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Who Is Downloading the Torrented Facebook Files?

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the not-just-santa dept.

Privacy 142

eldavojohn writes "Gizmodo's got an interesting scoop on a list of IPs acquired from Peer Block revealing who is downloading the Facebook user data torrented this week: Apple, the Church of Scientology, Disney, Intel, IBM and several major government contractors just to name a few. The article notes that this doesn't mean it's sanctioned by these companies or even known to be happening, but the IP addresses of requests coming to one of the users' machines match to lists of IP blocks for each company."

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142 comments

needs control group (3, Insightful)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 3 years ago | (#33094868)

On an average popular torrent, are these companies also listed?

Re:needs control group (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33094892)

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Re:needs control group (1)

FlyMysticalDJ (1660959) | more than 3 years ago | (#33096604)

There should be a -1 Spam moderation, because I like reading the offtopic comments, and even some comments are marked offtopic when they are at least slightly tangential to the current discussion. But I never want to read spam, and I don't think anyone wants to.

Re:needs control group (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33096796)

People would just abuse the spam moderation, just like every other moderation. Eventually, you would have to stop ignoring it. It is already redundant with offtopic.

Also, if you choose to browse at -1, you really can't complain about all the shit you come across.

Re:needs control group (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33094932)

I bet they are.

At the company I worked for the IT department had a machine which was always on and whose only purpose was to download files like that over BitTorrent. Of course only a few people inside IT knew about this machine.

The company had about 10'000 employees. I guess a company like Intel (which has around 80'000 employees) downloading some random file over BitTorrent is absolutely nothing special.

Re:needs control group (2, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33095134)

I'm surprised any employee gets away with that.

On my job, about five years ago, I installed torrent to grab some Doctor Who audio files to relieve the boredom, and the next day I came-in to discover my computer missing. They thought I had some kind of virus, wiped the drive, and handed it back to me a day later.

 

Re:needs control group (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33095240)

What is there to "get away with"? What are they doing wrong?

Re:needs control group (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33095514)

On my job, about five years ago, I installed torrent to grab some Doctor Who audio files to relieve the boredom, and the next day I came-in to discover my computer missing. They thought I had some kind of virus, wiped the drive, and handed it back to me a day later.

Well, as I said, this was happening inside the IT department. They were the only ones who had "direct" access to the internet. For most other users, only HTTP(S) was allowed and their traffic was routed through a proxy server.

Traffic which didn't go over the proxy server wasn't even watched by anyone. And BTW, even if unusual (HTTP-) traffic was going through the proxy, I doubt anyone would have noticed. The companys CISO was actually the only one working for IT Security, and instead of caring about actual security, setting up an IDS or watching logs, he was busy doing risk management, "compliance" and reporting to corporate management...

But you are right, at most companies a "normal" employee wouldn't get away with that (though I think most companies block BitTorrent anyway).

Re:needs control group (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33096392)

If the company has the ability to monitor and trips flags for certain protocols and certin IP addresses, there is huge chance that same software has the ability to block it as well instead of just report it. In my company and others like it (law firm), blocking the "bad" is the norm, not just logging it. I don't know of too many companies that have a position for "daily internet access log watcher" unless it is a really small place and the IT guy does it when he is bored.

Re:needs control group (3, Informative)

linzeal (197905) | more than 3 years ago | (#33095390)

Try it at Intel, you will be walked out of the door in 30 minutes. What kind of IT department would expose the company to liabilities like that ?

Re:needs control group (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33095500)

Not to mention stealing company time and resources.

Re:needs control group (4, Interesting)

PinkyGigglebrain (730753) | more than 3 years ago | (#33095668)

Which highlights the point that whoever is downloading the torrent at Intel must be doing so with authorization.

As to your question of "what kind of IT department ..." I can answer that one. Last place I worked as IT manager, but not by my choice, I wanted to lock the firewall down and block everything but web, email and a VPN port. I was overridden by the Boss, seems one of the guy in the machine shop (who also did the IT support before me, Goddess! what a mess!) had been downloading torrents of MS Office, Solidworks, MasterCam, Win XP and just about every software app they had in the office. Every time I tried to bring up the issue and try to get auth to start getting licenses I was told it would be too expensive. This was during the same time that the boss/owner took $400,000 out of the company accounts to buy a new house, he was also laying people off because their wasn't enough work for them.

