Category Archives: Privacy

Amazon is reportedly exploring technology that could spell the end of privacy as we know it


In an effort to boost convenience, Amazon may be exploring a new way for customers to surrender privacy.

Smart lock company August and connected garage door firm Garageio — two startups with ties to Amazon — are looking into ways to allow delivery people to leave packages in your house or apartment when no one is home, reports tech blog The Information.

On one hand, the ability to deliver items, even when recipients aren’t home, is a golden opportunity for Amazon.

On the other hand, allowing a company to enter to deliver a package into one’s house essentially surrenders the idea of the expectation of privacy in your own home.

In-home drop off isn’t going to be an open door policy. Wareable reports that August is developing technology that would allow smart locks to open for delivery people during certain windows of time, by using temporary pins, or via smartphones.

Source: Amazon explores in-home delivery – Business Insider


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Filed under Amazon, IoT, Privacy, Technology

Ad Limiting Going Mobile, Thanks To Apple

Ad blocking is bad enough, but we live in a world going mobile — as The Who once put it — at a very rapid pace. And, with Apple building a form of ad limitation into itslatest mobile operating system, watch out, ad tech.

In a piece in AdExchanger on Sept. 7, attorney Alan Chapell notes that significant changes to iOS10 are “likely tocause harm to legitimately recognized advertising models.” In an email interview, Chapell tells Programmatic Insider that Apple is making the changes in the name of user privacy.

“In iOS9, Apple passes a signal for users that enable [Limit Ad Tracking] that tells the marketplace not to conduct interest-based advertising for that user. As noted by the Futureof Privacy Forum: Apple specifically permitted companies to continue to use the ID for certain limited other uses when Limit Ad Tracking was enabled, ‘including frequency capping, attribution,conversion events, estimating the number of unique users, advertising fraud detection, and debugging’ (iOS Developer Library).

In iOS10, Apple will stop sending out the DoNot Track flag for users who enact LAT, Chapell writes. And, as noted by the Future of Privacy Forum: “Beginning in iOS 10, when a user enables “Limit Ad Tracking,” the OS will sendalong the advertising identifier with a new value of ‘00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000.’ This will more effectively ensure that users are no longer targeted or tracked by many adnetworks across sites or over time. But it will also prevent the previously permitted ‘frequency capping, attribution, conversion events, estimating the number of unique users, advertising frauddetection, and debugging’ uses of this ID.”

“Generally speaking,” Chapell adds, “advertisers are less willing and able to advertise to users insituations where the aforementioned tools are not available to those advertisers. In other words, Apple has changed the functionality of the Identifier for Advertising [IDFA] in iOS10 in ways thatbreaks advertising models which are generally recognized as legitimate.”

Source: Ad Lim

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Filed under advertising, Apple, iPhone, Mobile, Personalization, Privacy

Snapchat Pushes Further Into Digital Ad Targeting – WSJ

Snapchat is pushing further into sophisticated digital ad targeting, including letting advertisers target customers using email databases and other data sources.

The mobile app company is rolling out three new targeting options for marketers.

Through a product called Snap Audience Match, Snapchat is enabling marketers to take existing lists of email addresses and mobile device IDs, and anonymously match that data with Snapchat’s own pool of consumer data, allowing enhanced ad targeting. In this process, Snapchat is taking steps to make sure it does not employ any personally identifiable data when executing these ad campaigns.

The company has been quietly testing this offering over the past few months with brands like eBay. EBAY -1.79 % Consumers will have the option to opt out of the Audience Match product.

Another new initiative, Snapchat Lifestyle Categories, lets brands direct ads to people who consume certain types of videos (like sports or gaming content). Lastly, Snapchat is helping advertisers target ads to consumers who exhibit a certain set of characteristics that are similar to an advertiser’s existing customers– a product Snapchat is calling “Lookalikes.”

These tactics are rather standard fare for many digital media outlets, but their introduction amounts to a noteworthy evolution for Snapchat, which has been conservative about the targeting capabilities it offers. Snapchat founder Evan Spiegel was famously quoted as saying that he doesn’t want advertising on the app to be “creepy” for consumers.

