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Future of online privacy

Flashbacks  •  
Jul 11, 2019
 • logged_by: Ellie

We currently live in an era when proliferation of personal data is the status quo, and where serious hacks regularly hit organizations and institutions, both public and private, rendering massive sets of sensitive personal data vulnerable to exploit.

From identity theft and credit fraud to creepy online advertising, 21st century life on the web often leaves many of us protesting for a safer digital environment.

However, this technology is only just now emerging, and today’s regulation and standardization surrounding them are nascent. At Jolocom, our team imagines a future enabling environment that supports our vision — and our technology — to help internet users achieve greater control, autonomy, and security over the information they share about themselves. For today, we hoped to reconcile this future view with the existing status quo by focusing our attentions, not on the solutions that will be, but those that internet users can deploy today.

To do this, we invited speakers from MozillaTactical Tech, and Tech GDPR to join us in an exploration of privacy — the current status quo, tactical steps being taken by people, companies and government to improve our online experiences, and the (decentralized!) solutions of the future.

Continue reading for excerpts, outcomes and presentations from the meetup, which was hosted at our Betahaus Kreuzberg location on 4 July 2019 as a satellite event alongside the citywide Tech Open Air conference and festival in Berlin.

Future of Online Privacy presentations by Ellie Stephens (Jolocom), Dr. Alice Fleischmann and Anja Fordon (Mozilla), Safa Gnaihm (Tactical Tech), and Alex Carroll (Tech GDPR)

digital self-defense & taking back the Web

Mozilla is the not-for-profit behind the lightning fast Firefox browser. Put simply: they aim to put people over profit to give everyone more power online.

Speaking on behalf of Mozilla, Anja Fordon and Dr. Alice Fleischmann gave guests an introduction to their “digital self-defense” training which covers three main topics: online privacy (sharing information); online security (tools and tips); and decentralization (about using alternatives, how it affects the future of the web and also our privacy).

Two of their suggestions?

  1. stop Facebook from tracking you across the web, even after you’ve logged off with their multi-account Facebook containers extension for Apple devices
  2. see if any of your accounts have been compromised with the Firefox Monitor — and take action afterwards

If you’d like to learn more, check out this recap from a previous “digital self-defense” tour they conducted across Germany, in English, or view their video, below.

Dr. Alice Fleischmann and Anja Fordon (Mozilla)

Tactical Tech tips & tricks to detox your data.
Don’t call me by my name

Tactical Technology Collective is an international NGO that engages with citizens and civil-society organisations to explore the impacts of technology on society.

Speaking from Tactical Tech was Safa Ghnaim, project manager for one of organization’s most exciting projects — the Data Detox Kit. The Data Detox Kit provides regular internet users with simple (and some more advanced) tools, tips and tricks that can be deployed in every day interactions online to improve security and wellness.

Change your Android device name: Settings → WiFi → menu → Advanced/More features → WiFi Direct → RENAME DEVICE

Change your iPhone device name: Settings → General → About →change the name

Check out the kit and discover what data you might not know you have online, and how you can improve/restrict the way you *let* companies have, hold, and share it. Plus, hear from her directly in the video below.

Safa Gnaihm (Tactical Tech)

Tech GDPR.
Data subjects vs controllers & what’s at stake

Rounding off the night was Tech GDPR. TechGDPR helps ensure that companies maintain user privacy and GDPR compliance, particularly for deep tech: blockchain, AI and IoT.

In the workshop that ensued, conversations lasted late and were around genuine questions that people brought or that the group gravitated towards, including:

  • adtech and martech leaking personal data that website owners are unaware of and the inherent liability;
  • what will data protection authorities focus on in 2019/2020;

how easy the GDPR is to read and how hard it is to implement measures that comply with principles of data protection;

how a data subject can hold a controller accountable, how to lodge a complaint with a data protection authority, and how to do so against a data protection authority, how can you challenge data protection law;

  • how are outfits like the Schuffa, Web-id or practices like dynamic pricing allowed to operate around privacy issues;
  • lawful processing of personal data in the context of automated decision making impacting job applicants;
  • what would motivate a company NOT to appoint a data protection officer; and many more.

Though very few questions could be answered with definite certainty, the group spoke on how to use the GDPR to check the lawfulness of dodgy processing operations (as a data subject), what resources are out there and how being a little informed actually goes a long way.

Hear more from Alex Carroll in the video below, or visit Tech GDPR for more resources.

Alex Carroll (Tech GDPR)