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Facebook Is Building Shadow Profiles of Non-Users

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the list-of-users-who-don't-exist dept.

Cloud 338

An anonymous reader writes "As noted previously, Max Schrems of Europe Versus Facebook has filed numerous complaints about Facebook's data collection practices. One complaint that has failed to draw much scrutiny regards Facebook's creation of Shadow Profiles. 'This is done by different functions that encourage users to hand personal data of other users and non-users to Facebook... (e.g. synchronizing mobile phones, importing personal data from e-mail providers, importing personal information from instant messaging services, sending invitations to friends or saving search queries when users search for other people on facebook.com). This means that even if you don't use it, you may already have a profile on Facebook.'"

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338 comments

GNAA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37750158)

Frosty...

Re:GNAA (1, Offtopic)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 2 years ago | (#37750756)

How do we destroy Facebook, in its entirety?

This should be the dedicated calling of our younger generation. Complete data-loss.

who's data (1)

MikeB0Lton (962403) | more than 2 years ago | (#37750160)

Who's data is it? While it may be your phone number and your birthday, it is really just the data of the user who entered it. You gave it to the person without restrictions.

Re:who's data (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37750170)

who is data

Who is data is it?

Re:who's data (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37750526)

WHO WAS PHONE?!!

Re:who's data (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37750654)

Sorry AC, that is not correct. - $100

Re:who's data (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37750804)

That's a fucking 50 DKP minus!!!!!

Re:who's data (1)

MikeB0Lton (962403) | more than 2 years ago | (#37750184)

Apparently I fail at using who's/whose. My apologies to the grammar nazis.

Re:who's data (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37750354)

Don't worry, your grammatical lapse is only the first layer of stupidity evident in your post.

Re:who's data (-1, Troll)

Tsingi (870990) | more than 2 years ago | (#37750370)

Apparently I fail at using who's/whose. My apologies to the grammar nazis.

It's not really something you need to apologize for, it makes what you write a little difficult to read.
It's more of a detriment to you than anyone else. Assuming you put it there to be understood and not as bait for "grammar nazi's"

Re:who's data (-1, Troll)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37750440)

The nub of it is that the linguistic profiling bigots and morons need to more or less just fuck themselves. It's every bit as bigoted as the folks that go around saying nasty things about people of color and homosexuals.

Re:who's data (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37750522)

Because ignorance and refusal to follow simple rules of grammar are just as inborn and innate as one's race or sexuality.

Re:who's data (2)

Tsingi (870990) | more than 2 years ago | (#37750550)

Because ignorance and refusal to follow simple rules of grammar are just as inborn and innate as one's race or sexuality.

But how about those French people?

They use a different word for EVERYTHING!

Re:who's data (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37750578)

I mostly agree with you.

Homosexual people of color are OK. I have no problem with people of color with poor grammar. I might get modded down for this, but I even like homosexuals with poor grammar. But those homosexual people of color with poor grammar really piss me off.

Re:who's data (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37750580)

Not so. I can actually understand what people of color are saying.

Re:who's data (1)

rufty_tufty (888596) | more than 2 years ago | (#37750690)

Not really, if I was under the mistaken impression that the sun burned petrol to fuel its light then you'd hopefully correct me. If I made a more minor error say for example I talked about how the 68000 processor was clearly copied from the 386 architecture then again I'd hope you'd put me right.
If I misused grammar so my meaning was unclear for example I mistyped "I helped my Uncle Jack off a Horse" Then again you should say something.
Personally whenever I see someone misuse their/there/they're my internal language processor seg-faults.
So while I have no time for abusive grammar nazis I personally like to be as correct and clear as I can so I welcome feedback. However I try to only give it when invited or in really bad abuses where I'm not sure what the person was trying to say. YMMV

Re:who's data (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37750722)

The nub of it is that the linguistic profiling bigots and morons need to more or less just fuck themselves. It's every bit as bigoted as the folks that go around saying nasty things about people of color and homosexuals.

Right, because asking for proper grammar and a mastery of the language equivalent to being racist/sexist/etc. Why bother teaching English (or whatever your language happens to be) at all in school? It's equivalent to nazi propaganda.

