Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Eben Moglen: Social Networking "Creating Systems of Comprehensive Surveillance"

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the look-ma-i'm-breaking-the-law dept.

Privacy 236

An anonymous reader writes "Eben Moglen, founder of the Freedombox project, has taken to yelling at journalists reporting about social networks. One wonders if this messaging will work to end proprietary, centralized social networks or not."

cancel ×

236 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Moglen is right (5, Insightful)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 2 years ago | (#38646690)

Moglen is right, and that reporter is a moron.

Re:Moglen is right (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38646770)

Moglen is right, and that reporter is a moron.

I was going to say something a little less harsh but along the same sentiment.

My daughter has published some things on FB that makes me cringe. She and her friends treat FB like it's some sort of private room where only their FB Friends can read and see what she's saying.

It's in writing and photos. Things like that have a bad habit showing up when you don't want them to. And it's just not on the interent - just look at all those starlets before the internet came around that had their nude photos published in Penthouse magazine when they thought the photos were burried in some photographer's file somewhere.

Re:Moglen is right (2, Funny)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 2 years ago | (#38646876)

Someday, people will wonder why we ever felt compelled to hide so much of our lives from each other.

Re:Moglen is right (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38646956)

You need to familiarize yourself with the use of data by a certain government in
Germany between the years of 1933 and 1945.

Perhaps then it might dawn on your tiny little brain why data collection is not
a healthy thing.

Re:Moglen is right (-1, Flamebait)

MichaelKristopeit491 (2549322) | more than 2 years ago | (#38647054)

are you talking about the american government responding to data reports of mass genocide, and then responding to stop it?

you're an ignorant hypocrite.

Re:Moglen is right (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 2 years ago | (#38647252)

The Nazi German government would not have functioned without civilian snitch patrols(people who had to walk the streets to see those they don't like, but now only have to traverse Facebook).

Remember, good American citizens...if you see something, say something. [dhs.gov] Be a good little Gestapo troop. If they have gay values, not traditional Christian values, let's get 'em jailed as terrorists. We are already forcing our religion upon them now, let's take it home, back to the good ol' days of the crusades.

Re:Moglen is right (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38647648)

The Nazi German government would not have functioned without civilian snitch patrols(people who had to walk the streets to see those they don't like, but now only have to traverse Facebook).

The German Democratic Republic government would not have functioned without civilian snitch patrols(people who had to walk the streets to see those they don't like, but now only have to traverse Facebook).

I believe the snitch issue was likely far worse in East Germany than they were in Nazi Germany, perhaps an even more appropriate comparison.

Re:Moglen is right (3)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 2 years ago | (#38647036)

I'm guessing you don't live in a society that believes the right to be private is important. Like Germany...I wonder why they believe that to be true there? But Canada has similar laws. So do many other European countries, based on the similar idea.

Re:Moglen is right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38647180)

Someday, people will wonder why we ever failed to remember why we should hide so much of our lives from each other.

Re:Moglen is right (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38646810)

Well, he was being a bit of an ass about it, but he is completely right. I've resisted the urge to make a FB page or on any other site and I had been reconsidering it lately. Not to put much information up, but to coordinate things, but it's been a couple months and I can't get over the what Moglen is on about in this article. I just can't stand the idea of being a part of the problem.

I've contemplated in the past creating a FB account with no personal information just so that I can like random things for prizes, but I don't really want to encourage that sort of thing.

Re:Moglen is right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38647022)

Recently I've found facebook compiling data about me via my friends. The only reason I realised it was happening was because it asked me to verify the data.
I think that is a little scary.

Re:Moglen is right (1)

justforgetme (1814588) | more than 2 years ago | (#38648150)

it's also kind of nice of them.
You know, give us all your land nice, not the other kind.

Re:Moglen is right (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38647058)

I have a facebook account just so I can control it...

They are *GOING* to have the information anyway. My friends and family put it there. But now I can decide if I want it public or private at least...

I also use noscript with them. They have put their web bugs everywhere...

Re:Moglen is right (3, Interesting)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38647264)

That aspect concerns me more than anything else. I haven't consented to them storing information about me, and it's completely beyond me why the government doesn't put the smackdown on them for tracking people that haven't agreed to it.

Re:Moglen is right (1)

exomondo (1725132) | more than 2 years ago | (#38647616)

That aspect concerns me more than anything else. I haven't consented to them storing information about me, and it's completely beyond me why the government doesn't put the smackdown on them for tracking people that haven't agreed to it.

How exactly are you going to stop it? Your friends and family - well actually anyone - can say you were somewhere doing something, that doesn't make it true.

Re:Moglen is right (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38647994)

That aspect concerns me more than anything else. I haven't consented to them storing information about me, and it's completely beyond me why the government doesn't put the smackdown on them for tracking people that haven't agreed to it.

They don't put the smack down on Facebook because they USE Facebook as an investigative tool. FB even has a LEO gateway that processes requests for 'private' (*cough*) data.

You think anyone at Langley wants to stop the information gravy train? On Facebook people voluntarily give up the level of information that once required weeks of legwork, warrants, dozens of hours of wiretaps, and an occasional frame job to obtain.

Re:Moglen is right (2)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 2 years ago | (#38648236)

"That aspect concerns me more than anything else. I haven't consented to them storing information about me..."

Yes, you did. If you signed up, then you consented (according to currently accepted definitions of "consent", with which I personally disagree).

Re:Moglen is right (1)

MichaelKristopeit491 (2549322) | more than 2 years ago | (#38646814)

comprehensive = complete.

i am not a member of any social network site, so any system of surveillance they might implement could not possibly be complete, as it would not include any data on my activity. thus, moglen could not possibly be right, and you could not possibly not be an idiot.

