Privacy as a Feminist IssueFeatured

kuan's profile thumbnail
Thank you Katharine for writing for us! If you have a story to share, or know someone who does, let us know hi@elpha.com or DM me. We'd love to feature it.
quinneyeQ's profile thumbnail
Thank you for sharing! This is certainly a thought-provoking hot topic (see: https://elpha.com/posts/ijntcqgp/superhuman-is-spying-on-you), and it's one that I think about every time I ask Alexa for something... and also when Alexa hears anything resembling her name (e.g. Alex, Alexis) when we're watching a TV series or movie. When I consider how much I'm willing to trade in exchange for all the conveniences of modern society, I'm actually not sure -- it will probably have to come to a head in some sort of spectacular fashion, which is unfortunate.
amazzocchi's profile thumbnail
Thank you for writing this, it was eye opening to say the least and brought to light so many ideas I hadn't previously considered. I am regularly thinking of the data I'm sharing and how it will impact me but have never considered those less privileged and how that are exploited through data collection. What you've shared is not surprising and I'm grateful that it's becoming a point of discussion as I'm sure so many other people don't think of it at all due to privilege. I agree that understanding privacy is an excellent first step, as is informing people of exploitation.
Gracie's profile thumbnail
Such an important point - Moody Month is a London/ NYC based business whose mission is to provide femtech services around menstruation and mood tracking with secure date. Would love to get your thoughts on them? I've just started using - https://moodymonth.com/app
kjam's profile thumbnail
I've been using drip (https://bloodyhealth.gitlab.io) which is created by some friends I know in Berlin and is fully open-source with no data sent to the cloud. It is funded via grants from the German government and EU for open health data / open health research.In a quick scan of Moody Month's privacy policy, it looks fairly standard for these apps. They say that they "anonymise" data before it is shared with researchers - I've actually worked with a team doing this before and sometimes only the bare minimum is done - however, it depends on the knowledge of the team around anonymization. (see: https://www.technologyreview.com/s/613996/youre-very-easy-to-track-down-even-when-your-data-has-been-anonymized/ ). They also say they might share your data with marketers - but that you can opt out of that. If you want to do that you should contact privacy@wearemoody.com.Finally, they say they might share your data with any potential buyers of the company. I think this is the biggest threat to most of these apps -- that a larger company with more data about you will also buy it (ahem, your health insurance provider) and this data will be linked, aggregated and used to make healthcare decisions about you.However, as of now, they are still independent! So, if you write them and share concerns, hopefully they are thinking similar things. :) Being informed of the issues and reading the privacy policies when possible are a great way to start moving the conversation forward. Since GDPR, all privacy policies are *supposed* to be written in non-legal terms and understandable. If you find a hard one, feel free to ping me and I'm happy to read it and try to help! (I am not a lawyer though!! But I do know a bit about this field. :) )
elinar's profile thumbnail
So spot on! Thank you."Understanding privacy operates as a form of privilege allows us to plan how we’d like to address and manage societal consequences of this unequal resource."This rings so true. When I discuss data privacy concerns with others, so often their response is, "Well, I have nothing to hide, so who cares?" It just captures a fundamental misunderstanding of the risk at hand. Recently, I've been trying to work with my employer to reform the company policy around doing a criminal background check using a third-party company with alarming terms of service. This company's terms dictate that they can investigate you in any capacity, at any time, and share their finding with anyone—well outside the original request to check for a criminal record. And it's all legal, because we have insanely weak data protection laws. I shopped around for an alternative, and I found pretty much all companies selling consumer reports have uneditable terms that give them carte-blanche to your data. In the end, I ordered a criminal background checked through the California dept. of justice. It was literally the only way to not sign my rights away and comply with my company's requirement. I want to note that I take no issue with employers performing criminal background checks. I agree with the policy, as I don't want to work with someone who might be dangerous. That said, there is almost no process to do this where employees' data and privacy are protected. We need data protection laws so badly.
elinar's profile thumbnail
I just want to add that NPR aired a great piece on data tracking by smart home devices yesterday, which is available in article and podcast form. Even for someone familiar with data privacy issues, it's eyebrow-raising stuff. https://www.npr.org/2019/07/31/746878763/how-tech-companies-track-your-every-move-and-put-your-data-up-for-sale