Re:who's data (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37750202)

I also don't personally feel like this is a problem, if i never sign up for Facebook then I don't really care that my email address is listed against whoever invited me's logs- If I DO sign up, they probably use the fact that X people imported my email address to suggest friends to me when i sign up, and finding friends quickly is directly linked to how likely i am to stick around on the site

Re:who's data (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37750324)

No, I didn't. When I give my personal information to others, there's an implicit (and sometimes an explicit (like a 'secret')) expectation that the information will be treated with a certain amount of cautiousness.

Re:who's data (2)

fast turtle (1118037) | more than 2 years ago | (#37750770)

The only way to ensure anything stays secret is to Nottell it to anyone else. Otherwise, it's not longer a secret. Then you have to Nuke them From Orbit to ensure the prompt and complete removal of that secret.

Re:who's data (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37750328)

it's not even that. facts don't enjoy copyright, so it's NO ONE'S DATA.

Re:who's data (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37750336)

I have copyrighted my birthday (20-08-1975, and in any other form), so please if you reply to this post and quote or were born on August 20th of 1975: please write me a cheque of 50,00 USD.

However if your post quotes me for the purpose of satire or parody, you are exempted from the 50,00 USD fee andwill be indemnified against all claims arising out of the usage of the date of August 20th of 1975.

All legal proceedings will be the sole jurisdiction of the courts of Oz.

Re:who's data (5, Insightful)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | more than 2 years ago | (#37750358)

What the article is in part talking about is what a lot of people have been saying for years now.

People say if you don't want facebook to know anything about you, then you shouldn't post there.
So others reply that it doesn't matter that you didn't give the data to facebook, one of your friends might.

So now the statement is that if you don't want facebook to know anything about you, then you shouldn't tell your friends, colleagues, etc. anything - after all, they may enter it on facebook.

But this still makes the presumption that you actually gave that information, knowingly and willingly, to that person - and that it it's reasonable to assume that facebook will then collect it as well.

Let's say you went to Slashdot High. So did some other person. That other person tells facebook to look for MikeB0Lton who attended Slashdot High. Now facebook has a reasonable assumption that you went to Slashdot High.
You didn't give facebook that data. And you didn't really give that data to that person - it's just information that accumulates simply by existing. You could fo for a "well you could have chosen to be homeschooled" sort of retort, but setting aside that most people here went to highschool long before facebook even existed, that's of course asking for ridiculous steps to take just to prevent anybody from collecting data about you.

Now obviously pandora's box on this was opened a very long time ago and there's really no way that it'll ever change. Even if facebook were to be forced to kill all collected data beyond that required for direct facebook operations, there's plenty of companies and shady organizations who are not targeted and who will gladly not even bother with waiting for users to provide the data and instead crawl sites and official records for it.

But the suggestion that facebook only has data on you because you gave it to them - and now that it has it because you gave it to somebody else - seems to be putting some level of blame with people when really they needn't even do/say anything.

Re:who's data (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37750504)

Hi,

I am MikeB0lton and I deeply resent the comments you made about my persona. I never did anyone (ever) and all who know me can attest to this facts. These sort of posts just make me hold on with tears in my eyes and make me wonder why we can't just make things right.

Nice comment on who owns second hand data tough.

Best regards,
Mike B0lton

Re:who's data (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37750810)

Hi,

I am MikeB0lton and I deeply resent the comments you made about my persona...

I too am MikeB0lton, I post this anonymously because I don't want anyone to know that I went to SlashDot high, that I am a terrorist or that I too write my name in camel case with that upper case O in there. I also have never been laid, but I jerk off a lot.

Us MikeB0lton's must stick together if we are going to beat the system.

BTW, I wasn't born on 20-08-1975, and I'm not paying anyone 50 bucks.

Will the real MikeB0lton please shut up.

Re:who's data (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37750542)

When you install FB onto your smart phone, you are allowing FB access to every nook and cranny about your phone, its data, etc, even if you opt-out to not 'connect' with people in your contacts.

What FB is essentially doing, is they are looking at your contacts, the names you have of them, their number and email, and creating a 'profile' if that person doesn't already exist.

The problem here is that those persons did not give consent to FB (ie. installing FB on their phone or creating a profile). Another major problem is that FB could be alreay selling that shadow profile's info to marketers... that's not right.

Re:who's data (2)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#37750576)

Well, you certainly can't put it back in the box, but governments could always criminalize it with destructive fines so that if a company is discovered doing it, they have to pay, and pay big.

