Media Beat
Media Beat

Media Beat: March 30, 2020

What Was Said

Privacy? Gloom and doom on Zoom: There's more bad news on privacy. One of the big winners and, to their credit, one of the most useful apps for businesses during the Covid-19 crisis has been the video conferencing app Zoom. But there's a big problem.

 In a piece this week, the great Doc Searls explains how Zoom reserves the right to monetize everything it learns about your behaviour from your video conferences. As Doc says, "...Zoom is in a position to gather plenty of personal data, some of it very intimate (for example with a shrink talking to a patient) without anyone in the conversation knowing about it."

Doc goes on to say, "What Zoom’s current privacy policy says is worse than 'You don’t have any privacy here.' It says, 'We expose your virtual necks to data vampires who can do what they will with it.'"

And speaking of data vampires, Vice says, "the iOS version of the Zoom app is sending some analytics data to Facebook, even if Zoom users don't have a Facebook account."

I highly recommend you read Doc's piece. Not just for info about Zoom, but for a general feel for what's going on in the dangerous world of online surveillance.

Watching Porn? Your boss is watching you: And then there's this... Not that you'd ever actually watch porn, but for those sick bastards that do, here's a tip. According to Bloomberg News, "Bosses Panic-Buy Spy Software to Keep Tabs on Remote Workers."

So if you're jerking from home...sorry, working from careful. According to the CEO of a surveillance software company, “Companies have been scrambling...” to buy spyware to keep track of employee online activity while they're supposed to be working.  

Bloomberg reports that one financial company told its employees, "We’re capturing your keystrokes. We’re logging the websites you visit. Every 10 minutes or so, we’re taking a screenshot." Bob Hoffman, The Ad Contrarian

Gov’t support for media is called into question

The federal government announced long-awaited support on March 25 for media organizations suffering significant losses of revenue, after news media organizations in Atlantic Canada and Quebec joined the long list of businesses laying off employees across Canada. The package includes launching a $30-million public health advertising campaign that will be deployed in media in 13 or 14 different languages, but one significant media observer is calling it “absolute, utter garbage” and claims both Minister Guilbeault and the prime minister are lying. – Mike Lapointe, The Hill Times

Our media is on the brink of mass failure

According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, Canadian business spent $8.5 billion on digital advertising in 2019, with 87 per cent, or $7.4 billion flowing to foreign internet platforms — mostly Facebook and Google. Netflix made $1.6 billion more, according to the Yale Commission report. Because they have so few Canadian employees, almost all of this is profit. – Daniel Bernhard, The Star

Coronavirus continues to upend Atlantic media

The effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Atlantic Canadian media landscape continued on Tuesday, as one of the largest newspaper chains in the region announced they’ll be laying off approximately 40 percent of their staff for at least the next 12 weeks. CWA Canada, which represents workers at SaltWire’s Chronicle Herald and Cape Breton Post, says the layoffs amount to 250 staff members across the chain of papers. – Alexander Quon, Global News

Google has finally kicked the Infowars app from its Play Store

The tech giant’s app store was one of the last major bastions for conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, as his show (and all the extremist views and tainted supplements it touts) has been booted from nearly every mainstream online platform.

As first reported by Wired, the Android app’s removal appears to be in response to the radio host’s recent bogus covid-19 video that “disputed the need for social distancing, shelter in place, and quarantine efforts meant to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.” – Alyse Stanley, Gizmodo

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