The Markup

7 posts
Unregulated location data industry

For The Markup, continuing their reports on data privacy, Alfred Ng and Jon Keegan discuss the non-regulation of the location data industry: Without government regulation, the current approach from Apple and Google is to play catch-up with data brokers for each new way that location data can be shared, experts said. For example, while app developers could potentially lie to Apple and Google without any way to audit the companies,...

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Family safety app sells location data to third parties

Life360 is a service that lets families keep track of where members are based on phone location data. For The Markup, Jon Keegan and Alfred Ng report on how Life360 then sells that data to third parties for millions of dollars: Through interviews with two former employees of the company, along with two individuals who formerly worked at location data brokers Cuebiq and X-Mode, The Markup discovered that the app...

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Your location for sale

Companies collect and aggregate location data from millions of people’s phones. Then that data gets sold in a multibillion-dollar market. Jon Keegan and Alfred Ng for The Markup report on who’s doing the collecting and where your data goes: Once a person’s location data has been collected from an app and it has entered the location data marketplace, it can be sold over and over again, from the data providers...

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Facebook feed comparison between groups

As part of their Citizen Browser project to inspect Facebook, The Markup shows a side-by-side comparison between Facebook feeds for different groups, based on the feeds of 1,000 paid participants. There are pretty big differences for news sources and group suggestions, but the news stories don’t seem as big as you might think with a median 3 percentage points difference between groups. Although, the distribution shows a wider spread. Tags:...

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Blacklight, a tool to see how the websites you visit are tracking you

Companies are tracking what you do online. You know this. But it can be a challenge to know the extent, because the methods are hidden on purpose. So The Markup built Blacklight: To investigate the pervasiveness of online tracking, The Markup spent 18 months building a one-of-a-kind free public tool that can be used to inspect websites for potential privacy violations in real time. Blacklight reveals the trackers loading on...

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Protecting your mobile data and privacy while at a protest

Maddy Varner reporting for The Markup: “All protesting and all marches are a series of balancing acts of different priorities and acceptable risks,” said Mason Donahue, a member of Lucy Parsons Labs, a Chicago-based group of technologists and activists that run digital security training classes and have investigated the Chicago Police Department’s use of surveillance technology. “There is a lot of communication ability that goes away if you don’t bring...

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