Lives at risk: Excessive data collection in apps

Last month, in January 2020, the Norwegian Consumer Council, an NGO, published a report on collection and sharing of personal data in popular apps. The reassuring title: “Out of Control: How Consumers Are Exploited by the Online Advertising Industry”.

On 186 pages, the researchers analysed the data practices of 10 popular Android apps. Amongst those apps: a children’s app, a period tracker, and various dating apps.

What they found was a blatant disregard for governing data protection legislation, notably the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).


Einführung einer Bürgernummer

Die Bundesregierung plant die Einführung einer Bürgernummer: eine Identifikationsnummer für jeden, der einen Wohnsitz in Deutschland hat. Datenschützer warnen vor einem Überwachungsstaat. Besteht wirklich Grund zur Sorge oder wird bloß Panik geschürt?

Mit diesem Thema beschäftige ich mich in Oxfords neuer Studentenzeitschrift, The Flete.


Cognitive Load in the Digital

This article is part of a series. Next week, I’ll release a short report on digital learning.

The arguably most studied problem in education is how to conduct education. Whenever someone provides education, this necessarily involves thinking about how to bring across the material at hand.

Education has not changed meaningfully over the course of human history. Whether in Plato’s Academy back in Ancient Greece or in schools nowadays, teaching usually means the transfer of knowledge from a teacher to students.

How does learning work then, what makes it efficient, and what are the opportunities for digital technologies?


Semantic Web in Law

This text was written as part of an application to the Oxford Law Faculty.

Data management has long been a big pain point for companies, creating high costs and operational burden. Engine B develops an innovative data management solution, based on a knowledge graph.

This is a concept known by everyone from Google Search. If you Google ‘register to vote’, you’ll be provided with the necessary steps to sign up to vote in the UK directly in the Google Search results (during elections).


Le Guide du Masque

Actuellement, les masques sont omniprésent. Nous voulons donc avoir l’apparence parfaite. Je veux discuter les masques plus principaux dans ce qui suit.

Le masque chirurgical


Il s’agit du choix le plus classique. Son utilisateur préfère le confort, moins l’esthétique. Il ne faut pas réfléchir beaucoup, en particulier sur les conséquences environnementales. En somme il est estimé que la consummation de plastique à usage unique a augmenté entre 250-300% dans les États-Unis depuis le début de la pandémie. 🤮


Beyond fixing: The Data Economy

Never before in human history have companies held so much information about people. They hold some of the most private details about some of the most powerful people on this planet.

Worse still, this power is untamed. Who can promise that these companies will not one day use the gathered information against their users? Manipulate unconsciously. Sway opinions. Destroy privacy. Aren’t they already?

And then, my private information is not only open to these companies, but also—party—the US intelligence agencies. How have we come here?

I want my privacy, as enshrined in German and EU law.

More importantly, I want fair representation. Neither did I only not elect the US government, nor the private companies. And still, these entities hold substantial information and power over my life.

Let’s hope for change.

Update: The Schrems II ruling by the European Court of Justice underlines that US intelligence laws conflict with the EU right to privacy and data protection.