Re:who's data (3, Interesting)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 2 years ago | (#37750754)

So while everyone is taking issue at Facebook doing this, whats really needed is a Personal Information Control Act aimed at individuals rather than corporations?

Rather like (as i am in the UK) a Data Protection Law aimed at everyone, rather than just what businesses and organisations can do with data collected?

Or are we going to try and stick a band aid on it by limiting what companies can collect from people willing to offer?

Re:who's data (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37750842)

I would say what needs to happen is people need to learn about the concept of "a matter of public record" and get used to the fact that while historically actually searching for public records was difficult it no longer is.

In short privacy is obsolete, our culture needs to adapt to this. Because ultimately all this information has always been available (high school yearbooks, for example have done much the same things as Facebook in the GP's example) the only thing that has changed is the barrier to accessing that information has lowered, with the automation of the collection and correlation of the data.

Re:who's data (2)

Xest (935314) | more than 2 years ago | (#37750642)

That doesn't wash under UK law, nor in most of Europe. It is against the DPA for a business to hold data on you unless there is a mutually agreed reason for them to do so between the two of you or unless they fall under one of the specific exemptions provided by the act such as for law enforcement, or health provisioning. Facebook falls under none of this, so without a doubt is in breach of British law and similar laws in much of Europe.

Whether anything will be done is a different story, our ICO is a toothless waste of space, so I imagine they'll be able to get away with it regardless.

Come to Facebook! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37750166)

Your data is already here...

It can't possibly be that hard to avoid... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37750200)

I seriously doubt they have much of a shadow profile on me.

I use a pseudonym and only friend people who I trust enough not to to stupid overly exposing shit.

Even if you ARE being tracked and aware of it, an easy solution is to intentionally feed bad or misleading information into the system. Noisy data isn't very useful.

Remember - information about individuals is worthless. It's the large-scale aggregate data that has value.

Re:It can't possibly be that hard to avoid... (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#37750242)

Like buttons everywhere -> Requests to FB's servers with your "shadow" user ID (from cookies) and the referrer URL -> full web history available to Facebook.

Block (3, Interesting)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 2 years ago | (#37750306)

Who uses adblock/noscript yet doesn't block those pointless facebook and twitter buttons?
Even if you don't care about the privacy angle, it really cuts down on useless traffic.

Here's a new one you may not have got around to adding yet: apis.google.com/js/plusone.js

Re:Block (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37750442)

Use Ghostery - it kills web bugs in web sites just like Adblock kills ads.

Re:Block (1)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 2 years ago | (#37750532)

Good call.

Re:Block (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#37750704)

Yes, I know they can be blocked. Yes, I have them blocked. But the question is whether we should be forced to block it if we don't want to be spied on.

Re:It can't possibly be that hard to avoid... (0)

fotbr (855184) | more than 2 years ago | (#37750340)

What "like buttons"? What cookies? What referrer URL?

Oh, you don't have your browser properly secured. Fix that, and the other problems go away.

Re:It can't possibly be that hard to avoid... (2)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#37750640)

I have. But you shouldn't need to secure it.

A thief is no less of a thief just because the car was unlocked.

Re:It can't possibly be that hard to avoid... (1)

dragonhunter21 (1815102) | more than 2 years ago | (#37750286)

One of the ways it gets data is from reading contact book information when people use their email address book to find Facebook friends. Feeding false information there doesn't really help you. I suppose if they put you in as "John" rather than your full name it's obscured, but it only takes one full entry to put it all together.

Re:It can't possibly be that hard to avoid... (1)

gringer (252588) | more than 2 years ago | (#37750316)

I use a pseudonym and only friend people who I trust enough not to to stupid overly exposing shit.

I think you're missing the point. If you're friending people, then you probably already have a facebook profile. This is about people who don't have a profile, but still have a record of their existence in the facebook system.

It may be that you also have a shadow profile that is (depending on how cautious you are) linked or not linked to your actual profile. This would contain information about you that is generated by those people who you don't trust (i.e. those who do overly exposing shit).

Re:It can't possibly be that hard to avoid... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37750694)

I use a pseudonym and only friend people who I trust enough not to to stupid overly exposing shit.

Even if you ARE being tracked and aware of it, an easy solution is to intentionally feed bad or misleading information into the system. Noisy data isn't very useful.

