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How Big Data Justifies Mining Your Social Data

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the anywhere-it-wants dept.

Cloud 102

GMGruman writes "Paul Krill reports that one of the big uses of the new "Big Data" analytics technology is to mine the information people post through social networking. Which led him to ask 'What gives Twitter, Facebook, et al. the right to mine that data?' It turns out, users do when they sign up for social networking services, even if they don't realize that — but less clear is the ownership of other information on the Web that these tools also mine."

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102 comments

Rights (2)

JaydenT (2012002) | more than 3 years ago | (#35448316)

The 'right to mine data' or the right to privacy?

Sign away your rights (2)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#35450048)

...and people give me weird looks when I suggest that they should read the things they "accept" when they install software and sign up for websites.

Re:Sign away your rights (1)

cheros (223479) | more than 3 years ago | (#35450734)

Oh yes - see chapter 11 of the Google Terms of Service. 11.1 seems OK, but take the time to dissect what 11.2 actually says..

Re:Sign away your rights (1)

rednip (186217) | more than 3 years ago | (#35451820)

Do you read every word?

Do you ever click 'decline' and don't use their product based on it's click-wrap?
What was it?

I've read the clauses and as I've taken business law classes I understand such contracts fairly well (unlike most), but once I realized the truth I found it generally worthless. If you look at nearly every such contract, you'd note that they reserve the right to change the 'agreement' in any fashion at any time, while trying to lock you in like chattel. From what I understand (as do many, I believe), judges generally never enforce or throw out with good regularity the worst of the clauses when they are put to a test legally. Still, I feel a little dirty and used when I click 'accept'. So you need to keep an eye out for re-billers and watch what you install from or make available online. It's the best that you'll likely ever be able to do.

Re:Sign away your rights (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#35452068)

Do you ever click 'decline' and don't use their product based on it's click-wrap?
What was it?

As an example, I was once pushed by an undergrad course instructor to sign up for some "career building" website. What is interesting is that the instructor was annoyed when I said that I did not agree to the terms of use and that I would not sign up -- annoyed, because nobody else had a problem with them (or read them). I was not particularly comfortable signing up for a website that wanted the right to do essentially anything they wanted with the data I uploaded, particularly since I was not getting much in return (it turns out that you can get internships without signing up for such websites).

Personally, I resolve this dilemma (that is, "do you read every word?") by just not installing proprietary software (it is easy to read and understand the 4~ free software licenses that cover the software on my system) and by not signing up for every trendy website that comes along. Slashdot (if we can even consider it "trendy") is a rare exception to that rule.

script to detect subtle changes (1)

KWTm (808824) | more than 3 years ago | (#35452318)

Do you read every word? ... I've read the clauses ... but ... I found it generally worthless. If you look at nearly every such contract, you'd note that they reserve the right to change the 'agreement' in any fashion at any time, while trying to lock you in like chattel.

On this subject, I wanted to mention my quick script to check for subtle changes in text that you see often, such as Terms & Conditions that pop up every time you use a frequently-used Web service. It will alert you to small changes that you might not otherwise notice because you habitually click on the "I Agree To These Terms And Conditions" button without going through all the text each time. Simply select the text and copy to the clipboard, and then run the script.

It's in my journal entry [slashdot.org] . I use it several times a month.

Just a note that the script was done quite a while ago and is rather poorly written. It works with KDE 3 (I've since upgraded to KDE 4). Sometime "Real Soon Now" I'll get around to:
- replacing the clipboard with "xclip" which seems to work for both the KDE 4 and GNOME clipboards
- making variable names not ALLCAPS
- rewriting the option detection so it doesn't have to use grep just to detect cmd-line options
- replacing backticks with $( )
- etc. etc. etc.

-----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE-----
Version: GnuPG v1.4.10 (GNU/Linux)

iEYEABECAAYFAk16Li4ACgkQLnc9OVO/yZ5mVQCgnj+JeGJfZKfTMO/0mgm+dctH
8Y0Anj/lxmXnnnGgtJJyRAn7LT+BZLOe
=1LN6
-----END PGP SIGNATURE-----
This is the GPG signature of the text with all spaces, tabs, newlines and other non-printable characters removed.
To check validity of this signature, put the plain text into PlainTextFile, and the signature (including beginning and end lines) into SignatureFile, and use this command:
        tr -cd [:graph:] < PlainTextFile | gpg --verify SignatureFile -

click-through TOS (4, Insightful)

mug funky (910186) | more than 3 years ago | (#35448324)

i think it's time click-through "I Agree" ten mile pages for new accounts get a test in court. people "sign" away too much, and not many people read those "agreements".

Re:click-through TOS (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35448514)

Why the double quotes? Is an agreement any less valid if its done on a web form? Ten pages may be a lot to read but at least there's pretty strong stipulations about what you are or aren't agreeing to. Surely people should be boycotting sites that have policies for selling or mining data rather than complaining that sites give you more terms than you can be bothered to read.

Re:click-through TOS (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35448592)

> Why the double quotes? Is an agreement any less valid if its done on a web form?

You didn't sign it, "your kid" or "your neighbor" must have clicked Agree, it wasn't you who agreed to anything. Easy.

Re:click-through TOS (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35448684)

Disclosed principle/undisclosed agent cases have been done before

Re:click-through TOS (4, Interesting)

Em Adespoton (792954) | more than 3 years ago | (#35449050)

Yes, but clickthroughs aren't usually contracts, as there is no way to actually negotiate a contract via them.

That would be an interesting one though... what happens if I modify and initial the clickthrough before clicking "I agree"? Isn't it up to the principle to then verify that they agree with my changes?

After all, it's pretty simple to modify the clickthrough text in an installer (even easier in a web form) before clicking "I agree".

