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Facebook Will Shut Down Beacon To Settle Lawsuit

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the strategic-retreats dept.

Privacy 101

alphadogg writes "Facebook has agreed to shut down its much-maligned Beacon advertising system in order to settle a class-action lawsuit. The lawsuit, filed in August of last year, alleged that Facebook and its Beacon affiliates like Blockbuster and Overstock.com violated a series of laws, including the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, the Video Privacy Protection Act, the California Consumer Legal Remedies Act and the California Computer Crime Law. The proposed settlement, announced late on Friday, calls not only for Facebook to discontinue Beacon, but also back the creation of an independent foundation devoted to promoting online privacy, safety and security. The money for the foundation will come from a US$9.5 million settlement fund."

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101 comments

What a great fiction! (3, Insightful)

schmidt349 (690948) | more than 4 years ago | (#29477291)

The idea that "privacy" continues to exist in any shape, way, or form in a world where an NSA text-mining system reads every email, text message, blog post, and Slashdot comment you ever write is laughable. Why don't these jokers go after the people who flagrantly violate your privacy every minute of every day?

Re:What a great fiction! (2, Insightful)

glitch23 (557124) | more than 4 years ago | (#29477319)

The idea that "privacy" continues to exist in any shape, way, or form in a world where an NSA text-mining system reads every email, text message, blog post, and Slashdot comment you ever write is laughable.

I'd like to see the article providing proof of that level of monitoring by the NSA (or any other government agency for that matter).

Re:What a great fiction! (5, Interesting)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 4 years ago | (#29477367)

I'd like to see the article providing proof of that level of monitoring by the NSA (or any other government agency for that matter).

Not only is there an article, there was a major governmental investigation. The European Parliament's ECHELON report [cryptome.org] provoked an enormous scandal in nerd circles when it appear. Bamford's Body of Secrets [amazon.com] provided fuller details, many based on inside contacts.

Sadly, things like PGP and interest in ECHELON reports seem to have become less popular among geeks. I wonder why. Sure, one might trust PGP less when there are ways to get around it or compel you personally to give up the key, but it's odd that people suddenly have zero passion for the technology.

Re:What a great fiction! (2, Informative)

ifwm (687373) | more than 4 years ago | (#29477411)

Not only is there an article

No there isn't. The original statement was

reads every email, text message, blog post, and Slashdot comment you ever write

Which ECHELON, while invasive, does not do. Nothing does that, not even the NSA, and there are no articles that show otherwise as it isn't done.

You should try to read for comprehension, you'll avoid errors like that in the future.

Re:What a great fiction! (1)

schmidt349 (690948) | more than 4 years ago | (#29477447)

You should try to read for comprehension

And you need to work on reading anything at all. You'll see plenty from reputable sources on NSA data mining. UTFG man.

Re:What a great fiction! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29477755)

And yet, not surprisingly, we see exactly fuck all from you.

No, sorry, you tried a childish insult, but as far as facts and evidence? Nothing.

So, go try that stupidity of yours on someone who gives a fuck what tossers who make idiotic claims and don't support them think.

Re:What a great fiction! (4, Informative)

ssintercept (843305) | more than 4 years ago | (#29478019)

while i do not know if slashdot posts are monitored, NOVA (PBS) had an interesting documentary called -> 'The Spy Factory'.
for the truly lazy -> http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/spyfactory/program.html [pbs.org]
here is a short synopsis -> http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/spyfactory/about.html [pbs.org]
the most telling part is:
"NOVA follows the trail of just one typical e-mail sent from Asia to the U.S. Streaming as pulses of light into a fiber-optic cable, it travels across the Pacific Ocean, coming ashore in California, and finally reaching an AT&T facility in San Francisco, where the cable is split and the data sent to a secret NSA monitoring room on the floor below. This enables the NSA to intercept not only most Asian e-mail messages but also the entire U.S. internal Internet traffic."

Re:What a great fiction! (2, Insightful)

Tynin (634655) | more than 4 years ago | (#29480117)

This enables the NSA to intercept not only most Asian e-mail messages but also the entire U.S. internal Internet traffic.

I'm going to call BS on that. Their is more tier 1 back bones going through USA than just AT&T. NSA would need to have monitoring setup on all tier 1's in order to really see the entire U.S. internal Internet traffic. Even then there would be fringe cases as not all email/traffic would go through these monitoring points, unless they are setup on the geographical border routes of the country.

Re:What a great fiction! (2, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#29482701)

Even then there would be fringe cases as not all email/traffic would go through these monitoring points, unless they are setup on the geographical border routes of the country.

Those who do not remember the lessons of history are doomed, yo. Remember how we had a big flap recently about telecoms immunity? About how every provider but Qwest caved immediately? Guess what, the phone network is the internetwork. They've got everyone tapped. They are going to see any email that travels any significant distance, period.

Re:What a great fiction! (2, Funny)

lennier (44736) | more than 4 years ago | (#29486019)

"This enables the NSA to intercept not only most Asian e-mail messages but also the entire U.S. internal Internet traffic.":

I pity the poor NSA grunt who's assigned to 4chan.

It's probably a punishment post.

Re:What a great fiction! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29478025)

Google actually reads every email, text message, blog post, and there is no outcry?

Re:What a great fiction! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29478275)

Google told nerds they are "Not Evil(tm)", and nerds (who view technology companies with religious reverence) now take it as an article of faith.

Re:What a great fiction! (1)

TheCowSaysMooNotBoo (997535) | more than 4 years ago | (#29478321)

No, some nerds "get" that google is not interested in whatever the hell it is they are doing.

Re:What a great fiction! (1)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 4 years ago | (#29479297)

This brings up an interesting point about why government needs to be limited. Google's interests are limited and knowable. They are a commercial enterprise, they are interested in anything that might prove to be something they could profit by.

What does the NSA really want to know? why? who decides? We can't answer any of the that....

I don't trust Google, I can't say for certain if any given datum of mine is or is not something they have imagined to be useful and will make an attempt to collect. What I can do is avoid Google with anything I am not entirely with them knowing. I can still use Google's services when I don't care about the information I am giving up. Google can probably make some pretty well supported suppositions about what type of music I like based on my youtube habits for instance, that's ok I like to use youtube and if Google thinks there is product placement or advertising value in profile me in that way fine, fair trade.

What has the NSA done for me lately? what do the know about me? What are their intentions for that information? Sorry I will take Google over the NSA any time.

Re:What a great fiction! (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 4 years ago | (#29480389)

What has the NSA done for me lately? what do the know about me? What are their intentions for that information? Sorry I will take Google over the NSA any time.

I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.

Re:What a great fiction! (2, Funny)

RockDoctor (15477) | more than 4 years ago | (#29482057)

What has the NSA done for me lately? what do the know about me? What are their intentions for that information? Sorry I will take Google over the NSA any time.

I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.

Ah, so it's a low security secret then. Medium security being where you're told as you're being killed (this may make it prolonged and painful to be told complex medium security secrets, and begs the question of what happens if you die with the secret only partly told). High security obviously entails being killed before you're told what the secret is.

