privacy alert

Hotspotty Training: Parents Sign Away Kids, Pets for Free Wi-Fi

Posted by Mark J. Miller on September 30, 2014 12:09 PM

People will apparently do anything for free public Wi-Fi, it seems. European law enforcement agency Europol recently backed an experiment in London that saw consumers signing onto free public Wi-Fi unwittingly signing away their oldest child or a beloved pet.

When Londoners registered for a public hotspot in June, they were required to sign an agreement with a so-called “Herod clause” that had them agree to “assign their first born child to us for the duration of eternity,” the Guardian reports. Six people went right ahead and (unwittingly) signed away their first-born kids.

It was all part of a "Great Wi-Fi Experiment" (watch below) by IT security company F-Secure, which helped the Cyber Security Research Institute showcase “public unawareness of serious security issues concomitant with Wi-Fi usage,” the Guardian notes.Continue reading...

retail

Target CEO Vows Return to "Tarjay" While Home Depot Battles Data Breach

Posted by Dale Buss on September 10, 2014 03:17 PM

Target's new CEO, Brian Cornell, has decided to go back to the future to retool the retailing brand while Home Depot CEO Frank Blake has to hope that he can see something other than Target in the crystal ball for his own brand, as Home Depot deals with a potentially mammoth data breach.

Target suffered a debilitating customer-data breach nearly a year ago, but the brand clearly was having problems before that. The biggest: Former CEO Gregg Steinhafel had allowed Target to drift away from a distinct identity as the au courant mass merchandiser whose chic apparel and homewear designs elevated it above price-first rivals such as Walmart and dollar stores. Steinhafel instead added a greater variety of goods and focused on grocery expansion.

Now, with Steinhafel gone, PepsiCo veteran Cornell is only a month into his job but told the Wall Street Journal that he has one major strategy planned: return to the narrower range of categories where the chain originally made its reputation as "Tarjay," including fashion and furniture, as well as expand fast-growing other segments including organic foods and children's wear.Continue reading...

tech in the spotlight

With the World Watching, Will Apple's iPhone Event Disappoint?

Posted by Alicia Ciccone on September 8, 2014 05:38 PM

The countdown is on as Apple watchers are at the ready for the next big thing: its product reveal taking place Tuesday morning at its Cupertino, Calif., headquarters. As the "What to Expect" headlines keep rolling in, Apple, as usual, will do its best to keep leaks at bay, so as to unveil its latest products in the typical, dramatic, Apple fashion we all have come to know so well

Perhaps the only certainty regarding the launch is that Apple will unveil a new iPhone, in line with its fall mobile announcements. But how many, and more importantly, how big? And will we finally see the so-called "iWatch" after months of rumors and sketches?

Major news outlets think so, and if Apple wants to stay on top of its game, it had better. This past week alone saw major wearable tech announcements from Samsung and Intel, and while none of them (arguably) hold the fascination that Apple does, there's no doubt that Apple acolytes are getting impatient waiting for CEO Tim Cook to unveil his first big product post-Jobs.Continue reading...

tech in the spotlight

Days Before Big Event, Apple Dispels Doubts Cast by iCloud Hack Allegation

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 2, 2014 02:24 PM

Ahead of what will be a crucial week for the brand, Apple is under scrutiny after its iCloud reportedly played a big part in the massive leak of scandalous celebrity photos by hackers who gained access to personal iCloud accounts.

Originally suspected to have enabled the hack via a bug in its “Find My iPhone” app, Apple has denied it's at fault following an internal investigation. Earlier, a company spokesperson responded to the allegation by stating, “We take user privacy very seriously and are actively investigating this report,” while the FBI has also launched its own probe into the leak. 

The #iCloudHack doubts cast on its ability to protect user data and privacy are poor timing, as Apple is preparing for its Sept. 9 iPhone event, where the brand is also expected to reveal its much anticipated "iWatch" (or iTime?) wearable.

