Is This Thing On? Decoding Audacity’s Privacy Update

Is This Thing On? Decoding Audacity’s Privacy Update

Changes in the data-collection policy for a hugely popular audio editing app are highlighting old and new tensions in digital trustworthiness, and how open-source software can offer solutions. A Familiar Tune: The Vague Privacy Policy Audacity has been a touchstone for open-source editing software for years. Since its first open-source release in 2000, the app has garnered over 100 million downloads, giving rise to vibrant online communities of users. To understand the implications of Audacity’s July 2 update and its widespread backlash, it’s crucial to keep in mind the app’s open-source community. Diving into Audacity’s Privacy Updates Let’s look at two explicit changes in Audacity’s policy and their impact for software users and broader regulations. First, the July 2 update …

See A Dark Pattern, Defeat A Dark Pattern

See A Dark Pattern, Defeat A Dark Pattern

I first learned about dark UX patterns when I worked at Blizzard Entertainment, where our UX team fought endlessly to thwart any experiences that could be remotely perceived as dark patterns, since it is so prevalent in the games industry. Using some of those learnings as my foundation, I led an interactive session on UX dark patterns at The Rise of Privacy Tech‘s Virtual Summit in June alongside my colleague Simon, the Director of Design here at Ethyca. I’ll take you through the highlights here, but to see a recording of the session (with all the audience engagement!), check out their YouTube channel here in the coming weeks! Meet Dark Patterns In 2010, UX researcher Dr. Harry Brignull coined the …

Big Tech As Its Own Privacy Regulator, Part 2: For Kids

Big Tech As Its Own Privacy Regulator, Part 2: For Kids

On policy and product fronts, children’s privacy is taking the national stage. In understanding the market and legal forces at work, a striking vision for general consumer privacy comes into focus. Think of the Children! For all of the complex challenges of data privacy (see: the increasingly maze-like state of EU-US data transfers), some topics seem much more intuitive to wrap my brain around, like children’s privacy protections. In recent weeks, a bipartisan proposal for revamped children’s privacy protections has come to the US Senate, shortly after 44 states’ attorneys general issued a letter urging Facebook to stop development of its new Instagram for Kids, citing–among other vital concerns–threats to children’s privacy protections. As I previously wrote, in the absence …