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December 28th, 2020

Here’s a hard truth for parents: Big Tech knows more about your kids than you do.  Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Twitter and so many more are vacuuming up countless bits of digital information about users. The details, when aggregated, paint a portrait of each person online that ordinary humans are unable to put together themselves. These organizations may not know more about your kids’ personality than you do. But if  your… Continue reading >

April 22nd, 2021

Facebook recently announced it’s developing a version of Instagram for kids under 13. It is a terrible idea. Let us count the ways. Kids don’t benefit from staring at a phone and scrolling away the hours. Research shows increased screen time by young people leads to a wide range of behavioral problems.Time spent on a phone is time not spent playing, running around, building things—being a kid. Let’s let our kids be… Continue reading >

March 17th, 2021

If you’re reading this from anywhere but China, you probably don’t have a Sesame Score. But if you care at all about internet privacy and security, you should know what it is. The Chinese government has created a social credit monitoring system to look over every member of its population. It’s called Zhima Credit and is popularly known as Sesame Credit or China’s Sesame Score. It was developed by Ant Financial, which is… Continue reading >

June 4th, 2020

If you think switching from one device to another makes you less track-able, then you haven’t heard about cross-device tracking. You are already aware that when you’re online, companies are trying to learn all about you and what you’re doing. Most of the time, they’re looking for better ways sell you things that you might need as well as things you definitely don’t. That’s tracking. Cross-device tracking is, as they say, on another… Continue reading >

February 18th, 2021

You probably assume AirDrop is safe. It’s built right into your iPhone or iPad: a feature that lets people quickly share information with each other in the same room wirelessly. No need to transfer it through an Internet server first (as one does through DropBox or iCloud). So simple, so convenient. So private and secure, too? If you’re into updates, yes. The good news is, it’s been made safer lately. But the technology… Continue reading >

March 3rd, 2021

In the effort to protect our online transactions, have we ceded too much power to too few? Is Sift, whose algorithms protect corporate behemoths from McDonald’s to Twitter, merely a free-market version of China’s intrusive Sesame Score? What is the cost of safety? Online shopping may be pervasive, but it isn’t without risks. Credit card fraud, for example, is on the rise each year, eclipsing $30 billion annually, with the majority of the… Continue reading >

January 26th, 2021

COPPA—the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act—was supposed to help guard our kids’ privacy on the internet. More than two decades after its passage, the results are mixed. Yes, COPPA protects some kids, but it is too narrow in scope and needs to be updated. Congress enacted the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) in 1998 to give parents control over what kinds of information companies can gather about their kids and improve… Continue reading >

December 15th, 2020

If you’re going to use Instagram, be smart about it and take control. Setting your account to “Private” restricts who can see your posts. Dig a little deeper into the app’s “settings” to limit the amount of personal information the harvests from your posts and control, somewhat, the ads you see. You’ll end up with a safer, more private account that sheds a bit less data from Instagram, Facebook and their advertisers to collect. Continue reading >

December 2nd, 2020

Facebook is following you more closely than you thought. A little-known tool called Centra allows the company to track your online behavior well beyond the confines of its platform. Your activity on Facebook, including what articles you read and videos you share with friends and family is of great interest to large organizations, from advertisers to political campaigns. That much is, by now, common knowledge. But recent testimony on Capitol Hill indicates Facebook’s… Continue reading >

November 5th, 2020

Apps are listening, watching and recording you. Don’t let them. Block their access to your phone’s camera and microphone. Most apps — regardless of their intended function — collect personal data and use it for their own benefit. One of the ways that apps get crafty about collecting that data is by accessing your phone’s camera or microphone. Deny that access, and you’ll be safer. You would be surprised to know that most apps… Continue reading >
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