Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Tech companies VS Government on Privacy

Thanks everyone for a great debate in class today. To build on the points discussed in class today, here are two articles that talk about the growing tension between technology companies and governments about access to consumer data. The first article talks about Twitter suing the government, while the second discusses a new approach taken by Google and Apple to protect user privacy.

Thanks Phil Gara for the articles!

6 comments:

  1. It's noteworthy that the Twitter article doesn't define the "sensitive information" the company suggests should be protected. The second article isn't detailed, either, pointing to images as the only example. I have to wonder whether the nebulous concept of "data" helps get BBC readers incensed, boosting readership -- particularly if the readers aren't above-average in technical literacy. People tend to be afraid of things they don't fully understand, and therefore show high levels of caution, aligning well with privacy advocacy.

    - Lauren P

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  2. These articles show how heavily lobbied the data privacy issue is in the US. In the meantime, the European Court of Justice has ruled that US-based corporations have to comply with the "right to be forgotten" in Europe.

    A recent article on Tech Crunch breaks down de-listing requests directly tied to this ruling that have to be honored by Google, Facebook, and others.

    http://techcrunch.com/2014/10/07/forgetting-facebook/

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  4. I agree that the ability to protect user data privacy is becoming a key competitive advantage for tech companies as competition intensifies. Users may still choose to use a platform even though they have to compromise their privacy because the platform is currently a monopoly in the field and there are no better alternatives. However inaction now does not mean that users are not concerned about the topic. Once competition intensify and alternatives emerge, users are very likely to switch to platforms that offer better privacy protection.

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  5. One aspect of privacy that we didn't discuss in class is the difference between internet users in developing vs. developed countries. Dutta, Dutton, and Law (http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1916005) find that users share attitudes on privacy globally. They also conclude that there are some difference between these two groups in how liberal they are on internet privacy. I think that, by extension, you could expect that tech. companies might not have to focus as much on privacy if they are increasingly targeting users in these developing countries. If a major proportion of technology growth in the next 5 years will be in countries that are newly adopting nations, they might value privacy less.

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  6. I wonder how many high publicity hacker breeches, like JP Morgan, Target, Snapchat, etc it will take before government regulation will be implemented to establish more privacy and security requirements for companies doing business on the internet.

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