Posts on Feb 2018

Canvy data protection GDPR communications Internet

The ubiquitous world of information

Nowadays, most of the people have a public Internet persona, sometimes without even knowing it. Surely, once accessing the net and setting up a few accounts, anybody should be aware that they “exist” online. Excepting the case where a person is really privacy-sensitive and the accounts are hardly relate-able to the real individual.

But how much control does each individual have over its own brand it’s a different thing.

 

Online directories

If you think your data will stay put on the Internet, then you are in for a big surprise. Nobody is an island in this sea of information. Various automated directories will farm your data – some because it’s the only way they exist, by centralizing various information, others because they compile and sale databases to whomever is willing to pay for it.

The reverse of the coin is that potentially interested parties adopted the practice of looking for your online footprint. Thus, they might find out things – and interpret them. For example, the practice of “googling up” candidates in Human Resources is frequent. Yet, much like bragging it may allow distorted facts to pass on as reality. And unlike bragging, some may find themselves blacklisted without any explanation, and without any chance of making things clear.

This is just somewhere in the gray area – but imagine what happens when malicious entities target an individual. Getting to know somebody’s area of interest is not so difficult nowadays – Social Media showcases quite a lot. Social engineering – a technique involved in hacking – makes quite a day out of it.

 

The pitfalls of social media

Even the more privacy-educated individuals have their moments. They have friends and relatives that are completely unaware of this angle, or simply cannot keep track of every setting out there. Let’s recap one thing – the social media networks and apps do not align their default settings with the stance that would protect your privacy. You have to manually configure the settings at your disposal. And you have to do this again and again each time new features come in.

Why is that? Nobody has to look too far for the answer – essentially social network are jars of honey that attract a lot of customers, bedazzled by the benefits of the online community and by the playful side of these tools. A lot of customers equals a lot of data. Marketing data. Data which is valuable, which continually updates itself, and which is usually volunteered cheerfully by all those eager to show off their life, their options, their latest acquisitions – to their connections. And ultimately to the whole wide world out there.

Curiosity acts both ways in social networking. We are curious to see how others are doing, and we also cannot wait to see their reactions to the various things we showcase. Both work out great for data farming…

 

The tools that allow individuals to reclaim control

The first line of defense is education & self-censorship.  Always be informed what the risks are – and run a few questions in your head, as a reflex, before volunteering things that could expose you and those related to you.

Secondly, find a few moments from time to time to see what is new, what has changed around your info. Correct the old settings – it’s always better to prevent than to treat.

Another pretty famous line of defense – that transcends social networking – would be exerting the right you have over your own data.

The European GDPR will be enforced this spring – it is the standard in data protection, in what the companies that deal with data are concerned. It works both online and offline. It is meant to prevent accidents, like those who led in the past at major data leaks.

However, there is no use in a standard trying to protect your privacy when you splash around your personal data, so understanding the importance of owning your data protection is essential.

 

The right to be forgotten

The right to be forgotten, as translated into regulations and procedure that bind Internet operators, such as Google, tries to make sure that securing potentially damaging, private information about individuals is at least available.

The procedure is not mandatory, as it involves approval of the requests. However, there are people who act upon it – and a recent status update coming from Google itself illustrates this. Basically, URLs can be delisted as an effect of a successful RtBF action. You can see more here.

 

A word of advice

Social interactions used to take place within certain common sense boundaries, and politeness was the sign of any educated man in a society not so far up in the past.

Today, the way we expose ourselves in the digital environment, as well as the way we expose others, could be imbued with a sense of prevention, of data protection conscientiousness and, ultimately, of responsibility.

When you won’ protect your own data, how is it that you expect others to do so? Well, now some of them are bound to do it, due to the new regulations. However, there are so many free agents that prey on your data mistakes, that it is highly preferable you would be attentive and informed on what your privacy is concerned.

Canvy Facebook WhatsApp social networks

The Facebook Messenger story – a (perhaps dangerous) success

Similar Web released a study that reveals the most popular global messaging apps in the last couple of years. The study, as analyzed by express.co.uk, clearly captures the way Facebook Messenger superseded WhatsApp in 2017, compared to 2016. Granted, the current version of Messenger launched in April 2015. It went from 600 million users initially, to 9 00 million in June 2016, 1 billion in July 2016, and 1.2 billion in April 2017.