When the employee count got down to 25 I was laid off too on the premise that they didn't think they needed a full time IT department, the guy from the machine shop was going to babysit the network again. Thing that pisses me off if as long as he doesn't fuck with it will run smoothly until a hardware failure. I had set everything up to be just about idiot proof. Makes me think I did my job too well but its the only way I know how to do things.

Re:needs control group (1)

ooshna (1654125) | more than 3 years ago | (#33095916)

Should have turned his ass in for the money. I think Microsoft has a rewards for whistle blowers in businesses.

Re:needs control group (1)

PinkyGigglebrain (730753) | more than 3 years ago | (#33096650)

I thought about it but its not my style.

However, I am not averse to answering any questions the BSA may ask as long as it doesn't compromise my NDA and security ethics, so nothing about the network config or engineering projects the company worked on while I there. The software isn't covered in that.

Re:needs control group (1)

i_liek_turtles (1110703) | more than 3 years ago | (#33096140)

A call to the BSA would have been a fun way to say goodbye.

Re:needs control group (1)

PinkyGigglebrain (730753) | more than 3 years ago | (#33096812)

It did cross my mind, but its not my nature. It would have cost other people, who had nothing to do with the violations, their jobs if the BSA came in and effectively shut the place down by seizing the servers . I wouldn't mind if the boss get vivisected but I couldn't do anything that would hurt everyone else.

Re:needs control group (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33096458)

Bottom line, you were laid off and someone felt the poor slob machinst was capable of running the network. What people do not understand about employment. The boss is always right, even if you have documented proof of the problems that you sent him and he blew them off, he is STILL right. If you job is fix 10 widgets in an hour and you only do 5, you are failing. It doesnt matter that the guy next to you "fixes" 10 an hour but his sloppy work ends up with 5 of them coming back in 6 months. See, the company and your boss is measuring your performance off of how many per hour you do, not your extended recall rate. If you do 10 per hour, you succeed and look good. Now in 2 years of the boss gets direction to reduce the extended failure rate and they start measuring that, well, you fix them correctly and reduce your failure rate and now you will look good. Sorry man, that is how it works dude, really. Okay, that concept is "wrong" and does not seem ethical but you are the employee and the company defines the rules. Another example. Your bosses biggest concern is being at work on time. You are a dedicated employee that devotes 110% effort when you are at work but you sometimes are late. Your cube mate is a freaking idiot and spends more time avoiding work than doing work but... He always gets to work on time. In theory, you are the better employee but in reality, the boss hates you because you are always late. It happens, deal with it.

Like i said, the simple fact you were let go has nothing do to with your technical ability, it was because your boss did not value your worth. The boss is always right.

Re:needs control group (3, Insightful)

PinkyGigglebrain (730753) | more than 3 years ago | (#33096770)

The boss is not always right, but they are always the Boss.

And I did what I was told, most of the time.

I dug my heals in at times, refused to delete backups containing financial information rather than buy extra backup media, which would have been a felony under some of the laws that got passed after Enron, or refused to put the company at risk by trying to download apps on torrents, lest it attract the BSA's attention. I may be willing to follow orders but I was not going to risk jail time or the lively hood of my co-workers.

I think the biggest thing that got me was I did my job too well. When I started the network needed daily babysitting, some printer wasn't working, or a VOIP phone was buggy. Always something, so I was running around dealing with brush fires all the time, they saw that and thought "Oh, hes doing something". After I had cleaned up the network configs, updated phone firmware, etc., I spent most of my time in my office improving the automation, security and reliability of the IT operations. To an outsider it looked like I wasn't doing anything, and they didn't understand when I explained it to them. Hence I was considered unneeded.

Re:needs control group (3, Interesting)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 3 years ago | (#33096930)

had set everything up to be just about idiot proof. Makes me think I did my job too well but its the only way I know how to do things.

    That's the best way to do it. It makes your job easier while you're there. As we've learned, there is no company loyalty. They expect us (the employees) to be loyal to the company, but when the time comes to save money, they aren't loyal to us.

