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Category: Facebook

Facebook, Privacy, and Staying Safe Online

Care about your privacy in the wake of all the Facebook news?

Switch to Mozilla Firefox as your main browser. It is now faster than Chrome or Internet Explorer, it uses less memory, and it goes a lot further to care for your privacy online and keep you safe. https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/new/

Use Facebook in a restricted container to prevent it from tracking you when you are not on Facebook: https://blog.mozilla.org/fire…/facebook-container-extension/

Install the uBlock Origin add-on for Firefox to prevent trackers, ads (which are in and of themselves trackers), malware, and other nasties from harming you online. https://addons.mozilla.org/en-…/firefox/addon/ublock-origin/

Install EFF’s Privacy Badger add-on for Firefox to prevent even more tracking that uBlock doesn’t necessarily cover. https://addons.mozilla.org/…/firef…/addon/privacy-badger17/…

This setup will not only help you keep Facebook at arm’s length, it will help you in general to avoid malicious advertisements, malware, ransomware, and various types of web browser hijacking while surfing the Internet. Of course, you can always choose to leave Facebook altogether with these alternatives.

Enjoy, and stay safe!

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What Does Facebook Know About You?

More than you probably thought possible.

A recently released study shows that computer-based personality judgements are more accurate than those made by humans.

This study compares the accuracy of personality judgment—a ubiquitous and important social-cognitive activity—between computer models and humans. Using several criteria, we show that computers’ judgments of people’s personalities based on their digital footprints are more accurate and valid than judgments made by their close others or acquaintances (friends, family, spouse, colleagues, etc.). Our findings highlight that people’s personalities can be predicted automatically and without involving human social-cognitive skills.

spy photoBy analyzing 150 of your “Likes” on Facebook, a computer can figure you out with more accuracy than your closest family members. Maybe it’s time to go back and see all the things you’ve chosen to “Like” on Facebook.

This is more important than it seems at first glance. You may think that it doesn’t matter what Facebook thinks about you. While that is debatable (and probably wrong), it’s what this data can be used against you for that is concerning.

Per a Newseek article about this study, one of the study’s authors talks about it:

…there are also dangers to having machines that can judge people’s personalities and emotional states, says Kosinski. “Like any other technology, this technology is morally neutral, but it can be used for a bad purpose,” he says. “For example, knowledge of psychological traits can help me exert influence over you.” The risk, he says, is that people will lose trust in cellphones and online environments, which is why he believes people should be given control over their own data and the authority to decide whether it will be shared with certain companies.

What you “Like” is only one aspect of the data that Facebook collects about you. It’s easy to overlook the fact that Facebook is watching and learning about you when you are not even using Facebook. Considering that millions of people don’t even know that Facebook is part of the Internet, this is quite profound.

 

Photo by JeepersMedia

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Why I Left Facebook For Good

I have quit Facebook for good, in case you came here trying to find out what’s up. Why have I done this?

Facebook made changes to their user agreement on January 30, and I don’t feel OK about them at all. This article, Get Your Loved Ones Off Facebook, factually sums up everything Facebook can do, and does do, with the information it collects about you, and it might give you the same uneasy feeling it gave me.

The information grabbing and sharing Facebook does reaches far and deep, and it’s not limited to what you do while on Facebook itself. Anything you do anywhere on the Internet where a Facebook Like button is present reports your activity back to Facebook. And that means just about everywhere.

“I have nothing to hide”, you say?

The issue here isn’t what we have to hide, it’s maintaining an important right to our freedom — which is the right to privacy, and the right to have a say in how information about us is used. We’ve giving up those rights forever by using Facebook.

I want to quote the part of that article that gave me the biggest heebie-jeebies, because I know most of you won’t actually go read it yourselves. As of 3 days ago:

Facebook is demanding to track what you buy, and your financial information like bank account and credit card numbers. It’s already started sharing data with Mastercard. They’ll use the fact that you stayed on Facebook as “permission” to make deals with all kinds of banks and financial institutions to get your data from them. They’ll call it anonymous, but like they trick your friends to reveal your data to the third-parties with apps, they’ll create loopholes here too.

Facebook is also insisting to track your location via your phone’s GPS, everywhere and all the time. It’ll know extactly who you spend your time with. They’ll know your habits, they’ll know when you call in sick at work, but are really out bowling. “Sal likes 2pm Bowling at Secret Lanes.” They’ll know if you join an addict support group, or go to a psychiatrist, or a psychic, or a mistress. They’ll know how many times you’ve been to the doctor or hospital, and be able to share that with prospective insurers or employers. They’ll know when you’re secretly job hunting, and will sell your endorsement for job sites to your friends and colleagues — you’ll be revealed.

They’ll know everything that can be revealed by your location, and they’ll use it however they want to make a buck.

And — it’ll all be done retrospectively. If you stay on Facebook past January 30th, there’s nothing stopping all of your past location and financial data to get used. They’ll get your past location data from when your friends checked-in with you, and the GPS data stored in photos of you. They’ll pull your old financial records – that embarrasing medicine you bought with your credit card 5 years ago will be added to your profile to be used as Facebook chooses. It will be sold again and again, and likely used against you. It will be shared with governments and be freely available from loads of “third-party” companies who do nothing but sell personal data, and irreversibly eliminate your privacy.

There you have it. You can still find me here and on G+. For now.

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Security Update – Links & Tips

SecurityHere are some infosec-related resources, tips, and interesting things I’ve come across in the last few days, all of which are related to to cyber security and you. Hope you find this stuff useful.

Edit: Here’s a late-breaker to add to the list:

  • Surveillance Self-Defense is the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s guide to defending yourself and your friends from surveillance by using secure technology and developing careful practices.

 

 

 

Photo by Brad & Ying

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Things I have recently quit

images1. LinkedIn. I deleted my profile and completely quit this most useless of social networks. In all the years I kept up my profile and made connections, I got absolutely nothing in return. Even when searching for a job, it was useless. In retrospect, it’s like the Classmates.com of the aughts.

2. Dropbox. First they looked at user files, then they hired Condoleezza (why does her name have two z’s) Rice as their “privacy advisor.” Besides, I wasn’t really using it anyway.

3. Facebook. Again. But then I had to rejoin. It’s a very necessary evil, unfortunately, being in a band and trying to connect to fans, venues, and clients.

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