All Articles Tagged "privacy"

How Much Access To Employee Information Should A Boss Have?

May 18th, 2015 - By Tanvier Peart
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Perhaps we should stop focusing on how much the government may or may not overstep privacy boundaries and start looking to our jobs. This is getting a little bit out of hand.

It’s understandable that businesses want to keep tabs on their employees. With so many distractions like social media, it’s easy for people to get caught up in non-work-related activities. After all, if you’re going to pay someone to do a job, you want to make sure that they actually do it and efficiently as possible. That however does not give companies the right to invade our privacy.

I don’t think anyone gets paid that well to allow it.

Entrepreneur published an article about a woman who was terminated from her job because she refused to use a mobile app that would allow them to follow her whereabouts. Aside from sounding a bit creepy, the “personal LoJack” would also track what she did off the clock.

Now she’s fighting back.

Before we jump to a side, it’s important to understand a few facts that might sway your opinion (it probably won’t). Yes the company did request for this newly-hired sales executive to download the app, but on her employer-issued smartphone. The product called Xora StreetSmart allows businesses to follow their employees via GPS and also track things like assignments and hours. Perhaps this is a wee more understandable considering there’s no way to fully monitor an employee who spends most of their time outside the office. Even though I still don’t like the idea of being “watched,” I get it.

This is where is gets tricky.

Myrna Arias (the woman suing) apparently had no problem with the app and only wanted to make sure it was used during work hours. Apparently her boss told her she had to keep it on at all times in order to answer client-related phone calls and “tolerate the illegal intrusion.” She was fired not too long after disabling the app from her phone.

Maybe this is one of the reasons why so many people are heading down the freelancing route. Who the heck wants to work for a company that can monitor your every move? My question is who wants to be the person that has to document every place an employee goes, and are executives required to install this app too?

Companies are definitely getting bolder when it comes to your personal time and accounts. Not only are some demanding the passwords to your social media, but also want you to use your personal accounts to promote their ventures. I turned down a freelance opportunity because they wanted this information along with the ability to  control what I publish on my own Facebook and Twitter profiles. Child please. Call me a “whore” like Kevin Hart, but those accounts are called personal for a reason. And while I don’t mind publishing or retweeting something, don’t think you hold the strings to tell me when and how.

Hopefully your employer never asks you to do something that invades your privacy. Lord knows how hard it is to find a job–a nice paying one at that–which can make it hard to leave. All of us have bills and obligations that require our time. The question is whether or not you’re willing to sell your personal information to the highest bidder.

Would you allow your job to invade or control your private time?

Sharing Is Caring? Do Men Reveal Intimate Details About Women They Care About?

July 13th, 2014 - By Toya Sharee
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oversharing your relationship


When I first met my fiancé over 10 years ago, I bet he had no idea I’d be the woman he’d eventually marry. In all honesty, the relationship was completely based on sex initially and if he was a different kind of man who was into social media he may have posted details of what exactly went on between us when we occasionally hooked up or even shared private pics meant for his eyes only with his friends. Don’t get it twisted, ladies. Men gossip as much as we do and for some when the getting is good they want to tell it to the world.

Last weekend singer Chris Brown took to Instagram to post a very revealing pic of on again/off again girlfriend’s Karrueche’s almost bare behind (he’s since deleted the pic, but you can view the pic and get the deets here). In fact the only thing attempting to cover her are a thong, a bra strap and her “zipper” tattoo. Now in Kae’s defense, she is a model so the pic was probably no big thing to her and these days showing your cakes is equivalent to rocking a crop top. But the picture hit a nerve and all I could hear was my fiancé’s voice in the back of my mind saying, “Guys don’t do things like that to girls they care about.”

Like the lyrics to Future’s “I Won”, most men feel like when they’ve got a good girl, especially if she’s breaking other men’s necks, they just want to show her off like a trophy. And there’s something sweet about a man being proud of his woman. But where does one draw the line between pride and disrespect? As much as a man may want to show his woman off, there comes a point where certain behaviors and body parts are for his eyes only and sharing the things you see behind closed doors on social media somehow “cheapens” her. How can something be so special if you’re sharing it with any random stranger who follows you on Instagram?

When I asked a few male friends about if guys dish the details about sex with their girlfriends to their buddies, I received a resounding, “Absolutely not.”  The reason? Most men don’t want to invite imagination. While the fact remains some men will tell anyone who will listen about the good loving they’re getting, most men don’t want to share anything with anyone that might trigger some kind of curiosity. More importantly, the guys I talked to said that they wouldn’t want their friends to look at the woman they love disrespectfully. I was told, “Who wants their friends thinking of the pic you shared of her in a leopard g-string when she walks in the door with a bag of groceries one day?  There has to be boundaries.”

And like any relationship, boundaries are important.  I’ve heard women talk about how they strut around the house in booty shorts and bras in front of their man’s friends because “they’re like brothers”.  I’ve heard guys talk about how they don’t care about sharing private pics of their women with their friends.  But I call BS.  Getting too comfortable can invite curiosity and furthermore it’s unnecessary. I’m sure your friends have some inkling that your girl is banging if that’s indeed the case. Do they really need to see her spread eagle on your bed sheets butt naked as proof?

Maybe I’m just a bit old-fashioned but I’m beginning to believe privacy in underrated. There comes a point where sharing isn’t caring when you’re parading private moments like sideshows in a three-ring circus. Just because you’ve got a camera and a ”share” button doesn’t mean you have to use it. And you have to consider the Pandora’s box you may be opening when the private parts of your relationship are suddenly public knowledge.

Do you mind if your man overshares details of your private moments?

Toya Sharee is a community health educator and parenting education coordinator who has a  passion for helping  young women build their self-esteem and make well-informed choices about their sexual health.  She also advocates for women’s reproductive rights and blogs about  everything from beauty to love and relationships. Follow her on Twitter @TheTrueTSharee or visit her blog, Bullets and Blessings.

Entrepreneur Dez White’s Suite Of Apps Promises To Keep Your Digital Messages Private

June 10th, 2014 - By Janel Martinez
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DEZ-ACEOFLA-1 headshotWe’ve all been there. The moment when you press send on a text and realize you A) sent it to the wrong person and/or B) just want to snatch the message right out of the ether.

Well, there’s an app for that. Actually, a few; an arsenal of tech tools designed to keep your communication safe and secure. Enter Invisible Text, an app that allows users to send messages to other customers that will self-destruct after a set amount of time, retract a text before its been read and send GPS locations, among other secure features. Not to mention, a user’s information (outside of his/her phone number) isn’t stored.

“With Invisible Text, your message is gone,” says founder Dez White. “Once it times out, it’s gone and that gives you the comfort of knowing that your message is not saved on a server; that I’m not logging in and looking at your message to your boyfriend or your grandma. It gives you a level of relief and that’s why we’re different. We like to do what we say we’re going to do.”

As the founder of celebrity gossip site, the 30-year-old entrepreneur was all too familiar with the need for secure messaging. For fear of leaving a paper trail, many sources refused to come forward, which prompted the mompreneur to get the ball rolling on her tech idea. She found a developer and investor, all while applying for multiple patents, and, nearly a year later, White launched Invisible Text.

The Southern California native has garnered the support of athletes, celebrities and business execs like Paris Hilton, Lamar Odom, Andy Milonakis, Gilbert Arenas and Dame Dash, who is White’s mentor. The app’s early adopters include Arenas, who’s an Invisible Text investor, Los Angeles Clippers player Matt Barnes and Halle Berry’s manager Vincent Cirrincione.

Since launching in 2013, Invisible Text has over 200,000 downloads.

IT photo for madame noireThe Howard University grad could’ve easily stopped there, but decided to unveil two more offerings: Invisible Call and Invisible Email. With Invisible Call (in beta), a user can make a phone call to other users without ever leaving any trace of a call log; Invisible Email allows users to send emails, documents, photos and the like, which disappears after being viewed by the recipient. This summer, the “email anyone” feature will be released, allowing Invisible Email users to email Gmail holders from their accounts. There will also be an Invisible Call addition; a feature that lets you pick the number that appears when you place a call to an outside line.