Re:Moglen is right (4, Insightful)

genkernel (1761338) | more than 2 years ago | (#38647136)

Not so, it is well known that facebook compiles information on people who do not have facebook accounts, sometimes referred to as "shadow profiles". Between your friends pictures of you and related informations, your family's pictures of you and related information, your coworker's pictures of you and related information, and easily crawlable information about yourself (contact information on employer's website?), I think facebook can provide fairly comprehensive surveillance. Don't get out much? Facebook can ascertain that, depending on the posting habits of your friends, family and coworkers. Sure, some information will undoubtedly be missed, but I suspect sufficient information can be gathered about you even without a facebook account. And even if they cannot trace it back to you, the "like" buttons are always gathering your browsing habits. I think I even see some here on slashdot...

They are watching, and this time, no tinfoil hat can save you.

Re:Moglen is right (-1, Troll)

MichaelKristopeit491 (2549322) | more than 2 years ago | (#38647196)

tracking what others say i do is not the same as tracking what i actually do... regardless, it is no where near "comprehensive".

"like" buttons are never gathering information on my browsing habits. why would you claim they are "always" gather such information? as you obviously don't realize the triviality in avoiding their reach, i can easily and comprehensively conclude that you're an idiot.

what makes you think i require assistance in being saved?

cower in my shadow some more, feeb.

you're completely pathetic.

Re:Moglen is right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38647190)

Aliens in other galaxies are also not members of any social network site, so any system of surveillance could also not possibly be complete! Obviously he's talking about the surveillance being comprehensive for subset of lifeforms in the universe who are members of those social networking sites. Therefore moglen is right.

You can quickly find out all kinds of things about a person from their FB/twitter/other activities. From where they live and work (and I mean GPS fixes) who there friends are, their partner, their partner's location, what they do, where they go, where they are right now, their personal issues, photos of themselves, their friends (all nicely face-tagged and geo-tagged) etc etc etc. It's a stalkers paradise. The fires of hell will be long-frozen before I join any of them.

Re:Moglen is right (0)

MichaelKristopeit491 (2549322) | more than 2 years ago | (#38647294)

do you think i'm an alien?

how it is obvious that he's talking about a subset of lifeforms? just because if he wasn't he would be wrong? you're an idiot.

why do you cower in my shadow? what are you afraid of?

you're completely pathetic.?

Re:Moglen is right (5, Interesting)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 2 years ago | (#38646826)

Mr. Moglen: Okay, so have you closed your Facebook account and stopped using Twitter?
Reporter: Have...I?
Mr. Moglen: Yes, you!
Reporter: No, I can't!

Yup.

Reporter can't what? Can't keep in touch with people via e-mail and telephone calls? Can't restrict online vanity to anonymous postings? Can't learn lessons they should have learned back in the MySpace and Classmates days? Can't gain reputability with a pseudonym like Jolly Roger or Ethanol-fueled?

Re:Moglen is right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38646950)

The reporter is a moron who can't write in decent English ("This reporter was a little shook" should have read "shaken"), and wouldn't have lasted five days working a city desk in any American newsroom in the 70's if she can't handle interviewing a mildly cranky professor. That's all beside the point.

The real question is to what degree we should let fear of the evil police agencies of the world rule our lives. I'll admit that I don't have a Facebook page any longer, and that there are likely copious entries on me in FB databases; I doubt, however, and doubt strongly that any of it would ever be of use to anyone. That's why I eliminated Facebook from my life (even knowing I can't eliminate my life from Facebook): electronic social networking was pointless and dull, while real-life social experiences were fun, so I ditched the former to make more time for the latter. I can see, however, that many people would find Facebook entertaining, and I fail to see why they should live in fear of some shadowy conspiracy of gestapo-esque law enforcement officers any more than why they should live in fear of some shadowy conspiracy of Muslim terrorists or Communist saboteurs or Anarchist assassins or whatever bogeymen are popular at the moment and who themselves still find Facebook entertaining, if only for the ability to locate long-lost suspects via face recognition.

In this regard, the professor's words, "I told you the story you’re working on is the story of your own anti-social behavior and that of people like you," are telling. Having a Facebook page isn't anti-social behavior. Living in fear and refusing to do things you enjoy (assuming you still enjoy it and haven't been turned off by the banality of it all) because one of the people in the background of a photo might be on some CIA/KGB/Mossad/ISI/Reptilian Martian Overlord watchlist, however, is paranoid.

Re:Moglen is right (0)

Nursie (632944) | more than 2 years ago | (#38646958)

Oh what bullshit, seriously.

Everyone who uses Facebook, Twitter and the like shares the blame for the serious and ongoing global erosion of privacy enabled by the internet, he said.

Yes, people sharing information and thoughts freely is a terrible threat to privacy.

Oh wait, no, the other thing - they (I should say 'we' as a facebook user) deliberately share this info and WANT to make it public.

Moglen comes across as a complete dick in that interview, and quite hysterical, with a bit of a big-brother fetish. Much like Doctorow (also mentioned in TFA) who seems to revel in his little-brother fantasies entirely too much.

Re:Moglen is right (4, Interesting)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 2 years ago | (#38647172)

Moglen comes across as a complete dick in that interview, and quite hysterical, with a bit of a big-brother fetish. Much like Doctorow (also mentioned in TFA) who seems to revel in his little-brother fantasies entirely too much.

No, the reporter is the dick. Moglen is just consistently putting forward his point and the reporter is lamely making excuses for his failure to accept the advice. Anyone who asks for advice and then makes lame excuses for not following it it is a dick.

Re:Moglen is right (2, Insightful)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 2 years ago | (#38647902)

No, the reporter is the dick. Moglen is just consistently putting forward his point and the reporter is lamely making excuses for his failure to accept the advice. Anyone who asks for advice and then makes lame excuses for not following it it is a dick.

Uhhh, I'm sorry, but since when do reporters phone sources to "ask for advice"? What he wanted was a quote for the story he was working on, about banks potentially using Facebook to judge loan application. Moglen could have just politely declined to answer the question, or even to accept the call. Instead, he came off like someone's drunk uncle and launched into a rant about how the reporter is a bad citizen for having a Facebook account. Thanks for the "advice," uncle Eben... maybe you should go lie down a while.

