Need Another Reason to Hate Facebook?

As many of you who have known me for awhile know, I quit Facebook two years ago because of how flatly nefarious they are. The thing that threw me over the edge wasn’t really their sharing of data with the NSA, nor the algorithms they run to effectively become one with the Department of Precrime, but the fact that the extrapolation of “people of interest” in any “investigation” was extrapolated out to a factor of 6 between Facebook “friends”. So, say the Powers that Shouldn’t Be were looking at yours truly for thinking unregulated thoughts, they would include my “friends”, and their “friends, and the “friends” of those “friends, and the friends of the friends of the friend’s friends” all the way out to a factor of six friends away. Frankly, that just creeped me out. We are simply reaching entirely too much singularity and the burden of proof of innocence in any “crime”, be it real or imagined, has become one wherein you must prove your innocence against potentially digitally created guilt.

It’s enough to make one want to go Amish. But I don’t think I could blend…And there are other things, too. So that really isn’t an option. I could almost be a Luddite, too. But I’m not a technophobe, nor am I a technophile. I just believe that technology should serve us and that it can be used for greatly positive enhancements to the human experience. But if you take human dignity and accountability for preserving that dignity out of the equation, we become chattel to the entities controlling the pseudo reality in which we virtually live.

I digress. And no, it isn’t difficult to get me to digress when we are talking about such an invasive and pervasive thing as the issue of human privacy and dignity in the age of technocracy. So, without further adieu, here is the article I wanted to share with you:

Facebook DOES collect the text you decided against posting

Ever written out a status update or comment but decided against posting it? One techie has discovered Facebook collects this content, despite the company’s claims to the contrary

– See more at: http://www.information-age.com/technology/information-management/123459286/facebook-does-collect-text-you-decided-against-posting#sthash.puuUwkvB.dpuf

‘I realised that any text I put into the status update box was sent to Facebook’s servers, even if I did not click the post button’

 

Facebook collects all content that is typed into its website, even if it is not posted, a tech consultant has discovered.

In December 2013, it was reported that Facebook plants code in browsers that returns metadata every time somebody types out a status update or comment but deletes it before posting.

At the time, Facebook maintained that it only received information indicating whether somebody had deleted an update or comment before posting it, and not exactly what the text said.

>See also: War on the data beasts: don’t let Google, Facebook et al control your digital lives

However, Príomh Ó hÚigínn, a tech consultant based in Ireland, has claimed this is not the case after inspecting Facebook’s network traffic through a developer tool and screencasting software.

‘I realised that any text I put into the status update box was sent to Facebook’s servers, even if I did not click the post button,’ he wrote on his blog yesterday.

Referring to the GIF he created below, he found that a HTTP post request was sent to Facebook each time he wrote out a status, containing the exact text he entered.

‘This is outright Orwellian, and inconvenient,’ he said. ‘Since I am now aware of this, I am more cautious about what I enter into the text area.

‘However I can’t help but notice the adverse effect of my new found awareness ― am I experiencing the censorship of my own thoughts because of a faceless entity such as Facebook that doesn’t care about you? I very much believe that is the case.’

There is nothing in Facebook’s Data Policy that directly alludes to the fact that it collects content that is written but not posted.

However, the general ambiguity under the heading ‘What kinds of information do we collect?’ makes it unclear, such as: ‘We collect the content and other information you provide when you…create or share. This can include information in or about the content you provide.’

One thing is certain: most Facebook users do not expect the company to collect the text they decided against sharing.

>See also: Track record: how Facebook is normalising the privacy trade-off

The company faced a backlash in 2009 when it removed part of a clause that promised to expire the license it has to a user’s ‘name, likeness and image’, which it uses for external advertising, if they remove content from the site.

Following a protest campaign, it returned to the previous terms of use. However, it’s unclear what rights Facebook has over content that is not posted.

Information Age has contacted Facebook for comment.

– See more at: http://www.information-age.com/technology/information-management/123459286/facebook-does-collect-text-you-decided-against-posting#sthash.puuUwkvB.dpuf

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They See You When You’re Sleeping…

Amidst all of the issues of violating the Fourth Amendment, as well as just common sense, Yahoo and Facebook are now defending their actions by….(surprise!)…blaming it on the government.

Not that it really matters if the NSA gets permission to do anything, they do it anyway. Very simply, we have no reasonable expectation of privacy. The fact that our thoughts and our opinions are our OWN property that we can share, or not, is now apparently irrelevant.

Not that it will really matter, but I am considering a national drive to have 5000 people delete their facebook accounts on September 17th, Constitution Day. Would that make a blip?

Yahoo CEO Mayer: we faced jail if we revealed NSA surveillance secrets

Here’s an article on Yahoo and Facebook execs:

Marissa Mayer

Yahoo chief Marissa Mayer: ‘Releasing classified information is treason and you are incarcerated’, she told the TechCrunch disrupt conference. Photograph: Reuters

Marissa Mayer, the CEO of Yahoo, and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook struck back on Wednesday at critics who have charged tech companies with doing too little to fight off NSA surveillance. Mayer said executives faced jail if they revealed government secrets.

Yahoo and Facebook, along with other tech firms, are pushing for the right to be allowed to publish the number of requests they receive from the spy agency. Companies are forbidden by law to disclose how much data they provide.

During an interview at the Techcrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco, Mayer was asked why tech companies had not simply decided to tell the public more about what the US surveillance industry was up to. “Releasing classified information is treason and you are incarcerated,” she said.

Mayer said she was “proud to be part of an organisation that from the beginning, in 2007, has been sceptical of – and has been scrutinizing – those requests [from the NSA].”

Yahoo has previously unsuccessfully sued the foreign intelligence surveillance (Fisa) court, which provides the legal framework for NSA surveillance. In 2007 it asked to be allowed to publish details of requests it receives from the spy agency. “When you lose and you don’t comply, it’s treason,” said Mayer. “We think it make more sense to work within the system,” she said.

Zuckerberg said the government had done a “bad job” of balancing people’s privacy and its duty to protect. “Frankly I think the government blew it,” he said.

He said after the news broke in the Guardian and the Washington Post about Prism, the government surveillance programme that targets major internet companies: “The government response was, ‘Oh don’t worry we are not spying on any Americans.’ Oh wonderful that’s really helpful to companies that are trying to serve people around the world and that’s really going to inspire confidence in American internet companies.”

“I thought that was really bad,” he said. Zuckerberg said Facebook and others were pushing successfully for more transparency. “We are not at the end of this. I wish that the government would be more proactive about communicating. We are not psyched that we had to sue in order to get this and we take it very seriously,” he said.

On Monday, executives from Yahoo, Facebook, Google and other tech leaders met the president’s group on intelligence and communications, tasked with reviewing the US’s intelligence and communications technologies in the wake of the NSA revelations.

The meeting came as Yahoo and Facebook filed suits once more to force the Fisa court to allow them to disclose more information.

In its motion, Yahoo said: “Yahoo has been unable to engage fully in the debate about whether the government has properly used its powers, because the government has placed a prior restraint on Yahoo’s speech.”

It went on: “Yahoo’s inability to respond to news reports has harmed its reputation and has undermined its business not only in the United States but worldwide. Yahoo cannot respond to such reports with mere generalities,” the company said.

Microsoft and Google also filed their latest legal briefs on Monday to force the Fisa court to disclose more information.

In a blogpost, Google said it was asking for permission to publish “detailed statistics about the types (if any) of national security requests” it receives under Fisa.
“Given the important public policy issues at stake, we have also asked the court to hold its hearing in open rather than behind closed doors. It’s time for more transparency,” said Google.