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  • Geebo 9:00 am on October 9, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , privacy,   

    Security breach claims Google+ 

    Security breach claims Google+

    Stop me if you’ve heard this one. A major social network run by a major tech corporation exposes a good size chunk of its user data which the company chooses not to disclose until it’s investigated by the media. Normally, you probably wouldn’t be wrong if you thought that this was another story about Facebook but for once you’d be mistaken. This time it’s Google’s failed attempt at a social network known as Google Plus or Google+ as the search engine behemoth has branded it.

    The Wall Street Journal recently uncovered that a flaw in Google+ allowed user data to be exposed for 500,000 users. While this would be a drop in the bucket for Facebook, this is a massive breach for Google+ users. After the Journal report was released, Google almost immediately announced it was shuttering Google+ within the next ten months. So by August of 2019, Google+ will be no more. In a very Facebook-like move. Google reportedly knew of the breach back in Spring of this year but remained silent on it in order to avoid the controversy that Facebook was undergoing after the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

    Now, we can all joke about how barely anyone we know used Google+ but its impending demise shows a greater problem among the tech giants whose services we all use. Whether it’s Facebook, Google, Twitter or whomever, we use their services in exchange for a certain amount of trust that our personal information will be handled with a modicum of responsibility. Many of these companies have betrayed that trust especially in 2018. If these data breaches continue then these companies are just begging for governmental regulation and considering how divisive and partisan the current governmental scene is, it would make it the worst time for any kind of sweeping legislative change.

     
  • Geebo 10:15 am on August 23, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , privacy   

    New issues show Facebook’s loss of control 

    New issues show Facebook's loss of control

    Facebook has exploded into the news this week with a number of issues that show how problematic the popular platform has become. The first issue for Facebook was when they announced the deletion of a number of profiles and pages that were from Russia and Iran designed to spread false and inflammatory information into the US and other Western countries. Facebook says they deleted 652 pages, groups, and accounts. While it’s commendable that Facebook removed these accounts, this is only a symptom in a larger problem of continuous foreign influence in Western Democracy.

    Secondly, Facebook announced that, in a move similar to the Cambridge Analytica scandal, four million users may have had their personal data compromised. Facebook has banned an app called MyPersonality, a personality quiz as you can probably surmise. Even though four million users is a drop in the bucket of Facebook’s billions of users worldwide, that’s still a significant number of users whose personal information may have been exposed. While it’s an improvement over the 87 million accounts exposed in the Cambridge Analytica kerfuffle, Facebook seems like it’s still leaking like a sieve with our information.

    Lastly, and probably the most damning, the New York Times published an expose on a study that has linked Facebook use to anti-refugee violence in Germany. While the study doesn’t blame Facebook per se, it does allege that Facebook use paired with engagement into hate-filled rhetoric has resulted in a rise in hate-related violence. What concerns me most about this study is how much Facebook hate-crimes based on ethnicity or religion are coming closer and closer to the US. In today’s charged political climate, how long will it be before Facebook lynch mobs finally leave their keyboards and start taking to the streets?

    Facebook has become a virus that has escaped the lab and is creeping through the world’s population and by continuing to rely so heavily on it we’re willingly ignoring the cure.

     
  • Geebo 9:08 am on July 26, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , privacy   

    Facebook loses market value over privacy but not in the way you might think 

    Facebook loses market value over privacy but not in the way you might think

    Yesterday, during an earnings call Facebook announced that the company fell short of projected earnings. While Facebook’s revenue grew by 42 percent over the same time last year they fell short of their $13.3 billion projection by ‘only’ making $13.2 billion. That mere $100 million loss caused Facebook stock to dive around 20% and cost the company close to $150 billion in value. One could rightly assume that the market loss had to do with Facebook’s many privacy and security issues since the 2016 Presidential Election, but many analysts say that’s not the case.

    Many market analysts say that Facebook’s improvement to privacy and security has caused the loss stating that Facebook can’t make money from privacy. It also doesn’t help that the number of Facebook users has leveled off. While it still holds the lion’s share of social media users in the world many are leaving the platform and Facebook isn’t bringing in new users as many young people becoming new users to social media are foregoing Facebook.

    That’s not to say that Facebook is on the verge of bankruptcy by any means. Facebook also owns the widely popular apps of Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger, which many end users don’t really consider as being a part of Facebook. As Slate points out if Facebook can survive this year’s election cycle without a major scandal, and that’s a mighty big if, they could be back on the road to profitability. Whether or not Facebook can strike a balance between privacy and profit remains to be seen. It seems that if there was a new social network ready to make Facebook its MySpace, now might be the time to strike.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on July 23, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Crimson Hexagon, , , privacy,   

    Facebook is facing yet another privacy problem 

    Facebook is facing yet another privacy problem

    Once again Facebook finds itself embroiled in controversy over the possible abuse of user data. If you’ll recall, Facebook was admonished by both the US and UK governments when it was discovered that analytics firm Cambridge Analytica had improperly obtained the personal data of 87 million Facebook users. Now, Facebook has suspended a research firm from accessing its data over surveillance concerns.

