Digi Me Instagram Filters Filter Usage

Back up your Instagram – or risk losing everything

Instagram users have reported having their entire accounts suspended or deleted without warning, with no chance to save or back up their content first.

The issue was first highlighted by Hugo Baeta, a Portugese web designer living in San Francisco, who wrote a blog on his shock of having his account with over 900 photos in it deleted hours after posting five videos from a Janet Jackson concert.

What concerned him most was the speed of the action taken, with his account being completely deleted without a chance of defending himself or being  given the opportunity to remove them.

When he tried to respond to links in the emails sent about the videos, which had been the subject of copyright claims, presumably from Jackson’s legal team, he was unable to login and then directed to a help article that told him: “Your account has been deleted for not following our terms. You won’t be able to log into this account and no one else will be able to see it. We’re unable to restore accounts that are deleted for these types of violations.”

As he explained in his blog: “So, my Instagram account got deleted without them giving me any kind of actionable options to follow up. I can’t contest the take-down notice (which would be my legal right), because I can no longer log into my account. My account got deleted for posting 5 videos from a concert that I really loved – something I’ve done countless times with other artists I saw perform live.”

Getting to the crux of the matter, he added: “All of this made me quite introspective today. Something so tiny, in the grand scheme of things, actually has shaken me. I was looking back at all the photos I posted on Instagram over these 3 years (over 900 photos) and all the memories they are associated with. It’s a shame all the comments and reactions to them are lost now. But none of it was ever “mine” to begin with, right?  It’s a fine line for these social network companies… they need users to exist, yet users aren’t the client, we are the product they sell to advertisers.”

Of course, he’s wrong in one way – whatever the T&Cs of the various networks, content and information created by us or about us does fundamentally belong to us – but that’s of very little help in a situation like this where the platform holds all the power.

Occurrences like this show why it is critical that each and every one of us has all of our information, or at least a copy of it, in a place that we own and control – and it is this vital work which is a big driver in the continuing growth and development of our free app, which does just that.

Luckily for Hugo, he has a friend at Facebook (which owns Instagram), who helped him get his account reinstated. But it is clear from the blog comments that others in the same position were not so fortunate. And even Hugo himself is clear he will transition away from Instagram, his faith in it tarnished by this unpleasant experience.


Apple removes hundreds of apps that collected personal data

Apple has removed hundreds of apps from its online store that were using Chinese advertising software that collects personal data in violation of its privacy policies.

The iPhone maker made the announcement a day after researchers discovered 256 apps using the software, which extracts “personally identifiable user information.” and which have had more than a million downloads.

In a statement, the tech giant said: “We’ve identified a group of apps that are using a third-party advertising SDK (software development kit), developed by Youmi, a mobile advertising provider, that… gathers private information, such as user email addresses and device identifiers, and route data to its company server.

“This is a violation of our security and privacy guidelines. The apps using Youmi’s SDK will be removed from the App Store and any new apps submitted to the App Store using this SDK will be rejected.

“We are working closely with developers to help them get updated versions of their apps that are safe for customers and in compliance with our guidelines back in the App Store quickly.”

Apple does not allow third-party applications to share data about a user without obtaining users’ permission, and it rejects apps that require users to share personal information, such as email addresses or birth dates.

Researchers at the mobile analytics firm SourceDNA said on Sunday that they had discovered hundreds of apps that extract personal information, saying it was “the first time we’ve seen iOS apps successfully bypass the app review process.”

The researchers said they found 256 apps with an estimated one million downloads that have a version of Youmi that violates user privacy.

“Most of the developers are located in China,” the researchers said in a blog post. “We believe the developers of these apps aren’t aware of this since the SDK is delivered in binary form, obfuscated, and user info is uploaded to Youmi’s server.”

digi-me-7.0.9 (2)

Goodbye SocialSafe! Hello latest version of digi.me!

So that’s it then – the end of an era. SocialSafe is no more as the new version of our app, released this week, completes the name change to digi.me.

So what will this mean for you? Well, only good things. The app that you know and love is now fully and 100 per cent digi.me, while keeping all the best bits of the SocialSafe days onwards.

As ever, a new version brings even more improvements and v7.0.9, for those of you keeping track, is no different.

