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Drone goes BRRR. Privacy you can hear. | The Cat Herder, Volume 3, Issue 37

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Brainwave monitoring, the giant brains at Facebook, people versus technology, Jack Russells versus te
 
September 27 · Issue #101 · View online
The Cat Herder
Brainwave monitoring, the giant brains at Facebook, people versus technology, Jack Russells versus technology.
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The slim chance that buccaneering Brexit Britain would secure an adequacy decision is growing slimmer as the deadline approaches. Things like this don’t help.
Dominic Cummings' data law shake-up a danger to trade, says EU | Brexit | The Guardian
No, this pseudoscience just doesn’t work.
This Company Wants to Help Your Boss Monitor Your Brainwaves at Work
The concerns raised by Newham early adopters aren’t focused on the technology itself. Instead, it’s a people problem: some people can’t or won’t download and install the app, while others have been confused by the QR code system.
In a totally unsurprising turn of events, Nicole Kobie explains how ‘The NHS Test and Trace app has two flaws: QR codes and people’ for Wired. People have a long history of not using technology in the way its creators intended, or indeed not using it at all.
In Australia the government has come over all coy about the numbers of people still using their app.
The federal government has refused to release information on the number of Australians still using the Covidsafe contact tracing app, on the grounds it could risk public safety and harm commonwealth-state relations.
Releasing Covidsafe app usage numbers could risk public safety, government claims | Health | The Guardian
In Singapore the government has moved on from solely tracking via phone.
Singapore is distributing tens of thousands of devices that can track who a person has interacted with.
The small bluetooth device is meant for those who do not own smartphones and cannot use a contact tracing app that was previously rolled out by the Singapore government.
While there are some concerns over about data protection, authorities say the token helps vulnerable groups to feel safer when out and about.
Singapore rolls out Covid tracing tokens - BBC News
Ring’s latest security camera is a drone that flies around inside your house - The Verge
Faine Greenwood has some thoughts on this latest offering from Amazon.
As I mentioned above, the drone does go BRRR, or perhaps BZZZ. Amazon claims that this totally bog-standard aspect of multirotor drone design is a special feature called “privacy you can hear,” a supposedly-comforting catchphrase I find fascinating because it makes no sense if you think about it for more than the 0.1 seconds required to read it. The world’s greatest legal, ethical, and technological scholars have strived for generations to define what “privacy” is and what it consists of — without success. And now, Amazon has come along to inform us that whatever the hell privacy is, it’s something you can hear.
And no one has, far as I know, successfully engineered a mini-drone that can evade a unsupervised Jack Russell Terrier with murder in its heart.
Four hundred and ten million users. Pulling out is not an option.
Four hundred and ten million users. Pulling out is not an option.
Facebook (market cap $725 billion; staff circa 50,000) said it might have to abandon its operations in Europe entirely if the mean ol’ DPC (annual budget €16.9 million; staff 140) continued to bully it by asking it to abide by the law.
Then Nick Clegg said this wasn’t true at all. Rather undermining the credibility of his legal team’s affidavit. Which was attached to Facebook’s application for a judicial review of a decision which hasn’t been taken yet ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
The reason this will never happen here is also contained in the affidavit (direct link to PDF) at paragraph 84. “the Applicant’s Facebook service alone has approximately 410 million monthly active users in Europe”.
Facebook has acquired, profiled and segmented this enormous user base through network effects, acquisitions, light skullduggery and various other means. Facebook is in the business of selling eyeballs to advertisers. “Senator, we run ads.” Facebook has never shown any propensity for walking away from bundles of money.
This week the Department of Education and Skills changed its mind about only giving students access to their class rank order via an Article 15 subject access request. It is unclear whether this abrupt about turn was prompted by the realisation that it would require a significant amount of effort on the department’s part to respond to all the access requests. From tomorrow students will be able to access this information through the department’s Leaving Cert 2020 portal.
Whatever the reason behind the decision, it is a net positive that a public body has realised and publicly affirmed that it has data protection obligations and that data subjects have extensive rights (“Minister for Education Norma Foley said there had been an agreed process and students were entitled to their personal data.”)
Or un-regulators, in some situations
Or un-regulators, in some situations
The Finnish DPA fined a company €7,000 for carrying out electronic direct marketing without consent and for failing to respond to subject access requests.
The Garante fined a school €2,000 for uploading a list of students’ personal data onto its website.

  • “But there is also a menacing tone in part of Cunnane’s submission. “I say,” she declares, “that the fact that one person is responsible for the entire process is also relevant to the Applicant’s [Facebook’s] concerns, in respect of the inadequacy of the investigative process engaged in and/or independence of the ultimate decision-making process.” This is a legalistic shot directly aimed at the Irish DPC, Helen Dixon, and you don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to understand what is being implied here.” John Naughton on Facebook’s tactics in ‘Can democracies stand up to Facebook? Ireland may have the answer’.
  • “But today’s rhetoric of disruption frequently applies to things other than companies. This is why people such as Peter Thiel are so intent on claiming that higher education, say, or healthcare as a whole, or government, are oligopolies or even monopolies.” Adrian Daub on ‘The disruption con: why big tech’s favourite buzzword is nonsense’. This piece ran on the same day Leo Varadkar “launched a call for Irish businesses to apply to a €500 million State-backed fund for “disruptive” technologies”. Maybe a prudent government should be considering investing in less disruptive technologies given the amount of destruction in the name of disruption we’ve seen over the last decade.
  • “Various European countries have launched a contact tracing app to help in the fight against COVID-19. Some of these apps were initiated by the government and other apps were initiated by private actors and thereafter endorsed by the government. I am doing comparative legal research into these contact tracing apps. I am interested in knowing if these contact tracing apps are based solely on existing legislation such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) or if they are accompanied by new legislation.” Sarah Eskens has compiled a comprehensive overview of the lawful bases being used to operate contact tracing apps across the EU.
  • “An array of free website-building tools, many offered by ad-tech and ad-funded companies, has led to a dizzying number of trackers loading on users’ browsers, even when they visit sites where privacy would seem paramount, an investigation by The Markup has found. Some load without the website operators’ explicit knowledge—or disclosure to users. Website operators may agree to set cookies—small strings of text that identify you—from one outside company. But they are not always aware that the code setting those cookies can also load dozens of other trackers along with them, like nesting dolls, each collecting user data.” From ‘The High Privacy Cost of a “Free” Website’ by Aaron Sankin and Surya Mattu for The Markup.


Endnotes & Credits
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