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Privacy in the digital age


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Privacy in the digital age

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 xplorer 
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I wanted to start a thread about personal privacy issues in today's society.

I've always advocated that people are free to share as much as they want about themselves, so long as they are aware of what they are sharing.

Unfortunately this is not always the case, and the amount of personal data that is taken without our explicit consent may surprise quite a few people.

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When internet users visit Walgreens.com, a software company may record every keystroke, mouse movement, and scroll, potentially exposing medical conditions such as alcohol dependence, or the names of drugs a user has been prescribed, according to Princeton researchers.

Companies like Walgreens deploy these analytics software providers to see how people use their website or to identify broken or confusing web pages. The analytics companies place “scripts” on their clients’ websites that record individual browsing sessions for later viewing or a “replay session.”

In effect, the researchers say, software companies are “looking over your shoulder” as you navigate certain websites. The extent of the data collected “far exceeds user expectations,” including recording what you type into a text box before you submit it, “all without any visual indication to the user,” according to a study released Wednesday.

In response to questions from WIRED, Walgreens said Wednesday it would stop sharing data with the software company FullStory. “We take the protection of our customers’ data very seriously and are investigating the claims made in the article that was published earlier today,” Walgreens said in a statement. “As we look into the concerns that were raised, and out of an abundance of caution, we have stopped sharing data with FullStory.” A Walgreens spokesperson said FullStory’s software “essentially has an ‘on/off’ switch,” which the retailer has now turned off.

On Thursday a second retailer said that it, too, had stopped working with FullStory in light of the study's findings. Bonobos, a men's clothing retailer owned by Walmart, said in a statement, "We eliminated data sharing with FullStory in order to evaluate our protocols and operations with respect to their service. We are continually assessing and strengthening systems and processes in order to protect our customers’ data." The Princeton researchers had found that FullStory captured credit-card details, including the cardholder’s name and billing address, the card’s number, expiration, and security code on Bonobos' website.





Full article from WIRED here


Source data from Princeton researchers here and here

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 xplorer 
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Interesting insight by an ex-Facebook manager, I am posting here some relevant paragraphs from the article on NY Times. Emphasis mine.

Full article available here.


Quoting 
For a few years, Facebook’s developer platform hosted a thriving ecosystem of popular social games. Remember the age of Farmville and Candy Crush? The premise was simple: Users agreed to give game developers access to their data in exchange for free use of addictive games.

Unfortunately for the users of these games, there were no protections around the data they were passed through Facebook to outside developers. Once data went to the developer of a game, there was not much Facebook could do about misuse except to call the developer in question and threaten to cut off the developer’s access. As the I.P.O. approached, and the media reported on allegations of misuse of data, I, as manager of the team responsible for protecting users on the developer platform from abuse of their data, was given the task of solving the problem.


Quoting 
In one instance, a developer appeared to be using Facebook data to automatically generate profiles of children, without their consent. When I called the company responsible for the app, it claimed that Facebook’s policies on data use were not being violated, but we had no way to confirm whether that was true. Once data passed from the platform to a developer, Facebook had no view of the data or control over it. In other cases, developers asked for permission to get user data that their apps obviously didn’t need — such as a social game asking for all of your photos and messages. People rarely read permissions request forms carefully, so they often authorize access to sensitive information without realizing it.


Quoting 
At a company that was deeply concerned about protecting its users, this situation would have been met with a robust effort to cut off developers who were making questionable use of data. But when I was at Facebook, the typical reaction I recall looked like this: try to put any negative press coverage to bed as quickly as possible, with no sincere efforts to put safeguards in place or to identify and stop abusive developers. When I proposed a deeper audit of developers’ use of Facebook’s data, one executive asked me, “Do you really want to see what you’ll find?”

The message was clear: The company just wanted negative stories to stop. It didn’t really care how the data was used.


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pcrowley View Post
You may wish to be mindful of my experience with these people.

After attending one of their webinars I received more follow-up marketing messages than I wished to. I attempted to unsubscribe from their mailing list but was informed that my email address wasn't on that list. I wrote to them asking that they remove me from this and any other of their mailing lists.

When my request went without a response I sent a follow-up, requiring them to take action on the request. In response I received a very sarcastic message back from a Clint Kemp, in their support function. When I in turn responded to his message I received this response:

"Please cease and desist. We have met your request and do not wish to be harassed any further by your nonsensical and ignorant rantings. Should you insist, we will consider any and all legal remedies."

I'm not entirely sure what any and all legal remedies might amount to. No doubt I should be very concerned about them though! (The bluster puts me in mind of the North Korean Information Ministry).

Something to keep in mind, should you feel inclined to hand over any of your money to these dubious individuals.

Just seen this and I thought there may be other people here on FIO that may have been targeted with spam when providing their own, main email address.

My recommendations:
  • Before giving out your real email address to internet entities (such as trading vendors, brokers but also anything else unrelated to trading) make sure they are reputable. In today's world many shady companies will just sell your email address to marketers and you end up in limitless spam lists.

  • Check what their privacy policy is. Usually the shorter the better, but they do need to have one.

  • If you are not sure if the people who you are thinking of giving your email address to, are trustworthy, there are great free services such as Mailinator or 10minutemail where you give them an email address from a temporary mailbox. This way you are not endlessy spammed on your mailbox.

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 SMCJB 
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xplorer View Post
I wanted to start a thread about personal privacy issues in today's society.

I've always advocated that people are free to share as much as they want about themselves, so long as they are aware of what they are sharing.

Unfortunately this is not always the case, and the amount of personal data that is taken without our explicit consent may surprise quite a few people.

Excellent idea. I have very mixed thoughts on this. Use of data makes our lives better in so many ways but at the same time we all hate the ways its miss-used. Unfortunately I'm not sure there is an easy answer for non-anonymous data.

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 bobwest 
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xplorer View Post
I wanted to start a thread about personal privacy issues in today's society.

I've always advocated that people are free to share as much as they want about themselves, so long as they are aware of what they are sharing.

Unfortunately this is not always the case, and the amount of personal data that is taken without our explicit consent may surprise quite a few people.


SMCJB View Post
Excellent idea. I have very mixed thoughts on this. Use of data makes our lives better in so many ways but at the same time we all hate the ways its miss-used. Unfortunately I'm not sure there is an easy answer for non-anonymous data.

We're at a point where we can do things with data and data accumulation that were unheard-of and unthought-of just a few years ago. It's opening up entirely new and not well-understood vistas, just as everything in the computer and data-access/data-sharing world is doing.

They may not all be great, but some may be.

There will be rules, laws, practices and understandings that will bring order into all this chaos; it's just that we don't yet know what they will be. But like everything else, eventually what makes sense is what wins out. The only problem is that "eventually" can take a long time to get here.

I think the issue is real, and that bringing it up will be a part of the solution(s), and that, right now, it is hard to see what those solutions will be.

These are part of the broader concerns regarding communication and connectivity in a digital age. For instance, who would have said that something like Twitter or other social media would be important, or even possible, 20 years ago? Back then (not really a long time ago) news and opinion were always filtered though professional journalism. Whether that was better or worse is beside the point, because it's gone now.

This is not unlike the onset of the printing press, which very suddenly allowed almost anyone to put out a printed pamphlet expressing a point of view, without needing scribes or monks in monasteries. The social upset was remarkable. And good, ultimately. But "ultimately" can take a long time, too.

This is not exactly the original issue, but they are part of the same thing, I would say. Essentially, where is the control, and where are the limits? Too much control is bad, but so is too little.

Not offering solutions, just a comment on the relevancy of the questions.

Bob.

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SMCJB View Post
Excellent idea. I have very mixed thoughts on this. Use of data makes our lives better in so many ways but at the same time we all hate the ways its miss-used. Unfortunately I'm not sure there is an easy answer for non-anonymous data.

Hi S - no question about how data is helping us make our lives better - there's a great documentary called "The Human Face of Big Data" from PBS which talks quite extensively about it.

As for answers, first of all I second the very thoughtful post Bob wrote - the problem with legislation is, it tends to lag behind in technology areas and, worse, people who make law about it tend to do so not understanding the very technology they are meant to regulate. They get advisers who are ill-advised themselves and prefer generally a political solution to a common sense one. My 2 cents.

There's a lot of companies today that say they do anonymize data. Having seen this first hand, I know that the current system is prone to human error, which means on occasion batches of data meant to be anonymized are not, and so an honest mistake can turn your or my data over to unintended people, for unintended consumption.

I'm not proposing a solution either, but I do know that, thanks to social media, we are more interconnected than ever which means our collective voice matters. So many cases of corporate policy breakdowns that have been reported by the public and have been corrected thanks to the global outrage of social media which I bet would have not been addressed otherwise, or not as quickly.

So my point is, we can take action when we see wrongdoing. We can make our voice heard by taking our business elsewhere when we see data malpractice. And we can get others to do the same. The speed of response by which certain companies address the problem is unprecedented too, thanks to social media.

EDIT:

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Great points @bobwest and @xplorer. I'm not sure that the "global outrage of social media " has actually fixed anything, but it has in some cases gotten people fired and at least in theory 'policies changed'.

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SMCJB View Post
I'm not sure that the "global outrage of social media " has actually fixed anything, but it has in some cases gotten people fired and at least in theory 'policies changed'.

