Category Archives: Discussion

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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.

data privacy

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.

graphic-crop

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.

graphic-grab

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.

digi.me-personal

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.

Man on Phone Privacy

What Does Your Phone Know About You?

These days we really do rely on our mobile phones and it is quite scary to think how much your phone knows about you, where you have been and who you have seen.  It even knows some of your favourite hobbies, interests and activities. It is in essence your digital brain!  What would you do without it?

Mobile phones have moved on an incredible amount over the past 30 years, from a device that is clunky and cumbersome to small, light incredibly fast computers that fit in our pockets and handbags. We connect other devices to them such as our fitness trackers, smartwatches, children’s toys and much more.  They are the central hub of our daily lives.  As such they collect a massive amount of data about us.  Some of which is passed on to the applications that we use and some just sits idle on the phone.  Then there is some data that goes back to the carrier as well and some that is collected by the sites that we browse. They are complicated little devices and often we forget just how valuable that data is to us until we lose or break our phone.

A couple of weeks back I wrote a piece on how you can find your phone using the data stored online about you that relates to your phone and it’s location.  This week I thought we would look more at just what data there is on these devices and why it is important to secure and back up your phone and it’s content.

Most mobile phones these days have the option for you to store a copy of your photo’s and contacts in the cloud.  This means that every new contact and photo is saved both on your phone and somewhere on the internet.  The chance of losing this data is low unless of course you haven’t set your phone up to do that. It is one of the first things I set up whenever I get a new phone and I would recommend that if you haven’t done this already then do it as it is a life saver when your phone is damaged or lost as you still have all your contacts and those precious pictures of friends and family.

The next thing that I always set up is a way to secure my phone so that if I lose it someone else can’t just use my phone, run up a massive bill and cause all sorts of trouble. I have heard too many friends lose their phones abroad and because it is abroad they are still liable for the call charges made. Put a pin on it and it is at least a deterrent. You can also turn on phone tracking and remote wipe which take that process one step further. The only issue with these is that you need to have GPS turned on and this can be a bit of a battery drain. You can still find your phone’s last known location through other means so to me this is not essential.  Android phones track where you are using a process called triangulation which uses WiFi and cellular data to identify where you were last so I tend to use that as my fallback.

The apps that you have installed on your phone and have paid for are all stored by the app store where you bought them from so these too are recoverable. The data within these apps is stored remotely too by the app creators. As long as you have stored your contacts, pics and videos remotely you should be able to pretty much recreate your device time and time again. This is the beauty of distributed data.

Looking at this another way though all that distributed data is accessible from a single point – your phone. Once someone has that they have access and potentially control of everything. Just bear that in mind the next time you turn your phone on and you haven’t got any security turned on. You are putting your online identity at risk. That digital footprint that we have talked about here on the blog a few times could become compromised if you don’t protect it properly.

This article was brought to you by digi.me who put you in control of your social media content. Download it now to protect your digital memories. 

summer fete

Friday Fun: A Personal One

When it comes to having fun and enjoying ourselves we all want to come up with the ultimate weekend plans.  We look to one another for inspiration and ideas.  What better place to look for those ideas than on our social media networks.

This weeks Friday fun is one of working out what really makes us smile at a weekend.  What is it that we each love doing. Use digi.me to look back over your old social network content and see what fun things you have done last summer or even the summers before that for ideas about what you want to do this weekend.

I took a look at my own social media history and it jogged my memory that there is a country fete that is on this weekend every year that it would be nice to take my son to so that is now my plan! Let us know what plans you are making!

Capture Your Personal Data with digi.me for Free

Retrieving Your Personal Information

From time to time we all think about leaving platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.  However before we leave we want to make sure we aren’t losing anything in the process but how do we go about doing that?  This article will run through some simple but effective approaches to help you capture and retrieve as much of your personal information as possible. 

Facebook

When it comes to retrieving your Facebook data there are a few different ways to get your data.  Unfortunately Facebook don’t make it easy to get a copy of everything you have ever put up there and if you want everything you will need to put in a personal data request and from what we hear that can take months for a response.  Officially if you are based in Europe they should be responding within 40 days to your request however history already shows this hasn’t been the case in the past.

In the meantime what you can do to retrieve a lot of your personal data is download digi.me and connect to Facebook to synchronize and retrieve the majority of your personal data.  This will provide you with your wall posts and images direct to your computer and you can export these into an easy to use PDF. To gain access to our private messages you will need to “download a copy of your Facebook Data” which you will find on Facebook under settings. The list of what you will get with this download can be found here and it does include your private messages.

