Internet privacy breaches sound alarm bells for worried businesses
Differences between EU proposals on data protection and those in the US raise a number of questions
Privacy and data concerns may also open the door a bit more for open source solutions, both Whelan and Honan say, as the code for open- source applications is freely available and generally examined carefully by many coder eyes for possible security flaws and surveillance “back doors”.
“But open source isn’t a panacea in itself,” Honan warns. “It all depends on how good the eyes are that are looking at the code.” He advises his own clients: “As a business, you need to think what are [your] security and privacy requirements and then think, what are the best places to host that.”
Whelan believes it is too early to tell if the greater awareness about data privacy will alter the business market or change consumer behaviour.
“Whether in the long term it all makes a big difference is hard to predict, but businesses and consumers can definitely change things over time.”
For your eyes only: Google patents ‘pay-per-gaze’ technology
Google has received a patent on its Google Glass for a “pay-per-gaze” technology that raises further privacy issues for users.
It puts forth an idea for pay-per-gaze advertising – a way in which people interacting with ads in the real world could be analysed in the digital world.
In the patent, which was filed in May 2011 and granted last week, Google claims that “a head-mounted gaze tracking device” – presumably Google Glass – would send images and the direction the person wearing the device was looking to a server. The system would then identify real-world ads the person wearing the gadget had seen, allowing Google to then charge the advertiser.
As Google notes in the filing, advertisers can be charged a fee based on whether a person looks directly at an ad in the real world, and the fee can change based on how long they interact with the ad.
Google does not show any advertising in Glass. It goes so far as to forbid app developers from selling apps or ads, too.
But there have been suggestions that Google will eventually show ads and the company has consistently said it expects Glass to be profitable.