With a new tiled Home screen containing little snapshots of your life, there’s a fresher look and feel when you open up the app.

You can add a variety of widgets to your Home to make it truly personal – and we’ve created a bunch for you to get started, so have some fun with them.

There are also some further performance improvements, minor bug fixes and user interface changes, but the key things you know and love are still there waiting for you.

So digi.me supports the same networks, offers you the same opportunities to search your content and make collections or PDFs if you have a premium account. We’ve just improved your ability to keep your digital life in better order!

So what are you waiting for? Download the latest version now!


Data privacy breach complaints leap by a third

New figures show that the Information Commissioner’s Office has received a record number of complaints from individuals concerned that their personal data is not being kept sufficiently secure by organisations holding it.

Reports to the ICO relating to personal information security jumped 30 per cent from 886 in 2013 to 1150 in 2014 – or more than two complaints a day on average.

Taken over a five year period, complaints to the ICO about the same issue have increased by 64 per cent.

International law firm Pinsent Masons, which obtained the information through a Freedom of Information request, says that the increase in consumer complaints highlights increasing levels of public unease over how big business and other organisations store personal information.

High profile attacks on trusted corporations like Sony and Target, and the recent damaging attack on infidelity site Ashley Madison, have raised public awareness about how personal data is treated, the firm says.

Luke Scanlon, technology lawyer at Pinsent Masons, said: “Information security isn’t a new issue; businesses have always had a responsibility to protect customer data. But as consumers are increasingly finding themselves left exposed as a result of cyber attacks, concern is clearly growing. The chances are that they wouldn’t be making these complaints without having been directly impacted in some way.”

Under the Data Protection Act, businesses can be fined up to £500,000 by the ICO if the regulator finds that the company has failed to take appropriate measures to protect customer information, and the financial penalties can be far higher if the individuals compromised opt to take legal action against the business.

He added: “There is increasing recognition that how an organisation responds to the compromise of customer data can impact its long term prospects as deeply as the incident itself.

“Many of the businesses and other organisations we are working with are working hard not just to implement good procedures and controls, but also to develop cross-disciplinary teams who understand the legal and reputational issues in the event of a crisis. Chief Executives, CIOs, General Counsel and Communications Directors are getting around the table to say: how do we respond if this happens to us?”

Around 90 per cent of large organisations and 74 per cent of small businesses experienced information security breaches in the past year, according to a UK Government-commissioned survey published in June 2015, however it is not currently mandatory to report data breaches.


Digital dependence is ‘eroding our memories’

Excessive reliance on the internet and search engines for fact finding is damaging our long-term memories as well as compromising IT security, a new study has found.

Fuelled by an increasingly connected world that is always online, we no longer hold in our minds information we can store and retrieve from a digital device or the Internet, causing what the report has termed Digital Amnesia.

Crucially, it found that one of the far-reaching consequences of a failure to make use of our existing stored memories – for example by preferring to search online – can ultimately result in their dilution or disappearance.

The study, which involved 6,000 consumers aged 16 and up from across Europe, found that when faced with a question, over a third will head straight to the internet for an answer, rising to 40 per cent of those aged 45 and over.

Amost a quarter (24 per cent) of respondents admit they would forget the online answer as soon as they had used it, rising to 27 per cent of those aged 45 and over, with 12 per cent assuming the information will always be out there somewhere.

Dr Maria Wimber, a pyschology lecturer at the University of Birmingham, said that the trend of looking up information  “prevents the build-up of long-term memories”.

She added: “Our brain appears to strengthen a memory each time we recall it, and at the same time forget irrelevant memories that are distracting us.

“Past research has repeatedly demonstrated that actively recalling information is a very efficient way to create a permanent memory.”

The report’s finding that many people rely on computers instead of memorising information was highlighted by the fact that many of those questioned could still recall their own phone numbers from childhood, but did not know the current numbers of family members or their place of work.

The report also found that IT security can be an early casualty of our impatience to access information online. Kaspersky Lab, the cybersecurity firm which carried out this study, has found that just under a fifth (18 per cent) of consumers – 22 per cent of those aged up to 24 – will opt for speed over protection when downloading files.

This leaves the door wide open for malicious software intent on stealing personal data and compromising the device and any other devices connected to it.