The question is not "Am I paranoid?" ; the question is "Am I paranoid enough?"

Re:What a great fiction! (1)

ickleberry (864871) | more than 4 years ago | (#29477635)

I can't be naive enough to think that there is an encryption scheme available to the public that these guys don't know how to crack

The only thing I'd dare to trust (and possibly not even completely) are One-time pads generated with the best RNG I can get my hands on. Either a mechanical dice-throwing machine or something based on nuclear decay. I wouldn't even trust the VIA Padlock RNG built into my server because I have no way of checking that the numbers are actually being generated the way VIA claim they are

Re:What a great fiction! (3, Informative)

Riachu_11 (600557) | more than 4 years ago | (#29477697)

I don't really think this is a concern. AES, for example, was vetted by a lot of very smart independent mathematicians and cryptologists who didn't find a secret back door. And brute-forcing it is impractical even if they have computers 10 Moore's law jumps ahead of ours. You should be much more concerned about being forced to give up your key.

Re:What a great fiction! (3, Insightful)

Anders (395) | more than 4 years ago | (#29477977)

Why do you believe that nuclear decay is random?

Re:What a great fiction! (1)

Eternauta3k (680157) | more than 4 years ago | (#29480035)

Clearly the NSA is supressing papers reporting patterns found in nuclear decay. Wouldn't want people to switch to stronger RNGs...

Re:What a great fiction! (1)

Splab (574204) | more than 4 years ago | (#29482169)

You should probably go see a doctor, being that paranoid can't be healthy.

Fwiw one time pads doesn't have to be that random, it works because you and the recpient are the only ones who has the key, as long as you are absolutely 100% sure of where the pad has been from generated to used there is no way anyone can ever decipher the code. (of course if you are using a compromised computer to generate the code or write the original, you have lost).

Re:What a great fiction! (2)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | more than 4 years ago | (#29477769)

Sadly, things like PGP and interest in ECHELON reports seem to have become less popular among geeks. I wonder why. Sure, one might trust PGP less when there are ways to get around it or compel you personally to give up the key, but it's odd that people suddenly have zero passion for the technology.

It's not that there is no passion for it, it's that many people feel (correctly or not) that they have nothing to hide... and some of them sometimes think that the people that espouse encrypting everything would like to not stand out so much in their own activities (like encrypting everything). If there are twelve pink cows in a herd of a thousand, it's pretty easy to see them, and you just HAVE to wonder why in the hell they are pink.

Many of us understand that there is no real anonymity, only an escalating race of people that need to hide things against (a lot of well funded) people that want to know what they have to hide...
If you have time for that more power to you, I don't.

Re:What a great fiction! (1)

GetTragic (21640) | more than 4 years ago | (#29477829)

If there are twelve pink cows in a herd of a thousand, it's pretty easy to see them, and you just HAVE to wonder why in the hell they are pink.

maybe they are in a good MOOd

Re:What a great fiction! (2)

msimm (580077) | more than 4 years ago | (#29478227)

The technology was too cumbersome for use in casually and had a negative connotation because of its use in DRM. Being technically geeky does not make us immune to laziness or inconvenience, hence the bad-man argument (why bother hiding something if the thing is not worth hiding).

Re:What a great fiction! (4, Interesting)

Xest (935314) | more than 4 years ago | (#29478491)

It's part of a bigger retreat I've noticed in the last decade or so in the geek community.

Another example is DRM, in the 90s I recall there being uproar from many geeks if a company would use your CPU cycles and your memory/disk space for their commercial interest like DRM does. Nowadays whilst DRM is still complained about, the argument seems to be based on what it stops you doing or how it can go wrong, there seems to have been a retreat from the fundamental argument that they are using your property for their interests.

Of course it sounds petty to argue about a company using a few kb on your system for some copy protection scheme or for their DRM on each of your music tracks because we have so much memory free, but that misses the point- if you retreat from your original point, you become forced to further and further give concessions where you shouldn't have to on privacy, on DRM, on whatever.

It's that slippery slope thing, if you give them an inch they'll take a mile, and that's what's happened on many issues. Things that used to be entirely unacceptable have become accepted and the frontline in the fight for our rights has been pushed back. I don't exactly know why this is but I suspect it's because when the geeks said "Don't you dare do that" and they did it anyway, not an awful lot actually happened in response. Perhaps it's just that we had successes like the iPod which were horribly locked down and DRM'd rising to popularity and nullifying the argument that anyone other than geeks gave a shit in the first place? Bluray becoming the winning HD format despite being far more DRM laden due to BD+ and so on? Coupled on a political level with the likes of George Bush and Tony Blair winning the elections in 2004 and 2005 respectively despite having proven themselves as being willing to take away our fundamental right to freedom in the name of preventing terrorists, er, taking away our fundamental right to freedom?

Either way it's quite sad. It amuses me now to see things like the anarchists cookbook being brought up in court trials and so on as a terrorist handbook- I don't think I knew anyone on the internet in the 90s who didn't have a copy of it, now it's being classed as basically "illegal literature".

Something definitely went wrong somewhere in the geek movement for privacy, freedom and rights.

Re:What a great fiction! (4, Insightful)

Imrik (148191) | more than 4 years ago | (#29478651)

Is it really retreating from your point when another point becomes more important? Using up our computer resources is a relatively small annoyance compared to interfering with fair use.

Re:What a great fiction! (2, Insightful)

Xest (935314) | more than 4 years ago | (#29479097)

Well yes, that's kind of my point- they're taking more and more liberties with people's rights so the issues being defended are bigger and bigger problems. Realistically we should be fighting on all fronts, and ideally they'd have been stopped at that first step - using our resources, for their purposes so that we wouldn't even be at this step.

There's another point though of course, in that when we let them use our resources for DRM, and started concentrating purely on fair use, they also assumed it okay to start using our resources, including our bandwidth, to insert advertising into games which we've already paid for to increase profits, at the expense of our resources. This is even more of an issue for me nowadays personally, in an era of stricter bandwidth caps, where I have a 20gb allowance per month and if I break it (which I do) I have to pay extra per gb- I'm paying so that they can send me advertising in games and profit from it, do I see a discount on the price of the game? do I get a cut of the ad revenue? In letting that battle slip in favour of a bigger one, we've already lost that battle and it's seeped into other areas.

Re:What a great fiction! (1)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 4 years ago | (#29479869)

until PGP is built into outlook and other clients by default, it will not see widespread use. If I encrypt an email no one will be able to read it, so encryption defeats the purpose of email in the first place.

Re:What a great fiction! (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 4 years ago | (#29480409)

I don't think I know a single person whom I can send an encrypted e-mail too (someone with a public key).

This makes it very hard to send an encrypted e-mail

Re:What a great fiction! (2, Informative)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 4 years ago | (#29482157)

Sadly, things like PGP and interest in ECHELON reports seem to have become less popular among geeks. I wonder why. Sure, one might trust PGP less when there are ways to get around it or compel you personally to give up the key, but it's odd that people suddenly have zero passion for the technology.

