We're back this week from a short Thanksgiving break, getting caught up on the news of the week from net neutrality to net-connected toys. Filling in for Nathaniel Gleicher, here's what I'm reading:
- Bots and bees: Net neutrality is back in the news after the 2015 FCC Title II ruling to preserve the Internet’s level playing field. Of the 22 million FCC-courted public comments about repealing protections around net neutrality – far more than ever before received by any government agency – only 6% were unique comments. The rest were identified as bots, based on similarities in language structure and wording. This highlights a crucial flaw whereby the public comment systems can be subjected to abuse in an age of automation—and drown out the actual voices of legitimate opinions.
I'm reading: "Bogus Emails and Bee Movie: Digging Into the FCC's Broken Net Neutrality Comments" and "How Bots Broke the FCC's Public Comment System."
- Can you hear me now?: Cell phones are a matter of necessity and have come a far way from being a choice or a luxury. With this comes the onus of being trackable 24/7, given the accuracy of cell phone towers in location triangulation. Cell phone tower information has played an increasing role in criminal investigations, and current laws under the Fourth Amendment are not up-to-date with our digital age. This keeps bringing attention back to the fact that privacy and technological advancements do not seem to go hand-in-hand. I think this will continue to be a recurring theme, as using digital footprints to defraud people or to find defrauders is becoming more commonplace.
I'm reading: "Supreme Court frets over erosion of privacy in digital age."
- Cool toys...or surveillance tools: We are in the middle of the holiday season and that means shopping for children’s toys and passing them off as Santa’s gifts. In addition to staying away from hazardous materials and choking hazards, it’s high season to keep our new(er) security concern in mind: “connected” toys. IoT toys have security holes where they can be used for gathering personal information about kids and parents or as surveillance devices. Without scaremongering, not only do we now have to think about security of our online purchases and credit card transactions, but make your list and check it twice for the devious ways in which toy purchases can be used against us.
I'm reading: "Internet-connected toys putting the privacy and safety of children at risk, warns ICO."