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Time for THEM to agree to OUR terms

Screen Shot 2016-03-25 at 12.12.45 PM
We can do for everybody what Creative Commons does for artists: give them terms they can offer—and be can read and agreed to by lawyers, ordinary folks, and their machines. And then we can watch “free market” come to mean what it says, and not just “your choice of captor.”

Try to guess how many times, in the course of your life in the digital world, have “agreed” to terms like these:

URsoScrewed

Hundreds? Thousands? (Feels like) millions?

Look at the number of login/password combinations remembered by your browser. That’ll be a fraction of the true total.

Now think about what might happen if we could turn these things around. How about if sites and services could agree to our terms and conditions, and our privacy policies?

We’d have real agreements, and real relationships, freely established, between parties of equal power who both have an interest in each other’s success.

We’d have genuine (or at least better) trust, and better signaling of intentions between both parties. We’d have better exchanges of information and better control over what gets done with that information. And the information would be better too, because we wouldn’t have to lie or hide to protect our identities or our data.

We’d finally have the only basis on which the Seven Laws of Identity, issued by Kim Cameron in 2005, would actually work. Check ’em out:

laws

Think about it. None of those work unless individuals are in charge of themselves and their relationships in the digital world. And they can’t as long as only one side is in charge. What we have instead are opposites: limited control and coerced consent, maximum disclosure for unconstrained use, unjustified parties, misdirected identity, silo’d operators and technologies, inhuman integration, and inconsistent experiences across contexts of all kinds. (I’ll add links for all of those later when I have time.)

Can we fix this problem, eleven years after Kim came down from the mountain (well, Canada) with those laws?

No, we can’t. Not without leverage.

The sad fact is that we’ve been at a disadvantage since geeks based the Web on an architecture called “client-server.” I’ve been told that term was chosen because “slave-master” didn’t sound so good. Personally, I prefer calf-cow:

calf-cow

As long as we’re the calves coming to the cows for the milk of “content” (plus unwanted cookies), we’re not equals.

But once we become independent, and can assert enough power to piss off the cows that most want to take advantage of us, the story changes.

Good news: we are independent now, and controlling our own lives online is pissing off the right cows.

We’re gaining that independence through ad and tracking blockers. There are also a lot of us now. And a lot more jumping on the bandwagon.

According to PageFair and Adobe, the number of people running ad blockers alone passed 200 million last May, with annual growth rates of 41% in the world, 48% the U.S. and 82% in the U.K. alone.

Of course the “interactive” ad industry (the one that likes to track you) considers this a problem only they can solve. And, naturally, the disconnect between their urge to track and spam us, and our decision to stop all of it, is being called a “war.”

But it doesn’t have to be.

Out in the offline world, we were never at war with advertising. Sure, there’s too much of it, and a lot of it we don’t like. But we also know we wouldn’t have sports broadcasts (or sports talk radio) without it. We know how much advertising contributes to the value of the magazines and newspapers we read. (Which is worth more: a thick or a thin Vogue, Sports Illustrated, Bride’s or New York Times?) And to some degree we actually value what old fashioned Mad Men type advertising brings to the market’s table.

On the other hand, we have always been at war with the interactive form of advertising we call junk mail. Look up unwanted+mail, click on “images,” and and you’ll get something like this:

unwantedmail

What’s happened online is that the advertising business has turned into the “interactive”  junk message business. Only now you can’t tell the difference between an ad that’s there for everybody and one that’s aimed by crosshairs at your eyeballs.

The difference between real advertising and tracking-based junk messages is the same as that between wheat and chaff.

Today’s ad and tracking blockers are are primitive prophylactics: ways to protect our eyeballs from advertising and tracking. But how about if we turn these into instruments of agreement? We could agree to allow the kind of ads that pay the publisher and aren’t aimed at us by tracking.

Here at Customer Commons we’ve been working on those kinds of terms for the last several years. Helping us have been law school students and teachers, geeks and ordinary folks. Last we publishe a straw man version of those terms, they looked like this:

UserSubmittedTerms1stDraft

What those say (in the green circles) is “You (the second party) alone can use data you get from me, for as long as you want, just for your site or app, and will obey the Do Not Track request from my browser.”

This can be read easily by lawyers, ordinary folks and machines on both sides, just the way the graphic at the top of this post, borrowed from Creative Commons (or model for this), describes.

We’re also not alone.

Joining us in this effort are the Identity Ecosystem Working Group, the Personal Data Ecosystem Consortium, the Consent and Information Sharing Working Group (which is working on a Consent Receipt to give agreements a way to be recorded by both parties), Mozilla and others on the ProjectVRM Development Work list.

Many people from those groups (including Kim Cameron himself) will be at IIW, the Internet Identity Workshop, at the Computer History Museum in Silicon Valley, on the last week of next month, April 26-28. It’s an unconference. No panels, no keynotes, no plenaries. It’s all breakouts, on topics chosen by participants.

The day before, at the same location, will be VRM Day. The main topic there will be terms, and how we plan to get working versions of them in the next three days at IIW.

This is a huge opportunity. I am sure we have enough code, and enough done work on standards and the rest of it, to put up exactly the terms we can offer and publishers online can accept, and will start to end the war (that really isn’t) between publishers and their readers.

Once we have those terms in place, others can follow, opening up to much better signaling between supply and demand, because both sides are equals.