Just as a list, here you may see the Top Google Play apps in the Communication section, as listed by the same SimilarWeb. The top two positions are similar to the study quoted by the UK publication.

What is the dangerous part in Messenger’s success?

Going back to 2016, we may well remember how Facebook forced its users to download the Messenger app, separating Messenger from their network. The move qualified as “hostile” at the time – and the users were annoyed.

However, we are now looking at an app that beat the install-at-your-free-will WhatsApp – and what does this tell us? That a forceful move is ignor-able, if time and numbers vouch for a successful outcome.

The company, or any other company could replay the same technique in theory. The results d not seem to penalize the practice in any way.

What would the practice be described as? Well, splitting one product that has been validated by the market and ensuring a similar success of the secondary project – in a move that removes the users from the control board.

The peoples’ network – the capital of any communication app

The above example was possible due to the fact that Facebook made sure they have a most valuable capital, before making their move. The people that formed their social network already established connections and cared about them. Letting go was unlikely. Facebook capitalized on this reality, which is a customary practice with this brand.

Of course, taking into account that each move that the users dislike brings about a lot of comments about how Facebook does not consider the users’ wishes, the levels of discontent seem to raise. Somewhere along the line there should be a tipping point. Some wonder, others plainly hope for this to materialize – because this approach is, in fact, offensive.

Its value of precedent makes the entire issue even more important. Facebook has plans for free, ubiquitous Internet. Facebook – the social network, has the tagline “It’s free and always will be”. This is an important factor that attracted the huge numbers of users. The users that are now capital for one very important brand. The users that now have to ignore their pride and options at each questionable change made by the network. Because it’s free and because they still want to keep in touch with their peers.

Take this hidden price and shift it at the Internet’s level…

…and you get an arguable lack of freedom of choice. Just how much are you willing to give up because you want to be in the loop? Just how much is it worth giving up in exchange for freebies?

The big lurking issue beneath the free Internet is lack of net neutrality. You surely know the debate – fast and slow lane Internet, selected information, the bigger player gets to decide what goes on where.

The problem with this kind of fight is that it never happened. Without the influencers explaining the importance of keeping your freedom of choice, the general noise covered the incident. What never happened remains just a memory, if that. The mechanism was tested and it worked in favor of Facebook.

This proves the point that the leading-edge tech companies have the authority, build upon years of customer relationships and upon free features that dazzle the public, of imposing their point of view over the better reason or over the preferences of their audience.

Is this an idea we are comfortable with?

Unsettling future perspectives

Some acknowledge that we are not there yet, but we might be heading straight into a society of uniformity. Uniformity would not exclude variety – just think of how automation segments users into categories. You wisely keep categories, yet you feed the same message to one and all – to each in its personalized, suitable manner.

Such an image surely describes a simplified way of getting things through, but it definitely does not describe modern, educated communication. Communication as we’ve grown to understand it, means getting things back and forth, perhaps disagreeing, confronting opposite ideas. The winner is not pre-decided in real communication. If it would be, then why bother with just the show?

Or are we there yet, and we just expect the show? Perhaps Facebook just put the Messenger move too bluntly, while other brands still go through the slow-dance steps of announcing, testing, taking feedback into consideration – and finally going through with the initial decision, regardless of what users want. This way, they have something to show in the line of “at least making an effort”.

 

Canvy MWC 2018

February unleashes MWC 2018, and the mobile brands are set to amaze us once more

…or at least that’s what the public expects from the 900+ exhibitors (as listed here).

The dedicated online media already started covering this focal topic, and the latest developments are yet to come. You can browse the latest TechCrunch feature on what to look forward to at this year’s edition of the Mobile World Congress or search for the specific string of news as covered by your favorite online publication. You probably won’t be disappointed.

 

What caught our eye about this year’s MWC

On a short browsing session today we’ve noticed how LG’s Vision AI managed to make the trending news. Well, tbh, some of the members of our team do have a soft spot for the latest generation LG products. Nevertheless, the fact that a suite of AI technologies aiming to conquer the hearts of mobile fans is really raising an interest illustrates that the market has a certain amount of expectations in this direction. Regardless of the brand, the company that will genuinely be capable of answering these expectations gets the benefit of breaking the ice. Of course, the functionalities should be extremely practical or even truly amazing, otherwise we are back to the late 70s almanac effect.

