Latest News: Technology |  Celebrity |  Movies |  Apple |  Cars |  Business |  Sports |  TV Shows |  Geek


Filed under: News


The Biggest Privacy Stories of 2013

Dec 23 2013, 8:26am CST | by

10 Updates
The Biggest Privacy Stories of 2013
Photo Credit: Forbes


Full Story

The Biggest Privacy Stories of 2013

Forget “twerking” and “selfies.” dubbed “privacythe word of the year in 2013. Here at The Not-So Private Parts, it feels a little like the unknown indie band we’ve been obsessed with for years just won best album at the Grammys. So why did the plight of our personal data achieve Arcade Fire-level fame this year?

A previously unknown technologist named Edward Snowden had a whole lot to do with it, leading more people to express concern about civil liberties than about terrorism for the first time in the history of Pew Research polling . There has long been a debate about whether privacy is more imperiled by government or corporate actors. This year, the two converged as it became clear just how far the hands of intelligence agencies can reach into the data collected by private companies, thanks to the Snowden leaks, which themselves showed how difficult it is even for a incredibly secret agency like the NSA to preserve its privacy.

It wasn’t all spy agencies on info-binging diets. There were the usual stories of people compromising their own privacy with unwise sharing of information on public forums — or the surprising opposite: people who ceased sharing who were mistakenly assumed to be dead . It is not a new phenomenon that technology makes information on us easier to collect, store, search, share, and lose control over, but it was a phenomenon that got a lot of attention this year. Here are the stories that transformed privacy from a Hannah Montana sideshow into a show-stealing, tongue-lolling, twerkirrific spotlight stealer.

1. This list could start and end with the surveillance odd couple of Edward Snowden and the NSA. The countless documents gathered by Snowden caused his former employer which had been known until then as “No Such Agency” and “Never Say Anything” to become the regular subject of press releases from a newly-launched Tumblr from the Director of National Intelligence . The leaks led to revelations of dragnet phone metadata surveillance, the same for email until 2011, subversion of encryption technology, spying on porn habits of persons of interest, monitoring the phone calls of world leaders, hacking of tech companies , and on and on . And of course, some NSA employees used their surveillance superpowers to stalk loved ones instead of terrorists . Conspiracy theorists everywhere suddenly got to drop “conspiracy” from their titles.

2. Privacy actually hurt the bottom line for corporations. Cisco said the NSA revelations hurt its business in China . Analysts say the cloud industry may lose billions over the next three years. Executives from Google and Facebook said the government defending the NSA by saying they only snooped on foreigners wasn’t helping them in conducting business abroad. The tech companies have put pressure on the government to reform the NSA, with Zynga founder Mark Pincus reportedly going so far as to ask President Obama to pardon Snowden. Tech companies also reacted by being more transparent about what they hand over to the government — at least what they hand over that they’re allowed to talk about. Even the traditionally close-lipped telecoms AT&T and Verizon announced that they’ll start issuing transparency reports about how often they hand data to the gov.

3. An industry report from Swedish tech company Ericsson estimates that 50 billion devices will be networked by 2020 into an “Internet of Things,” meaning your car , lights , toilet , thermometer , and baby monitor will be online. And as we know, what’s online can be hacked. In fact, all of those things already have been (check the links). As the inevitable march towards complete connectivity continues, companies will need to make sure security settings keep up. It’s not just about criminal intruders, though. Thanks to more and more of our belongings being “smart” — or “tethered” as Jonathan Zittrain calls them — they’re constantly capturing data about us and reporting back to the companies that made them how we’re using them. So Tesla can throw data from a critical journalist’s test ride back at him and Xbox might track every person in the room and watch their facial expressions to decide which ads to show them. Take it in a dystopic direction, bring in John Carpenter and you have the makings for a new sci-fi horror film called The Things.