Source: Snapchat Pushes Further Into Digital Ad Targeting – WSJ

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Filed under advertising, Big Data, Personalization, Privacy, Publishing

Google Digs Into Addressable TV, Serves Listing In Search Results 04/21/2016

Google made a strong push Wednesday into the budding multimillion-dollar addressable TV market with several features that will personalize television advertising in away that is similar to how personalized ads appear on the Web.

From the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) conference, Google announced an addressable TV feature — DoubleClickDynamic Ad Insertion for broadcasters — and an update to DoubleClick for Publishers that keeps competing advertisers from appearing consecutively in the same TV ad segment.

There are alsoimproved search features that will allow additional information for TV shows index on the Web.

The Dynamic Ad Insertion in DoubleClick, an addressable TV feature, allows each televisionviewer to see personalized advertisements when either watching live or on-demand TV. It builds on Google’s experiments with personalizing ads into live linear TV through the Google Fiberset-top-box the company announced last year.

The Rugby World Cup Finals on TF1 and the Republican Presidential Debates on Fox News have already tested Dynamic Ad Insertions, which managed todeliver a fully addressable viewing experience.

More controls also means the ability to make sure two competing brands do not place ads that appear together.

Source: Google Digs Into Addressable TV, Serves Listing In Search Results 04/21/2016

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Filed under Big Data, Google, Interesting, IoT, Personalization, Privacy, Technology

WPP, IPG, Vizio, Others Sued For Brokering In Personally Identifiable Data 04/22/2016

Cruncing the numbers

WPP and its media trading platform Xaxis, Interpublic Group, smart TV makerVizio,, TubeMogul and several other ad tech companies have been slapped with a multimillion dollar class action law suit in U.S. District Court in California for allegedly sharing personallyidentifiable viewing data culled from Vizio smart TVs in violation of several federal and state laws including the Video Privacy Protection Act and California’s Unfair Competition Law.

The suit is just the latest to be filed against Vizio and a number of adtech companies citing privacy and related laws.

The two named plaintiffs in the suit are Robyn Kuntzmann of Multnomah County, Oregon and Linda Bunch, of Atlantic County, NJ, both of whombought Vizio smart TVs and allege that viewing data from their sets was used illegally.

The suit alleged that Vizio collected data from its consumer network of smart TV users knowing that itsvalue would “fuel future growth and drive revenue” at the company.

As owners of Vizio smart TVs, the plaintiffs charged that their “personally identifiable information wasdisclosed for marketing and advertising purposes without their informed, written consent by Defendants to third parties.” The Vizio sets, they argued, have complicated “opt out”default mechanisms to avoid sharing data but that they are legally required to have default “opt-in” mechanisms.

Source: WPP, IPG, Vizio, Others Sued For Brokering In Personally Identifiable Data 04/22/2016

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Google Scans Billions Of Android Apps, Too Many In High-Risk Security Category 04/20/2016

googlelogo_color_272x92dpGoogle’smotivation to keep app users safe as they search for information and explore new ways to make their life easier through mobile devices points to helping consumers feel secure and free from malware andhackers. The safer consumers feel, the more they will use the apps and mobile Web and interact with branded content and paid-search ads.

In Google’s second annual report on the state of Android security, thecompany says it now scans six billion Android apps daily on smartphones around the world to look for potentially harmful apps (PHAs), but another report suggests Android apps still fall into ahigher-risk category. Too many are at risk of leaking consumer data.


It means Google now scans 400 million devices daily using automated systems to support Google Mobile Services, with theautomated system protecting users who install apps from sources other than Google Play. In 2015, PHAs were installed on less than 0.15% of devices that only get apps from Google Play.

Includeall devices in the Android ecosystem using Google’s services, such as apps from third-party app stores, and this rises to 0.5%, up from 1% from the prior year.

Source: Google Scans Billions Of Android Apps, Too Many In High-Risk Security Category 04/20/2016

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Filed under Android, App Creation, Google, Privacy

Minnesota Vikings kick off a new app and stadium beacons

The NFL’s Minnesota Vikings will offer its fans a way to navigate its new stadium, order beer and buy tickets in its relaunched app.

The Minnesota Vikings are tackling opening a new stadium and launching a new app this coming season.

The National Football League team will relaunch its app at a party during the NFL Draft 2016 on Thursday, April 28, says John Penhollow, vice president of corporate and technology partnerships for Minnesota Vikings Football LLC. The new app will work in conjunction with the team’s new indoor stadium, U.S. Bank Stadium, which will open this summer.