    Don't worry, I'm sure he took your nicely configured system, and managed to mangle it in horrendous ways.

    The last real big place that I worked, I had everything running like clockwork. It looked like it was easy, because I did it so well. Within a month of them letting me go ungracefully, people started dropping me emails saying there were problems. They weren't related to the company, they just knew I ran everything. My only answer for them was "They fired me. I don't care. If they want me to fix it, I'd only go back with a huge raise and a bulletproof contract on my terms." They fixed problems. They made worse problems. Still, a few years later, I get the occasional email "their site is down.", which always gets the same response, "I don't care." :) The day they stopped paying me was the day I stopped caring. I do miss that job though. There's a certain feeling of accomplishment to have a well tuned machine running like clockwork.

    The thing in both of our cases is, we know they cut us loose because someone else said they could do it for a fraction of our price. And for that, we know they got someone with a fraction of our ability.

Re:needs control group (1)

LoRdTAW (99712) | more than 3 years ago | (#33096100)

Are you 100% positive about that? Maybe that is true for non-it staff but what about IT? As another poster mentioned above, a few IT guys could have a box or even a virtual machine buried somewhere for torrents or other stuff.

Years ago at college I worked in the tech building IT department. They watched the computer labs like a hawk. But they were pretty lax about who worked in the office. I setup a computer in a back room and hooked it to the network and ran a Half-life death match server on it. They had no idea it was there as it was in a room full of old computers and other electronic junk. I had that server running for about two semesters before it died. I also downloaded quite a few songs via Napster and burned them to CD to take home (CD burners were a luxury then).

Just because an IT department is strict does not mean the IT guys themselves are. Many feel they are above the law.

Re:needs control group (3, Insightful)

c0mpliant (1516433) | more than 3 years ago | (#33096264)

Just because an IT department is strict does not mean the IT guys themselves are. Many feel they are above the law.

You're right, which is why its usually a good idea to isolate your IT Security team from the IT department at large. Don't give them access to implement policy, just make it and monitor for abuses.

Re:needs control group (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 3 years ago | (#33095848)

Nope - and there's a reason for it: Shellshock.

I've previously worked at Intel, and got to watch the headcount slaughters of 2007 and early 2008... (hint: that ~80k headcount used to be ~115k). Fortunately on my end, I got to watch it from afar... my friends got to see it up close and personal.

After seeing their own peers get laid off and either sent to the Pool (if lucky) or straight to unemployment (if not)? The survivors were too busy trying to justify their continued employment (most still are, though I suspect that's eased up by now), and most of the folks I knew then and now have their shit wired extra tight when it comes to work.

Also, think about this- you wouldn't want to lose a $75-$100+k/yr job over a $20 movie, would you? Most sane people (even us IT types) can do that sort of math in pretty short order. Besides, you can get better network speeds @ home anyway. :(

Re:needs control group (2, Interesting)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 3 years ago | (#33096400)

At a major corporation I used to worked for, the PR director used to purchase all the WetFeet [wetfeet.com] reports and FuckedCompanies.com alerts (in addition to the more traditional news clipping service related to our company). If anonymous people within your company are going to be publishing internal gossip/information about your company, and if your job is Public Relations, you might as well try to do your due diligence and try to be the first one to see what they're saying about you. I suspect that in the case of this Facebook information, I wouldn't be surprised if one of the corporate drones was ordered to download the data set in order to compare it to a list of existing employees (or at least, to a list of senior executives). It's the job of PR to not only protect the image of the company, but the image of its more well-known employees as well.

As to Intel, I'm not surprised they're on that list. Intel has been known to go through the trash of its own employees as a counter-intelligence precaution. Early mornings, they'll pick up the trash of their own employees and switch their trash can with an identical one so as not to attract the suspicion of the targets they have under surveillance. Same goes with the Church of Scientology, nobody should really be surprised that they're on there either.

Having an easy to download data set to compare to an existing data set is an attractive proposition for someone in management who doesn't know about the possibility of creating his own downloadable data set from the YahooSQL/YSQL tool or google labs free custom search engine tool.

AND i logged all there ips cause i was seeding (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33095274)

hi form the united hackers association
were watching you

hmm...Church of Scientology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33094870)

I wonder what they want with Facebook info? I hope it isn't to harass people.

