Digital Identity Digest (November)

A security labelled Facebook looks at a person.

The future of privacy might be analog technology

New smart home devices, which are internet connected devices that are part of the growing Internet of Things, like a WiFi connected teapot, present quite a few privacy concerns. Such devices were used in late October to temporarily bring down the internet in a coordinated attack. They’re relatively unsecure and, as they are embedded within homes and equipped with microphones, could be used to invade someone’s privacy. Amazon has addressed this concern by configuring their smart home device, Echo, with a mute button that is analog and not digital. This means that a hacker won’t be able to listen into the microphone unless they physically reattached the connection to the microphone that is separated when muted. This simple but highly effective mechanism might be the future of privacy.

Update: Data sharing between WhatsApp and Facebook in the UK

After Facebook announced it was changing WhatsApp’s privacy policy to allow for data sharing between the two companies, the UK’s Information Commissioner announced an investigation into the implications of this action. Eight weeks later, and that investigation has uncovered that Facebook isn’t being transparent enough about what it will be doing with WhatsApp users’ data, hasn’t produced valid consent to share the information, and has therefore blocked data sharing between the two companies. Germany had already rejected the data sharing between the two companies. While Europe does tend have more progressive policies towards data protection and privacy, it’s surprising that nothing has been done within North America to protect WhatsApp users’ privacy.

Trump policy change or website malfunction?

President-elect, Donald Trump, had a couple of inconsistencies on his official website recently. On Thursday, Nov. 10, some of his most controversial proposals were temporarily removed from the website, including his ban on all Muslim immigration and a list of his Supreme Court justice picks. This wasn’t the first time the website has cited technical difficulties; in September, Reuters noticed a new healthcare policy on the website and, after they enquired about it, the old healthcare policy returned to the website.


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