Remember - information about individuals is worthless. It's the large-scale aggregate data that has value.

In the aggregate, no problem.

In the individual, there is a problem. I follow the similar rules as you do for participating in social networking: I don't have a use for it, because I have email for people I give a shit about.

My problem is that my shadow profile is based solely on people who don't follow those sorts of practices. In other words, the only people who've tried to contact me through Failbook are a few people I hung out with in college who have either on to become either derpy wingnut fundies, and one moron that went on to be a commie.

At the individual level, that's a problem. When it comes time to round up the freaks, I'm guilty by association. A smart investigator would say "Hmm, he has no interest in speaking to these morons, he's not part of the problem". A dumb investigator would come to the opposite conclusion: "The only people who've ever tried to contact him through Failbook are enemies of the state. And he has no profile himself! What's he hiding?"

There are a lot of smart investigators out there. Unfortunately, there are a lot of dumb ones. If you're unlucky enough to know anyone who was caught in a fishing expedition for politically-unreliable elements, you need to be lucky enough to have your file land on the desk of one of the smart investigators.

In the aggregate, the data is still valuable for marketing, but the problem with shadow profiling is in the individual case, where bad data - if it's all you've got - is worse than no data at all.

Sex Offenders (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37750210)

I wonder what implications this may have for registered sex offenders? Not to mention those prohibited by terms of probation or their laws (see Illinois in the USA) from having a profile on social networks or Facebook specifically. This could technically be a transgression of the law and these people prosecuted in a very awkward, usual-judge-knows-nothing-about-the-tech kind of way that would at the very least waste these people's time, money, employment, and reputation.

Just a thought.

Re:Sex Offenders (1)

Moheeheeko (1682914) | more than 2 years ago | (#37750230)

" and reputation" I think that went out the window when they became a registered sex offender.

Re:Sex Offenders (5, Informative)

The Moof (859402) | more than 2 years ago | (#37750408)

I think that went out the window when they became a registered sex offender.

You'd be surprised what could get you on the registered sex offender list. When I purchased my house, I checked the list. Apparently, a guy down the street had a physical relationship with a 17 year old when he was 20. He's now on the list for life because of a vindictive parent, bad breakup, etc.

Doh! (2)

bigredradio (631970) | more than 2 years ago | (#37750226)

See this is why I don't use facebook..... er...damn it!

Oh, really?! (1)

jaminJay (1198469) | more than 2 years ago | (#37750238)

Good to see this is getting some wider exposure! They used to send a courtesy mail to tell you they had your information and suggest you get an account so you can see it. Do they not still do that?

Re:Oh, really?! (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#37750534)

Good to see this is getting some wider exposure! They used to send a courtesy mail to tell you they had your information and suggest you get an account so you can see it. Do they not still do that?

That was the classmates.com people, sending weekly if not daily emails, if I recall correctly. Nothing a little spam filter can't clean up.

Re:Oh, really?! (2)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#37750658)

Good to see this is getting some wider exposure! They used to send a courtesy mail to tell you they had your information and suggest you get an account so you can see it. Do they not still do that?

That was the classmates.com people, sending weekly if not daily emails, if I recall correctly. Nothing a little spam filter can't clean up.

I keep getting prods from FB, I have updates. To heck with them, I don't care. I'm not here to enrich these people.

I also found the source of the little pop-ups which want me to finish filling in all my personal information or when they want me to take a tour of something they've added or changed. FB is about as annoying as Windows with all those damn balloons popping up. Sure-fire way to drive me out, keep bugging me.

Re:Oh, really?! (5, Interesting)

medv4380 (1604309) | more than 2 years ago | (#37750700)

I think you're right, but I've received creepy email invites from Facebook saying "You might know these people come join us" followed by 9 profile images some of close friends and some of acquaintances that happened to attend an event that I've gone to from time to time. It was creepy and is the main reason I want nothing to do with facebook.

Re:Oh, really?! (2)

jaminJay (1198469) | more than 2 years ago | (#37750840)

It was Facebook telling me I'd been tagged in some photos. They solicited the information from the users they already had and then sought to widen their net even further. I'd been shown Facebook months before that happened and until then had happily avoided it. Now there are 'Like' buttons on as much of the internet as Google's Ads.

