Do you need a pri­vacy as­sis­tant?

A new app makes it eas­ier to pro­tect your­self on­line, writes David Court.

Nelson Mail - - Weekend Technology -

Face­book has been hav­ing a rough time of it. The so­cial net­work has suf­fered PR dis­as­ter af­ter PR dis­as­ter. And its rep­u­ta­tion was fur­ther dented this week, as New Zealand’s Pri­vacy Com­mis­sioner John Ed­wards de­scribed it as ‘‘morally bank­rupt patho­log­i­cal liars’’.

Ed­wards’ tweet went global. Per­haps tap­ping into a global con­sen­sus about Mark Zucker­berg’s com­pany? The prob­lem is, de­spite all of its prob­lems, Face­book is an ex­cel­lent plat­form for stay­ing in touch with friends and fam­ily. And the price we col­lec­tively pay for us­ing this ser­vice is giv­ing up our on­line pri­vacy.

Well here’s the good news. There’s now an app that will help you get a tighter grip on what you share with Face­book. And Twit­ter. And Google. And Alexa.

Meet Jumbo.

What is Jumbo?

‘‘Jumbo: Pri­vacy As­sis­tant’’ does what its name sug­gests. It helps users re­gain con­trol of their on­line pro­file’s ac­counts.

The new app, only launched this week, works with Face­book, Twit­ter, Google, Alexa. But this is just the be­gin­ning. Jumbo founder Pierre Valade has am­bi­tious plans for the app.

Valade has got form. He pre­vi­ously launched the so­cial cal­en­dar app Sun­rise with part­ner Jeremy Le Van. Sun­rise was later bought by Mi­crosoft for US$100 mil­lion (NZ$148.6m) in 2015, and its fea­tures have been in­te­grated into Out­look.

In an in­ter­view with to tech­nol­ogy web­site The Verge, Valade cor­rectly stated: ‘‘the cli­mate around pri­vacy changed com­pletely last year’’.

He wants to cap­i­talise on this with Jumbo and hopes the app will help peo­ple man­age their on­line pri­vacy bet­ter.

Jumbo is cur­rently a six-strong team based in New York. The team is work­ing on adding In­sta­gram and Tin­der in­te­gra­tion to the Jumbo.

More press­ingly, the team are also work­ing to bring the app to Android users – Jumbo is only cur­rently avail­able on iOS de­vices.

Twit­ter

I found Jumbo’s Twit­ter clean-up tool the most use­ful. With a press of a but­ton, Jumbo went to work on delet­ing any of my tweets that were more than a month old. Well, 3200 of them, I need to re­move the rest in a few days as Twit­ter will only al­low Jumbo to delete 3200 Tweets at a time.

This is some­thing I’ve been look­ing to do for some time. God only knows the non­sense I was tweet­ing about in 2011 – prob­a­bly a load of rub­bish about Manch­ester United or the Eng­land cricket team.

It’s bet­ter for ev­ery­one that these tweets are re­moved from the pub­lic sphere. If you’re anx­ious about los­ing your tweets and me­dia for good, fear not. Jumbo backs up your deleted tweets to your iPhone. From here you can back up again, via iCloud, or re­move them for good.

I did the lat­ter, and it felt great.

Face­book

Things are a lit­tle dif­fer­ent here. Jumbo doesn’t of­fer the same post­delet­ing fea­tures as it does with Twit­ter. Pity.

Jumbo’s clash with Face­book fo­cuses more on giv­ing users con­trol over the in­for­ma­tion/data shared on their pro­files.

And I strongly rec­om­mend you make use of Jumbo’s Face­book pri­vacy tools.

Face­book makes it dif­fi­cult for users to tighten up pri­vacy man­u­ally – there are more than 30 dif­fer­ent pri­vacy set­tings to find and tweak. Find­ing all of these set­tings is tricky. It’s al­most as if Face­book doesn’t want you tin­ker­ing with them.

Jumbo makes the process a lot sim­pler. Here you can choose one of the three lev­els of pri­vacy: Weak, medium, or strong.

If, like me, you want to make your Face­book ac­count as pri­vate as pos­si­ble, with as lit­tle ef­fort as pos­si­ble, you’ll se­lect strong.

That will change what data Face­book dis­plays on your pro­file. Your date of birth, gen­der, friends list, in­ter­ests, po­lit­i­cal and re­li­gious views, phone num­ber and ad­dress will now only be avail­able to you.

It doesn’t stop there. Se­lect­ing strong will also pre­vent Face­book from us­ing your pho­tos with its face recog­ni­tion soft­ware. It’ll also pre­vent Face­book from tar­get­ing you with ads based on data col­lected from its part­ners and data col­lected about you based on your Face­book in­ter­ac­tions.

Google and Ama­zon

The app’s other ser­vices are a lot more straight­for­ward. Jumbo will au­to­mat­i­cally limit the amount of time Google stores your search data. It will also reg­u­larly force Ama­zon to delete your voice record­ings it has saved from pre­vi­ous voice search­ing us­ing Alexa.

The app helps users re­gain con­trol of their on­line pro­file’s ac­counts.

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