Isey

Flashback for Friday Fun!

Schools in the UK start back this week after the summer break, and my timeline on Facebook is awash with little faces wearing pristine uniform that is a touch too big for them as they head off into formal education for the first time.

A time to move forward to be sure, as I’m one of those mums who will have done just that by the time you read this. But my digi.me flashback feature is also active, showing me an adorable picture of my now toddler when he was very tiny two years ago.

Between them, these two features got me thinking a lot about the present and past, mainly along the lines of how quickly time is flying by, and how life moves on at such a pace these days it can be hard to hold on to all your memories, even the precious ones.

Thankfully, flashback in digi.me is a great feature for finding out what you were doing on this day one, two, five or even longer years ago and being reminded of things big and small, personal and professional that had slipped from your mind.

A premium account feature (you can try it without charge for 30 days when you download the normal version, which is free to all), simply click on the flashback icon on the menu bar to see what you did across all linked accounts on this day in years past. And if you want to check other days, either specifically or random ones, just click on the calendar icon in the top green bar and then zip around to your heart’s content.

Happy flashbacking!

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10 ways digi.me gives you back control of your data

News of data breaches and leaks has been everywhere recently, particularly in the wake of the Ashley Madison hack.

And yet, as our popular blog on the apps that are spying on your life proved, we are giving more and more about ourselves away without questioning it, often in the mistaken belief it is the only way we can access free services.

Two big (often unspoken) truths are that many apps ask for many more permissions than they need as a default, and also that free does not have to mean giving up the rights to the data that makes up you.

Here at digi.me, we like to think in terms of the internet of me – you, at the centre of your world, fully in control of what data about you is shared and with whom. Clearly, with so much about each of us already in the wild, that full dream remains a work in progress, but our app gives you back control of your data for you to choose and use as you wish. How? Well, here are just some of the ways:

  1. By backing-up your social network content. You can use digi.me to sync four accounts from the main social media platforms, meaning you can delete your accounts if you choose in future and still have whatever you posted there, complete with the original likes and comments.
  2. Having all the data YOU posted, at YOUR fingertips – you can jump around the journal view or search across all platforms to find something you need without being constrained by search or any post visibility activated by the channels themselves.
  3. By us NEVER seeing any of your data, yet bringing it to you in a format that you can easily search and use.
  4. Run a small business and want to analyse when your posts get most interaction? Use our insight tool to find out what and when you should be posting, or download your follower data in a spreadsheet to investigate how it has grown or who has stopped following you.
  5. Feeling overwhelmed by the size of your networks? See who you have most interactions with on Facebook, for example, if you’re minded to create lists. Or see who is no longer friends with or following you if you want to cull them back.
  6. Use our flashback feature to see what you were doing on this day last year, the year before or five years ago – remember things you wanted to do, or anniveraries of things you did do that might otherwise be forgotten.
  7. Make a collection – your favourite pictures or interactions, stored together, and able to be saved and downloaded as a PDF, complete with the original comments.
  8. Compliance requirements for your business? Find anything you’ve ever said and reuse or record as necessary in a matter of moments.
  9. Organise your content into collections, grouping similar content or separating public and personal. All, of course, easy to find when you need it again for any reason.
  10. By having, at your fingertips, the complete story of you. What you said, what you did and who you did it with, even the ability to add thoughts, moments and pictures that were not (gasp!) documented on social media.

Sharing everything for free use is not good data privacy, is not the future and should not be how the world works. Join the online revolution, start taking your data power back and download digi.me for free today!

back-to-school

Friday Fun: Back to School?

It doesn’t seem possible that Summer (what Summer, ask all UK users) is nearly over, but the time for back to school is nearly upon us.

Shorts and swimming clothes are being put away as parents scramble to get all the requisite bits of uniform acquired in the correct sizes and labelled with their child’s name for when they are inevitably lost.

This will be my first year as a mum of a schoolchild, and it’s set me thinking about my own first schooldays a long, long time ago.

I didn’t have to wear a uniform, and this being the 70s all the children wore browns, beiges and dark reds – none of the colourful brights young clothing comes in today.

My parents were quite relaxed about school, so there’s no proud first day photo such as the one I will undoubtedly take of my son and post on social media.

I’m sure, too, I’ll love looking back on it as time goes on and my little four year-old grows up.

Do you have a favourite picture from your schooldays? Please share it in the comments with any memories.

And, if you too want to find and remember key events in your life, download digi.me for free now!

Capture Your Personal Data with digi.me for Free

Toshiba partners digi.me in new distribution deal

Toshiba has joined forces with digi.me to distribute our unique market-leading personal data software across Europe, North and Latin America.

This global distribution deal, which will see the electronics giant partnering and promoting digi.me through their marketing and social media channels, as well as pre-installing it in a number of laptops and tablets in the Latin America marketplace, comes as our app’s downloads and reputation continue to grow exponentially in an increasingly personal information aware and privacy-savvy marketplace.

It is a significant partner-signing that follows a particularly strong start to 2015 so far for digi.me (formerly SocialSafe), which has included graduating from the Microsoft Ventures Accelerator program in Paris and being chosen to showcase at Digital Catapult in London.

Digi.me founder Julian Ranger said: “Being selected by such a well-known brand as Toshiba shows that the digi.me vision of a world where we own and control our own personal information is coming ever closer.”

With further exciting developments coming, as well as a new iOS app being released imminently, this partnership with Toshiba sees digi.me taking yet another step forward on the global stage as we push to revolutionise the world of personal information.

Already familiar to French users where it is distributed as part of the Fnac security pack, this new deal with Toshiba will make digi.me and its role as your digital librarian, organising and securing your information for whatever need you wish, highly visible and desirable to a global marketplace.

If you want to join the online personal information revolution and haven’t already tried digi.me, you can download a free version here http://digi.me/ that allows you to back up, view and search content from four of your social network accounts. It also gives you 30 days’ free trial to the premium version which includes features such as personal collections, PDF export and stats.

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Ashley Madison and Spotify: lessons about personal data privacy

It’s been an interesting week for observers and chroniclers of data issues, especially around privacy and what we can reasonably expect to happen to information we trust to the web and individual websites.

First there was the Ashley Madison leak, following an earlier hack, where millions of email addresses and account details of users, including sexual preferences and credit card information, were dumped online and made visible to anyone who had the time and inclination to go through them (and plenty did).

The extramarital affairs website offered a full delete service, where users could pay an extra fee to erase any trace of their usage, but this appears to have been all but useless. It was also interesting to see reports of how many company, government and military email addresses had been used, when plenty of services offer free and therefore anonymous accounts, implying a clear trust that because Ashley Madison said they were discreet, then this must be true.

Then, as the ramifications of this hack/leak were still becoming clear, Spotify hit its own technological bump in the road, when it was forced to withdraw a wide-ranging new privacy policy that expanded the data it collected from users and who this was shared with.

As the backlash intensified, with angry  users wondering why a music streaming service needed access to their phone contacts and photos, Spotify’s CEO Daniel Ek apologised for how it had been implemented, promising an “update” to the new policy and better communication in future (although interestingly not backtracking on the content of the policies themselves).

He also said that Spotify would not access or import people’s photos, contacts, sensor or GPS data without their permission.

So, what do both of these sagas tell us about the state of and awareness of data privacy online? I would argue quite a bit – and much of it positive.

While the fallout of the Ashley Madison data will have wide-ranging implications for anyone unmasked, the huge amount of coverage around the hack, subsquent leak and celebrity or well-known users will also undoubtedly raise the profile of the state of data privacy online. Namely, it has been made crystal clear that users need to take full responsibility for their own data and who they trust that with, as even sites claiming to be uber secure are just not able to ensure that is always true, particularly in the wake of a concerted hacking attack.

While not many sites are likely to suffer the fate of Ashley Madison, which was targeted by hackers The Impact Team who had an issue with the content of the site, every site holding personal data has the potential for a breach, and users often have no more than their word that all standard protocols have been followed before handing over what can be sensitive information. Indeed, companies themselves may believe they are protecting data adequately but just not have the technological know-how for that to be correct.

Equally, the Spotify backlash, while primarily among the internet-savvy Twitter usergroup, also shows a promising swell against overarching privacy policies, proving that users won’t accept absolutely anything in return for free use of a service, and increasingly have enough awareness to check what exactly they are signing up to.

Awareness of what we give away with many online transactions (excluding the likes of digi.me, which never sees your data) is the first step in making sure that anyone we hand our data to will treat it with respect, amoving on to holding those who don’t to public rebuke and account.

And thus the vastly greater awareness around data privacy issues following recent events can only be a good thing as more and more of our lives are lived online.

Ashley Madison data leak

Friday Fun: your embarrassing data leaks

While no-one is suggesting the Ashley Madison data hack/leak is in any way funny for those involved, the wall-to-wall coverage across social and traditional media does suggest it has hit a nerve.