The busy mother of two, author and tech entrepreneur isn’t stopping there. She’s got several other ventures in the works. Later this year, she and rapper Camron are slated to release RapBattleLive. In roughly three months, expect the debut of Blind Debit, a payment platform that allows you to purchase with your fingerprint. Both are in partnership with Dash.

White, who may be the youngest female tech entrepreneur to develop a suite of apps, encourages other young women of color to become producers of technology. “I didn’t have to become Kevin [Systrom] from Instagram. I became Dez from Invisible Text.”

Based in New York City, Janel Martinez is a multimedia journalist who covers technology and entrepreneurship. She is the founder of “Ain’t I Latina?” an online destination geared toward Afro-Latinas. You can follow her up-to-the-minute musings on Twitter @janelmwrites.

Report Says Government Agency Tapped Nine Internet Companies For Data

June 7th, 2013 - By Ann Brown
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It seems so Orwellian. But according to a bombshell report by The Washington Post the National Security Agency (NSA) have been tapping into the central servers of nine top U.S. Internet companies. It is part of a highly classified program code-named PRISM that began in 2007, reports The Guardian. The tap is all encompassing,  allegedly collecting audio, video, photos, emails, documents, and connection logs that let analysts follow a user’s movements and contacts from Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, Paltalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, and Apple.

And it seems the government bypassed getting permission from the companies. “Senior officials from the aforementioned Internet companies told the Guardian that they did not offer direct access to servers and that if data collection was taking place, it was without their knowledge,” reports The Daily Beast in their Cheat Sheet snapshot of the scandal.  But the government says that the reports of the tapping are not fully correct. National Intelligence director James Clapper issued a statement on his website stating that the reports “contain numerous inaccuracies” and that the collection of communications “cannot be used to intentionally target any U.S. citizen, any other U.S. person, or anyone located within the United States.”

The snooping scandal has been at full boil for the past couple of days, first with revelations, also from The Guardian, that the NSA was collecting data from millions of Verizon customers. “The document shows for the first time that under the Obama administration the communication records of millions of US citizens are being collected indiscriminately and in bulk – regardless of whether they are suspected of any wrongdoing,” the article says. This contradicts some of what’s being said at this point — Are people in the US being watched or not? Who? What? Huh? — but at this point, with more information coming out, it’s inevitable that things are going to need to be hashed out. It’s clear, however, based on what’s being pushed out, that the surveillance is widespread.

Today, President Obama defended the surveillance, saying during a press conference, “Nobody is listening to your telephone calls… You can’t have 100 percent security and then also have 100 percent privacy and zero inconvenience.” According to Obama, Congress and judges on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court were making sure that the surveillance didn’t overstep any bounds.

Despite the concern and controversy, many Americans are kind of giving the whole thing a bit of a “meh,” feeling as though the revelations only confirm what was already a widely-known secret. But, according to The New York Times, while people were, for instance, very upset about news that Harvard University had taken a peek at the email messages sent by faculty members earlier this year, “[b]y every indication, the continued concern about domestic terrorism has colored the way Americans are reacting to intrusions in their privacy.”

So how do you feel about this? Are you surprised?

Tonya Garcia contributed to this post.

The Dos and Don’ts Of Snooping

June 6th, 2013 - By Ashley Page
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Though you may not want to admit it, at some point in time you have Google’d a date’s name, gone through your boyfriend’s clothes drawer, or taken a quick look through his Facebook messages when he accidentally left himself signed in on your computer. To most people, this is definitely considered snooping. The act alone stands as one of the most controversial in the dating world. But, in the end, no matter if you find it right or wrong, if you’re going to snoop, there are some definite do’s and dont’s.

‘My Business Is My Business:’ Lauren London Talks Privacy And Not Caring About The Public’s Thoughts On Her Pregnancy

May 22nd, 2013 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Lauren London is most known for her breakout role as NewNew in T.I.’s 2006 film, ATL. Although she may seem like an overnight success, the 28-year-old L.A. girl says she encountered a lot of rejection before became the big-time television actress we see before us today. In her recent interview with Vibe Vixen, The Game actress opened up about her early years in the industry, being a single mom  and why she refuses to take mess off of anyone.