Twitter

Again with Twitter you can use digi.me to automatically download your tweets as you go which will save you time and effort having to regularly remember to download your archive to keep up with your latest twitter updates.  As Twitter limits the amount of time you can go back historically we recommend that you also download your Twitter archive so that you have all your really old Twitter content.  That way you will have all your Twitter updates that you have ever created to date and all the ones you generate in from when you start using digi.me onwards will also be captured.  There are some very comprehensive instructions from Twitter on how retrieve your Tweet archive here.

LinkedIN

Digi.me also works with LinkedIN to help you keep copies of your most recent interactions on the social network.   However you may also wish to put in a request to gain access to every update you have ever made on LinkedIN through their access request page.  They do collect information about your search history and much more. You will be surprised just what this social network really knows about you and your data.

The other useful feature that you may wish to take advantage of within LinkedIN is the ability to export your profile as a PDF.  It is a great starting point for putting together your CV and is a fairly well hidden feature.  There is a little down arrow next to “View Profile As” when you are on your profile page. Click on the arrow and you will find a drop down with a few different options including the option to “Save to PDF”.

Let us know if you have found this article useful and remember to share it with your friends!

technology

The Future of Personal Data

What is the future of personal data? How will it affect me personally and how will it affect my work and day to day life? These are all big questions when it comes to our personal data and these questions become even more prominent when we start to look at who currently has access to data about us.

Currently our banks, telecoms companies, social networks, fitness band companies, search engine providers and shopping sites all have information about us. Whilst this data is somewhat dispersed across the internet it is also duplicated. In some ways because it is not all in one place it seems safer.  However over time that data becomes out of date and unreliable.  We move house and have to inform everyone of our new address for example and it takes forever to get round to changing everything over.

These big companies aren’t allowed to share the core data about us between themselves without our permission but in some cases they have that permission without us even realizing it as we sign up to the small print or miss an opt out tick box.  Before we know it we have unrelated companies spamming us or cold calling.

Now imagine if we could easily revoke that permission to access the information about ourselves from those companies without having to write letters or chase, just at the click of a button.  Wouldn’t that be easier… and wouldn’t it be easier if we could give permission through simple but understandable terms and if we didn’t agree they couldn’t use our data.

Going one step further, if we owned our health data we could carry our health records ourselves when we travel and when we go to hospital with an illness or injury.  Lost medical records become a thing of the past. Clearly we would want to backup and securely store this information but once we can do that we can do so much more with it.

In order to make this sort of future a reality there are a few things that have to happen first. Companies need to understand better how data is owned and by whom, they also need to realize that it is no longer acceptable to lose data or sell it on without our knowledge.

Individuals need to realize that their data has a value, it belongs to them and is in fact part of their personal identity and not just something to be traded to the highest bidder for ad placements.  We need to stop giving away parts of ourselves without understanding how we can take control back of that data at any point in the future.

The “Internet of Things” is already a reality but the “Internet of Me” is just beginning. We all need to start taking a look at who we are, what data is of value to us and how that data could be used in ways that benefit us more as individuals.

Digi.me helps you to take that first step where you control of your personal web data.  We have started you off with putting you back in control of your social media updates and we look forward to bringing you even more control of your data.  Just remember we don’t see your data you do! It is yours and you own it all!

photos

How to Make Most of Festival Photo’s

Were you at a festival this weekend or plan to be at some point over the summer, then this article is just what you need.  This articles shares some of our top tips for how you can use your festival photo’s from this year and past years in creative and fun ways.

First of all you need to grab a copy of all your festival photo’s.  You can do that in a few different ways, grab them from your phone, camera etc directly or if you have shared them online and aren’t sure where you had them originally that’s fine. Download digi.me, sync your social media accounts and then do a search or two to find the pictures you are after.  You may need to do a date range search or you may just need to search for the name of the festival. It depends what you put in the description when you uploaded the pics.

Once you have the copy of your pictures you can start doing all sorts of things with them.

  • You could make a photo collage with them and put it in a frame.
  • Make a photo book of your festival highlights to leave on the coffee table for when friends come round.
  • Turn your pics into a photo clock with a picture for each hour of the day.
  • Put all your photo’s into a digital photo frame and see those festival moments all summer long.
  • Set your festival photo’s folder as your screensaver or screen background and see those special moments unfold.
  • Create a video of your festival photo’s and share it with your friends on social media.

Do you have other ideas of what you could do with your festival pictures! Share them with us and we’ll add them to our list!