What we mean to say with this is that progress is a fickle thing. Prototypes and projective stories on progress are one thing, while the viable commercial products and the feel of the materialized concepts can easily disappoint. The market hunger for truly impressive technologies does not make for the said technologies.

Now, the features prepared by LG, as introduced here do not seem as exciting as one would have thought. While AI’s possibilities are infinite, using them to recommend the best photo shooting mode or to voice-control the smartphone seems way under the expectations.

 

Other brands also hint at a couple of potentially interesting unveiling-s

Launching a new wireless charger, coming up with a new, improved DeX and presenting the Galaxy S9 and S9+ flagships should be alluring enough for Samsung’s fans. You may explore more details on this topic here.

IDEMIA made a few waves with its Augmented Identity solutions. The target audience here is industry level, and the main concerned areas would be the Financial, Telecom, Identity, Public Security and IoT.

Huawei keeps its followers busy with developments on the 5G line of action, and places its AI bets in the cloud, more precisely its All-Cloud intelligent networks infrastructure.

Of course, the novelties will have in mind various areas and different financial possibilities – for example Archos will showcase 3 budget phones. The thing is not without importance, since the idea of ubiquitous Internet is still on the table, and this means all individuals should afford Internet access, be it on a budget device or on a high-end one.

Between promises and delivery

Since it’s already been a couple of years since the tech companies circulate bold concepts in the context of the IoT, and in general, of the new tech conjecture, we may well notice the way things look a bit toned down. This is partly due to the fact that these bold concepts have had time to fail, or simply not deliver. Once this happened with flexible phones, transparent screens or smart glasses, the enthusiasm that surrounded the possible materialization of these bright ideas is bound to lose some of its oomph.

This does not automatically mean the tech bubble is deflating. It just stands to show the environment is perhaps maturing, and the viable ideas separate themselves from the less possible ones. We’ll just have to see what real surprises tech brands do have in store for their customers.

 

 

Canvy Intel news Vaunt

Is the smartest design inconspicuous? Intel seems to think so

You must have surely heard by now of the smart glasses’ odyssey. The wearable computer glasses have gone through a few versions – and the issue of comfort shared an equal part with the tech issue, in what keeping the product from mass commercialization is concerned.

The most well-known attempt comes from Google. The Google Glass went through several proofs of concept (PoC), then it became the Aura Project, aiming niche markets (healthcare, corporate). It gradually faded out of the limelight.

The entire experience prompted out that unusual, uncomfortable head gear cannot lead to success. VR headsets represent a similar case.

 

Intel’s attempt to turn the tables

Intel decided to avoid making the same mistakes as mentioned above. Their smart glasses look inconspicuous, according to online media reports. The prototype is called Vaunt, and allegedly mimics the usual pair of plastic glasses one may find at any optometrist.

The Vaunt can reflect holographic images on the user’s retina, include Bluetooth connectivity, and are able to send discreet notifications to their user. The matter of contextual, integrated notification is one focal point of this new piece of technology, whilst the software that backs it up remains a secret for the moment.

While Slate underlines the possible connection between Intel’s negative chipset security flaws attention and this new gadget – as in suggesting that the company may have used this project to distract people from the less flattering question of flawed chipsets, the product is nevertheless interesting.

Regardless of whether Intel will decide to commercialize the Vault or not, it sure has set a precedent.

 

What if the bold new technology were inconspicuous?

Let’s imagine the tech gear of the future looking just as our current objects look like, only having an advanced tech twist hidden beneath a normal looking surface.

This would surely be another way to go, in opposition with in-your-eyes technology, making a loud statement that it should prevail in our lives.

An IoT-connected, highly automatized household could, for example, look just like any other house, unraveling its technological potential only per request.

We could integrate efficient technology in a completely environment-friendly landscape, aiming for health, visually-pleasing greenery and sustainability.

Of course, the degree of maturity involved in taking such an approach is way higher than the actual stage of societal progress seems to involve. But we can always remain optimistic.

If by the time we’ve grown out of the tech-enthusiasts’ adolescence we are basking in, there will be enough of a planet for us to steer back towards an eco-compatible environment, inconspicuous technology might be the only way to go.

In the meantime, you may take a look at the Vaunt, on this Verge hands-on video: