We often talk about privacy issues at Idealware, and about the need for diverse voices in our work, too. In a post on the Ford Foundation blog, Wilneida Negrón writes about where those issues intersect inWhy the privacy conversation needs more voices.
“With the rise of emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, predictive analytics, biometric and facial recognition systems, and blockchain, we need a diversity of voices and perspectives to help answer these urgent and critical questions,” she says. “Increasingly, we also need to consider how data is being used to make decisions that can marginalize people, exacerbate inequalities, perpetuate bias, and chill fundamental freedoms. To this end, activists and organizations have been documenting how over-collection of data, and the lack of comprehensive legal protections related to data and privacy, are hurting people and communities.”
This is a necessary conversation. I’m pleased to include it in this month’s Best of the Web. We encourage you to read the post and take part in the discussion.
Here are some of the more interesting things we read online this past month…
NTEN recently published its 2019 Digital Outlook Report, which includes data from hundreds of nonprofits in more than 20 countries.Here’s what our friends there say about it:
“Learn how to better measure the ROI of your fundraising efforts, simple ways to improve cross-team communication, and how to think outside the #nptech box to find software solutions that fit your organization.”
It’s valuable research for the sector. Give it a read.
Speaking of NTEN, will you be attending the Nonprofit Technology Conference (#NTC2019) here in Portland, Oregon, next month? Idealware will, as will some of our Tech Impact colleagues. Be sure to say hello, or let us know if advance if you’d like to meet up.
Writing over at Slate, Justin King and Afua Bruce have an interesting story about how technology both delivers benefits and lets recipients advocate for themselves.
“We often think about technology platforms as having democratized speech in extreme ways. The unmet challenge in politics is whether we can also improve the act of listening. Those Americans who are most marginalized, and most dismissed, by our political system can now organize and engage at unprecedented scale. Technology is building new channels allowing once-quiet voices to speak. Those voices could revolutionize the safety net and even improve our democracy.”
And in a typically entertaining and informative post over at M&R, Will Valverde uses Groundhog Day as an opportunity to educate us in What Bill Murray Can Teach You About Email Marketing.
“To celebrate this almost-holiday (as well as what is unquestionably the best Bill Murray movie of all time), I want to share the easiest way you can boost response to an email-driven campaign—fundraising, advocacy, whatever. You can spend 30 minutes to increase revenue or actions driven by your very best-performing messages by 50-100 percent.”
Cue the Sonny and Cher music and click on through.
Hidden Mics and Cameras
“Customers were caught off guard in early February when Google announced its home security system, Nest Secure, would be able to act as an AI-powered Google Assistant after a recent update. … Until then, customers weren’t aware that Nest Secure had a microphone at all.”
Actually, maybe it’s not all that surprising.
Similarly, Madison Malone Kircher says the back-of-seat entertainment centers on some airlines include built-in cameras that we’ve not been informed about.
“Flying is so fun already. The security. The recirculated air. The way you always seem to get seated next to a crying baby, and while you totally feel for that baby—and its stressed parent—and know it’s not their fault, you also really wanted to sleep and will you please stop crying. See? Flying is so fun. You know what could make it more fun, though? Adding a security risk like a camera on the seat-back entertainment system on the chair in front of you…”
GDPR, the U.K., and the U.S.
Over at Tech Soup, U.K. expert Giles Watkins gives us the latest GDPR news in his post, Data Privacy and Compliance at Nonprofit Organizations.
“The U.S. has yet to pass federal regulations as stringent as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), though some states have passed their own. Nevertheless, data privacy remains top of mind for any organization — for-profit or nonprofit — that deals with the collection, storage, and use of an individual’s data. Complying with the rapidly increasing number of laws and regulations related to data privacy is much harder for nonprofits with limited budgets and staff than it is for large organizations with more funding, personnel, and resources. That said, it is typically easier to install or modify a ‘culture’ in a small organization than it is in a large one.”
Politics and Your Data
At the L.A. Times, Evan Halper shows how political campaigns are using phone and TV tracking data to learn about and influence you.
“Welcome to the new frontier of campaign tech — a loosely regulated world in which simply downloading a weather app or game, connecting to Wi-Fi at a coffee shop or powering up a home router can allow a data broker to monitor your movements with ease, then compile the location information and sell it to a political candidate who can use it to surround you with messages.”
Living and Surviving Online
PEN created this Online Harassment Field Manual for journalists and writers and the organizations that employ them. But the information it contains is helpful for any nonprofit that needs effective strategies and resources that they can use to defend against cyber hate and fight online abuse.
“My name is Kevin, and I have a phone problem,” writes Kevin Roose in the NY Times, adding that, statistically speaking, you probably have one too.
“I don’t love referring to what we have as an ‘addiction,’” he says. “That seems too sterile and clinical to describe what’s happening to our brains in the smartphone era. Unlike alcohol or opioids, phones aren’t an addictive substance so much as a species-level environmental shock.”
But that doesn’t mean we can’t lose all sense of proportion about how much time we spend looking at them. Kevin shares the story of how he ditched his phone in a controlled experiment and “unbroke” his brain. It’s pretty enlightening. (Hands up if you’re reading this on your phone…)
This is a tough but compelling read about the people employed by a contractor to review content for Facebook, and how the steady stream of hate, violence, pornography, and vanity is affecting them.
“Returning to her seat, Chloe feels an overpowering urge to sob. Another trainee has gone up to review the next post, but Chloe cannot concentrate. She leaves the room, and begins to cry so hard that she has trouble breathing. No one tries to comfort her. This is the job she was hired to do. And for the 1,000 people like Chloe moderating content for Facebook at the Phoenix site, and for 15,000 content reviewers around the world, today is just another day at the office.”
The Language of Work
Finally, at The Cut, Katie Heaney looks into why we talk differently at work than we do in our personal lives, and what it might mean for us.
“’Words have a shorter half life now. They crawl up on the beach and they’re washed out by the next tide.’ Consider, for instance, the cringey evolution of the buzzword “disruption.” Where once it might have taken years for words like these to seep into our daily work lives, it now takes minutes. And that which is overused (especially by a manager you might not like) becomes annoying, fast.”
A big thank you to everyone who sent links for Best of the Web. As always, if you have any you think would be a good fit, email me at email@example.com.