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Tablet Providers Dogged by Data Privacy Concerns

Which brands might you think of when searching for the best tablets on the market? Apple, Google, Lenovo, Samsung, Amazon? These are usually in the top ten.

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Image source lenovo.com

Recently, EU watchdogs have voiced their concerns about whether our privacy rights are being properly respected when we enter personal details into our favourite tablets.

This isn’t the first time privacy rights have been subject to watchdog scrutiny. In 2012, Google hit the headlines with its policy of tracking users’ activity on sites like Gmail and YouTube. Both American and European groups issued stern criticism of the policy, while EU authorities began a further investigation into whether Google’s search engine practices promoted fair competition.

This year, French data protection agency CNIL is expected to react to what it sees as an inconsistency between Google’s privacy policies and European privacy laws. The agency previously warned Google it had four months to make appropriate changes, or legal action would ensue. CNIL’s concerns extend to mobile phone data as well – Article 29, a group of EU privacy protection organisations, published new recommendations on this in March. The recommendations were directed at app developers and concern the use of private information stored on phones, to which apps commonly request access.

Proposed changes include issuing an obligatory individual agreement request for each type of information shared – contacts, location services, and media networking, for example. This is designed to combat the covert supply of data to certain apps. These recommendations state that app users should have sufficient information and control over the type of personal data that companies like Google share.

But what can we do while the legal wrangling continues? Well, there are certainly options available. Apple products usually feature buttons to enable or disable different privacy features for each app. These can regulate which apps have access to your location, contacts, photos, contacts, amongst others. Other sensible privacy safeguards include keeping cookies and history cleared on Safari or other Internet browsers. And change your browser preferences to opt out of ad-tracking. In addition, have a look at browser extensions, like Targeted Advertising Cookie Opt-Out, and MyPrivacy, that ensure greater privacy for subscribers.

It might also be worth keeping your location services turned off for apps that don’t necessarily need this kind of information to function. Be wary of any password memory keepers, and activate your SIM card lock (if available) in case of theft. Some tablets – including all those on Android operating systems – allow users to update on open wireless network options. Since these are often unsecured, be aware that you may at risk of data theft. Wiping personal data from cloud storage providers should be a last resort.

Article by Corhodzic Emir

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