Seniors are wary of their online privacy


“So many of these privacy concerns are absolutely valid,” says Gennie Gebhart, privacy researcher at Electronic Frontier Foundation non-profit advocacy group. But “regardless of age or level of experience, I never want these concerns to prevent people from living their lives, performing basic tasks and accessing basic amenities”, which can be increasingly needed during the pandemic. She highlights the issues for people who are uncomfortable using the internet when trying to set up a COVID-19 test or an appointment for a vaccine.

Often, people who work in technology avoid going too far in technology. The first thing Deb McAlister-Holland, 67, retired tech marketer and angel investor, did when she and her husband bought a new home last June in Longview, TX was to pull the plug. Ring doorbell, smart thermostat, automatic sprinkler controls, motion detectors. and cameras. Then they disconnected some strange wiring that connected the cameras to something she couldn’t identify.

“I know how to protect my data online. But I also know how easily permanently connected devices can be hacked. There is no easy way to protect a refrigerator or a doorbell. idea of ​​what is being collected, ”she says.

Apple is forcing developers to ask to follow

What is collected fuels a ‘big and opaque’ $ 227 billion industry, recent report says A day in the life of your data report for Apple consumers.

The average app people use every day has six built-in trackers, the Apple report says. Data brokers use the data they collect to assign attributes to users and distribute them into hyper-detailed market segments.

As of the impending iOS 14.5 software update and software for other Apple products, Apple is requiring app developers to ask users for permission to track them on apps and websites owned by other companies. In the App Store, developers should also ensure consumer transparency about their data collection and privacy practices on company product pages.

“Protecting the privacy and safety of consumers is essential. Consumers need to control when and how their personal data can be used, and privacy and security protections need to be built into devices, ”says Susanna Montezemolo, director of policy and integration at AARP. “Consumers also need greater transparency about privacy and security practices so they can make informed choices.

Amazon, which created the digital assistant Alexa, told AARP it had privacy in mind.

“For all customers, but especially aging people, Alexa can be a driver of independence,” said an Amazon spokesperson. “Privacy is key to maintaining the trust of our customers. That’s why we’ve built visual indicators to let customers know when Alexa is processing their request, designed microphone and camera controls, and empowered customers. view and delete voice recordings. For more details, the company directs customers to its Alexa privacy center.

You can go online and limit your risk

One of those people who don’t use Apple’s Alexa or Siri is Terry Fernsworth, 53, who works in software support in the San Francisco Bay Area. He … not online bank That is.

“I use the technology, but I’m careful how I use it,” he says.


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