Re:hmm...Church of Scientology (4, Funny)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#33094988)

I wonder what they want with Facebook info? I hope it isn't to harass people.

I'm sure they have a more palatable word for it. Perhaps "save", "convert", "assist", etc.

Re:hmm...Church of Scientology (1)

stonewallred (1465497) | more than 3 years ago | (#33095352)

Hell, the word would be fleece. CoS will scan data, pick out those who they think are capable of forking over the cash, and go to work. Scams always need new suckers when you finish milking the old ones.

Re:hmm...Church of Scientology (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33095608)

The Scientology word for it is "Audit."

Re:hmm...Church of Scientology (1)

Trepidity (597) | more than 3 years ago | (#33096594)

That doesn't sound more palatable at all. "You're about to be audited" in most contexts implies, "you're about to be harassed".

Re:hmm...Church of Scientology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33095268)

probably so they can kill people or put them in one of their slave camps

Re:hmm...Church of Scientology (3, Insightful)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 3 years ago | (#33095358)

You can be assured that if they find their own MEMBERS acting out in unapproved ways, those members will be disciplined. The rest of the data? Maybe they'll sift through it, looking for potential rich converts. They can't rest on their laurels, after all. They need to continue bilking wealthy people out of their money!

Not Really News (5, Insightful)

CheshireCatCO (185193) | more than 3 years ago | (#33094882)

Looking over the long list of companies, you see what amounts to a list of large employers. Since we can't know if the downloading was an individual or a company decision, this tells us exactly nothing. There's no story here because there's no useful information.

Heck, if I were a company that wanted that torrent, I'd get someone to download it at home and walk it in to our office. Companies aren't always that foresighted, of course, but they're also not generally stupid if they're successful.

(It's like noting that an IP from the NSA checks Slashdot. It could be Slashdot being monitored or, more likely, it could be a random employee just posting.)

Re:Not Really News (3, Interesting)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 3 years ago | (#33094920)

Or, it could be a random NSA employee posting to provide a cover of plausible deniability to the monitoring! But seriously, the only thing the torrent does is make the information more easily obtained at one go. You can still click through the whole database and get all the information at http://facebook.com/directory [facebook.com]. I really don't see where any actual news is involved in this story, even from the beginning.

Re:Not Really News (2, Interesting)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 3 years ago | (#33094960)

Exactly, so someone made a crawler to get publicly available information. This is not news at all anymore than its news that someone could do a google search and use web scrapers to make a profile of any /. user.

Re:Not Really News (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33095496)

Exactly, so someone made a crawler to get publicly available information. This is not news at all anymore than its news that someone could do a google search and use web scrapers to make a profile of any /. user.

To demonstrate (and with apologies to parent), the torrented information is little more than this [google.ca].

Re:Not Really News (1, Interesting)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 3 years ago | (#33095044)

The NSA is the net in the USA, they dont have to sneak around as they just mirror it all off or have contractors do it for them.
24/7, searching, connecting in real time.
As for the rest, could be workers seeing the info and requesting it at work for reading, sorting at home?
For unique interests its a win, search for users with as anti war, anti cult, anti rodent sweatshops interest.
Befriend, turn, wipe, passive monitor, take over, re direct, mis direct or clone with a few twists. That might be the real key, grassroots that still feel like grassroots, used when needed, tracked when an issue.
Or a very blunt warning, a second or third world security service officer befriends you, just to let you know they know about your interests and can reach out in the real world too if you write too much :)

Re:Not Really News (1)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 3 years ago | (#33095350)

I wouldn't have modded you troll if for no other reason than your post is pretty in character with your username's namesake. But I'm pretty sure you weren't trying to be funny either.

Re:Not Really News (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33095490)

GP doesn't really have troll content at all, but really what else can you mod it, since it's got a touch too much paranoia to be truely insightful?

There's nothing wrong with what they're doing. (2, Insightful)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 3 years ago | (#33095032)

Heck, if I were a company that wanted that torrent, I'd get someone to download it at home and walk it in to our office. .

Why? There's nothing wrong with what they're doing.

People put their lives up for public view. And if you made you profile private or whatever, then that's an issue with FB and not with these companies.

