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Posts Tagged ‘Apple’

Personal Geofences, Bluetooth and Covid-19

April 15, 2020 1 comment

Continuing on the themes highlighted by Joseph in his recent post COVID-19 and Privacy Concerns, Apple and Google have announced a joint plan to develop a phone tracking solution, as opposed to an application, that will use Bluetooth signals to identify people a phone’s owner had been in close enough proximity with to represent a potential risk of infection. Phones within a certain range would exchange an anonymous, encrypted code and if one of the phone owners subsequently tests positive for and declared themselves to be infected with the virus, their code would be shared with a central database. Other phones would download and scan the database for potential code matches. If a match is found, the phone’s owner is alerted.

Both companies have been quick to stress neither location data or any personal information would be captured and their focus will be on ‘privacy,  transparency and consent’. Although still subject to approval, the proposal has already had a fairly positive initial response from the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) on Twitter who indicated it met one of their main criteria by incorporating data protection by design.

With health services and governments in many countries facing urgent requirements to implement rigorous and effective tracking solutions, necessity is once again proving to be the mother of invention.

 

Company ethics versus technical reputation

May 19, 2014 1 comment

Over the last two years we have written a number of posts on some of the issues surrounding personal information and data privacy; from UAVs (drones) to the secret lives of phones, the collection and reuse that information continue to challenge end users and customers. How much of our personal information are we willing to trade for access to products and services?

A recent ZDNet article by Jack Schofield reported the results of a Harris poll into corporate reputation and the responses from 18,000 American adults to six categories: emotional appeal, financial performance, products and services, social responsibility, vision and leadership and workplace environment. The survey indicated that 76% of those surveyed were concerned about the amount of personal information captured by large companies, including technology giants Apple, Google, Samsung, Microsoft and Amazon, and less than half (44%) reported that they trusted companies to act responsibly with that information. In the category Social Responsibility, the only technology company to appear in the top five was Microsoft, ahead of both Google and Apple.

How much of that mistrust materialises as lost sales or changing preferences? According to the poll company business practices are an increasingly important factor for customers, with 60% of those surveyed reporting that they researched companies before they considered engaging with them. It seems that technical reputation is not the only measure by which companies are judged and company ethics, in particular personal information policies and practices, now play a major role in influencing our choices.

 

 

 

3D imagery and aerial photography: Public access versus public safety and security

August 26, 2013 Leave a comment

One of the recurring themes in The GIS Guide to Public Domain Data is that of open access: How and when spatial data is made publicly available. A recent report from BBC reporter Zoe Lleinman, highlighted the continuing problem of balancing the public interest in access to detailed mapping data for towns and cites versus concerns from government organisations with respect to security and public safety. Officials from Norway’s National Security Authority have refused permission for Apple to take aerial photographs of the capital city Oslo to create a 3D imagery layer that would include government buildings and restricted areas. Although the data Apple require can be sourced elsewhere (for example, from the Norwegian Mapping Authority), the authorities felt they would have no control over how data would be used if Apple were to acquire the data themselves. Other map companies have used 2D satellite imagery, which is not protected, for their mapping services.

Maintaining public safety, and national security, has long since ceased to be simply a matter of security barriers and guard dogs patrolling the perimeters of restricted areas; with increasingly easy to use web mapping services, access to detailed spatial information no longer requires a physical presence at the site. Terrorist events in Norway, and the targeting of government buildings, triggered a major debate about security and public access to such information. We discussed a similar problem with attempts to ban access to Google Earth data in India following the attacks in Mumbai in 2008. As the Norwegian and Indian authorities themselves acknowledge, there are many benefits to be gained from having access to detailed imagery, but developing effective data access policies, where information use is monitored, is an on-going challenge.