Re:Moglen is right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38647250)

Oh wait, no, the other thing - they (I should say 'we' as a facebook user) deliberately share this info and WANT to make it public.

NO "we" DON'T. There is very little control over what is shared with whom. Sometimes you think it's locked down, with all public access turned off, then you test it from another account, and shit! Some friend has posted personal things to your wall and everyone can see it by default.

Security and privacy controls need to be a lot better. It needs both fine and coarse grained control. e.g. I don't want my mother seeing some stuff posted by my friends/girlfriend (should I ever get one).

Re:Moglen is right (5, Informative)

Okomokochoko (1490679) | more than 2 years ago | (#38647284)

Yes, people sharing information and thoughts freely is a terrible threat to privacy.

Straw man. He's not arguing against the act of sharing of information. Read, then understand, then formulate your counter-argument.

Oh wait, no, the other thing - they (I should say 'we' as a facebook user) deliberately share this info and WANT to make it public.

That's an assumption that doesn't hold in practice. People deliberately share information. Who they intended to share it with and who it is actually shared with are not necessarily the same. A Facebook user may not realize the implications of posting something to a public page or a public profile, and in the process share more about themselves or their actions than they intended. You also fail to realize that the "big-brother fetish" is in fact a legitimate concern. Think about location check-ins. If someone else checks you in, Facebook now knows where you were. Did you want it to know that? Did you know that you can disable others' ability to check you in? Did you know that that gives Facebook one more piece of data to target advertising towards you? Maybe you do...but it's unreasonable of you to expect the masses to know all of the possible ways a simple click on Facebook can be used against you.

Re:Moglen is right (2)

exomondo (1725132) | more than 2 years ago | (#38647664)

Think about location check-ins. If someone else checks you in, Facebook now knows where you were.

No, facebook knows where that person says you were.

Re:Moglen is right (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38647984)

Assuming the photographs aren't geotagged.

Re:Moglen is right (1)

Okomokochoko (1490679) | more than 2 years ago | (#38648026)

Very true. Forgot about that aspect.

Re:Moglen is right (1)

wagnerrp (1305589) | more than 2 years ago | (#38647352)

Why do you want to make it public? Why do you want to report to the world that you just shopped at X boutique, or just got ice cream at Y confectionery? Why do you think other people care, such that you tell the whole world about it? Did YOU independently decide that you wanted to do so, or are you just doing it because "it's just what you do"? If it serves no worthwhile purpose, why make that information known?

The issue Moglen is describing is let's say you're with a friend who actually does care to maintain that modicum of privacy one might expect while carrying out their normal lives. Now, you report that you're shopping at X with Z, or you just got Y ice cream with Z. I'm reminded of a scene from Jurassic Park where Dennis Nedry starts shouting "Dodgson, Dodgson, we have Dodgson here! See? Nobody cares." Sure, no one in the restaurant cared one way or another about Dodgson, but Nedry was still being a complete asshole, and if nobody cares, why say anything?

Re:Moglen is right (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 2 years ago | (#38647954)

Why do you want to make it public? Why do you want to report to the world that you just shopped at X boutique, or just got ice cream at Y confectionery? Why do you think other people care, such that you tell the whole world about it?

Most people don't "tell the whole world about it." Most people tell their friends, the idea being that they like to go to the same places or do similar things. Personally, I'll post that I'm sitting at XYZ bar right now so anyone who feels like can come down and have a few drinks with me.

Also, as you get older and it gets harder and harder to see your friends face-to-face, because of jobs/school/kids/distance/etc., you may start to see how Facebook can be a useful and fun way to keep in touch. Facebook posts aren't urgent, they aren't particularly time sensitive, and they don't leap up in anyone's face and demand that they respond. You can login and read some people's Facebook posts or you can not login for a week or more and forget the whole thing. It's just keeping connected with people in a casual way, much like you would if you passed them in the halls at school all the time.

Re:Moglen is right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38648272)

Personally, I'll post that I'm sitting at XYZ bar right now so anyone who feels like can come down and have a few drinks with me.

Indeed, and so you rightly should. This is not to cast broad aspersions, but from the tenor of their posts, those who don't seem to grasp the point and utility of this feature are perfectly playing into the stereotype of basement-dwellers who don't actually have friends that would want to interact with them in a public place. "Who would want to do that," they seem to ask. The obvious answer, of course, is "people with friends."

...y'know, like, in the real world.

Re:Moglen is right (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38647088)

Moglen is right, and that reporter is a moron.

The reporter is actually a troll.

Re:Moglen is right (2)

syousef (465911) | more than 2 years ago | (#38647846)

Moglen is right, and that reporter is a moron.

So is the submitter with the description "has taken to yelling at journalists reporting about social networks". What are we? 12? We can no longer use the word 'criticizing' instead of 'yelling at'??? Was he speaking too loudly in the lecture?

Not all social networkers are idiots. Many if not most know they're trading privacy for the privilege of connecting with their friends. Most even know there are possible unintended consequences, and most moderate what they say on a social network.

Re:Moglen is right (2)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 2 years ago | (#38647966)

So is the submitter with the description "has taken to yelling at journalists reporting about social networks". What are we? 12? We can no longer use the word 'criticizing' instead of 'yelling at'??? Was he speaking too loudly in the lecture?

You should read instead of just looking at the pictures. "Yelling" was the reporter's own description, and there was no lecture involved; he called Moglen on the phone.

Re:Moglen is right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38648228)

We can no longer use the word 'criticizing' instead of 'yelling at'??? Was he speaking too loudly in the lecture?

The lesson here is that those who haven't read the article often look quite foolish to those of us who have. You're just talking out of your ass at this point.

Eben Moglen: The sky is blue (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38646734)

Given that Moglen is simply stating the obvious, that might as well have been the title of the story.

Anonymous Coward: The sky is blue (2)

stms (1132653) | more than 2 years ago | (#38646874)

To state that he is stating the obvious would be stating the obvious so much so that the title of your post should be the same as mine.