This is not different than reading someone's published autobiography.

Re:There's nothing wrong with what they're doing. (1)

stonewallred (1465497) | more than 3 years ago | (#33095372)

Eh, my profile is semi-private. But then again, don't use my real name, there are no pictures of me on there, and I DGAF if fake info gets scrapped, mined and sold. More power to them.

Re:There's nothing wrong with what they're doing. (1)

CheshireCatCO (185193) | more than 3 years ago | (#33095706)

I didn't say there was anything wrong with it. But just because something is legally and morally alright, it doesn't mean you want everyone knowing you're doing it. With grabbing profile information like that, one can easily imagine a PR nightmare (especially given recent, related events), so why even chance it?

Re:Not Really News (1)

alphatel (1450715) | more than 3 years ago | (#33095154)

Or it could be that Slashdot is really the NSA!

Re:Not Really News (1)

CheshireCatCO (185193) | more than 3 years ago | (#33095716)

No, Slashdot actually does what it's supposed to do much too well for that.

Re:Not Really News (1)

ushering05401 (1086795) | more than 3 years ago | (#33096530)

Seems that from the minute the DHS named /. as a site to watch the other agencies would have had an interest in flushing shit here to see where in the DHS reports it popped up, if at all.

My impression is that the intelligence agencies are always watching themselves and each other with specific intent, and the population according to averages... Unless you have already graduated to the priority lists or, god forbid, gotten whatever the equiv guv code is for 11-99 classification.

Re:Not Really News (1)

stonewallred (1465497) | more than 3 years ago | (#33095368)

The NSA doesn't surf slashdot. They get all the relevant information they are looking from when they do their daily deep scan/copy of your computer.

Re:Not Really News (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33096936)

Yea cause in the normal course of work at those companies, the employees are likely to have a bit torrent client installed and just happen to be interested in this information and are downloading it during their coffee break or worse, during the time they should be working .... or maybe downloading this torrent and analyzing it is their work! Where is that sarcasm emot-icon.

I would not be too surprised (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#33094896)

I would not be terribly surprised if the organizations that were listed had instructed their employees to download this torrent. IBM, for example, is interested in data mining, and this is a nice data set for testing algorithms on. Scientology probably wants to track current and former members, and is just grabbing anything that will help them in that effort.

Of course, as others pointed out, there is no indication that this is not just routine; it would be nice to know if other popular torrents were also being downloaded by computers in those IP ranges.

Re:I would not be too surprised (2, Informative)

phantomflanflinger (832614) | more than 3 years ago | (#33094938)

Most of the traffic PeerBlock blocks is false positives. It blocks huge ranges of IP addresses, YOU could be on one of their lists. The Gizmodo article says "it should be mostly accurate". Lol.

It used to be called PeerGuardian, remember? The "lucky talisman" app that stops teh RIAA catching you? What a load of balls.

Re:I would not be too surprised (3, Insightful)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#33095004)

I would not be terribly surprised if the organizations that were listed had instructed their employees to download this torrent.

If a company sanctioned it (and that is purely an assumption) they could be looking for info on their own employees.

Re:I would not be too surprised (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 3 years ago | (#33095364)

If a company sanctioned it (and that is purely an assumption) they could be looking for info on their own employees.

It would be entirely reasonable for any company doing e-commerce to download these files, and check which usernames/passwords match their own data.
For example, if there was a facebook user with username gnasher719 and password imsoclever, and Apple found there is an iTunes account with the same username and password, it would be a good idea to put some kind of clamp on that account before someone starts downloading expensive iPhone apps using my account information. Same with Paypal, eBay and so on.

Looking for your own employees, on the other hand, would be very illegal, except perhaps again to turn off all logins that use the same username and password that is used in the facebook list, and I think impossible to keep secret.

Re:I would not be too surprised (1)

MysteriousPreacher (702266) | more than 3 years ago | (#33096298)

...except the file doesn't contain passwords, so it would be useless for what you're suggesting.