But I never licensed this. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37750240)

Even if I let people know my data, I never licensed it for resale like fb is doing. Couldn't this create legal issues for fb?

Re:But I never licensed this. (2)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#37750806)

Facts aren't copyrightable. You don't need a license to store them.

Besides, even if they accessed copyrighted content (let's say, a text you sent someone using email and they copied to their FB wall) the liable person would probably be the people who posted it, not Facebook.

Rock and a hard place (1, Insightful)

Coisiche (2000870) | more than 2 years ago | (#37750252)

So, sign up and have some control of the details they hold (maybe that should be illusion of control) or don't sign up and have no control of the details they hold on you.

Re:Rock and a hard place (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37750732)

Sounds a bit like extortion to me... ick!

Monetize that.... (1)

Narnie (1349029) | more than 2 years ago | (#37750254)

What is unfortunate, Facebook might be willing to sell this data to 3rd parties without your consent... as your friends/coworkers/family have already consented to releasing the contact information for you. Even without Facebook selling it, it's only a data breach away from some the unscrupulous hands.

Re:Monetize that.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37750470)

If "everyone" knows it, doesn't it become public information?

Re:Monetize that.... (3, Insightful)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#37750648)

Even without Facebook selling it, it's already in some unscrupulous hands.

FTFY

Just When You Thought... (0)

BlueStrat (756137) | more than 2 years ago | (#37750262)

...you were out, they pull you back in.

Strat

Re:Just When You Thought... (1)

bigredradio (631970) | more than 2 years ago | (#37750808)

I was thinking the same [youtube.com] thing.

Facebook wants to be Google (5, Interesting)

concealment (2447304) | more than 2 years ago | (#37750278)

Google's problem is that search engines can be easily fooled. Since the user indexes his or her own data by what is published to the web page, people tend to list all sorts of keywords which in turn create false results. Google's solution was PageRank, or picking the most popular sites. This doesn't work because all language is contextual, and as a result, a search term can mean many things.

What both Google and Facebook have realized is that unless they figure out who the user is, and what types of things they are looking for, there is no way to impose a type or context to the search. Without typed searching, search results become more irrelevant with the number of pages published to the web.

Both of them have hit on the same solution. Users aren't going to log in to a search engine, but they will log in to Gmail or Facebook, and that allows these companies to keep track of who you are (Google Plus is more an extension of Gmail than a separate app). Why else do you think both of them are manic about trying to get you to "validate" your account with a phone number?

Re:Facebook wants to be Google (1)

Tsingi (870990) | more than 2 years ago | (#37750482)

Why else do you think both of them are manic about trying to get you to "validate" your account with a phone number?

Manic is a good choice of words.

Google: You should give us your phone number. (for the 12th time)
Me: Fuck off and quit asking me for my damned phone number you fucking asshats! You aren't getting it! !@$#%^%%$@#%$

Mania is infectious.

Re:Facebook wants to be Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37750764)

In this economy, not everyone can afford a fucking phone number. Having an internet connection is usually less costly than a phone, landline or not.

Slander. (0)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#37750292)

It is absolutely false to say that my client is building "shadow profiles" on "non-users". They are doing no such thing.

Admittedly, a simple abundance of caution does require the prudent stewardship of shareholder value in the form of compiling dossiers on non-aligned-persons; but that is an entirely distinct matter.

Re:Slander. (1, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#37750374)

Playing along:

It is absolutely false to say that my client is building "shadow profiles" on "non-users". [My client admits] compiling dossiers on non-aligned-persons; but that is an entirely distinct matter.

If it's so distinct [wikipedia.org] , would you kindly explain to those gathered here the difference between a "shadow profile" and a "dossier" and between a "non-user" and a "non-aligned person"?

Re:Slander. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37750594)

Your labwork just came back. You might want to sit down for this...

You got trolled. Hard.

Re:Slander. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37750668)

I'm going off a limb here, but I guess you could collect and keep information of non-users, without making the information you posses public in a direct form. So it is ok to create a 'dossier' on anyone.
Building a 'shadow profile', and I am assuming that this kind of profile is accessible or available to 3rd parties (revealing all of the collected data), this would be less kosher...

Re:Slander. (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 2 years ago | (#37750824)

Slander? But it's in writing, in a more or less permanent form. I'd go for the upgrade...

