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How To Block the NSA From Your Friends List

Unknown Lamer posted about a year ago | from the echo-chamber dept.

Social Networks 224

Atticus Rex writes "The fact that our social networking services are so centralized is a big part of why they fall so easily to government surveillance. It only takes a handful of amoral Zuckerbergs to hand over hundreds of millions of people's data to PRISM. That's why this Slate article makes the case for a mass migration to decentralized, free software social networks, which are much more robust to spying and interference. On top of that, these systems respect your freedom as a software user (or developer), and they're less likely to pepper you with obnoxious advertisements." On a related note, identi.ca is ditching their Twitter clone platform for pump.io which promises an experience closer to the Facebook news feed. Unfortunately, adoption seems slow since Facebook, Google, et al have an interest in preventing interoperability and it can be lonely on the distributed social network.

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Just Block Google (-1, Troll)

butitsme (2955215) | about a year ago | (#44037931)

From the employees violating their privacy rules and [gawker.com] spying on children (to whats amount to having sex with them) [theatlanticwire.com] to Google forwarding phone sex, banks info and email, Google is violating your rights left and over.

The only way to stop this is just stopping using their services. In fact, not even that - but we need industry players to stop supporting Google and get everyone on our side. Google is made of creeps.

Re:Just Block Google (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44037967)

I squat my asshole down on filthy cocks.

Re:Just Block Google (1)

DarkRat (1302849) | about a year ago | (#44038021)

whatever floats your boat

Re:Just Block Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44038357)

We already figured that was the case

Re:Just Block Google (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44037999)

I read the article from theatlanticwire, and it did not even suggest that Google was forwarding anything. It stated that the NSA wants a "Google" for emails, not that Google is forwarding emails. It stated that NSA analysts were listening to phone sex from US troops overseas, not the Google was forwarding phone sex calls.

I did not read the first article about the Google employee who monitored chats of teenagers. However as I recall, he was fired and convicted.

Google might be involved in something sinister, but you have not highlighted anything.

Re:Just Block Google (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44039109)

It highlighted the fact it is time to move away from these untruthful social sites who you give in to anything, as long as they know it may not get out to the public how in bed they were with the government, politicians, and other companies. There are selling you out, you think they are going to admit to this?

"Hey sorry folks you know how we've been tricking you into thinking we care, well we were joking." They see people as dollar symbols not as humans, and I am sure if they feel they were about to get listed or whistled they would come out and say they were blackmailed, aka you scratch our backs will scratch yours, you know those violations we have let you get away with?

The other part that is also very much a reality, is the NSA illegally hacking into data bases stealing information, (um Hmm collecting) or data. I would find this semi hard to believe since you would require hundreds of elite hackers, or maybe even some sci-fi software to achieve that type of hack. I hope /.'s will correct me on if it is possible? Because I haven't heard of hackers doing this, maybe they have and it has been kept highly secret by the companies (they do not want the public to find out something of this magnitude can be hacked)

Re:Just Block Google (0)

Weezul (52464) | about a year ago | (#44038001)

We need better cross site script blocking apps. Ghostery is a nice start, but you must block facebook connect and may other's too. And then it starts getting complicated.

Every try using stackexchange sites with javascript blockers blocking cross site scripting? Very tricky!

Cross site scripting (4, Insightful)

Weezul (52464) | about a year ago | (#44038025)

We need new standards to minimize cross site scripting throughout the web, like maybe :
- If you want to run code from a site other than your own then you need that code to jump through various obnoxious approval hurdles, which suck so bad that people abandon cross site scripting.
- Restrict all off site cookie access massively as well.

Re:Cross site scripting (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#44038075)

well it would be simple if the code had to be distributed through the server you're getting the page from.

it wouldn't fix anything though, it would just make it standard practice that there would be server side injections of the stuff. which would be better anyhow, even if it would make adblocking harder if it was implemented.

Re:Cross site scripting (2)

aug24 (38229) | about a year ago | (#44038229)

That would stop mashup services from working easily, for example embedded maps, which I work on: openspace [ordnancesurvey.co.uk]

No mashups? Too bad, so sad (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44038285)

My way of coping with that has always been *disabling Javascript execution completely*. This stops mashups dead on their tracks. I pay this price happily for the benefit of not running in my box all the random, badly written to malicious crap the Web throws at my browser.