I'm not aware of any law prohibiting companies from looking around on the web to see what they're employees are doing. Problems may arise based on how they use the data. e.g. firing someone for things they do in their personal lives that have no bearing on their job or their employer.

little bit freaked out by some of them... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33094910)

sure scientology and the usual suspects from the movie studios are no surprise. fragile ego and possible blackmail for the former, and default-download-every-torrent-posted-and-C&D-everyone for the latter. ...but halliburton, boeing, and raytheon? that slightly freaks me out. your average user has no interest in this torrent (except maybe some /b/ visitors), as it doesn't represent free entertainment in most cases. but weapons companies? why on earth would they want demographics?

Who's downloading? (1)

dandart (1274360) | more than 3 years ago | (#33094914)

I was... but then I gave up, because I don't really care. Especially about names and IDs. Hmm, I wonder if I'm in there?

Prone to prosecution? (1, Interesting)

Voulnet (1630793) | more than 3 years ago | (#33094916)

If the profiles are private does that mean it is illegal to exchange them in public? Does that mean the downloading or uploading parties are subject to prosecution for spying on private information that was collected illegally?

Re:Prone to prosecution? (4, Informative)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 3 years ago | (#33094940)

See the thing is the profiles were all public someone just made a web crawler to create it then put it up as a torrent download. No privacy was violated that wouldn't be with a normal search.

Re:Prone to prosecution? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33095048)

Actually, the profiles were all private, and then facebook changed the default privacy settings to make them public and 100 million chumps didn't know/care enough about their privacy to change things.

Re:Prone to prosecution? (2, Informative)

nschubach (922175) | more than 3 years ago | (#33096016)

I just downloaded this package, and all it has a lists of names and URLs to Facebook profiles. If they users made their profile private, you're not going to get anything more than their name.

Re:Prone to prosecution? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33096184)

However, that was a risk they took when they agreed to the terms of service and put their faith in a service which could change for better or worse at any time.

Re:Prone to prosecution? (3, Insightful)

brasselv (1471265) | more than 3 years ago | (#33094976)

The profiles are NOT private, nor there is anything "hacked" here.

This archive contains only the information that users made publicly available (consciously or not) - this stuff was just crawled from the web and put together in one large file.

There is no news here... if I were Apple or Cisco, I would crawl this public info myself, rather than relying on some dude that posted it on a torrent...

Re:Prone to prosecution? (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 3 years ago | (#33096744)

Is there any information on Facebook that a reasonable person would Really consider to be 'private'? It's sort of like telling the town gossip something and adding "of course, this is in the strictest confidence". When I teach kids to use the internet, the first thing I tell them is that every web site lies a little bit about their privacy. If they say nothing worse than Y will be done, assume Yx2. Face book is a prime reason for this rule

Hmmm (1)

kamukwam (652361) | more than 3 years ago | (#33094962)

I am confused. The title says 'Who is Downloading the Torrented Facebook Files?'. So I was guessing they didn't know and were coming to Slashdot to ask if anyone knew.

But no, they already know it! So why bother and ask us anyway??

I don't get it.

Re:Hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33095092)

This is what my friend said to me; he said, "Guess what I like? Mashed potatoes." It's like,"Dude. you gotta give me time to guess. If you're gonna quiz me, you must insert a pause in there

Re:Hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33095314)

Or the idiot slashdot editor (it's redundant AND an oxymoron!) could have just left the question mark off the title, which would have made the title 100% accurate.

It's just a list of names people! (1)

Chief_Wiggum (1341031) | more than 3 years ago | (#33094968)

This torrent doesn't contain sensitive private information. It's just a very long list of names. That's it! Who cares who downloads a phone book without phone numbers?

Why not? (1)

crow_t_robot (528562) | more than 3 years ago | (#33094972)

Why wouldn't those companies download that info? The information is legal because it was publicly available and it's a measly 3GB download. Even if they get just a tiny bit of market/consumer insight from this data, it was well worth spending the short amount of time downloading the data.

Program limitations (2, Interesting)

SunSpot505 (1356127) | more than 3 years ago | (#33094990)

I would question whether many people other than a major corp have the resources to work with that large a data set. It's not like Joe Schmoe can open that in Excel. Even if Joe could get it open, running any kind of query, even on indexed fields, would take forever. It can take up to 20 minutes for my quadcore to do a sort on our 300k record 200 field database.