Because I don't think most of us think the NSA gives a shit about reading our Battlestar Galactica fanfiction or listening to our Vent sessions for WoW raids.

If it's serious enough that the NSA would get involved, I think most geeks nowadays wouldn't even communicate about it over a transmission protocol that could be intercepted - which is pretty much any save for talking in person (unless you believe the nutjobs who say stuff like the CIA has microphones hidden in traffic lights).

Re:What a great fiction! (1)

glitch23 (557124) | more than 3 years ago | (#29498133)

For one thing, Echelon was for the NSA to monitor European users (not Americans). For another, the report states that the NSA was monitoring email but nothing about other forms of communication which were specified in the post to which I responded.

Re:What a great fiction! (5, Informative)

schmidt349 (690948) | more than 4 years ago | (#29477399)

NSA's Domestic Spying Grows As Agency Sweeps Up Data (WSJ) [wsj.com]

Report: Obama to use NSA to monitor Net (USA Today) [usatoday.com]

NSA Must Examine All Internet Traffic to Prevent Cyber Nine-Eleven, Top Spy Says (Wired) [wired.com]

In short, the NSA has been reading everything sent in plaintext since Bush II, and yet the EFF spends untold millions on lawsuits to make sure that my friends on Facebook don't know what kind of pizza I order from Domino's. What a great allocation of scarce pro-privacy resources.

I know exactly why this is: if you sue Facebook or Twitter or whatever, you get your name in the papers. If you go after the NSA you get called "soft on terror" and your campaign bid for governor of East Nowhere is sunk.

Liar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29477817)

In short, the NSA has been reading everything sent in plaintext since Bush II

None of the articles you linked to give any credible evidence that this is happening, so why lie?

Re:What a great fiction! (2, Informative)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 4 years ago | (#29478213)

And what would you have them do against the NSA? Like it or not, short of armed revolution there ain't a damned thing you can do about the NSA. Politicians come, politicians go, the NSA remains. Hell the elections have become so worthless that it isn't even funny anymore, with BOTH sides being so power hungry it is scary, and the only difference being which particular corporate booty they smooch, so what exactly would you have them do about a spook factory like the NSA?

Hell with their kind of power I have no doubt that anyone who stirs up too much shit for them and pisses them off will be made to go bye bye REAL quick, probably by having an anonymous tipster point out they have child pron (which wouldn't be hard at all for a bunch like that to plant, complete with logs, and which nowadays is guilty until proven innocent) if they didn't just go for a "classic" like suicide or a Silkwood style car wreck. Sorry Charlie but bunches like the NSA are NOT the ones that you want to be fucking with. Don't forget the old sayings "knowledge is power" and "power corrupts" and right now it would be hard to find anybody with more juice than the NSA. Are you sure the guys at the EFF haven't said or done ANYTHING that the NSA could use against them?

The second we ended up with secret courts like FISA that can rubber stamp anything spooks want is the second that challenging them went right out the fucking window. Sad I know, but true.

Re:What a great fiction! (1)

glitch23 (557124) | more than 3 years ago | (#29498049)

All 3 articles you linked to only discuss what the NSA wants to do, not what they currently *can* or *are* doing. But, the one article did mention Obama is still all for implementing Einstein 3 for monitoring commercial networks that carry government data so with that said, I wonder how many Slashdot users like Obama now?

Re:What a great fiction! (1)

Jurily (900488) | more than 4 years ago | (#29477469)

I'd like to see the article providing proof of that level of monitoring by the NSA (or any other government agency for that matter).

I'd like to see the summary at least hinting at what Facebook actually did. Some of us don't care enough to RTFA, but it would be nice to know.

Also, that level of monitoring would require them to connect "every email, teyt message, blog post, and Slashdor comment" to be attached to real people. Jurily is not traceable to me.

Re:What a great fiction! (1)

EsJay (879629) | more than 4 years ago | (#29477573)

Summary of what Facebook actually did: "Beacon was designed to broadcast back to their friends the actions that Facebook members took on participating Web sites...Many people were horrified to find out that their friends were being informed of actions, like purchases, they had undertaken in other Web sites."

Re:What a great fiction! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29479629)

Jurily is not traceable to me.

What world do you live in? I'd like to spend my holidays there.

When you post to Slashdot under Jurily, I have your IP address. I then resolve your IP address back to your provider, and ask them to disclose your physical address. This gets only slightly harder if you hop over a proxy or two.

Re:What a great fiction! (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 4 years ago | (#29480471)

"Jurily is not traceable to me."

I'd show you how wrong you are but then I'd be arrested for unauthorized access of a computer. (Gmail isn't that secure and you were stupid enough to leave your email address posted, no matter how obfuscated, here on slashdot.)

Re:What a great fiction! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#29492267)

I'd show you how wrong you are but then I'd be arrested for unauthorized access of a computer.

lol... yet another script kiddie downloads a backtrack iso and brags about how he's hot shit. Do you have to do it here, though? You seem like "digg material" to me, and you stand a better chance of impressing your fellow high-schoolers there.

Re:What a great fiction! (1)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 4 years ago | (#29479861)

If the tin-foil hat consortium thinks it's true that's all the evidence they need. Facts are an inconvenience.

Re:What a great fiction! (1)

rubi (910818) | more than 4 years ago | (#29482587)

The idea that "privacy" continues to exist in any shape, way, or form in a world where an NSA text-mining system reads every email, text message, blog post, and Slashdot comment you ever write is laughable.

I'd like to see the article providing proof of that level of monitoring by the NSA (or any other government agency for that matter).

That would be "the system", if only due to the computing capacity needed to do that!

Re:What a great fiction! (2, Insightful)

ledow (319597) | more than 4 years ago | (#29477401)

I think there's a major difference between "*potentially could monitor any* unencrypted email, text message, blog post" and "*always monitors every*..."

Lots of people are hugely, sadly confused by this difference and to be honest, I doubt even the first exists all the time so much as "can be put into place if we suspect something". But then, if I was the NSA, I'd love my countrymen to think it was possible just to scare them off doing it and make it look like I was busy. Especially if the reality was that even the simplest of modern encryption and/or obfuscation is enough to defeat years of analysis by experts and supercomputers and could turn out to be you sending some spam over an SSL-encrypted connection to an email server.

Re:What a great fiction! (4, Informative)

schmidt349 (690948) | more than 4 years ago | (#29477523)

The sad truth is that the NSA is actually reading everything via data mining. There are pictures of the "tap rooms" inside data centers of every major ISP in the US where they set up their equipment and dip into the petabytes of data that get transferred in plaintext every day. So human beings aren't reading all of your sexy letters to your girlfriend/Linux box/dog, but I'm sure the system is set up to flag "interesting" correspondence for human analysis.

The net result for the life of the average nerd: probably not much unless you have hobbies the NSA doesn't like, such as developing cryptographic software or Islamic studies. But then killing Beacon was even less pointless privacy-wise, because it was only ever going to be used to generate data for targeting ads (which Google already does) and plastering your face on them (which Google doesn't).