Whoever thought this to be a good idea must have been out of their wits.

Re:No mashups? Too bad, so sad (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44038959)

My way of coping with that has always been *disabling Javascript execution completely*. This stops mashups dead on their tracks. I pay this price happily for the benefit of not running in my box all the random, badly written to malicious crap the Web throws at my browser.

Whoever thought this to be a good idea must have been out of their wits.

you also pay the price by having a huge chunk of websites not work correctly if at all

Re:Cross site scripting (1)

Steve_Ussler (2941703) | about a year ago | (#44038103)

OWASP!!! They have been advocating this for years...but nonone listens.

Re:Just Block Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44038085)

Wont solve any of the current problems. Very tricky to understand!

Re: Just Block Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44038057)

I totally agree, I deactivated my fb, and taking steps into delete my Google account, currently I am on twitter and thinking into moving to an open source free network.

Re: Just Block Google (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44038519)

I left them all. Went back to emails - feels like getting a letter in the post now. Much more personal! Clearly I've gone insane.

Re:Just Block Google (2)

Steve_Ussler (2941703) | about a year ago | (#44038091)

Easier said than done...

Duck duck go away NSA (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44038197)

Yeh, I'm not so anti-Google as you, but that data was only available for the NSA because Google chose to collect it. THEY made the decision to collect live search, THEY made the decision to track search history per IP. By collecting that data, THEY made a honey pot waiting for an NSA warrant.

I'll give it to them that mail storage is a function of mail, but all the linkage of data together with Android device, search, email, name (ever paid by credit card), telephone number (2 part authentication & Android), all of that is a function of them spanning so many markets and forcing linkage of the data via the privacy change a few years ago. THEIR choice.

So I've switched to Duck Duck go, because the EFF said it was ok (and I'll change again when a better non-US alternative comes along), and I've switch from Gmail to ISP mail with encrypted connection and POP3. Since now a lot more emails will no longer transit US networks, and encrypted TLS connection will make content more difficult to grab.

Social networks were always a problem and always will be. Google are not the worst there, Facebook is (and I think Zuckerberg is a f**ing liar on this NSA matter, I wouldn't be surprised if NSA was among his early venture funders). But Google take their share of blame.

Skype is gone, I read the PRISM intercept, and everything can be watched live.

That is what I'm missing, a good encrypted open source replacement for Skype with end to end encryption.

Re:Duck duck go away NSA (5, Informative)

umundane (1490741) | about a year ago | (#44039147)

So I've switched to Duck Duck go, because the EFF said it was ok (and I'll change again when a better non-US alternative comes along),

https://startpage.com/ [startpage.com] is an anonymizing front-end for Google search, based in the Netherlands.
Details here: https://startpage.com/eng/prism-program-exposed.html [startpage.com]

https://www.ixquick.com/ [ixquick.com] is an independent search engine, apparently by the same company in the Netherlands.

I started using startpage.com yesterday. So far so good, although I'm not used to seeing ads in my search results.

Write your list on notebook paper (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44038007)

Never take a picture of it or video of it. Lock it in a safe. That might work, but we can't be sure.

Re:Write your list on notebook paper (3, Insightful)

Torvac (691504) | about a year ago | (#44038063)

but reading real books and writing on real paper makes you suspicious

Re:Write your list on notebook paper (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44038711)

Even talking or thinking about it makes you suspicious. Why would you even want to write on real paper? Do you have something to hide? Cause if you're already using pen and paper, you're already hiding something from the NSA, and that makes you a potential threat.

Re:Write your list on notebook paper (0)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year ago | (#44038737)

Write your list on notebook paper. Never take a picture of it or video of it. Lock it in a safe. Nuke the safe from orbit. That's the only way to be sure.

distributed? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#44038067)

what's so distributed about identica and what's so good about pumping your updates to everyone on the distributed network? or plenty of key exchanging.

more to the point has someone done a distributed tor like social network with client side encryptions and easy key exchanges for adding new friends? like, is there anything we could move on to then..

Re:distributed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44038175)

You just described Friendica. www.friendica.com

Re:distributed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44038303)

Problem is that nothing can replace FB. Want to listen to music on Spotify? Need a FB account. Want to log onto some E-mail sites? No FB account, no access.

Nothing out there even comes to what FB does, as in a big "watering hole" for people to post notes on, sync events, message, chat, or write notes. If everyone is scattered, then it means having not just one account, but 10,000 on every little service, such as how one has to register on every single website to post or reply.

Give me a way to authenticate across networks that actually is feasible (OpenID is worthless), at the minimum.

Re:distributed? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year ago | (#44038487)

I recently tried to watch someone playing a game on a video streaming site. I tried to say something in the chat - and the site required I log in with Facebook.

I do not have a facebook account, I do not want a facebook account, and I plan never to have a facebook account. But it grows increasingly frustrating when every site on the internet seems to demand a facebook account for the most basic of functions.

Re:distributed? (4, Insightful)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year ago | (#44038753)

We need a "Facebook is not the Internet" campaign.

Re:distributed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44038501)

If everyone is scattered, then it means having not just one account, but 10,000 on every little service, such as how one has to register on every single website to post or reply.

I don't know much about pump.io, but if it works anything like Diaspora does/did, then its a federated system- similar to XMPP/Jabber. Just like a jabber user on one server can chat with another user on an entirely different server, individuals from multiple social network servers should be able to "friend" each other and share without needing an account on each individual server.

Re:distributed? (2)

loccohombre (148009) | about a year ago | (#44038523)

What you're describing there is the Internet equivalent of living on dollar bags of fried food and complaining that you're fat.

Re:distributed? (1)

Hatta (162192) | about a year ago | (#44039335)

more to the point has someone done a distributed tor like social network with client side encryptions and easy key exchanges for adding new friends? like, is there anything we could move on to then..

Yes, that's RetroShare. It uses the PGP web of trust model to provide end to end encrypted equivalents email, IRC, file transfer, status feeds, newsgroups, and more. The only people who can actually prove you're on the network are those you are connected directly to. If you're doing it right those will be trusted friends.

Spam as a solution (1)

BreakBad (2955249) | about a year ago | (#44038093)

Start posting madly on your social networks on how you are such a great astronaut, phrenologist, sharpie shooter, and day-time tv show star; your generosity towards the RAWD (Retarded African Wild Dog) foundation; your hobby as a Soucier specializing in spiritual sautes. Because posting your actual information to get a little acknowledgment from 'friends' was so worth it.

Re:Spam as a solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44038145)

That will shrink the footprint of your network dramatically, unless what you write turns out to be really funny and people start subscribing to read your writings like a sort of web comic.

Re:Spam as a solution (1)

Mike Frett (2811077) | about a year ago | (#44038227)

I can vouch for this, when I changed my FB feed over to a Linux news feed; I lost about 1000 of my 3000 friends. So now I supplement with some nice Pictures I take when I'm in Photography mode. I've learned not to worry about it, if they want to leave it's their loss. It's not like I know any of them on a personal level anyway. =p

Avoid having friends! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44038111)

Not only NSA will be annoyed by you, but they will probably hire you to intercept somebody else's conversations.

A social network has to be popular to work (4, Insightful)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about a year ago | (#44038117)

A decentralized social site isn't very useful if none of my friends are on it.

Re:A social network has to be popular to work (3, Funny)

Ash-Fox (726320) | about a year ago | (#44038709)

The first step is to get some friends. I heard social networks are one way to do this.

Re:A social network has to be popular to work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44039231)

No it doesn't. Of course that depends on your definition of "works". If you define it as creating a least common denominator of LOLcats and drunken party pictures, then yes. It has to be popular. OTOH, if you define it as people with particular interests creating online forums to discuss their interests, and possibly meet up in real life then NO, it doesn't have to be popular. There were forums for hair styles, flashlights, trains, motorcycles and a bazillion other things before FaceBook. They are still there, slogging it out, losing a bit of membership but never really going away. They'll still be there if FaceBook gets MySpaced. They "work" for the people that are on them.

Oh, and Slashdot? Popular? Sort of. Not as popular as FaceBook; but not as obscure as candlepower forums [candlepowerforums.com] . I suppose all of these things "work". All your friends from school are not on all your interest-based forums. You know what? That's a good thing.

Don't resist your owners! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44038121)

It's for your own good, wage slaves! 90% of population is not capable of critical thinking. That's why elites must watch over you and plan your life, give something to do, allow some entertainment.

Please don't resist. America was always about slavery: native people, indentured servants, etc. Now it's economic slavery.
90% of you will never escape it, no matter what. Just accept agencies in your life and you will not be harmed.

Re:Don't resist your owners! (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | about a year ago | (#44038193)

Although the 'wage slave' comment is trollish and you'll gain no mod points because of it, +1 if I had them.

People get the government they deserve.

will never happen: requires forethought (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44038129)

The internet started far more distributed than it is now, and people flocked en-mass to centralized networks to which they could give complete control over their data and communications. People do not think beyond their immediate personal convenience, so any such idea for the long term good is doomed from the start if it requires the slightest bit of forethought.

Re:will never happen: requires forethought (1)

BreakBad (2955249) | about a year ago | (#44038317)

The internet started far more distributed than it is now, and people flocked en-mass to centralized networks to which they could give complete control over their data and communications. People do not think beyond their immediate personal convenience, so any such idea for the long term good is doomed from the start if it requires the slightest bit of forethought.

My god man! Did you even think of the repercussions before posting that!

Re:will never happen: requires forethought (2)

SirGarlon (845873) | about a year ago | (#44038701)

People do not think beyond their immediate personal convenience

And why is that? Is it:

A) They're stupid (and we who understand the Truth get to feel superior, yay!)

B) About 90% of the population gets about 90% of their information from corporate-controlled sources, and are bombarded literally thousands of times a day with messages about how they should choose convenience

C) other, please specify

Re:will never happen: requires forethought (2)

coId fjord (2949869) | about a year ago | (#44038833)

A) They're stupid (and we who understand the Truth get to feel superior, yay!)

B) About 90% of the population gets about 90% of their information from corporate-controlled sources, and are bombarded literally thousands of times a day with messages about how they should choose convenience

These are likely the most influential factors.

Re:will never happen: requires forethought (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about a year ago | (#44038789)

> will never happen: requires forethought

No, it only requires forethought by the people who develop it. The developers need to come up with a system that is both reasonably functional and dead easy to use, with all the distributed security stuff is in the background and not the main selling point.

It is kinda like piracy and DRM - you only need one pirate to rip / crack something and it will end being spread by thousands of people who don't even think about how it was originally cracked.

requires the "right to serve" (1)

jdogalt (961241) | about a year ago | (#44039283)

IMHO the reason it will or won't happen is entirely up to the FCC and their Network Neutrality rules. I believe the NetNeutrality rules as written (10-201) protect the fully symmetry of the internet. I.e. my right for clients on the internet to not be blocked from my server, even if my server is sitting in my living room connected to GoogleFiber as my residential ISP. Google, and historically the FCC, have seemed to disagree, and believe it is the place of residential citizens to not host servers that compete with gmail/facebook/skype/etc, and instead know their place as *consumers* of content, rather than *producers* and *distributors* and *publishers* of content. Until the FCC and Google realize that *all* internet end users should demand the "right to serve"[1] the market for home server software can be considered to be well and truly muzzled.

[1] http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3643919&cid=43438341 [slashdot.org]
http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3871729&cid=44023567 [slashdot.org]
http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3503531&cid=43033891 [slashdot.org]

Insecure password (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44038131)

8 characters only for the password? That's not secure.

Re:Insecure password (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44038169)

Replying to myself:

you can't delete messages, you can't remove authorizations. That's really too basic. http://tent.is is better right now.

Privacy concerns are over stated. (5, Insightful)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about a year ago | (#44038151)

People who take privacy seriously, people who are willing to jump through hoops to protect their privacy, people who are upset about government spying are a small minority. Corporations have been powerful, more powerful than governments for a long time. JPMorgan bailed out the U.S government in the early 20th century. The East India Company ruled entire India till 1856. Now a days the multinational companies pledge or feel no allegiance to any government and they are more powerful than ever.