Data protection and privacy has gained a lot of traction in recent months, with publicising of the Ashley Madison and Sony hacks, in particular, opening the eyes of consumers as to how much information about them is in the public domain, and how relatively unsecure a lot of this is.

Taking back control of this personal data is a huge motivator behind the creation of digi.me and development of securer interfaces online, as well as safer user behaviour.

But, let’s face it, there are times when all of us have come unstuck by revealing information that we didn’t mean to, or accidentally sending an text or email meant for one person to someone else.

While it’s likely that these mistakes had a lot less serious consequences than the Ashley Madison leak (and hopefully a lot smaller audience), they often become funny stories after the initial embarrassment has faded.

So let’s hear from you – what’s your personal worst data leak? Stories in the comments please.

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The popular apps spying on everything you do

Just how many permissions has anyone who has signed up to Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, Instagram and Skype among many others given away? Clue: it’s an awful lot more than you think.

Smartphones, and the apps made for them, help us run our lives and businesses as smoothly as possible, often on the go.

But what exactly do these apps know about you, and what information have you unwittingly given away to them by clicking yes on their terms of service and privacy policies?

This infographic gives us some idea, (hi res version for detailed zooming here), setting out clearly just how many permissions anyone who has signed up to Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, Instagram, Skype among many others has actually given away.

Reading from the inside out, you can see the app and what permissions it asks for, but where it gets interesting – and more than a little scary for anyone with concerns over data privacy and control – is the next layer, which sets out clearly what those permissions you blithely ticked actually mean.

So Facebook, for example, can read your text messages and see your call log – who you called, when you called them and how long the call lasted. That’s pretty sensitive information – and gives big clues to your life. It also knows your location at all times, in common with other apps such as Viber.

Many popular and common apps, such as Facebook, Instagram and Skype, use your camera and microphone to record audio and take pictures and video without asking you first. Twitter can only take pictures and video, not audio and Gmail doesn’t do this – but it can read and modify all your phone contacts. Still pretty scary on the privacy front – and not something that many users would dream they had given permission for.

Torn between the twin aims of developers wanting to get more permissions than they currently need to aid future development, and the willingness of consumers to trust popular sites have their best interests in mind, comes this boggling array of permissions granted to access all kinds of data.

Vladan Joler, of Serbian non-profit SHARE, who did the research and created this visualisation, found in the course of his research that users actively access about 27 apps on their smartphones every month, with non-reading of the Terms of Service and Privacy Policies a common and ongoing issue.

His analysis has shown that a Privacy Policy has an average length of 2.518 words and takes about 10 minutes to read, which means that a user needs to spend roughly 950 minutes (15,83 hours or 2 work days) in order to read the PP of the apps they have installed.

You get the picture – enlarge the hi-res version above to see what permissions YOU, exactly, have given to apps on YOUR phone. And then consider whether what you give away is truly worth what you gain.

But do remember as well that all apps are not created equal – digi.me, for example, does not see ANY of your data, which is transferred straight to and held on your computer for your use and convenience. We value your privacy and ability to own and control your own data – if only the same could be said of more companies.

warwick-lot

Friday Fun: remembering university days

This week hundreds of thousands of teenagers have found out if they have made the grade (quite literally) for places at university.

It’s been a stressful time for parents, as well as the students themselves, but with many now holding confirmed places, it’s a time to start celebrating and looking forward to new adventures as children (in many cases) prepare to fly the nest.

Changes on the horizon for one generation often herald a looking back to times past from the one above, so I thought today’s Friday Fun should take a stroll down university lane and find old student photos.

Given that social media and smartphones were very far from being a mass ‘thing’ for those of us who have children of our own, chances are your pictures (like mine) are blurry efforts in a funny shape, and that the only way to get them online is to take a picture of them with your beloved smartphone.

Regardless, I’ve included one of the few still knocking around of me – here I am with my fellow housemates, as well as our house cuddly toys, in 1995. I’m the one with red hair, by the way, very obviously dyed. Probably wearing Doc Martens and a baggy jumper as well, as that was the uniform back then.

Of course, our children will simply be able to look back through their digi.me library in the future – they really don’t know how lucky they are, do they?

So, anyone care to join me? Share your snaps of days gone past in the comments.

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Digital innovation in the UK ‘at risk because of personal data concerns’

The UK’s move towards a digital-first society risks being slowed because of public concerns over the use of personal data, a new report has found.