Is this really news to anyone? (1)

themightythor (673485) | more than 2 years ago | (#37750302)

So, when I finally bit the bullet and joined FB this year, I had a bunch of pending friend requests that I'd previously ignored waiting for me. How else would this have been accomplished if not for the so-called shadow profile? It struck me as a no-brainer at the time.

Re:Is this really news to anyone? (2)

SeeSp0tRun (1270464) | more than 2 years ago | (#37750644)

So this got me thinking...
Start a FB Profile, which is to assume you are taking ownership of your profile (and subsequently personal info). The delete your FB, and request they remove your profile and information from their servers.

99% sure this won't work, but 1% of me had the idea.

Facebook (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37750330)

I'm so tired of hearing people complaining about Facebook no one reads the terms and conditions. You hand over all rights by clicking yes and your info is out and free along with that it's a free site. If you paid for it ok I can see some complaint but everything is still outlined in terms and no one reads.

This is a free site and they own the page you use so they can do whatever the hell they want. If you don't like it get off it like I did. Otherwise your info that you willingly post will be for the world to see. STOP USING IF YOU DON'T LIKE AND SHUT THE F** UP COMPLAINING.

Re:Facebook (1)

gtall (79522) | more than 2 years ago | (#37750426)

What about FB compiling information about people who do not have FB accounts is it that you do not understand?

Re:Facebook (1)

alen (225700) | more than 2 years ago | (#37750486)

then don't give your information to anyone. you giving me your name, address and phone means i can share it with anyone i wish

Re:Facebook (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#37750616)

Unless, of course, it is given to you on the understanding that you're not supposed to give it out (ie. here's my phone number, but it isn't listed, so don't give it out). In which case you're in breach of contract if Facebook gets their hands on it.

Re:Facebook (5, Informative)

o'reor (581921) | more than 2 years ago | (#37750472)

I'm so tired of reading ./ers bitching without reading the articles first.

It's about non-users who HAVE NEVER USED THE DAMN THING and yet are being profiled and harrassed by FB. (like "Hey, these guys are on FB, we know they're your friends, why don't you join ? Oh, and we know where you live and what school your kids go to. Just saying.")

Re:Facebook (1)

ProbablyJoe (1914672) | more than 2 years ago | (#37750566)

You seem to be missing the point. The problem is that people who are not using Facebook, and have never accepted any agreement with them, are having their data gathered by Facebook

As for actually reading the book-length terms, that's not exactly likely, though admittedly you do sign over any rights you thought you had when you tick that box. But regardless, that's not the problem being discussed here. This is all happening without any terms being accepted.

Rare opportunity. (5, Interesting)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 2 years ago | (#37750386)

In Soviet Russia, Facebook has profile on YOU.

Re:Rare opportunity. (1)

medv4380 (1604309) | more than 2 years ago | (#37750760)

My friends have been defecting to Soviet Russia?

People have no clue what's watching them (2)

FyberOptic (813904) | more than 2 years ago | (#37750394)

Go on various people search websites, like Spokeo, and search for yourself. Go ahead, I'll wait.

You're probably already on the web. And tracking companies like DoubleClick already know all about your browsing habits. If you're paranoid about privacy, then you better stay off of the internet, don't use cellphones, credit/debit cards, shopper discount cards, etc, because profiling you is what makes companies extra money nowadays.

If you think they're going to pass up the opportunity to make money just for the sake of your privacy, when there's no law to stop it, you're sadly mistaken.

Re:People have no clue what's watching them (2)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37750494)

And that there's the problem, I don't want them to have access to that information, but there's a lot of online services that I need to use in order to go about my daily life. Many of which have equivalents that are offline and not completely inconvenient. But, there are things which don't have an offline equivalent or where doing it offline wouldn't be feasible.

I've tried to block random 3rd party javascript, but at the end of the day, the web is so fundamentally broken at this point that you never know what scripts are necessary and which ones are just for the purposes of spying on you.

Re:People have no clue what's watching them (4, Insightful)

FyberOptic (813904) | more than 2 years ago | (#37750634)

You also have no idea if your ISP is collecting information on the sites you visit, either through DNS queries or by parsing the content of pages you visit, and creating a profile about you to sell. And once that profile exists, if even one website out there is connected to that company's profile database and can associate your visit and a particular account as being you, then suddenly they've attached a name to an otherwise anonymous profile. It can only grow from there.