Still even people who take privacy seriously obsess over government spying and not the corporate spying. People are voluntarily signing over their privacy rights to corporations more powerful than the governments for peanuts. "One bag of peanuts free if you let us eternal access to all your private data" The line will wind around the block in no time.

Problem 1: Most people don't take privacy seriously.

Problem 2: People who do, focus on the less powerful government and ignore the more powerful corporations

Problem 3: There is no profit in helping people keep their data private to balance the profit to be made by exploiting the private data.

Re:Privacy concerns are over stated. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44038239)

I grab a coffee near every work day on lunch, and the cashiers practically get pissed at me for not signing up for that gas stations "club", since I'd get a free coffee after five. I tried explaining to them I don't need them tracking me via scanning my card so I can save $1.50 a week, but they don't seem to understand. Instead now, I just tell them I'm an asshole. It's much more simple, and they only ask me half the time now.

Re:Privacy concerns are over stated. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44038923)

all you're doing is screwing yourself out of free coffee.
Just use a fake name and address. I save a lot of money at the grocery store and they think I'm an old woman who lives in the housing complex nearby.

Re:Privacy concerns are over stated. (1)

Nyder (754090) | about a year ago | (#44039037)

I grab a coffee near every work day on lunch, and the cashiers practically get pissed at me for not signing up for that gas stations "club", since I'd get a free coffee after five. I tried explaining to them I don't need them tracking me via scanning my card so I can save $1.50 a week, but they don't seem to understand. Instead now, I just tell them I'm an asshole. It's much more simple, and they only ask me half the time now.

They are pissed at you because you leave a crappy tip.

Re:Privacy concerns are over stated. (1)

kamapuaa (555446) | about a year ago | (#44039199)

They're minimum wage employees reading off a script, they could care less whether you sign up or not.

Re:Privacy concerns are over stated. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44039351)

You are an asshole, that is why they don't like you. They don't care why you don't want one but you feel obligated to tell them and I assume it is in a snippy manner as well. When asked if you want their bonus card, just say "no thanks" or "I'm not interested" and move along. The person at the register is probably not the business owner, the manager, or the owner. Why would you think they cared about your ideals or weather you ever come back again? Do you argue with the homeless people asking for money too? Telling them that they should have stayed in school and so on? My guess is you are also the type of person that drives in the fast lane and stays their because you feel you are going fast enough and only an asshole would want to go any faster.

Re:Privacy concerns are over stated. (4, Insightful)

coId fjord (2949869) | about a year ago | (#44038267)

Problem 2: People who do, focus on the less powerful government and ignore the more powerful corporations

You're generalizing.

Also, while corporations can have a lot of influence, there are few that can ruin your life as well as a government can.

Re:Privacy concerns are over stated. (2)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year ago | (#44038367)

Also, while corporations can have a lot of influence, there are few that can ruin your life as well as a government can.

Yes, but lots of people keep saying 'teh guberment is teh evil', but saying 'rah rah' to corporations and act like as long as someone is making a profit, that's how it's supposed to be.

The reality is what the government can't spy on you for, the corporations are more than happy to take up the slack -- or at least they get forced to hand over the data.

Between them, you're losing your rights and privacy from both ends. The government is out of control of terrorism hunts and tells industry to play nice, and industry is out control on things like privacy and copyright, and tell the government to play nice.

In the end, it's the people who get fucked over by both of them.

Re:Privacy concerns are over stated. (1)

coId fjord (2949869) | about a year ago | (#44038531)

I agree with you, but it's not really the corporations who ruin your life (although they help the government do so).

Graph the influencers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44038497)

People who take privacy seriously ARE THE INFLUENCERS that drive markets. The switch from Internet Explorer to Firefox, wasn't led by sheeple.

Problem 1: I do, that's a start.
Problem 2: Corporations aren't powerful without a goverment mandated monopoly, see Myspace in 2006, or Facebook in 2016
Problem 3: Why would I give you my data, when other companies provide the same service without the NSA profit. Welcome to competition.