Well to me policy changes means the corporate machine, which is very sensible to shareholders' opinion, is listening more to its client base. Why wouldn't they? The public perception, which in today's world can be strengthened via YouTube/FB/Twitter etc., is a huge incentive not to leave problems unaddressed. After all showing that I care about my customers tends to pay off.

Some cases that come to mind: United Airlines incidents (chiefly the David Dao one for which UA CEO's had to apologize), Apple's batterygate situation and the Weinstein sexual assault saga are all recent examples where public opinion has steered corporate policy, hopefully in the right direction, that may have otherwise been treated as isolated incidents (and thus forrgotten by each corporation) without the amplification of social media.

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I had stated a thread on Vault 7 and its invasion of privacy


and it includes a post on twitter's invasion.


Vault 7 showed a huge storehouse of spying software to be used on the general public. They not only built-in backdoors to monitor everything on your machine and control it they even make chip makers put backdoors in their chips.

These tools are now out in cybercrime's hands. So it isn't the CIA - it's all the criminals as well, including large companies with less than moral uprightness and anyone who wants to download the tools.

Recently Equifax had a breach of its extensive databases which cover not only at least 130 million Americans but many individuals in other countries. Though they are required to report a breach immediately they waited months.
Identity theft strikes millions of Americans each year (30 m?)

Equifax gathers the info without your consent. It did not encrypt the databases. It does not use file separation.

Most companies don't care about the harm they cause you - just their profits.

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 xplorer 
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thanks @aquarian1

I had not seen your Vault7 posts from March 2017. I think the "news and current events" section of the forum is excluded for some reason from the site's indexing system. I kinda stopped posting myself in there.

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xplorer View Post
thanks @aquarian1

I had not seen your Vault7 posts from March 2017. I think the "news and current events" section of the forum is excluded for some reason from the site's indexing system. I kinda stopped posting myself in there.

I didn't know what you mentioned above.
If there are any ideas from the thread you feel of value to include in this thread please feel free to cut and paste.

I think your thread is VERY important and people vastly underestimate the extent of the problem.

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aquarian1 View Post
If there are any ideas from the thread you feel of value to include in this thread please feel free to cut and paste.

I think your thread is VERY important and people vastly underestimate the extent of the problem.

Thanks again. I think the Vault 7 thread tackles a slightly different matter, i.e. covert surveillance, which is also a very serious issue.

In this thread I try to focus on the personal data people are giving up voluntarily, although sometimes unwittingly.


As for the fact that people underestimate the issue, my take is that some people care more about privacy, others care less, and that's fine, as long as everyone is aware of what they are giving up, which is not always the case.

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xplorer View Post
Thanks again. I think the Vault 7 thread tackles a slightly different matter, i.e. covert surveillance, which is also a very serious issue.

In this thread I try to focus on the personal data people are giving up voluntarily, although sometimes unwittingly.


As for the fact that people underestimate the issue, my take is that some people care more about privacy, others care less, and that's fine, as long as everyone is aware of what they are giving up, which is not always the case.

I understand.

There are many examples of people giving up information with and without their consent.
For example few people have read Gxxgle's user agreement and in the Gxxmail one they say they read all your emails.
(Now understand what "read" means - we record them and keep them forever.)

Of course, there is always an excuse.
As in "make your experience more enjoyable
"drive ads you are interested in."

but the cover reason isn't the real reason.

Why do I say this?
If it was you would be given a choice -
a = let us read and record them and give you a better "user experience"
b= no thanks

So I never accepted there terms and conditions and never established an account with them.

Do you think they play fair and do not collect information about me?
Of course not they continue to collect information illegally.

Can I stop them? - Not practically
------------------------------------------------------

---Imagine a fictious company called "G"
Me: I want to be sure you don't have a file on me.
"G": Ok prove who you are
Me; you mean give you the information about me I don't want you to have so you can have it and record it and then tell me you didn't collect it?
"G": By using our services or communicating with us you have agreed to allow us to collect the inoformation on you, even your communication asking that we make sure we don't have a file.
Me; that's a catch 22!
"G": That's why we are we and you are mud.

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 aquarian1 
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A friend has a gxxmail account and I don't

I email them or they email me.

Even though I haven't accepted the invasion of piracy agreement they have.

my email and email address is recorded - forever

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INSURGE INTELLIGENCE, a new crowd-funded investigative journalism project, breaks the exclusive story of how the United States intelligence community funded, nurtured and incubated Google as part of a drive to dominate the world through control of information. Seed-funded by the NSA and CIA, Google was merely the first among a plethora of private sector start-ups co-opted by US intelligence to retain ‘information superiority.’

The origins of this ingenious strategy trace back to a secret Pentagon-sponsored group, that for the last two decades has functioned as a bridge between the US government and elites across the business, industry, finance, corporate, and media sectors. The group has allowed some of the most powerful special interests in corporate America to systematically circumvent democratic accountability and the rule of law to influence government policies, as well as public opinion in the US and around the world.

The results have been catastrophic: NSA mass surveillance, a permanent state of global war, and a new initiative to transform the US military into Skynet.

source:
https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-08-28/how-cia-made-google

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xplorer View Post
Thanks again. I think the Vault 7 thread tackles a slightly different matter, i.e. covert surveillance, which is also a very serious issue.

yes. the thread has a twitter invasion post as well.
So not vault 7

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 xplorer 
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Until a year ago I had been using a plugin called Web Of Trust in my browser. Its function was to tell me in advance which websites may be untrustworthy (carrying malware, privacy issues, etc.) before I visited them.

Little did I know, the company called Web Of Trust was ironically selling my browsing data to 3rd parties.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WOT_Services



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From a recent NY Times article:


Quoting 
Amid Uber’s laundry list of scandals, which included sexual harassment accusations and an undisclosed security breach, there was an important revelation that everyone can learn from. It involved Unroll.me, a free service that unsubscribes you from junk mail.

To gather intelligence about its competition, Uber bought information about its main rival, Lyft, from Unroll.me. How did Uber do that, exactly? Unroll.me scanned the contents of its users’ inboxes and sold anonymized data, information that did not have individuals’ names attached to it — in this case, emailed Lyft receipts — to Uber.

Now, this is less evil than actually handing over non-anonymous data, but it's still not something that the users knew was going to happen. Maybe they didn't want Uber to gain an advantage over Lyft. Maybe they just wouldn't want their data making money for someone else. Maybe they thought what was in their inbox was nobody else's business, period.

The company gave themselves a legal out, by including language in their privacy policy that explicitly stated they could do that. Since no one ever reads either privacy policies or End User Agreements, they knew that no one was going to object, or even know.

Full text here. Skip down to the section headed "Read Privacy Policies" : https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/27/technology/personaltech/new-years-resolutions-technology.html?_r=0

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bobwest View Post

Full text here. Skip down to the section headed "Read Privacy Policies"

Thank you Bob. A very good and informative article.

This unroll.me situation confirms once more that nothing is ever completely free online - if it is appears as free, one seriously needs to question what you may be giving up in return.

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I saw this article and thought it ought to go in this thread.

It seems that China is testing and/or implementing the use of facial recognition combined with wide use of monitoring cameras to identify people who, for instance:

1. (As an innocent usage) live in an apartment building so the door will open without their using an entry key card
2. Do not belong in a particular area, such as an apartment building or neighborhood, and who are suspicious characters
3. Are wanted criminals (and/or troublemakers)
4. ??? Fill in the blank for your own Orwellian nightmare

Now, this is China, which has, let's say, its own form of government. Also, it's still limited, although apparently growing. Also, the success rate, so far, of facial recognition, as the article states, is not all that good for some of these uses.

But we know that facial recognition is a hot thing now, in the West as well. Apple has it in their new iPhones. I'm sure businesses would like to use it, and some probably are now, instead of key cards. The article mentions Western law-enforcement usage as well It's obviously a useful technology. Also, incredibly dangerous.

Take a read: https://www.washingtonpost.com/classic-apps/in-china-facial-recognition-is-sharp-end-of-a-drive-for-total-surveillance/2018/01/07/b9a706e0-d454-11e7-9ad9-ca0619edfa05_story.html?utm_term=.fa98edf5fb03&wpisrc=nl_rainbow&wpmm=1

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 xplorer 
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But we know that facial recognition is a hot thing now, in the West as well. Apple has it in their new iPhones. I'm sure businesses would like to use it, and some probably are now, instead of key cards. The article mentions Western law-enforcement usage as well It's obviously a useful technology. Also, incredibly dangerous.



Thanks Bob. I think since 2013 and the Snowden whistleblowing we all know how state security agencies have been exploiting technology to improve their efficiency in combating crime. At least this is the official narrative.

The problem, as Snowden pointed out, occurs when the state powers are abused.

He highlighted how in the US the privacy of people who had done nothing wrong were routinely breached by NSA employees, in some occasions just for fun. At least the NSA is meant to be an intelligence agency.
In the UK it's much worse, whereby you have local government councils using similar snooping powers (e.g. through CCTV surveillance) to catch people who may be fly-tipping or using normal garbage bins when they should have been recycling.


In democratic countries the remedy for the people is, in theory, getting their representatives to change legislation. In practice this is proving far harder than it sounds, when it comes to tech surveillance, especially when politicians play the terrorism card (9/11 over there, all the other ones over here in Europe) to justify the butchering of encryption and other nonsense (again, this is people who have no understanding of technology whatsoever): my take is, when certain governments were caught red-handed in breaking the law, all they did was passing legislation to ensure that whatever they were doing illegally would now be legal.

