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 practically not be deactivated - especially since for many people there is no alternative to Windows as the operating system for reasons of compatibility." In addition, it is of course not clear what the company is actually doing with the information it has collected: “What is it to Microsoft whether you use your computer as a typewriter, as a toy, as a television or for image processing? And what does the company do with this information? We do not know it."
Hesse exaggerates it with security
Not only companies are awarded, there is also a separate category for politics. Here the CDU and Bündnis90 / Die Grünen were able to prevail with their new Hessian police law and constitutional protection law, because according to the BigBrother jury they are treading a “path to the preventive-authoritarian security state”. Specifically, "terrorist threats" should be equipped with electronic ankle shackles from the outset for prevention, which human rights organizations uncover, since no criminal offense has yet been committed. In addition, the state of Hesse would like to introduce a Trojan that is supposed to secretly extract data from suspects on the devices. However, constitutional problems currently stand in the way of this plan.
Alexa's omnipotence is not well received
Wherever you look: Amazon's Alexa is making itself felt in more and more living rooms, but also in other places such as cars or refrigerators. With this spreading omnipotence of an artificial intelligence (generally from smart speakers and digital assistants) data protectionists have a problem: The "curious, cheeky, clever and talkative eavesdropping can" and his colleagues from Google Home or Apple listen to their owners and then guide everyone Information to the company's servers. For privacy advocate Padellun this is a very clear case of "a listening interface that disguises itself as an alarm clock, for example". And even if the manufacturers claim otherwise: You cannot know with certainty whether Alexa & Co will not simply record EVERYTHING and not only when they are activated. Furthermore, padeluun criticized the upcoming developments, which could take on frightening proportions - does Alexa, for example, recognize our mood in the future and can use this for further manipulation?
Monitoring of refugees by software
A software from Ceviso, which is also used in refugee management, was also criticized and won a BigBrotherAward: "With this software, movements to and on the premises, food expenditure, medical checks, family relationships, religious and ethnic affiliations are recorded and saved," explained data protection expert Thilo Softened in his address. What can be done with such data is now known: These profiles of individual people are quickly linked. An absolute no-go for Weichert.
Cloaked health control by employers?
Actually a nice idea at first glance: A company uses an app to protect its employees from burnout or to be able to act against it in good time. The BigBrotherAward jury, however, sees it a little differently: The companies Soma Analytics and Ceviso Software make it possible to record employee vital signs through their Kelaa app. In this way, symptoms of stress can be recognized - which data protection officers consider to be the control and monitoring of employees. The app developers themselves defend their work, this is dedicated to "mental health at work" and is used absolutely voluntarily and coordinated with the works council & Co.
As you can see, both large and small companies, political parties and the like have lots of ideas about how to bypass data protection or how to use data for other purposes ... It's good that the BigBrotherAward shows some such particularly worrying cases every year.
Source: Time Online, BigBrotherAward