    Over the weekend, Facebook suspended its contract with research and marketing firm Crimson Hexagon. This was in response to a Wall Street Journal article that claims Crimson Hexagon has contracts with entities that have ties to US and Russian government agencies. Facebook has suspended Crimson Hexagon’s access to user data over fears that the data is being used to conduct government surveillance on Facebook users. Crimson Hexagon denies this claim and says they only get their information from public Facebook posts. However, it is a bit disconcerting that Crimson Hexagon has over 1 trillion of these posts in their databases.

    Besides the fact that this may be another case of Facebook being unable to keep track of who has its data, there’s another concern here. Facebook is only reacting to these potential breaches only after its brought to their attention by the media. By the time Facebook becomes aware of the problem, the data is already in questionable hands. Is Facebook not properly vetting these data collectors, or does Facebook just not really care about our privacy as long as they’re being paid for our information? Then again, the Cambridge Analytica scandal didn’t seem to hurt Facebook so it’s unlikely this latest kerfuffle will either. What will it really take before the American public realizes that Facebook’s only interest is in itself?

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on July 11, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , privacy   

    Facebook facing fine from UK government 

    Facebook facing fine from UK government

    Yesterday, it was announced that the British government plans on fining Facebook for their role in the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office claims Facebook failed to ensure another company had deleted users’ data. Because of this, the ICO is looking to fine Facebook the maximum amount allowed by British law. While that may sound impressive, the actual amount is paltry compared to Facebook’s net worth.

    The ICO is planning on levying a fine of £500,000 against the social media juggernaut. That equates to around $663,000 in US figures. If this fine is imposed it will no doubt have little to no impact on Facebook since the house that Mark built probably makes this amount in less than a minute. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg could probably pay this fine just from the change cup in his Acura.

    Fines probably mean nothing to Facebook. Even if they were to be fined $1 billion, they could recoup that loss in a matter of days. Facebook won’t enact any real change until governments start threatening to regulate. It doesn’t even have to be the US government as the EU famously got both Microsoft and Google to curtail some of their more questionable business practices. Until then, Facebook will shake off any fine like so many fleas from a dog.

     
  • Geebo 9:03 am on July 3, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , privacy   

    Facebook bug only exposes 800,000 accounts this time 

    Facebook bug only exposes 800,000 accounts this time

    I’m running out of analogies for Facebook’s porous way it retains our private information. I’ve referred to their privacy practices as a sieve and a submarine with a screen door. I guess now I could refer to Facebook as a butterfly net with holes in it as a new bug has compromised the privacy of some 800,000 accounts.

    According to Facebook, If you have blocked someone on Facebook but posted something that was shared beyond friends, such as a post marked public, the blocked person could see your posts. This bug, as Facebook is calling it, is said to have affected around 800,000 users between May 29th and June 5th. This is not to be confused with Facebook’s last faux pas that changed the privacy settings of 14 million users. While 800,000 may not seem like a lot of people compared to Facebook’s supposed 2 billion users, it’s still just a little bit more than the entire population of the U.S. state of North Dakota, or just a little less than the population of San Francisco.

    So, if I had to make a new analogy about Facebook I guess I would compare them to a leaky kitchen faucet. You know the one I’m talking about. It was really bad at first, but you did some home repairs at first to stop most of the leaking. However, it’s still dripping but you never get around to calling a professional to fix it completely. Facebook needs a plumber to fix its leaks before the Federal Government acting as the housing inspector condemns the whole house.

     
  • Geebo 9:01 am on June 28, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , privacy   

    Facebook can’t keep track of where your data went 

    Facebook can't keep track of where your data went

    You’ll have to forgive us for constantly railing on Facebook for its sieve-like tendencies when it comes to its users’ personal data. I can’t speak for everyone at Geebo, but I come from a time on the internet when you didn’t share a bunch of personal information online. Then almost overnight with the advent of social media, we started sharing almost every intimate detail of our personal lives. Even if you post the most innocuous statuses on Facebook, the social media giant can determine so many things about you as this video demonstrates.

