Tag Archives: technology

Another State Passes Law to Protect Consumer Data

States are taking online consumer protection into their own hands given a perceived lack of sufficient protection at the federal level. Maine now has jumped in.

Indeed, Janet Mills, the Governor of Maine, just signed into law arguably one of the strongest privacy bills in the country. This law, called the Act to Protect the Privacy of Online Consumer Information and which goes into effect on July 1, prohibits internet service providers from using, selling, or distributing data from consumers without obtaining their consent. And, according to The Hill, this new state law bars internet service providers from refusing to serve consumers, penalizing consumers or offering them discounts to seek to gain their permission to sell their data.

Consumer Affairs and Privacy

This bold step by Maine follows in the footsteps of California, a state which passed a complicated online privacy law last year. That law has been both applauded by privacy activists and criticized in certain respects by the tech industry.

At first blush, the new Maine law may be even more robust than the California law. The Maine law is opt-in in nature, requiring explicit consent from consumers before internet service providers can sell their data. The California law is opt-out in effect, making consumers affirmatively request that their data not be sold. Continue reading Another State Passes Law to Protect Consumer Data

Too Much Screen Time Adversely Impacting Teenagers?

We keep hearing about how teenagers have gone inward. They spend more and more time staring into their televisions, computers and handheld devices. Indeed, they can be online practically anywhere, anytime. We have been told that the failure of teens to engage as much in the real world around them is having negative affects, with increasing rates of depression and anxiety, as well as heightened risks of self harm and harm inflicted on others.

But are the reported risks and impacts of increased screen time by teenagers actually based in fact? Not so much, according to a recent study by Oxford University in the journal Psychological Science and as reported by The Guardian. The bottom line conclusion of the study is that screen time has very little correlation to the psychological well-being of teenagers. Surprised? Read on. Continue reading Too Much Screen Time Adversely Impacting Teenagers?

Involuntary Technological Encroachment

Once upon a time, the advent of the radio was considered a major advancement, and families in the evenings would huddle together and listen to favorite radio shows. Not that much later, television became the big thing. And with TV, it was easy to sit passively by as a couch potato watching one show after another.

Indeed, there is the following joke: A man says to his wife, “Honey, if I ever became a vegetable, please pull the plug.” So, the wife walks past her husband on the couch over to the television set and pulls its plug from the wall electrical socket.

Continue reading Involuntary Technological Encroachment

Will California Consumers Share in Wealth From Their Online Data?

Technology companies collect all sorts of data on their users. The terms of service located on their web sites spell out for users the types of data collected and how that data will be used. The data collected from users is extremely useful for tech companies in terms of how to market to them further, and accordingly, that data has tremendous economic value.

Along comes the Governor of California, Gavin Newsom, who according to APNews.com, has announced that California consumers should share in the billions of dollars that tech companies make on personal data they collect. Indeed, Governor Newsom reportedly has asked his aides to come up with a proposal for what has been referred to as a “data dividend” for California residents. However, it is not clear whether he envisions a tax on tech companies, refunds to users, or some other idea.

Continue reading Will California Consumers Share in Wealth From Their Online Data?

Stealing Your Online Face – Online Truth Suffers Another Blow

What is “real” and what is “fake” in terms of online content we review? This has become a major, if not dominant, concern with respect to the reliability of what we see on the internet. Are suggested “facts” really true? Do we really know the actual source of material posted on the internet?

And now our worry in this area should be heightened by the development of face-swapping videos. For example, FakeApp can be utilized to create altered videos by inserting faces of people into these videos, as reported in detail by Business Insider. This face-swapping technique has been used by many people just for fun. As an example, Nicholas Cage’s image was inserted to have him becoming Lois Lane in a Superman movie (perhaps Nicholas Cage was not amused).  Continue reading Stealing Your Online Face – Online Truth Suffers Another Blow

Tech Acumen: Many Companies Falling Behind

Corporate America and companies around the globe are spending vast amounts of money trying to keep up with all sorts of threats in this new digital age. So, how are companies really doing?

Unfortunately, not so well. Indeed, according to PwC’s 2017 Digital IQ Survey, as reported by PR Daily, barely more than half of IT executives from the US and 52 other countries reported that their companies have a “strong digital IQ.” This is down from 67 percent so reporting in 2016, and 66 percent in 2015. Continue reading Tech Acumen: Many Companies Falling Behind

We Need Internet Stop Signs

Has our ability to stay present in the real world largely been destroyed by the internet? If so, how has that happened? If we erected internet “stop signs” would we be better off?

While we were saturated with different sources of information, news, and entertainment as recently as the Twentieth Century, those sources had naturally occurring stop cues that allowed us to pause and consider disengaging from the sources.  Continue reading We Need Internet Stop Signs

What You Might Not Know About Amazon

Sure, sure, like most of us, you use Amazon often to buy things online and have them delivered to your home without the hassle of actually having to go out to the store. So, given your buying familiarity with Amazon, you might think you know quite a bit about the company. But perhaps there is much more to know.

Indeed, in a recent book by Brad Stone, titled “The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon,” profiled by Business Insider, much is revealed that you might not know. (And yes, big surprise, you can purchase the book on Amazon). Continue reading What You Might Not Know About Amazon

Human Rights in the Digital Age

Should you have human rights specific to the new digital age? The answer is a clear YES, according to Gerd Leonhard, the author of the new book titled “Technology vs. Humanity.” Indeed, Leonhard sets out five potential human rights in what he calls a Digital Ethics Manifesto. So, what are these proposed rights?  Continue reading Human Rights in the Digital Age