The Weirdest Online Privacy Proposal Ever!

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Aarzu Khan
A full-time data scientists and a part-time industry analyst; still learning power of effective presentation and firm believer of the thought "Numbers are always magical". Love to be in the network of people who 'know' how to respect their time and keep others engaged in meaningful activities.

The Cambridge Analytica scandal pointed out for some people how much information they are unwillingly sharing over the internet. Still, many people were completely unaware of who exactly collects this information about them and how it is used. Most seasoned internet users were already aware of cookies – pieces of code used to identify them online – their favourite websites have left on their computers but some of them were surely surprised of how few of them were really necessary. That until the EU’s infamous GDPR  law shook up the privacy waters completely.

For those who haven’t heard about it, the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is a piece of legislation that gives internet users more control over the personally identifiable information service providers – not only online but in “real life”, too – collect about them. It means that the websites you visit have to inform you about what data it collects and what cookies it leaves on your computer, giving you the chance to decide which cookies you want to allow it to store – only those necessary for the website to function or also those used by various tracking services, ad networks, and such.

This might seem strange for many – but it’s far less strange than some other privacy protection measures discussed in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

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The all-time strangest measure thought out to protect online users was put forward by none other but Facebook – and it involved nudes. Before the uproar, though, let’s be clear: it’s a measure meant to protect users from a real threat: revenge clips uploaded by third parties, something illegal in many countries but still practised by many all over the world.

Facebook wanted its users’ nude photos to scan them and then delete them so that when a third party tried to upload them with the intent of shaming an ex, for example, it could quickly identify them and remove them from the network.

All of it sounds too crazy not to work – and a law firm asked by Newsweek agreed, but only if the social network could ensure the proper destruction of the uploaded materials after the scanning and storing was completed.

“We would expect that Facebook has absolutely watertight systems to guard the privacy of victims. It is quite counterintuitive to send such intimate images to an unknown recipient and Facebook will need to be able to reassure people that they have the right measures in place to protect them,” the representative of the firm told the publication.

The distribution of compromising photos by third parties is an issue that’s present worldwide and, unfortunately, not one that can be solved through technology alone. To truly protect your privacy – and avoid suffering the consequences of your private photos being distributed online – the only measure to take is not to get captured in a camera at all.

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