Twitter photo tagging: how and why to opt-out

twitter-privacy-and-photo-taggingTwitter announced their newest mobile feature, photo tagging, in a blog post on Wednesday. The update lets users tag up to 10 people in embedded photos and to tweet up to four photos at a time.

Déjà-vu, anyone?

The Twitter photo tagging and multiple photo upload features closely follow in Facebook’s footsteps—and you might guess what that means for your privacy. If you’re a Twitter user, you’ll need to take a few steps to keep embarrassing photos at bay and maintain your privacy.

Here’s how to opt-out of automatic photo tagging…

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Google Glass partnership: what it means for privacy

google-glass-privacy-concernsGoogle Glass announced Monday it’s joining forces with eyewear giant Luxottica (the makers of Ray-Ban and Oakley) to design, develop, and distribute “innovative iconic wearable devices”. Google Glass is essentially a hands-free smartphone, offering users the ability to take pictures, surf the web, and check the weather all with Glass’ minimalistic touchpad. When introduced last year, the product raised instant privacy concerns.

Google is not the only company innovating their technology in a way that deteriorates privacy – Facebook recently announced their DeepFace facial recognition software can match faces with near human accuracy. Facebook can say with 97.25% accuracy whether photos contains a specific face. Humans can perform the same task with 97.53% accuracy.

The combination of the two has the ability to create a rather dire privacy situation. If Google Glass technology is implemented on normal, everyday glasses, people will be able to snap silent pictures of you without your knowledge. The snapshots can be then be uploaded to Facebook where DeepFace identifies you with better accuracy than a human. Seamlessly.

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Meet the Facebook Privacy Dinosaur (a.k.a. @PrivacyDino)

meet-facebook-privacy-dinosaurIf you’re using the “public” share option on Facebook, chances are you’ve already met the prehistoric creature of the moment—the Facebook Privacy Dinosaur.

The benign-looking blue dinosaur, unofficially dubbed the Privacy Dinosaur, is being tested with a limited number of Facebook users who choose to share posts publicly, rather than with only friends.

The dino appears in a popup window that asks users if their post is being shared “with the right audience.” Users can then choose to share publicly or with just friends.

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Acxiom: the data collection company you’ve never heard of

acxiom-data-collection-companyEver heard of Acxiom? I wouldn’t be surprised if the answer is no. Despite being an established and profitable company for over 40 years, not many know who they are. Acxiom buys personal information about millions of people, cleans it up for accuracy, and sells it to companies to run targeted advertising campaigns. They are a data collection agency (or data broker).

Your gut reaction may be similar to mine: great, another company whose making money off my personal information. But Acxiom claims to be different.

A couple weeks ago, a few colleagues and I went to hear Acxiom’s CEO, Scott Howe, speak at Harvard. When Howe took the CEO role a few years back, he pushed for transparency, which was historically absent from the data collection industry. Hence, was born. allows you to view, edit, and remove information about yourself from Acxiom’s marketing database.

On the surface it appears Acxiom is a new kind of data broker, a company who offers consumers more transparency, control, and choice over how their data is stored and used.

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How to give a fake phone number to a guy (or gal)


What to do if you want a drink but not a date

“Can I get your number?”

Sometimes this is last thing you want to hear. Perhaps he’s not your type or he’s had a few too many at the bar—whatever the reason, you don’t want your personal information in his (or her) hands.

Of course, you can always say no to the strange guy at the bar. But giving away your phone number even to people who you’re interested in seeing again is risky.

Abine’s simple solution is a fake phone number (well, there’s more to Masked Phones, so stick with us for a second).

The beauty of Masked Phone numbers is that your “fake” phone number will forward calls and texts to your real phone, but you’ll have the power to end his (or her) calls and texts in one click.

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