In countries where democracy is seen as a more abstract concept, I don't think people have even the ability to question their government.


But I am digressing! Yes we started seeing face recognition here with the iPhone X and I think that's what you wanted to point out, i.e. the implications of the individual thinking it's cool to unlock the phone with your face, not realizing that Apple shares face id data with their 3rd party developers.

Quoting the article:


Quoting 
Setting aside issues of convenience and security, there’s another problem with Face ID that’s potentially even more serious. Apple is sharing user’s Face ID data with third-party app developers.

The rich set of data that Face ID collects to unlock the iPhone X stays in what Apple calls a “Secure Enclave” on the phone. That’s a good thing. What’s not so good is that Apple is giving app developers enough of this data to create a detailed wiremap of your face while also tracking 52 micro-movements of parts of your face in real time.

In previous posts here we've seen already the potential for this to turn out ugly. All it takes is a less than scrupolous app developer and your biometric data is out in the open.

It sort of reminds me of the movie Minority Report and similar sci-fi stuff which, more and more, resembles where we seem to be headed...

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@xplorer, I had not known about Apple's use of face data before reading your post and the linked article. I was just thinking of the iPhone X as an example of the use of face recognition technology, not of its misuse!

But that makes the point more strongly: this stuff is highly useful, and highly dangerous.

Once again, there will, eventually, be rules and effective limitations on what can be done in this area, but it will take time to figure them out, and first we will probably have to get a lot of abuses before we can understand where digital technology, of any sort, can go wrong.

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@xplorer, I had not known about Apple's use of face data before reading your post and the linked article. I was just thinking of the iPhone X as an example of the use of face recognition technology, not of its misuse!

I saw it in action for the first time this weekend. It was kind of freaky. Everytime my friend picked up their iPhone X it opened automatically without him doing anything as it read his face!

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I saw it in action for the first time this weekend. It was kind of freaky. Everytime my friend picked up their iPhone X it opened automatically without him doing anything as it read his face!

I think I read somewhere that you can disable face recognition and go back to fingerprint ID. (I'm too lazy to research it right now .)

I think that the face recognition thing, if there were no way to turn it off, would be enough to dissuade me from the new iPhone X. I wonder if Apple will stick to its guns and tell the customer to just get used to it?

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Thanks Bob. I think since 2013 and the Snowden whistleblowing we all know how state security agencies have been exploiting technology to improve their efficiency in combating crime. At least this is the official narrative.

The problem, as Snowden pointed out, occurs when the state powers are abused.

He highlighted how in the US the privacy of people who had done nothing wrong were routinely breached by NSA employees, in some occasions just for fun. At least the NSA is meant to be an intelligence agency.
In the UK it's much worse, whereby you have local government councils using similar snooping powers (e.g. through CCTV surveillance) to catch people who may be fly-tipping or using normal garbage bins when they should have been recycling.


In democratic countries the remedy for the people is, in theory, getting their representatives to change legislation. In practice this is proving far harder than it sounds, when it comes to tech surveillance, especially when politicians play the terrorism card (9/11 over there, all the other ones over here in Europe) to justify the butchering of encryption and other nonsense (again, this is people who have no understanding of technology whatsoever): my take is, when certain governments were caught red-handed in breaking the law, all they did was passing legislation to ensure that whatever they were doing illegally would now be legal.

In countries where democracy is seen as a more abstract concept, I don't think people have even the ability to question their government.


But I am digressing! Yes we started seeing face recognition here with the iPhone X and I think that's what you wanted to point out, i.e. the implications of the individual thinking it's cool to unlock the phone with your face, not realizing that Apple shares face id data with their 3rd party developers.

Quoting the article:



In previous posts here we've seen already the potential for this to turn out ugly. All it takes is a less than scrupolous app developer and your biometric data is out in the open.

It sort of reminds me of the movie Minority Report and similar sci-fi stuff which, more and more, resembles where we seem to be headed...



Just a side note: wife and I bought iPhone X’s on a contract with Sprint. Seems like a good deal. $25/mo for each plus the plans price of $100/mo for two lines. Mine was $150 more up front because I choose 256GB.

Real nice device easy to use great looking too and fast. Face ID works well.

Ron


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xplorer View Post
In previous posts here we've seen already the potential for this to turn out ugly. All it takes is a less than scrupolous app developer and your biometric data is out in the open.

It sort of reminds me of the movie Minority Report and similar sci-fi stuff which, more and more, resembles where we seem to be headed...

Great post. I don't take selfies and I put a little piece of electrical tape over the front facing camera on all of my devices LOL... seriously. No fingerprint ID either, if they want that they'll have to check in with the local constabulary

People used to make fun of my tinfoil hat...

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Blash View Post
Just a side note: wife and I bought iPhone X’s on a contract with Sprint. Seems like a good deal. $25/mo for each plus the plans price of $100/mo for two lines. Mine was $150 more up front because I choose 256GB.

Real nice device easy to use great looking too and fast. Face ID works well.

Ron

I had no doubt Ron, you're, like, a gadget freak! lol

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A situation I was not aware of, but which is apparently common enough to be flagged as a problem.




Original tweet


Apparently the matter was being minimized, until this was posted on Twitter: further confirmation that companies tend to act quickly when visibility becomes an issue.

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I wonder when she complained, what did she expect to happen, especially if you she considers any offer of compensation as insulting, and didn't want to complain to the restaurant because of potential repercussions? Is it illegal to text someone? I doubt it. Did he break a law getting her number? Probably not - he was probably given it in case it was needed in the course of the delivery. Is sending here a text a violation of her privacy if he has her number legally? Is it creepy and scary? Hell yes.

On a related subject, a large industry participant who I deal with, recently did a "deal" with another large industry participant who i have, and never have had, any relationship with. I immediately started getting marketing emails from the second company. Obviously being concerned for your safety and getting unwanted email are two very different things, but don't they violate our privacy in exactly the same way? I'm not being critical of her, or her actions. Just highlight how difficult it would be to regulate something like this effectively.

Finally I use uBer a lot, and regularly get calls from the driver, so they definitely have your phone number as well, and if they pick you up from home, know your home address as well.

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A situation I was not aware of, but which is apparently common enough to be flagged as a problem.

...

Apparently the matter was being minimized, until this was posted on Twitter: further confirmation that companies tend to act quickly when visibility becomes an issue.


SMCJB View Post
I'm not being critical of her, or her actions. Just highlight how difficult it would be to regulate something like this effectively.

Finally I use uBer a lot, and regularly get calls from the driver, so they definitely have your phone number as well, and if they pick you up from home, know your home address as well.

I think that the person delivering the service or driving the car is legitimately given a contact phone number in these cases, because, as stated, they may need to get in touch with you. Maybe you don't answer at your door, for instance.

I also think that the potential for weird stuff happening is enormous. I also do not know how to "regulate something like this effectively" -- although I do think that, ultimately, we need to.

More examples of the fact that these are not easy questions for us to figure out now. Eventually, we will, and probably will have to.

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SMCJB View Post

On a related subject, a large industry participant who I deal with, recently did a "deal" with another large industry participant who i have, and never have had, any relationship with. I immediately started getting marketing emails from the second company. Obviously being concerned for your safety and getting unwanted email are two very different things, but don't they violate our privacy in exactly the same way? I'm not being critical of her, or her actions. Just highlight how difficult it would be to regulate something like this effectively.

Finally I use uBer a lot, and regularly get calls from the driver, so they definitely have your phone number as well, and if they pick you up from home, know your home address as well.

Privacy safeguards in the US are considerably different from those in the EU.

As for the legality of what the guy did, again I think it depends on jurisdiction, but the Information Commissioner in the UK (they are the privacy watchdog) said that if the customer's phone number was being used for a purpose other than the original purpose for which it was provided, she may have a case for reporting it to the police.

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the internet is a gift and curse.

It's a gift because you can disseminate great information in a short amount of time,

but it's a curse because of privacy issues, and even worse, fraud, which I've been a victim of so many times.

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just like old time post agencies: if you write some mail it is like a postcard where every participant in the delivery system could read all your romantic phrases.
In fact as a longtime pioneer who established back in 95 a internet provider company - I am aware of things to be sent open and about things to better hide:
Today i am using a reliable mail service (proton.com - which I have no connection with other than using it) to send "more important mail" with attached files. The good thing - you only can login via browser. Everything is encoded. There is no download like normal mail providers. You can login and download immediately the attachments to your machine and then you may log out. The service is in Switzerland and the usage is free up to 500MB. From there some real low cost scheme is available. Great about this: No ADS, no SPAM no bugs. It just works.
I had it installed for friends as a circumvent of the sniffing large companies, scanning ALL files. And as a emergency exit for difficult mail management. You can be alerted on every device when new mails are running in.

Just to summarize - some data management for privacy needs to be installed - family first - then for the company too.

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 xplorer 
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thanks @GFIs1

I heard of Proton Mail - Switzerland based and they do not allow any type of snooping in their servers. For the privacy conscious it's a very worthwhile service.


I think the correct website it this though

https://protonmail.com/

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thanks @GFIs1

I heard of Proton Mail - Switzerland based and they do not allow any type of snooping in their servers. For the privacy conscious it's a very worthwhile service.