Corporations seem like a much more likely consumer of this data than anyone else. I'm thinking about downloading it just to see... I'll let you know how the sort time goes....

Mind telling us what RDBMS? (1)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 3 years ago | (#33095016)

If a quad core system is taking 20 minutes to build an index on a table with 300 000 rows and any sane key, something is very seriously wrong.

Re:Mind telling us what RDBMS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33095126)

That would depend upon whether there is only 1 simple index or a ton of referential integrity foreign keys involved, plus how much the DB is keeping in RAM, what other loads the DB is having to service etc etc.

Re:Mind telling us what RDBMS? (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#33095146)

That something can easily be identified. It's written right in the original post: open that in Excel.

Re:Program limitations (2, Interesting)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#33095018)

I think the problem there is the use of Excel; I'm just going to quickly peruse the data with grep to see how many instances of my name are in there. It will take a while because of the size of the data set, sure, but I can just leave it running in the background while I do something else (since the work is done on a line-by-line basis and won't load the entire file into memory).

Re:Program limitations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33095104)

If you are using Excel as a "database" YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG.

DOING IT WRONG also explains why you've somehow shoehorned your data into a 200-column-wide record. Normalization, motherfucker, DO YOU SPEAK IT?

FFS, at least use Access - a half-ass database engine is better than Excel.

Re:Program limitations (5, Funny)

crow_t_robot (528562) | more than 3 years ago | (#33095196)

Do you really manage a database that large in Excel? Does your computer shit parts of its motherboard out of its optical disk drive every time you open the file?

Re:Program limitations (0)

SunSpot505 (1356127) | more than 3 years ago | (#33095504)

Sigh... some of you didn't even read what I wrote did you? I don't use Excel.

My point was that the average user that does use Excel will not be able to view this, as Excel will truncate the file at 65.5k records or so.

I have a MySQL (LOL at Access) database, which is what I intend to view and search the FB data in. And no, it doesn't take 20 minutes to add an index, it takes 20 minutes to run a query that includes non-indexed fields.

Re:Program limitations (1)

WMD_88 (843388) | more than 3 years ago | (#33096002)

I believe Excel 2007 removed the 65k rows limitation; it's something sky-high now. (IMO they shouldn't have, if only to discourage people from using it as a database....)

Tormented (3, Funny)

kamukwam (652361) | more than 3 years ago | (#33094996)

What is a tormented Facebook file??

Re:Tormented (1)

Fumus (1258966) | more than 3 years ago | (#33095564)

I'm going to patent Facebook: Torment as soon as I figure out a nice plot for the game.

Re:Tormented (1)

MasterPuppeteer (962029) | more than 3 years ago | (#33095950)

The plot is simple : this guy wakes up with amnesia, doesn't remember who he is. So, he starts browsing through millions of Facebook profiles to figure out his identity. Along the way, he becomes friend with a flying, talking skull (hey, the guy got bored after browsing through a few tens of thousands of profile so he started doing mushrooms) and together they get into some wacky adventures.

So should corps be held liable? (2, Insightful)

gjyoung (320540) | more than 3 years ago | (#33095006)

When they pull crap like "we just reset/changed/added some protection settings, everything you had guarded is now wide open, kthxbye!", especially when it is a blatant attempt to further their own business plan, and then someone sucks all the data off and makes it available like this entity did?

The old "permission change without warning" has happened with Yahoo and FB that I know of.

YA, TOS probably state they can do whatever they want, but with TOS like that there has to be a fine line crossed somewhere eventually that lands them in hot water.

Re:So should corps be held liable? (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 3 years ago | (#33095640)

When they pull crap like "we just reset/changed/added some protection settings, everything you had guarded is now wide open, kthxbye!", especially when it is a blatant attempt to further their own business plan, and then someone sucks all the data off and makes it available like this entity did?

The old "permission change without warning" has happened with Yahoo and FB that I know of.

YA, TOS probably state they can do whatever they want, but with TOS like that there has to be a fine line crossed somewhere eventually that lands them in hot water.