So this is an open invitation to everybody already working in this space, especially browser makers (and not just Mozilla) and the ad and tracking blockers. IIW is a perfect place to show to show what we’ve got, to work together, and to move things forward.

Let’s do it.

 

Samsung warns customers not to discuss personal information in front of smart TVs

The company is warning customers not to speak about personal information while near the TV sets!

Samsung has confirmed that its “smart TV” sets are listening to customers’ every word, and the company is warning customers not to speak about personal information while near the TV sets.
Read more: https://theweek.com/speedreads/538379/samsung-warns-customers-not-discuss-personal-information-front-smart-tvs
Posted by Dont Mine on Me

Brain scanners allow scientists to ‘read minds’ – could they now enable a ‘Big Brother’ future?

This raises some chilling questions about the possibility for a “Big Brother” future where our innermost thoughts can be routinely monitored. 

Are you lying? Do you have a racial bias? Is your moral compass intact?
To find out what you think or feel, we usually have to take your word for it. But questionnaires and other explicit measures to reveal what’s on your mind are imperfect: you may choose to hide your true beliefs or you may not even be aware of them.
Read more: http://www.rawstory.com/2017/02/brain-scanners-allow-scientists-to-read-minds-could-they-now-enable-a-big-brother-future/
Posted by Dont Mine on Me

German consumer groups sue WhatsApp over privacy policy changes

WhatsApp said it would modify its privacy policy to allow it to share lists of users’ contacts with Facebook!

WhatsApp’s privacy policy change allowing Facebook to target advertising at its users has landed the company in a German court.

The Federation of German Consumer Organizations (VZBZ) has filed suit against WhatsApp in the Berlin regional court… Read more: http://www.pcworld.com/article/3163027/private-cloud/german-consumer-groups-sue-whatsapp-over-privacy-policy-changes.html
Posted by Dont Mine on Me

The Best Way to Protect Students’ Personal Data

The first line of defense in protecting student privacy are our teachers.
children laptop.
Gearing up for their district’s password-reset day in October, teachers and school administrators in Raytown, Missouri, watched a spoof video “gym” tour by their tech-support staff, who offered tips for stronger passwords amid “laptop lunges” and “cross-tech” training.
Read more: http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2017/01/how_to_protect_students_personal_data.html
Posted by Dont Mine on Me

Browser history and location can change what you pay online

You could be paying more at checkout!
paymoreShopping online could make you a victim of price discrimination. Companies can use data like your past searches or location to influence the price you pay. Anna Werner reports on how that could mean paying more at checkout.
Read more: http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/browser-history-and-location-can-change-what-you-pay-online/
Posted by Dont Mine on Me

Facebook is buying data about users’ offline lives

You may not be aware of is that Facebook also works with several data brokers to gather information about users’ “offline life”.
facebook, advertising

The company collects data on your income level, shopping history and more. …what you may not be aware of is that the company also work with several data brokers to gather information about users’ offline life. This can include things like places that you frequent, how much money you make and the number of credit cards you have.
Read more: http://www.techspot.com/news/67588-facebook-buying-data-about-users-offline-lives.html
Posted by Dont Mine on Me

Tumblr is hacked AGAIN: Cyber criminals take down the site in Europe and US in online attack ‘just for fun’

65 million passwords were lost in a 2013 breach of the site’s security!tumblr

The popular blogging website Tumblr was reportedly taken down by hackers for two hours last night.A group of hackers known as R.I.U. Star Patrol have since claimed that they are responsible.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-4057780/Tumblr-hacked-Cyber-criminals-site-Europe-online-attack-just-fun.html
Posted by Dont Mine on Me

Hackers stole personal data from 1 billion Yahoo user accounts

Yahoo says it believes hackers stole personal data from more than one billion user accounts in a cyberattack that happened in 2013!
Yahoo mail logo with passwords

Yahoo says it believes hackers stole personal data from more than one billion user accounts in a cyberattack that happened in 2013.

The technology giant says the data affected included “names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, hashed passwords”, as well as security questions and answers, but it claims financial information such as card details was not compromised.

Read more: https://www.newscientist.com/article/2116392-hackers-stole-personal-data-from-1-billion-yahoo-user-accounts/

Posted by Dont Mine on Me

Company Behind “Smart” Vibrator To Settle Claims It Violated Users’ Privacy

Customers claim, that they would not have purchased “the vibrator” had they known their actions would be monitored, collected, and transmitted.

connect

From phones to children’s toys and speakers, just about everything can become a “smart” device today. Even vibrators. And just like all of the other devices, sex toys can also violate your privacy. That’s the crux of a soon-to-be settled lawsuit.
Read more: https://consumerist.com/2016/12/08/company-behind-smart-vibrator-to-settle-claims-it-violated-users-privacy/
Posted by Dont Mine on Me

 

Personal data of 130,000 US Navy sailors exposed by compromised laptop

The Navy has acknowledged the breach was the result of hackers gaining access to the laptop of an employee working for the Navy contractor Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (HPE)!

A laptop belonging to an employee of Hewlett-Packard Enterprise has been compromised by hackers exposing the sensitive information of 130,000 US Navy sailors.
Read more: http://www.itproportal.com/news/personal-data-of-130000-us-navy-sailors-exposed-by-compromised-laptop/

Posted by DontMineonMe