Home > data journalism, data science, modeling > Ello, Enron, and the future of data privacy

Ello, Enron, and the future of data privacy

October 3, 2014

If you think Ello is the newest safest social media platform, you might want to think again.

Or at the very least, go ahead and read this piece by my data journalist buddy Meredith Broussard, entitled ‘Ello, social media newcomer! Goodbye, data security fears?Meredith has read the fine print in Ello’s security policy, and it’s not great news.

  1. Josh
    October 3, 2014 at 8:47 am

    I disagree. I know little about Ello so I’m not really commenting on them specifically. But I do think it would be great if people moved away from Facebook to social networks that do make efforts to protect your information rather than building their entire business model on exploiting it.

    Meredith does make a number of good points about how things can happen, e.g. the Enron example, and your data can become public in unanticipated ways. These should be taken as cautions.

    Having said that, Ello seems to be enormously better than Facebook. The best protection that can be offered regarding many of the concerns Meredith raises are not to collect the data. As she notes, if the data is collected and stored, it may get into the “wrong hands” in various ways. Ello seems much better than FB in that regard

    Meredith seems to be saying that Ello isn’t perfect — certainly true. But what are we to conclude from that? if we conclude that we should be careful about what we put on any social network, that’s good. If we demand even stronger protection than Ello offers, that’s fine, too. if we conclude we might as well stick with FB because we are screwed anyway, I disagree with that.

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    • October 3, 2014 at 8:48 am

      Why do you think ello is better than facebook?

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      • Josh
        October 3, 2014 at 8:55 am

        From their privacy agreement:

        Information Ello Collects (read is part)

        “Ello uses an anonymized version of Google Analytics to gather and aggregate general information about user behavior. To the best of our knowledge, the information gathered by Google on Ello’s behalf is collected in such a way that neither Ello, nor Google, can easily trace saved information back to any individual user.”

        “Ello is unique in that we offer our users the option to opt-out of Google Analytics on the user settings page. We also respect “Do Not Track” browser settings. If you choose either of these options, we make best efforts not to send any data about your user behavior, anonymized or otherwise, to Google or any other third party service provider. Please be aware that there may be other services that you are using and that are not controlled by Ello (including Google, Google Chrome Web Browser, Android Operating System, and Youtube) that may continue to send information to Google when you use Ello, even if you have asked us not to send information through our services.”

        In addition, I believe that FB aggressively collects information from every site (which includes yours) that has that little “F” sign to share stuff on FB. So, they are collecting information about you throughout your internet activity (unless you are very vigilant with privacy add-ins).

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  2. cat
    October 3, 2014 at 11:12 am

    “To the best of our knowledge, the information gathered by Google on Ello’s behalf is collected in such a way that neither Ello, nor Google, can easily trace saved information back to any individual user.”

    Which is probably why google hired all of University of Toronto’s machine learning graduate program this year.

    Just Saying.

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  3. October 3, 2014 at 1:22 pm

    “Ello is unique in that we offer our users the option to opt-out of Google Analytics on the user settings page.”

    Actually, I doubt that FB uses Google Analytics at all. Why would FB give data to a competitor. But, FB does their own and, as I noted, more pervasive data collection..

    My point is not that Ello is perfect, but that it is better. Enough so in my uninformed judgment they are worth encouraging.

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  4. alg0rhythm
    October 4, 2014 at 9:18 pm

    Agreed. I still haven’t got an invite, just requested one. But it is time for a different look at social media. Ello would be nice, even for the change of scenery. Facebook is what it is, and to get where it is it did so by doing some things well.. but use of information systems is ever the race and so we have to look at other outside the box configurations and systems.

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