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

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Privacy Calendar

Apr
24
Thu
all-day 6th Biannual International Surveillance & Society Conference
6th Biannual International Surve…
Apr 24 – Apr 25 all-day
The 6th Biannual International Surveillance & Society conference hosted by the University of Barcelona and supported by the Surveillance Studies Network is currently calling for [...]
12:00 pm Data Privacy in Education: Ensuring Student Security while Encouraging Innovation in K-12 Education @ Rayburn House Office Building, Room B-354
Data Privacy in Education: Ensur… @ Rayburn House Office Building, Room B-354
Apr 24 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
The Congressional E-Learning Caucus in cooperation with Into and the National Coalition for Technology in Education and Training presents a luncheon to discuss “Data Privacy [...]
Apr
29
Tue
all-day IAPP Europe Data Protection Intensive 2014
IAPP Europe Data Protection Inte…
Apr 29 – May 1 all-day
The IAPP Europe Data Protection Intensive features timely programming centred on the top issues impacting the European data protection community, with a focus on addressing [...]
Apr
30
Wed
5:30 pm InSecurity: Race, Surveillance and Privacy in the Digital Age @ New America Foundation
InSecurity: Race, Surveillance a… @ New America Foundation
Apr 30 @ 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Now more than ever, digital tools sit at a precarious tipping point, and many question whether they will be used to address pre-existing disparities, [...]
May
2
Fri
all-day Foreign Intelligence Surveillance in an Era of “Big Data” @ Jacob Burns Moot Court Room, George Washington Law School
Foreign Intelligence Surveillanc… @ Jacob Burns Moot Court Room, George Washington Law School
May 2 all-day
Discussions: Panel 1: Why Do We Conduct Foreign Intelligence Surveillance? What Are the Requirements? Panel 2: Making the Trade-Offs Between Surveillance and Civil Liberties Panel [...]
May
7
Wed
all-day IAPP Canada Privacy Symposium 2014
IAPP Canada Privacy Symposium 2014
May 7 – May 9 all-day
The IAPP Canada Privacy Symposium is the leading conference for education, debate and discussion of issues that matter most to Canadian privacy and data protection [...]
Jun
5
Thu
all-day Privacy Law Scholars Conference (7th Annual) @ The George Washington School of Law
Privacy Law Scholars Conference … @ The George Washington School of Law
Jun 5 – Jun 6 all-day
  UC Berkeley School of Law and The George Washington University Law School will be holding the seventh annual Privacy Law Scholars Conference (PLSC) on [...]
Jun
8
Sun
all-day Computers, Freedom, and Privacy 2014 Conference @ Airlie Center
Computers, Freedom, and Privacy … @ Airlie Center
Jun 8 – Jun 10 all-day
Mark your calendars! The 2014 Computers, Freedom, and Privacy Conference will be held June 8-10 at the Airlie Center in Warrenton, Virginia. The Airlie Center [...]

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