I maintain that lawyers are suing the social networking services right now because it's hip and sexy and gets you on the cover of Time. There are much more effective ways to benefit the privacy of the American people but as I said above they will likely kill the political careers these 1-800-scumbags are trying to kickstart.

Re:What a great fiction! (2, Insightful)

ledow (319597) | more than 4 years ago | (#29478017)

Sorry, but it's just not enough to "prove" anything.

A photo of a room in a major ISP? So what? And a LOT of people work in ISP's - are you telling me there's a fully-functional, virtually unmaintained (or regularly visited/updated/upgraded by "secret admins" on the ISP's premises?), supercomputer analysing every packet going through every major ISP, when *connectivity*, *latency*, *packet-moving* is their main performance factor? There might be *something* that *might* be able to, say, pump a new route for IP's that are known to be "interesting" and thus reroute particular parts of traffic through a closed system stored at an ISP.

I know people who work in some of the largest datacentres / hosting facilities in the world. Such rooms may well *exist* but you don't just have random "secret joes" that only the datacentre manager knows the purpose of wandering into them all the time, and you certainly *never* have a problem which traces back to those rooms (the damning fact if they were actually monitoring 24/7 and had to actually intercept traffic - things go wrong in even the smallest of networks and causes back-scatter along the networking infrastructure), you never have latency issues, etc. from a supposed room full of *supercomputers* (which are the only things that could ever have the necessary I/O) that are basically sitting there quietly sapping power and working perfectly and presumably remote-admined and which every member of staff turns a blind eye to. Even just read-only tapping at those sorts of speeds is stupid to consider on a large scale, and on a small scale it doesn't exist at all. And for what? To do only plain-text analysis and catch basically no-one because anyone with half a brain knows how to use something that has encryption that's virtually unbreakable with months of analysis?

Most of the major Internet points are actually universities still - a hangover from when they *were* the Internet. They don't have such things and would be strictly opposed to them. Most of the small ISP's do *not* have this. It's conceivable that most of the major international links are monitored in some fashion but it's an *off-line* analysis - not sitting there analysing every packet in real-time... again, it's a *request* based system - "We know this IP is interesting, reroute it through this box so we can capture the full stream" and they find out the IP is interesting not by reading everyone's Facebook posts but by what they've been doing for hundreds of years - real espionage. Basically the I/O required to do constant analysis of *anything* just does not exist on those sorts of scales and certainly not in a closed, secret room in every ISP.

Please don't propagate bullshit rumours without first providing one tiny ounce of proof of *WHAT* is happening rather than "oh, super-secret room, they must be doing...". The rooms, computers, blackboxes may well exist - I give you that. Past that, given the state of any modern government and the technology and the military intelligence communities, I seriously doubt they do more than use it to reroute a tiny number of already chosen IP ranges to their remote systems for analysis. Wikileaks would jump at the chance to host a couple of photos showing the tech's arriving to maintain those things and if you think it'd be impossible to get an illicit photo of someone entering a datacentre when you work in one, you're wrong.

Re:What a great fiction! (3, Informative)

schmidt349 (690948) | more than 4 years ago | (#29478483)

More than a dozen people with positions everywhere from the NSA itself to AT&T have admitted roles in the construction and operation of the tap rooms. The fed has repeatedly invoked the state secrets exception to kill lawsuits that even tangentially involve the tap program. News agencies on every bar of the political rainbow have run reports confirming its existence and the New York Times at least was asked by the government not to go with its story. Now I could write a research paper meticulously documenting the outing of the spy program in the press but anyone with access to Google could do the same thing in five minutes. It exists. The only question remaining is how much data the NSA sifts through and whose, and the whistleblowers have been pretty clear on the point that the spooks aren't very discriminating. I'm sorry, but one guy on Slashdot saying "no, it isn't" can't undo three years of meticulous investigative journalism by the newspapers of record of both the left and right wings and the bravery of those involved who have admitted their involvement.

I am thankful every day for the fact that we live in the world's leakiest democracy, so we at least know about these wanton violations of our civil rights. But after a couple of token lawsuits the EFF essentially gave up and now wastes its time keeping my pizza orders out of the hands of my Facebook pals. It's a sad day when the only outfit I can count on to fight the government out of my private life is the government.

Re:What a great fiction! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29479321)

More than a dozen people with positions everywhere from the NSA itself to AT&T have admitted roles in the construction and operation of the tap rooms.

Yes, of course. That's what the government wants you to think: They want you to be so paranoid of them that believe you can't even fart in your bedroom without them immediately having access to a full frequency analysis of it. That way, you'll be a good little citizen without them having to actually have all of this super-secret, James Bond bullshit deployed. Imagination is far cheaper and more effective than reality.

Re:What a great fiction! (3, Insightful)

ledow (319597) | more than 4 years ago | (#29480559)

"More than a dozen people with positions everywhere"

More than a dozen people in the high reaches of government have later gone on to claim that UFO's stole their washing. Astronauts claim they invented Free Energy, high-level scientists say they've cracked Fermat's Theorems without even understanding what they are. That means *nothing*. A dozen isn't a lot of people compared to the *thousands* (not even including actual government employees of any kind) that took part in or witnessed any such operation, and you can get a dozen people to admit *anything*, especially if, say, you were a large government that wanted its populous to believe it was being monitored - hell, you could even MAKE the people in question believe they've actually set up a program just by getting them to insert equipment into a room and telling them its purpose is "top secret".

And I've never said that they weren't BUILT. I just claim that their purpose/capabilities are different to what you are assuming they are.

"from the NSA itself to AT&T have admitted roles in the construction and operation of the tap rooms."

Construction. Operation. Where do they mention actual real-time processing (not "if we were interested in subject X" but "finding subject X to be interested in") capabilities? That's what I'm challenging here. Not that they could monitor anyone, but that they do monitor everyone. One is easy, the other is fantasy-land even for 1984-style-governments (even China can only intercept, clumsily and publicly, some DNS and maybe search for plaintext strings of, say, "democracy" on websites and block them... and even that's got so many holes in it, it's basically worthless even on the bits it's supposed to work on).

"The fed has repeatedly invoked the state secrets exception to kill lawsuits that even tangentially involve the tap program."
"News agencies on every bar of the political rainbow have run reports confirming its existence and the New York Times at least was asked by the government not to go with its story."

Standard operating procedure for anything, I should imagine, especially if the NSA are involved. That doesn't mean they have the *capability* that you're assigning to them - it just means they don't *want* you to know what they are (or more importantly, are not) capable of. Military and national-defence secrets stay secret, even if perfect knowledge of them can't help in any way (e.g. encryption techniques) purely because you don't want people to find out what you're NOT capable of.

"Now I could write a research paper meticulously documenting the outing of the spy program in the press but anyone with access to Google could do the same thing in five minutes."

No-one with a brain writes research papers based on stuff discovered by the press. The press are your LAST source of hard evidence in anything serious, which to me is just another pointer - if the press "know" about this stuff, it's because they are scaremongering themselves or inadvertently being used as a puppet for your government to scare you. It scares *me* that you think that only the press would be a good source or that five minutes on Google is your research - in five minutes on Google, I can "prove" the moon landings didn't happen, aliens run the planet and that Elvis is alive and has dinner with Michael Jackson on every alternate Tuesday. If "only the press" know, then the press don't know.