The problem here is that usually the principle gets back zero feedback as to what you agreed to -- only that you must have agreed because you're using their product. Real contracts involve both parties actually agreeing to something. Clickthroughs are the equivalent of the principle setting up a fruit stand with a gate in front of it with a sign reading "If you open this gate, you agree to the following...."

If someone comes in from the back field or climbs over the fence, they haven't agreed. They might run afoul of copyright, but there is no contract whatsoever. The undisclosed agent argument could be used here. But if they modify the actual agreement and sign the changes, there is already implicit agreement from the principle, or it's not a contract. They can choose to reject the changes, but they have to be there to do that.

Re:click-through TOS (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 3 years ago | (#35449284)

The problem here is that usually the principle gets back zero feedback as to what you agreed to -- only that you must have agreed because you're using their product. Real contracts involve both parties actually agreeing to something. Clickthroughs are the equivalent of the principle setting up a fruit stand with a gate in front of it with a sign reading "If you open this gate, you agree to the following...."

If someone comes in from the back field or climbs over the fence, they haven't agreed. They might run afoul of copyright, but there is no contract whatsoever. The undisclosed agent argument could be used here. But if they modify the actual agreement and sign the changes, there is already implicit agreement from the principle, or it's not a contract. They can choose to reject the changes, but they have to be there to do that.

All this is true. However, it doesn't matter. The courts will just handwave it away and rule in the other guy's favor, because they want this crap to be valid.

Re:click-through TOS (3, Interesting)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | more than 3 years ago | (#35449056)

It has actually been tested in Canada a few times and MANY of these agreements are NOT enforceable. There are *very* specific conditions the website has to adhere to in order for the agreement to be enforceable.

Re:click-through TOS (1)

Americium (1343605) | more than 3 years ago | (#35450102)

Noooooo..... think of all the underage 16yr nerds.... we all remember our youth, they need this to be law so that they can see some free porn online. Think of the humanity, imagine a world where you don't get 10 million porn hits without even trying. This effectively allows people to do anything they want online, if this disappears, simply going to Youporn would require you to show an id. There are a ton of zip codes on youporn that are banned, a couple states worth if you have ever bothered looking, imagine actually banning something like 5-10 US states from watching porn online, i mean come on, that's just insanity.

So please, be sure you know what this means before you start wishing for it.... this is one of the laws that makes the internet as free as it is. If you don't wanna give away your privacy, don't post geotagged pictures on sites known for selling to advertisers, maybe post them on your own site. Allowing stupidity to dictate what the law should be is dagerous....... basically some guy/girl knowingly posts something to the internet and invites other people to look it at, and then gets upset because a couple other people saw it..... wtf! These are the same schmucks complaining that watch every leaked celebrity video, which are the real invasions of privacy.

Re:click-through TOS (1)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | more than 3 years ago | (#35469098)

I fail to see how TOS agreements being unenforceable is bad, or even *applies* to your statement...

Re:click-through TOS (4, Interesting)

MickLinux (579158) | more than 3 years ago | (#35449216)

It's about time that instead of just clicking thru, people start thinking:

  (1) Typically, when evil corporations make evil agreements, their subsequent actions are ______ evil, as compared to the agreement.
      (a) MORE (b) LESS (c) ABOUT AS

  (2) I know I _____ the service (a) WANT (b) NEED (c) JUST GOTTA GOTTA HAVE

  (3) The "service" is actually _______ (a) a service (b) an bilateral transaction (c) a unilateral action masquerading as a bilateral transaction (d) a waste of resources (e) a con.

  (4) Now I will ______ (a) click "I agree", the above notwithstanding. (b) Walk away while I still can walk. (c) wonder what I was thinking, that I wanted to deal with these people.

        Just as an aside, that's sortof related, I'm unemployed. I worked on a team of 20 that was producing about $10Million of profit a year for our company. The company acted in *really* *really* bad faith. (Think brakeless trucks and repetitive OSHA violations. Think Company Code of Conduct. Think Honeypot). They hired their own lawyer to investigate, who took statements, but didn't even check the sources I give, waited for the OSHA statute of limitations to expire, and then announced the honeypot, concluding that there was no evidence.
        They fired me; now they are making about 1/6th that profit (think 1 production run of $75000 profit a week, as opposed to 3, and with many massive errors, as opposed to almost none.) So the company fired me, having profited heavily before, and I having made a max of $17/hr. But they did hurt themselves badly.

        Point being, I was about to apply for a job at a certain Language Translation CDr company, and in order to even apply and maybe interview, they wanted me to sign a click-thru agreement of confidentiality that included damages beyond limitless, and payment of all the lawyer fees they chose to assign, should they choose to hire a lawyer.

      Umm... I've already been there. Thank you, but rather than work for such an employer (or click through), I'd rather be unemployed. Arguably, I'd rather starve.

I chose to walk away. If an employer would give an honest wage for an honest day's labor, they'd get a ton out of me. Language Translation Company is showing that there's no trust, so they aren't going to get the goodies.

Re:click-through TOS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35449450)

The reality is that in this market they will just find someone else to be their huckleberry. Nobody is irreplaceable, especially in this market.

Re:click-through TOS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35452032)

Good for you. It's shit to be unemployed but it's even worse to have no principles.

If more people would act like this the jerks of the world would be where they should be. Left all alone, penniless and crying because nobody wants to play with them.

Re:click-through TOS (1)

Chapter80 (926879) | more than 3 years ago | (#35449814)

I think it's time for a Firefox Plug-in, or Grease Monkey script or something like that, that auto-clicks "I agree" for the Terms of Service of the top websites (get it to work with Facebook and Google first, and slowly work your way down the Alexa Top Million Sites [amazonaws.com] list).