The new app will allow fans to purchase tickets, enter the stadium via a mobile ticket, purchase food and drinks, watch video replays, earn points in a loyalty program, buy merchandise and navigate the stadium with turn-by-turn directions, Penhollow says. The team’s current app has none of this functionality and only provides content, such as news and information about the team, he says.

Without any of these features, the Vikings’ current app has amassed 450,000 downloads since its launch in 2012, Penhollow says. Once the new app launches fans with the current iteration of the Viking’s app will receive an alert to update their apps. Assuming this large base of fans updates the app, Penhollow hopes the app can reach more than a million downloads.

Source: Minnesota Vikings kick off a new app and stadium beacons

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Filed under Android, App Creation, Apple, Big Data, Interesting, Privacy, Social, Technology

Panama Papers graphically demonstrate the power of the graph database | ZDNet

Graph databases have proved their worth with the technology being used to analyse the Panama Papers.

The recent data leak from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca has captured the imaginations of the world, and in particular journalists at the Washington-based, International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), which includes The Guardian and the BBC in its membership list.

The consortium fed the leaked data into a graph database, in this case Neo4j, which crunched the data and then revealed the underlying structure of that data — thus illustrating the relationships between all of the individuals, companies, and customers involved.


A graph database is designed, like any other database, to handle large volumes of data. The difference is that a graph database is designed to show all of the relationships within the data.

Source: Panama Papers graphically demonstrate the power of the graph database | ZDNet

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Filed under Big Data, Interesting, Privacy, Semantics, Technology

How big data is changing the way you fly | Gladwin Analytics

As airlines and frequent flyer programs gather more intelligence on your day to day lifestyle, flying and financial position – they begin to build a data profile on your interests, goals, psychometric assessment, your motivations to engage with a brand at any given every point throughout the day, what has driven you to purchase in the past – and most importantly – where your thresholds are.To illustrate how data is playing a growing role in todays flight booking engines I’ve broken down play by play how each individual piece of data collected about you can be used, analysed and overlaid with other data sets to paint a picture of who you are, what motivates and drives you to purchase a specific product.

Every day – trillions of calculations are being number crunched to transform this goldmine of data opportunity into real, tangible high revenue opportunities for the airlines and their frequent flyer programs.When armed with key insights , a holistic overview of yours, and other customers’ detailed profiled information can be applied to direct booking channels which are designed to customize pricing for your personal situation at that very given moment.Here is how it’s done through Individual, customized pricing.

Source: How big data is changing the way you fly | Gladwin Analytics

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Filed under Big Data, Interesting, Personalization, Privacy, Semantics

Anonymous Location Data Not Always Anonymous

Article from Mediapost By: Wendy Davis


Many marketers have made no secret of their desire to target ads to mobile users based on their location.

But a new study indicates that geo-location targeting — even when theoretically “anonymous” — raises significant privacy concerns. For the study, researchers at MIT and the Catholic University of Louvain studied fifteen months’ worth of “anonymized” data gleaned from 1.5 million people over a 15-month period. From that trove of information, the researchers concluded that “human mobility traces are highly unique.”

The report states: “In a dataset where the location of an individual is specified hourly, and with a spatial resolution equal to that given by the carrier’s antennas, four spatio-temporal points are enough to uniquely identify 95% of the individuals.”

Report Link:

Even when the researchers “coarsened” the data, they still found that people could be identified. “Hence,” the paper continues, “even coarse datasets provide little anonymity.”

That conclusion doesn’t mean that geo-location targeting is illegal, only that it’s probably not anonymous in any meaningful sense. But any companies who say in privacy policies that they collect anonymous geo-location data collection might need to rethink that language.

Overall, the report offers yet another piece of evidence that individuals can be identified based on “anonymous” data — a prospect that privacy experts like Paul Ohm have warned of for years.

To some extent, this has already happened. The most famous example occurred in 2006, when AOL released three months worth of search queries for 650,000 users. The searches alone provided clues to some of those users’ identities.

That’s not the only incident. Several years ago, two computer scientists at the University of Texas reported that it was possible to identify users by comparing reviews of obscure movies on Netflix with reviews on that were published under screennames. Last year, a federal prosecutor was identified as an anonymous commenter at the Times-Picayune‘s, based on the vocabulary he used in his posts.

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