Re:Graph the influencers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44038999)

People who take privacy seriously ARE THE INFLUENCERS that drive the market for PRIVACY related products...not web browsers or anything else. Is Tor the #1 browser on the web?

the switch from firefox to IE wasn't because of privacy. Firefox was a better web-browser. If it protected your privacy and performed worse than IE than people would still be using IE.

Re:Privacy concerns are over stated. (1)

roman_mir (125474) | about a year ago | (#44038521)

A company that is not a government will use your data to push more direct ads at you, but that's just a service that actually saves your time. If you are going to be served ads anyway (which I don't see, FF + Adblock), then why would you prefer to have ads that are completely random over ads that may have something to do with your interests in the first place? After all, maybe, just maybe at some point somebody will give you an ad for something that you would actually find really useful?

Now, that's a company trying to make money, it uses your information not against you but actually in a way that can help you (if you ever buy from one of their ads, then in fact they did help you!) that's a company giving YOU information.

That's the exact opposite of what a government is and what it does and why. Government just wants to imprison you or to tax you or to steal from you or murder you or regulate against you in whatever way possible. It also is possible that there are rogue agents within governments that will sell your information to private companies anyway to make a buck, and governments can collect much more aggregate data about you than any company ever could, because governments coerce people (companies) to give up data that many wouldn't give up (especially to other businesses).

So yes, there is much more to fear from governments than companies. I do not fear companies, I fear governments, that's why I am against governments and for individual freedoms of people, people who can start and run companies.

Re:Privacy concerns are over stated. (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year ago | (#44038743)

You're funny. Big companies tell the government to do. For instance, when they need cheap labor, they set up a private prison system, and then demand the government fill them up.

Illogical (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44038785)

Corporations have been powerful, more powerful than governments for a long time

That's illogical. Financial "power" (i.e. wealth) cannot trump coercive authority. The defining point of coercive authority (meaning physical force) is that it cannot be trumped by anything other than (drum roll please) another physical force. In other words, might makes right, until a bigger might comes along.

At best, wealth can buy coercive authority, but this is obvisously not a case of wealth "trumping" coercive authority, but rather, wealth doing business with coercive authority.

Re:Privacy concerns are over stated. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44038795)

Since the governments (especially the US government) are essentially contractors for big corps, obsessing about privacy violations by governments or corps is essentially the same thing. If a government takes away your privacy, it's not because it's THEM who want it. It's some other entity. CISPA works both ways - Facebook shares data with the government, the government shares data with Facebook - imagine what could Zuckerberg do if he had your entire medical history. If he knew about your debts, your criminal record and your family members even if they don't have a Facebook account. Gold mine...

Re:Privacy concerns are over stated. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44039081)

imagine what could Zuckerberg do if he had your entire medical history. If he knew about your debts, your criminal record and your family members even if they don't have a Facebook account. Gold mine...

Serve up ads which I ignore?
Facebook is a large website but Zuckerberg can't DO anything to me personally.

Not going to work and we know why (1)

ZeRu (1486391) | about a year ago | (#44038181)

I can see this ending up with the same fate as Diaspora, and for the same reason.

Re:Not going to work and we know why (1)

hweimer (709734) | about a year ago | (#44038447)

I can see this ending up with the same fate as Diaspora, and for the same reason.

Mmh, the number of Diaspora users grew by almost 40% within the last 12 months, so it seems quite alive and well to me.

Re:Not going to work and we know why (1)

hjf (703092) | about a year ago | (#44038917)

40% growth on zero is still zero...

You'll get what you pay for (4, Informative)

rasmusbr (2186518) | about a year ago | (#44038225)

If a service does not charge you money the service will either 1) spy on you and sell your information, 2) bombard you with advertisement or 3) fail (or a combination of the three). When Facebook promises that their service will always be free they're really promising you that they will always either bombard you with ads or spy on you or both. You'll get what you pay for.

Email is failing, albeit slowly. Back in the olden days you used to pay your ISP for email. Now you don't, so you'll get what you pay for. Email is still decentralized and maybe there's a founder effect that keeps it decentralized for now, maybe because the cost of changing it would be too high, but sooner or later email will fade away and be replaced by a small number of walled gardens that are funded by advertisement and/or spying and that communicate with one another by special agreements between the owners of the walled gardens.

