Posts Tagged ‘privacy’

Will Live-streaming throw our privacy completely overboard?

April 2, 2015

The world of social media is changing at a quick pace and some innovations make it even shake in its foundations.  It has been touted that 2015 was going to be the year of the video.  But what is happening now is just mind boggling.  Personally, I love it! Live-streaming has just gone personal!  Meerkat and Periscope are among the shakers in this field.

meerkat

What is meerkat or Periscope?

Live-streaming is nothing new but personal live-streaming surely is.  Meerkat and Periscope are personal live-streaming video apps using a twitter account to rally viewers and share live video content.  We are even more at the point of being a reporter with camera in hand (our smartphone) than with pictures.  And yes, today the service is only available for Iphone users.  Below is an infographic comparing the 2 main players.

infographic meerkat

Meerkat was the first to jump the gun and soon had many followers (over 100K in less than a month).  But then came along Periscope (by Twitter) and the steep rise stopped in favor of Periscope.  Who will be the winner?  I guess the app that gets soonest on Android/Microsoft, I think!

The potential of live video streaming is huge.  Creative marketers will be able to feast on new things they can do starting with streaming product launches, product demonstration, events, interviews, promotions and much more.

However, the biggest issue still has to be tackled.  Privacy is hitting yet another tilting point.

What privacy?

Privacy and the internet are an oxymoron and contradiction anyway.  But these apps hold the potential for many more breaches.  It could be a nightmare in the waiting.  Looking at the terms of use of both platforms (MeerkatPeriscope) they are dodging all responsibility and beyond.

Here is an interesting paragraph from Meerkat

All Content, whether publicly posted or privately transmitted, is the sole responsibility of the person who originated such Content. We may, but are not required to monitor or control the Content posted via the Services and we cannot take responsibility for such Content. Any use or reliance on any Content or materials posted via the Services or obtained by you through the Services is at your own risk.”

But beware and please read carefully the section after the word “reproduce”:

You retain your rights to any Content you submit, post or display on or through the Services. In order to make the Services available to you and other users, Meerkat needs a license from you. By submitting, posting or displaying Content on or through the Services, you grant us a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, reproduce, process, adapt, modify, publish, transmit, display and distribute such Content in any and all media or distribution methods (now known or later developed).”

The service claims not to store the video but are you really sure?  I would suggest you read these Terms of Service agreements carefully.

But again, you will ask me “Where is the privacy issue?”

stopWell, what if people start streaming live video from a paying event? Of from a soccer game where a TV station has paid the screening rights?  What if you are filmed and have not given your consent?  What if people start streaming video from places where disasters have happened?  These are all situations that will raise the bar in the privacy game.  And yes, the first events where Meerkat was banned are a fact.  But how can you stop this?  You can’t ask people to check in their smartphone when they come to your event.  Interesting times ahead!

Finally a last thought. If this service would have been offered by Facebook, the world would have been up in arms around the privacy issues but for now people focus on meerkat-in-carthe gadget level of these apps as if there is no issue.  We hear a lot of speak about using your common sense or like Meerkat puts in its rules “Be Kind”.  We all know where that road leads to.

Let me be clear that I am very excited to see these evolutions and technology appear. I will be a supporter from day 1 but will keep a close eye on the dark side of this technology.  I wonder what you think about this technology and the privacy issues that it entails.

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Are we dumb? Lazy? Or naive?

December 11, 2010

We are joining social media platforms and making new friends every day.  Moreover, we even become friends with people we have never met before.  Some people pride themselves in having as many friends as possible and this is not without danger.

When horror stories began to appear in the US, we Europeans had some good giggles about all those stupid and silly things some people did.  Whether they were comments on Facebook, messages on Twitter or videos on YouTube, we could not believe our ears.  We got confirmation of the statement “only in the USA something like this can happen”.  It would not happen in Europe.  We, Europeans, know much better what privacy is plus we even think that our privacy is well protected.  Not to say, that we think we are smarter.  But nothing is further from the truth.  Looking at the newspapers over the last weeks, European horror stories are featured daily and they are not any different than we one’s we laughed at. Why?  Are we as dumb as the Americans or are we as naïf as they are?

Many of us are just unaware of the dangers of social media.  By providing information about yourself on social media you are giving up your right to privacy.  All the information is stored on a server “somewhere” in the world so how can you protect that data?  Of course, social media platforms provide a number of security and privacy settings but your data is still in the cloud and you have no control over it.  Luckily, I see a number of social media policies that clearly state that you give up your right to privacy when you participate to social media but the issue is that most people do not know of the existence of such a policy in their company not to say they have not read them.

Sometime ago I read a great quote by Sam Lessin: “Privacy used to be cheap but now it is a precious good that is expensive to keep”.  Even though this is very correct, I do not entirely subscribe to it.  I want to argue that if you do not want people to know certain details about you, you should just not post or share it on any social media platform.  Privacy is at your own discretion and under your control – End of story and free of charge!

The problem might have deeper roots.  It starts with the fact that 95% of us who participate in social media never read the terms of service of those platforms.  We press “I accept” within seconds since we really have no choice when we want to participate.  It continues with the fact that 50% never changes the standard privacy and security settings and thus opens the can of worms even further.  Finally, no one ever reads a book or manual on how to use the different platforms and that is where the biggest problem is lingering.  Did you ever read a book about Facebook or Twitter?  We no longer read manuals in general (even if we buy a car, mobile phone or digital camera) and are unaware of the pitfalls.  Is that not just the recipe for disaster?

Is there a role for government, business or the general education system here?  Yes, I am convinced of it.  People need this information and built up these skills so they can reduce these types of horror stories.  True, it is up to the individual to take some action but still a gentle push can go a long way.  Or even better, put a “how to use social media” manual or book under the Christmas tree this year for all your friends and beloved family and make them read it.