I think the correct website it this though

https://protonmail.com/

Thank: True - just didn't want to make plain advertising here on fio
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Thank: True - just didn't want to make plain advertising here on fio
GFIs1

Sure, it's not like it's a trading service, plus they do have free option if one wants to check them out.

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This Washington Post article is further proof of the profound implications associated with having personal data online available in the public domain.

I am quoting a few key passages, emhpasis mine.


Quoting 
Facebook’s recent suspension of Cambridge Analytica, a data analytics firm that played a key role in President Trump’s 2016 campaign, highlights the rapid rise of a company that claimed it had reached new heights in marrying the art of political persuasion with the science of big data.


Quoting 
What is clear is that the services Cambridge Analytica offered are increasingly coveted by modern political campaigns. Yet Facebook users had few indications of how their personal data was collected, refashioned and deployed on behalf of candidates.

A Cambridge University professor working for Cambridge Analytica in 2014 created an app, called Thisisyourdigitallife, that offered personality predictions and billed itself on Facebook as “a research app used by psychologists.”

The professor, a Russian American named Aleksandr Kogan, used the app to gain access to demographic information — including the names of users, their “likes,” friend lists, and other data. Once obtained by Cambridge Analytica, political campaigns could use those profiles to target users with highly tailored messages, ads or fundraising requests.

Facebook said 270,000 people downloaded the app. But people familiar with how such systems work — including a former Cambridge Analytica employee — said the app would have given Cambridge access to information on the friends of each of those people, a number that almost certainly reached into the tens of millions.


Quoting 
Cambridge Analytica — which was funded by Trump supporter and hedge fund executive Robert Mercer, and once had on its board the president’s former senior adviser Stephen K. Bannon — has denied wrongdoing. The company has said its “psychometric profiles” could predict the personality and political leanings of most U.S. voters.


Quoting 
Despite years of reports of developers abusing data, Facebook’s processes for dealing with developers who broke the company’s rules were lax, said two former Facebook employees whose job it was to review data use by third parties. The company does not audit developers who siphon data, the people said. If a developer was found to have broken the rules — usually because of a story in the news — the company would give them a warning or kick them off the platform, but it did not take steps to ensure that data taken inappropriately had been deleted, they said.

Sandy Parakilas, a former privacy manager at Facebook, said that during his tenure at Facebook, the company did not conduct a single audit of developers.


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xplorer View Post
This Washington Post article is further proof of the profound implications associated with having personal data online available in the public domain.

I am quoting a few key passages, emhpasis mine.

While none of this is technically wrong in a legal sense, it is an enormous misuse of information that the original people involved did not know would happen, and did not expect, and almost certainly would not have agreed to.

The fact that Facebook users made it publicly available just shows how trustingly naive people are. But they should be able to do so without someone who is cynically exploitative taking advantage of them.

While Facebook obviously was initially naive as well, thinking that all sharing of information is good (also profitable to themselves), they have also been careless and unconcerned about the damage caused to their customers, and to the larger society. Clearly, at some point it simply was not in their interests to become concerned about it, so they made the choice not to.

There are a lot of occasions where people will say something like "there oughta be a law," and usually it's pretty superficial. But in this case, there really ought to be a law, and an entire body of law, to prevent this kind of abuse.

Also, frankly, some lawsuits. If it's no longer in the interests of social media companies to be unconcerned about the use of their data, then suddenly, magically, the issues will get addressed and dealt with.

Bob.

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EU GDPR becomes active on 25th May 2018. Violation fines are supposedly able to be levied at 4% of turnover. But for anybody who knows the Snowden story it's all probably irrelevant and far too late.

In the meantime even pub chains are worried about lists of customers kept locally by managers - from the sublime slime to the ridiculous indeed.

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While none of this is technically wrong in a legal sense, it is an enormous misuse of information that the original people involved did not know would happen, and did not expect, and almost certainly would not have agreed to.

Hey Bob,

I just want to clarify whether my understanding of the quote above is you referring to the laws in the US only.

I want to emphasize this because in the EU, for example, just by reading the title of the article you can conclude that laws have been broken.

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Hey Bob,

I just want to clarify whether my understanding of the quote above is you referring to the laws in the US only.

I want to emphasize this because in the EU, for example, just by reading the title of the article you can conclude that laws have been broken.

Well, of course I don't really have any idea about the laws on the matter in either the US or the EU. I was just assuming that there is no law against it. The article is not written as if there is, but I don't really know.

I would be happy to be wrong. I do think there should be a law or laws that prohibit anything like this.

I did scan the article and didn't see any mention of actual illegality, just of a serious invasion of digital privacy. I hope this is illegal, at least somewhere.

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More on the Facebook data thing. I am sure there will be much more. I think the general free pass implicitly given to tech is going to be revoked, and a lot more scrutiny will be given to it.


Quoting 
For the past decade, social media and other giant technological platforms have prospered by offering us a deal: we could use their products for free (or minimal cost), and in return they would use our data as they see fit. It didn’t ring the alarm bells it should have, because all too many people — including our leading politicians — bought into the idea promulgated by Silicon Valley that the technological transformation on offer was a unique good. The people behind it were well-intentioned, so why question what they did, never mind regulate it?

The full article is worth reading: https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2018/03/20/facebooks-terrible-horrible-no-good-24-hours-and-what-comes-next/?utm_term=.75aa7dd375dc

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Not supporting Facebook here (I don't have an account and am amazed people do what they do!) and obviously there are things they could and should have done once they discovered this. But... always a But... in this case are they responsible for what happened? Sure they did grant the access, but they granted the access under the proviso that it was for research purposes not commercial purposes. Is it their responsibility now to verify intent? Making an exaggerated point should Home Depot start coming to your house to make sure you use fertilizer on your plants and not for nefarious activities?

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Another tipster told TechCrunch she had one email address compromised but noted she cannot figure out how the email was even obtained by Facebook as it appears to be for a former work place, is no longer valid and was never directly associated by her with her account — suggesting Facebook is automatically harvesting contact data from other Facebook users and associating it with other accounts.
....

If Facebook is harvesting data on its users from other site users then not personally posting a piece of your contact information does not guarantee it won’t end up in Facebook’s databanks — and therefore be at risk of being exposed via this type of security breach — because Facebook might simply be harvesting your contact data from someone else you have corresponded with.

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 SMCJB 
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Thats a good and interesting point @aquarian1

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More on the Facebook data thing. I am sure there will be much more. I think the general free pass implicitly given to tech is going to be revoked, and a lot more scrutiny will be given to it.



The full article is worth reading: https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2018/03/20/facebooks-terrible-horrible-no-good-24-hours-and-what-comes-next/?utm_term=.75aa7dd375dc

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Not supporting Facebook here (I don't have an account and am amazed people do what they do!) and obviously there are things they could and should have done once they discovered this. But... always a But... in this case are they responsible for what happened? Sure they did grant the access, but they granted the access under the proviso that it was for research purposes not commercial purposes. Is it their responsibility now to verify intent? Making an exaggerated point should Home Depot start coming to your house to make sure you use fertilizer on your plants and not for nefarious activities?

This is a good point. I don't think they were responsible for the eventual use the data was put to, obviously. Also, the "researcher" who got the data was lying to them about what he was doing, also not their fault.

But the thing is that FB does have a huge amount of data, and they do make it available more widely and much more routinely than their users have any idea about.

I have read that a common app that is available to developers puts a button to "Sign in via Facebook" on a web page. If the web owner wishes (and I'm not saying anything about whether some particular web site does this, only that they can), when a user clicks on that link, it enables the site designer to download all the information on that person's FB page, and all the information on all of that person's friends, greatly magnifying the amount of data gleaned. And, although there is some legally dense language on the FB terms of use agreement that says they can do this, I am positive that not one person who is on Facebook knows about it or expects it to happen, or thinks they have agreed to it. (Don't make me look up the link. I'm not making this up, and there is a fatigue factor with all this Facebook stuff anyway . Google will help anyone find out if I'm wrong about this or am exaggerating.)

One of the ways that the Cambridge guy got so much data was that he put up a survey that was answered by a few hundred thousand FB users, but he then was also able to access all their data -- meaning, everything on their FB page -- and all their friends' data on their pages (unbeknownst to the friends), netting information on 50 million individuals. Yes, he was misleading FB as well as the respondents to his survey. But this is frightening. Under certain conditions, which this guy did violate, FB makes all of this available, regardless of the users' privacy settings, usually for a fee and not for a bogus "research project." But they do it.

It is possible to discuss all this one way or another, but there is something deeply wrong with this. The basic philosophy of FB and Mark Zuckerberg has always been the standard tech industry mantra that information wants to be free -- that wide exchange of information is a good thing that needs to be encouraged. I agree, as an abstract principle, but then we see instances of essentially involuntary sharing that the persons involved didn't know about and didn't consent to (aside from the legalese in the terms of use agreement that they didn't read, and that the authors of the agreement knew they wouldn't read.)

We can go too far in either direction about this, but we need to do something, and the present status quo is not right in a very deep sense.

Today's Washington Post has an editorial that I didn't think I would like when I saw the title ("Let’s take a deep breath about Facebook’s ‘breach of trust’ "), since I think they did breach some trust here. But I did read the editorial and I think there's something to it. In other words, there's a balanced way to look at this whole thing -- and still, something needs to change.

