BigBrotherAwards awarded for data octopuses like Alexa & Co

On the 20. April it was time again: The association Digitalcourage awarded the BigBrotherAwards. "Happy" were allowed this year, among others, Microsoft, the Hessian state government and Amazon. Last received the negative price by no means surprising for his omnipresent, at the same time annoying but also somewhat sinister Alexa, her character digital voice assistant in Amazon speakers.

Already since the year 2000 (after America) the Big Brother Award has been awarded in Germany, which is comparable to the Golden Raspberry for bad acting performances. However, this anti-Oscar is not about movie stars, but of data octopi, that is, the biggest data sinners of a year, in order to "publicly" put them in the pillory. Many companies, from Telekom to Deutsche Bahn to Lidl, have already been rewarded with the award for their negative treatment of data privacy. Mostly, the price at the gala evening, however, hardly surprising not personally picked ...

Microsoft sucks data - without shutdown button

Back to this year's award ceremony and its dubious winners, which includes a huge IT industry, Microsoft has secured the Big Brother Award in the Technology category. For a good reason: Windows 10 transmits telemetric data (eg browser data or information about installed programs) to the servers of the group. Switch off? Wrong! Even massive effort versierter (!) User does not prevent the transfer is not complete, as a report by the Bavarian Commissioner for Data Protection from 2017 showed. Anyway, "normalos" have no chance, because changes of many clicks are necessary and if one then finds out, one can only choose between "complete" or "simple" transmission.

Sticking point: What does Microsoft do with our data?

Laudator Frank Rosengart from the Chaos Computer Club had very clear words to Microsoft: "From the user's point of view, it is a mess that the transmission can not be deactivated practically - especially since there is no alternative for many people to Windows as operating system for compatibility reasons." Even more Of course, it is not clear what the company is actually doing with the collected information: "What is it about Microsoft, whether you use your computer rather as a typewriter, as a toy, as a television or for image editing? And what does the company do with this information? We do not know it."

Hesse exaggerates it with security

Not only are companies honored, there is also a separate category for politics. Here, the CDU and Alliance90 / The Greens were able to prevail with their new Hessian police law as well as constitution protection law, as they tread according to BigBrother jury a "way into the preventive-authoritarian security state". In concrete terms, "terrorist perpetrators" for prevention should already be equipped with electronic shackles from the outset, which pushes human rights organizations, because there is no criminal liability. In addition, the state of Hesse wants to introduce a Trojan that secretly aspirate data on the devices of suspects. However, this plan is currently still facing constitutional problems.

Alexa's omnipotence is not well received

Wherever you look, Amazon's Alexa is getting more and more into more living rooms, but also in other places like cars or refrigerators. With this all-embracing omnipotence of artificial intelligence (generally from smart speakers and digital assistants), privacy advocates have a problem: the "curious, cheeky, nine-wise and talkative eavesdropping" and his colleagues from Google Home or Apple listen to their owners and then direct all the collected Information to the servers of the company. For privacy advocates padellun a very clear case of "a listening interface, for example, disguised as an alarm clock". And even if the manufacturers claim otherwise: One can not know with certainty whether Alexa & Co does not just record EVERYTHING and not only when they are activated. Furthermore, padeluun criticized the upcoming developments, which could reach frightening proportions - does Alexa for example recognize our mood in the future and can use this for further manipulation?

Monitoring of refugees by software

Also criticized and winner of a BigBrotherAwards was software used by Ceviso, which is also used in refugee management: "With this software, movements to and on the premises, food issues, medical checks, relationships, religion and ethnicity are recorded and stored," said data protection expert Thilo Weichert at his speech. What can be done with such data, is now well known: quickly linked times provide these profiles of individual people. For Weichert an absolute no go.

Cloaked health control by employers?

Actually a nice idea at first glance: A company uses an app to protect their employees from burnout or to be able to act in good time. The BigBrotherAward jury, however, sees something different: The companies Soma Analytics and Ceviso Software make possible through their App Kelaa recording the vital signs of employees. That way, stress symptoms can be detected - which the privacy advocates consider to be control and monitoring of employees. The app developers themselves defend their work, this is dedicated to the "mental health in the workplace" and will be used absolutely voluntarily and coordinated with the works council & Co.

You see: Both big and small companies, political parties & Co have lots of ideas on how to circumvent data protection or otherwise uses data ... Good that the Big Brother Alternative shows some such particularly questionable cases every year.

Source: Time Online, BigBrotherAward

Created on:05/05/2018

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