Apple’s iOS 8 – Leverage in Privacy Negotiations

by Rafi Kronzon on November 16, 2014

 no_service_passcode_iphone6With the release of iOS 8, Apple made a big first move in the ongoing privacy battle between tech companies and the government. In its updated privacy statement , Apple claims that with iOS 8, “…your personal data such as photos, messages (including attachments), email, contacts, call history, iTunes content, notes, and reminders is placed under the protection of your passcode. Unlike our competitors, Apple cannot bypass your passcode and therefore cannot access this data. So it’s not technically feasible for us to respond to government warrants for the extraction of this data from devices in their possession running iOS 8.” Google, for its part, quickly followed.

The government, reacting to this new feature, is concerned. In a recent interview, FBI Director James Comey explains “..What concerns me about this is companies marketing something expressly to allow people to place themselves beyond the law.”

In my opinion, Apple, Google and other technology companies will eventually open up their devices to government scrutiny. Since this is an ongoing negotiation, Apple and Google have taken this first step in order to gain leverage in ensuing negotiations. It’s critical that there is an open discussion amongst technology companies, consumer groups, and government, to determine under what circumstances, if any, the government should be able to access personal data.

Regardless, the day when we can successfully hide from the government may not yet be here. If you read through Apple’s security document, a quasi-technical explanation of its security features, you realize that device security and encryption is exceedingly complex. Consequently, it’s likely that there are known or yet-unknown security flaws.  The recent exposure of Heartbleed, the Open SSL bug, has shown us that for even widely trusted software, security isn’t as strong as we like to think. 

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Protecting Your Digital Reputation

by Louise Pope on November 10, 2014

Marketing Business Strategy Word Cloud I’m always amazed at how the internet has given us all a global voice.  Everyday people join debates, publish information, and connect with communities all over the world.  Businesses have the advantage of social media to engage with the public and customers in ways never before possible. But what happens when there is a bit too much information, or the wrong kind of information, posted online?

As many now know, there is a dark side to all this.  A digital past can impact employment, business, educational and social opportunities.  Surveys show that at least 64% of employers check a candidate’s digital presence before hiring.  Employees’ negative reputations can harm employers, and 8% of employers have terminated employees for inappropriate internet behavior. For businesses, digital reputation has become increasingly important as potential customers turn to the internet to vet companies before making even small purchases.  For small businesses or startups, even a few bad reviews can have an effect on sales.

The quest to delete embarrassing photos, remove a regrettable opinion, or simply undo over-sharing of information may not be as easy as you think.  The troubling fact is that deleting what you’ve posted isn’t always enough.  Information is never static and many will be surprised that the picture or comment they deleted has been re-posted, archived, reused and permanently embedded in a complex web over which they have no control. In the United States at least, there is no “right to be forgotten” law that will eventually lead to data removal.  So what can you do to control your internet reputation?

For businesses,  removing bad reviews may be impossible. Reverse SEO and digital reputation monitoring services (e.g.  Reputation.com) attempt to manage this information by populating the web with positive information that can tweak search engine results, thus  burying negative reviews and thereby diminish their impact. These services can aren’t cheap, and aren’t always effective.

The best approach may be try and avoid the problem in the first place.  Giving customers an avenue to resolve issues and air complaints directly with your business  is a great way to not only minimize the odds they complain online, but can even lead to a positive review.  Monitoring your digital reputation using Twitter and Google, and personally contacting an upset customer can help too. The internet can feel impersonal and anonymous. The customer who felt comfortable criticizing in a rant online may have a change of heart and delete or modify a damaging comment after dealing with a hearing from a person at the company.

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First Pass at LastPass

by Rafi Kronzon October 8, 2014 Alerts

While we sometimes recommend online password managers to our clients, I was always too busy to take the plunge. I finally did it, and want to share my experience. Password managers are programs that store your usernames, passwords, and web-form data for you, so that you don’t need to remember and type them every time […]

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Does the End Justify the Means? OKCupid’s Experiment

by Louise Pope October 8, 2014 Articles

Though I’ve never used OkCupid, I can imagine what kind of feelings are involved. Meeting someone, putting yourself out there, can be a scary thing, even under the best circumstances.  I was troubled when I read that OKCupid had secretly used its customers for a social experiment, deceiving them with bad matches, hiding photos, and […]

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One mistake you make all the time, and how to stop

by Rafi Kronzon October 1, 2014 Articles

That stock was a sure thing! Now that’s it down 40%, you’re still holding onto it; thinking that you need to make your money back before getting out. Feeling down about your trading losses, you remember that you have tickets to the ballet that same night. You really just want to stay home, but since […]

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Why you should still trust the Cloud

by Rafi Kronzon September 4, 2014 Alerts

The recent celebrity nude pics are being used by the media to expose (yes, pun intended) the cloud as “fundamentally insecure”. These types of sweeping generalizations show a lack of understanding of what the cloud is, what it is not, and most importantly, good old statistical logic. To illustrate the problem here, I’ll compare storing […]

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