Connect with us

Tech

Facebook leads industry creating simple privacy controls, including Snapchat-like ‘Data Stories’

Published

on


In its ongoing efforts to recover from the Cambridge Analytica scandal this spring, Facebook has detailed its collaboration with a design lab focused entirely on privacy and located in Dublin, Ireland.

News of the lab comes from Facebook’s responses to questions from the United States Senate that were released this week by the Senate commerce committee, and follow CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s congressional hearings in April (via Bloomberg).

The lab is called TTC labs — “Trust, Transparency, and Control” — and is a cross-industry program that aims to improve privacy controls for services like Facebook and many others. Facebook said that the lab was started “in recognition of the need for improved approaches to data transparency across all digital services.” According to the lab’s website it’s been around for a while, so Facebook likely chose to highlight its partnership with the initiative to earn some favor during the congressional hearings.

TTC labs was “initiated and supported by Facebook,” and has more than 60 other organizations involved, although names are not given. The ultimate goal is said to be the creation of “people-centric” privacy practices that are user friendly and “easy to understand and control.”

In the latest blog post on the lab’s site the group discusses how design can educate users about how their data is used, using “clear illustrations” to “effectively educate people about data flow and data connections in a step-by-step way.” Other articles talk about “Building people’s trust over time” and “Making cookies transparent.”

In another article, TTC labs details how data controls and transparency can be explained to users in ways that are less technical and more familiar to them. Using the example of an app called “Friendlee,” the group built customizable data controls into an ephemeral story format like Snapchat “to educate teens” about privacy and allow them to easily update their privacy settings without needing to navigate confusing menus.

Friendlee uses an ‘ephemeral story format’, an experience already embedded in the app, to educate teens to understand and make choices about their data without having to actively look for data settings or deletion. Once they have used Friendlee for a while, it prompts them with a ‘data story.’ This story is about an interest that Friendlee identified, such as football, with the story showing content and actions that have made Friendlee believe they like football. At the end of the story, they are asked whether this is actually true using simple, conversational language.

The language around the actions is purposely kept human and is based on self-reflection, not on a technical process like ‘delete this data’. The teen is able to take control of their data without having any knowledge of activity logs or data settings. Instead, they can reflect on it in the context of their own self-identity.

It’s important to note that TTC labs’ blog posts are concepts at this point, so it’s unclear if Facebook itself will implement similar features into its own apps and website.

Brooklyn-based writer, editor and creator with a love of all things streetwear and/or delicious. Always on the hunt for the next best coffee shop. Obsessed with new sunglasses.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Tech

Nomad unveils its latest 2,800mAh battery for iPhone

Published

on


Nomad today announced the launch of an updated Battery Cable, which comes equipped with a slim 2,800 mAh battery to add a bit of extra juice to Apple’s iPhones and iPads.

The Battery Cable looks like a standard braided Nomad Lightning cable for the iPhone, but with the addition of a battery pack at one end that can be used for extra charging power when necessary.

Nomad’s 1.5M Battery Cable includes an integrated Nomad cable tie and support for passthrough charging, so you can charge up the battery while you charge your iPhone. Having the battery pack integrated into the cable is convenient because it ensures the battery is always full when you need it.

Compared to the original version of the Battery Cable, the new model has a higher capacity and a sturdier aluminum build.

Nomad’s Battery Cable can be purchased from the Nomad website for $49.95 starting today.

Continue Reading

Tech

Wi-Fi company Plume announces new mesh router technology

Published

on


Wi-Fi router startup Plume today announced an upgraded version of its mesh networking devices and a new subscription model for its customers. Plume first began selling its “Plume Pod” routers in late 2016, and today revealed a new tri-band router called the “SuperPod” (via The Verge).

Plume’s SuperPod works like any other mesh system, requiring users to connect the first Pod to their modem with an included ethernet cable. The rest serve as wall plugs that users permanently place in an outlet to enhance the Wi-Fi signal throughout their home. In comparison to the original dual band, four-channel model, SuperPod has a tri-band Wi-Fi radio with eight channels and two ethernet ports.

When connected and running, the SuperPod system learns the user’s home usage patterns “in a matter of days.” This means that the SuperPods will learn when you use Wi-Fi the most (getting news from a smart speaker in the morning or watching 4K films at night) and implement “Adaptive Wi-Fi” to actively optimize the network for more consistent speed and performance.

For users to take advantage of these features, they’ll have to subscribe to Plume. The company previously sold the Plume Pod without a subscription, but today is changing that by requiring customers to subscribe to its Adaptive Wi-Fi service before they can purchase a SuperPod, The Verge notes.

The service costs $60 per year and if users opt out of the subscription in a year’s time “the routers may not fully work,” although Plume CEO Fahri Diner said the company wouldn’t outright “brick” the devices if users decide not to pay down the line.

Diner says Plume wants to provide so many additional services as part of its subscription that customers will happily remain subscribed. “Our intent, our hope, is to make the decision a no-brainer,” Diner said in a phone call. “If the customer doesn’t want to renew, it won’t be because of the price. They will be unhappy for us for one reason or another.”

Plume is offering price discounts for it subscribers, however, selling a three-pack of its routers for $39, down from $179. Three packs come with two dual-band routers (the older models) and one tri-band router (the new model). In terms of adding supplemental Pods onto the system, the company will still sell its Plume Pod for $39 and the individual price for the new SuperPod is $99.

Potential customers can also choose to pay a flat $200 fee for a lifetime membership to the service, while existing Plume owners will be grandfathered in to the new features for free. Other features include parental controls, speed tests, service management, and “Plume HomePass.” This service creates unique Wi-Fi passwords personalized to guests when they visit. The iOS app can also detail Wi-Fi connections, freeze device connections to prevent kids from accessing the internet, data consumption charts, and more.

Wi-Fi mesh systems have become a popular solution for in-home Wi-Fi over the years, with options from companies like Linksys, Orbi, Eero, Google, and others. The technology is looking to expand as well, with the Wi-Fi Alliance in May announcing a new certification program called “EasyMesh,” which aims to allow users to build mesh networks in their homes across different brands.

For Plume, orders on the SuperPod will open June 15 and the device will begin shipping June 21.

Continue Reading

Tech

Microsoft officially announces its Xbox adaptive controller

Published

on


Microsoft’s previously announced Adaptive Controller for the Xbox is now available for pre-order for $100 USD and is expected to ship in September.

After an initial leak of the device, Microsoft has announced an Xbox controller designed for individuals with disabilities. The Adaptive Controler features two large buttons that can be programmed, as well as 19 jacks that allows connectivity with a range of joysticks, buttons, and switches compatible with Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs.

Its highlighted customization and connectivity aspects allow gamers to built a setup for all their needs, and although the peripheral won’t be for every game, with its system-level button remapping, its usage has endless possibilities to build upon for the gaming accessibility field.

The Xbox Adaptive Controller will cost $99.99 USD and is slated to drop later this year.

In related news, a Black Panther-themed Xbox One X is coming.

Continue Reading

Trending