Tag Archives: privacy

Instagram says it now has the right to sell your photos

Under the new policy, Facebook claims the perpetual right to license all public Instagram photos to companies or any other organization, including for advertising purposes, which would effectively transform the Web site into the world’s largest stock photo agency. One irked Twitter user quipped that “Instagram is now the new iStockPhoto, except they won’t have to pay you anything to use your images.”

via news.cnet.com

Incredibly creepy policy shift from the recently-acquired Facebook subsidiary, Instagram.

Four years later, Facebook votes disappear for good | Ars Technica

Facebook’s last user vote has closed, once again with a minuscule turnout compared to the size of the social network in general according to its site governance page. Only 668,872 votes were cast out of the billion active users for a turnout of 0.067 percent. Facebook is now free to enact its new privacy policies without concern for the vote results. The new policy will, among other things, remove the user vote as a necessary step in policy changes.

FBI’s New Facial Recognition Program Leaves No Place to Hide

The FBI has announced a plan to spend $1 billion to build a new type of facial recognition database that will allow the agency to identify suspects and people of interest using security footage from public cameras.

Technically, the Next-Generation Identification program (NGI) is an update to the FBI’s national fingerprint database. Government agencies will now start using a person’s face, along with other biometric data like DNA analysis, iris scans, and voice identification, to determine a person’s identity. In other words, if you have a criminal record, the police will no longer simply take your fingerprints and snap a mugshot; they’ll keep a record accurate enough to let them pick you out of crowd anywhere you go.

via mashable.com

Declaration of Internet Freedom


Declaration of Internet Freedom

internet icon

Preamble

We believe that a free and open Internet can bring about a better world. To keep the Internet free and open, we call on communities, industries and countries to recognize these principles. We believe that they will help to bring about more creativity, more innovation and more open societies.

We are joining an international movement to defend our freedoms because we believe that they are worth fighting for.

Let’s discuss these principles — agree or disagree with them, debate them, translate them, make them your own and broaden the discussion with your community — as only the Internet can make possible.

Join us in keeping the Internet free and open.

Declaration

We stand for a free and open Internet.

We support transparent and participatory processes for making Internet policy and the establishment of five basic principles:

  • Expression: Don’t censor the Internet.
  • Access: Promote universal access to fast and affordable networks.
  • Openness: Keep the Internet an open network where everyone is free to connect, communicate, write, read, watch, speak, listen, learn, create and innovate.
  • Innovation: Protect the freedom to innovate and create without permission. Don’t block new technologies, and don’t punish innovators for their users’ actions.
  • Privacy: Protect privacy and defend everyone’s ability to control how their data and devices are used.

via aaaainternetdeclaration.org

An open-sourced call for basic rights on the internet. I’m thrilled to see this document born in response to the horrendous congressional overreaching we saw in the SOPA and PIPA acts, and hopefully it’s widespread adoption will help curtail crap like that in the future.

Acxiom, the Quiet Giant of Consumer Database Marketing via @NYTimes

Right now in Conway, Ark., north of Little Rock, more than 23,000 computer servers are collecting, collating and analyzing consumer data for a company that, unlike Silicon Valley’s marquee names, rarely makes headlines. It’s called the Acxiom Corporation, and it’s the quiet giant of a multibillion-dollar industry known as database marketing.

Few consumers have ever heard of Acxiom. But analysts say it has amassed the world’s largest commercial database on consumers — and that it wants to know much, much more. Its servers process more than 50 trillion data “transactions” a year. Company executives have said its database contains information about 500 million active consumers worldwide, with about 1,500 data points per person. That includes a majority of adults in the United States.

Such browsing seems innocuous — hardly data mining. But it cues an Acxiom system designed to recognize consumers, remember their actions, classify their behaviors and influence them with tailored marketing.

But the multichannel system of Acxiom and its online partners is just revving up…

via nytimes.com

Check out the uber-creepy promotional materials they offer.

Do you give your phone number or zip code out at the checkout register?

Facebook’s Zuckerberg Says The Age of Privacy is Over via @RWW

In a six-minute interview on stage with TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington, Zuckerberg spent 60 seconds talking about Facebook’s privacy policies. His statements were of major importance for the world’s largest social network – and his arguments in favor of an about-face on privacy deserve close scrutiny.

Zuckerberg offered roughly 8 sentences in response to Arrington’s question about where privacy was going on Facebook and around the web. The question was referencing the changes Facebook underwent last month. Your name, profile picture, gender, current city, networks, Friends List, and all the pages you subscribe to are now publicly available information on Facebook. This means everyone on the web can see it; it is searchable.

