Mark Zuckerberg Announces that Facebook Will Now Be All About Privacy and Unified Messaging Across WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook Messenger

In 2010 Mark Zuckerberg (in)famously announced that “Privacy was no longer the social norm.” That was when Facebook reset (relaxed) the privacy settings for all of their users. So the Internet sat up and took notice when yesterday Mark Zuckerberg said “I believe we should be working towards a world where people can speak privately and live freely knowing that their information will only be seen by who they want to see it.”

My Friend Cayla Doll, Other Toys, Hackers’ Delight and Parents’ Nightmare

If your child, or someone you know, received a My Friend Cayla doll, a Furby Connect doll, a Q50 children’s smartwatch, or a Sphero BB-8 droid (or quite likely one of a number of other toys or devices aimed at children, and that connect to the Internet via Bluetooth), that device – and thus the child who plays with it or uses it – is at risk of being hacked, personal data stolen, and even a hacker talking to the child, all because of unsecure Bluetooth connections.

How GDPR Will Conflict with Almost Everything

I was recently interviewed, in my capacity as an Internet law and policy attorney, and head of the Institute for Social Internet Public Policy, for an article sponsored by RSA about the impact that GDPR (the EU’s General Data Protection Rules), which goes into effect in the European Union in May 2018, is going to impact, well, everything. And, in particular, about how it will impact U.S. based businesses, because, trust me, it will.

Samsung Advises that Smart TV NOT Always Listening and Sharing Everything

Last week several “news” sites reported that Samsung Smart Televisions were always listening and sharing everything you say with a third-party. As recently as this morning, other services were repeating this allegation. This is because Samsung’s Smart TV privacy policy included, at the time, this statement: “Please be aware that if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party.”

Court Rules Free Services Means You’re Not a Customer, So No Privacy Protection

Peter Deacon had been a Pandora user for years, using Pandora’s free service. Then Pandora shared his private information, including his full name, his music preferences, and what he listened to, both on Facebook, and for anyone searching the Internet, Not cool, he thought, and sued for breach of privacy. But the Michigan high court ruled last week that because he doesn’t pay for the Pandora account, he is not a ‘customer’, and so not entitled to privacy protection.

Federal Court Holds “No Expectation of Privacy on Personal Computer”

In a stunning decision, a Federal court has held that a user has no expectation of privacy for their personal computer if they have connected that computer to the Internet. While the case and holding is fairly complex, this part of the holding boils down to this: in this day and age we know that computers that are connected to the Internet can be hacked, and knowing this, we are not entitled to an expectation of privacy on our personal computers.

How to Change the Privacy Settings for Things You Share to Facebook

If you are trying to share something from a website by posting it to your Facebook timeline through that site’s Facebook Like, Share, or Recommend button, and you can’t figure out how to change the privacy setting for that share from ‘Only Me’ to ‘Friends’ or ‘Public’, here’s how to do it. After all, if you’re sharing it, you probably want others to see it!

How Private are Facebook Private Closed Groups Really? Not Very it Turns Out

You know that old adage, that something is only as strong as its weakest link? Well, private Facebook groups are only as private as the admins keep them. Which means that all it takes is for one admin to accidentally (or intentionally) make the group public for a period of time, during which people who aren’t members of the closed Facebook group can see both the members, and what they posted. So how safe is it to rely on the private, closed status of a Facebook group? Not very, it turns out.