Should reporters pay government employees bribes for leaked info?

FBI agents were enticed to spill the goods from reporters who plied them with meals, invitations to parties, tickets to sporting events and golf outings

Source: FBI Report Shows Leak Investigators Leak Like a Sieve – Bloomberg

From the IG report:

“FBI employees received tickets to sporting events from journalists, went on golfing outings with media representatives, were treated to drinks and meals after work by reporters, and were the guests of journalists at nonpublic social events,”

Can you spot the problems with reporters paying bribes to government employees for favors? Think about that for a while if its not obvious …

#Facebook admits they support age and gender discrimination in advertising

  • “Like other major ad platforms, we enable targeting based on age and gender”

Because, you know, everyone discriminates based on age and gender so we do it too!

They also have features to target ads based on race and ethnicity. Which also means they enable advertisers to discriminate by race and ethnicity for say, things like housing or jobs. Facebook mostly hems and haws and says its a hard problem to solve.

Facebook can not prohibit racial, ethnic and gender discrimination automatically so they have instead created policies telling advertisers that discrimination is naughty so do not do that.

Source: US Congress

 

#Facebook logs everything about you, including much that you would never expect them to collect

In a document provided to Congress by Facebook we learn that Facebook is a massive spying operation recording everything about you, including the names of files on your device, data about other devices on your network or near to you (including from people who never gave Facebook permission), and records things you buy from other web sites (meaning, not on Facebook – see note)... literally, everything. Mark Zuckerberg repeatedly lies about the massive spy operation conducted by Facebook.

1. information from “computers, phones, connected TVs, and other web-connected devices,” as well as your “internet service provider or mobile operator”
2. “mouse movements” on your computer
3. “app and file names” (and the types of files) on your devices
….
6. information “about other devices that are nearby or on their network”
….
11. “purchases [users] make” on off-Facebook websites
12. contact information “such as an address book” and, for Android users, “call log or SMS log history” if synced, for finding “people they may know”

….
14. “location of a photo or the date a file was created” through the file’s metadata
15. information through your device’s settings, such as “GPS location, camera, or photos
16. information about your “online and offline actions” and purchases from third-party data providers
17. “device IDs, and other identifiers, such as from games, apps or accounts users use

Source: Here Are 18 Things You Might Not Have Realized Facebook Tracks About You

Note

When I visit Amazon.com, a total of 25 “trackers” are invoked, including from DoubleClick, Yahoo, Advertising.com, Taboola, Adobe and many, many more.  A visit to Walmart indicates Facebook Custom Audiences are tracking us. Target shows Bing advertising tracking, Google tracking and many more in use.

Google Reads All of Your Email and Stores Detailed Notes About Your Correspondence

If you go to your Google Dashboard and poke around, you’ll find that Google actively and automatically reads all your emails.

No – not scans your emails – Google uses artificial intelligence software systems to read, analyze and interpret your private email correspondence and then stores detailed records about you. For example, I used to use Gmail. Here is some of the information that Google logged (permanently) in their archive based on reading my email.

Google’s spying software recognized each time I booked a flight and interpreted and stored this in their archive. This data is not bulk delete-able – you have to select each order, individually and go through some options to delete each item, one at a time. Which is impractical for an account that has been used for any length of time. It may be possible to bulk delete this data by deleting all of your emails on your GMail account (I’ve deleted most of them already).

Google also read emailed confirmations of purchases and logged this information in their database:

Because I used to be a user of GMail, and all of my Amazon purchases were confirmed with an email sent to my GMail account, Google has a detailed record of every purchase I ever made on Amazon and EBay.

Google claims that as of 2017, they have stopped reading emails for the purpose of ad targeting. Then why are they assembling this database of purchases? What is it being used for? I have been unable to find an explanation of why this information is collected.

They do note in the pages of “privacy” stuff that they scan emails. Note the bullet point “Order receipts or confirmations received in GMail” – which confirms their machine intelligence reads all of your emails, makes notes, and logs their interpretation. We do not know what Google does with this information.

Without question, Google is reading your financial related emails and bills/invoices from services such as your utility company.

Presumably Google is also reading personal information such as emails that may contain medical and financial information. Including emails you have sent to and from your spouse.

I RECOMMEND EVERYONE AVOID USING GOOGLE SERVICES. VERIZON/YAHOO ACKNOWLEDGES THEIR SYSTEMS READ YOUR BANKING AND FINANCIAL RECORDS SENT TO YOU IN EMAIL.[1]

This is not a matter of whether or not their database of private information is secure (it’s questionable). Because my email address at Gmail was a <common-first-name common-last-name> form, numerous people send me their own private email too! Google reads all of that and draws erroneous conclusions.