Some genius on here has got to be smart enough or think this is an interesting enough project to crank something out to do this. With the Plug-In installed, if the user gets to the Terms Of Service click-through agreement, then it auto-clicks.

Then a court challenge would be VERY interesting! "I didn't agree to it! I didn't even SEE the agreement!" ....Filing patent now...

News? (4, Insightful)

cosm (1072588) | more than 3 years ago | (#35448350)

Which led him to ask 'What gives Twitter, Facebook, et al. the right to mine that data?' It turns out, users do when they sign up for social networking services, even if they don't realize that

End of discussion. Pointless article is pointless.

Re:News? (2)

eepok (545733) | more than 3 years ago | (#35448414)

I normally don't agree with seemingly simplistic "thread-ender" comments like this, but... I agree. These over-reaching EULAs and "privacy" agreements have been part of digital life for *decades* now. There's nothing new under the sun except that companies are more and more able to capitalize off the warnings now.

I genuinely understand ignorance of new users, but anyone who has been clicking through installations or creating identities on whatever sites for a year or more should already know what this article is talking about.

Re:News? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35450444)

I have no sympathy for those who sign-up for a service without reading the ToS / Privacy Policy and complain about data mining and other things that was clearly written in it. My site, even though I'm posting as anonymous (too lazy to login) says in bold writing (something on the lines of) "Please read our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy and be sure to read the fine print. Some of your information is being collected for demographic purposes, learn more about it by reading further". Since then, there's been a few less people registering per day but that's okay because nobody has once complained and when our members were polled they said they were very happy about how direct and legit we were. We weren't trying to con anyone and we were truthful the whole time. Because of this and other things, we have a loyal user base. It's a comforting feeling really.

Re:News? (1)

Relayman (1068986) | more than 3 years ago | (#35448476)

Agreed. How do I get screwed by computers knowing me like my friends know me?

Re:News? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35448788)

Well, in theory at least, your friends don't plan to take all your stuff or sign up for credit pretending to be you. They probably also won't tell your prospective employer about all the times you got drunk at parties - even if that prospective employer asks. Not so the people on the web. Some are nice. Some are most definitely not nice. Some want to steal your stuff, use your name and national ID to get credit, etc.

Re:News? (1)

scottbomb (1290580) | more than 3 years ago | (#35449162)

Facebook and Slashdot don't have my SSN so they can't sign up credit cards or open bank accts in my name. Hell, they probably know as much about me as anybody with a phone book 20 years ago knew.

I agree with the anonymous coward. This is a yawner.

Re:News? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35450012)

You were never in court for a divorce, bankruptcy, traffic ticket etc?
There are many court records available online and if not, you can always get what you need directly from the local courthouse.
Still fighting the Liberal Left?

Re:News? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35449984)

You cite as your favorite show, although it isn't licensed to your country, ditto for the DVDs.
So you must be one of those criminal pirate downloaders.

Re:News? (4, Insightful)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 3 years ago | (#35448516)

Not only pointless, but wrong. You can't give up something if you don't realize that you're giving it up. A gift or a trade requires consent, which implies knowledge. It's pure sophistry to say otherwise, the kind that many lawyers like to use.

Re:News? (-1, Troll)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 3 years ago | (#35448536)

Ignorance is no excuse in the eyes of the law.

Not knowing that murder is illegal will not get you off. Not knowing that speeding is illegal won't get you off a fine. Not knowing that slander can get you sued won't get you off.

Your comment is as redundant as the article.

Re:News? (3, Insightful)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 3 years ago | (#35448616)

You're not giving up a right or possession by murdering or by slandering. Your analogy is inapplicable.

Re:News? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35448688)

Ignorance is no excuse in the eyes of the law.

Well it bloody well ought to be. Laws are written by a caste of high priests in an arcane domain-specific language, behind closed doors and in the dead of night. They *intend* them to be unknowable by non-lawyers; it's part of the business model.

Re:News? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35449004)

Ignorance is an excuse for violation of some laws, Mr. Armchair Lawyer. That's why some laws require proof of mens rea be established before conviction. According to the latest US statistics around 1/3 of all laws cannot be successfully prosecuted unless they can actually prove you knew it was a crime before doing it. That ratio is way too low, in fact, but it's downright moronic to keep parroting that BS phrase "ignorance is no excuse". It's clearly untrue legally and socially it advocates just throwing up your arms and saying "to damned bad for unlucky people or ones who aren't as 'smart' as me!".

Re:News? (4, Interesting)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 3 years ago | (#35448706)

Not only pointless, but wrong. You can't give up something if you don't realize that you're giving it up. A gift or a trade requires consent, which implies knowledge.

And yet people blindly accept click-throughs on a regular basis. What a paradox. But what an opportunity in the field of education! All we need to do is add an "I agree" button to the end of any given lecture and students will instantly gain knowledge whether they paid attention or not!

Re:News? (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 3 years ago | (#35448738)

Now *that* could revolutionize education. Even more so if they link the "I Agree" button to a credit card transaction. Call it "one click learning", maybe send a receipt^H^H^H diploma in the mail :)

Re:News? (3, Insightful)

raddan (519638) | more than 3 years ago | (#35449150)

Ignorantia juris non excusat. It may be the case that everybody knows that nobody reads the fine print, but that doesn't mean that the fine print is not there.

Like it or not, Facebook provides a service. There ain't no such thing as a free lunch. If you don't like the exchange, don't participate.

Re:News? (2)

JustNilt (984644) | more than 3 years ago | (#35449386)

"Ignorance of the law is no excuse" is a legal principle relating to one's liability for an action that violates a criminal offense. It has nothing to do with entering a contract with another. Even then it's not absolute. There are explicit exceptions for willfulness in many statutes and there was one case back in the 60s, I believe it was that made it to the SCotUS which held that you have to have a likelihood of knowing an offense is a crime in order to be held liable. I'm too lazy to look it up but it's probably on Wikipedia.