"It exists."

I don't doubt that the rooms exist. Or the equipment in those rooms exist. Or the program exists. Or even that a plan to *have* real-time analysis of the whole net exists. I doubt that the *capability* to implement it as you seem to think it works even exists anywhere, let alone inside a back room of every ISP.

"The only question remaining is how much data the NSA sifts through and whose,"

And what time machine they invented to cram it all into a reasonable window.

"and the whistleblowers have been pretty clear on the point that the spooks aren't very discriminating."

They *won't* be discriminating in their choice of target. However they have no technical choice but to be discriminating in their choice of analysis subjects. Only so much data fits down a cable and can be analysed in a reasonable amount of time, even for basic "plaintext" analysis (which is practically useless from any sort of view involved with actually "monitoring" anyone vaguely interesting).

"I'm sorry, but one guy on Slashdot saying "no, it isn't" can't undo three years of meticulous investigative journalism by the newspapers of record of both the left and right wings and the bravery of those involved who have admitted their involvement."

When you demonstrate meticulous investigative journalism, backed by even the most minor technical fact, and demonstrate that it's not journalism but actual evidence for the *capabilities* even existing, then we can talk. Until then, even a million guys on Slashdot can't make the impossible (or abhorrently implausible) happen.

Please wake up from science-fiction land and join us in the real world. If I hear the words "acres of supercomputers" or "blackbox in every ISP that monitors everything", I switch off. It shows a sad lack of even a back-of-the-envelope calculation on the processing power, I/O capability and subsequent necessary resources required.

Re:What a great fiction! (1)

schmidt349 (690948) | more than 4 years ago | (#29482605)

Oh, I should just add in passing that then-AG Alberto Gonzales admitted the existence of the NSA spy program after the Times article came out. He said that it was substantially in the form reported in the press but understandably refused to provide details.

I appreciate a healthy dose of skepticism but this is absolutely not the place to administer it. Next you'll be telling me that the technical hurdles associated with going to the moon prove that we never landed men there.

You seem to have a lot of difficulty believing that any kind of computer exists that's capable of analyzing multi-gigabit data streams at wire speed. You should read about the NarusInsight, the hardware package that the whistleblowers say the NSA uses. Imagine a cybernetic zombie Snort on steroids and you start to get the idea.

Re:What a great fiction! (1)

ledow (319597) | more than 4 years ago | (#29482799)

"admitted the existence of the NSA spy program ... was substantially in the form reported in the press but understandably refused to provide details."

Still no closer to anything that I'm asking for. Admittance of a program is actually *expected*, like I said in all the previous posts. And "substantially" in the same form, and taking "technical" things home from political statements of an attorney general is, again, just wishful-thinking and rumour-mongering. What he "admitted", from what I can work out, is that the US was wiretapping some citizens. That's about it.

"I appreciate a healthy dose of skepticism but this is absolutely not the place to administer it."

Skepticism is borne of lack of substantial evidence.

"Next you'll be telling me that the technical hurdles associated with going to the moon prove that we never landed men there."

No, because we have *extensive* plausible evidence that it actually happened, corroborated among dozens of independent sources and not relying on press statements, politicians or attorney generals to tell us that we did it and what implausible technology we used to do it.

"You seem to have a lot of difficulty believing that any kind of computer exists that's capable of analyzing multi-gigabit data streams at wire speed."

You're not just talking multi-gigabit. You're not just talking packet-shifting. You're not just talking existence but damn near ubiquity at a price point that hides itself among just general budgets. You're not just taking grepping packets for strings. You're not just talking technology - you're talking state-of-the-art and beyond. You're also talking that multi-gigabit stream being either passed-through the machines or duplicated in order to be passively analysed - on the main and most expensive crux of the ISP's connections. Or, say, you could just have a machine that can pump internal routes on request - cost? About £1000 each. Surveillance ability? Pretty much the same.

"You should read about the NarusInsight, the hardware package that the whistleblowers ****say**** the NSA uses."

Rumour. Even down to the specifications. And you're talking AT LEAST one in every ISP. And you're talking MILLIONS and MILLIONS of dollars *each* for that kind of ability. And you're talking knock-on resource demands that are out of this world - power, connectivity, maintenance, etc. etc. etc.

It's pie-in-the-sky until one *technical* person from any of the thousands of ISP's steps forward and says "I have seen a machine in ISP X that intercepts all traffic and performs function Y". Even if that's the rumour of maintenance of those machines being observed, or of fibre duplication to enable that facility, or of something even vaguely along those lines.

Again, "we have the capability to do X on demand" is a very different thing to "we routinely and automatically do X all the time to all traffic in the US (or anywhere else) and use it to pick up on trends for further analysis". And *then* providing any sort of practical reason for actually being able to do X that isn't cancelled out or easily replicated with some basic route-pushing at the ISP level, and monitoring particular and individual broadband connections of known "problematic" people on demand.

Re:What a great fiction! (1)

lennier (44736) | more than 4 years ago | (#29486143)

"Again, "we have the capability to do X on demand" is a very different thing to "we routinely and automatically do X all the time to all traffic in the US (or anywhere else) and use it to pick up on trends for further analysis""

Agreed. The sheer bandwidth requirements of doing brute-force packet sniffing suggests to me that this would be probably more of an on-demand facility: if we can trace a Person of Interest to ISP X, then fire up black box at the big ISP or interconnect and start filtering all their packets.

However. I'm no spy, but if I were the NSA, or the Cybersecurity Czar, I'd be having quiet talks to 1) Google, 2) Yahoo, 3) Microsoft, 4) Facebook, and seeing what access I could get to their networks and data-mining. And I'd also be quietly backing the consolidation of Web 2.0 providers into a few large entities I could have those quiet chats to. So many people are now using those four services - I mean, back around 2003 lots of antiwar protestors (whose methods sometimes involved civil disobedience at the least and potential property damage) were using Yahoo Groups, of all things, to organise - that if you had realtime feeds from them, you wouldn't *need* brute-force packet sniffing to do a lot of social aggregation.

Not that necessarily sussing out social networks is going to completely help you find the hard-core terrorists. But you might well be able to get a sense of who their soft edges link to. And if they're using steganography to hide stuff in plain sight, traffic analysis of social networks might help.

Would Google cooperate with the NSA? Not according to their public profile, perhaps. But do they have to reveal everything they do? I could be wrong, but I believe Microsoft went on record a few years back as appointing an in-house antiterrorism czar.

My working assumption is that all the top US-headquartered mega-web players have been on the team for a while. It might be unfounded, but it would be the simplest way to help the government and feel good about it.

Re:What a great fiction! (1)

lennier (44736) | more than 4 years ago | (#29486065)

"More than a dozen people in the high reaches of government have later gone on to claim that UFO's stole their washing."