4. Google GlassGoogle gave us a tiny glimpse of a world where everyone wears a tiny camera on their face, with ubiquitous facial recognition a real possibility and any noteworthy moment a wink away from going viral . People freaked out . Others were willing to pay out the nose to put a smartphone on their face.

5. This story had its start in 2012: Teens in Steubenville did very bad things during a night of alcohol and partying, and shared the evidence via social media. Without Instagram and Twitter, the sexual assault of a young girl might have gone undocumented and likely would not have come to the wider attention of the world — which then put pressure on a small Ohio town to make sure justice was served. A trial by social media preceded that in a court of law this summer. If parents weren’t already NSAing their kids via social media, this was the rallying cry for them to start.

6. Speaking of teens and privacy, it’s long been said they don’t care about it . The rise of Snapchat this year suggests otherwise: millions of users — many of them presumably teens — and a reported $3-billion acquisition offer from Facebook (leaked to the WSJ) . The self-destructing messaging app is undeniably popular and part of the appeal is privacy through ephemerality. What you don’t save forever can’t hurt you…. Hopefully. Snapchat isn’t a sureproof method .

7. Revenge porn has been around for years . But scorned exes punishing former loved ones by putting intimate photos of them online finally caught the attention of lawmakers. In October, California joined New Jersey in putting an anti-revenge porn law on its books. Those not in the Garden or Golden State should remember that thing about taking photos that self-destruct.

8. Silk Road’s promise of an anonymous marketplace to buy drugs free of the long arm of the law proved to be a false one . Privacy-enhancing technologies Bitcoin and Tor were not enough to keep the feds at bay.

9. Data brokers would be under scrutiny if they weren’t so inscrutable. The invisible $156 billion industry is premised on collecting and selling information about us, and helping media companies like Facebook and Twitter connect advertisers with specific users. The industry — which is made up of a bunch of companies you’ve likely never heard of that have potentially heard a lot about you — was not helped by the discovery of one advertising lists of rape victims . The FTC wants the data brokers to tell us more about what they know about us. Acxiom ponied up with a public-facing site called About The Data promising to reveal what “data says about you and how it is used.” Apparently, the data makes a lot of mistakes .

Sorry, drones didn’t make the cut. While there was a lot excitement about consumer uses and dismay over their use for assassinations abroad , the spying potential of drones — whether by peeping toms or Big Brother — hasn’t fully taken flight yet.

Source: Forbes


iPad Air Giveaway. Win a free iPad Air.

You Might Also Like


Sponsored Update

Update: 10

GLCs told to provide RM7 billion to develop Bumiputera firms

Source: Malaysia Today

EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM - Day One
(The Malaysian Insider) – Putrajaya has directed government-linked companies (GLC) to generate RM7 billion in business opportunities for Bumiputera firms this year, Prime Minister Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak... READ MOR ...
Source: Malaysia Today   Full article at: Malaysia Today 6 days ago, 2:05am CDT


Update: 9

Rafizi shows proof of Putrajaya’s hand in contentious carpet-trader loan

Source: Malaysia Today

Eileen Ng, The Malaysian Insider PKR lawmaker Rafizi Ramli today revealed documents to prove Putrajaya interfered in the RM32 million Bank Rakyat loan to ‎controversial businessman Deepak Jaikishan. Rafizi (pi ...
Source: Malaysia Today   Full article at: Malaysia Today 1 week ago, 2:16am CDT

More From the Web

Update: 8

PAS MP claims Bank Rakyat loaned carpet-trader RM215m, interest free

Source: Malaysia Today

(Malay Mail Online) – Controversial businessman Deepak Jaikishan (pic) was given a whopping RM215 million interest-free loan from state-owned Bank Rakyat, a PAS lawmaker alleged today, despite Putrajaya’s cl ...
Source: Malaysia Today   Full article at: Malaysia Today Jul 14 2014, 5:52am CDT