Re:News? (1)

Goldberg's Pants (139800) | more than 3 years ago | (#35448518)

Yep, no reason for the story (and I use the word in entirely the wrong way) to exist.

States the obvious. It's why I am very selective over what I actually put on places like Facebook (I have no photos or much of anything on there) and Twitter (random inane babbling).

Re:News? (1)

the_Bionic_lemming (446569) | more than 3 years ago | (#35448878)

Agreed, you "opt in" when you join.

Friends and Family keep asking why I don't have FB or Twitter or MySpace or anything else despite being the tech guy in the group.

I keep telling them that all of that stuff is too technical for me - saves on the long drawn out discussion of why it's bad to be associated with those sites - specially when it comes to "looking for a job" time.

Course, they roll their eyes at me - but hey, a guys gotta get some laughs now and again...

Re:News? (1)

coofercat (719737) | more than 3 years ago | (#35451884)

Well, here in the UK, and possibly in Canada, just because you say "vehicles left at owners own risk" on a sign in your car park doesn't mean that you absolve your responsibility to people who pay you to park their cars.

What I'm saying is that a high proportion of EULAs on websites in particular are completely unenforceable. Just because a given site says "we can track you all we want, and we can sell that data how we choose" doesn't make it legal. In fact, in the UK that would be complely illegal, as it is over most of Europe.

So, just because I clicked "okay, yes, I agree and swear to abide by it, and waive my legal rights in all cases" doesn't mean I have actually done so, should we ever end up in court. This article at worst a "water is wet" sort of article, but at best, it highlights that in some places in the world, there are better legal systems and "terms of engagement" than others. I'll leave it to the reader to decide which ones I'm talking about in particular here.

Fine print. (4, Funny)

Lord_of_the_nerf (895604) | more than 3 years ago | (#35448352)

There's also a clause about 'organ harvesting' that I seem to have missed.

Think about that next time you tweet about your kitty cat spilling milk on your keyboard.

Re:Fine print. (1)

Relayman (1068986) | more than 3 years ago | (#35448508)

Been reading Dilbert, [dilbert.com] have you?

Re:Fine print. (1)

psithurism (1642461) | more than 3 years ago | (#35449032)

There's also a clause about 'organ harvesting' that I seem to have missed.

Think about that next time you tweet about your kitty cat spilling milk on your keyboard.

Tweet this instead: "My cat just spilled my daily glass urine from goats infected with dengue. I use so many self discovered homeopathic cures and all my organs are still failing."

"Ownership of information" is quite clear. (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 3 years ago | (#35448374)

There is none. Nor should there be.

Re:"Ownership of information" is quite clear. (2)

cosm (1072588) | more than 3 years ago | (#35448406)

Unfortunately, not in the United Plutocratic States of Corporate America. Write your congressm...they're bought out. Write your senato....they're bought out too...erm... become a lobbyist!

Re:"Ownership of information" is quite clear. (1)

Relayman (1068986) | more than 3 years ago | (#35448524)

Even a lobbyist is only as good as the corporate cash he/she can bring to the party.

Re:"Ownership of information" is quite clear. (1)

shawb (16347) | more than 3 years ago | (#35448892)

That's right. We've got the best government that money can buy!

Re:"Ownership of information" is quite clear. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35449346)

It's not "write your congressmen". It's not "write your senator". It's not "write your *". It's "write to your *". Or, "write your * a letter". "Write your *" makes no sense at all.

Re:"Ownership of information" is quite clear. (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#35449878)

The "a letter", or better, "a message", is implied.

Re:"Ownership of information" is quite clear. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35452722)

Write a letter to your senator and shove it up your ass,

Re:"Ownership of information" is quite clear. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35448538)

Kindly give me your credit card # and Social Security Number. You don't own them - give them to me now.
Privacy and ownership are more closely connected than you realize.

Re:"Ownership of information" is quite clear. (1)

kilfarsnar (561956) | more than 3 years ago | (#35453276)

The fact that I don't own something does not imply my obligation to provide it to you. There are a number of ways of finding out the information you seek, and none of them involve you paying me. Privacy and ownership can be related, but one does not imply the other.

Re:"Ownership of information" is quite clear. (1)

clydemaxwell (935315) | more than 3 years ago | (#35475188)

i don't own my credit card number. i know it, and i have a reason to jealously prevent others from knowing it, but none of this constitutes 'ownership', which can't apply to information.
once it becomes known to you (legally or otherwise) i can't say you've stolen it. or that if you posted it on the web, that every viewer also stole it. since information is not a physical quantity, it cannot be possessed, only 'known'.

Re:"Ownership of information" is quite clear. (1)

olden (772043) | more than 3 years ago | (#35448582)

...then I'm sure you don't mind sharing your financial details, medical history etc with us, your boss, insurance, etc... It's already electronically available somewhere anyway, right?

(and we're back to the whole "if you have something to hide" debate. I personally side with Schneier on this, privacy is a necessity: http://www.schneier.com/essay-114.html [schneier.com] )

Re:"Ownership of information" is quite clear. (2)

Relayman (1068986) | more than 3 years ago | (#35448692)

I'm a lot more worried about wrong information getting out about me than correct information being leaked. Someone falsely claiming that I've had a liver transplant because of alcoholism is going to do me a lot more damage than someone announcing my waist and inseam.

There's also safety in numbers. If 15 million credit card numbers are stolen, what are the chances that mine will be used?

Re:"Ownership of information" is quite clear. (1)

tunapez (1161697) | more than 3 years ago | (#35449030)

...then I'm sure you don't mind sharing your financial details, medical history etc with us, your boss, insurance, etc... It's already electronically available somewhere anyway, right?