The point I was trying to make is that unless there are privacy laws and strict rules on what data networks and companies are allowed to take and sell about you, then it's simply never going to stop.

The other point I was making is that Facebook is far from the only company doing this, and people shouldn't be wasting their time focusing on just one of them.

We should have a "Tell Lies to Facebook Day" (1)

Picass0 (147474) | more than 2 years ago | (#37750398)

Facebook is becoming the new Microsoft to me.

Re:We should have a "Tell Lies to Facebook Day" (3, Insightful)

Zibodiz (2160038) | more than 2 years ago | (#37750558)

IMHO, Facebook passed MS a long time ago. And that's saying something. At least MS is primarily evil because of their thirst for money and control -- Facebook sees that and raises them the desire to know absolutely everything about everyone on earth, then sell it to anyone who wants it. If Zuckerberg were CEO of MS, registering Windows would be mandatory, and would require everything down to your underwear size and medical history. And there'd be text ads on the start menu that would be chosen based on what websites you visited last night or what medications might appeal to you.

Re:We should have a "Tell Lies to Facebook Day" (1)

Oswald McWeany (2428506) | more than 2 years ago | (#37750782)

Facebook is waaaaaaay more evil than Microsoft.

Microsoft is the bumbling idiot politician who maybe steals a little bit of public money on the side- but tries to make good policies and move things along.

Facebook is like an evil genious- hell bent on world domination and destroying anything that gets in its way- turning innocent people into mindless zombies along the way.

!YUO FAI(L IT (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37750406)

To look into said one FreeBSD, have left in f4ster than this

Another benefit of blocking Facebook domains (2)

realmojo (62898) | more than 2 years ago | (#37750418)

As a former Facebooker, I already block all Facebook domains to keep the stupid Like buttons and other debris off of the websites I do visit. This is just another reason to do so.

It's amazing how much faster it is to load pages when there are no calls to Facebook.com or their content delivery domains.

Just automate everything (1)

ironjaw33 (1645357) | more than 2 years ago | (#37750454)

It's going to get to the point where Facebook users (and non-users) won't even have to do anything to add information about themselves. Data mining techniques can suss out each user's personal information from the internet and aggregate it on the profile page. People with smartphones will have their locations and current activities automatically updated to their news feeds. Camera phones will automatically snap pictures and upload them to Facebook where people in them will be tagged via facial recognition algorithms.

At this point, why even bother allowing Facebook users to modify their own information? Why even bother with accounts and logins?

Re:Just automate everything (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#37750582)

It's going to get to the point where Facebook users (and non-users) won't even have to do anything to add information about themselves. Data mining techniques can suss out each user's personal information from the internet and aggregate it on the profile page. People with smartphones will have their locations and current activities automatically updated to their news feeds. Camera phones will automatically snap pictures and upload them to Facebook where people in them will be tagged via facial recognition algorithms.

At this point, why even bother allowing Facebook users to modify their own information? Why even bother with accounts and logins?

How would you automate virtual farming and mafia waring? Not much of a grind game, when the grind is removed.

Called it (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37750500)

I figured they'd been doing this for years, I was just waiting to see when they'd start setting up visible profiles automatically and saying "Join up to claim your profile now! Or let the information continue to flow completely uncontrolled..."

Others can list your hometown for you (5, Interesting)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 2 years ago | (#37750592)

I had a weird notification this morning. Facebook wanted me to confirm that someone else said my hometown was X city. So now if you don't list this information, they're asking others to rat you out, despite your best efforts to keep that information off of the web. I'm not sure you can opt out of other people's disclosures in the same way you can opt out of listing your city/state/employer etc.

Facebook Must Be Destroyed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37750604)

It's official.

Violation of the Data Protection Act (5, Informative)

Wattos (2268108) | more than 2 years ago | (#37750606)

How is this not a violation of the data protection act? I quote from Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Data_Protection_Act_1998)

1. Personal data shall be processed fairly and lawfully and, in particular, shall not be processed unless- [...]

Personal data should only be processed fairly and lawfully. In order for data to be classed as 'fairly processed', at least one of these six conditions must be applicable to that data (Schedule 2).