Update: 7

MRCB, Nusa Gapurna and PKNS settle suit over RM3 billion PJ Sentral project

Source: Malaysia Today

(The Malaysian Insider) – Malaysian Resources Corp Bhd (MRCB), Nusa Gapurna Development Sdn Bhd (NGD) and PKNS Holdings Sdn Bhd have reached an out-of-court settlement over the ownership of the.. ...
Source: Malaysia Today   Full article at: Malaysia Today Jun 21 2014, 2:53am CDT

Update: 6

Story behind Syed Mokhtar’s ‘RM2.25 billion tax-exempt’ Bernas deal revealed, says PKR MP

Source: Malaysia Today

(The Malaysian Insider) – An innocuous written reply in Parliament has provided a peek into the cosy relationship between the Najib administration and Malaysia’s best-known businessman, Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar ...
Source: Malaysia Today   Full article at: Malaysia Today Jun 15 2014, 12:56pm CDT

Update: 5

Constitutional monarchy still murky concept

Source: Malaysia Today

After the RM4.5 billion land sale, the Sultan of Johor secured a 15% stake in MOL Access Portal (MOL) for RM396 million and took a 20% stake in Berjaya Times... READ MOR ...
Source: Malaysia Today   Full article at: Malaysia Today Jun 14 2014, 12:37am CDT

Update: 4

Sultan of Johor’s RM4.5 bil backlash?

Source: Malaysia Today

"GOLDEN ASIA" Tokyo Premiere Press Conference
Has Sultan Ibrahim of Johor’s succession of big money deals over the last six months caused the tide of public opinion to turn against Johor’s royal palace? KiniBiz examin ...
Source: Malaysia Today   Full article at: Malaysia Today Jun 11 2014, 8:49am CDT

Update: 3

Putrajaya denies carpet dealer given interest-free loan

Source: Malaysia Today

Eileen Ng, The Malaysian Insider Putrajaya today refuted allegations that Bank Rakyat had allowed carpet dealer Deepak Jaikishan to repay a RM32 million loan without interest following intervent ...
Source: Malaysia Today   Full article at: Malaysia Today Jun 11 2014, 5:44am CDT

Update: 2

Malaysia Spends Over $9 million on MH370 Hunt: Report

Source: NDTV

"GOLDEN ASIA" Tokyo Premiere Press Conference
Malaysia has so far spent about RM27.6 million (over $9 million) on search operations for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an official said ...
Source: NDTV   Full article at: NDTV Jun 9 2014, 3:12am CDT

Update: 1

Bill for Kidex likely to soar to RM3.4b

Source: Malaysia Today

The original RM2.4 billion tag on the proposed highway did not take into account the cost of acquiring the land mostly in the urban areas, claims an assemblywoman Fabian Comelius,... READ MO ...
Source: Malaysia Today   Full article at: Malaysia Today Jun 9 2014, 2:51am CDT

Shopping Deals


<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/31" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.




blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Adam Richman Contrite after Instagram Diatribe
Adam Richman Contrite after Instagram Diatribe
Food Fighters Adam Richman is quite contrite after his diatribe on Instagram. His show is being pulled off the air due to his social blunder.
Cara Delevingne joins Selena Gomez Celebrating her 22nd Birthday
Cara Delevingne joins Selena Gomez Celebrating her 22nd Birthday
Selena Gomez celebrated her 22nd birthday in St. Tropez this week. She was joined by Victoria's Secret model Cara Delevingne.
Philadelphia Eagles Believe Nick Foles is Most Solid NFC Quarterback
Philadelphia Eagles Believe Nick Foles is Most Solid NFC Quarterback
The Philadelphia Eagles believe starting quarterback Nick Foles will have another solid season in 2014, building on his breakout campaign last year.
Xiaomi Mi Band unlocks phones without any password
Xiaomi Mi Band unlocks phones without any password
At Xiaomi's event earlier today in Beijing, the company also announced its first wearable that is the Mi Band. Like any other wearable, the Mi Band can track user movement and sleeping patterns. It can also function as...

About the Geek Mind

Read more about The Geek Mind.