Posts tagged Privacy

Pushing The Envelope, Not The Share Button


Step 1: Facebook does something.

Step 2: Everybody freaks the fuck out.

It’s been just over 5 years since Facebook first unveiled the News Feed. The song remains the same. 

This weekend’s Bitchmeme centered around Facebook’s new automatic or “frictionless” sharing. It already works with services like Spotify and Rdio and publications like The Washington Post and The Guardian. And it’s about to come to a lot more places. 

Depending which article you read, this is either: a) the end of sharing b) the end of Facebook c) the future. As always, most critics are leaning towards the former, more cynical options. 

Everyone should quit Facebook.


For real this time though


The reality is what it has always been. Facebook is pushing the envelope. Companies that push the envelope take a lot of shit. That doesn’t mean they’re always right — often times, they’re not. But it does show that they’re unafraid, unlike most companies out there.

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American Censorship Day: Nov 16, 2011

Today, Congress holds hearings on the first American Internet censorship system. This bill can pass. If it does the Internet and free speech will never be the same. Join all of us to stop this bill.

"Greater Choice"


Late last night, I linked to a blog post Google put up and jotted down some initial thoughts. Given the response (thousands of views, 100+ notes, etc.), I thought it was only fair that I elaborate a bit.

Google’s post is entitled “Greater choice for wireless access point owners”. It outlines new opt-out functionality for Google’s location database. I ripped into the post — as did several others — not so much because of the feature itself, but because the post is misguided and disingenuous. In my view, it is probably the worst blog post Google has ever put on their blog. And that’s saying something. 

First of all, this is a post that should not have been written — at least not in the way that it was. Google is building their location database using WiFi hotspots, likely including yours if you broadcast your SSID (your router’s name). Apple does the same thing. So does Skyhook (which is suing Google for ditching their location database to build their own). So do others. It’s a good idea. And it makes locations services much better.

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Facebook is near an agreement that will settle a case with the Federal Trade Commission by making all of its privacy settings opt-in instead of opt-out, reports Julia Angwin and Shayndi Raice at the WSJ. That means that you will not share anything with anyone by default, unless you specifically choose to do so.

Take This Lollipop - Facebook Privacy - Creepy

Great demonstration of how creepy one can get with Facebook’s privacy and information. Warning: it gets creepy.

Facebook Adds Microformats To “Download Your Info” Feature

Facebook has quietly added support for Microformatsto its “Download Your Information” feature, it appears. The addition provides developers with a way to parse the profile information, posts, photos and videos contained in a Facebook user’s account. Although the change doesn’t have a direct impact on what a mainstream user can do with their Facebook data – you still can’t export your Facebook contact list, for example – it’s an important step for Facebook to make in terms of loosening its formerly tight control over user data.

If case you’re unfamiliar, “Download Your Information” is a relatively new Facebook feature, that, upon request, bundles your personal data in a large zip file and makes it available for download from Facebook’s “Account Settings“ page.