Deceived by Design is a report by Norway's consumer protection bureau on 'dark patterns' -- the interface tricks and traps used by tech companies to fool users into doing things they don't want to.
The combination of privacy intrusive defaults and the use of dark patterns, nudge users of Facebook and Google, and to a lesser degree Windows 10, toward the least privacy friendly options to a degree that we consider unethical.
We question whether this is in accordance with the principles of data protection by default and data protection by design, and if consent given under these circumstances can be said to be explicit, informed and freely given.
A trivial but perfectly illustrative example: Facebook uses fake "notification" dots to encourage users into quickly agreeing to new terms to get access to their account.
Red dots signifying message notifications were the only part of the regular Facebook interface that was
visible during the process, leading the user to think that there were messages waiting. These dots were displayed even if
the user did not have any unread messages. This placed further pressure on the user to go through the process quickly, and not delete the account, so that these apparent messages could be read. If this was in fact a deliberate design from Facebook, this is a very clear example of use of dark patterns to manipulate users.
Security research Ophir Harpaz was trying to book a flight using Onetravel; as she browsed available itineraries, she couldn't help but notice a prominent warning that "39 people are looking at this flight" (this is a cheap gimmick, one of the many "dark patterns" that once lured naive internet users to making rash decisions, but […]
Tiktok bills itself as apolitical, despite the fact that is both a de facto arm of Chinese political propaganda (and, weirdly, for Uyghur human rights activists).
Maria Farrell admits that comparing smartphones to abusive men (they try to keep you from friends and family, they make it hard to study or go to work, they constantly follow you and check up on you) might seem to trivialize domestic partner violence, but, as she points out, feminists have long been pointing out […]
Is it just us, or does it feel like winter hasn’t been as horrendous as usual this year? Well, stats show it’s actually been one of the warmer winters on record so far this year for many eastern U.S. cities in January and February. But, almost on cue, weather experts warn signs of a serious […]
While mobile devices are all but essential and the center of so many individual universes these days, find one person who loves their wireless plan with that type of passion. Check around. We’ll wait… Didn’t find anybody, did you? That’s because most wireless plans are designed for the convenience of the provider and will nickel-and-dime […]
In the early days of the web, everyone wanted a .com domain for their site. As a result, all the good ones got snapped up. But .com no longer has the cachet it once did. In fact, many new businesses and individuals are opting for other top-level domain extensions. One of the most memorable is […]