[AxisOfEasy] Deceived by Design: How Google and Facebook Give You The Illusion of Privacy


Weekly Axis Of Easy #57


This week’s quote: “Man’s habits change more rapidly than his instincts ” —by ????
Last Week’s Quote was “Where there is official censorship it is a sign that speech is serious. Where there is none, it is pretty certain that the official spokesmen have all the loudspeakers.”, was Paul Goodman, winner John Biddle.
THE RULES: No Googling the answer, must be posted in the comments below.
The Prize: First person to post get their next domain or hosting renewal is on us.

In this issue:
  • Deceived by Design: How Google and Facebook give you the illusion of privacy 
  • EU Parliament backs off from new copyright plan, for now
  • Murderers lose battle for “right to be forgotten”
  • ICANN loses Round 2 against EU’s GDPR
  • Uganda Bans VPNs used to skirt “social media tax”
  • Australian Company loses all customer data and backups after hacking incident
  • Smart TVs often track more that what you watch

Deceived by Design: How Google and Facebook give you the illusion of privacy

The Norwegian Consumer Council has published a 44-page consumer advocacy report entitled “Deceived By Design: How Tech Companies Use dark patterns to discourage us from exercising our rights to privacy”. In that report they took three prominent examples: Google, Facebook and Microsoft’s Windows 10 and examined how the UX design in the platform and the systems are engineered to “nudge” users toward privacy intrusive settings and preferences, to the point that these “dark patterns” amount to “exploitation”.

These tactics include misleading wording, giving users an illusion of control, hiding away privacy-friendly choices, take-it-or-leave-it choices, and choice architectures where choosing the privacy friendly option requires more effort for the users”. 

Full Report: https://fil.forbrukerradet.no/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/2018-06-27-deceived-by-design-final.pdf

EU Parliament backs off from new copyright plan, for now

We reported in a previous  #AxisOfEasy how the forthcoming EU copyright rules would be more disruptive than the GDPR, containing provisions such as mandatory content filtering for ISPs and a content licensing scheme that has become known as “the link tax”. It looks like the EU parliament has backed off for now, but only until September, when it comes up for amendments and more specific votes.

Murderers lose battle for “right to be forgotten”

A European Court for Human Rights has up has upheld a German Federal court’s decision to overturn a lower court’s ban on media reporting on the case of two half brothers who murdered a famous actor in 1993. The two were convicted of the crime and incarcerated until being released on probation in 2007 and 2008. A lower court ruled that “the brothers’ interest in no longer being confronted with their past actions so long after their conviction prevailed over the public interest in being informed”. The Federal court then overturned that “saying the Court of Appeal had failed to take sufficient account of the radio station’s right to freedom of expression and, with regard to its mission, the public’s interest in being informed.”

The pair ended up appealing to the EU court and lost.

ICANN loses Round 2 against EU’s GDPR

ICANN’s losing streak continues after European regulators have denied the naming oversight body’s revised proposal for balancing registrant data privacy under the new GDPR rules with ICANN’s own obligations and stakeholders (like Law Enforcement Agencies – LEA and the Intellectual Property interests). ICANN tried to argue that different rules should apply if a domain registrant is an individual vs a corporation but the Europeans shot that one down too.

Uganda Bans VPNs used to skirt “social media tax”

Apparently as of July 1st, Uganda has applied a “social media tax” on its citizens, levying a fee of 200 Ugandan Shillings (roughly 5 cents US) to access platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and WhatsApp. Predictably, VPN usage has skyrocketed, so now the Ugandan government is stopping just short (so far) of an outright ban on VPN services.

Australian Company loses all customer data and backups after hacking incident

In Perth, a small cyber marketing firm, albeit with 500+ clients lost nearly all data after a criminal hacking incident. The company was first hit with a DDoS attack “as a distraction”, at which point intruders penetrated their system, destroyed all their local backup disks and encrypted or deleted everything else. Only 12% of their customer data survived. The company did not have any offsite backups.

easyBackup will launch by the end of July – reliable, encrypted, offsite backups, hosted in Canada, with ransomware detection. Hit me up if you want to get a first round invite.

Smart TVs often track more that what you watch

Another story about a company none of us have ever heard of (Samba TV) which has deals with Sony, Sharp, TCL and Phillips. When you setup your smart TV you get an innocuous Samba TV screen which is presented as some kind of “digital optimization” enhancement, but what it is really doing is tracking everything that happens on the TV (including third-party streaming, gaming) and then creates profiles that can be used to target ads:

“Once enabled, Samba TV can track nearly everything that appears on the TV on a second-by-second basis, essentially reading pixels to identify network shows and ads, as well as programs on Netflix and HBO and even video games played on the TV. Samba TV has even offered advertisers the ability to base their targeting on whether people watch conservative or liberal media outlets and which party’s presidential debate they watched.”


In case you missed the announcement: My book Managing Mission Critical Domains & DNS: Demystifying nameservers, DNS and domain names” published on June 30th via Packt Publishing. W00t.

Via Packt: https://www.packtpub.com/networking-and-servers/managing-mission-critical-domains-and-dns

Via Amazon: https://amzn.to/2NnvlL1

If you’ve read it, please review it on Amazon. Thx!


1 thought on “[AxisOfEasy] Deceived by Design: How Google and Facebook Give You The Illusion of Privacy”

  1. Patrick Linehan says:

    Sign me up for easyBackup!

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