Here it is, if you're interested. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/lets-take-a-deep-breath-about-facebooks-breach-of-trust/2018/03/21/0d35f750-2d31-11e8-8688-e053ba58f1e4_story.html?utm_term=.ca2747f31d01

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 GFIs1 
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thanks @GFIs1

I heard of Proton Mail - Switzerland based and they do not allow any type of snooping in their servers. For the privacy conscious it's a very worthwhile service.


I think the correct website it this though

https://protonmail.com/

Reading that Cambridge Analytica used for their Facebook scam Proton Mail.
Proton Mail allows to automatically "kill" a crypto mail just after opening and reading.
So Cambridge Analytica could operate out of the dark.

Well - things will not change easily to the better.
A coin has 2 sides.
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 xplorer 
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Reading that Cambridge Analytica used for their Facebook scam Proton Mail.
Proton Mail allows to automatically "kill" a crypto mail just after opening and reading.
So Cambridge Analytica could operate out of the dark.

Well - things will not change easily to the better.
A coin has 2 sides.
GFIs1

Hey GFIs1, thanks for this - I'd be interested in finding out more - do you have a link to an article or something?

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 GFIs1 
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Hey GFIs1, thanks for this - I'd be interested in finding out more - do you have a link to an article or something?

Hi @xplorer

Here we go: https://www.infosecurity-magazine.com/news/cambridge-analytica-used-protonmail/

There several other articles - but mainly the same content.

GFIs1

PS: I am using Proton Mail since a long time - it is free to start. A very strong web based mail provider with encryption and decryption - very fast - even for attached documents.

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Elon Musk was asked to delete his platforms "SpaceX" and "Tesla" on Facebook "if you are the man!". And he did within 37 minutes after the tweet. Many millions of followers find now a page 404.
WOW - the worth of FB is on a steep path down...

Wealth built on sand - one would say!*

GFIs1

*but why Zuckerberg sold such a lot shares of his company right at the beginning of the scandal?
Think about

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 xplorer 
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Other article on FB user data handling practices

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/mar/24/cambridge-analytica-week-that-shattered-facebook-privacy

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 GFIs1 
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FB and Whatsapp (daughter of FB) have recorded all posts, SMS, Phone calls.

WITHOUT Words! Very unsocial this world police.

How illegal is this around the globe?

GFIs1

It is time today that my kids delete all those FB/WU apps. The only straightforward thing to stop those criminals.


One important link to those news here:
https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/mar/25/facebook-logs-texts-and-calls-users-find-as-they-delete-accounts-cambridge-analytica

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 xplorer 
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FB and Whatsapp (daughter of FB) have recorded all posts, SMS, Phone calls.

WITHOUT Words! Very unsocial this world police.

How illegal is this around the globe?

GFIs1

It is time today that my kids delete all those FB/WU apps. The only straightforward thing to stop those criminals.

Hi GFIs1

Where does this news come from? Do you have the source?

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Hi GFIs1

Where does this news come from? Do you have the source?

yes here:
https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/mar/25/facebook-logs-texts-and-calls-users-find-as-they-delete-accounts-cambridge-analytica

In fact my post was sort of imprecise: FB/WU were logging all calls with date/time, dito SMS - all with MetaData...
but if I see such behind the scenes collecting - then I must assume that the contents were flowing also with

GFIs1

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Hi GFIs1

Where does this news come from? Do you have the source?

https://www.theverge.com/2018/3/25/17160944/facebook-call-history-sms-data-collection-android

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In fact my post was sort of imprecise: FB/WU were logging all calls with date/time, dito SMS - all with MetaData...
but if I see such behind the scenes collecting - then I must assume that the contents were flowing also with

GFIs1

Thanks - I heard about metadata collection, which is one thing - but recording actual content (i.e. actual calls and text messages) would put FB in the NSA/PRISM category - I don't believe FB would even have the capability to do that, let alone the legal ramifications.

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Thanks - I heard about metadata collection, which is one thing - but recording actual content (i.e. actual calls and text messages) would put FB in the NSA/PRISM category - I don't believe FB would even have the capability to do that, let alone the legal ramifications.

Well said @xplorer
In fact FB is publishing zillions of new posts and advertising every day.
Why is/WAS there no thread / official information about the collecting activities of those scammers?
Does one need to read the AGB in detail to even not find a hint what they are doing with one Client's Data?
Even a user wants to shut down all his activity there he is "guided" lol to the "pause action" where FB
can use the collected data for the future...
Questions over questions.
Legal action though will get off now really fast - in some countries with dramatic fines.
We will hopefully see how bad the FB guys will show themselves at the legal hearing in Berlin / Germany tomorrow.
Will let you know.

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FB total loss since the scandal sums up to $ 70 billion (in just 2 weeks).

This is the equivalent of the total worth of German carmaker VW...

The higher the climbing the steeper the fall.

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 xplorer 
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Some more news about the FB metadata collection on Android

Facebook Has Been Collecting Android Users' Cell Phone Data For Years | Time

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 GFIs1 
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Some FB users stated after having downloaded a copy of their FB account data that they found
whole SMS content as well as phone calls recorded since years...

As there are some examples - they will be posted here.
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 SMCJB 
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I believe the SMS and Phone logs are being collected by the messenger app and not the main FB app.

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 aquarian1 
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The mere fact that Facebook allowed so much nominally private data to leak to third parties would be embarrassing enough. The larger concern for Facebook is that the company signed a deal with the Federal Trade Commission in 2011 that was specifically focused on enforcing user privacy settings. Two former FTC officials told The Washington Post this week that allowing user data to be disclosed to third parties may have violated the terms of that 2011 agreement, which could potentially expose Facebook to large fines.

https://arstechnica.com:443/tech-policy/2018/03/facebooks-cambridge-analytica-scandal-explained/

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 aquarian1 
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Thanks - I heard about metadata collection, which is one thing - but recording actual content (i.e. actual calls and text messages) would put FB in the NSA/PRISM category - I don't believe FB would even have the capability to do that, let alone the legal ramifications.

"I don't believe FB would even have the capability to do that"

I think you underestimate the power of billions of dollars. these apps and programmers.

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 aquarian1 
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years ago individuals who were stalkers downloaded an app that turns on someone's smartphone's mic and camera and they could hear what was being said and see what the camera shows. This is people with zero tech skills and some were arrested by police for stalking.

Not only could the content of calls be recorded but also voice of what is happening in the room and the location and the time.

Of am only speaking of technical capability not what some company might or might not have done.

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 bobwest 
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Not entirely new, more like some additional drip-drip-drip of the slowly leaking Facebook news. Still, we should know what has gone on:


Quoting 
Facebook said Wednesday that most of its 2 billion users likely have had their public profiles scraped by outsiders without the users' explicit permission, dramatically raising the stakes in a privacy controversy that has dogged the company for weeks, spurred investigations in the United States and Europe, and sent the company's stock price tumbling.

The acknowledgment was part of a broader disclosure by Facebook on Wednesday about the ways in which various levels of user data have been taken by everyone from malicious actors to ordinary app developers.

"We’re an idealistic and optimistic company, and for the first decade, we were really focused on all the good that connecting people brings," Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said on a call with reporters Wednesday afternoon. "But it’s clear now that we didn’t focus enough on preventing abuse and thinking about how people could use these tools for harm as well."

Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2018/04/04/facebook-said-the-personal-data-of-most-its-2-billion-users-has-been-collected-and-shared-with-outsiders/?utm_term=.b8321a28aa9f

The collecting and sharing of information as a social good is almost an article of faith among many in the technology industry. And it did sound good. Zuckerberg is being honest when he calls Facebook an "idealistic company." He does believe in it. He also has made some money with it, which is not bad in itself.

But it really is not that they simply "didn't focus enough" on safeguarding the information they collected -- they didn't really understand who it belongs to, and that having the users click on "I Accept" to a long End User License Agreement, which they know that no one is going to read, is just not enough to give the company the right to do with it whatever they choose.

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 SMCJB 
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Anybody can scrape data with or without the website approval. If it's available on the internet without authentication it can be scrapped easily. Just like people scrape twitter I would assume that every facebook account in existence has been scrapped by at least somebody.

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Zuckerberg is being honest when he calls Facebook an "idealistic company." He does believe in it. He also has made some money with it, which is not bad in itself.

What makes you think Zuckerberg is being honest?

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Millenial influencers like Zuck use the word "idealistic" interchangeably with "opportunistic." It's just part of the gig.

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Millenial influencers like Zuck use the word "idealistic" interchangeably with "opportunistic." It's just part of the gig.

Well, given 'idealistic' and 'opportunistic' are practically antonyms, this would make for a very good politics piece, à la Bill Clinton's "I did not have sexual relations with that woman"

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All I'm asking is, is this not simply the canned reply for such intrusions on our privacy these days? Is it the first time? No. Last time? No way.

In a manner, we are already accepting of this sort of thing as a global society. We have come to expect Experian/Facebook/Whoeveritis.com to eventually compromise our sensitive information, and in that regard we are de-sensitized to it. For the masses, it's really no big deal.

Elf on a shelf, anyone?

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 bobwest 
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SMCJB View Post
Anybody can scrape data with or without the website approval. If it's available on the internet without authentication it can be scrapped easily. Just like people scrape twitter I would assume that every facebook account in existence has been scrapped by at least somebody.

You're right about this: screen scraping is simple. You just capture the screen and have an automated process to pull off the data.

But there's more to it. The referenced article in the Post has been significantly revised, for the better. The point is that by default essentially all the user data is publicly available, which may not have been what the average user believed. If it had not been publicly available, it could not have been scraped.

