Microsoft tweaks privacy policy to admit humans can listen to Skype Translator and Cortana audio

Microsoft is the latest tech giant to amend its privacy policy after media reports revealed it uses human contractors to review audio recordings of Skype and Cortana users. A section in the policy on how the company uses personal data now reads (emphasis ours): Our processing of personal data for these purposes includes both automated […]

WebKit’s new anti-tracking policy puts privacy on a par with security

WebKit, the open source engine that underpins Internet browsers including Apple’s Safari browser, has announced a new tracking prevention policy that takes the strictest line yet on the background and cross-site tracking practices and technologies which are used to creep on Internet users as they go about their business online. Trackers are technologies that are […]

Another day, another reversal in stock fortunes as recession fears grow

U.S. stock markets plummeted today as recession fears continue to grow. Yesterday’s good news about a reprieve on tariffs for U.S. consumer imports was undone by increasing concerns over economic indicators pointing to a potential global recession coming within the next year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped more than 800 points on Wednesday — […]

Facebook’s human-AI blend for audio transcription is now facing privacy scrutiny in Europe

Facebook’s lead privacy regulator in Europe is now asking the company for detailed information about the operation of a voice-to-text feature in Facebook’s Messenger app and how it complies with EU law. Yesterday Bloomberg reported that Facebook uses human contractors to transcribe app users’ audio messages — yet its privacy policy makes no clear mention […]

Most EU cookie ‘consent’ notices are meaningless or manipulative, study finds

New research into how European consumers interact with the cookie consent mechanisms which have proliferated since a major update to the bloc’s online privacy rules last year casts an unflattering light on widespread manipulation of a system that’s supposed to protect consumer rights. As Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force in May […]

Amazon’s lead EU data regulator is asking questions about Alexa privacy

Amazon’s lead data regulator in Europe, Luxembourg’s National Commission for Data Protection, has raised privacy concerns about its use of manual human reviews of Alexa AI voice assistant recordings. A spokesman for the regulator confirmed in an email to TechCrunch it is discussing the matter with Amazon, adding: “At this stage, we cannot comment further […]

Google ordered to halt human review of voice AI recordings over privacy risks

A German privacy watchdog has ordered Google to cease manual reviews of audio snippets generated by its voice AI.  This follows a leak last month of scores of audio snippets from the Google Assistant service. A contractor working as a Dutch language reviewer handed more than 1,000 recordings to the Belgian news site VRT which […]

Wall St analyst Laura Martin on the fate of Netflix, breaking up Google, EU regulation, and a decade of more money for Hollywood

The rise of streaming video platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime has upended traditional power balances in Hollywood and is reorganizing the way we consume films and TV series as consumers. Following her talk at the recent Banff World Media Festival in Canada, I interviewed Laura Martin, the senior analyst covering entertainment and internet stocks […]

Europe’s top court sharpens guidance for sites using leaky social plug-ins

Europe’s top court has made a ruling that could affect scores of websites that embed the Facebook ‘Like’ button and receive visitors from the region. The ruling by the Court of Justice of the EU states such sites are jointly responsible for the initial data processing — and must either obtain informed consent from site […]

Researchers spotlight the lie of ‘anonymous’ data

Researchers from two universities in Europe have published a method they say is able to correctly re-identify 99.98% of individuals in anonymized data sets with just 15 demographic attributes. Their model suggests complex data sets of personal information cannot be protected against re-identification by current methods of “anonymizing” data — such as releasing samples (subsets) […]