Privacy is a popular area of interest amongst tech companies these days. With well-documented battles related to personal data abuse by companies like Facebook, other tech giants are looking for ways to sell their current or potential customers on the idea of protecting their personal data. Unfortunately, what a lot of people are not aware of is that privacy is becoming more of a marketing tool than an effective practice.
Companies like Apple can point to their Apple Card and say that it will never share or sell your data with third parties for marketing or advertising — but this statement alone indicates there is information Apple could access in the first place. Your information is not as anonymized as it’d like you to think. What it does not tell you is that Goldman Sachs, the bank issuing the credit card, is not bound by those same restrictions.
Goldman Sachs certainly will see your purchase information, just like every other bank in the world does when you use a card. Are they to be trusted with that information? If we take them at their word, yes. But they can and will share it for their own marketing and advertising needs — if you’re lucky they just won’t share it with third parties.
The question then becomes: what is the difference? Your information is still going to be collected, sold, and shared at your expense. If the thought of a tech company selling your data for profit doesn’t bother you, then the fact that your information effectively becomes public for any identity thief to grab should bother you.
It is certainly a step in the right direction that companies are at least acknowledging a need for better privacy. But there are so many loopholes that it is foolish to blindly trust that big tech companies have your best interest at heart. At the end of the day, they exist to make a profit — not to make the world a better place. A major part of their revenue is from collecting and selling your personal data.
One example of a new technology that misses the mark on true privacy is MobiLine, a privacy-protecting video caller ID app. MobiLine unveiled their new app at CES this week to — as they put it — fight the twin scourges of “Robocalling” and “Spoofing”. Last week, President Trump signed an anti-robocalling, anti-spoofing bill into law. MobiLine believes their app goes even further to protect the privacy of smartphone users and help us learn how to trust our phones again.
“MobiLine’s video technology, ‘Know Then Answer,’ lets people learn the reason behind every call they receive. The choice to “pick up” means highly relevant conversations, less time wasted by unwanted interruptions and robocalls, and a much more personalized experience in the MobiLine community. At the same time, creating a new friend connection or reaching out to someone for a business opportunity through MobiLine, means there is a ‘break the ice’ video. Suddenly, your cold calls just turned warm, helping you to connect on a more personal level.”
MobiLine may give callers peace of mind by making sure that they know who they are speaking with; but in turn, people are potentially giving the company full access to use and sell their name, likeness, voice, video, or photograph.
“You are the owner of your content. However, when you publish your video content in the MobiLine community, you’re granting MobiLine a worldwide, non-exclusive, perpetual, royalty-free, fully paid, sub-licensable and transferable license to use, edit, modify, reproduce, distribute, and prepare derivative works of and otherwise fully use your video content in connection with our app and our communications platform. Because video content includes your name, likeness, voice, video, or photograph, when you use MobiLine, you’re acknowledging and agreeing to the terms of our platform’s use.”