Nitpick, but US military/governmental interest in UFOs is actually very well documented in the declassified literature. http://two-roads.dailykos.com/ [dailykos.com] gives a good summary of the field. It's nothing like the sensationalism in pop culture, but lots of quiet investigation and acknowledgement of unexplained phenomena. Given that, it would be a conspiracy if high-level people all *denied* interest, and in fact, they don't.

Re:What a great fiction! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29486541)

That finally explains how my husband's Nike shoes vanished off the clothes-line. I was always wondering.

Re:What a great fiction! (1)

lennier (44736) | more than 4 years ago | (#29486073)

"blackbox in every ISP that monitors everything"

As I understand it, i's not every ISP that has an NSA tap room, it's a couple of key interconnect points. Much more easily manageable.

Re:What a great fiction! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29480943)

Perhaps you should gain some experience before posting such ignorance :-)
If someone knew anything real they would certainly not chirp to you :-P

Re:What a great fiction! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29483027)

I'm sorry, your comment has been deemed completely rational, and is therefore not suitable for publication on Slashdot.

Your account may be deactivated if further sensible prose is detected.

Re:What a great fiction! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29478457)

I maintain that lawyers are suing the social networking services right now because it's hip and sexy and gets you on the cover of Time. There are much more effective ways to benefit the privacy of the American people but as I said above they will likely kill the political careers these 1-800-scumbags are trying to kickstart.

Not to defend lawyers, but the lawyers are suing the social networking services because they're hired to sue the social networking services. The lawyers are lining up because it's profittable for them. The cases aren't very difficult, don't take very long, and have huge payouts.

On the other hand, there's nothing stopping you, or anybody else for that matter, from hiring a lawyer and filing a lawsuit against the NSA. Fact of the matter is, you probably don't care enough to put up your own money for it, and nobody else does either. The case would be long, difficult, expensive, and the chances of winning are a lot lower than in the social network lawsuits.

If you really care, but don't have the money, you could try setting up a non-profit or something like that to collect donations to hire lawyers and pay for it that way. But you probably don't care that much either.

It's depressing, but it's not the lawer's fault.

Re:What a great fiction! (1)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 4 years ago | (#29479217)

IANAL but in the case of civil law, lawyers are not usually in the habit of taking cases they *know* they can't or won't win. It makes them appear foolish and that might damage their future prospects for getting quality clients with large check books.

Re:What a great fiction! (0)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#29477577)

You are the joke! Because you give up. You are the type that accepts that 2+2=5, just because "everyone around" is saying to. (When actually this is not even the case... but soon could be, thanks to people like you.)
It takes two sides for such a privacy-free world to exist. The NSA is one of them. You are the other.
As the ambassador of that kind of people: Thank you very much, asshole!

P.S.: Q: Another name for "digital privacy". A: "encryption".

Re:What a great fiction! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29477623)

Anonymous Coward has just purchased "Ova-Glan Hormonal Feminizing Pills" from Overstock.com! Order yours today!

There is more to privacy then that (3, Insightful)

KlaasVaak (1613053) | more than 4 years ago | (#29477659)

Availability of data is way more important than data not being 100% private. Your private data in a super secret NSA database somewhere vs your private data going to people you know. I know what I'd pick thank you.

Re:What a great fiction! (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#29477821)

I2P and stealthnet come to mind.

Yes, you can be anonymous. Not as easily as some people might wish, but it can be done. Assuming, of course, that you aren't already targeted, and don't already have a keylogger on your machine.

Of course, even with good tools, a lot of people are to stupid to remain anonymous. (I'm looking at the people who fall for scam malware alert, LMAO)

Re:What a great fiction! (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 4 years ago | (#29478255)

The idea that "privacy" continues to exist in any shape, way, or form in a world where an NSA text-mining system reads every email, text message, blog post, and Slashdot comment you ever write is laughable.

So what consequences would it have if some paper pusher miles away from you, whom you'll probably never meet IRL has access to the loveletters to your boyfriend? In most cases, none.

Beacon, on the other hand, has a much higher potential for real-life embarassment and mischief. Just imagine if you bought "Outing Yourself -- How to Come Out as Lesbian or Gay to Your Family, Friends and Coworkers", and Beacon blasts the happy news to your list of 200 friends, which include family, close (and not so close...) friends and coworkers. On the bright side, you'll no longer need to read the damn book after such a stunt...

While the NSA gathers information, and then archives it in some dark dusty basement to never be looked at again, Beacon brings the gossip right to those people who are likely to be the most interested in it.

And Beacon's sneakiness makes it so much worse: it broadcasts information that you did not enter for the purpose of sharing, and obtains it from companies of which you do not even know that they had an agreement with Facebook!

Re:What a great fiction! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29478811)

The government invading my privacy is very worrisome and should be resisted. Facebook misusing the semi-private information I give to them is also very worrisome and should be resisted. The latter does not exclude the former. While only a fool starts two wars on two fronts, it's equally foolish to fight a war and ignore a front. It's a certain path to failure to let everyone but the worst offender go unopposed.

Privacy has not been lost entirely. Absolute privacy cannot exist so long as there are other people in this world. On the other extreme, I can, with a fair amount of certainty, assume that you have no idea what I'm going to do for the rest of the day. Zero privacy is equally impossible since nobody cares about what the vast majority of people do, or the vast majority of what any person does. Saying that privacy is dead seems to be popular as of late, but privacy isn't binary and can never die or be absolute. Not fighting for it will make it shift closer to the former though.

Re:What a great fiction! (1)

jo42 (227475) | more than 4 years ago | (#29480307)

...an NSA text-mining system...

There is actually an entity in the world that has more current information about you and your activities than anyone else. They have all your emails, your calendars, your documents, your locations, your voice mails, your credit card numbers, your search queries and who knows what else. They've suckered everyone in by providing these services for free and claiming to "do no evil". The name of The Beast is Google.

Re:What a great fiction! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29480453)

That's why I write all my posts in greek!

Re:What a great fiction! (1)

Zearin (1315583) | more than 4 years ago | (#29482053)

Only as laughable as your getting a speeding ticket while cops can drive as fast as they want. Laws are applied selectively, even by their own design sometimes.

Hmmm if only something like that existed already (5, Insightful)

ifwm (687373) | more than 4 years ago | (#29477333)

The proposed settlement, announced late on Friday, calls not only for Facebook to discontinue Beacon, but also back the creation of an independent foundation devoted to promoting online privacy, safety and security.

That's great, if only something like that existed already, they could avoid the cost of starting a whole new organization.

http://www.eff.org/ [eff.org]

mixed feelings (3, Insightful)

binaryseraph (955557) | more than 4 years ago | (#29477559)

I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I am pleased that there are those who are fighting to preserve internet privacy in the face of a very aggressive marketing world. That being said, it is very hard for me to support a lawsuit against a social networking site, that 1.users have to sign up to use 2.no one pays to be a member of. 3.is not a financial/medical/etc company or something that contains what one may deem as sensitive data. While I dont know enough about the ad system they put in place, i am willing to bet one could defeat their "beacon system" by using some fairly basic practices and principals of online use. i.e. disabling cookies, monitoring what 'active-x' apps are being run and not using facebook as a means for any important communiation (or hey, just dont use facebook at all). But hey, i'm just another web user. what do i know?

