How Much Control Do You Actually Have Over Your Private Data?

Library of Congress

“Privacy” is the buzz of our era, but… what even is privacy? Different consumers, businesses, and regulators each have their own definitions and perspectives on the issue, while the law, too, is always evolving. [More]

Great Beyond

Google Creates One-Stop Shop To Show You Just How Much It Knows About You

Google is everywhere. It’s the world’s biggest search engine, the most popular phone operating system, the most popular web browser, an incredibly popular e-mail service, and a thousand other things. That means it knows a lot about you, especially if you you log in to a Google account and sync or unify your profile about services. Seeing exactly how much it is they know about you, and how it’s used… well, that’s been a little harder. Until now.

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The Way You Drive, Not Just Where, Is Yet Another Piece Of Totally Identifiable Personal Data

Atwater Village Newbie

“Individuality” does not exactly spring to mind when you’re in the middle of the workday commuter crush, trawling the same roads at the same time as every other 9-5 worker who has to get to work and pick the kids up from school. And yet it turns out that you — yes, you — have a unique way of approaching that commute. So unique, in fact, that it only takes a few minutes of driving data for you to be completely identifiable.

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Vizio Smart TVs Are Watching You Back Even Harder Than Most

Vizio Smart TVs Are Watching You Back Even Harder Than Most

Most smart TVs watch you back, to some extent. There’s money — a lot of money — to be had in user data, and advertising makes the world go ’round. Even accepting that, though, there are limits on what one generally should and should not have to expect when it comes to privacy-invading televisions, and new reports indicate that one manufacturer has gone well past that line.

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(Byron Chin)

FCC Declines To Force Internet Companies To Listen When You Ask Them Not To Track You

It’s no secret that the internet, well, follows you around. Browse one product on Monday and you’re seeing ads for it everywhere all week long. Modern browsers have an option that lets users ask businesses nicely not to follow them. One consumer group tried to ask the FCC to make businesses listen but it appears that is not to be.

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Coming Soon To An AOL Ad Network Near You: All That Data Verizon Collects On Mobile Users

Coming Soon To An AOL Ad Network Near You: All That Data Verizon Collects On Mobile Users

When Verizon first announced its plans to acquire AOL back in May, jokes abounded. The name “AOL” still conjures the sound of modems screeching and a friendly digital voice announcing haltingly, “You’ve got mail!” It does not, on the other hand, immediately inspire one to think of a $4 billion media and data empire. But the latter is exactly what it is — and in conjunction with Verizon’s more pernicious tools, it may be about to get a whole lot bigger.

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Apple Wants To Pre-Check Your Spending Power Before Advertising To You

Apple Wants To Pre-Check Your Spending Power Before Advertising To You

Apple products are popular, but they’re not cheap. There’s a certain cachet that goes with them, a projection of status and class. And Apple’s newest patent isn’t for another high-cost, high-popularity product… it’s for tech that will only advertise stuff to you that they think you can afford.

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Study: Consumers Give Up Data In Exchange For Discounts Because They Figure It’s All Out There Anyway

Study: Consumers Give Up Data In Exchange For Discounts Because They Figure It’s All Out There Anyway

You’re shopping at a store you’ve never been to before. They offer to sign you up for a loyalty card. You know it’s going to create endless postal and electronic spam for you if you accept, but they’ll give you 40% off of this order if you do. So you take the card. The store thinks they just bought your info with a discount. Are they right?

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Verizon Knows More About What You Watch On FiOS Than You Do

Verizon Knows More About What You Watch On FiOS Than You Do

Verizon isn’t a cable company. Its FiOS product doesn’t spring from decades of guaranteed local monopolies, which means most FiOS customers can, if they get annoyed enough, jump ship to a competitor. But you leaving is bad news for Verizon. They want to keep their subscribers. And they have an enormous mountain of highly personalized data on hand to try to do it with.

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Privacy Advocates Sue Virginia Police Over Data From Automatic License Plate Scanners

Privacy Advocates Sue Virginia Police Over Data From Automatic License Plate Scanners

By itself, your license plate doesn’t say much except in what state, month, and year you registered your car. But start tracking where and when that license plate goes, and you’ve suddenly got a whole huge pile of personal data about all the comings and goings in someone’s life. We’ve reported before that license plate scanning by public and private entities is both widespread and unregulated. Now, the ACLU is suing police in one state to get them to stop.

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(frankieleon)

Private Companies Building Giant Unregulated Databases Tracking License Plate Location Info

Do you know everywhere your car has been in the past week? Month? Year? You may or may not remember it all, but there’s a good chance that your license plate has had its photo snapped, and its location recorded, a whole bunch of times in that period. And anyone who can pony up the cash for a subscription to that database can tell exactly where you’ve been.

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Predictive Models, Secret Scores: How Computers Decide Who You Are & What To Sell You

(Mike Saechang)

Savvy consumers all know that their lifetime debt history ends up in their credit score, and that lenders use that score to try to predict if someone is a good bet for a big loan like a mortgage. But even the most-connected consumer may not realize how many hundreds of other scores we all now trail in our wakes too, thanks to the advent of big data. Do you know, to the last decimal, how likely are you to buy jewelry? To sign up for cable? To have a kid in the next year? Someone, somewhere, is tallying all of that information about almost everyone. But good luck finding out what’s out there, who’s scoring it, and if your numbers are even actually about you at all.

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