Privacy again

The new EU privacy laws go into effect May 25. Many companies are sending out privacy statement updates because of this. However, new privacy laws don’t necessarily mean more privacy.

I’m diabetic, but luckily not seriously. It’s easily controllable using medication, so no insulin shots. I check my glucose level each morning and my glucose meter syncs to an app, of course, on my iPhone. That makes it easy to show the doctor what the readings were. This morning, the app popped up a dialog regarding a change in their privacy policy. I almost did the automatic thing and checked off that I approved, but this time I decided to look at the changes. This is related to a web site that they have and an account that I have with them. I suppose that isn’t unusual since they want to gather statistics on the meters in use.

However, the new policy very specifically states that they can share my information, which presumably includes my email address and the fact that I’m diabetic, with their service providers. I read that to mean 3rd party companies who have paid for the information in order to advertise. The last thing I need is more advertising. They may look at it as information of interest to a diabetic but I look at it as simply trying to sell me something that I probably don’t need.

The other thing that caught my eye was that they specifically say that they may share this information to providers in other countries including the United States, and point out that those other countries may not have the same privacy laws in place. So basically by agreeing, you’re saying to the world “Here’s my information. Do with it what you will. Send me spam, phishing, malware, or whatever. I don’t care.” Except that I do, very much.

So I declined meaning I didn’t check the box saying that I agree. And I couldn’t continue. Basically I can’t use the app unless I agree with the policy. I won’t colour this post the way I did the air in my room. I really felt like throwing the meter against the wall, but I realized that every company that makes meters probably has the same policy. So I deleted the app. It was a convenience but the meter has a memory and I’ll record the numbers separately.

And then I received an email from another company whose product I have saying much the same thing. Luckily there’s no app involved but this one simply said they’re updating their policy without giving me options. I rarely use the product any more so I don’r really care.

Lastly, I’ve received similar emails from companies that I do business with or web sites whose forums I belong to. If I want to continue, I opt in.

The damndest thing is that these new privacy laws will end up doing just the opposite. Since we all tend to say okay without reading the details, or simply want to continue the service or whatever we’re using, we’ll basically agree to more information dissemination.

There is no privacy war. We lost years ago.

A bit of an add-on.

I was looking at an article about how I can get the information, or some of the information, that Apple has on me. It occurred to me that I don’t care what information Apple has on me. I do care if Apple wants to give or sell that information to a 3rd party without my explicit permission. And that’s not a blanket permission, it should be each time they want to do it.

Now I don’t expect Apple to be giving or selling my information to a 3rd party. At least not if their emphasis on privacy is for real. Others, however, such as Google (what happened to Do No Evil?) or Amazon, I’m not so sure about. Privacy laws are great, but they have to be explicit and there must be a way for people to approve or disapprove easily or it’s all for naught.


Categories: Articles, Misc

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