You may have been too distracted with questions like, "Did our president's campaign collude with Russian operatives?" and, "Will Congress take away my healthcare and replace it with angry bees?" to even bother wondering, "Will the Senate vote to allow Internet providers to sell my private data?" Maybe you weren't even distracted, and it just seemed too absurd to think about, but it happened!
WhatsApp has a thing for privacy. The contents of the messages you send to other users on the chat platform are encrypted end-to-end, meaning they can't be read by anyone who intercepts them—even WhatsApp. However, they do know things about you and your messages that aren't directly related to the specific words you typed, and they're going to let Facebook in on that data.
Would it surprise you to learn that men and women have different standards when it comes to their online privacy settings?
If you want your family to be able to unlock your iPhone when you die, you should probably tell someone the password now, because Apple probably won't.
Apple's ongoing dispute with the FBI over whether to develop a key that would allow free reign on guessing a locked iPhone password has inspired some compelling arguments from both sides. Here's another point in Apple's favor: encryption keeps LGBTQIA communities safe all over the world.
So, punish a company for not protecting its clients by...punishing its clients?
Impact Team hacked Ashley Madison in order to protest unethical business practices, and now may have released 10GB of information - the personal information of over 36 million users worldwide - onto the Dark Net.
Hooray! The bare minimum of human decency is now policy!
For A More Civilized Age
Facebook and the NNEDV (National Network To End Domestic Violence) teamed up to create a guide to Facebook security and privacy
specifically tailored to people who are victims of domestic abuse and/or cyberstalking. The guide walks users through the details of changing security settings, what the various privacy mechanisms do, and generally giving an in-depth tutorial on social media safety. Not only is it a great resource for anyone trying to grapple with violence, it is also just a well-written, straightforward guide about Facebook safety for any user.
And That's Terrible
I'm not sure anyone I know is truly happy with their privacy settings on Facebook. Either they don't understand them or, if they do, they find them unsatisfactory. Yet we all keep using the free social networking website. But oddly enough, the site's privacy settings recently caused some strife in founder Mark Zuckerberg's
family. One of his sister's photos was posted publicly online even though she thought it was set to private.
the internet is serious business
Facebook Messages are a seemingly simple offering by the social media giant that the company still manages to make somehow complicated. Messages, mobile messages, Facebook email, the Other folder... You mean, you don't know there's an Other folder? I don't blame you, it's practically invisible.
So, the headline for this post that is way too long to actually use might look like this Facebook Is Still Overhauling Its Messaging System Like Every Six Months, Might Change it So Strangers Can Pay $1 to Send You a Noticeable Message.
It's never good news when Facebook makes changes to its privacy policies, and the changes it's made this week are no exception. The new policies were put into place to allow Facebook to pool user data between itself and its other properties, such as Instagram, but one possible implication of this is that Facebook will be able to mine data from users to target ads outside of Facebook.
what is this I don't even
Here is an obnoxious new development in the Facebook
privacy debate: Some of our friends across the pond might find themselves denied access to nightclubs in the UK -- because they denied a bouncer access to their Facebook profile. No, really. The BBC
reports that bouncers are asking people to log into their accounts
on their phones outside of nightclubs to see if their profile names match their drivers license. Let's talk about how little sense this makes!
At the end of March, we learned that members of the United States Congress
-- meaning the House of Representatives and the Senate -- were officially looking into drafting a bill
that would disallow employers from asking potential hires for private login information for their Facebook
accounts. States had been instituting laws on their own, but after more and more stories came out about people feeling pressured to hand over their private information by someone in the position of giving them a job, Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal
said that enough was enough -- this is something that needs to be dealt with on a national level. And now, the Social Networking Online Protection Act
has made it to the House of Representatives while the Senate continues to work on their own version. Important question: Do we get to call it SNOPA? I'm going to call it SNOPA.
Rights of Passage
Your "small government" lawmakers are at it again, passing laws in the U.S. House of Representatives
that give the government -- namely, agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security
and the National Security Agency
-- the power to basically obliterate your privacy -- in this case, via private businesses, namely large corporations. The good news is that President Obama
has threatened to veto the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA
) if it made its way through Congress, due to its vastly overreaching provisions. However, while he has come out against the House bill, what if the Senate tones things down a bit?
In this world where online privacy -- or more accurately the lack thereof -- is becoming more and more of an issue for many, there is no lack of complaints, but a distinct lack of solutions. One man thinks he has the way to put an end to this. Nicholas Merrill wants to start an Internet service provider with one thing at the forefront of its policy: Respecting user privacy. By means both technological and policy related, Merrill's in utero service would fight tooth and nail to keep its customers information from getting into the hands of anyone who doesn't need to see it. With bills like CISPA on the horizon, he could stand to find quite a few customers.
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.
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?"
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.