    According to a recent report from the Wall Street Journal, Facebook has so much of our data that they can’t keep track of it all. We’re all familiar with the Cambridge Analytica scandal by now but as the WSJ points out, Facebook has also given a lot of our data to companies that are no longer in business and because of that our personal information could be anywhere out in the wild. Once something is out on the internet it’s next to impossible to get it back.

    Again it needs to be said that this is too much information for one entity like Facebook to have. It’s now gotten to the point where Facebook apparently seems to be the proverbial submarine with a screen door when it comes to our personal data. This data can be abused in so many ways by bad actors and Facebook treats it like so much junk mail that it just throws on a table and forgets about it. Unfortunately, the only true way to stop Facebook from abusing our private data is to stop giving it to them, but in a society that’s driven by how many likes you can get for your vacation photos that won’t be happening any time soon.

     
  • Geebo 9:06 am on June 26, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , privacy   

    Facebook files spying patent 

    Facebook files spying patent

    It appears that it’s going to be another Facebook-heavy week again as the social media giant is once again back in the news for more potential Orwellian shenanigans. When Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress, he specifically stated that Facebook is not listening to our conversations through our phones. While that may or may not be true, one of Facebook’s more recent patent filings shows it may not need to listen to our conversations to influence our lives.

    According to several reports, one of Facebook’s new patents is for a technology that would allow a Facebook-enabled device to listen for inaudible tones coming from your TV in order to tell what ads you’re watching and whether or not you’re muting the ads or leaving the room when the ad is on. Once these tones are heard, your device would be capable of recording all ambient noise around it including any conversations going on near the device.

    This is only one of several patents filed by Facebook that the New York Times has referred to as ‘creepy’. Each of these patents seems more invasive than the next yet Facebook says that these are merely ideas and should not be taken as evidence for its future product plans. Somehow, I don’t think Facebook is filing these patents just for the fun of it.

     
  • Geebo 8:59 am on June 8, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Facebok, privacy   

    Facebook screws up privacy…again 

    Facebook screws up privacy...again

    I’m sorry to have to bludgeon you over the head with the blunt end of Mark Zuckerberg again this week, but Facebook once again finds itself embroiled in yet another privacy gaffe. If I didn’t know any better, I’d swear that they were doing this on purpose now. However, instead of giving access to 300 million accounts or possibly allowing the Chinese government to have access to user information, this time they’ve only exposed 14 million users. While 14 million may seem like a drop in the bucket compared to 2 billion Facebook users, 14 million is 1.6 New York Cities or 24 Wyomings.

    According to reports, Facebook developers accidentally caused a bug that changed the privacy settings of 14 million Facebook users. This means that if you changed your Facebook account to be private, or made a post that was only supposed to be shared among friends, Facebook may have changed those options to make the accounts or posts public ones. As is can be expected by now, Facebook’s response has been the usual of we’re sorry and this won’t happen again, until the next time it does.

    One of the major causes of these privacy blunders is that Facebook has virtually no competition. While teens may be fleeing to YouTube in droves to get their social media fixes, Facebook still has an iron grip on the majority of social media users. It almost seems like Facebook’s general attitude toward privacy concerns are, that’s nice but where are you going to go once you leave Facebook? I’m afraid it’s going to take more than a mass exodus of users or government regulation to make Facebook start taking user privacy seriously.

     
  • Geebo 9:16 am on June 7, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Huawei, privacy   

    Did Facebook share data with the Chinese government? 

    Did Facebook share data with the Chinese government?

    I’ve mentioned previously that I don’t normally feel inclined to post about the same subject in the same week. For example, if Facebook makes the news for one of its many alleged data leaks, I try to only post about that once a week. I do this to try to avoid reader burnout on any particular topic. However, Facebook seems to be the gift that keeps on giving with its reported mishandling of user data when it comes to third parties. Now, there are concerns that Facebook may have inadvertently shared user data with a foreign government.

    In an update to our previous post about Facebook sharing user data with device manufacturers, one of those manufacturers has questionable ties with the Chinese government. China-based Huawei is the third largest manufacturers of cell phones in the world. Many within the US government believe that Huawei could allow access to their devices by the government of China which could lead to espionage in the US. This is nothing new either as these concerns have been around since the last two previous administrations. Huawei is one of those manufacturers that Facebook had an agreement with to share user data leading some to assume that Facebook may have exposed user data to the government of China.

    Once again, Facebook is playing catch-up with their possible data breaches as they say that they’re ending their relationship with Huawei even though Huawei claims they never exposed any user information.

    How many more potential data breaches will it take before the public decides to limit the personal information they voluntarily give to Facebook who then gives it to multiple third parties? The US government already seems poised to regulate or break up Facebook, yet the Facebook users continue to sacrifice privacy for the sake of convenience.

     
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