Unroll.me cofounder’s rant reminds us to be wary of free services

From Ashley Carman, writing for The Verge:

It’s important to understand, however, that the way startups like Slice (which owns Unroll.me) and the giants of Google and Facebook treat your data is extremely different. Google and Facebook analyze information about you gathered through your email, social networking habits, demographics, and location, and use that data to entice third-party companies to advertise with them. In other words, the information they have on you allows them to sell access to your eyeballs for targeted ads in your news feed or sponsored search results.

Startups like Slice, on the other hand, collect information about you and other users and sells it to outside firms. Once it’s handed off, the client can do what it wants with the data. In both cases, however, data is sold in the aggregate, meaning you personally aren’t identified. Although admittedly, compiling a report specifically for Uber feels a little icky in light of recent negative press.

This is good explanation of the the differences between Facebook, Google and other free services. However, the lesson from Unroll.me is that you get what you pay for. If it's free then most likely your data is the product that will be sold.

This is why I'm hesitant to go all in on Facebook as publishing platform. While they do have the audience, I'm not sure I want hand everything over to someone who ultimately is interested in selling my data.

French Workers Win Legal Right to Avoid Checking Work Email Out-Of-Hours

From The Guardian:

On 1 January, an employment law will enter into force that obliges organisations with more than 50 workers to start negotiations to define the rights of employees to ignore their smartphones.

Overuse of digital devices has been blamed for everything from burnout to sleeplessness as well as relationship problems, with many employees uncertain of when they can switch off.

The measure is intended to tackle the so-called “always-on” work culture that has led to a surge in usually unpaid overtime – while also giving employees flexibility to work outside the office.

Interesting solution to what has become a problem for most knowledge workers. The more I think about it, I realize that this is one area that most companies don't talk about when bringing on a new employee. Sure, we'll talk about benefits and salary. But rarely do we talk about what is expected of us and our devices after work has ended.

WordPress.com parent company Automattic signs pledge not to build Muslim registry

From The Verge:

Automattic, which owns WordPress.com and a number of other web development and publishing tools, has signed a pledge not to help build a Muslim registry. The company’s founder and CEO, entrepreneur Matt Mullenweg, signed the pledge on behalf of his entire company today. Called neveragain.tech, the pledge is hosted on GitHub and was created to discourage Silicon Valley conpanies from participating in the creation of a database that President-elect Donald Trump’s administration could use to monitor and target Muslims.

Good for them. More tech companies need to sign on to this.