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internet privacy

  1. Abandoned by Facebook and Foursquare; Creepy, Stalker-Enabling App Girls Around Me is Pulled by Developer

    what is this I don't even

    Gotta love those stories that you come across late in the day, and then by the time you get a moment to report on them, they've already sort of solved themselves. For about two months now, an app called Girls Around Me has be available on Apple's App Store, and, for what it's worth, it's not that it's explicitly intended to make it easy to pretend that you know a girl, or find a girl who may be susceptible to drunkenly going home with you... Well, actually I take it back, it's explicitly intended to do both of those things. As Cult of Mac expertly summarizes it: "Girls Around Me lets you identify women, find out where they are, look at pictures of them and then research their personal lives, all in pursuit of a 'one-night stand.'" Its creators wanted to make the lives of "ballers and pick-up artists" easier, which, while not my cup of tea, doesn't remove the fact that they're also giving would-be stalkers and date-rapists a incredible convenience.

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  2. The Facebook Privacy Issue Is Heading to Capitol Hill


    The cherry blossoms are a-blooming, and that means it's time for a Washington, D.C.-related post, following the inner workings of the sausage factory we call the government. And in this case, it finally doesn't involve transvaginal probing! No, this is an update to a story we brought you yesterday, concerning the issue of employers asking potential hires for their Facebook usernames and passwords. We briefly mentioned that one U.S. senator was introducing federal legislation to stop that, and now another has joined him. Which leads us to ask: "So, what do you think Chuck Schumer is really trying to hide on his Facebook profile, you guys?"

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  3. Dear Employers Asking For Facebook Passwords: Not Cool. Love, Facebook

    Assuming Direct Control

    Something that is actually happening in the world today is the act of employers asking the people they might employ for their Facebook passwords for the purpose of seeing what a person does in their private time when the company is not responsible for them. If that sounds like a blatant privacy violation to you, then you are not alone. Apparently, just looking for someone's profile to see if they were apt to spend their off-hours drinking alcoholic beverages and other unbecoming things was not enough -- they wanted to actually log in and read everything a person was doing, writing, and posting on Facebook. And now, Facebook is announcing that they are not okay with that and might file lawsuits against a company who did this to a potential hire. And now, this is one of those rare times I'm on Facebook's side.

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  4. Deactivated Facebook Accounts Can Be Used to Spy From The Shadows

    Facebook is notorious for wanting to keep its hooks in you. You'd be hard pressed to get Facebook to delete the media and information it already has about you, and likewise, while you can "deactivate" your account, you can't "delete" it. In fact, you can deactivate and reactivate you account on a whim as many times and as often as you please. That may sound useful, or even convenient, to those of you out there who are both impulsive and indecisive. This ability can be dangerous however; account deactivation can be used to spy on other Facebook accounts from the shadows by using accounts that don't appear to actually exist.

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  5. Facebook Comments Now Searchable On Google, Don't Panic

    Yes ladies and gentlemen, it seems that Facebook comments are finally showing up in Google search results. Google's bots have recently gained the ability to index pages that have AJAX and JavaScript content -- Facebook comments, for instance. Until now, Google wasn't able to index and rank most 3rd party commenting systems (like our own Disqus), but now that they're able to, you can bet they're going to. Concerned about privacy implications? Well, you probably shouldn't be. All the privacy options that are available with Facebook and such still apply, so if your account is locked down properly, you won't see any of your particularly embarrassing drunken rants showing up in Google searches until one of your so-called "friends" decides to submit one to all the popular comedy websites as revenge for a similar, but unrelated tirade directed at him that he thought was completely uncalled for, but that he totally had coming. Not that that's ever happened to me. Definitely not. (But really though, it hasn't.)

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  6. Facebook May Be Hoarding Information About Non-Members, Keeping Secret Dossiers

    Facebook users have started to get more and more concerned about the privacy of their personal data recently. Non-Facebook users might start getting worried as well. A recently filed complaint from Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner alleges that Facebook purposely uses covert methods to coax Facebook users into handing over information about their non-member friends and then hoards that information, creating dossiers on non-users.

    The complaint alleges that mechanisms like syncing phone books and email contact lists, sending invitations, and even search queries are being used by Facebook to not only collect and store information about non-members, but to con members into handing it over frequently and in quantity. As "proof" the complain points out that often, non-users will get invitations listing people whom they know in real life. This kind of information, the complaint suggests, could be being used for less than legal purposes.

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  7. Survey Shows Many Young People Not Upset By Facebook or Email Hacking

    Just recently, Kashmir Hill of Forbes dug through the results of a poll MTV and the Associated Press did about social networking and Internet use among young people. The staggering result she found is that around 21% of the 1,335 14-24 year olds reported that their email, Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, or "other" accounts or emails had been accessed and used by someone other than themselves without permission. The more staggering result is that, of those victims, 22% said it didn't upset them at all, and 37% said it only upset them a little. That's a total of 59% of victims that wouldn't say they were even moderately upset. When asked about whether they thought about the consequences of uploading things to the Internet, mainly that this is no going back, the numbers show that many younger users have barely given this any thought. 41% had given little-to-no thought to the fact that you can never tell where these things will wind up. 44% gave little-to-no thought that stuff might come back to haunt them. 69% gave little-to-no thought that, man, the cops could see this stuff.

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  8. Wi-Fi Picture Frame Steals Your Photos

    Autuin from the Free Geek Vancouver blog recently decided to do a write up of a project he has apparently had sitting around for a few years. This curious device, a digital picture frame, has an interesting little feature that separates it from its contemporaries. It uses your pictures. No, not  ones you upload to it or anything, just ones it finds hanging around once it sniffs out your insecure Wi-Fi.

    While this is sort of an invasion of privacy, Autuin suggests that it's more of a reminder that your privacy might not be as private as you think. Using insecure Wi-Fi is risky and this is intended to write that on the walls, so to speak. He's now looking for a daring, Wi-Fi enabled coffee shop where he can hang it up on the wall. But not before insuring it, since it probably won't last too long before attracting some negative, and maybe violent, attention. You can read about the creation process over on Autuin's blog.

    (Free Geek Vancouver via How-To Geek)

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  9. Etsy Reveals Users’ Real Names and Purchases: Here’s How to Opt Out [UPDATE]


    Hey, do you have an Etsy account? Have you ever ordered anything with it? Have you ever ordered any artisan dildoes? If so, you might want to revisit your account privacy settings, because what you bought might be showing up in Google search results for your real name. Last week Etsy rolled out a feature called People Search, presumably in an effort to give the e-commerce site (with a focus on the vintage and the handmade) a more social network-like place. The feature allows people to search by real name in addition to username, and links both of those identifiers to purchase history. According to Ars Technica, "The goal is to allow users to connect to each other and create "Circles," which then allow users to see which products their friends have favorited or purchased on Etsy." Unfortunately, this change went unannounced (except to sellers) and, in a classic no-no familiar to any Facebook user, Etsy automatically opted all of its current users into the program. And once all that searchable information was available for the culling, of course it wound up appearing in Google search results.

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  10. Facebook’s “Foursquare Killer:” Now Mom Will Know Exactly When You’re Getting Wasted

    With the recent launch of Twitter's Geolocation API, every social startup worth its rackspace has been moving in the direction of locational applications. Now, Nicholas Carlson at Silicon Alley Insider seems to have inside confirmation that Facebook is working on adding capabilities for "checking into" to physical locations through its mobile service. Will parents soon know every time a college freshman hits up a frat party? Will your boss question your frequent trips to the free clinic? Will your significant other notice your repeated, um, "visits" to their best friend's apartment?

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