But the iCloud leak also spells trouble for the brand's just-announced partnership with Visa, MasterCard and American Express on a mobile wallet, reportedly a cornerstone of its upcoming iPhone 6. If photos can be hacked from iCloud, what does that say for personal information and banking data?Continue reading...

future of advertising

Never Mind Millennials—Gen Z May Be the Hardest Marketing Nut to Crack

Posted by Sheila Shayon on August 20, 2014 03:13 PM

Step aside, Millennials, because Generation Z is here to steal the spotlight in social, marketing and advertising from their elders.

Born after 1995, Gen Z accounts for 25.9 percent of the US population and contributes $44 billion to the US economy. The group of aspiring entrepreneurs are no strangers to using social media for research, including collaborating with classmates online. According to research from Marketo, more than 50 percent use YouTube for research projects, and 72 percent of current high-schoolers say they want to own their own businesses while 76 percent aspire to turn hobbies into jobs. 

But with an ever-decreasing attention span (which, for the moment, is about eight seconds), Gen Z may be a bigger obstacle for marketers than Millennials, but that's not stopping brands from trying.Continue reading...

going mobile

Will Apple's iWatch Win with Fitness Freaks?

Posted by Caitlin Barrett on July 14, 2014 11:29 AM

With the release of Apple’s iWatch months away, there’s plenty to speculate about, from its operating system to its screen shape. But for those of us who care more about reps than specs, our iWatch anticipation is all about what the device might reveal about our physical state—and how to improve it.    

Apple, it seems, has started its iWatch tryouts with the fittest among us. Kobe Bryant has been spotted at Apple HQ, presumably trying out its ability to assess the wearer’s hydration, sweat, heart rate, and number of steps. Makes sense for a pro athlete: someone at the top of their game can use iWatch data to tweak their routine and programming to help them compete at an optimal level. 

But what will this mean for the rest of us? For starters, streamlining. There are a lot of wearables out there. A lot. And even more apps that use existing devices to assess everything from our sleep to our diet to our golf swing—something Apple’s already showcasing in its “Strength” spot. 

But for the iWatch to win with folks already using Fitbit or UP24 by Jawbone to track movement, sleep, and diet, it’s going to have to aggregate all of the data it collects on each wearer and turn it into something meaningful (not to mention helpful). Because data alone isn’t enough.Continue reading...

tech innovation

More Brands are Pinging Consumers with Help from Beacon Technology

Posted by Mark J. Miller on July 11, 2014 01:52 PM

The use of beacon technology has been fast-growing among retailers who use the smartphone function to push special offers and information to consumers as they wander through their stores. But now, other industries, especially travel, are experimenting with the technology to convey information and boost loyalty programs. 

Brands are hoping their use of the new tech will attract Millennials and other digitally-connected consumers who are open to sharing data in return for a more personalized experience.  

Marriott is currently testing beacons in its hotels to push deals for nearby retailers as well as in-hotel discounts to loyalty club members who have the brand’s app open on the premises. According to Adweek, members could get offers for such things as “test drives of Porsche or Lamborghini cars and a discounted rate at the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai” on their mobile devices.

"(We're) taking aim at the next generation traveler and really making sure we're addressing their needs," Karin Timpone, global marketing officer for Marriott, told USA Today. "They like the instant gratification and encouragement along the way while they earn points."Continue reading...

big data

With #ReclaimYourName, FTC Looks to Reel In Big Data Behaving Badly

Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 7, 2014 10:55 AM

PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi wasn't the only high-powered woman to make waves at the Aspen Institute's Ideas Festival last week. One year post-Snowden and his NSA revelations, FTC Commissioner Julie Brill said in a chat that the "state of privacy is improving."

Brill said that awareness of consumers, the public and media has grown on both the government and commercial sides. Now that awareness will help consumers push back against a growing number of data brokers that collect vast amounts of data on hundreds of millions of consumers to resell or use in targeted marketing.

“Some data brokers have 3,000 data points on each consumer in the United States—they have it for just about every US consumer," Brill said, noting a recent study. "Three billion transactions per month put into profiles about consumers.”

According the Electronic Privacy Information Center, the privacy regulations that exist today don't often protect consumers from big data analytics. “Many notions of privacy rely on informed consent for the disclosure and use of an individual’s private data. However, big data means that data is a resource that can be used and reused, often in ways that were inconceivable at the time the data was collected.”Continue reading...

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