You are correct, sir! [pbs.org] It is, sadly, already available to the highest bidder, check out the 5th segment, Narrowcasting. Acxiom even allowed cameras into their castle, which is surprising to me.

Social Network Marketing (2)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#35448388)

The curse of the internet. It permeates everything with press releases being put out as "news" and editorials, with product placements and outright sales pitches. But the answer to his question should have been more than obvious... I'm fairly certain that if people understood what they were "signing", We'd see a different world.

For Immediate Release (1)

alostpacket (1972110) | more than 3 years ago | (#35448442)

I agree with your post. By reading these words you agree to check out the Android app in my sig.

Re:For Immediate Release (0)

Threni (635302) | more than 3 years ago | (#35448570)

LOL! One of the 40 best new apps of the week by some shitty website (Android Police) for the first week in March 2011! Big time! Way to spam Slashdot, dude!

 

Re:For Immediate Release (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35448668)

Whoosh

Re:For Immediate Release (1)

alostpacket (1972110) | more than 3 years ago | (#35448898)

You know, I made a joke out of my promotion, but your comment is just malicious and you clearly missed the joke. Not that it was some hilarious joke, but I think someone needs a time out.

Re:For Immediate Release (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 3 years ago | (#35451416)

I took the piss out of that site more than anything. I wish you all the best with your application sales.

Re:For Immediate Release (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#35448702)

:) Excellent.. Thank you for understanding.. But you need a journal entry with a faux editorial. Detail details...

Re:For Immediate Release (1)

alostpacket (1972110) | more than 3 years ago | (#35448812)

Hehe yeah, I really do agree with what you're saying though but how do you propose to make people understand more? I think you run into legal issues by forcing companies to have simple privacy policies/eulas etc.

For me, I'd say there just need to be hard limits on what can be collected, how long that data can be held, who and what can be used. For instance I dont think it right for employers to get full credit history and to look people up on facebook and whatnot, it just seems wrong. References or LinkedIn is one thing but...

Re:For Immediate Release (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#35448918)

Well first, you can forget about "policy". That will never work. Never has. And now it's too easy to hide the info you're collecting. We can only assume everything is being collected for some purpose or another. The issue isn't technical. People have to learn how to tune out the chaff. Just let it pass through completely unnoticed. And let them collect all the info they want. Just nail them to the wall if they try to use it against you. But all that crap requires a collective action. As an individual, the best thing you can do is simply zero out your debts as quickly as possible, and plant a nice garden...

Obvious statement is obvious (1)

billcopc (196330) | more than 3 years ago | (#35448462)

Summary: when you click "I Agree", you're agreeing to let the site do whatever with whatever for whatever reason.

Ya, duh. What is this, 1994 ?

Re:Obvious statement is obvious (1)

cosm (1072588) | more than 3 years ago | (#35448504)

Summary: when you click "I Agree", you're agreeing to let the site do whatever with whatever for whatever reason.

Ya, duh. What is this, 1994 ?

I think somebody found this article saved on an old Windows 98 machine they were throwing away, so to cut cost they just fudged the dates and substringed in modern corporate brands.

Re:Obvious statement is obvious (1)

mywhitewolf (1923488) | more than 3 years ago | (#35448850)

so wait, its a surprise that big companies use fine print and legal loopholes to do whatever they want to improve profits.

Re:Obvious statement is obvious (1)

mywhitewolf (1923488) | more than 3 years ago | (#35448934)

so... because your computer sends a response to the server that indicates to the server that a particular routine on the local computer executed or ran (by whom or what is not covered obviously), they are legally entitled to do what they want with the information the PC has given them.

using that logic: i guess i should make a browser that sends an EULA... or perhaps a SCLA (server communication) in the meta data it sends to the server along the lines of "by transmitting information to this computer you have released your rights to the information you have transmitted, continual transmission will be taken as an agreement to that condition". now its legal for me to use facebook's logos etc for my own financial gain without cutting them in. if they can obfuscate their "entitlements" deep in an obscure, excessively legalized document in which is supposedly applicable to even 13 year olds. then the same logic applies to my "agreement".

Re:Obvious statement is obvious (1)

Leebert (1694) | more than 3 years ago | (#35449600)

You're being a bit disingenuous.

A click-through in the context of an EULA, to a reasonable person, means somebody clicked it. Is it absolutely iron clad? Of course not, but neither is the bunch of squiggly lines that I scratch out on the signature line of that contract to buy a car, or the home loan documents, or any other perfectly normal contract.

One can certainly make a case to another reasonable person that it is reasonable to believe that if the "I accept" button got clicked, then a human probably clicked it.

One could NOT make any such argument about headers that are universally not reviewed by a human at the time of the HTTP transaction.

Re:Obvious statement is obvious (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 3 years ago | (#35449874)

i guess i should make a browser that sends an EULA... or perhaps a SCLA (server communication) in the meta data it sends to the server along the lines of "by transmitting information to this computer you have released your rights to the information you have transmitted, continual transmission will be taken as an agreement to that condition". now its legal for me to use facebook's logos etc for my own financial gain without cutting them in. if they can obfuscate their "entitlements" deep in an obscure, excessively legalized document in which is supposedly applicable to even 13 year olds. then the same logic applies to my "agreement".

A cookie that is set is sent to the server upon each request. Cookies can be limited to only be sent to one server, but the default is "send to all servers".

Here, paste this into your address bar:
javascript:void(document.cookie="NOTICE=By transmitting information to this computer you have released your rights to the information you have transmitted, continual transmission will be taken as an agreement to that condition")

Now each website you visit (until you close your browser) will receive your agreement. To make this a bookmarklet, paste it as the URL of a bookmark, then click that bookmark once per session to activate the agreement cookie.

