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Privacy in the Connected Digital Age

Finn Lützow-Holm Myrstad's Keynote on Privacy is Alarming

— November 7, 2018 — Keynote Trends
Finn Lützow-Holm Myrstad is an information security researcher whose keynote on privacy is informative, alarming and calls for better management of information in the digital age. The speaker is the EU Chair of the Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue's INFOSOC Committee and he is seeking to improve company policies for handling user information. His keynote on privacy offers informed takeaways.

During his talk, the speaker reveals case study-based research from popular consumer products. The first one is Cayla -- a Wi-Fi-enabled doll that uses speech recognition. Finn Lützow-Holm Myrstad explains how the connected doll's creators mined the information from the toy and utilized the data for targeted advertising, among other things. Moreover, the speaker does a quick demo during his keynote on privacy that highlights the inherent danger that comes with the doll's easy-to-access systems. The results were published in a report and were enough for Cayla to be banned in Germany, Amazon, and Wal-Mart.

Finn Lützow-Holm Myrstad argues that is important to understand the terms of agreement of any service and to be aware of how the company providing said service is harnessing and using our information. Another case study that the information security officer touches upon during his keynote on privacy is dating apps. Myrstad and his team sat down to go through dating apps' policy and terms of use. The document was more than 900 pages long. Thus, it is completely unrealistic to expect the consumer to sit through and read it. From this experiment, some shocking revelations came to light. For example, dating app companies have the ability to use any content posted on the app -- from photos to messages, for anything, forever.

Finn Lützow-Holm Myrstad ends his keynote on privacy with some tips and hopes on how we can build a more informed society. For one, the companies that prioritize privacy and security are often the ones that have the highest degree of consumer loyalty. Secondly, governments can chime-in by enforcing up-to-date rules. Finally, citizens need to reach a state of awareness, where they are fully informed of how the device is handling their information.
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