The Facebook data privacy breach scandals are just beginning to pile up, with multiple ongoing investigations in the United States, England, EU, India and other countries who are just becoming aware of how lax the privacy features were on Facebook. It allowed Cambridge Analytica and its parent SCL Group to siphon data and make use of it for their own purposes, without notifying anyone about it.
That’s in the spirit of the privacy agreement, directing people to access and make use of their own privacy settings. It should have been done before, but at least they’re doing it now. So are other large companies that all have your data.
Secondly, you’ll find below a set of business app usage best practices that you should follow so that your own data (and that of your clients) is not tracked or compromised by the websites and apps you use.
1. List all the information you collect. This includes personal information provided by users, information collected when people use your services, device information, server logs and other unique identifiers, and information collected by cookies placed on your system by browser / website /app usage.
2. Location information – Clearly state your intent to make use of GPS, IP address and other identifiers to help you locate your users.
3. Explain and explicitly state how you will use all the data collected – for contacting users, for showing them contextual and/or behavioral ads, for sending opt-in newsletters and other subscription options, etc.
4. Explain that you may be sharing the data collected with third-party providers who may have their own set of privacy policies which are different from your own.
Business Website and Apps Usage Best Practices
Now put yourself at the other end, as the user. You’re reading this page on your laptop, mobile phone or tablet. You’ll be browsing a lot of sites and accessing all kinds of services, for both personal and business use, on all your devices. Do you know what data they’re accessing, and how they’re using it? How to stop sites like Facebook from collecting data and tracking you?
Listed below are a set of business website and apps usage best practices that you can follow to avoid being tracked and ending up being traded like so much other data on the web.
1. Proactively understand and modify the privacy policies of all the sites and apps you make use of. Here’s the links to the most common ones that you’re likely to be using – Google (Search, Gmail, Adwords, Adsense and Android), Youtube, Motorola, Samsung, Facebook, Snapdeal and Whatsapp, Twitter, Apple, Yahoo, Microsoft, Nokia, Slack, Paytm
3. Install a strong anti-virus that blocks unwanted third-party cookies and other data collection schemes that you may not be aware of.
4. Make use of plugins and browser extensions that block contextual and behavorial ad networks from tracking you around. You can tweak it around to allow it for certain trusted websites that doesn’t bother you.
For example, Ghostery is a privacy browser extension for Chrome, Firefox, Opera and Edge. You can also use their Privacy App for iOS and Android. It will show you how many trackers each site is putting on you, and gives you the option to pause it or exempt the site you’re currently browsing from being blocked.
While looking up information for this article, I was on on an article from the Daily Mail, for which Ghostery shows there are 4 trackers. It’s a known site, and I don’t mind letting them track me, so I didn’t block it. But it at least gives you the information needed, and the option to restrict a site from placing trackers.
This is about all you need to do. Make use of the privacy settings provided to you, and maybe use an anti-virus and a browser plugin that keeps you safe and protects your privacy.
Note: You’re using all this information provided above at your own risk. You are advised to consult your lawyer or a corporate law expert first.