News

29th March 2019
It is time to get tough with the big boys over data privacy

It’s time to get tough with the “big boys” over data privacy

You know the feeling. You have just installed or upgraded a piece of software and the first thing you are met with is a long, tedious “privacy agreement.” Does anyone have the time or inclination to sit and read every line of this sleep-inducing tome? Not us.

The problem with this state of affairs is obvious: many companies now use their default privacy settings to slip data-hoarding conditions past gullible users. More often than not, this chicanery is cloaked under reassuring blather about “convenience” and “improving user-experience.” Microsoft’s Windows 10 is a classic culprit; far from protecting the user’s data, Windows’ default privacy setting gives the operating system carte blanche to access our personal information in myriad ways. This data is then kept on file indefinitely with complete strangers at Microsoft able to access things such as your personal calendar, contacts and usage history.

Sound scary? Unfortunately, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Last year saw Facebook exposed as a secretive and reckless abuser of the privacy of their users – all 2.27 billion of them – most notably in the Cambridge Analytica scandal. After this latest mishap, not even CEO Mark Zuckerberg could pretend that the hoarding of personal data by political campaigns could be called “informed consent”.

We have been banging on about the issue of privacy for a while now, and for good reason. So we are delighted to see that a new wave of techies and entrepreneurs have begun fighting back against the likes of Microsoft. O&O Software, a German company renowned for its systems tools for Windows, has developed the aptly named ShutUp10 to keep Microsoft’s hands off your data. This “anti-spy” tool allows users to turn off many of the unnecessary Windows functions that lead to personal data being accessed.

In the meantime, we await with bated breath for governments to take on the tech giants over the issue of data misuse. Privacy laws are desperately needed to stop companies mishandling and, in some cases, profiting from their user’s personal data. There is no lack of media appetite for these companies to be brought to heel. After all, Google and Facebook have eaten into the advertising revenues of traditional newspapers and broadcasters, in large part due to the value of their users’ data.

With Facebook yet again exposed as being involved in nefarious activities – this time caught lobbying governments to restrict privacy laws – the scale of the task is huge. Recently, the former UK deputy prime minister leader Nick Clegg joined Facebook’s payroll as head of “global policy and communications”, further highlighting the cosy links between big tech and politics. Without real action by governments to protect our privacy, we may be relying on the likes of ShutUp10 for years to come.

Make sure your data privacy’s in check with a Switch2IT

Here to make sure our customers’ cyber security is hot to trot, and with a dedication to providing excellent customer service and return on investment, you can be sure you are in safe hands when you Switch2IT.

As well as delivering excellent IT support in London to businesses and schools, we offer IT managed service contracts – as part of which we provide everything from an experienced IT technician who can solve all your technical niggles to easy budgeting on a cost per machine/user – to SMEs all over the south of England.

Get in touch for more information about our services and how they can support the data privacy of your staff and customers today. 

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