Online Privacy News and Views
I had the privilege recently to be sent an advance review copy of a new book – The Age of Context: Mobile, Sensors, Data and the Future of Privacy by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel It is a fascinating insight into where are headed with our increasing connectedness, and the issues this throws up for privacy, and I would certainly urge anyone interested in this field to read it – especially those legislators in the EU.
Our regular visitors will have noticed that we have changed our website today, with a new design and layout. We hope you like it.
It has been a busy few weeks for our development team, and we are delighted to announce that the hard work has paid off, with not one but two major software releases completed in the last few days.
Last week we learned that a marketing start-up Renew has been trialling the use of tracking technology on the streets of London - through wifi enabled recycling bins. The news of this activity caused quite a stir, to the point that within a few days, the City of London Corporation, the local government body, ordered the data collection to stop just a few days later, and asked the Information Commissioners Office, the UK's privacy regulator, to investigate a potential breach of the law. See - City of London smartphone tracking wi-fi usage banned. However, the question of the legality of the activity is only part of the story, what is perhaps more interesting is the potential for reputational damage that results from such covert tracking activity.
Jonathan Mayer has resigned as chair of the group responsible for agreeing the Do Not Track standard. His resignation letter makes it clear that after 18 months with almost no progress, agreement on the standard is unlikely to be reached by the opposing sides of the arguments. It now seems increasingly likely that the attempt to create a Do Not Track standard that the whole of the web community can agree on will fail.
If you actively follow articles and news about the cookie law, and if you are reading this I assume you do, then you cannot have failed to notice the apparent affirmation that the cookie law is no more, and you have probably seen the widely circulated 'The cookie law is dead' infographic.
We have released a brand new version of the Cookiepedia website this week, and we are very happy with the results, although there is more development to come. We have been working on this update for the best part of six months, and have gone right back to the drawing board to build something entirely new and bespoke. It was a huge job and involved a major re-engineering of the database.
The story of the US National Security Agency's PRISM surveillance programme has really highlighted how much the world relies on US technology companies to power its most loved/used web services.
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) appears to be taking a more proactive approach to reminding businesses of their obligations under the cookie law, than the UK's official enforcer of the cookie regulations, the ICO.
The 'Right to be Forgotten' has become a major point of discussion and negotiation with the proposed EU data protection regulation, and the UK government has been one of its harshest critics. They have been trying to argue for an opt-out in the event of not getting the law changed.