This Week In Tech: Security & Privacy Edition

It’s a busy season for the tech industry’s big names. Privacy and security were front and center at Facebook’s F8 developer conference and Google is giving users more control over the data it retains. These are some of the stories that our B2B tech teams have been monitoring throughout the week:

Developers get preview of Facebook privacy, security

This week, Facebook held its annual conference for developers, F8. After feeling the backlash from more than a year of security and privacy breaches (See: Cambridge Analytica, vulnerabilities that exposed 50 million accounts and the exposure of “hundreds of millions” of user passwords), Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company wants to be seen as a platform focused on privacy. While many reports were skeptical, Zuckerberg laid out several features that will be distributed throughout the company’s products including encrypted messaging, private interactions, safety and data security. The biggest news was that the end-to-end encryption built into WhatsApp will be coming soon to Instagram and Messenger.

Starting in early 2018, Facebook has been plagued by a nearly constant series of security and privacy breaches. This week’s move to better lock down “private” exchanges on these platforms are a good first step, but many in the industry – and government – are skeptical that the company can realistically do anything to reverse the course it is on. Also this week, news came out that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Facebook have been in talks to negotiate a fine regarding last year’s Cambridge Analytica breach, with a fine of an expected $3 billion to $5 billion and the potential requirement of a government-selected privacy czar to oversee the company’s security.

Google gives control over location permissions

Sharing your location with Google Maps when you’re lost is great – having Google track your location to know what Open Houses you’ve visited to show you ads for similar homes is … creepy. This week, Google announced a feature that will auto-delete some of the data Google collects on you – if you know how to change your settings. If you want to completely unplug from having your data collected, you can choose “pause” in your location history settings. Of course, you’ll get a notice that “your experience may be affected” … since the mobile device is not going to share your location with Google. The Popular Science article linked above provides step-by-step instructions on how to find out what data Google is capturing, from which apps and how to control what is saved about your activity.

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