Moglen wasn't particularly helpful (3, Insightful)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 2 years ago | (#38646782)

It seems to me the most germane question the reporter asked was, "What's the damage?" And Moglen failed spectacularly to answer it in anything approaching a coherent way.

Gotcha: If I happen to upload pictures of a couple of my friends (I generally don't) and those friends, unbeknownst to me, happen to be on the run from the Myanmar secret police (who are "evil"), then I've informed on them and they're going straight to the Ministry of Love.

Coulda used a slightly more concrete, real-world example, myself, by hey, I'll keep the warning in mind.

Re:Moglen wasn't particularly helpful (5, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38646996)

The problem with privacy loss is that you don't know what the damage is until it's too late. I don't personally have a FB account or account on other social networking sites because I value my privacy. But, that doesn't mean that there aren't photos of me online that other people posted, I personally have no control over that and by the time I find out that I've been harmed it's too late to do anything about it.

Re:Moglen wasn't particularly helpful (0)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 2 years ago | (#38647040)

and by the time I find out that I've been harmed it's too late to do anything about it.

And so I'll ask you: What's the harm? Ministry of Love again?

Re:Moglen wasn't particularly helpful (4, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38647230)

You're being obtuse, the point of privacy rights is that you don't know why you need them until it's too late. He answered the question quite well by having my information being spread by other people there are any number of bad things which can result.

There have been many people harmed by an unexpected loss of privacy over the years from politicians that had to resign in disgrace to people that were later blackmailed to the many celebrities that now have their sex lives on the internet because somebody else released the footage.

And don't forget about that teacher that was fired because of a picture of her online drinking out of a red plastic cup, lord knows what she was actually drinking, but she was ultimately fired because of the picture.

Re:Moglen wasn't particularly helpful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38647596)

In making your argument in favor of privacy, politicians who can't keep their dick in their pants and attention whore celebrities who "accidentally" leak tapes of their sexcapades are a bad example because they're the last thing in the world that will make people sympathize with you.

Of course in a logical world it doesn't matter because you're correct, but you have to remember we're dealing with exactly the "loss of rights/privacy is OK as long as it only hurts people I don't like" and "if you have nothing to fear, why not just hand over your papers, Citizen?" crowd. And of course, there enlies the whole problem because that crowd never fucking figures out what's wrong with their statements until they are the ones being disappeared, no matter how many times this sad totalitarian story plays out on the world stage.

Re:Moglen wasn't particularly helpful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38647816)

In the case of public officials, I think there's an important distinction between "loss of privacy" and "increased transparency", I suppose the definition only extends as far as the context though.

In the case of the teacher, I don't disagree with the idea of people seeing pictures of her drinking from a cup, I am outraged with her being fired because of it.

Urging people to be conservative with their content is all well and good, but at some point we should look around and say "You know what, the real problem is that people aren't handling all this new information in a sane manner." We should be attacking with equal fervor people who use the information in extreme and/or inappropriate ways.

Re:Moglen wasn't particularly helpful (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 2 years ago | (#38647856)

And don't forget about that teacher that was fired because of a picture of her online drinking out of a red plastic cup, lord knows what she was actually drinking, but she was ultimately fired because of the picture.

The problem here is assholes, not social media.

Re:Moglen wasn't particularly helpful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38648016)

But you can't solve assholes, and so the reasonable conclusion is that you need to educate people to be mindful of how they use social media. And that brings us back to do, a deer...

Re:Moglen wasn't particularly helpful (2)

Nursie (632944) | more than 2 years ago | (#38648058)

No, but you can work around them, and sue for wrongful dismissal.

I'm not for a moment advocating total transparency, but I think that if these judgemental killjoys *could* see everything that was going on in the world, just how many people do actually drink, take drugs, stay out late, sleep around etc etc, without society falling down around them, they might have to confront their own small mindedness and hypocrisy.

This is just wishful thinking on my part though, it's more likely the idiot moral crusaders would just use it as more ammo, because we all know they really care about behavioural control, not safety, not liberty, not happiness.

Oops, went on a rant...

Re:Moglen wasn't particularly helpful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38647386)

I always check potential employee's Facebook pages to make sure they are cute, single and the right age before I call them in for an interview.

Re:Moglen wasn't particularly helpful (1)

wagnerrp (1305589) | more than 2 years ago | (#38647432)

You don't know how it's going to harm you, and finding out... is half the fun!

He's not saying don't put your photos online for you and your friends to see. He's saying put them on your own website, or on your own server. Only tell people you want the name. Put up a 'robots.txt' so at least most spiders that do happen across your site won't trawl it for index-able text and media. Don't put it on a giant social media collecting pot that collects and catalogs all that information for anyone who cares, in exchange for a small bit of free web space that you have little to no control over.

Re:Moglen wasn't particularly helpful (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38647486)

Not having an account isn't complete protection. If somebody else posts your picture and identifies you, the effect is the same. It can be done in a caption, even if you don't have an account name that can be "tagged" in the photo. Just being known by somebody from work, school, etc. who has a class picture to post is all that it takes.

Re:Moglen wasn't particularly helpful (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 2 years ago | (#38647044)

The guy that pissed off Anonymous, Aaron Barr, claimed to having identified some Anon "members" by matching facebook and other activity (timing and context, mostly).

Re:Moglen wasn't particularly helpful (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38647046)

If I happen to upload pictures of a couple of my friends (I generally don't) and those friends, unbeknownst to me, happen to be on the run from the Myanmar secret police (who are "evil"), then I've informed on them and they're going straight to the Ministry of Love.

Coulda used a slightly more concrete, real-world example, myself, by hey, I'll keep the warning in mind.

