Privacy Update from Barcelona

Privacy Update from Barcelona

I have just arrived in Barcelona for the Mobile World Congress.  More than 60,000 people focused on mobile technologies have converged at this annual event to hear and see the latest from carriers, device makers, platforms, app developers and more.  It is clear from the smart phones and tablets displayed on the show floor that the next generation of smart devices will be faster, more powerful and more integrated with consumers’ lives.  More than batteries or chips, our personal information is what truly powers these devices.  Our address books, location, network of friends, emails and text messages, when used wisely by these small computers, empower us to be smarter and to do more.  As additional sensors are added to capture new kinds of data and as the use of phones to make purchases spreads more widely, these machines will have more intimate data about us than any government or corporation ever did.

 

Who is the real custodian of these new rich data streams?  The ecosystem for the mobile consumer is quite complicated.  Mobile platforms, app developers, device makers, carriers, analytics companies, ad networks, social networks, chip companies and others are all part of the equation.  The battle between consumer tech titans like Google, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook is being played out as each company seeks to link consumer identity and data across smartphones, desktops, search engines, email, social networks, ad networks, payment systems  and more.  Google’s privacy policy consolidation slated to become effective in a few days has captured the lion’s share of attention, but it is Apple that has been the most effective at linking consumer data across every aspect of its services.   European regulators have proposed a privacy law that seeks to put the data genie back in his bottle, but consumers have voted by expressing delight in Steve Jobs vision by making Apple the most valuable company in the world.  Yet at the same time, consumers continue to express alarm at the misbehavior of apps that grab too much information and many regularly clear cookies in the hope of protecting their privacy.

 

How can it be that consumers deeply love the brands that privacy critics single out for criticism?  Although Google now trails Apple in some measures of brand value, it too continues to be one of the handful of globally respected consumer brands.   Do the regulators and privacy advocates know something that consumers don’t?  Or do consumers value the benefits of these technologies and willingly make the privacy trade-off? I am looking forward to discussing this and more at my panel tomorrow.

— Jules Polonetsky

Leave a Reply


Privacy Calendar

Oct
29
Wed
4:00 pm Big Data and Privacy: Navigating... @ Schulze Hall
Big Data and Privacy: Navigating... @ Schulze Hall
Oct 29 @ 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm
The rapid emergence of “big data” has created many benefits and risks for businesses today. As data is collected, stored, analyzed, and deployed for various business purposes, it is particularly important to develop responsible data[...]
Oct
30
Thu
9:00 am The Privacy Act @40: A Celebrati... @ Georgetown Law
The Privacy Act @40: A Celebrati... @ Georgetown Law
Oct 30 @ 9:00 am – 5:30 pm
The Privacy Act @40 A Celebration and Appraisal on the 40th Anniversary of the Privacy Act and the 1974 Amendments to the Freedom of Information Act October 30, 2014 Agenda 9 – 9:15 a.m. Welcome[...]
Nov
7
Fri
all-day George Washington Law Review 201... @ George Washington University Law School
George Washington Law Review 201... @ George Washington University Law School
Nov 7 – Nov 8 all-day
Save the date for the GW Law Review‘s Annual Symposium, The FTC at 100: Centennial Commemorations and Proposals for Progress, which will be held on Saturday, November 8, 2014, in Washington, DC. This year’s symposium, hosted in[...]
Nov
11
Tue
10:15 am You Are Here: GPS Location Track... @ Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows
You Are Here: GPS Location Track... @ Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows
Nov 11 @ 10:15 am
EFF Staff Attorney Hanni Fakhoury will present twice at the Oregon Criminal Defense Lawyers Association’s Annual Sunny Climate Seminar. He will give a presentation on government location tracking issues and then participate in a panel[...]
Nov
12
Wed
all-day PCLOB Public Meeting on “Definin... @ Washington Marriott Hotel
PCLOB Public Meeting on “Definin... @ Washington Marriott Hotel
Nov 12 all-day
The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board will conduct a public meeting with industry representatives, academics, technologists, government personnel, and members of the advocacy community, on the topic: “Defining Privacy.”   While the Board will[...]
Nov
20
Thu
all-day W3C Workshop on Privacy and User... @ Berlin, Germany
W3C Workshop on Privacy and User... @ Berlin, Germany
Nov 20 – Nov 21 all-day
The Workshop on User Centric App Controls intents to further the discussion among stakeholders of the mobile web platform, including researchers, developers and service providers. This workshop serves to investigate strategies toward better privacy protection[...]
Dec
2
Tue
all-day IAPP Practical Privacy Series 2014
IAPP Practical Privacy Series 2014
Dec 2 – Dec 3 all-day
Government and FTC and Consumer Privacy return to Washington, DC. For more information, click here.

View Calendar