated again to San Mateo, Calif. in 2010 to be closer to Silicon Valley. It just opened an office in Rome, will soon expand to Switzerland and has already opened in Canada. Today it provides data analytics services to companies with revenues of $10 billion to $100 billion in sales, deriving 55 percent of its revenue from the retail/packaged goods sector, 40 percent in financial services/insurance and 5 percent from technology and telecom.

Maybe Customers Should Choose: Privacy or Free Content

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With all the amazing content available for free on the web, why are customers surprised or upset that companies track your online behavior? Are they seriously "creeped out" that their web searches today drive some of the ads they'll see for the next few weeks? Why?

Does anyone think all that content is pure altruism?

EMC's RSA Chief Calls Cybersecurity Experts to Action

EMC's RSA Chief Calls Cybersecurity Experts to ActionWhen RSA chief Art Coviello opened RSA’s information security conference earlier this week, there was an elephant room.

The elephant? Allegation(s) that his company had provided an NSA designed “back door” in its BSafe software which made it easy for the agency to decrypt information that RSA’s encryption software was supposed to keep private.

Your Customers Aren't Mindless Clicking Machines

Your Customers Aren't Mindless Clicking MachinesDatability -- the theme of CeBIT 2014 tradeshow taking place March 10-14 in Hanover, Germany -- is something of a mixed bag. On one hand, we have IBM Watson evaluating medical data in order to enable physicians to provide better treatment to patients. On the other, we have communications companies utilizing big data to simply continue blanket advertising by other means.

Wozniak: Apple Could Build Droid Phones, Warns of 'Police State'

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Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak captivated a tech-savvy audience in San Francisco today by warning that society is moving towards "a police state," calling for public resistance to the unrestricted collection of marketing data, and speculating that Apple could produce iPhones that run on Google's "not-so-fenced-in" Android operating system.

Google, Nest Labs and Nagging Questions of Privacy

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Google and Nest Labs must preserve customer privacy, avoid urges to collect personal data for marketing and advertising purposes and use their $3.2 billion merger only to improve the use and value of home gadgets, a privacy expert told CMSWire.

"Will the companies have the ethical compass to restrain themselves from taking all of this data and combining it with all the other data Google has?" asked Rebecca Herold, information privacy, security and compliance consultant and president of Rebecca Herold & Associates. "Or will they use it and share it for reasons that have nothing to do with and are far beyond any stretch of the imagination that could be linked to, the devices’ original purposes?"

Privacy is Overrated: Ask Your Customers and They Will Tell

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Guess what? New research from IBM shows customers are willing to share their personal information, especially if they get something in return.

Excuse us while we yawn ... But doesn't it seem like anyone who ever signed up for something as innocuous as a store loyalty card could explain the same thing? How many people registered for a website during the heady dot-com days, just to get a free water bottle?

And don't even get us started on the phenomenon of too much information on social media, where everyone shares just about everything, for nothing but 15 seconds of fame in return.

So let's overlook the obvious, and see if there are any deeper insights in the research IBM released this week at the National Retail Federation's 103rd Annual Convention and EXPO in New York City.

Keeping Customers at the Heart of the Internet of Things: Impact, Opportunities, Risks

Keeping Customers at the Heart of The Internet of Things: Impact, Opportunities, RisksThe Internet of Things brings with it great opportunities and great risks. Opportunities for financial gain and greater efficiencies for paying customers, and risks of misuse of data and dangers of turning into another method of unlawful surveillance.

The Year Ahead for Enterprise Privacy

Whether it’s concerns over privacy on Facebook and GoogleAdobe’s leak of data for nearly 150 million customers, or most notably, the NSA/Edward Snowden scandal, privacy concerns have been nightly news this year. These stories and many others have sent both individuals and enterprise organizations scrambling to evaluate the security of their own data, a trend likely to continue in 2014.

Tech, Social Media Companies Battle Government Spying

customer experience, NSA Spying: Should Data Analysts, Cloud Vendors Be Concerned?

It’s the government against the people. Well, if you consider AOL, Facebook, Yahoo!, Apple, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft and Twitter “the people.”

Those technology and social media giants launched a campaign against the government this week that included a letter to President Obama and Congress lobbying for reform on citizen surveillance efforts.

This summer, former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden exposed details of secret government intelligence programs he claimed that while aiming to prevent terrorist attacks violated privacy rights and civil liberties.

Maybe it will be government against your bottom line? (Made you look).

The New Pickpockets: Retail Sensors and Other Tracking Systems

Customer Experience, The New Pickpockets: Retail Sensors and Other Tracking SystemsShoppers by Noreen SeebacherThe days when a phone was simply used to place calls are long gone. (A study last year noted calling is one of the last things we do with smartphones, ranking far behind activities like web browsing and social networking.) But odds are most people don't think of their smartphones as tracking devices.

In this final installment of our three part series on the loss of privacy in a big data world, we'll explore the secret life of smartphones.

Welcome to the Big Data World: More Personalization, Less Privacy

Customer Experience, Welcome to the Big Data World: More Personalization, Less Privacy; Subway man by Asa AaronsYesterday we told you how retailers use "super spy cams" and other technologies to analyze store traffic, set staffing, reduce check-out line backups, monitor inventory and improve the overall customer experience. They use facial recognition software to identify VIP shoppers or nap shoplifters and identity thieves.

Companies like NEC Corp. use security camera footage to understand the behavior of crowds and to "detect abnormalities" to improve safety. But what's the reality? Security gained … or privacy lost?

Predictive Analytics, Passive Wi-Fi Tracking and Other Privacy Threats

Customer Experience, Predictive Analytics, Passive Wi-Fi Tracking and Other Privacy Threats, Happy Feet by Asa AaronsTrash cans pick people's pockets. Customers get retail discounts based on their moods. Retailers offer personalized purchase suggestions, just by analyzing everything customers have bought or browsed.

It's a brave new world of customer experience. In the age of big data, predictive modeling, data mining, passive Wi-Fi tracking and personalized marketing are part of the new normal. The question is: Do these technologies represent state of the art marketing and analytics or cross the line from clever to creepy?

Social Media Briefs: Shared Endorsements, Global Tweets, Facebook Privacy for Teens

If you value your privacy on Facebook or Google, take heed of new updates that could affect how the social networks use your information. 

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