The probability that your friends are, unbeknownst to you, on the run from the Myanmar secret police, or that they are secret freedom fighters waging an important campaign to end the tyranny of some evil regime, is approximately as great as the probability that your friends are terrorists/bank robbers/criminal masterminds and in some way deserving of arrest. Neither of these greatly exceeds the probability that they are also race car drivers or test pilots with sixteen inch pleasure tools. The latter is a common fantasy, and so are the former: all are manifestations of the desire to be more important than one really is. It's pure ego-tripping to think that you're selling out your friends to some dangerous secret agency, especially a foreign intelligence service or police force. Your friends are not James Bond, nor are they Nelson Mandela or leaders of a peaceful but misunderstood resistance force. This is not the end-times, nor are you or your friends protagonists in any global drama. You are boring.

As evidence that your are boring, consider the fact that you spend a good portion of your life on Facebook.

Re:Moglen wasn't particularly helpful (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38647740)

tl;dr: The banality of evil; it can be as boring as you are.

If you are boring you are probably quite "normal", spending money in "normal" ways and doing things you are told or expected to do. But it is still valuable to find out how you are best manipulated and controlled, because in the range of acceptable behaviour, purchasing luxuries at the expense of other luxuries is pretty normal (or if the seller is really lucky, at the expensive most everything else in your life).

The competition to control your spending has no bounds if you create none (e.g. addiction leading to homelessness). How much does access to you and your information cost? Allowing those that seek mainly to manipulate you for their own gain any additional insight into your life is risky, but you can bet they will make it seem normal. It is also normal to claim that you are very special and all the money spent on manipulation has no effect on you, unlike every other human in every experiment, you are never influenced by the slightest perception or experience. All those other boring people, that all seem to do the same boring things as you do, that must a cosmic coincidence. Luckily for those other boring people, we carefully study how all this manipulation affects us, in the unlikely case there might be negative side effects from being constantly manipulated without regard to your personal health.

Also, it is lucky that there are also no criminals who would sell or exploit your boring information working for any of the companies storing your information, or those who bought access to that information, or in the government that demanded access. Information that will never go away and is easily copied. You're boring enough not to be worthwhile target for the rest of your life to every criminal who gets a copy, right?

Re:Moglen wasn't particularly helpful (2)

GumphMaster (772693) | more than 2 years ago | (#38647110)

Something like:

You post a happy snap taken at a cafe on Facebook. In the background someone you don't know, call her Bloggs, is seen talking to a known head hunter. Bloggs' employer has paid in to the facial recognition service, sees that Bloggs is talking to the "enemy", decides that loyalty is lacking in Bloggs, and terminates her employment. Bloggs can no longer support her family and ultimately her mortgage is foreclosed. Bloggs has no idea how they found out, and was only having an innocent coffee with a lifelong friend anyway. Your privacy has not been violated but you have supported the destruction of someone else's life. Now imagine if I took the photo and you were having a coffee with a rival newspaper editor...

might have prompted more thought

Re:Moglen wasn't particularly helpful (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38647408)

Situation One (Bloggs): There are two companies here, Facebook and Bloggs' employer. Which one is actually the problem, Facebook for hosting an image and indexing it, or Bloggs' employer for being paranoid and abusive? The proximate cause of Bloggs' misfortune is the company that spies on its employees, not the company that facilitated that spying. If Bloggs were to sue someone, it would be the proximate cause of her distress, which is the wrongful termination she has suffered at the hands of a company that lives in fear and refuses to trust its own, likely because, knowing how badly it treats them, it suspects they will never feel loyalty towards them: oderint dum metuant. So, why would you blame Facebook here? If Bloggs is smart, she sees who the real tyrant is here: her employer. She should already have been looking for another job anyway, since she was working for an abusive company. Only a dumb Bloggs blames Facebook for her employer's immoral conduct: that's the kind of Bloggs that facilitates employee abuse and unethical management practices by misdirecting her anger.

Situation Two: Same deal. If your editor is using Facebook to spy on you and is likely to fire you because of your excellent networking skills (which are of paramount importance in journalism), you should move on to a better company. Since your friend is an editor and thus capable of hiring, and being a friend is probably someone you've already judged to be of decent character and who knows your character despite whatever damage your tyrannical former employers might try to do to you, you'll probably be working for a much better and more ethical newsroom shortly. Win.

Don't blame the messenger, or in this case the host and indexer. Blame the abusive management that has turned what used to be a decent company to work for into a fear-driven hellhole. Facebook isn't the bad guy here: your former employer is.

Re:Moglen wasn't particularly helpful (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 2 years ago | (#38647872)

Might have prompted more thought, yes -- for example, my first thought was, "Wrongful termination lawsuit, ka-chiiing!"

So far, you're really not helping make the case here. Your example scenario is just more paranoid fantasy thinking based on a world that does not resemble the one we actually live in. You can say, "Yeah, but what if?" -- but I don't even see any evidence of a slippery slope toward what you describe. It just does not sound plausible to me.

Re:Moglen wasn't particularly helpful (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 2 years ago | (#38648168)

Better example: you post a picture taken at a cafe on Flickr. In the background is the cute girl you just met. Your camera silently geotags the photo with GPS coordinates, showing the bar where you and this girl regularly hang out, and with a date telling when the photo was taken, hinting at when she would likely be in the bar next.

You find out the next week that the girl was in the witness protection program because of her abusive ex-boyfriend. Somehow, he managed to figure out what city she was in, and used facial recognition software on every photo that Flickr identified as having been taken in that area. Because of your photo, he found her and slit her throat.

You lost a girlfriend, the world lost a human being, and all because of a few privacy violations that you didn't even realize were happening. And that is why privacy is important—because there are bad people out there who will take advantage of any scrap of information they can get and use it against you.

Spectacular! (5, Insightful)

killfixx (148785) | more than 2 years ago | (#38646802)

I teach different college level IT courses and Moglen's sentiments are always part of "Intro" courses.

RMS and Moglen, who would've guessed, 10 years ago, they'd be right?

Paranoia, it's not just for the fringe anymore.

Re:Spectacular! (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#38646870)

RMS and Moglen, who would've guessed, 10 years ago, they'd be right?

Paranoia, it's not just for the fringe anymore.

Too late now, as it no longer matters if you are paranoid or not.... they are after you anyway.

