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November 18, 2013

Google Asks For Help Curbing Secret Surveillance

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Google Asks For Help Curbing Secret Surveillance (via slashdot)

Despite reports that National Security Agency (NSA) analysts complained that tapping datacenter feeds belonging to Google and Yahoo left them overwhelmed with data, the number of demands Google receives for information on end-users continues to rise…


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October 14, 2013

Protection against the Dark Arts: Ways to better control social content

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Protection against the Dark Arts: Ways to better control social content (via Pando Daily)

By Cale Guthrie Weissman On October 10, 2013Even before it became known that the NSA was tracking citizens’ online movements, Web users have been looking for ways to control the information they disseminate online. Since Instragram’s controversy…


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November 29, 2011

Facebook Reaches Settlement Agreement With FTC

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Facebook Logo with PhoneFacebook and the FTC have finally reached an agreement in regards to privacy uses which the governmental agency believes Facebook violated as the company shared more information with advertisers than their members originally agreed to allow.

In charges dating back to 2009 when Facebook changed its privacy settings so private “friends only” message became visible to everyone (such as friends lists) the FTC said:

“They didn’t warn users that this change was coming, or get their approval in advance.”

Under the agreed upon settlement Facebook must have users “opt-in” to any new changes made to the company’s privacy policy which would change the way in which a users privacy is shared. The new system replaces the company’s “opt-out” system which changed privacy settings for all users and then gave them the opportunity to opt-out through a confusing interface of user settings.  read more

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July 19, 2011

Former Reddit Employee Indicted For Data Theft

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Reddit LogoAaron Swartz, a former employee at popular link sharing website Reddit was indicted this week for data theft after it was found that he had stolen more than 4 million documents from MIT and the academic journal and paper archive JSTOR.

District of Massachusetts Carmen M. Ortiz filed charges against Swartz after determining that he had broken into MIT to steal the documents.

Among his various serious charges are wire fraud, computer fraud and “obtaining information from a protected computer” plus criminal forfeiture, charges which could place Swartz behind bars for up to 35 years, while slapping him with a $1 million fine.

When not committing random acts of crime Swartz is actually the found of a non-profit organization called Demand Progress which examined public policy and the internet.

Demand Progress has released a statement in which they state that they don’t believe their founder “broke into” MIT facilities, noting:

“As best as we can tell, he is being charged with allegedly downloading too many scholarly journal articles from the Web. The government contends that downloading said articles is actually felony computer hacking and should be punished with time in prison.” read more

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October 23, 2010

Myspace Leaks User Data Just Like Facebook

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MySpace Profile

We’ve been giving Facebook a lot of guff lately over their privacy flaps, but they aren’t the only large social network giving away user data, MySpace has been suffering from a similar type of user data leaks.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that MySpace user IDs are being leaked to advertisers, which in turn is providing user names, photos, user locations, gender and even the age found on the users MySpace profile.

There is one big difference however with MySpace, unlike Facebook they do not require that a real name, gender or even country of origin is entered. Also, only information that has already been made public is accessible, so while it cuts down the time needed for advertisers to gather information about users, they aren’t gathering information they couldn’t data mine on their own. read more

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