Children – Data Games with their Future

There are three data points to think about

  • Instagram is working on a version for children under 13
  • Proctoring applications are a lot more acceptable with educational institutions
  • The Metaverse and it’s inroads into the world of children

Let’s start with these though

Safety in the browser

  1. You would be aware of a new initiative called FLOC. It is currently in preview/ testing mode and will roll out soon enough. It is promoted, by Google, as a privacy protection initiative to third party cookies. Still, it has received significant push back, and most browser alternatives are refusing to support the standard and, for now, only available on Chrome. Will FLOC also cover Google Workspace (education) based students ids and what about Chromebooks used by children. Hopefully, the status is opt-out from the outset.

If you have concerns, then Edge is the default browser on Windows machines, and you can choose Firefox or Brave. Mac’s default browser is Safari, but all the other three browsers are available. Meanwhile, Microsoft Edge’s new Kids Mode has appropriate features and content for children aged 5-8 or 9-12. It limits the sites that children can go to, adds safe search and strict tracking prevention. The browser’s family safety feature is linked to a Microsoft account.

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Data Breach – 10 customer expectations

The elevator pitch for the new economy is that “data is the new oil”. Data lakes are forming faster than the lakes formed by melting glaciers. As for the latter, I’d rather the glaciers don’t melt!

Database products and analytics tools that power concepts like data lakes are flourishing. They are increasingly getting powerful features that a modern enterprise needs. If you are not playing the data game, you will be left behind, they say! 

In the ‘bad old days’ powered by oil, there were the inevitable oil spills. They spoilt natural habits, and this information was often covered up. The big spills got into the limelight mainly because videos, satellite imagery and other tools made them difficult to stay hidden. The second-order effects also got noticed, and the regulators wrapped some knuckles, even if a bit gently.

The modern equivalent of the oil spill is the data breach. Not a day passes by without some story about a data breach or leakage. It is troubling that the number of records per breach is sometimes in the millions, and we seem to not even blink an eye. Every record contains a name or a number or email at least; sometimes a lot more!

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Spy-Pixels – Should they be able to track without consent?

Formatted emails with links look good and track a lot! To stop the tracking, set your email client to not download remote images/content or select the email client in text mode. It will change your reading experience, though.

Email marketing relies on “spy-pixels”, and modern email-based customer journey orchestration is built on these GIF or PNG files as small as 1×1 pixels and placed somewhere in the email. You literally won’t be able to see or even get to click on them.

It has been an accepted, if somewhat not fully understood, practice. Data protection regulations focus on consent, or lack of it is beginning to get noticed even in this practice.

As a sender, you have the option of requesting read/delivery receipts from the recipient. But they have the opportunity to deny it. This is where HTML, with its formatting options, helps remove this option or consent. Embedding images and stylesheets into the email becomes possible. They are downloaded when the user reads an email. Open rates, devices and even rough physical location is possible to be deduced and if the email has links then interest profiles are deduced as well.

So the question of consent comes into focus. Should the service provider ask for permission? Some are approaching it from a perspective of policy/compliance and while others are thinking about privacy-protecting experiences.

Video surveillance, video analytics and culture

Do video cameras improve safety? There are many reasons to answer in the affirmative!

  1. Public spaces, offices, homes and playgrounds, shopping zones and more continue to see rapid installations, unified by the belief that security improves. But if there are videos, there then needs to be analytics and well…. deep-learning analytics. Security is one aspect, but what about emotion analytics of your store visit or your social media post?
  2. The camera looking at you also makes judgments about your environment, emotions, purchases, and more…. some might be ok with it. This kind of analysis is a growing market with service providers at all ends of the spectrum.
  3. The news of company breaches is all too common. The latest being the video surveillance company whose security feed streams were accessed and possibly video data exfiltrated.
  4. I often think about how A/B testing approaches gets that desired click. Add the element of emotion tracking in AR/VR/Videos, and it makes for an uncomfortable scenario envisioning all this.

The safety experience needs a comprehensive assessment and thinking through.