If consumers haven’t protected their data, their online accounts and devices with strong passwords and data back-ups, the memories and information these hold could be lost or damaged forever.

Of course, digi.me users can protect their data (if not their actual memories!) as regular back-ups will ensure that all their social media history remains in their digi.me app on their desktop, safe, secure and always available.

data global

Facebook data transfers under threat after Safe Harbour ruled invalid

Facebook’s right to transfer personal data from the EU to the US has been dealt a blow after the pact it was being done through was declared invalid by the European Court of Justice.

The Safe Harbour agreement (Safe Harbor stateside) was a voluntary pact set up 15 years ago to get around the fact that US data protection laws are significantly less rigorous than their EU counterparts.

Under the scheme, US companies self-certified that they were talking adequate data security precautions in order to be able to access and use European data.

More than 5,000 US companies take advantage of it, as well as global tech giants such as Facebook, which registers users outside of the US and Canada under its Ireland subsidiary Facebook Ireland Ltd. It is estimated to be reponsible for 83.1% of all worldwide Facebook users, but moves data from Dublin to the US to be processed.

But after whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed the mass surveillance activities of America’s National Security Agency, which were alleged to include European data, in 2013, Austrian privacy campaigner Max Schrems asked the Irish Data Protection Commission to do an audit of what material Facebook was passing on.

They declined, citing Safe Harbour, so he appealed to the European Court of Justice, which has today ruled in his favour.

Following the judgement, Mr Schrems said: “I very much welcome the judgement of the Court, which will hopefully be a milestone when it comes to online privacy.

“This judgement draws a clear line. It clarifies that mass surveillance violates our fundamental rights. Reasonable legal redress must be possible. The decision also highlights that governments and businesses cannot simply ignore our fundamental right to privacy, but must abide by the law and enforce it.

“This decision is a major blow for US global surveillance that heavily relies on private partners. The judgement makes it clear that US businesses cannot simply aid US espionage efforts in violation of European fundamental rights. At the same time this case law will be a milestone for constitutional challenges against similar surveillance conducted by EU member states.
“There are still a number of alternative options to transfer data from the EU to the US. The judgement makes it clear, that now national data protection authorities can review data transfers to the US in  each individual case –
while ‘safe harbor’ allowed for a blanket allowance.
“Despite some alarmist comments I don’t think that we will see major disruptions in practice.”

Facebook had yet to comment at the time of publication, but it may well be forced to stop EU-US data transfers at least in the short term, at least until new certified contracts are in place.

Two things are immediately obvious – this will have a wider impact not just for data processing operations like Facebook, but any company that transfers any data overseas for any reason.

And secondly that you can only have true control of your data when you hold it under your own resources, although of course you may need to trade it for access to services from external companies.

If data security and privacy concerns you – and it should – digi.me is committed to giving you back control of your data, for you to use as you wish. Download a free trial here.


10 top tips for social media confidence

Want to do more on social media but unsure where to start? Fear not – you’re not alone and we can help.

The sheer volume of information flowing past your eyes when you look at any platform can be intimidating, but start small and know what you want to achieve, and there is very little you can do wrong.

So, without further ado, here are our top tips for getting on top of social media quickly. They’re only guidelines, so feel free to adapt them – but the most important thing is just to get posting!

1) Don’t overcommit. This shouldn’t be a stress, so don’t go crazy and vow to update everything every 20 minutes of every working day. Rather, aim for at least three times a week on each platform you use.

2) Quality beats quantity. Better to share less and it be interesting, than put up things you haven’t read properly or that don’t fully reflect your/the product values in the rush to update your status with something (this goes back to no 1). As part of this, know overall (and ideally with each post) who your audience is and what you want them to do (be more aware of you, buy something etc)

3) Make it personal. While you may well be operating a business account, people like to do business with people, and so personalising what you say, and adding in bits of your life where you’re happy and it’s relevant, is often a very good way of making your followers know and trust you.

4) Analyse post engagements to see if you can see any kind of pattern – do you get most interactions in the morning, evening, or is there quite a uniform spread? Target it if so, aim for a spread of times if not. You can pre-schedule both tweets and FB posts using either Buffer or Hootsuite.