Every week I receive email destined for other people, on my account.

  • I have received private correspondence about a divorce proceeding (alleging law violations) that was intended for a lawyer with a name similar to mine.
  • I recently received announcement of someone going to hospice (has since passed away as I received that too) – for someone that was allegedly my father! (My Dad passed away a long time ago – this email was sent to me incorrectly.)
  • I received a full draft copy of the final comprehensive exam of a Paris, France European business school, seeking last minute comments. I could have posted this comprehensive exam online in advance of the exam date.
  • I received an advanced copy of a well known newspaper’s story exposing corruption – the story was intended for the contract graphic artist’s pre-publication review. His name is similar to mine and the item was mis-addressed to me. I could have posted it on my blog in advance of their publication.
  • Every week I receive announcements of bills not being paid or accounts being cut off (not mine but of other people who entered the wrong address).
  • There’s a new Paypal-like service called Venmo where someone entered the wrong email address. I receive all of their purchase info.  If I want, I have full access to their Venmo financial account (all I need to do is say I forgot my password).

Meanwhile, Google is looking over my shoulder and reading emails that have nothing to do with me – and compiling a dossier of all my purchases.

Because of this, I avoid using Google services where possible. Because I have an Android phone, there are some things I cannot readily opt out of. However, I have moved 99% of my email elsewhere. I keep location services turned off when I can. I routinely log in and delete my Google records – of those that I can access.

As we learned by downloading our Facebook and Twitter dossiers, these online services are amassing databases containing large quantities of garbage. This is the dark secret of online surveillance companies – first they don’t want you to know what they collect, but second, much and sometimes most of what they collect is crap. Yet they are selling this crap to third parties to use for advertising and propaganda campaigns.

Facebook and Google are both acting evil and not being honest with us about what they collect (in detailed terms), specifics of what they use the data for and how they use it and who else has access to it (in any form). Most of us now know – vaguely – that these companies collect data. But we do not know why they collect what they do, how it is interpreted, who has access to the information and when, or if, it is disposed of. In the case of Facebook, the public has received about a hundred different explanations and a hundred apologies for oops, we did it again!

Note

[1] Apple and Microsoft say their business models do not depend upon collecting voluminous data about you and selling it to other people. Both companies sell products and services directly, rather than selling access to dossiers. Microsoft says they only collect personal information when it is used specifically to improve your experience and then only for that purpose. It is not used for advertising, they say. This suggests email provided by Apple or Microsoft has less spying going on than those of the ad-based companies. A former Microsoft information security manager, and a former senior vice president told me that Microsoft is far less invasive than Google or Facebook and both said they have chosen not use to certain social media services because they had read their privacy policies and found them to be, effectively, antii-piracy policies.

“#Facebook Gave Some Companies Special Access to Additional Data About Users’ Friends – WSJ”

This is separate from the apps that had access to friends of friends data such as those affiliated with Cambridge Analytica, and many others.

This is separate from the 60 hardware partners like Chinese phone maker Huawei, that were given access to private data on Facebook.

This is new – Facebook gave secret access to many additional partners too:

Facebook Inc. FB 0.49% struck customized data-sharing deals with a select group of companies, some of which had special access to user records well after the point in 2015 that the social-media giant has said it cut off all developers from that information, according to court documents, company officials and people familiar with the matter.

Source: Facebook Gave Some Companies Special Access to Additional Data About Users’ Friends – WSJ

Facebook did announce this week that it has cut off Huawei’s data sharing agreement as of this week. But that is not relevant to anyone who has owned a Huawei product the past year or two or three. What happened to our data? Is the data sharing burned into the existing phone’s firmware – hence, ending the agreement is irrelevant?

Facebook has been reckless in its disregard for privacy and continues to steadily obfuscate its tall tales about how they have shared our private data with everyone on the planet – and presumably well beyond the planet, at this point.

Zuckerberg and Sandberg are liars.

‘Looks like #Zuckerberg lied to  Congress’ – Congressman #Facebook #DeleteFacebook

As I posted yesterday, it appears that Facebook executives have been routinely lying to everyone about their massive surveillance network and data sharing systems. Congress takes notice:

“This needs to be investigated and the people responsible need to be held accountable.”

Source: Dem lawmaker: ‘Looks like Zuckerberg lied to Congress’ | TheHill

The New York Times (see earlier post) found that Facebook had signed private agreements with 60 companies who made use of Facebook data. The New York Times demonstrated this by using a 2013 Blackberry device, and starting with a FB account having 550 friends, was able to gather personal data on 295,000 Facebook users.

