Portes aims to connect artists and fans while respecting privacy

Artists connecting with fans and rewarding superfans has been a trend in our industry for years. Doing that while respecting their digital privacy is… a somewhat-newer trend. Something that’s trying to walk this line is Portes, a new platform and app launched by startup OCL. The app is available on iOS, with Android to come. “Use […]

Americans not entirely sold on smart-speaker personalisation

There are many studies on adoption of smart speakers and which companies are dominating the market – with research firm Canalys forecasting that more than 200m devices will be sold this year globally. However, other studies have picked up on potential privacy issues around speakers ‘listening’ (and recording) within people’s homes. Now the Pew Research Center has published a […]

New survey reveals Americans’ pessimism over privacy issues

After a string of revelations and controversies around digital privacy in recent years, how are Americans feeling about this issue? Not so good, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center. Roughly six in ten US adults don’t think it’s possible to go through daily life without having data collected about them by companies […]

Sandbox Issue 239: Music and Advertising’s tense union

Lead: The old rules of advertising are long gone – as is a lot of the inherent guesswork around advertising’s effectiveness. In its place has come greater tracking of ad spend and ad impact, but the entire process itself has become much more convoluted. We speak to those working in this rapidly changing world to […]

Linkfire boss talks smarter attribution and the death of cookies

Lars Ettrup, CEO of smart-links firm Linkfire, delivered a talk at Music Ally’s Sandbox Summit conference in London this week on “the joys of attribution”, and how music marketers can better track the journey music fans take from discovery through to consumption and purchase. “With all the channels and influencers who can drive streams, how […]

Security fears raised around Amazon and Google smart speakers

We’ve written about this before: the music industry may be excited about the growth in sales of smart speakers, but privacy campaigners have their concerns about this device category. Those concerns are relevant to our industry too: so here’s news of a new experiment conducted by Security Research Labs that’s making headlines. It developed skills for Amazon’s […]

Guard uses AI to analyse digital-service privacy policies

If the last few years of digital controversies has taught us anything, it’s that we should probably not be clicking our way through privacy-policy screens when signing up to new services without reading them. But reading privacy policies can be… a chore. Cue a startup promising that AI can help. The startup is called Guard, and […]

More artists join campaign against facial-recognition at gigs

There have been two main stories about the intersection of facial-recognition technology and live music. One was Live Nation’s investment in and pilots-partnership with a startup called Blink Identity, with its technology for identifying concertgoers as they walk past its scanners, without the need for them to show tickets. The other was a controversy around the use of […]

YouTube tipped to be fined up to $200m in child-privacy case

There has been gossip about an imminent settlement between Google/YouTube and the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for some time now. The latest burst of reports suggests that YouTube will be paying between $150m and $200m in fines, as part of  settlement of charges relating to children’s privacy – and specifically to data collection and […]

FTC mulls changes to child-privacy regulations in the US

YouTube and TikTok (among other digital services) will have been put on notice by an announcement this week by the US Federal Trade Commission about children’s privacy regulations. The COPPA rule was first implemented in the US in 2000, and concerns how websites and digital services handle personal information from children aged under 13. Now […]

Report: Facebook to be fined $5bn in FTC privacy settlement

There is no shortage of snark around claims – originally published in the Wall Street Journal – that the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has approved a $5bn settlement with Facebook over the social network’s “privacy missteps”. The snark concerns just how much of a punishment a $5bn fine represents for a company that in the first […]

Swedish data-protection authority launches Spotify GDPR investigation

There may be trouble brewing for Spotify in its home country, with the Swedish data-protection authority (Datainspektionen) launching a review of how Spotify handles requests for people to see what information it holds about them. “The authority has become aware that there may be some shortcomings in how the company handles registry extracts, including that […]

Facebook warns that its new privacy tool ‘may impact targeting’

From unintended consequences of its core features to deliberate abuses of the way it made users’ data available to developers, Facebook is firefighting on several fronts in 2019. It should come as no surprise that its attempts to pivot to what CEO Mark Zuckerberg calls a “privacy-focused social platform” are going to have an effect […]

Google will offer users greater privacy and restrict cookie usage

There are flashpoint moments like Cambridge Analytica or major data breaches, but privacy concerns remain a low rumbling noise in the background for most people using online platforms and connected devices. At Google’s I/O conference this week, the company took steps to address this. Well, a bit. It will apply stricter controls on tracking users. […]

Facebook f8 event kicks off with more privacy promises

There will be plenty of sceptics scoffing at their keyboards today, when they catch sight of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in front of a big ‘The future is private.” slogan. The image is from his keynote at Facebook’s f8 developer conference yesterday, which saw the company doubling down on its new-found enthusiasm for privacy. “Over […]

Amazon under fire after report on teams listening to Alexa users

Props to Bloomberg for its punchy intro to a report about how Amazon is managing its Alexa voice-assistant platform. “Tens of millions of people use smart speakers and their voice software to play games, find music or trawl for trivia. Millions more are reluctant to invite the devices and their powerful microphones into their homes out […]

Sandbox Issue 225: Retargeting in an Age of Privacy

Lead: Tighter regulations around retargeting have made the job of digital marketing much trickier to navigate. What this has meant is that marketers have to get smarter. We speak to those working around these rules about why – if they put the work in – this can be more blessing than curse. Campaigns: Billie Eilish […]

Mark Zuckerberg says privacy is Facebook’s new watchword

Facebook’s relationship with privacy? It’s complicated, although critics of the company (like Tim Cook, who’s just been rebranded by Donald Trump as ‘Tim Apple’) might use a few other words. Yet after a bruising period of controversies surrounding privacy and user-data on its platform, Facebook appears to be pulling something of a pivot. “As I think […]

TikTok pays $5.7m in FTC settlement over children’s privacy

Early on in our coverage social-video app Musical.ly, we warned that its large audience of pre-teens represented a big risk for the company, in terms of staying on the right side of children’s privacy legislation like COPPA in the US. Yesterday, that particular hammer dropped – on TikTok, whose parent company Bytedance acquired Musical.ly before […]

FTC to focus more attention on competition in tech industry

US regulator the Federal Trade Commission has created a new task force which it says will be “monitoring competition in US technology markets, investigating any potential anticompetitive conduct in those markets, and taking enforcement actions when warranted”. This, after a succession of news stories about how the biggest US technology companies are running their businesses […]

Spotify Teardown authors call for Facebook-style scrutiny

The team of Swedish researchers behind new book ‘Spotify Teardown’ have already roused the ire of the streaming service, which criticised their methods of digging in to its system. But with the book on the verge of release, the authors have given an interview to Rolling Stone that puts forward their view. “The issue became: How does one […]

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