Recently, Apple CEO Tim Cook was on Charlie Rose and questioned Google’s data collection practices. He said, “When an online service is free, you’re not the customer, you’re the product.” Now it’s Eric Schmidt’s turn as he appeared on CNN Money and obviously had some things to say about Tim Cook’s comments.
New hardware and software isn’t all Apple has launching this week. Tim Cook, the chief executive officer, personally wrote a new privacy statement located on the company’s site. In it, there are jabs at other tech firms and Google is seemingly the prime target. Unlike other tech firms, Cook states that Apple treats users as customers and not a product.
Google will not be alone in its quest to design an encrypted email system. Yahoo has announced it will be joining Google in doing so. The encrypted email system would be ready sometime next year and act as an optional, not mandatory, feature for users. Both companies would be able to bring privacy their more than 500 million combined users, a subject that has long been in question.
John Henry Skillern is a registered sex offender that spent 19 years in prison for sexually assaulting a child and now, thanks to Google, is back behind bars. After Google found suspicious photos in Skillern’s Gmail inbox they tipped off the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children who in turn notified Houston police.
As Google has grown throughout the years, one result has been their investment in the massive computing power needed to drive all of their services. In a new effort to make use of that computing power, a new Wall Street Journal report indicates Google has turned to their Google X team to start a new project called the Baseline Study to collect anonymous genetic and molecular information in an effort to paint a picture of what a healthy human should be like. That can then be used to help researchers identify potential markers that signal problems and help people become more proactive in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. As Dr. Andrew Conrad, who is heading up the project, notes, “We are just asking the question: If we really wanted to be proactive, what would we need to know? You need to know what the fixed, well-running thing should look like.”
Although the fare may be tame compared to what is out on the Internet, Netflix still has some stuff that users may not want showing up in their recent history or getting shared to Facebook. To help with that situation, Netflix has started testing a new privacy mode that users can jump into for those B-movie excursions. According to Netflix’s director of corporate communications and technology Cliff Edwards,
Snapchat went through a huge data breach last year exposing 4.6 million phone numbers and user names. According to the FTC, the data breach contradicted promises made by Snapchat concerning security.
Facebook is introducing a new feature that’s going to make its privacy-conscious users cringe. The new feature, called Nearby Friends, does exactly what it sounds like; it alerts you whenever you’re in the general vicinity of one of your Facebook friends. If you’re going to the movies or going out to eat, you can find out who’s near you to arrange a meet-up.
Glass is having a rough go of it in regards to privacy concerns. There’s been a back and forth involving the worries that Glass violates the privacy of those around people wearing the tech. While there have been countless of stories involving the fact that, no, Glass does not actually violate privacy and isn’t always recording folk, people are still apprehensive. It’s only going to get worse.
In a study done by market research firm, Toluna, 72 percent of the American populace won’t be purchasing Google Glass because of privacy worries. They’re worried that there will be hacking, unwarranted photography and video filming and so on. While the initial buzz about Glass showed that people were genuinely interested in the product, its public presence has been a bit jaded as of late. With misconceptions by mainstream media furthering people’s apprehension, Google’s gone on the offense with a post showcasing everything Glass isn’t.
Popular messaging app WhatsApp, recently acquired by Facebook, updated their Android app to add some new privacy settings and other enhancements. WhatsApp beta testers have had access to the new features for several days. The privacy settings let users limit who can see their status, profile photo, and “last seen.” More information on what is new, along with download links, are available after the break.