The sharing of personal data is both crucial for innovation and also improving personal online experiences, which is only made possible through tailoring services based on unique data.

But while we live in a connected society, and give out information about ourselves dozens of times a day on social media or by using online services, the ongoing sharing and use of that data is still creating significant unease among consumers.

The Trust in Personal Data UK review by Digital Catapault set out to assess the UK’s progress on the way to becoming a data-driven nation and found three clear issues: the public care about personal data but a knowledge gap remains; consumers don’t trust organisations with their data and they also don’t understand the benefits of sharing personal data.

Some of the key statistics from the report:

  • 96pc of respondents claim to understand the term ‘personal data’, but only two-thirds (64pc) picked the correct definition
  • 65 per cent of consumers are unsure if their data is being shared without their consent
  • 30pc of respondents believe they are responsible for educating themselves on the use and protection of data
  • 32pc believe this responsibility lies with the government
  • 30pc declare themselves interested in a service to help them collect, manage and preserve personal data
  • 79pc believe the primary use of personal data is for organisations’ own economic gain
  • 21pc of consumers say monetary gain would convince them to share their personal data

The study saw 4,005 consumers aged between 18 and 64 questioned earlier this year. By far the biggest concern when asked about data fears (76pc) was that they had no control over how it their personal information is shared and who it is shared with.

Infographic: the survey in numbers (PDF)

Equally, what would make the most people (43pc) share their data was if it was going to be used for public good, for example in the fields of healthcare or education.

Media (28pc) and retail (30pc) were the sectors seen as most guilty of using personal data without being clear they do so, with the public sector (43pc) seen as most trustworthy in this area.

It was also clear that respondents did not believe they benefited from sharing data with organisations, with the vast majority (79pc) believing instead that only the organisations profited economically from having it shared with them.

People were happier to share their data if they were paid, with £30 a month being the most popular option (61pc), which does at least show potential for mutually-beneficial working together between businesses and consumers if trust and best practice issues can be overcome.

Interestingly, the report did find a general increase in data knowledge, but because this was largely as a result of negative media coverage of data breaches, the potential opportunities and benefits of data sharing have often been sidelined.

One overwhelmingly clear issue is the desire for control – a huge 94pc of those questioned want to be more in control of the data they share, how they share it and what they get back from it – a mindset that mirrors exactly the wisdom behind the setting up of digi.me, which gives control of your data back to you, to use and organise as you choose.

In summary, the report finds: “In future, the creation of trust in the way consumers share personal data will be one of the defining competitive differentials for business.

“Moreover, it will be one of the key dependences in creating better citizen services and improving the way we all live.”

Digital stakeholders at all levels of all businesses in sectors across the marketplace need to be doing all they can to recognise and reassure that personal data, as Dame Wendy Hall says in the report’s foreword to prove to the public “that data will be used responsibly, be stored safely and called upon sparingly”.

What do you think? Do you have trust in how your personal data is stored or used? Let us know in the comments below.

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Latest digi.me update includes Flickr support

Digi.me has just got even better, with the launch of a new version that introduces some exciting updates while keeping all of the other brilliant features you already know and love.

The story of you can now be even more complete, as the new version (7.0.8 for those of you keeping track) now syncs with Flickr as well as all the existing platforms, which include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Google+.

There is also an option to add personal entries and photos direct to the library, without posting them on any social media platforms first, making digi.me the fullest library of your life and loves to date.

So what new features can you now add to your personal story?

  • Personal entries: add private posts and attach photos from your computer to your digi.me library. These can be organised into collections and are searchable

  • Flickr: Pull your Flickr photos, albums and favs into your digi.me library. As with other sources, you’ll get comments and favs counts on your photos too

  • Instagram: view, search and export your liked Instagram photos

  • Facebook Events: search, view and export events you’ve attended or been invited to

  • Facebook comments now have links attachments included

  • Backups: a simplified view of your backup entries. The journal was getting very busy, so we’ve tidied these summaries up. You’ll see a summary bar at the bottom of every day you synced your sources and can then click on this to see the breakdown.

And, of course, we’ve improved performance where we can, meaning the app now runs smoother than ever.

Any thoughts or questions about the new release? Feel free to get in touch either in the comments or over on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn – and don’t forget to vote for what you’d like to see added to the app next!

Finally, don’t forget that your data will always belong to you. That’s why it’s downloaded directly to your computer for your enjoyment and use – we never see it.