Also, this is not the same as what Cambridge Analytica used, which was a targeted data mining program (and which is a tool that FB does make available, for a fee, to others.)

The point I am making is not that FB was wicked, just careless. But this is bad enough. Yes, it's the users' fault too. They were too trusting. But apparently harvesting user data this way is what exposed essentially everyone on FB, and the issue is that FB made it easy.

It is worth reading the whole thing. Here is an excerpt of the revised article, expanding on what was done:


Quoting 
Facebook said Wednesday that “malicious actors” took advantage of search tools on its platform, making it possible for them to discover the identities and collect information on most of its 2 billion users worldwide.

The revelation came amid rising acknowledgement by Facebook about its struggles to control the data it gathers on users. Among the announcements Wednesday was that Cambridge Analytica, a political consultancy hired by President Trump and other Republicans, had improperly gathered detailed Facebook information on 87 million people, of whom 71 million were Americans.

But the abuse of Facebook’s search tools -- now disabled -- happened far more broadly and over the course of several years, with few Facebook users likely escaping the scam, company officials acknowledged.

The scam started when malicious hackers harvested email addresses and phone numbers on the so-called “Dark Web,” where criminals post information stolen from data breaches over the years. Then the hackers used automated computer programs to feed the numbers and addresses into Facebook’s “search” box, allowing them to discover the full names of people affiliated with the phone numbers or addresses, along with whatever Facebook profile information they chose to make public, often including their profile photos and hometown.

“We built this feature, and it’s very useful. There were a lot of people using it up until we shut it down today,” Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said in a call with reporters Wednesday.

Facebook said in a blog post Wednesday, “Given the scale and sophistication of the activity we’ve seen, we believe most people on Facebook could have had their public profile scraped.”

Facebook users could have blocked this search function, which was turned on by default, by tweaking their settings to restrict finding their identities by using phone numbers or email addresses. But research has consistently shown that users of online platforms rarely adjust default privacy settings and often fail to understand what information they are sharing.

Hackers also abused Facebook’s account recovery function, by pretending to be legitimate users who had forgotten account details. Facebook’s recovery system served up names, profile pictures and links to the public profiles themselves. This tool could also be blocked in privacy settings.

Names, phone numbers, email addresses and other personal information amount to critical starter kits for identity theft and other malicious online activity, experts on Internet crime say. The Facebook hack allowed bad actors to tie raw data to people’s real identities and build fuller profiles of them.
Privacy experts had issued warnings that the phone number and email address lookip tool left Facebook users’ data exposed.

Read the whole thing here:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2018/04/04/facebook-said-the-personal-data-of-most-its-2-billion-users-has-been-collected-and-shared-with-outsiders/?utm_term=.c9aab6cbbae3

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 bobwest 
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bobwest View Post
The collecting and sharing of information as a social good is almost an article of faith among many in the technology industry. And it did sound good. Zuckerberg is being honest when he calls Facebook an "idealistic company." He does believe in it. He also has made some money with it, which is not bad in itself.

But it really is not that they simply "didn't focus enough" on safeguarding the information they collected -- they didn't really understand who it belongs to, and that having the users click on "I Accept" to a long End User License Agreement, which they know that no one is going to read, is just not enough to give the company the right to do with it whatever they choose.

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What makes you think Zuckerberg is being honest?

I was trying to make a point about a Silicon Valley mindset, which is summed up in the now-old slogan, "Information wants to be free."

What this means is that there should be no restrictions on the flow and exchange of information. This has been the mantra of social media during its period of explosive growth.

Now, do I think Zuckerberg is "honest"? Not in every sense of the word, no. But in the sense that he really does think that everyone benefits from the fullest sharing of information, yes. I think he is being honest about that simply because he does really believe it, and has said so. It's the whole idea behind Facebook. He also does believe that it's an idealistic idea, which will make the world better.

I think this idea is wrong, because it is irresponsible. It also has made Zuckerberg rich, which is not at all incidental. People do believe, and try to justify, what makes them money.

My point is that there have to be restrictions on the sharing of information, and unlimited openness is not better, when the people involved, whose information it is, discover that the sharing has exposed more than they wanted.

(It's easy to say that it's just the dumb users' fault. Well, it is in part. But FB made it very easy for them to put all this data out there, because that's what FB wanted, and also put to use.)

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What this means is that there should be no restrictions on the flow and exchange of information. This has been the mantra of social media during its period of explosive growth.

Now, do I think Zuckerberg is "honest"? Not in every sense of the word, no. But in the sense that he really does think that everyone benefits from the fullest sharing of information, yes. I think he is being honest about that simply because he does really believe it, and has said so. It's the whole idea behind Facebook. He also does believe that it's an idealistic idea, which will make the world better.

Thx for clarifying. I still believe Zuckerberg's goal is not really 'world's connectedness', as much as FB repeats it as a mantra. He said it of course, because he must say it. I do believe corporations must be answerable to their investors whom, after all is said and done, care about only one thing: profits. If any CEO does not serve their investors base by pursuing growth which in turns translates into greater shareholder value they would be derelict in their duty.

Still, as you rightly pointed out, anyone's agenda needs a motto (which must serve as a justification to the cause) and FB's motto is the one you quoted about world's being connected and all.

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Thx for clarifying. I still believe Zuckerberg's goal is not really 'world's connectedness', as much as FB repeats it as a mantra. He said it of course, because he must say it. I do believe corporations must be answerable to their investors whom, after all is said and done, care about only one thing: profits. If any CEO does not serve their investors base by pursuing growth which in turns translates into greater shareholder value they would be derelict in their duty.

Still, as you rightly pointed out, anyone's agenda needs a motto (which must serve as a justification to the cause) and FB's motto is the one you quoted about world's being connected and all.

Well, yeah.

But I want to slam on the brakes about connecting the world. It's a good thing, and will happen, but it's not an unconditional good unless there are safeguards too.

Of course, Zuckerberg knows how he makes his money. He should be criticized for how he does that, if/when he oversteps the line with other peoples' data.

But basically, I'm against the motto.

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Rrrracer View Post
We have come to expect Experian/Facebook/Whoeveritis.com to eventually compromise our sensitive information, and in that regard we are de-sensitized to it. For the masses, it's really no big deal.

The huge difference in those two (Experian vs Facebook) is that one you signed up for and while you hoped you weren't comprised you knew there was a risk you would be, while the other is somebody collecting data on you that you can not stop. While people seem so much more upset about Facebook, I'm a lot more upset about Experian, but maybe thats just because I don't use social media at all.

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Of course, Zuckerberg knows how he makes his money. He should be criticized for how he does that, if/when he oversteps the line with other peoples' data.
.

Thx Bob. I wanted to elaborate on my earlier post and expand on the feeling of distrust I have always had for platforms who insist on the fact that you should register your own details under your real name, (which I typically never do), FB being on top of the list:

I don't know how many people know this but Zuckerberg, in FB's infancy stage, defined a group of about 4,000 users who had trusted him with their own data as - and I quote - "dumb f*cks". This is not something unconfirmed, as I remember reading back then that, when confronted, he admitted as much and he said he was very young and now he had grown (but then, when caught red-handed with information you simply cannot refute, what could one in his position say, really). Details of the story here, or simply google "mark zuckerberg dumb f*cks".

There's links there to other quite disturbing stuff such as this, which has never been substantiated and chances are never will. That does not make it less worrying, in my mind.

The point I wanted to make is that in my opinion he was well aware from the start that the more FB's users would give up their privacy the more he stood to profit as FB's business model is based almost entirely on targeted advertisement. They have been intentionally careless in their lack of data privacy awareness to the public for this very reason, as any corporation that, throughout history, has been found negligent in some aspect or other in the name of profit. That's my view anyway.

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The point I wanted to make is that in my opinion he was well aware from the start that the more FB's users would give up their privacy the more he stood to profit as FB's business model is based almost entirely on targeted advertisement. They have been intentionally careless in their lack of data privacy awareness to the public for this very reason, as any corporation that, throughout history, has been found negligent in some aspect or other in the name of profit. That's my view anyway.

Yeah, I pretty much agree. I also remember the dumb fucks comment.

Unfortunately, it's true. It also says something about FB, I think.

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The huge difference in those two (Experian vs Facebook) is that one you signed up for and while you hoped you weren't comprised you knew there was a risk you would be, while the other is somebody collecting data on you that you can not stop. While people seem so much more upset about Facebook, I'm a lot more upset about Experian, but maybe thats just because I don't use social media at all.

I am way more concerned about Experian, and the other rating agencies.

The rating guys stay in the background, unnoticed unless they mess up your data -- report things wrong-- or get hacked, which they have and will again. Also, credit issuers use them, and you don't have a choice about whether they will. Which is also a concern.

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bobwest View Post
unnoticed unless they mess up your data

Off topic - but even then the onerous is on you to prove beyond a doubt that they are wrong.

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Off topic - but even then the onerous is on you to prove beyond a doubt that they are wrong.

I wouldn't call that off topic. It's part of the whole thing.

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bobwest View Post
I was trying to make a point about a Silicon Valley mindset, which is summed up in the now-old slogan, "Information wants to be free."

What this means is that there should be no restrictions on the flow and exchange of information. This has been the mantra of social media during its period of explosive growth.