On facing a lot of rejection during the early years of her career:

“Starting my career, there was a lot of rejection going on. I remember my dad telling me that if you let that define you, they’ll basically make you nothing. You have to define yourself. Every time you hear a no, it’s one step closer to a yes. Jobs come and go, so I don’t get too down on myself. You have to stay self-motivated. If you wait for someone else to motivate you, you’ll be waiting for a long time. You have to really be your own cheerleader. Even if you don’t feel all that way in the moment, tell yourself that you’re enough.”

On maintaining her privacy: 

“I was always a private person. My business is my business. I have a small group of friends, and I just like the simple things out of life. My privacy is something that I value. I’m also socially awkward.”

On finding out she was pregnant: 

“The public was the last thought. Most of my thoughts were on my family and inner circle. It was mostly how is this affecting Lauren as a person and is Lauren ready to completely put herself to the side and be a mother. My priorities were changing. My career was last.”

“Before ATL, people didn’t know about me. I auditioned for ATL and no one cared who I was. I was a regular girl in L.A. who auditioned and got the role. No one knew I was doing it and I did it. No one gave me that. I did that. They can’t take what they didn’t give. God has the last say, so I just trust that. Is it an uphill battle? Yes. But isn’t everything? I’m not starving.”

Thoughts on marriage: 

“I think it’s awesome when it’s done right. I don’t think anyone is supposed to be alone, you know. Having a partner and having somebody that is with you through the ups and downs is awesome. I’m all about connection. If I connected with someone and met a nice guy maybe, but I just haven’t ran into that yet.”

On lessons from her mom that she plans to pass down to her son:

“Being resilient. No matter what, never giving up on your dreams. It sounds cliché but it’s so real. She grew up struggling, but she was always very positive, no matter how bad things came. We kept a positive outlook because your perception is everything. It is your reality. That is something I want to pass down to my child. My mom was very into inner beauty. She would say all the time, “Being cute is cute, but who are you on the inside?”

On lessons she’s still learning:

“[To have] faith and thicker skin. Not letting what people have to say about me matter so much.”

On constantly being scrutinized by the media: 

“I’m not going to front. I’m not a lover, I’m a fighter. I will forget that I am Hollywood and get Holly-hood [Laughs].”

Picture Perfect: Why Is It A Problem If Beyonce Wants To Control Her Image?

April 26th, 2013 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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Beyonce Can I Live "Beyoncé"

Source: Instagram

Over the past few years, we have been allowed to enter the Queen Bey’s Hive. Through Beyoncé’s social media accounts, we are able to scroll through her most priceless moments with family, stunning performances, and selfies. Like all of us, Beyoncé controls how she wants to appear to her audience. Therefore, when Beyoncé banned independent photographers from her Mrs. Carter tour, I didn’t understand why people began to ask: “Is Beyoncé not secure in the skin she’s in?”  When what we should be asking ourselves is: As consumers (and human beings), do we allow others the same non-judgmental agency when controlling their Internet personas?

From Clutch Magazine:

“Beyoncé may run the world, but the diva is going to extremes to have some serious control over her internet personification. The decision was indubitably prompted by this year’s Super Bowl fiasco, after Buzzfeed published unflattering photos that propelled Beyoncé’s publicist to issue an emailed request for removal. Instead of taking the pictures down or replacing them, the site reposted the images and the email with the headline: “The ‘Unflattering’ Photos Beyoncé’s Publicist Doesn’t Want You to See.” Visitors of Buzzfeed are familiar with the comedic and playful tone to the popular site, but Bey wasn’t laughing.”