#Facebook shared “friends” data with EVERYONE #Zuckerberg

Facebook has reached data-sharing partnerships with at least 60 device makers — including Apple, Amazon, BlackBerry, Microsoft and Samsung — over the last decade, starting before Facebook apps were widely available on smartphones, company officials said.

…. Facebook allowed the device companies access to the data of users’ friends without their explicit consent, even after declaring that it would no longer share such information with outsiders. Some device makers could retrieve personal information even from users’ friends who believed they had barred any sharing, The New York Times found.

If true, will Facebook executives be going to jail?

It looks like Zuckerberg and Sandberg have been telling some large fibs to consumers and Congress.

#Facebook admits: Most of its 2 billion users have had their data scraped #DeleteFacebook

Facebook said Wednesday that most of its 2 billion users likely have had their public profiles scraped by outsiders without the users’ explicit permission, dramatically raising the stakes in a privacy controversy that has dogged the company for weeks, spurred investigations in the United States and Europe, and sent the company’s stock price tumbling.

It seems likely that more than just “public” data was taken. Facebook is not telling anyone what was taken (why the secrecy?)

It seems highly likely that the vast amount of private data, detailed in my other post, was also taken, through the “Apps Others Use” data theft system built by Facebook. Effectively, everything everyone ever posted, Liked, plus Facebook’s assessment of each of us – was lifted by potentially hundreds of thousands of apps.

Apps were also able to scrape the posts and profiles of private groups.

Source: Facebook said the personal data of most of its 2 billion users has been collected and shared with outsiders – The Washington Post

Their privacy violations have been vast. It is difficult to see how Facebook remains a sustainable business.

Mark Zuckerbeg is a lying scoundrel.

 

Likely that every #Facebook user’s private data was scraped into third-party databases – everything #DeleteFacebook #Zuckerberg

Prior to 2014, applications using the Facebook platform could download nearly everything posted by users, including photos, Likes, Interests, Groups and more – including from the friends of the person running the app – even items restricted to “Friends only” – and did so without permission of the Friends.

Everything ever posted on Facebook was “Public” to applications that requested access to “Friends” data.

An estimated 10+% of Facebook applications requested permission to access the data of Friends. Presumably most collected a limited set of personal data, but with 9 million applications in existence today, that would be 900,000 applications.

What could they get?

  • Every post you ever made on your Timeline (including those that were to Friends and not Public)
  • Every photo you posted online,
  • A list of every Like you ever made on Facebook
  • Every group you belonged to
  • The Facebook determined list of “Interests” (determined by Group membership, Pages you Liked/Followed, and possibly text analysis)
  • Your family relationships
  • Your religion and politics

Here is Table 5 from a 2015 paper, cited below, capturing the Facebook API permissions in effect at the time. Applications could scrape any of the data listed in the “Friends Data” column, which is essentially everything as “friend.status” refers to timeline posts.

In 2014, Facebook rewrote this programming interface to restrict access to Friend’s data. Apps approved after that point were restricted – however, apps approved prior to that point could continue to run and continue to collect data.

Until last weekend, Facebook had a hidden privacy setting for Apps Others Use.The default settings for this page  had almost every item as share-able. I took this snapshot after I had cleared the settings; Facebook deleted this the next day.

When most every item was checked (and the default was checked) Apps run by your friends had access to all of your personal activity. This included everything you “Liked” on Facebook, plus all Interest and Group memberships – even apparently posts on your Timeline intended for Friends-only.

Consumer Reports noted that applications were sharing data for Friends – back in a 2012 online column (https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2012/06/facebook-your-privacy/index.htm).

An estimated 10% of Facebook applications requested access to your “Friends”. Thus, it is highly likely everything we shared with Facebook, including items to “Friends” only was scraped, including Timeline posts, Photos, Likes and more and are now stored in non-Facebook, private, third-party databases.

It is likely that if applications could this, then major intelligence agencies also scraped this data.

Most apps would not have collected all of the possible data but just a limited subset. However, a combination of several apps, each collecting a subset, could merge their data together to ultimately collect everything about everyone.

News reports about the Cambridge Analytica beach now affecting 87 million (mostly) Americans are missing the story. It is likely that nearly all 2 billion Facebook users have had their data scraped, including what they thought was private information.

Why are you still using Facebook? Facebook is a dangerous platform that has operated for 14 years in a reckless manner.

Reference

Symeondiis, I., Tsormpatzoudi, P., and Preneel, B. (2015). Collateral damage of Facebook Apps: an enhanced privacy scoring model