Privacy is Dead

Tim Cook Defends Apple’s Security in Wake of iCloud Hacks

"I <3 privacy." (Wikimedia Commons)

Earlier this month, a number of nude photos were leaked stolen from the various celebrities’ iCloud accounts, leaving many questioning whether Apple products are really as secure as they thought. Though he doesn’t explicitly reference the hacking scandal, Apple CEO Tim Cook took to the company’s website on Wednesday to publish an open letter affirming Apple’s commitment to users’ privacy, as well as detailing new security measures. Read More

It's Zuck's World We're Just Living In It

Heads Up, Instagram Users: Soon All Your Data Will Belong to Zuck

Zuck. (Photo:

Bad news for anyone paranoid about what Facebook might do with his data: VentureBeat reports that as of January 16, Instagram and Facebook will begin sharing information. Resistance is futile; your data will be assimilated. “We’ve learned that by being able to share insights and information with each other, we can build better experiences for our users,” writes the company in an update of its privacy policy and terms of service.

Guess what that means! All the data points you’re generating with your use of Instagram are now available for Facebook to use in whatever it’s up to these days.  Read More


Now Google Is Pissing Off the French Authorities

Ms. Falque-Pierrotin (

Mere weeks after being slapped with a $25,000 fine from America’s own F.C.C., Google is antagonizing yet another government body with its tight-lipped, unhelpful responses.

All Things D reports that France’s C.N.I.L., the data protection organization investigating the company’s privacy policies on behalf of the EU, is none too pleased with the company right now. Whatever answers Google does provide are often “incomplete or approximate,” and that simply won’t do.

The C.N.I.L. sent Google a questionaire back in March; the company returned the questionaire in April. Representatives from the two organizations have also met in person. And yet, the French still don’t have the information they want. And so now C.N.I.L. head Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin has taken to the Internet with a chiding public letter for CEO Larry Page. She writes:  Read More

It's Zuck's World We're Just Living In It

Facebook Sheriff Joe Sullivan Decides When the Cops Get Your Data, Is Not Afraid to Call Your Mom


Well Forbes privacy reporter Kashmir Hill certainly showed her detractors! Earlier this week, Ms. Hill was taken to task for the fauxtroversy of getting pageviews for generously quoting from–and repeatedly linking to!–a New York Times magazine article about how companies like Target track personal data based on what you buy, an important piece of work in her area of expertise. We believe that practice is called blo-gging? But a big, juicy profile of Joe Sullivan, Facebook’s chief security officer, should help answer the Times‘ writer’s condescending question of what Ms. Hill really wants to do with her life.

Now that we’ve gotten that distasteful business out of the way, let’s make things even squirmier by discussing the revelations in the article itself. Mr. Sullivan, who operates as the de facto “head of Homeland Security” for Facebook and its 845 million users heads a team in charge of everything from prosecuting spammers gaming Facebook to ferreting out pedophiles to figuring out how much of your info to turn over to the police. Read More


Google Guesses: Mostly Wrong, Kinda Sexist, and Pretty Funny


Earlier this week, when Google announced it would be consolidating 60-some privacy policies into one simple form, the reaction from privacy wonks was pretty much: No, Google! Bad! Google already drastically revamped its primary search function by integrating social connections (err, meaningless Google+ connections) into your browser with Search, Plus Your World.

It’s all part of the company’s efforts to further integrate products like YouTube, Google Calendar, and Gmail into one Google Account, so that once you’re logged in, information is shared across products.  Most surprisingly, THERE WAS NO OPT OUT. Larry Page reportedly told employees who objected to get on board or get out. Read More

Privacy Police

Etsy Changes Its Privacy Policy and Pivots Towards Real Names [Updated]

Careful about entering your real name, leaf people.

“Your friends at Etsy” sent out an email this afternoon alerting Etsy community members now “over 10 million strong!” to some notable changes in its privacy policy.

Guess they were hoping transparency would help them avoid the same PR debacle that happened when an opt-out feature in the Feedback System inadvertently made some users’ purchases, including artisanal dildos, searchable under their real name. In response to the media, Etsy decided to make all purchase and feedback private by default in March, but users alleged that prior to the policy change, the company shut down Etsy forums complaining of the same glitch.

Today’s notification directs users to two separate blog posts, one on changes to the privacy policy and one about Etsy’s new policy of showing real names, if they are provided, rather than usernames. Read More