If you want ad-free decentralized communication to win, the first thing you need to figure out is how you're going to get people to pay for it. It might be enough for each user to pay a dollar a month, but getting them to do that will not be easy, because the wast majority users will never suffer any adverse effect from the spying, so for them paying for a spy-free social network is basically an insurance plan.

I think that the only way that the decentralized social web and, in the long run, the decentralized web itself could realistically win is if the amount of ads eventually grows so large and annoying and immune to ad-blockers that people become prepared to pay for services just to get rid of the ads.

Re:You'll get what you pay for (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44038273)

You can also pay using bandwidth, storage, and computation, which is how most distributed systems like Freenet or GNUnet work.

Re:You'll get what you pay for (1)

rasmusbr (2186518) | about a year ago | (#44038471)

Yeah, if there was a way to get 100 million+ people to buy and install a box in their home and keep buying new boxes when the old ones break, then that could certainly work.

These boxes would probably have to have some sort of fun-factor in and of themselves, though, because otherwise it would still be like paying for insurance for something that probably won't happen to you. Right now I think these little Android gaming console boxes seem like the most potent shot at getting a box in hundreds of millions of people's homes.

Re:You'll get what you pay for (1)

BreakBad (2955249) | about a year ago | (#44038347)

What if WE post the ads? Would that stop the spy's?...... "Hey everyone, check out of this picture of me climbing my first mountain. Sure wouldn't have been able to do it without this cold refreshing Coke!"

Free is not the enemy (4, Insightful)

Comboman (895500) | about a year ago | (#44038481)

If a service does not charge you money the service will either 1) spy on you and sell your information, 2) bombard you with advertisement or 3) fail (or a combination of the three).

If you remove "If a service does not charge you money" from your statement, it is still true. I pay a monthly charge for my phone service plus an additional charge for every text message I send, but all that money I spent doesn't stop the phone company from logging my "metadata" and selling it to the government (and god knows who else). Whether you pay for a service with cash or ad views, you're just a vulnerable to spying. Stop focusing on how services are paid for and focus on who is controlling them. Controlling them yourself (e.g. running your own email server on hardware you control) is ultimately the best solution.

Re:Free is not the enemy (1)

rasmusbr (2186518) | about a year ago | (#44038651)

What will do if and when Google and Facebook et al decide to charge you money for sending email to their users from your domain?

Another problem is that there are already some third party sites and services that won't allow you to sign up with a non-Google/Microsoft/etc email address. Do you have time to complain each time you run into one of those services? I don't, I just sign up with my Gmail address. I should know better, but the path of least resistance is hard to resist.

Re:You'll get what you pay for (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about a year ago | (#44038973)

It is worth noting that even if you do pay for a service, it most like still still spy on you, and well your information to advertisers; But this is not guaranteed. But something that is guaranteed is that the second the government comes knocking they going to hand over everything they have on you.

Amoral? (1)

bickerdyke (670000) | about a year ago | (#44038249)

I wouldn't call a person who respects a warrant/subpoena/wiretapping request that is deemed legal in his jurisdiction "amoral" per se.

On the other hand, there was a time when we called those who had the guts to stand up for his beliefes, even the authorities heroes and not traitors.

Well, I guess it's up to history to decide who was what.

Re:Amoral? (1)

Xest (935314) | about a year ago | (#44038335)

Amoral because he harvests data and builds links from it that weren't explicitly provided and holds them in an easily searchable and mineable manner.

The only reason the warrants can be issued in the first place is because he holds said data in an unsecured well archived manner precisely so it can be handed over to anyone who asks nicely enough.

Were for example data to be stored in a more secure manner and data not farmed (sometimes illegally according to some jurisdictions Facebook does business in) then there'd be little of value for law enforcement to request. There'd also be less for him to make money from of course but that's where the amoral bit comes in - he's more interested in making money than protecting his user's right to privacy in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

"No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks."

In other words, Facebook is almost certainly breaking the law, but the governments that can do something such as the US or UK wont because they find it too convenient when it comes to harvesting data for their own ends.

Re:Amoral? (1)

bickerdyke (670000) | about a year ago | (#44038489)

Amoral because he harvests data and builds links from it that weren't explicitly provided and holds them in an easily searchable and mineable manner.