Re:mixed feelings (3, Insightful)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 4 years ago | (#29477583)

The thing is, Facebook, like Google, has become the Way that Lots of Things are Just Done. Too many of my family members use it to stay in touch: if I eschewed it, it would be like not participating in the extended family. Circles of friends work the same way.

When a social platform gets big enough, becoming a de facto standard, the choice to participate or not participate is somewhat weightier than the choice to ïbuy or not buy other types of goods.

Re:mixed feelings (1)

cavtroop (859432) | more than 4 years ago | (#29477589)

3.is not a financial/medical/etc company or something that contains what one may deem as sensitive data.

PII (Personally Identifiable Information) is considered sensitive, and several states (MA and NV in particular) have strict laws on the books about protecting that information.

Granted, you GIVE that info to Facebook, mostly for the express purpose of putting it out there for others to find, but the laws are on the books.

Re:mixed feelings (2)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 4 years ago | (#29478361)

1.users have to sign up to use

Users did sign up to Facebook, but did they also agree to Facebook and Amazon (for example...) sharing any data? Users signed up to LinkedIn, but they agree to LinkedIn and TripIt sharing any data?

2.no one pays to be a member of.

How is that relevant?

3.is not a financial/medical/etc company or something that contains what one may deem as sensitive data.

Try "book purchases". Or travel arrangments. While maybe not legally protected, they can be pretty embarrassing depending on what book you bought or where you went to at what specific date.

While I dont know enough about the ad system they put in place, i am willing to bet one could defeat their "beacon system" by using some fairly basic practices and principals of online use. i.e. disabling cookies, monitoring what 'active-x' apps are being run

Geeks know about this stuff. But most other users probably won't. And even geeks tend to get lazy and not purge their cookies as often, especially when they don't yet suspect that something nefarious might be going on. It's not exactly as if Facebook were sending mails to users, warning them about this upcoming great new service.

Re:mixed feelings (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 4 years ago | (#29478557)

I think the issue is that they would pass on your details without making clear to users what was going on.

Joe Average finds a site he can use to get in touch with all his old friends, or keep in touch with family living abroad with ease and so on and signs up to it quickly and painlessly, he uses it for a year, in this time have discussed with friends what he likes to eat, what he likes to do. He is completely oblivious that all this data is being mined and passed on to advertising companies to use.

I understand what you're saying, but I don't think the above scenario is fair. A lot of people don't stop to think why Facebook exists and how it manages to exist without them having to pay anything, they probably think some nice guy on the internet has just knocked it together and kindly lets them use it as a kind of charity without realising it's a commercial entity whose interests are profit, and not giving their users free shit. If Facebook wanted to use an invasive ad system it should've been upfront about it in big fat bold letters, and most certainly should not try to hide it in the depths of some EULA or worse, not even mention it at all.

Re:mixed feelings (1)

binaryseraph (955557) | more than 4 years ago | (#29478793)

My scenario was a bit limited and unfair, i will admit; and something as dramatic as sharing what you bought with other people online without your knowing is a bit out of line (Last thing I need is Grandma to know i bought Big Booties #7 on sale at Amazon). Or anyone knowing that on my FB account. But I am still not convinced that legal action is nessisary, especially to the tune of $9.5mil (pocket change or not). I also take strong issue with this being prosecuted at the state level using California state laws (with exception of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, the Video Privacy Protection Act). Internet regulation really needs its own court system, or handled at the federal level. Prosecuting websites using state laws is a little creepy (just think if a concervative state could get its hands on pornographers).
not to mention the final judgement:
"...also back the creation of an independent foundation devoted to promoting online privacy, safety and security. The money for the foundation will come from a US$9.5 million settlement fund."
Creation of an independant foundation? And who is going to facilitate that? Maybe the prosecuting lawyer? Do we need another body of people trying to play arbitrator of the internet?

Re:mixed feelings (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 4 years ago | (#29498713)

I first found out about this a couple years ago when I bought a set of sheets on Overstock and an announcement about that showed up on my FB Wall (WTF?!). I haven't used Overstock since.

Sure, it was a set of sheets, BFD. But maybe Overstock sells "Chinese exercise balls" too, and that could have been posted to some users' profiles.

Lots of systems have an opt-in 'let people know about this thing you did' systems to tie into Facebook. That's all well and good, but Beacon was opt-out and not for the users' benefit.

More importantly than anything, this sets a tone (4, Interesting)

StreetStealth (980200) | more than 4 years ago | (#29477581)

The fact that Beacon is being shut down, the $9.5mil settlement, or even this nebulous new "independent foundation" are all secondary to one thing:

This delivers the message, unequivocally, that you don't sell out your users' private actions. Sure, plenty of other businesses engage in this sort of thing all the time in much more subtle ways than broadcasting what you thought was a private transaction, but in its own way, this is a coup. It's not going to change anything, even Facebook, overnight, but it's a loud and clear warning to any business thinking of pushing its luck.

Re:More importantly than anything, this sets a ton (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 4 years ago | (#29478259)

If only we had taken a page from Bugs Bunny and drawn the line on a cliff's edge.

Re:More importantly than anything, this sets a ton (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 4 years ago | (#29478393)

Sure, plenty of other businesses engage in this sort of thing all the time in much more subtle ways than broadcasting what you thought was a private transaction,

Try "Sure, their competitor still engages in exactly this sort of thing". Try enrolling in LinkedIn, and book a trip using tripIt...

This is Unamerican (-1, Troll)

moredots (1613051) | more than 4 years ago | (#29477675)

I feel like requiring users to opt in and fully explaining to them what they are opting into is a better solution. I liked this technology (as a Facebook and Blockbuster Online user), and having it taken away because some vocal minority of paranoid privacy advocates are worried someone will find out that they watched Wild Things 2 last night is not American. This is a free country, if I want to open myself up to this, that should be my choice. Then again... obamacare, bailouts... I guess this isn't America anymore anyway.

Re:This is Unamerican (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 4 years ago | (#29477721)

Yeah opt-in medical care without getting raped by health insurers, fuck me that's soooo unamerican! Its hard because despite being a complete dick going on about america (fuck, yeah! coming to save the motherfucking day yeah?), you are in fact correct, if the feature was opt-in (instead of opt-out as it is) and fully explained the risks (which they do but only if you go looking) then it should be fine everywhere!

Re:This is Unamerican (2, Insightful)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 4 years ago | (#29477851)

Yeah opt-in medical care without getting raped by health insurers, fuck me that's soooo unamerican!

I have opt-in medical care, living in america, and no one pays for my health insurance.

Its really not that hard to do.

Expecting someone else to take care of your lazy ass because you're too stupid to read the fine print or spend some of your own time figuring out what you're signing up for is rather unamerican.

You can change the medical situation in america without government intervention. Truth be told however, you'd rather sit there and do nothing and not make any effort yourself directly to change anything, which will result in everyone getting another shitty government ran mess.