Of course, I doubt a court would find this legal.

The problem is that these agreements need not be legal. When faced with a costly legal battle, a settlement will likely be preferable than even having to pay your lawyers and taking the chance of losing. Point being: They have a bigger warchest than you; Ergo, your agreement is worthless while theirs is very formidable.

No Free Lunch (4, Insightful)

fermion (181285) | more than 3 years ago | (#35448480)

Nothing is free. When someone gives you something for free, they are lying to you. There are always tangible and intangible benefits that tend to negate the freeness. We have free food programs so we don't have to think about the people who don't have enough to eat, and so that our stuff is safer because people without food will be less likely to steal(outside of self righteous morality, one option to get basics is always theft). In the US we have free education so that it is more likely out kids can increase the standard of living by leveraging technology to get more stuff out of the same or fewer resources. Someone has to pay for the Twitter servers, and those that do will eventually a return on investment, and not just a single digit multiplier. Google does not provide maps because they are company that will do not evil. All of us should know we trade ourselves for servies.

This type of data mining is not something that bothers me. I think it should be more in the open, and maybe regulated to protect the average consumer, but it is not horrible. What I find horrible is places like Krogers and CVS that offer products far above prevailing prices and require one to have a card that will allow them to track and collect huge amounts of private data. Sure, we don't have to shop at CVS or Krogers, and sure they provide the occasional really good deal, but if i were to regulate something it would be these scams, not services that actually provide a useful service in exchange for data.

Re:No Free Lunch (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35448798)

We have free food programs so we don't have to think about the people who don't have enough to eat

The primary purpose of food stamps, WIC, assisted housing, and other forms of welfare is both simple and ugly. It creates an army of voters who become dependent on these programs and do not know how to get by without them. They will strongly support the politicians who want to increase social spending. They will vehemently oppose anyone who wants to decrease it. Even though the politician's reasons are easy: more spending means bigger government, bigger government means more power. If you do not understand that, look at the unsustainable Ponzi scheme that is Social Security and look at the sudden end of the political careers of anyone who tries to reform it.

because people without food will be less likely to steal(outside of self righteous morality, one option to get basics is always theft)

Since when are moral principles like "it is generally wrong to steal" self-righteous? Also most truly moral people would make a huge distinction between a man who steals some food because he is starving versus a career criminal who robs a bank or something. The first is likely a decent person who was driven to steal out of desperation, the other is evil and willingly embraces theft.

In the US we have free education so that it is more likely out kids can increase the standard of living by leveraging technology to get more stuff out of the same or fewer resources.

The purpose of US public schooling and public schools in most countries is to create a docile, passive workforce that is smart enough to do their jobs but not the kind of truly intelligent, self-sufficient, self-learning abstract thinking philosophers who think critically and seriously question their leaders. The founders of the US public school system (late 1800s) were quite open about this being their goal. They were terrified of discontent among the poor. They were inspired by the Indian caste system and the way taught servitude was used to allow 2% to rule the other 98%. They were also inspired by the Prussian school system which was a tool of management of the social order, of early indoctrination, a form of social technology.

That is why so many US schools switched from using phonics to teach children to read and went instead to this whole-word bullshit. Whole-word is appropriate for something like Mandarin Chinese. A language like English is phonetic precisely so that one does not need to memorize gigantic sets of words in order to be able to read and pronounce them. The evidence is abundant -- children taught to read with phonics are better readers and able to read material at a higher grade level than children taught with whole-word methods.

So why the press to use the whole-word method? Simple. It aligns with the public school's purpose of instilling passive dependency in the children. With phonics, a child could figure out a word on his own. With whole-word methods, he must ask teacher what it is and wait for it to be explained. Ever wonder why so many people, like those who call tech support lines, will endure so much hold-time and effort to get some handholding even when the answer is simple to understand, readily available, and within their power to find? It is because they have learned the dependency lesson.

This type of data mining is not something that bothers me. I think it should be more in the open, and maybe regulated to protect the average consumer, but it is not horrible.

It is horrible. It exists because most people are oblivious to it and just want their momentary indulgence, their shiny. Most people do not understand database technology and have no idea the power you can attain by centralizing and cross-referencing data that is collected from multiple sources. Perhaps Google and other advertisers are relatively benign. The real trouble is that governments are increasingly eager to access these stockpiles of personal data and governments have many ways to abuse it.

I am not sure if regulation is such a good idea. I do not trust the assholes in power to create regulation that actually protects us from anything. They are just as likely to want their own piece of the pie, in the name of our safety of course.

What I find horrible is places like Krogers and CVS that offer products far above prevailing prices and require one to have a card that will allow them to track and collect huge amounts of private data.

What I find horrible is not that companies try to do this. What I find horrible is that everyone who warned about these practices and explained them to the public was ignored, called paranoid, and generally disregarded. The sheeple zeroed in on "with our store card you SAVE THIS MUCH MONEY WOOHOO!" and refused to think about how that was possible. In other words .. the same thing they are doing now with regard to internet privacy.

Re:No Free Lunch (2)

seifried (12921) | more than 3 years ago | (#35449314)

What about material released into the public domain? QED, there is stuff that is free.

Re:No Free Lunch (1)

Gutboy (587531) | more than 3 years ago | (#35449470)

Don't worry, Congress is working on that now. [huffingtonpost.com]

Re:No Free Lunch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35449908)

You actually give your real name, address, and phone number when you're signing up for bonus/rewards cards at Krogers, CVS, et al... I always use a fake phone number (one I use consistently so I can remember it, if needed)... I generally change either my first or last name when signing up... And for the address I'll either do something like "1234 Main St. Springfield, IL" or at least change my real address by a few house numbers... And I've never been turned down or questioned (or even seen a raised eyebrow) when getting a card... And half the time I don't even present the card with I check out at a merchant... They may ask for my phone number so I give them the fake one I've memorized... And if for some reason that doesn't work I plead ignorance and they always just use "the store account"... I always get the discount!!!

