Mac OS High Sierra Turns on User Tracking by Default Again

Apple – I’m disappointed in y’all for adding/enabling “significant locations” to my laptop in the latest update to Mac OS High Sierra. “Frequent Locations” as it is called in IOS, being added to laptops is just as bad as when you added to the iPhone. It can put people in danger. And at a time when we are having a national debate on the predatory behavior of so many people. 

Readers – Has your laptop said “You were just at xyz yesterday. Why not submit a rating?” Yup. That. 

How to turn off Significant Locations

 

Step 1 – In Settings go to Security and Privacy

location services tracking
Turn off location tracking but not all of location services

After unlocking it Step 2

Frequent Locations is NOT needed and unsafe
Frequent Locations is NOT needed and unsafe

Step 3

The Map Showing Every Place You Go – Clear History First

Step 4 – After Clearing History

Clearing History Will Prompt You to Reconsider

Step 5 – Uncheck Frequent Locations

Uncheck Frequent Locations After History is Cleared

Why is turning of significant locations important? Because if your laptop gets stolen and it’s not encrypted and / or uses a weak password, then they get to know every place you frequent (like your home, work, gym, grocery store, you name it. Even how long you stay there.

Company issued laptop? Your boss could learn you are interviewing. Or that your sick day was really just a day to go to the beach.

Victim of domestic violence? That person could track every place you go, like to a shelter or the authorities. And they probably have access to your computer.

Have nothing to hide? Maybe some of your friends don’t want their address stored in your laptop for advertisers to cross reference.

Traveling? Authorities in another country could determine the location of your family and friends for coercion. And at the border people can now be compelled to turn over their social media logins. You may think you have nothing to hide, but if you care for others, then you owe it to them to maintain reasonable privacy.

Tracking people has far more down sides than up sides.

And Apple – burying those tracking settings where normal humans can’t find them to protect themselves isn’t cool. It just makes phishing scams easier and literally threatens people’s lives if abused. Please stop.

ZDNet – “MS to advertisers: Drop dead” – a bit of an exaggeration but a point well made

OK, ZDNet’s contributor  uses a sensational headline to make his point with a back-handed compliment to Microsoft, but it is still a point worth making for the Advertising Industry. Namely that behavioral advertising faces a moment of truth; opt-in or opt-out.

And there is an irony in Microsoft being the good guy for once advocating for more privacy. One has to wonder if this would be the case if Google wasn’t handing them Bing’s head on a platter in search and advertising domination. And yet here we are with IE 10 locking things down by default for the humble user regarding tracking adverts.

I for one vote for opt-in. For example, in a discussion with a colleague earlier today, behavioral ads on FB are wrong (as in they deliver stupid ads) unless you tell it what you want. That should not be license to display dating-ads to users with profiles clearly marked “married” until we mark them “offensive” over and over and over. (For the record, that doesn’t work. You have to tell FB what you DO like to make offensive ads drop off.) I find this strategy akin to the gray-blocky-face on Flickr that is designed to get you to upload a real photo. It works, but it’s kinda annoying.

But back to the point. ZDNet’s post is sensationalizing a point that in my opinion is a good thing. Specifically that “the next version of (Microsoft’s) web browser, Internet Explorer 10, will ship with its “Do Not Track” feature turned on by default.”

The Author goes on to say:

“In practice, all behavioral advertising has managed to do is annoy the hell out of me…on a personal level. It is a much deeper level of rejection than seeing a billboard I disagree with on the highway, because I know there’s an attempt being made that’s failing. But I don’t have the time or energy to swat all of these new digital mosquitos. As a gatekeeper to the web, Microsoft is taking a step to do that for me — and all the average web-using people who have no idea what’s going on and couldn’t tell you the name of the current U.S. vice president, much less what a cookie is.”

The good news is that he concludes:

“…sometimes I just want an ice-cold can of Coca-Cola, and it has nothing to do with how old I am or where I live or who I work for. (But maybe, just maybe, how deathly hot outside it is right now.)

Good behavioral advertising can accomplish that. But too often, it hasn’t.”

Emphasis added by me.

To my friends in the advertising industry, an industry that is very close to my heart having been on the board of the local Houston Advertising Federation in the past, that it’s gonna be OK. We don’t have to be creepy to succeed. We just have to be creative. And yes, perhaps, fix our business models a bit to match the new nirvana.

 

 

Riya – Can I get an Opt Out Option to Protect My Identity Please?

I am a fan of Riya and in particular of the great PR being generated, in an ethical manner, by Tara Hunt.  She is articulate and isn’t afraid of calling someone an "ass clown" when warranted.

But I do have an urgent request for Riya to help protect privacy.  I think an individual, perhaps a non-user, should be able to opt out of the sharing and feature set of Riya.  I should not have to register with the site to do this.  Just an option to say "hey – if two people upload their address books and I am in both, please don’t share the training and identification features."

RiyaaddressbookuploadconcernThis seems reasonable, right?  Just an option to exclude an individual based on their wishes.  The image at right was on the coverage page for Riya here.  And here is an excerpt that does concern me.

"Now, there is an even faster way to train Riya.

If you click on the auto training tab and let Riya analyze your address book.  Riya will determine which of the people you know have been trained by other friends and family.  If so, those people will be automatically recognized without you having to do any training at all."

I should be able to opt out of that. 

Good PR includes crisis communications, and crisis communication is MOSTLY about crisis prevention

If I may be so bold as to make a suggestion, ideally I’d like to hear the CEO talking about ensuring privacy every time he does a demo.  And I’d like a privacy link on the home page that talks, in plain language, about the importance of privacy for the company.  Then be sure to walk the talk. 

Two reasons why the above is so important.  1) I am not the only privacy nut on the Internet and it WILL turn into a crisis if not addressed proactively.  Just ask Sony.  2) If I were a competitor of Riya, this is where I would attack.  Not addressing privacy and security proactively is your open flank.  You have worked too hard to leave the opportunity open to spamming competitors.  Close the gap! 

Talk about privacy and let people opt out of others sharing their identity please.