I know people from other countries that have come to get american health care. I know of no one who has left to get health care. Just my own personal experience of course, but you'll have to pardon me if I take my real world experiences rather than that of someone on slashdot who is just whining about something they want someone else to do something about. Feel free to do the same yourself.

Re:This is Unamerican (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 4 years ago | (#29478079)

You can change the medical situation in america without government intervention.

Those with pre-existing conditions can't, and besides as a country the US can't afford to keep spending more [kff.org] for worse care [wikipedia.org].

Which will result in everyone getting another shitty government ran mess.

Yeah the government can't do anything right, that's why i only drive on private roads, i hire personal body guards because the police are useless and when my house burns down I'd rather use buckets of water than call the incompetent fire department!

I know people from other countries that have come to get american health care.

There are worse places than the US, it doesn't make the system any good, just its easier to move to America and get private care (especially from south American countries) than it is to get care in countries with better systems.

Re:This is Unamerican (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#29478437)

What exactly do you mean by 'we can't afford it'? The U.S. currently makes nothing even resembling a passing attempt at providing care where it is most needed (on a medical basis), so that it compares poorly on that statistic to countries that actively have that as a goal is not surprising.

I don't think it is particularly sane for a society as wealthy as ours to structure health care the way we do, and I don't think the current structure is particularly efficient, but until incredibly wealthy people start flying out of this country to receive medical care, I'm not sure I'm going to believe that the care delivered here is worse, I'm going to wonder if maybe, just maybe, it is delivered with little regard to whether the benefits match the costs.

Re:This is Unamerican (0, Troll)

kuzb (724081) | more than 4 years ago | (#29478343)

I have opt-in medical care, living in america, and no one pays for my health insurance.

Its really not that hard to do.

Expecting someone else to take care of your lazy ass because you're too stupid to read the fine print or spend some of your own time figuring out what you're signing up for is rather unamerican.

You can change the medical situation in america without government intervention. Truth be told however, you'd rather sit there and do nothing and not make any effort yourself directly to change anything, which will result in everyone getting another shitty government ran mess.

I know people from other countries that have come to get american health care. I know of no one who has left to get health care. Just my own personal experience of course, but you'll have to pardon me if I take my real world experiences rather than that of someone on slashdot who is just whining about something they want someone else to do something about. Feel free to do the same yourself.

You sir, are an idiot who hasn't done any research.

Re:This is Unamerican (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#29482723)

You can change the medical situation in america without government intervention.

Wrong. The medical situation in America is government intervention. How did the AMA essentially become an arm of our government?

I know people from other countries that have come to get american health care. I know of no one who has left to get health care.

I know more than a dozen people who have gone for dental care in Tijuana, Costa Rica, Thailand, and other locations because the cost of the trip and the dental care is half or less of the cost of getting dental care in this country. About half of them had dental insurance. I know that for me it is cheaper to go to Thailand to have 11 silver fillings replaced with porcelain ones and have impacted wisdom teeth extracted than it would have been for me to get the work done here in this country when I had insurance, paying for 20% of the care on the extractions and all of the care on the fillings since my insurance company considers that to be a cosmetic issue. Mercury is bioaccumulative and studies of corpses show less mercury in the fillings than when they were put in, so you don't have to do much thinking here to figure out that it's a good idea or beneficial to health, but they figure odds are you'll have different insurance or get hit by a bus before the mercury causes any health problems.

If you don't know anyone who has left to get health care, you don't know very many intelligent people with a limited supply of money, yet with health problems. I'm not saying everyone you know is stupid; maybe they're all rich, at least by any reasonable standard. Meanwhile unemployment is at record levels in the USA, and those people cannot afford health insurance. They cannot afford to pay their rent. A lot of them are moving their familes into tent cities. I'm not sure where you are suggesting they get health care; Public health care is how I got a mouth full of mercury.

Re:This is Unamerican (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 4 years ago | (#29477845)

I feel like requiring users to opt in and fully explaining to them what they are opting into is a better solution. I liked this technology (as a Facebook and Blockbuster Online user), and having it taken away because some vocal minority of paranoid privacy advocates are worried someone will find out that they watched Wild Things 2 last night is not American. This is a free country, if I want to open myself up to this, that should be my choice. Then again... obamacare, bailouts... I guess this isn't America anymore anyway.

This is a free country, if some people don't want companies illegally sharing their personally identifiable information (PII), they have a right to sue. This is a free country, if Facebook wants to shut down their service to quell that lawsuit, that's their right. BTW, you're still open to it, it just doesn't exist anymore.

Re:This is Unamerican (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 4 years ago | (#29478433)

This is a free country, if I want to open myself up to this, that should be my choice.

You're still open to manually put whatever juicy details of your private life onto your Facebook wall yourself.

Re:This is Unamerican (1)

moredots (1613051) | more than 4 years ago | (#29484733)

Wow, Troll? Really? Just because other people go off topic from one word I put in my profile I'm a troll? I stand by what I said. Whoever modded me is abusing their power over their political position.

just read... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29478003)

...Facebook will shut down...
YEAH!, yes! less shit on the we...
...beacon to settle lawsuit
nuooooooooooooooooooo

Re:just read... (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 4 years ago | (#29480185)

Haha, I misread the title (missed "Beacon") too since I just woke up. I said woah like Neo.

Facebook blocked the link (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29478135)

Facebook blocked the link to TFA. I tried a tinyurl link to the fine article and that is blocked too. Shows up on my wall, but not in the news feed.

I knew they were evil, but I didn't know they were THIS evil.

Re:Facebook blocked the link (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29483335)

I hate Facebook methods and I hope it dies.

However, I cannot replicate your statement. I can publish a link to the article and it is shown on my wall and in the news feed. What am I doing wrong?

The Cult of Facebook (1)

Snaller (147050) | more than 4 years ago | (#29480095)

Remember, Google wants to index the world and make it public - Facebook wants to index the world and keep it private - unless you join the cult - ie become a member by revealing all things about yourself.

Quadruple-Opt IN (1)

DavidD_CA (750156) | more than 4 years ago | (#29481393)

In order to have your Beacon puchases shown to your Facebook friends, you must:
  1) Sign up for Blockbuster or Yelp, etc
  2) Sign up for Facebook
  3) Specifically enable Beacon on Facebook
  4) During an event with Blockbuster or Yelp, say "YES I WANT TO SHOW THIS TO THE WORLD"

Sure, lots of people might do steps 1 and 2 without thinking about it, but step 3 and 4 are actions that you have to go out of your way to do.

When I made a review on Yelp, after the review was posted a new screen came up that offered to link my review to my Facebook profile.

I don't agree with this lawsuit or the settlement. Because of it, my friends on Facebook won't be able to see my Yelp reviews. What's next?

Never noticed anything like this happening (1)

Bent Mind (853241) | more than 4 years ago | (#29481411)

I have a Facebook account that I occasionally use to keep in touch with friends and family. I also rent videos from Blockbuster and I've ordered from Overstock. I've never had anything show up on my Facebook page that said anything about my shopping activities. Is this some kind of opt-in program?

shut down bacon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29481851)

reddit is not amused

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