Protecting Privacy in the Smart Tech Era

Smart phones, smart speakers, smart televisions, smart appliances, smart cars...the smart technology revolution has left nearly every aspect of our lives under surveillance from devices collecting data on us. It's what one privacy advocate calls the surveillance apocalypse. Most people now willingly give up privacy in exchange for technological advances that enhance our lives, leading some to believe that the idea of online privacy is dead.

One small company is trying to do something about that. Pierre Valade is the CEO of Jumbo, an app which functions as a privacy assistant. "We've built basically a data co-pilot, that is helping you decide what you want to share online and what you are okay with, in a very simple way," says Valade.

Essentially, Jumbo informs you about the privacy settings on the software and apps on your phone (Facebook, Instagram, Google, Amazon, etc.) and allows you to strengthen or weaken them as you see fit. "We say here's what's going on (with those other services), and are you okay with that," says Valade. "If you're not, we'll change it for you so you don't have to worry about it, and if you are okay with it, then we move on."

Valade tells KTRH the idea is to give users more knowledge about how (and how much) they are being tracked. "Privacy is about control," he says. "It's about knowing what you are okay with and being able to opt out if you don't want that. If you don't want your data exposed to third parties, you should be able to opt out of that."

While Jumbo is catching on, Valade admits he would still like to see more government oversight of Big Tech when it comes to privacy. "We can only do so much," he says. "So of course, more regulation that gives you the ability to protect yourself and your family is something that we can use."

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