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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).

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Online ads: Who decides what I see?

An article on real-time bidding and ad exchanges

On average, a person sees over 1 700 online ads per month. A significant proportion of these ads are disseminated using so-called real-time bidding (RTB). Whilst the entire online advertising market has a size of 240bn USD, RTB only attracted 5bn USD in spending (1.8%) in 2018. However, RTB is mainly used to sell low-quality ads on otherwise unused desktop and mobile display space. As a result, the proportion of RTB amongst the overall number of online ads may well be higher than 1.8%. Unfortunately, there are no figures readily available, with RTB being a rather new technology. Spread and novelty of RTB motivate a closer look.

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Untere Ruhrtalbahn: Durch Saarn und Umgebung

Die Untere Ruhrtalbahn ist eine ehemalige Eisenbahnstrecke, die den Bahnhof der Stadt Kettwig (seit 1975 Stadtteil von Essen) mit dem Bahnhof Mülheim-Styrum verband. Die Bahnstrecke wurde 1876 in Betrieb genommen und umfasste eine Länge von 14,7km (1435 mm Normalspur) bis zur Stilllegung in den 1970er Jahren.

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To European friendship: Till death us do part

This has been one of the darkest weeks of my time in the UK. I was there in 2016, around the time of the referendum, studying in Edinburgh under the EU exchange programme Erasmus.

I met Connor, with roots all over the UK, and my epitome for European friendship. Will others be able to have similar, rewarding experiences, and study within a Europe without borders? There seemed to be still hope.

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Data protection: Who really needs it?

Have you ever worried about sharing an honest opinion with friend on WhatsApp, or WhatsApp gaining access to the ‘encrypted’ communications? Have you worried about being listened to by the Facebook app, which it probably does not—they are just damn good at predicting your behaviour? Or, ever drafted a Facebook post, which you ended up discarding, which Facebook may retain regardless? Have you worried about sending photos via Snapchat, or Snapchat staff having access to photos?