Two Strangers Met on a Plane—and the Internet Ruined It

Excerpt from this article (and see also this one with a similar take, showing how the woman who was tweeted about without her consent “has been subjected to harassment and shamed, leading to her reportedly deleting her social media accounts” and then this one covering the apology)

They began observing the interaction playing out in the row before them. And also: documenting it, via pictures and videos and words and, eventually, a series of tweets. Helen and Euan thus went from strangers on a plane to participants—via the dedicated attentions of the two people behind them, watching them through the space between the seats—in a cheekily epic drama.

“Last night on a flight home,” Blair’s vicarious saga began, “my boyfriend and I asked a woman to switch seats with me so we could sit together. We made a joke that maybe her new seat partner would be the love of her life and well, now I present you with this thread.”

…It took the flimsy and serendipitous delights of their initial meeting and turned them, with the ruthlessness of media churn, into a money-making proposition. As Blair and Holden made their appearances on the morning shows—as they cheerfully sold their story and also themselves—they served as reminders: Even whimsy, these days, will be commodified.

…There was one person, notably, who resisted those inertias: Helen herself… And yet: Even despite her resistance, Helen was pulled into the story. She, too, was meme-ified. She, too, was flattened. She, too, was used.

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How to read a privacy policy

Excerpt from this article:

You might also want to search for the word “not,” Jerome says, because it’s rare to find in a policy. Of course, most companies would rather not permanently limit themselves by including what they’re not doing, which could leave them open to lawsuits. Finally, Cardozo suggests checking out how many times you find “such as” because it’s a red flag. I would normally think it means that companies are being specific, but Cardozo says it’s actually a broad phrase that doesn’t usually provide much information.

‘I felt exposed online’: how to disappear from the internet

keyboard with smoke coming out of it

Excerpt from this article:

In recent months, the scale of the erosion of our anonymity has become dauntingly clear. In humming, ice-cooled server farms, the monoliths of Silicon Valley gather fat troves of personal information. This much we have known for years – as early as 2010, an investigation found that Facebook apps were routinely collecting information for internet-tracking companies without our consent – even from private accounts. But the recent Cambridge Analytica scandal brought new clarity. Those who downloaded their personal data files found that Facebook and its associated apps had been tracking phone calls, reading messages and plundering phonebooks.

This gleeful, grasping attitude to our data is in the social network’s DNA. This year it was revealed that in 2004, while Facebook was still a university campus website on which male students could rate the attractiveness of female students, its founder, Mark Zuckerberg, sent an instant message to a friend in which he boasted that he had collected more than 4,000 emails, pictures and addresses of people who had signed up to the service.

“What?” Zuckerberg’s friend exclaimed. “How’d you manage that one?”

“People just submitted it,” Zuckerberg wrote. “I don’t know why. They ‘trust me’.”

“Dumb fucks,” he added, after a pause.

An Amazon Echo recorded a family’s conversation, then sent it to a random person in their contacts, report says

Excerpt from this article:

Amazon said in an emailed statement to The Washington Post on Thursday afternoon that the Echo woke up when it heard a word that sounded like “Alexa.” “The subsequent conversation was heard as a ‘send message’ request. At which point, Alexa said out loud ‘To whom?’ At which point, the background conversation was interpreted as a name in the customer’s contact list.”

Is it an invasion of your kids’ privacy to post pictures of them on social media?

picture of family taking selfies

Excerpt from this article:

Like millions of parents, I post pictures of my kid on Instagram. When she was born, her father and I had a brief conversation about whether it was “dangerous” in a very nebulous sense. Comforted by the fact that I use a fake name on my account, we agreed to not post nudie pics and then didn’t give it much more thought. Until recently.

As she gets older, and privacy on social media dominates the news, I’m revisiting this conversation. Am I invading my daughter’s privacy by sharing her kooky dance moves or epic Nick Nolte hair? Will she feel violated when she’s older? My generation had to contend with mom showing an embarrassing baby photo to our prom date. Is an awkward Instagram picture just today’s equivalent, or does the fact that that the photo can be revisited again and again, by potentially hundreds or even millions of eyes, change things?

Man suspected in wife’s murder after her Fitbit data doesn’t match his alibi

Fitbit data ‘is a great tool for investigators to use’, the district attorney said.

Excerpt from this article:

Dabate told police that a masked assailant came into the couple’s suburban home at around 9am on 23 December 2015 and subdued Dabate with “pressure points” before shooting his wife, Connie Dabate, with a gun that Richard Dabate owned. He said that the man killed his wife as she returned through their garage from a workout at the local YMCA. Dabate claimed that he eventually chased the assailant off with a blowtorch.

But the Fitbit tells a different story. According to data from the device, which uses a digital pedometer to track the wearer’s steps, Connie Dabate was moving around for more than an hour after her husband said the murder took place. Not just that – it also showed she had traveled more than 1,200ft after arriving home, contrary to Dabate’s story that she was killed as she arrived. The distance from her vehicle to the location she died is “no more than 125ft”, according to police documents.

How to Teach Your Kids About Digital Privacy and Security

Digital security

Excerpt from this article:

First, tell kids the reasons behind the boundaries you set. When you ask a child not to share passwords or not to send messages to strangers online, also take a few minutes to explain why such behaviors could pose a risk.

Analogies using situations from the physical world can help. For example, children probably know that while it might be OK to share their home address in person with a close friend, it’s not OK to give it to a stranger on the street. But sharing information online, regardless of whom you’re sharing it with, requires extra care. This is because it’s easier for someone online to pretend to be someone else, and for information online to be shared with more than the person you intended. Remind children to check with an adult if they’re ever in doubt about sharing something online. And when they do ask you, explain how you made your decision.

Second, parents can look for examples of good or bad privacy practices embedded in everyday tools that children use. The website for PBS Kids, for example, tells children not to use any personal information, such as their last name or address, in their username. And instead of asking kids to create security questions, which often involve personal information, the site has children select three pictures to create a “secret code.” As children interact with sites like PBS Kids, parents can ask whether they understand why the websites have been set up this way.

Third, parents can check out existing resources related to privacy and security online. Common Sense Media and the Family Online Safety Institute offer great guides about privacy challenges children may face online and how parents can teach kids about them. PBS Kids, too, has created a series of technology-focused cartoon videos and parent guides that include lessons related to privacy and security. The U.K.-based company Excite-ed even developed a series of kid-friendly apps that include privacy-related tips and quizzes.

The task of teaching children about digital privacy and security shouldn’t just fall on parents. Educators are well positioned to help teach kids about these issues, given the increasing use of computers and tablets in schools. Companies who design and market technology also have a responsibility to respect children’s privacy interests.