Note: Special thank you to the Bermuda Department of Workforce Development for sponsoring these interns' placement with PrivCom.
On 21 July 2020, the United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) hosted a virtual PrivacyCon, in which researchers presented the latest reports and analysis of privacy issues. In line with current events, this year's PrivacyCon had an extra focus on health information. You can visit the FTC's site to see more on the event, including presentation materials.
PrivCom was in attendance, and we asked our 2020 interns what their thoughts were on the event:
What is the one thing you heard at PrivacyCon that you think every Bermudian should know?
Chelsea Basden, Health Privacy Analyst: Terms & Conditions
Have you ever downloaded an app and skipped past the terms and conditions concerning it? Have you ever just agreed to the terms and conditions without reading it? I bet most of us can agree to that, as we do not want to go through the seemingly endless pages of it. Well, you may want to rethink that the next time you do come across an agreement. Research has shown that data is being sent to companies unrelated to the device manufacturer. About 84% of UK devices contact destinations abroad, mostly in the US. This can be concerning as you may never realise where your data goes and how it is really used. So remember to please be very careful when it comes to apps' terms and conditions.
Jaime Furtado, Media & Communications Analyst: The APA App Evaluation Framework
Lots of people use mental health apps to do things like meditate or track their mood. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) developed an App Evaluation Framework as a new scheme to help anyone select between the many different mental health apps. These apps have different purposes, and an overwhelming amount may be dangerous or sell your data to third parties. Lots of health apps make claims that they cannot back up just to get you to try them.
In order to sort these apps, over 600 evaluation schemes have been made, but they all have problems. The APA App Evaluation Framework was created in order to get all the information about an app into the users’ hands, leaving them with the best app for them. This is done by ranking the apps based on accessibility, privacy, clinical foundation, features and the conditions supported. Then when a user wants an app, they can filter through the plethora of apps to find one the most suitable for them. This is also great because it forces app developers to make better, safer apps if they want people to download, and it lets users make educated decisions on what app they want to use, rather than a leap of faith.
Kahlil Smythe, Privacy Technology Analyst: The Internet of Things (IoT)
As smart devices that are used in our everyday lives become more advanced, it’s crucial to be aware of how the "Internet of Things" (IoT) uses your personal data. The IoT is a way to explain the internet connection between all computing devices in a individual's everyday life. These are all connected, allowing them to send or receive data. As the IoT becomes more common in humans lives and in households, there is an increase in smart devices being hacked. For example, intruders may hack into a person’s smart TV to sell their data. Also, users may not be informed of where their data is being shared. To avoid IoT privacy breaches, companies must build software that provides the ability to take usable insight of IoT security and privacy.
To reach out to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner, please visit our Contact Us page.