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Category Archives: E-Commerce

How Smart TVs Track More Than What’s On Tonight

The New York Times: How Smart TVs in Millions of U.S. Homes Track More Than What’s on Tonight: “… people’s data is also increasingly being vacuumed right out of their living rooms via their televisions, sometimes without their knowledge. …”Samba TV has struck deals with roughly a dozen TV brands — including Sony, Sharp, TCL… Continue Reading

Commentary – It’s time to rein in the data barons

MIT Technology Review – Martin Giles: “Facebook, Amazon, and Google will resist attempts to restrain their market power. But for the sake of our collective prosperity and our personal privacy, it’s a fight we can’t afford to lose…With over two billion users, the company is the colossus of social networking, dwarfing rivals like Twitter and… Continue Reading

Facebook gave 61 companies access to sensitive user data

WSJ (paywall) – “Facebook Inc. disclosed it gave dozens of companies special access to user data, detailing for the first time a spate of deals that contrasted with the social network’s previous public statements that it restricted personal information to outsiders in 2015. The deals with app developers, device and software makers, described in 747… Continue Reading

Report – How tech companies use dark patterns to discourage us from exercising our rights to privacy

The Norwegian Consumer Council (Forbrukerrådet) – “In this report, we analyze a sample of settings in Facebook, Google and Windows 10, and show how default settings and dark patterns, techniques and features of interface design meant to manipulate users, are used to nudge users towards privacy intrusive options. The findings include privacy intrusive default settings,… Continue Reading

Underpaid and exhausted: the human cost of your Kindle

The Guardian: “In the Chinese city of Hengyang, we find a fatigued, disposable workforce assembling gadgets for Amazon, owned by the world’s richest man…The Foxconn factory in Hengyang relies on the tried and tested formula of low wages and long hours. But here there is another element: the extensive use of agency workers who don’t… Continue Reading

NYT: ‘Firefox Is Back. It’s Time to Give It a Try.’

As a decade long user of Firefox I am not sure why users have been so averse to dropping Chrome – perhaps this New York Times review will help you make the switch now: “Tech Review: After testing Firefox for the last three months, I found it to be on a par with Chrome in… Continue Reading

Verizon and AT&T will stop selling your phone’s location to data brokers

Ars Technica: “Verizon and AT&T have promised to stop selling their mobile customers’ location information to third-party data brokers following a security problem that leaked the real-time location of US cell phone users. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) recently urged all four major carriers to stop the practice, and today he published responses he received from… Continue Reading

Harvester of Facebook Data Wants Tighter Controls Over Privacy

Via WSJ [paywall] – Aleksandr Kogan, at a Senate hearing, calls for stronger check on obtaining users’ content – “An academic who was central to the misuse of Facebook Inc. data sought to turn the tables on internet companies by saying the government should step in to help prevent data-privacy scandals in the future. At a… Continue Reading

Amazon Slammed for Destroying As-New and Returned Goods

Fortune: “Amazon is destroying “massive amounts” of as-new and returned items in Germany, according to a report from business weekly WirtschaftsWoche and news show Frontal 21. The types of items being destroyed here go way beyond the “health and personal care” products that Amazon has long been destroying when people return them, for sanitary reasons.… Continue Reading

Here Are 18 Things You Might Not Have Realized Facebook Tracks About You

BuzzFeed: “When Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress in April in the aftermath of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, he said he’d have his team follow up on questions he couldn’t answer in full during the hearing. On Monday, Congress released a massive document with written answers to those questions. These responses were a good… Continue Reading

Facebook Gave Some Companies Special Access to Additional Data About Users’ Friends

WSJ via Morningstar: “Facebook Inc. struck customized data-sharing deals that gave select companies special access to user records well after the point in 2015 that the social network has said it walled off that information, according to court documents, company officials and people familiar with the matter. Some of the agreements, known internally as “whitelists,”… Continue Reading

Amazon Sellers Say The Tech Giant Is Crushing Them With Competitive Pricing

BuzzFeed: “Amazon’s third-party marketplace and its millions of sellers across the world have grown into a billion-dollar sales stream for the company since the marketplace first launched in 2000. But as Amazon sells competing products at significantly lower prices and expands its private-label brands, some of the site’s third-party sellers say the retail giant is… Continue Reading