Do you need a privacy assistant?
A new app makes it easier to protect yourself online, writes David Court.
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.
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.
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.
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.