Re:Spectacular! (5, Informative)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 2 years ago | (#38647074)

Yes http://wikileaks.org/wiki/EU_social_network_spy_system_brief,_INDECT_Work_Package_4,_2009 [wikileaks.org]
"learn relationships between people and organizations through websites and social networks."
i.e. hunt weblogs, chat sites, news reports, and social networking sites create automatic dossiers on individuals.

Re:Spectacular! (1)

SplashMyBandit (1543257) | more than 2 years ago | (#38647314)

> Too late now, as it no longer matters if you are paranoid or not.... they are after you anyway.

Yes 'they' are after you. However, you don't have to give your consent to them hoovering up every last piece of info about you (which you pretty much do with Facebook, since FB can be compelled to spill the beans to anyone who needs the information under subpeona, or any of the dodgy laws that have recently been enacted).

What many posters have not grokked is something that is wrong with the pervasive surveillance society is not the information they have on you that is correct, it is the information they have on you that is not correct - and they use that to make erroneous decisions about you. This happens quite frequently but the privacy safeguards at the moment prevent some parts of government accessing this bad data, so the problem doesn't affect you too badly.

Another concrete problem is that even if you do believe there is no issue with the government having information about you and using it - you may well have a problem with corrupt *government employees* selling that data to third parties (eg. using you government health record to give to your insurer, or even to a nosy neighbour or employer). This is not an abstract problem, there are many, many cases where this has happened around the World. By forcing the government to 'silo' its data due to privacy concerns and limit access prevents this from happening easily.

Unfortunately many people on Facebook give the same information away to the World. Fortunately some of the material is only cringe-worthy rather than really personal - but I bet you the statements and activities you make when you are 18 are not what you want the world or your employer to see later on in life. Moglen knows this but it is a shame no-one wants to listen since they think they know better. That's ok, they can make their own mistakes - they just can't say no one told them bad stuff was coming as a result of their short-sightedness.

Re:Spectacular! (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#38647706)

Too late now, as it no longer matters if you are paranoid or not.... they are after you anyway.

Wisdom from a bathroom wall, read many years ago:

"The fact that you're paranoid doesn't mean that they're not out to get you."

Re:Spectacular! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38647878)

Wisdom from a bathroom wall, read many years ago:

"The fact that you're paranoid doesn't mean that they're not out to get you."

T's me that wrote it in some of them ;)

Re:Spectacular! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38647516)

It's has nothing to do with paranoia.

There is an intrinsic want by the Government, Corporations, Insurance Agencies, Advertising Firms ... you name it, to track you and profile your behaviors for their own ends. Be it profit, security, manipulation, etc... This is simply stating fact, whether people want to believe it or not.

Our information connected world, is becoming more-so every day. This isn't something that is going to stop, or re-organize itself to the publics' want, after we're several decades into it. Pick any revolutionary growth sector throughout history, and it's the same story. How hard is it to change an industry, once it's ingrained into society after several decades of use.

Want a modern example? Take a look at the light bulb, or home electrical distribution. Does A/C really make sense these days, other than for major appliances?

/sarc (0)

xombo (628858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38646822)

It's a good thing Diaspora is totally secure and will prevent this sort of spying. Alternatives FTW!!!

Re:/sarc (3, Insightful)

dido (9125) | more than 2 years ago | (#38646892)

Well, at least Diaspora wasn't designed from the ground up to facilitate this sort of spying, and has as one of its design goals attempting to prevent such unwanted breaches of privacy. They may not always be successful, but such efforts I consider a fair sight better than Facebook, which was on the other hand designed from the ground up to convert its users' privacy into revenue.

Re:/sarc (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38646992)

I would argue that a false sense of security (Diaspora) is worse than knowing a system is prone to that sort of insecurity (Facebook). At least on Facebook one knows to censor one's self.

Re:/sarc (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38648162)

+1 funny. Your post just made my day, AC.

Eben Moglen (4, Informative)

dido (9125) | more than 2 years ago | (#38646830)

Really, Freedombox? I'd never heard of that project before now, but I have most definitely heard of Professor Eben Moglen. I know him as the Chairman of the Software Freedom Law Center, providing legal assistance to non-profit Free/Open Source Software developers, including among its clients the FSF (Moglen worked on drafting the GPLv3 for one), Wine, BusyBox, and Plone among others. I do think that this is a much more significant thing to mention about him.

And yes, he is absolutely right about Facebook and modern social media. All of the things he's said are obvious to anyone.

It was the height of folly (4, Insightful)

Beeftopia (1846720) | more than 2 years ago | (#38646838)

When I first got on the Internet in the early 90s, it was the height of folly to put your personal information online.

Nothing I've seen in the intervening years has changed my opinion about that.

Re:It was the height of folly (3, Funny)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38647024)

But, this is web 2.0 now. Completely safe.

Re:It was the height of folly (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38647288)

When I first got on the Internet in the early 90s, it was the height of folly to put your personal information online.

Agreed, but that was a fairly new thing at the time. When I first got on the Internet in the early 80's, everyone used their real names. It was almost impossible not to, because accounts were created by your employer or university, and they set them up that way. Most everyone's real name was available via the finger protocol, and if not, it was there if you posted to usenet or emailed someone. It was the common thing on the internet to use your real name, up until, as you say, the early 90's or so. It wasn't universal, but it was certainly the most common case.

Of course, there was no spam or other silliness around yet in the early 80's, as big business hadn't yet become aware of a new thing they should trash.

disinformation (3, Informative)

rot26 (240034) | more than 2 years ago | (#38646864)

The solution is simple; lower the signal-to-noise ratio. During the early cold war years, they did that by radio jamming. Nowadays spam serves that purpose (intentionally or not). Instead of closing your FB account, create 5 fake ones, and stuff them full of crap.