Yes, people are interested in a Beyoncé who does not “wall” herself in, at her convenience. We want to see those stank-faces while she is dancing so we can feel the passion, blood, sweat, and tears of every practice session that make her concerts so noteworthy. But if she is not comfortable with sharing a less than flattering picture of herself, can we find it in ourselves to let her live? If a friend uploads an undesirable photo of you on a social network, you would want it to be removed. “Take away the power to un-tag and how many women would be orchestrating an online petition to permanently ban Facebook from ever seeing the light of day?” When people become celebrities, do we set and require new societal expectations? Our implications show we demand total transparency from celebrities even if it is embarrassing because we are far removed from the actual life they live.

Beyoncé’s appearance of flawlessness has helped her brand come off as all-s*xy and all-sassy all the time, consistent, and never messy. With Beyoncé we know what we are paying for – her talents and not antics. Though her brand is constantly evolving, we must also remember her rise to fame did not occur during the social media age.  “The Beyoncé we’ve come to know has constructed an entire empire based off of seeming perfection and trying to keep the focus on her music, her acting endeavors, her business ventures. She receives million dollar endorsements solely from her pristine beauty and body. I’m not sure how it feels to be labeled one of the most beautiful women in the world, but in addition to her already gargantuan self-standards, one can only imagine the pressure she’s put under. And her rule number one is to never let them catch you slipping. And we can all agree that the one thing Beyoncé demonstrates in her career is to “be a brand first, human second.”

Fans are always thirsty (even the anti-folks who go to every story about her to down her) for her to send out bow-down tweets to other artists or to hear the juicy, most intimate details of her marriage to Jay-Z. The want for Beyoncé to find the perfect medium between her private and public self for the entertainment of others is alarming. We tend to forget we all have inner-Beys. Privacy settings, makeup, and filters have allowed us to leverage between who we are and who we want to expose ourselves to. Are we really out here posting our bad photos and embarrassing ourselves through social media? Of course not–we want people to see us at our best. In reality we are controlling how our “audience” (aka, our friends, family and foes) views our authenticity just like Queen Bey. So what’s the problem?


6 Steps To A Healthy Facebook Relationship With Your Child

February 22nd, 2013 - By Kay Hudson
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Face it,Facebook is not for old people. Sure people of all ages can join, share pictures and have a blast, but Facebook was originally created for college students and remains a young person’s vehicle. As soon as parents started joining, websites detailing “parent Facebook fails” and “embarrassing parenting comments” started sprouting on the Internet to hilarious results. Most recently parents have started using Facebook as a method of punishing kids who cyber bully or post inappropriate pictures on the social networking site.

While many write off parent/child social networking interactions as funny and awkward, navigating Mark Zuckerberg’s creation can have serious repercussions. So to help out, here are a few tips to get you primed for being a parent on Facebook.

1. Be Careful What Pictures You PostSpoiler Alert: the Internet is full of freaks. This is something to consider especially when sharing pictures of younger kids. You have to be mindful of the weirdos out there in the world. Yes, I’m sure you had a great time at the beach, but save the swimsuit pictures for the private collection. Speaking of private…

2. Get Familiar With Privacy Settings – Not enough people know about the ever-changing privacy settings on Facebook. It’s always good to try to stay up on the newest developments as Zuckerberg and company are always trying to modify their privacy settings to make your information available to advertisers and complete strangers. That’s why you should try to check the settings so that pictures you do post of you and your kids don’t get filtered through the rest of the web without you knowing.

3. Don’t Insult The Other Parent – This should go without saying: keep your personal business off of Facebook. If you have drama, there’s no need to make a status about the trials in your life. That’s a life rule. But you should not put your child support/custody/baby momma drama as a Facebook status. First of all, you and the parent probably share some of the same friends, so you’re letting everyone in on your dysfunction. Finally, you never know when or how long those messages will stay around. What if your kid decides to look up mom and dad’s Facebook statuses one day? Airing out all of that dirty laundry while having a kid is the lowest thing a parent can do on Facebook.

4. Set An Age Parameter – My kid won’t be on Facebook until she’s at least 16. Maybe 18. There really is not much good a 12-year-old can do on Facebook.