People seem to forget the important part of it... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35448550)

They need to step back and think about that a bit more. It gives them the permission and ability, not necessarily the right. But also people that use Twitter, Facebook, etc need to understand also YOU ARE NOT THE CUSTOMER! You are the product, you never have been the customer, and probably never will be deal with it and don't put personal info up, and as soon as you find one that works to treat you as the customer instead of the product jump on it, and pay because in the end thats what it will take to make one.

Re:People seem to forget the important part of it. (2)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 3 years ago | (#35448714)

That's nice. If you're not the customer, but merely the product, then you have no obligations to the website or to the website's customers to act in any way that conforms to the expectations of the website or their real customers. When the website admins complain that you always block their ads, tell them to fuck off. When they complain that the information you gave them was fake, tell them to fuck off. It's good to be a product :)

Technically, not true in Canada (5, Informative)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 3 years ago | (#35448572)

Canadian citizens have a right to Privacy that is stronger.

Regardless of what the American lawyers for these companies tell you, it's in the Canadian Constitution.

And, for that matter, EU citizens also have stronger Rights in these regards, especially in terms of data sharing.

Just because a lawyer tells you something, doesn't make it true - my family is full of lawyers and lots of my friends are lawyers or judges too.

Re:Technically, not true in Canada (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35450078)

But does the Canadian constitution apply? If you physically travel to another country, you come under the jurisdiction of that country's laws. If you interact with a web-based service whose servers are all physically located in the United States, you've exported your data to a foreign country. IANAL, but I suspect that once data about you is physically located in a foreign country, it is subject to that country's laws, not Canada's.

Re:Technically, not true in Canada (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35452400)

Just because a lawyer tells you something, doesn't make it true - my family is full of lawyers

Oh, stop. Everything your siblings tell you is true. Everything.

Now lick the flagpole. What are you, chicken?

Re:Technically, not true in Canada (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35454838)

Just because a lawyer tells you something, doesn't make it true - my family is full of lawyers

Oh, stop. Everything your siblings tell you is true. Everything.

Now lick the flagpole. What are you, chicken?

funny story, I actually remember my brother and I convincing our little brother to do that.

Hang on... (1)

dakameleon (1126377) | more than 3 years ago | (#35448614)

What the headline promises is how "Big Data" justifies mining personal data, not on what basis it is legal for them to do so. I'd like an answer or an opinion on that, but I'm sure it would be the all-too-obvious data-for-advertising-to-make-the-service-free.

Re:Hang on... (1)

pwizard2 (920421) | more than 3 years ago | (#35448864)

"Big Data" (and corporate America in general) justify it because money is all that matters to them. They have based their lives around it and it fills their very being even though they may pretend otherwise. If you were to meet one of them and look past the surface, the hunger and greed would be there. Even though they already have enough money, what does privacy matter when the chance of gaining even more profit is at stake? If someone were to take their money (or power) away from them, they would be broken and their life would no longer hold any meaning whatsoever.

Re:Hang on... (1)

vlueboy (1799360) | more than 3 years ago | (#35448880)

What the headline promises is how "Big Data" justifies mining personal data, not on what basis it is legal for them to do so

Web 2.0 privacy fears aside, how about comparing Big data's justification to how older people DO expect *all* employers to justify owning us legally to an extent, (NDA's, fair behavior, non-compete agreements) signed with real ink before our first day of work? Even and weeks prior to getting even your first dollar bill for your slavery?

Lets shift a bit: in some locations, earning free state funds toward your college education means you can use that illegally for beer... in others, it goes directly to your bursar and you can be sure it's having the desired effect (of allowing you get educated instead of dropping out due to coming short on forewarned dues). We clearly adapt because we know that even money we don't see is hard at work behind the scenes.

The hard difference is that jobs *always* put money in your bank account. It's hard for ordinary people to conceive the idea of crowdsourcing as business models (and on the employee's side, daily bread bringers), let alone the idea of returning to the ancient system of tribal trades where nobody saw a single gold coin, yet all could receive goods beyond *your* ability to *design* in exchange for other goods beyond "their" ability to *acquire for free.*

So we as a pan-society give up Big Data in exchange for Big Social. Whether this trading system and any other are 100% fair is always the million dollar argument. It's queued up awaiting the mathematical answer to another age-old dilemma: the "Apples-to-Oranges conversion rate." ;)

Re:Hang on... (1)

raddan (519638) | more than 3 years ago | (#35449164)

Well, the other obvious answer is that it's not "your data". You may have generated it, but you used their service to do so. I'd say it was always theirs.

If they said to you, "In order to use our service, you need to upload your bank statements", then, well, different story. But that's not what's happening here.

Re:Hang on... (1)

dakameleon (1126377) | more than 3 years ago | (#35450164)

Where are you drawing the line to distinguish "your data" that you have a legitimate right to not expect exploitation of vs. something which comes through as a result of using the system?

If I upload my photos to Facebook, I would still expect that is "my data" - I'm using Facebook as a distribution platform, but that doesn't mean I'm handing it over to them. If I were to use a Facebook "app" to modify my photo in a certain way, I could possibly understand your point of view, but a "reasonable person" would still expect continued ownership. Adobe doesn't claim ownership of every file modified with Photoshop, so why should that be different for an online "app"?