Not even FB can figure it out... (3, Insightful)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | more than 2 years ago | (#38646896)

I remain skeptical. I'm a regular FB poster, and not even FB can target ads to me that I care about. I'm a married man so I get ads about meeting women and ovulation tests. I live in Vancouver and I've just finished a big house renovation, so I get ads for extended-stay suites IN Vancouver. Where's this big 'tracking' conspiracy if not even the mothership can get it right?

Re:Not even FB can figure it out... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38647166)

I get ads for adult diapers and viagra. (because I claim to be 110 years old)

Re:Not even FB can figure it out... (5, Interesting)

Bob9113 (14996) | more than 2 years ago | (#38647564)

I remain skeptical. I'm a regular FB poster, and not even FB can target ads to me that I care about.

I've done it. I worked for an online advertising company in San Francisco. They were all about human-based targeting, done by our placement specialists. I wanted to show them what collaborative filtering could do, so I wrote a running an algorithm similar to what Netflix uses. Ran it in a one month randomized A/B test against ads targeted by our pros using demographics. For every dollar they sold during the run, I sold 3.8 dollars.

Re:Not even FB can figure it out... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38647756)

First of all. It is improving all the time. Have you tried Google's Picassa? It does work to an extent. It doesn't matter if it doesn't get it right 100% of the time. All it matters is it gets it right some of the time. That can be enough.

Re:Not even FB can figure it out... (2)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 2 years ago | (#38647964)

I remain skeptical. I'm a regular FB poster, and not even FB can target ads to me that I care about.

You have the risk model backwards. Targeted advertising is not much of a risk to the people viewing the advertising. Maybe they are suckered out of a few more dollars, and that's shitty but not anything new.

The problem comes when the goal is to pull information on a specific individual - someone who, for whatever reason, has become a person of interest. At that point every single piece of data that has ever been associated with that person will be examined in excruciating detail in order to gain some sort of leverage over them.

Consider the case of former US representative Anthony Weiner. The guy had an official public twitter feed and a personal one that was private. He used the private one to send dirty pictures of himself to women, had apparently been doing it for well over a year. One day one of his dick shots ends up on the official public feed for a few minutes and that is the beginning of the end of his career -- and the republican take over of what had been a staunchly democrat seat for nearly a century.

Now consider this totally hypothetical scenario -- somebody at twitter didn't like Rep Weiner. Maybe it was one of the angel investors, maybe it was just a partisan employee, who knows. But this twitter insider had full access to everything Weiner ever did on twitter -- public and private. They new about his naughty pictures - even though Weiner thought they were private, only between himself and the women he was cybersexing. Once known, it wouldn't take much work for a "bug" in the twitter system to "accidentally" publish that dick shot on Rep Weiner's public twitter feed.

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that happened at all - chances are it was just PEBKAC. Even if it did, chances are we would never know for sure anyway. Think of it as an entirely plausible cautionary tale.

the history of the internet (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38646940)

proprietary, centralized social networks or no

The entire history of the internet is one of moving from open and decentralized facilities to proprietary and central authorities.

IM: IRC -> a ton of separate proprietary apps
Discussions: usenet -> a ton of separate web-forum fiefdoms
Email: RFC based email -> proprietary solutions on facebook and so on
Personal web pages -> using central proprietary services like facebook

This all seems idiotic and totally the wrong direction to me, but there's no way of denying the fact that for whatever reason, Joe Sixpack prefers a more authoritarian and more proprietary approach to the internet, as opposed to a more equal/peer-to-peer and open-standard approach.

Joe is a not a geek. (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 2 years ago | (#38647416)

This all seems idiotic and totally the wrong direction to me, but there's no way of denying the fact that for whatever reason, Joe Sixpack prefers a more authoritarian and more proprietary approach to the internet, as opposed to a more equal/peer-to-peer and open-standard approach.

The proprietary product designed for the masses replaced jany number of argon-filled apps with clumsy UIs that only the techie ever found easy to use.

Re:the history of the internet (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#38647742)

proprietary, centralized social networks or no

The entire history of the internet is one of moving from open and decentralized facilities to proprietary and central authorities.

What's amusing is that these are the companies that are speaking out against SOPA, because "it will destroy the internet as we know it".

didn't get the answers he wanted... (2)

neonsignal (890658) | more than 2 years ago | (#38646982)

moglen: the users are the victims and even the stuff you write which purports to be critical will do everything except telling people the central fact, which is they have to stop using.

reporter: I think that’s totally relevant and will definitely put it in. (N.B.: In the end, I did not put this in the story for several reasons, not the least of it was the fact that it was late and over word limit.)

Moglen's tactics are dumb (1)

vkg (158234) | more than 2 years ago | (#38646994)

Alienating reporters is a sure-fire way of getting your cause, no matter how good, totally disrespected. Even if they understand you, they never forgive.

In the long run, there are softer vectors to attack than social networking. A lot of these fears would apply equally well to private social platforms which were not encrypted, just the NSA etc. would have to scrape the data off the wires rather than having nice databases to mine. But the paydirt is still VISA and tax records and face recognition tied to passport databases. I bet social network data, when you get right down to it, is just a nice-to-have compared to the passport biometrics database combined with pen registers etc. for communications.

You might find http://guptaoption.com/cheapid [guptaoption.com] interesting from this perspective: it's a proposed biometric ID card standard which blinds governments to the biometrics of their population except under special circumstances, and enforces this arrangement with strong cryptography. The passport and driving license databases are key, and this is one way to get rid of them.

The social networking conundrum (2)

macraig (621737) | more than 2 years ago | (#38647020)

The good thing about social networking is being able to share. Unfortunately, the bad thing about social networking is also being able to share: what is shared will always inevitably include "actionable" details about either you or people with whom you have relationships.

What does Moglen propose to this woman and reporter as a solution to the problem? Why, that she and by extension everyone else simply not network, not share, perhaps not even have relationships... because the logical conclusion of those relationships is always the sharing of information that might prove useful to someone else for control or profit.

While I'm enough of an outcast that I can almost vaguely begin to follow Moglen's directive, most of the people in my life network couldn't. They don't want to exist in a social vacuum, nor could they even psychologically survive in a such a fashion.