5. A Friend “Request” Is Just That… A Request – If you indeed make your kid wait until he or she is 18 and presumably out of the house before joining Facebook, then your power to dictate what goes on in the social network world ends. Maybe your kid does not want you all in his or her business during college. You’ll just have to accept that and trust that your kid doesn’t have half-naked pictures next to bags of weed and kegs. Don’t take it personally if your friend request is denied. Facebook is a realm where kids want to be kids (of age, 18-year-old “kids” of course) with other kids. Sometimes parents are not welcome.

6. Don’t Be Embarrassing – Play it cool. If your kid says something on Facebook that worries or concerns you, pick up the phone and talk it out. Don’t leave long comments that’ll only make you sound lame and make your kid embarrassed. Also, if you’re going to address your kid’s Facebook status, make sure it’s worth the call. Nagging the kid because of an “I’m stressed because of this test” status will only make him or her reluctant to be open. Facebook can really be way to connect with your child as you get to see the real person in a comfortable environment that most parents were not privy to 10 years ago. The last thing you want to do is make your child want to shut down or even block you. Observe. Pray. Do whatever, just don’t nag the kid with every status update.

Facebook can be a great bonding experience for kids and parents. While kids are off to college, Facebook can allow parents to get a glimpse of the child’s life during those four lonely, worried years. But, as in every stage of your child’s life, you have to handle the social networking landscape with care. How you play it can affect your relationship with your child and those closest to you.

One Down, ‘Bout 8 Or 9 More To Go: Kim Kardashian Says She’s Done With Family Reality Show After Season 9

February 20th, 2013 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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Photo by Bruce Weber

Photo by Bruce Weber

Kim Kardashian has been exposing her life to us without our permission since about 2006-2007, and since then, she’s been damn near everywhere, promoted almost everything, dated almost everybody (that was black) and made her living from being part of the overexposed. But everybody gets tired of participating in the rat race, whatever their particular rat race is, at one time or another, and according to Kim Kardashian, she’s getting tired of reality television.

According to US Weekly, even though she has signed on for season nine of Keeping Up With the Kardashians, after it’s over, she’s going to make an exit from reality television and focus on her growing family with Kanye West and the husband that won’t let go–Kris Humphries. She told DuJour magazine, “My boyfriend has taught me a lot about privacy. I’m ready to be a little less open about some things, like my relationships. I’m realizing everyone doesn’t need to know everything.”

Word?? You’re just now realizing the importance of keeping some things to yourself? Interesting…

“When you live your life so publicly, like on a reality show, people assume that they know every side of you already. But they always want more.”

But despite what the people want, Kardashian claims that she wants to back away slowly but surely from the show. It’s a part of her growing up and maturing. “I think there’s always an evolution of, you know, what you want to do in life. It’s all about finding things that really excite you and motivate you and spark you all over again. I’m realizing that no matter what, if you go into something with all these expectations and plans, once you’re actually living it, it could be completely different.”

So what could this mean for Keeping Up With the Kardashians and their spinoffs? Can it still be a reality powerhouse without Kim? Probably, but then again, do we really believe that she would be fully capable of walking away from reality television for good? She says a lot of things for attention and press, but you never know how motherhood can change people, so we’ll have to wait and see now won’t we?

They Know Where You Are! New Rumored Facebook App Will Track User Locations 24/7

February 6th, 2013 - By Ann Brown
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Even though Facebook came under scrutiny in 2011 for installing cookies onto users’ browsers that tracked Facebook members’ every move online, industry insiders say the social media network is now trying to find a way to follow user locations nonstop.

Facebook is working on location-tracking mobile app, reports Bloomberg Businessweek (via The LA Times). And get this: the app would be able to locate a user even when the phone isn’t being used. Currently, Facebook’s mobile app allows users to let others know where they are by “checking in” at a restaurant or a landmark, for example. But the new app would continuously track the user once the app is activated.

Like its cookie-tracking information, the data Facebook can collect with the new app will help the company “generate more revenue from ads based on users’ locations and their daily habits,” the report says.

The location-tracking app is expected to be made available in mid-March. Users will have to give the app permission to track them.

This new app will most likely create more criticism for Facebook and its data collecting practices, and also raise further privacy concerns for the network’s members.

Would you use this new app?