5) Aim for a spread of news/informative posts and pure sales pitches – I’ve seen 70/30 per cent seen as a good balance.

6) Find a quick and easy way to aggregate the types of articles you might want to look for, so that you can always find source material with ease. I recommend Feedly, which allows you to search and group articles by area type.

7) Follow other industry figures and look at what they do, how they do it and what they link to. Not to copy, exactly, but to get inspiration for what you want on your own feed.

8) Follow people in the same/related fields as you, so you can get an increased following of relevant users, get involved in industry conversations, be aware of news, and get inspiration for other posts.

9) Consider doing something like product of the week, where you look at a particular product in detail in a review style and/or competitions to win products or services.

10) Add value to everything you post and give people a reason to follow you and buy from you!

Of course, once you’ve started posting and interacting on your social media accounts, you’re going to want to download digi.me so that you can retain everything and reuse it as needed!

Lunar Mission One logo cropped LDS BL-01-1

digi.me and Lunar Mission One to send memories to the Moon

Digi.me has signed a deal with Lunar Mission One which will give our supporters the incredible opportunity to leave digital memories on the Moon.

Our app will give anyone who wants to the ability to create digital memory boxes that will reserve your place in space for future generations of space travellers to discover and enjoy.

To join us today and make your own history, all you have to do is use our app (download here if needed) to help you gather your most memorable moments from across your social media accounts.

You will be able to use images and text uploaded to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social media accounts, as well as your memories stored locally on your computer, to create your Digital Time Capsule, which will travel with Lunar Mission One to the Moon in 2024.

Julian Ranger, founder and Chairman of digi.me, said: “digi.me already allows you to take back control of personal information spread all over the web and hold it in one place where you can make it work for you. Now you can create your very own digital time capsule and select the best memories of you to send to the Moon.

“Both myself and digi.me are avid supporters of space exploration and we are delighted to be joining Lunar Mission One in making history in this way.”

Lunar Mission One has also just launched the Footsteps on the Moon campaign, which digi.me is proud to support. Everyone across the world, whether they use our app or not, is invited to upload an image of their own footprints, feet or shoes to make a mark on the Moon for free.  These images will then be digitised by digi.me so that they can be sent to the Moon on the Astrobotic Lander in 2017. Find out more about the Footsteps on the Moon campaign here.

Angela Lamont, Director of Communications for Lunar Mission One, said: “This is very exciting for us and our supporters. Millions of people will be sending their very own private digital archives to the Moon with us in 2024 and the digi.me app now gives them the ability to start curating their own collections using data from their own computer, or anything they’ve ever posted to social media.”

Lunar Mission One is the first global and inclusive lunar mission, which was initially crowd-funded by a highly successful Kickstarter campaign in 2014.

With its preparatory stage now complete, it now has teams in place to set up the mission, which will land at the as-yet-unexplored lunar south pole in 2024. It will carry equipment for scientific experiments, including a rig capable of drilling up to 100m into the Moon’s surface to analyse lunar geology on a scale never before attempted.

This borehole will then be used to deposit two archives; one compendium of life on Earth and one containing millions of private memory boxes created using digi.me, to give an epic picture of life on Earth in the 21st Century for discovery in a future far, far away.

data loss

Why human error is the biggest threat to data

If you think shady criminal cartels, blackmail attempts or straight-up hacking geniuses are the biggest danger to any data held about you online, then we have news for you – plain old human error accounts for far and away the most data breaches.

New research has revealed that human error continues to be the leading cause of data loss for organisations in the UK.

The Databarracks report, which was based on a survey of 400 senior IT workers, revealed that 24 per cent of organisations admitted to a data loss caused by employee accidents in the last 12 months, ahead of hardware failure (21 per cent) and data corruption (19 per cent).

This report comes hot on the heels of data released by the Information Commissioner’s Office earlier this year, which showed that 93 per cent of the 459 data breaches reported to the office in Q4 of 2014/15 could be put down to human error in some way.

It also follows a serious data breach by a London health clinic earlier this month which saw  the email addresses of hundreds of patients, many of whom are living with HIV, accidentally sent out publically to all recipients of a clinic newsletter.