The real conundrum here, which Moglen seems to ignore for convenience, is that when information is set free then that information is now free for everyone, for any purpose or intent, good or bad. I wonder... is what Moglen proposes, in terms of attempting to control and censor one's own information, really that different from a copyright regime? The only difference is who is doing the controlling. Ultimately it's all about self-interest, whether it's using information to do harm to others or concealing information in order to avoid harm from others. Why, isn't that precisely the reason that people and corporations and governments keep secrets, to avoid that information being used to their detriment by others? What a coincidence! So Moglen, in a paroxysm of epiphany, declares that rather than doing away with all secrets we should instead be keeping more of them? Genius!

Perhaps the solution is to live such a virtuous life that no skeletons, no actionable information, exists? Social networking is the small-town paradigm applied to the Internet: there's no point in trying to hide what you know or what you've done, because *everyone* will know about it soon enough.

Re:The social networking conundrum (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38647192)

The good thing about social networking is being able to share .... Why, that she and by extension everyone else simply not network, not share, perhaps not even have relationships...

The entire nature of the internet allows sharing. This does not require proprietary social networking sites. It does not require letting somebody else sell your privacy for profit.

News flash for the younger sorts: back in the 80's before there was even the *web* let alone facebook, we were communicating online with our friends and family. Today, there are much more sophisticated means available, but still which do not have anything to do with facebook.

Where did this massive worldwide brainwashing come from that everybody thinks they can only communicate with other people and share things using facebook?

Your ideas (3, Funny)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 2 years ago | (#38647336)

Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your facebook group.

Re:The social networking conundrum (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 2 years ago | (#38647338)

Was that intended to be a rebuttal? You seem to think it was, but....

Re:The social networking conundrum (2)

Bob9113 (14996) | more than 2 years ago | (#38647630)

What does Moglen propose to this woman and reporter as a solution to the problem? Why, that she and by extension everyone else simply not network, not share, perhaps not even have relationships... because the logical conclusion of those relationships is always the sharing of information that might prove useful to someone else for control or profit.

Actually, Eben did not propose that she not network. He proposed that she not network using Facebook or Twitter.

The real conundrum here, which Moglen seems to ignore for convenience, is that when information is set free then that information is now free for everyone, for any purpose or intent, good or bad.

That statement is not germaine to the topic at hand. The information in question is not being set free. It is being gathered into private, for-profit stores, and being sold to other private and government interests. You cannot see the time and URL of most of the web pages that your Mother (or some other representative person if your Mother is not a good example case) has viewed this week. Google can.

Re:The social networking conundrum (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38647974)

>Actually, Eben did not propose that she not network. He proposed that she not network using Facebook or Twitter.

If the reporter had followed Eben's advice, the reporter would not really be qualified to write the article in the first place. I would prefer that reporters who write articles about the privacy risks on Facebook actually be familiar with the service. Also, I think that congressmen should use the Internet a few times before they inadvertently destroy it. But, maybe that is asking too much.

Eben may be right about Facebook being evil. But, it is hard to tell since he didn't actually give a coherent argument about it. It is like the reporter offered to put him in front of a camera to tell a zillion people what the problem was, and instead he attacked the camera man. WTF? His PR strategy is all wrong.

Spy agencies don't respect robots.txt (3, Interesting)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#38647126)

If the data is available from a website, the government can crawl it. robots.txt is a polite request not to search the content of a website, not a physical lock or encryption.

It may be EASIER for the governments to find "miscreants" on social networks because they're all in one database and more easily scanned, but that definitely doesn't mean you're safe from prying eyes ANYWHERE on the internet. If you post it where others can read it, the three-letter agencies can, will, and DO read it.

Privacy on the internet is an illusion, nothing more. It has alway been so, will always be so, and cannot be otherwise if people are to share information.

Re:Spy agencies don't respect robots.txt (1)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#38647152)

That's not to say customer data can't or shouldn't be protected. I'm talking about SHARED CONTENT, not data security.

In theory you could encrypt everyone's posts in a secure forum, hash their logins, hide their names, and "protect" them from surveillance. I'm surprised no one has done it yet.

But it goes against the original core design goal of DARPA, who created the internet: a tool for exchanging and sharing information.

Not hiding it.

My New Friend (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38647184)

I loved that rant.
Eben Moglen is SO friended.

Canceling my FB tomorrow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38647206)

Put a notice on my FB status that Im leaving and included a link to this article. Cue the Slashdot effect!

PhotoDNA (5, Insightful)

ka9dgx (72702) | more than 2 years ago | (#38647308)

I've been using Picassa on my PC, which includes facial recognition, the interesting part is the hundreds of people who I have know knowledge of who appear large enough to be recognized and grouped together, merely because they happened to be near someone or something I was photographing.

The news that Facebook is scanning all photo uploads with similar technology really makes me cringe.

Eben is right, and he's NOT paranoid... just ahead of the curve.

p2p Facebook clone (3, Interesting)

mfnickster (182520) | more than 2 years ago | (#38647388)

Has anyone started a p2p social network that could replace facebook?

Something like, I dunno, Usenet but with Web content and your cached updates are encrypted with your public key?

Yes he did yell, but so would I... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38647510)

Yes, he did seem to yell at the guy but if you read the article, he was asking the stupidest questions. Then to remark that he "can't" just close his Twitter or FB account...I mean, at that point I would've yelled at him. I mean HE asked what he could do to stop having his information being misused. There's your answer. If you don't want to do it, then don't but there isn't some magic button to make everyone use your information in a nice way, you either stop putting your information out there or put it out there knowing people will use it for whatever they want to -- even if that ends up screwing you over.

Another idea is to create an anonymous or pseudo-anonymous account on Twitter or FB that doesn't use your real name. It will stop basic, cursory-level searches while still allowing you to 'be out there'. You need to be careful though because although Twitter doesn't seem to care, FB seems somewhat intent (in my experience) upon deleting accounts that seem like they're created with fake names.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?