And then there's the case of putting your birthdate on Facebook. Partially, Facebook justifies it as complying with the need to check the user is over 13 - you put it in so your friends can be notified of your birthday, and in turn you can be notified of theirs. However, there's little doubt Facebook is shopping this, as well as your gender data, for all it's worth to advertisers - demographics and targeted messaging is key to even 50 year old advertising models. I'd consider my birthdate private information on par with a bank account number - after all, it is so often used to secure the bank accounts. So where's the line?

REALLY concerned about privacy? DROP OUT... (5, Insightful)

A Man Called Da-da (2013464) | more than 3 years ago | (#35448790)

...of facebook, twitter, etc. If enough people quit social disease networking (gasp, what will you do with your time??), then the corporations that run them will feel the pain and either change for the good, or go out of business. Both are wins for humanity. Alas, the reality is that, given lower numbers and a social forgetworking downturn, they'll just sell themselves to some big stupid brick-n-mortar conglomerate that doesn't know any better, where they'll limp into fad obscurity and resurge in 20 years as a peculiar, nostalgic fetish. Let asocial networking's EQUILIBRIUM OF MEDIOCRITY begin. -da-da

Nobody is concerned about privacy (3, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#35450076)

"Did you know that Facebook records every single thing you do on their website from the very moment you sign up?"
"So what?"

That is an exchange that I had with someone when I was an undergrad. People do not actually care if companies are mining their private lives, they just want to use Facebook and Twitter and not have to think about anything.

Re:REALLY concerned about privacy? DROP OUT... (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 3 years ago | (#35450460)

Drop out of life. The trouble is that many are not even questioning what is going on. Just because something is legal does not mean it is right.
Laws should be there for the people by the people, not for the profit of the shareholders by the shareholders.
Many things that used to be legal are now forbidden. Some things that are forbidden should be legal.

A government for the people, by the people should realize dangers, like the invasion of privacy and take action to protect it. But what do you expect from a government that lets a company convicted of being a monopoly go free.

Obligatory (3, Funny)

517714 (762276) | more than 3 years ago | (#35449290)

All your data are belong to us.

Norwegian Newspaper ran a story on Facebook today (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35449306)

Translated Quote made by Facebook's European Policy Director to the Norwegian Data Inspectorate:
"–It was either a misinterpretation, or it was poorly worded on our part. Now the conditions are changed so that there is no doubt: It is you who owns the data, you only give us access to them. "

Google translate of the article in question:
http://translate.google.com/translate?js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&sl=auto&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.aftenposten.no%2Fkul_und%2Farticle4056026.ece&act=url

it's OK... (2)

bball99 (232214) | more than 3 years ago | (#35449308)

to any on-line entity, i'm an 80-year-old Afghan blind and handicapped woman living in zipcode 20593 - it's my on-line 'presence' :-)

p.s. the end of second st. SW is a vermin-filled pus hole

Re:it's OK... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35452770)

Um.... no, you're not. You're a young white male, who is interested in trucks. You drive a Toyota.

You are not overweight -- indeed, you obsess over your body image. You would LIKE to go to the gym more often, but don't. You have a set of free-weights at home.

You are computer literate, and careful not to divulge too much information on-line.

No free lunch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35449310)

Those corporations aren't evil, they're providing a valuable service for which you pay nothing. To pay their bills and make a profit, they chose to harvest data which you consent to give up, instead of charging you a monthly fee.

I don't like that deal, so I don't use Facebook. Others have a right to make that deal.

anyone who gives away free information (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35449670)

gets what they deserve.

Still wondering (1)

tpstigers (1075021) | more than 3 years ago | (#35449980)

I've heard this stuff a thousand times before, and I'm still curious: why should I give a crap? The 'personal information' they gather is hardly personal.

What stupidity is this? (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#35450284)

What gives them the right is that anything you post is PUBLIC.

If I go yell out strings of words in PUBLIC I would have little cause to be angry with people who heard and wrote them down.

PUBLIC people. PUBLIC. That's where everyone can hear what you say, you have to night to "privacy" in PUBLIC.

The worst part is they don't DO anything with it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35450352)

As I understand it, these ad pushers, ahem "Marketing Research Firms," NEED this data to effectively target their message, or something. But they fail, epically, consistently, and oftentimes, amusingly. Despite all this data to crunch into their algorithms, they just crank out stuff at random that is totally irrelevant to me or my interests. Even Netflix, who I allow and expect to use the information I give them for the purpose of coming up with recommendations, offers me something interesting only 15%-25% of the time. If Netflix cannot do that, what hope does Big Data have of reading my mind with data that is probably more incorrect than accurate?

What's silly is that I could eliminate half of Netflix's wrong suggestions if I could give them some simple parameters of what I am not interested in. I think Big Data needs to stop trying to read the consumer tea leaves from surreptitiously collected data relying on legally tenuous sneak-wrap and click-wrap, and try ASKING us and listen to what we tell them.

Is this surprising? (1)

Phopojijo (1603961) | more than 3 years ago | (#35450378)

Is this honestly surprising? This was known but ignored for like a decade now. Remember Google Chrome's original ToS claiming ownership of anything you do using the Google Chrome browser? That was late in this whole debacle... not even early. People just didn't care. Now they do. Poor them?

when does the "I Agree" terminate? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35452616)

So say I installed Twitter a few months ago, said "I Agree" to all the necessary questions to install the software. When does that agreement end? I certainly never ever ever had to "Disagree" or "Agree Not to Collect Infor on me" anytime I ever uninstalled any software. But it's a web service. Does it say, when I uninstall the twitter app from my phone, is agreement null and void? Because that is the only software I used to access twitter.

I assume that once you go online and possibly close your account, that will cancel the agreement, but does it? and what about online services that don't really delete your account (facebook) and keep all of your info? Does the "Agreement" still say they can collect info? or if I am able to delete my account, have I given up the right to that data that was collected during my stay?

I'm going to stop thinking now...

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