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Posts Tagged ‘phones’

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.