Zuckerberg:

“When I got started in my dorm room at Harvard, the question a lot of people asked was ‘why would I want to put any information on the Internet at all? Why would I want to have a website?’

“And then in the last 5 or 6 years, blogging has taken off in a huge way and all these different services that have people sharing all this information. People have really gotten comfortable not only sharing more information and different kinds, but more openly and with more people. That social norm is just something that has evolved over time.

“We view it as our role in the system to constantly be innovating and be updating what our system is to reflect what the current social norms are.

“A lot of companies would be trapped by the conventions and their legacies of what they’ve built, doing a privacy change – doing a privacy change for 350 million users is not the kind of thing that a lot of companies would do. But we viewed that as a really important thing, to always keep a beginner’s mind and what would we do if we were starting the company now and we decided that these would be the social norms now and we just went for it.”

That’s Not a Believable Explanation

This is a radical change from the way that Zuckerberg pounded on the importance of user privacy for years. That your information would only be visible to the people you accept as friends was fundamental to the DNA of the social network that hundreds of millions of people have joined over these past few years. Privacy control, he told me less than 2 years ago, is “the vector around which Facebook operates.”

via readwriteweb.com

Zuckerberg always comes off as very clever, but ultimately elusive — and not trustworthy at all.

His anxiety-ridden, robotic, speech, and manipulative word choice, turns me off, and certainly doesn’t endear me to his point of view.

Reflecting on how deeply I’ve let this guy into my life, and yours, makes me want to cut him out, completely.

FBI pressing for backdoor access to Facebook, Google | via @Engadget

Investigators at the FBI supposedly aren’t happy that social networks like Facebook or Google+ don’t have the same kind of facility for wiretaps that phones have had for decades. If claimed industry contacts for CNET are right, senior staff at the bureau have floated a proposed amendment to the 1994-era Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) that would require that communication-based websites with large user bases include a backdoor for federal agents to snoop on suspects.

via engadget.com

Creepy.

“Girls Around Me” Developer Defends iTunes App

Girls Around Me does not allow anonymous usage of the app. It is impossible to search for a particular person in this app, or track his|her location. The app just allows the user to browse the venues nearby, as if you passed by and looked in the window. The Girls Around Me user has to be registered in Foursquare and must be logged in this service to be able to see anything in Girls Around Me. The app Girls Around Me does not have access to user login and password, authentication is carried out on the social network side. Girls Around Me shows to the user only the data that is available to him or her through his or her accounts in Foursquare, and gives the user nothing more than Foursquare app can provide itself (when you browse venues around you in Foursquare, you can see how many people checked in there and you can see their profiles and photos, even contacts and social networks profile). The aim of the app is to make the usage of this data more convenient and more focused on finding popular and crowded venues.

Girls Around Me, the most recent in a slate of disturbingly creepy apps which aggregate public data from social media networks together to give you a picture of the activities of people you don’t know, has released a statement about the negative press they’ve been receiving. On one hand, it suggests the company didn’t do anything unethical — while at the same time, pointing out just how oblivious many users are to how much data they’re sharing.

Isn’t capitalizing on users’ ignorance still kinda… creepy? Especially when you give it such a stalker-inducing name?

FTC Final Privacy Report Draws a Map to Meaningful Privacy Protection in the Online World | Electronic Frontier Foundation

 

FTC Final Privacy Report Draws a Map to Meaningful Privacy Protection in the Online World

 

Earlier today, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released its final report on digital consumer privacy issues after more than 450 companies, advocacy groups and individuals commented on the December 2010 draft report. The final report creates strong guidelines for protecting consumer privacy choices in the online world. The guidelines include supporting the Do Not Track browser header, advocating federal privacy legislation, and tackling the issue of online data brokers.

 

 

The NSA Is Building the Country’s Biggest Spy Center via @wiredmag

Under construction by contractors with top-secret clearances, the blandly named Utah Data Center is being built for the National Security Agency. A project of immense secrecy, it is the final piece in a complex puzzle assembled over the past decade. Its purpose: to intercept, decipher, analyze, and store vast swaths of the world’s communications as they zap down from satellites and zip through the underground and undersea cables of international, foreign, and domestic networks. The heavily fortified $2 billion center should be up and running in September 2013. Flowing through its servers and routers and stored in near-bottomless databases will be all forms of communication, including the complete contents of private emails, cell phone calls, and Google searches, as well as all sorts of personal data trails—parking receipts, travel itineraries, bookstore purchases, and other digital “pocket litter.” It is, in some measure, the realization of the “total information awareness” program created during the first term of the Bush administration—an effort that was killed by Congress in 2003 after it caused an outcry over its potential for invading Americans’ privacy.