EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

07.31.10

The Price of Personal Data

Posted in Marketing, Microsoft at 3:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Story about blackmail using personal data which goes out of hand; a timely reminder of the general associated risks (new Facebook examples)

A READER sent us the following message this morning:

A Warning About Non Free Software and the Microsoft Ecosystem

A Dell technician helping a woman named Tara recover pictures of her boyfiend helped himself to racy pictures and took her on a year long blackmail and con job with love letters, credit card fraud and her nude pictures posted on a “bitchtara” website.

http://www.rgj.com/article/20100729/NEWS13/…

“She gave the technician permission to access her computer remotely and watched as he found the pictures and downloaded them. ‘I trusted him because he was a Dell technician … I’ve been violated. My life’s been violated’.”

This woman’s story is sad but worse things are probably happening all the time. Non free software can not be inspected for malicious features and Windows is completely insecure, so Microsoft, OEM technicians and botnet owners have full access to people’s private documents if they want it. Newer versions of Windows like Vista/Windows 7 actually make things worse by indexing everything the user does and establishing encrypted communications to Microsoft by default. Apple users should not imagine themselves above these kinds of problems.

The moral is that people should only run community administered, free software like Debian GNU/Linux, and should only have them serviced by trusted, local technicians. Nothing can protect people from violations of trust but free software greatly reduces the odds. The Windows EULA gives Microsoft the right to inspect and delete your files at their their discretion. Free software has excellent remote access capability but the user is always in control. Windows is owned by Microsoft and will always serve Microsoft at the user’s expense. Non free software users have even less privacy than the hapless Winston of 1984 who could hide in a corner and write a private diary.

As a case study, let’s use this month’s news about Facebook because Facebook gives Microsoft its data. A lot of users are unaware of this.

Based on a survey published this month, Facebook scores low in user satisfaction and Facebook has also just been sued by Germany [1, 2, 3]. It faces a fine for privacy violations.

Facebook faces a fine from a German privacy regulator for failing to obtain the consent of the people whose contact details it stores.

In other news, Facebook is expected to start sharing people’s personal data with Amazon, which cannot be trusted, either (we gave many reasons before).

Such a partnership could also lay the groundwork for Facebook to get key pieces of data, so it can start to quantitatively value how social recommendations translate into sales. (The company says it’s not getting purchase history on specific individuals.)

Facebook finally admits giving data to advertisers, but what happens when this sort of data gets ‘leaked’?

PRIVACY SHREDDER Facebook is going into overdrive to convince its users that advertisers are their friends.

“Marketers are downloading data on 100 million Facebook users,” says this headline. This data was harvested, which shows how data ends up going out of control, regardless of laws (like Wikileaks shows).

Facebook’s privacy woes continue. This week a man harvested and published the profile details of 100 million Facebook users. If that weren’t bad enough, he then made the file available for free download. You’d think that a lot of companies would be interested in acquiring such data. And you’d be right.

The harvester speaks out and the MSBBC gives him a platform.

The man who harvested and published the personal details of 100m Facebook users has spoken out about his motives.

The MSBBC is actually in the midst of some British controversy this month because Facebook users were called “saddos” on the main Web site [1, 2], which puts the MSBBC down alongside The Inquirer which says: “BBC insults ‘Facebook Saddos’”

THE BBC appears to have forgotten to take its anti-INQUIRER pills and managed to insult the millions of members of the social notworking service Facebook.

“Facebook decides to protect kids after refusing,” says The Inquirer in another article and ITWire says that “Facebook bans fake nipples”.

Facebook is an easy target because of its scale, but the privacy policy still teaches a lesson and the connections with Microsoft offer room for discomfort (the previous post showed Apple’s serious privacy breach). Microsoft tried to buy Facebook.

“Privacy protects us from abuses by those in power, even if we’re doing nothing wrong at the time of surveillance.”

Bruce Schneier

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. Links 21/11/2014: Problems at Debian, Jolla Tablet

    Links for the day



  2. Links 18/11/2014: Linux 3.18 RC 5, New DigiKam

    Links for the day



  3. Special Report: Many Criminal Charges Against EPO Vice-President Željko Topić

    The abuses of Željko Topić, who has gained notoriety in his home country, are rapidly becoming public knowledge across all of Europe



  4. Links 16/11/2014: Xfdesktop 4.10.3, GNU Hello 2.10

    Links for the day



  5. Microsoft is Going Into the Anti-Whistleblowing Business, Dodges Criticism Over 19-Year Bug Door in Windows

    With Aorato acquisition Microsoft helps protect the criminals (from whistleblowers) and with lies about .NET Microsoft distracts from a bug that has facilitated remote access into Windows (by those in the know) for nearly two decades