Now, do I think Zuckerberg is "honest"? Not in every sense of the word, no. But in the sense that he really does think that everyone benefits from the fullest sharing of information, yes. I think he is being honest about that simply because he does really believe it, and has said so. It's the whole idea behind Facebook. He also does believe that it's an idealistic idea, which will make the world better.

I think this idea is wrong, because it is irresponsible. It also has made Zuckerberg rich, which is not at all incidental. People do believe, and try to justify, what makes them money.

My point is that there have to be restrictions on the sharing of information, and unlimited openness is not better, when the people involved, whose information it is, discover that the sharing has exposed more than they wanted.

(It's easy to say that it's just the dumb users' fault. Well, it is in part. But FB made it very easy for them to put all this data out there, because that's what FB wanted, and also put to use.)

Bob.

To make as much money as possible.

True, it is all about human pschyology, most want to be known, liked, supported and FB taps into these basic human emotions. Most the kids today want to be social media stars also

It is one of the reasons FB is so valuable to advertise on. 2 billion and growing users sharing their information. The value of FB is evident in the last month, with all the negative press it is still holding strong around $158.

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I read this the other day.... I’m afraid it’s a good idea.

Don’t get me wrong..... I’m constantly polishing my mirror, or at least trying to.... pregnant with my soul, as I am, working hard to foster growth of my “limbs and organs” ...namely truthfulness... trustworthiness ... honesty... integrity.....

https://%20www.wsj.com/articles/you-werent-born-in-1910-why-people-lie-to-facebook-1522682361

I barely use Facebook... can’t remember the last time I did something over there. Prefer Twitter.

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Blash View Post
I read this the other day.... I’m afraid it’s a good idea.

Don’t get me wrong..... I’m constantly polishing my mirror, or at least trying to.... pregnant with my soul, as I am, working hard to foster growth of my “limbs and organs” ...namely truthfulness... trustworthiness ... honesty... integrity.....


I barely use Facebook... can’t remember the last time I did something over there. Prefer Twitter.

Ron

Hey Ron, good to see you around buddy.......

I don't have a WSJ subscription but if the first few lines of the article are anything to go by,


Quoting 
WASHINGTON—When news of an enormous Facebook breach broke last month, Chris Wellens couldn’t help feeling a little smug. After all, nearly all the information the technology executive had given the social media giant was false.

Consumers, wary of how their information is being used, lie about everything from names to birth dates to professions when companies ask for personal details online. Some are worried about identity theft, some just want to protect their privacy and some hope to fool advertisers by intentionally mucking...

I totally support this, in fact it's kinda the point of the whole thread.

What I mean is this: after the boom that Big Data carried with it, to me it was obvious that, sooner or later, data breaches were going to happen; some worse than others (in fact, I fear we have not seen the worst by far, yet).

When you do business transactions online (such as shopping, paying for goods or services, etc.) you of course must provide your true details. The same goes for government correspondence, for instance; or financial related organizations.

But there isn't much else - in my view - that the average online user should trust.

I keep reading scary stories in the press about ways how data are mishandled.

Today's apps and systems give you the option to link
  • multiple email addresses
  • your YouTube account
  • your Twitter account
  • your Facebook account
  • your LinkedIn account
  • ....and many more

In other words, by providing these apps with real details, one is gift-wrapping a set of online fingerprints which is very easily distinguishable from others to, potentially, being able to identify quite precisely an individual.

Just for fun, a couple of times I tried to look up names of people on several social media platforms. I am talking here about common people, like you and me, and it's so damn easy to find the same individual on all these systems.

The NSA already has systems that are able to link these platforms together.

How simple would that be for somebody with more nefarious purposes to do the same?

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Found a way to make a pdf of it for you. IMHO WSJ is an outstanding paper....

Privacy in the digital age-wsj-printing-you-weren-t-born-1905_-why-people-lie-facebook.pdf

Ron



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Hey Ron, good to see you around buddy.......

I don't have a WSJ subscription but if the first few lines of the article are anything to go by,



I totally support this, in fact it's kinda the point of the whole thread.

What I mean is this: after the boom that Big Data carried with it, to me it was obvious that, sooner or later, data breaches were going to happen; some worse than others (in fact, I fear we have not seen the worst by far, yet).

When you do business transactions online (such as shopping, paying for goods or services, etc.) you of course must provide your true details. The same goes for government correspondence, for instance; or financial related organizations.

But there isn't much else - in my view - that the average online user should trust.

I keep reading scary stories in the press about ways how data are mishandled.

Today's apps and systems give you the option to link
  • multiple email addresses
  • your YouTube account
  • your Twitter account
  • your Facebook account
  • your LinkedIn account
  • ....and many more

In other words, by providing these apps with real details, one is gift-wrapping a set of online fingerprints which is very easily distinguishable from others to, potentially, being able to identify quite precisely an individual.

Just for fun, a couple of times I tried to look up names of people on several social media platforms. I am talking here about common people, like you and me, and it's so damn easy to find the same individual on all these systems.

The NSA already has systems that are able to link these platforms together.

How simple would that be for somebody with more nefarious purposes to do the same?


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Found a way to make a pdf of it for you. IMHO WSJ is an outstanding paper....

Thanks Ron. I support the ideas in the article, except in some cases. For example, I would never intentionally misspell my real name when giving it to an airline company. I have heard of cases where travellers have had problems for a single letter out of place. It may be less stringent in the US when one travels domestically (I don't know), but better not risk it, IMO.

In other words, when intentionally misleading people could get you in trouble, that's where I draw the line.

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For the less textually and more visually-inclined, a couple of short videos about the recent FB scandal (and its roots)





Looking forward to PBS's Frontline this fall about it.

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And the information Google keeps on you, makes Facebook look amateurish.

This is a twitter thread by Dylan Curran whose bio says he's a privacy consulatant. If you have twitter I would recommend you read the thread itself as there are dozens of interesting graphics.



If you don't have twitter then this is the text

Want to freak yourself out? I'm gonna show just how much of your information the likes of Facebook and Google store about you without you even realising it

1. https://www.google.com/maps/timeline?pb … Google stores your location (if you have it turned on) every time you turn on your phone, and you can see a timeline from the first day you started using Google on your phone

2. This is every place I have been in the last twelve months in Ireland, going in so far as the time of day I was in the location and how long it took me to get to that location from my previous one

3. https://myactivity.google.com/myactivity Google stores search history across all your devices on a separate database, so even if you delete your search history and phone history, Google STILL stores everything until you go in and delete everything, and you have to do this on all devices

4. https://adssettings.google.com/ Google creates an advertisement profile based on your information, including your location, gender, age, hobbies, career, interests, relationship status, possible weight (need to lose 10lbs in one day?) and income

5. Google stores information on every app and extension you use, how often you use them, where you use them, and who you use them to interact with (who do you talk to on facebook, what countries are you speaking with, what time you go to sleep at) https://security.google.com/settings/security/permissions

6. [yt]https://www.youtube.com/feed/history/search_history[/yt] … Google stores ALL of your YouTube history, so they know whether you're going to be a parent soon, if you're a conservative, if you're a progressive, if you're Jewish, Christian, or Muslim, if you're feeling depressed or suicidal, if you're anorexic...

7. Google offers an option to download all of the data it stores about you, I've requested to download it and the file is 5.5GB BIG, which is roughly 3 MILLION Word documents https://www.google.com/settings/takeout

8. https://www.google.com/settings/takeout This link includes your bookmarks, emails, contacts, your Google Drive files, all of the above information, your YouTube videos, the photos you've taken on your phone, the businesses you've bought from, the products you've bought through Google...

9. Your calendar, your Google hangout sessions, your location history, the music you listen to, the Google books you've purchased, the Google groups you're in, the websites you've created, the phones you've owned, the pages you've shared, how many steps you walk in a day...

10. Facebook offers a similar option to download all your information, mine was roughly 600mb, which is roughly 400,000 Word documents

11. This includes every message you've ever sent or been sent, every file you've ever sent or been sent, all the contacts in your phone, and all the audio messages you've ever sent or been sent

12. Facebook also stores what it think you might be interested in based off the things you've liked and what you and your friends talk about (I apparently like the topic 'Girl')

13. Somewhat pointlessly, they also store all the stickers you've ever sent on Facebook (I have no idea why they do this, it's just a joke at this stage)

14. They also store every time you log into Facebook, where you logged in from, what time, and from what device

15. And they store all the applications you've ever had connected to your Facebook account, so they can guess I'm interested in politics and web and graphic design, that I was single between X and Y period with the installation of Tinder, and I got a HTC phone in November...

16. Side-note, if you have Windows 10 installed, this is a picture of JUST the privacy options with 16 different sub-menus, which have all of the options enabled by default when you install Windows 10

17. This includes tracking where you are, what applications you have installed, when you use them, what you use them for, access to your webcam and microphone at any time, your contacts, your e-mails, your calendar, your call history, the messages you send and receive...

18. The files you download, the games you play, your photos and videos, your music, your search history, your browsing history, even what RADIO stations you listen to

19. This is one of the craziest things about the modern age, we would never let the government or a corporation put cameras/microphones in our homes or location trackers on us, but we just went ahead and did it ourselves because fuck it I want to watch cute dog videos

20. I got the Google Takeout document with all my information, and this is a breakdown of all the different ways they get your information

21. Here's the search history document, which has 90,000 different entries, even showing the images I downloaded and the websites I accessed (I showed ThePirateBay section to show much damage this information can do)

22. Here's my Google Calendar broken down, showing all the events I've ever added, whether I actually attended them, and what time I attended them at (this part is what I went for an interview for a Marketing job, and what time I arrived at)

23. This is my Google Drive, which includes files I EXPLICITLY deleted including my resume, my monthly budget, and all the code, files, and websites I've ever made, and even my PGP private key, which I deleted, which I use to encrypt e-mails

24. This is my Google Fit, which shows all of the steps I've ever taken, any time I walked anywhere, and all the times I've recorded any meditation/yoga/workouts I've done (I deleted this information and revoked Google Fit's permissions)

25. This is all the photos ever taken with my phone, broken down by year, and includes metadata of when and where I took the photos

26. Every e-mail I've ever sent, that's been sent to me, including the ones I deleted or were categorised as spam

27. And now my Google Activity, this has thousands of files, so I'll just do a short summary of what they have

28. Firstly every Google Ad I've ever viewed or clicked on, every app I've ever launched or used and when I did it, every website I've ever visited and what time I did it at, and every app I've ever installed or searched for

29. Every image I've ever searched for and saved, every location I've ever searched for or clicked on, every news article I've ever searched for or read, and EVERY SINGLE google search I've made since 2009

30. And then finally, every YouTube video I've ever searched for or viewed, since 2008

31. I'm probably on an FBI watch-list now, so if I die in the next few months IT WASN'T AN ACCIDENT, IT WAS A SET-UP

32. This information has millions of nefarious uses and violates multiple human rights, you're not a terrorist? Then how come you were googling ISIS? Work at Google and you're suspicious of your wife? Perfect, just look up her location and search history for the last ten years

33. Manage to gain access to someone's Google account? Perfect, you have a chronological diary of everything that person has done for the last ten years

35. I have also taken a few days off work to partake in any interviews, podcasts, or radio shows that people may want me to do to spread information awareness

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SMCJB View Post
And the information Google keeps on you, makes Facebook look amateurish.

Thanks S. - this post of yours is very useful and valuable.

I remember several months ago I checked the settings of a Google account of mine and what they have the capability of recording is staggering.

You can turn everything off, though, which is what I did.

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 GFIs1 
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After the two hearings with Mr. Z I want to show where FB has clearly crossed several red lines:
If you are a member of FB you are "officially" willing (by accepting THEIR rules) to give a away your singular right to direct where your data goes. This is ok - if one reads the fine print and accepts.
I never did - and am still angry. Why?
Mr. Z said to the congress that any data of FB members are sniffed out. So they get the "friends" and all other contacts of a member like e-Mail, phone numbers and addresses. Then FB starts a fake virtual account of every friend or contact to sniff out anything they do while traveling or when online. Means FB SEES every move you do on your computer even if you are NOT a FB member. Every page you visit... you say it!

Scandal!

I think the fines - especially in USA - will be harsh when first NON-FB members will get to the judges.
Such "free" data collection is not wanted, nor will it be in the sense of any internet user. Today and tomorrow.

GFIs1

PS: for this I am using protonmail.com to get end to end encryption for mail and files sended. No more sniffing

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Mr. Z said to the congress that any data of FB members are sniffed out. So they get the "friends" and all other contacts of a member like e-Mail, phone numbers and addresses. Then FB starts a fake virtual account of every friend or contact to sniff out anything they do while traveling or when online. Means FB SEES every move you do on your computer even if you are NOT a FB member. Every page you visit... you say it!

Did he? I watched 7 of the 8 hours and didnt get that impression.


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I think the fines - especially in USA - will be harsh when first NON-FB members will get to the judges.

In order to sue FB wouldn't you need proof that they have this information? Without a FB account how do you know what they have on you?

GFIs1 View Post
Such "free" data collection is not wanted, nor will it be in the sense of any internet user. Today and tomorrow.

While obviously some people do care, I think the majority do not. If you watched the hearings, the questions where people seemed the most passionate (annoyed?) was when they were accusing FB of being liberal biased and censoring Right Wing Christian Values and not the data loss. In fact I'm surprised how little focus there was on privacy and the data loss.

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Sorry for second post - hadn't seen this earlier...

I suspect if your reading this thread, then this won't be news to you, but just like the Google info I posted earlier was probably scary and surprising, you might also find this surprising. If you read it, watch the 3.5 min video, its different content than the article - for example the Geofeedia*/Police comment at 2:50!

NYTimes :- I Downloaded the Information That Facebook Has on Me. Yikes.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/11/technology/personaltech/i-downloaded-the-information-that-facebook-has-on-me-yikes.html

Really worthwhile read, but some snippets for the TLDR crowd

When I downloaded a copy of my Facebook data last week, I didn’t expect to see much. My profile is sparse, I rarely post anything on the site, and I seldom click on ads. (I’m what some call a Facebook “lurker.”)

But when I opened my file, it was like opening Pandora’s box.
...
One surprising part of my index file was a section called Contact Info. This contained the 764 names and phone numbers of everyone in my iPhone’s address book. Upon closer inspection, it turned out that Facebook had stored my entire phone book because I had uploaded it when setting up Facebook’s messaging app, Messenger.
...
But what bothered me was the data that I had explicitly deleted but that lingered in plain sight. On my friends list, Facebook had a record of “Removed Friends,” a dossier of the 112 people I had removed along with the date I clicked the “Unfriend” button. ... and also ... More important, the pieces of data that I found objectionable, like the record of people I had unfriended, could not be removed from Facebook, either.
...
What Facebook retained about me isn’t remotely as creepy as the sheer number of advertisers that have my information in their databases.
...
Facebook said unfamiliar advertisers might appear on the list because they might have obtained my contact information from elsewhere, compiled it into a list of people they wanted to target and uploaded that list into Facebook. Brands can upload their customer lists into a tool called Custom Audiences, which helps them find those same people’s Facebook profiles to serve them ads.
...
Using tracking technologies like web cookies and invisible pixels that load in your web browser to collect information about your browsing activities. There are many different trackers on the web, and Facebook offers 10 different trackers to help brands harvest your information, according to Ghostery, which offers privacy tools that block ads and trackers. The advertisers can take some pieces of data that they have collected with trackers and upload them into the Custom Audiences tool to serve ads to you on Facebook.
...
Knowing this, I also downloaded copies of my Google data with a tool called Google Takeout. The data sets were exponentially larger than my Facebook data. For my personal email account alone, Google’s archive of my data measured eight gigabytes, enough to hold about 2,000 hours of music. By comparison, my Facebook data was about 650 megabytes, the equivalent of about 160 hours of music. Here was the biggest surprise in what Google collected on me: In a folder labeled Ads, Google kept a history of many news articles I had read, like a Newsweek story about Apple employees walking into glass walls and a New York Times story about the editor of our Modern Love column. I didn’t click on ads for either of these stories, but the search giant logged them because the sites had loaded ads served by Google.

The highlighted point in red is interesting. Google can track you through their advertisements, which lets face it, as the 800lb Gorilla in online advertising, they are everywhere.

* According to Wikipedia Geofeedia is a social media intelligence platform that associates social media posts with geographic locations.

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I watched 7 of the 8 hours

You're a freak of nature!



...just kidding, actually planning to watch that myself.

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means much more than in USA - as you know @SMCJB "smalltalk" does not really exist in Europe. The privacy of a human is more important than gossip for the public.

Now to the news: The EU parliament has decided to invite Mark Zuckerberg to give answers to several groups inside the European Parliament very soon.
For this EU head of justice Vera Jourova had a call yesterday with Sheryl Sandberg (CEO FB) and discussed the data scandal of FB / Cambridge Analytica and others. So it is important to get some distinct answers about privacy from MZ.

The EU parliament is discussing right now to strip some "non-given rights" to use data of internet users in Europe.
That might have strong impact for jurisdiction of bigger scale.

About the data that was collected by FB or Whatsapp or others: I will find out. Sheryl Sandberg said in the telephone call that there are "MORE" apps that were collecting data from members and nonmembers of FB. So the truth will come out to light

GFIs1

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Facebook starts new dating service. What could possibly go wrong?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2018/05/03/facebooks-dating-service-is-a-chance-to-meet-the-catfisher-advertiser-or-scammer-of-your-dreams/?utm_term=.0a19b475b632&wpisrc=nl_rainbow&wpmm=1

Bob.

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16 mins duration



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And imagine what happens when you start throwing in facial recognition software! All you people out there with iphone 10s - all these app developers now have your face as well!

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And imagine what happens when you start throwing in facial recognition software! All you people out there with iphone 10s - all these app developers now have your face as well!

Yes, this post mentioned it. I am wary of using face recognition technology.

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I may have mentioned this before, but this is why every device I own with a front facing camera has a little square of electrical tape strategically placed over it. And fingerprint unlock? I don't think so.

Make fun of my tinfoil hat now, punks!

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I'm confident that the average American, probably even the majority of American's do not have a clue what GDPR is, even after getting 20 odd emails last week referencing it. I also believe that the average American has already shown they do not care in anyway about data privacy (or net neutrality) as long as their Facebook images load quickly. But maybe I'm cynical. TV news in this country isn't like news in Europe. It's nothing other than sensationalized local stories about toddlers losing their mothers in grocery stores, the occasional person getting shot, and any other potentially emotion generating story. Things like national events, never mind world events are ignored - unless of course there is a strong emotion generated which they can sensationalize.

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