Well, if they continue to make themselves dangerous they're going to find the number of users will fall off. Everyone I know that was a big Facebook user isn't anymore. Partly my doing, I suppose, I just mentioned that Facebook isn't as careful with your personal data as they could be, and let them Google more if it concerned them. Just type "how do I cancel" into Google and don't even press Enter ... the very top of the suggestions list is "How do I cancel my Facebook account." Seems a lot of people are interested in that.

Social networking is, by and large, a crock. There are some examples where it can be useful: Linked In is one such site. Even so, you have to be careful. You may not want people at your current employer networking with, for example, the fine folks from some old employer that fired your ass. Whatever the reason, there are certain risks that I don't think most people really think about very hard.

Re:So should corps be held liable? (1)

Rolaulten (1392077) | more than 3 years ago | (#33096516)

Yes, 'how do I cancel my facebook' is the first recommended search query on Google, but the interesting thing is it does not turn up on Google trends - due to lack of data on Google's part.

And who cares? (1)

harris s newman (714436) | more than 3 years ago | (#33095054)

Really, these are publicly posted profiles, you can download them yourself. Its now news, move on!

Re:And who cares? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33095110)

The profiles aren't in the torrent. Only the user names and the profile number. Nothing else.

It is all about employment. (1)

sgtspacemonkey (1130605) | more than 3 years ago | (#33095114)

I know for a fact, that at least def contractors, look into your background. It is common practice among a lot of people out there to when they enter the job market to "hide it all", by either deleting their profile, or suspending it. This provides a look and a way to compare a prospective employees profile they had at one time vs what they have now. The information is all out there, but someone figure out how to mine it and keep a record, just like google did with everything else. For somone doing a background check, or research on a person, it provides a way to go back and look at what is floating out there in the past.

According to the RIAA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33095144)

According to the RIAA, if those are the IP blocks used to download something, the owner is guilty as sin- except for the corporation cluas whereby any company that is willing to go to bed with the RIAA against the public can dload whatever they want and that goes for private information, and in this case facebook data. It's about time you started really understanding this double standard- Even Johnny Law got on this money train ages ago. RIAA, MPAA and all the collective companies involved are simply strongarming the public and bribing the cops- WTF? is the public blind?

So.... (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 3 years ago | (#33095448)

the same companies that object to torrent and other tools because it allows ppl to download their information, are now using these same tools to obtain information about citizens. Oh, the irony.

victims are downloading it to check (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33095698)

well I posted a message on my wall to inform my friends, and four of them replied that they'd downloaded it to check if their names were in it.
So, I'd say a good proportion of people getting it would be the potential victims.

Next up: Who is downloading the IPs? (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 3 years ago | (#33095748)

Who is downloading the list of IPs of people who are downloading the list of Facebook profiles?

It's like a recursive privacy wank! :D

I did! (1)

ianalis (833346) | more than 3 years ago | (#33095850)

As a researcher, it will make my life easier in case I move on to studying Facebook. Everything in there is publicly available.

According to the README file, the download contains the following:

The script used to generate these files (v1)
The script that will be used for the second pass (v2)
The full URLs to every profile
All names, including duplicates
All names, no duplicates
All names, no duplicates but with a count
All first names (with count)
All last names (with count)
All first initial last name (with count)
All first name last initial (with count)

hmmm (1)

mace9984 (1406805) | more than 3 years ago | (#33096126)

"Apple, the Church of Scientology, Disney, Intel, IBM and several major government contractors " You can merge the first two, they're the same aren't they? :)

Re:hmmm (3, Funny)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 3 years ago | (#33096574)

No, they are completely different - one is a bunch of rich religious zealots trying to force their opinions on everyone else, the other was founded by L. Ron Hubbard.

Probably more common than not (1)

cjjjer (530715) | more than 3 years ago | (#33096334)

I would bet that most large companies that sell software/media probably download any or all large sized torrents for the sake of piracy to find out what warez are being shared.

A company (1)

Teun (17872) | more than 3 years ago | (#33096542)

"Apple, the Church of Scientology, Disney, Intel, IBM and several major government contractors just to name a few. The article notes that this doesn't mean it's sanctioned by these companies or even known to be happening, but the IP addresses of requests coming to one of the users' machines match to lists of IP blocks for each company."

Scientology a company, very insightful eldavojohn :)

One corporation not on the list... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33096944)

Microsoft.

Discuss!

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