        The data subject (the person whose data is stored) has consented ("given their permission") to the processing;
        Processing is necessary for the performance of, or commencing, a contract;
        Processing is required under a legal obligation (other than one stated in the contract);
        Processing is necessary to protect the vital interests of the data subject;
        Processing is necessary to carry out any public functions;
        Processing is necessary in order to pursue the legitimate interests of the "data controller" or "third parties" (unless it could unjustifiably prejudice the interests of the data subject).[8]

Is any of the above true? I certainly did not consent for my data to be processed when I am not on Facebook. Also note, it is not important who has given the data to Facebook, the DPA talks about the data subject -> The person the data is about.

Re:Violation of the Data Protection Act (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37750688)

Because big corporations are above this shit, apparently.

I joined LinkedIn the same way (1)

1_brown_mouse (160511) | more than 2 years ago | (#37750646)

I already a searchable stub of my name and places I had worked. I guess they mined corporate websites and mailing lists over the years.

GRRRRRRRRR! (1)

poofmeisterp (650750) | more than 2 years ago | (#37750682)

I read the comments on this article, go back to main page, and "Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook" pops up as the dialogue next to the ./ logo.

Irony.

Nothing new at all (2)

NumenMaster (618275) | more than 2 years ago | (#37750698)

4-5 years ago, my friends were always asking me to stop inviting them to facebook, because they were already members. It was funny because I wasn't even a member myself. Yet, somehow they were getting invited by me to join. Cut to a few years later, I joined facebook only because I wanted to see how well integrated it worked with my palm pre. It integrated really well. A few days into my membership, I got an friend request from a college buddy. There was a shadow profile, but I had figured that he hadn't filled his profile out yet. So I accepted. The next day he told me he said f*ck it and joined on my invitation. So, he wasn't a member and hadn't done a friend request. I felt so stupid for falling for it. My acceptance of his friend request generated an invite to join FB from me. I should have known better. Needless to say, I researched how to delete my account. Funny enough, there's still a shadow profile of me naturally. My buddy, on the other hand, lives on the site. I guess he can blame me once he wakes up from his FB daze.

Luckily we don't have to worry about that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37750716)

This is one of the times I'm glad I don't have friends.

Simple Solution (2)

BlackLungPop (1307317) | more than 2 years ago | (#37750742)

Sign up for facebook and fill it with lies. Soon their information won't be worth jack shit.

I've wondered about this for years (2)

techishly (1792140) | more than 2 years ago | (#37750748)

I very carefully avoid giving Facebook information [like my cell phone numbers and most of my email addresses, etc] that I don't want them to have [or by subsequent TOS change, share with the world]. But I can't prevent my gullible sister-in-law from uploading it all to them anyway through her careless use of Facebook's iPhone app or her blithe acceptance of having her address book vacuumed up in the alleged search for alleged friends. So even if I don't give it to them, it's too late. They have it already. And as we all know, once they have it they are never deleting it. Facebook can't be the only one guilty of this, Google and Microsoft must do it as well. Unfortunately, it would seem that if you’ve ever told anyone anything about yourself that they might have put in their address book [and that includes the note field] it is probably on the cloud now.

You don't own facts about yourself. Get over it. (3, Insightful)

evilandi (2800) | more than 2 years ago | (#37750828)

For heaven's sake, get it into your head: You do not "own" facts about yourself. You never did. It has never been, and will never be, illegal for someone to look at you in the bus queue and observe what clothes you're wearing, what your height is, what your hair colour is, or what number bus you're queuing for. Nor is it illegal for someone to listen to you chatting to your friend and hear your name or where you live.

Even before the widespread use of computers, people were compiling databases about individuals. In the Victorian and Edwardian era there were still card indexes of potential customers' names and addresses.

What is different here is the *interconnectedness* . I don't mind people complaining about interconnectedness - I mean, it's pointless and they've missed the boat by at over 20 years, but it is at least a valid argument. The ability of this information to spread at lightning speed between billions of people using thousands of databases, yes, that is relatively new. But complaining about somebody else knowing facts about you, that's dumb.

In England we've had this for well over 950 years, since the Domesday Book in 1089AD which listed every landowner in the country. Most likely the Roman empire kept a similar directory over two thousand years ago.

If you visit a company's website and they record the facts of your visit, that is NOT illegal. It's not even immoral. It only becomes controversial when they pass this information on to an entity which was not otherwise involved with your visit.

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