Google Weakens Allo Privacy Promises

Google Weakens Allo Privacy Promises

Published By: Naked Security, 9/21/2016

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Google’s new messaging app, Allo, has been criticized because the default settings provide substantially less privacy than Google had previously announced they would. In part, this is to provide more training data for a “smart reply” feature that generates suggested responses. When messages are stored, law enforcement agencies will be able to access them with warrants.

Extended Discussion Questions

  • If you were thinking of using Allo, how would the last-minute change in privacy features affect your trust in how the product will perform? Can you think of any similar examples of last-minute changes?
  • “Smart Reply” is supposed to learn how you would respond to the message so it can suggest ready-made responses. How do you see a feature like this being useful in your life? Do you think the added benefit of easy responses is worth having your conversations stored?
  • Do you actively make efforts to keep your personal information, search history, conversations, and actions private? If yes, what steps do you take? If no, why not?
  • Other than police ability to access messages, what possible consequences can you think of arising from the storage of all this data?

Relating This Story to the CSP Curriculum Framework

Global Impact Learning Objectives:

  • LO 7.3.1 Analyze the beneficial and harmful effects of computing

Global Impact Essential Knowledge:

  • EK 7.3.1G Privacy and security concerns arise in the development and use of computational systems and artifacts.
  • EK 7.3.1J Technology enables the collection, use, and exploitation of information about, by, and for individuals, groups, and institutions.

Other CSP Big Ideas:

  • Idea 3 Data and Information

Banner Image: “Network Visualization – Violet – Crop 9”, derivative work by ICSI. New license: CC BY-SA 4.0. Based on “Social Network Analysis Visualization” by Martin Grandjean. Original license: CC BY-SA 3.0

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