  6. Reaffirming Microsoft's Long-Known Hostility Towards Net Neutrality, Microsoft Crashed Juniper

    Steve Ballmer is ranting against net neutrality and Juniper's business is in trouble after a lot of executives from Microsoft took over most top positions there



  7. Another Massive Step Towards Elimination of Software Patents as Even CAFC Rules Against Them

    After SCOTUS gets involved in the Ultramercial case, the CAFC finally decides to actually serve justice rather than dogma



  8. The GOP's Patent Reform Plan Not Effective Enough to Stop Massive Patent Trolls Like Microsoft/Nokia

    The corporations-serving GOP says that it wants a patent reform, but another reminder is needed of the futility of the suggested changes



  9. How the EPO's Executive Branch (Battistelli and Topić) Banned Scrutiny and Created Authoritarian Model of Control: Part X

    A look at highly dubious moves by EPO President Battistelli and his right-hand man Topić, whose abuses are becoming hard to oversee or even report



  10. Links 15/11/2014: Linux Mint 17.1 Release Candidate, Popcorn Time 0.3.5

    Links for the day



  11. IRC Proceedings: October 26th, 2014 – November 8th, 2014

    Many IRC logs



  12. The Terrible Joke Which is Microsoft 'Loving' Linux: Nightmares With UEFI 'Secure' Boot (i.e. Windows Monopoly Imposed) Continue to Affect GNU/Linux Users

    A reminder of Microsoft's sheer hostility towards GNU/Linux and long-reaching sabotage of GNU/Linux installations



  13. Patent Lawyers Worry About Section 101 in 'Alice' (and Other Patent News)

    A quick roundup of news of interest regarding software patents



  14. Will Write for FUD (Against FOSS)

    Black Duck rears its ugly head again, serving to show that it is in the business of changing perceptions and not in the information or analysis business



  15. Debunking Several Days of Never-Ending Lies About Microsoft and .NET

    .NET is not "Open Source", it cannot be forked (there remains patent threat), Visual Studio is still completely proprietary and it is expected to come to other platforms only because Windows has lost its dominance and Microsoft wants to perpetually control APIs (with software patents) and hence reign over developers



  16. Links 14/11/2014: LibreOffice 4.3.4, Ads Now in Firefox

    Links for the day



  17. Links 14/11/2014: GNOME 3.14.2, PulseAudio 6.0

    Links for the day



  18. Microsoft Windows is Still Designed as a Paradise of Back Doors, Intrusion, Wiretaps, and Interception

    At many levels -- from communication to storage and encryption -- Windows is designed for the very opposite of security



  19. Forget the FUD About Bash and OpenSSL, Microsoft Windows Blamed for Massive Credit Cards Heist

    Home Depot learns its lesson from a Microsoft Windows disaster, but it stays with proprietary software rather than move to software that is actively audited by many people and is inherently better maintained (Free/libre software)



  20. Windows 'Update' and NSA Back Doors, Including a 19-Year Bug Door in Microsoft Windows

    The back doors-enabled Microsoft Windows is being revealed and portrayed as the Swiss cheese that it really is after massive holes are discovered (mostly to be buried by a .NET propaganda blitz)



  21. Revealed: Microsoft is Trying to Corrupt the UK in Order to Eliminate Its OpenDocument Format-Oriented Standards Policy

    Microsoft interference with Britain's preference for ODF is now confirmed, thanks to a valuable news report from Computer Weekly; OOXML lock-in is being unleashed by Microsoft on Android users



  22. Links 13/11/2014: Ubuntu MATE 14.04.1 LTS, New KDE Plasma

    Links for the day



  23. .NET is NOT "Open Source", But Microsoft's Minions Shamelessly Openwash It Right Now

    The openwashing of .NET continues with yet another publicity stunt that is intended to lock in developers



  24. Links 11/11/2014: GNOME Trademark Dispute Settled, Mozilla Embraces Tor

    Links for the day



  25. Patent Reform Subversion After Republican (GOP) 'Win' in US Senate

    The Grand Corporations Party, or the political party which serves large businesses that are funding it, continues to just focus on a mirage of a 'reform' rather than tackle the real issues where culprits include very large businesses such as Microsoft and Apple



  26. Microsoft-Armed Patent Troll MOSAID (Now Conversant) Wants to Sweep up More Patents for Litigation

    Reports about patent trolls and scope of patents serve to show what the foes of Free software are up to right now



  27. When Courts in the US Attack the Right to Reuse APIs

    Challenging the clueless ruling from the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in the United States (very pro-software patents and anti-computer science), notable programmers write to the highest court



  28. Links 10/11/2014: 2015 GNU/Linux Forecasts, Debian Shakeup

    Links for the day



  29. Links 7/11/2014: War Thunder on GNU/Linux, KaOS ISO 2014.11

    Links for the day



  30. Links 6/11/2014: Ubuntu Tablet Confirmed, Compiz 0.9.12 Released

    Links for the day


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts