Atmosphere Inspires is our regular curation of news and views from the digital sphere; the lead stories that are affecting you and your business. In this edition we’re looking at the very current issue of data breaches and consumer privacy.
Facebook has been getting plenty of air time recently: they're now facing a class action lawsuit from American and British lawyers for misusing the data of over 71 million people. Zuckerberg has faced congress, issued an apology, and pledged to adopt the EU's GDPR rules which come into play next month, but whether there will be any further remedial action remains to be seen. Either way, it's likely there will now be significant pressure on regulators to toughen up their oversight of the digital industry.
Amazon's Alexa is in the news again, and this time she could be listening to everything you're saying. Known as "voice sniffing" technology, Alexa will analyse all conversations in order to make tailored recommendations. Building personalised consumer profiles is the way forward and there's undoubtedly a high demand for it, but when it's taking place in your own home, and there's no filter to what is and isn't recorded, does it cross a line in terms of privacy?
Interesting read here based on the potential faux pas of breaking up big tech firms (currently a trending theme). Arguing that strict privacy rules would be far more beneficial, we can see the point being made. Breaking up the likes of Facebook, Google and Apple would have a huge, unprecedented impact on consumers as well as the economy, and unless confidentiality rules are addressed thoroughly and rigorously now, surely history will only repeat itself with new and upcoming tech firms?
So privacy rights are currently a hot topic in the tech world, but apparently blockchain could solve the internet privacy problem. A number of tech firms have become part of the Sovrin Foundation which uses distributed ledger technology to create a privacy safe environment for users. It was really only a matter of time before a concept like this emerged, and this not-for-profit organisation may well help to provide some of the answers currently posed by the Facebook controversy.
Quick ten minute podcast here worth a listen talking about personal data and why it matters once the GDPR rules kick in on 25th May. Controller and Processor roles are explained, and it's worth businesses understanding the nature of these positions and how they can help to ensure compliancy. The date is fast approaching now and there's clear emphasis on individual businesses to take responsibility for their personal data: check out this overview on what is the GDPR for a useful summary.
Fribo, a prototype household device has been developed to help combat loneliness in young people. Fribo can passively monitor your actions about the house and broadcast them to friends to encourage interaction. Creepy? A bit, and initial feedback suggests that meaningful relationships need to be built on more than digital communication: we tend to agree. Young people are experiencing loneliness despite a plethora of social interactions via Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook, which indicates that real contact with real people isn't yet something that technology can replace.