Daily Archives: November 27, 2023

  • Privacy is complicated

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    ISSUE 20.48 • 2023-11-27

    EDITORIAL

    Will Fastie

    By Will Fastie

    AskWoody spends a lot of time discussing matters of privacy and security.

    It would be great if we could write one article that would serve as a permanent primer on the subject. Unfortunately, you know from decades of experience that the threat landscape changes constantly. We’re lucky if we can stay one step ahead of the bad guys.

    Or, for that matter, the good guys, who seem hell bent on learning everything they can about us and using that information — for better or for worse.

    Although a single primer seems an unreachable goal, we can offer some guidance around specific technologies. That’s the theme of this, our fall Bonus Issue. In the following four articles, Susan Bradley shares her thoughts and offers guidance to help you keep your personal information as private as possible, short of becoming a hermit on an isolated atoll in the remote Pacific. She covers privacy from the perspective of location, gadgets, the Web, and the PC.

    Your patronage makes it possible to provide this bonus material, and more. Thank you for being a Plus member.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.48.0, 2023-11-27).

  • Why do computers want my location?

    PRIVACY

    Susan Bradley

    By Susan Bradley

    On a regular basis, my phone and computers ask whether they can use my location.

    iPhone apps, in particular, often generate multiple requests. To be fair, these annoying prompts are meant to alert you to the fact that the apps want your location for one reason or another.

    But why do these apps need location information? Are they spying on you?

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.48.0, 2023-11-27).

  • Keeping gadgets talking and secure

    PRIVACY

    Susan Bradley

    By Susan Bradley

    I admit to being a lover of gadgets, from streaming audio devices to IoT sprinkler systems to dog-minding cameras.

    I use all sorts of gadgets in my house. But when I do, I understand two things. First, I must choose the device carefully, read the entire end-user license agreement, and determine whether I will accept the risks.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.48.0, 2023-11-27).

  • Spying or helpful? You decide.

    PRIVACY

    Susan Bradley

    By Susan Bradley

    Years ago, my girlfriend had her first baby.

    Suddenly, I found myself sitting in front of my computer, searching only for baby bottles, baby clothes — everything baby-related.

    Milliseconds later (at least it seemed that fast), I was receiving mail for everything baby-related. Clearly, my online activity was being tracked, but I was missing the prominent online notices explaining how I could opt out.

    Then something really weird happened. That baby got a bit older. When he became a toddler, the marketing machine made sure I heard about the perfect baby pull-up pants. He hit kindergarten and I learned about all the books he needed to read.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.48.0, 2023-11-27).

  • Hardening for privacy

    PRIVACY

    Susan Bradley

    By Susan Bradley

    Privacy means different things to different people.

    At the office, we want to keep our information private from certain individuals and certain departments, but not from ultimate business needs.

    In fact, we will often “spy” on our own employees. Want to know exactly what your users in the office do? Consider an analytics app such as ActivTrak to monitor the productivity of employees.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.48.0, 2023-11-27).