Protecting privacy online: New system would give individuals more control over shared digital data
Cellphone metadata has been in the news quite a bit lately, but the National Security Agency isn’t the only organization that collects information about people’s online behavior. Newly downloaded cellphone apps routinely ask to access your location information, your address book, or other apps, and of course, websites like Amazon or Netflix track your browsing history in the interest of making personalized recommendations. At the same time, a host of recent studies have demonstrated that it’s shockingly easy to identify unnamed individuals in supposedly “anonymized” data sets, even ones containing millions of records. A new system would allow individuals to pick and choose what data to share with websites and mobile apps.