Oscar Arean, technical operations manager at Databarracks, said: “Human error has consistently been the biggest area of concern for organisations when it comes to data loss. People will always be your weakest link, but having said that, there is a lot that businesses could be doing to prevent it, so we’d expect this figure to be lower.”

Interestingly, the Databarracks results weren’t fully consistent across all business sizes, with a breakdown revealing that in large companies, hardware failure led to most data loss, with 31 per cent of all cases up from 29 per cent in 2014.

Arean said: “This isn’t surprising as most large organisations will have more stringent user policies in place to limit the amount of damage individuals can cause.”

Arean goes on to suggest that SMEs should adopt more of a big business ethos when it comes to managing human error:

“The figures we’re seeing this year for data loss due to human error are too high (16 per cent of small businesses and 31 per cent of medium businesses), especially considering how avoidable it is with proper management. I think a lot of SMEs fall into the trap of thinking their teams aren’t big enough to warrant proper data security and management policies, but I would disagree with that.

“In large organisations, managers can lock down user permissions to limit the access they have to certain data or the actions they’re able to take – this limits the amount of damage they’re able to cause. In smaller organisations, there isn’t always the available resource to do this and often users are accountable for far more within their roles. That is absolutely fine, but there needs to be processes in place to manage the risks that come with that responsibility.

“Of course small organisations don’t need an extensive policy on the same scale that a large enterprise would, but their employees need to be properly educated on best practice for handling data and the consequences of their actions on the business as a whole. There should be clear guidelines for them to follow.”

So what does this mean for us and our data? While in an ideal world the individual would be at the centre of their own connected life in full control of their own data, it is unrealistic in our current world to hold all our data close to our chests when so many end users have or demand access to it.

So is it safe out there in the big, bad world? Yes, largely speaking, and the benefits to us in areas such as health of having our details instantly available to all medical services, for example, certainly outweigh the chances of being subject to a damaging data breach.

But it is certainly a sobering thought that, no matter how thorough the legislation governing data handling and the individual company policies in place, just one simple, human mistake can be enough to bring all that crashing down.


British spies want shorter and less secure passwords

If you thought the purpose of passwords was to be as strong as possible to give your information and accounts the best chance of being secure, Britain’s spies at GCHQ have news for you.

In a new document, Password Guidance – simplifying your approach (PDF), the organisation’s cyber director said that advice has moved on from previous guidance to make passwords stronger as a greater deterrant to hacking.

Now, the spy agency is suggesting IT managers help install systems that make passwords easier to remember. Yes, you did read that right.

The report claims that the average UK user has 22 different online systems that are password protected – clearly more than most people can remember – with the same supposedly safe password used to access around four of these.

It says the need to remember multiple passwords for different sites leads to unsafe behaviour, such as writing them down, duplication, or using simple or predictable passwords creation strategies.

But it also stresses that, crucially, the bottom line is that even following best practice guidelines (ie not doing any of the above) cannot guarantee keeping online services secure. Key loggers, phishing and interception are all cited as credible risks, with information about how to carry them out and the tools to do so easily discoverable on the internet.

In a foreword to the report, Ciaran Martin, Director General for Cyber Security at GCHQ (cool job title!) said: “Complex passwords do not usually frustrate attackers, yet they make daily life much harder for users. They create cost, cause delays, and may force users to adopt workarounds or non-secure alternatives that increase risk.”

It suggests that simplifying an organisation’s approach to passwords can reduce the workload on users, lessen the IT burden, and – crucially – “combat the false sense of security that unnecessarily complex passwords can encourage.”

It lists seven key steps that organisations (and individuals) can take to optimise system security, which are:

  1. Change all default passwords (well, durr)
  2. Only implement passwords when needed to minimise user overload
  3. Understand the limitations of user-generated passwords (tl:dr they encourage insecure behaviour)
  4. Except machine-generated ones have their own problems (tl:dr they’re difficult to remember)
  5. Prioritise admin, mobile and remote user accounts as these are more important/vulnerable
  6. Use account lockout and protective monitoring
  7. And, of course, don’t store passwords as plain text

Will seeming to be good, impartial advice, it’s worth remembering that this does come from the people who broke antivirus software so they could spy on people, so feel free to take it with a piece of salt if you are of a cynical disposition.