But that's the whole point of facebook and why people use it. People upload their addressbook to facebook for facebook to make those links. They're making links between their farmville crops, their face and their friends pictures, and links to their favourite music, movies, icecream..... Without those links, facebook would be as usefull and as much fun as a phonebook and an email client.

I won't comment on if this is a smart thing to do, but it's the users that shovel data into facebook - and expect it to be processed there!

Re:Amoral? (2)

Xest (935314) | about a year ago | (#44038635)

No they don't, people use Facebook to communicate with their friends sharing the data they provide.

Whilst I agree it's utterly naive of them, most users are entirely unaware that masses more data about them is inferred from the very little data they provide. Most are even unaware that even their conversations are being farmed.

Most people probably accept that if they like a product then any announcements for that product will be marketed to them, some understand that Facebook builds up a social graph of who they know based on their friends list and who their friends know, but very few are aware that Facebook is also gathering information about who they know from other sources - such as MSN (and presumably now also Skype) contact lists, tying them to liking products purchased outside of Facebook, and mining information about what other things they like and who they know from private conversations.

I think your final post highlights the problem:

"I won't comment on if this is a smart thing to do, but it's the users that shovel data into facebook - and expect it to be processed there!"

If this were true it'd be less of an issue, most people would be fine with that, but Facebook is gathering and linking them to data that they're not shoverlling into Facebook, and is even gathering and storing data about people who have simply never ever even signed up to Facebook. That's the problem - people don't actually have any control of what data Facebook is actually gathering about them, they think it's just want they explicitly enter into it excluding private messages sent to each other, but the reality is it includes mining all those private messages and external data sources as well.

Re:Amoral? (1)

bickerdyke (670000) | about a year ago | (#44039055)

No they don't, people use Facebook to communicate with their friends sharing the data they provide.

True. But fails as a theory as it doesn't explain the observation that people now flock to FB. If it was only about communicating and sharing their photos, they could do it with plain oldfashioned email and ICQ. (MSN, whatsapp, whatever)

Whilst I agree it's utterly naive of them, most users are entirely unaware that masses more data about them is inferred from the very little data they provide.

M theory is that people want to have those data, too.

Girls want their picture to pop up their profile when that cute guy they spotted last night at the club searches the checkins for that cute girl he saw. And the other way round. (They even risk that the ugly guy/girl find their profile - but there's the ignore button for that)

Users want to hook up with the other handfull of users who actually listen to that obscure heavy-metal-polka band.

But all that is not my original point: facebook data mining may or may not ne amoral, but if Zuckerberg should count as an amoral person, it shouldn't be for respecting court or administration orders. That's neither moral nor unmoral, it's plain normal.

That discussion begins when such orders are disobeyed. THAT can be both, moral or amoral. I think we agree that disobeying orders would have been highly moral instead of saying "I was just following orders". On the other hand, following orders is what's expected from soldiers and what makes the military work.

Re:Amoral? (1)

Xest (935314) | about a year ago | (#44039263)

"True. But fails as a theory as it doesn't explain the observation that people now flock to FB. If it was only about communicating and sharing their photos, they could do it with plain oldfashioned email and ICQ. (MSN, whatsapp, whatever)"

How? Their friends don't use these tools anymore. Facebook has a monopoly on the social graph and the only way to stay in touch with all your friends is to use it. You can't make all your friends leave it for something new, because they'd need all their friends to leave it for something new too, who would need all their friends... and so on.

"M theory is that people want to have those data, too."

I don't disagree that some probably do but I'm not sure what the relevance is because they don't actually have access to that data nor the option to access it. In fact, if Facebook engaged in a transparency drive and made it explicit all the information they've gathered on people and explained how they used it and asked users for consent to use it in this way to keep using the service I don't think there'd be an issue as only users themselves could be blamed at this point. The issue is still that most people aren't aware that Facebook has all this other data, and none of them have even been given the option of giving consent as much of it is even gathered in breach of various national data protection laws. Facebook has for example breached the UK's data protection act numerous times with some of it's practices and people expect large companies not to do this because it's illegal and assume they'd be found out, but if the authorities turn a blind eye for intelligence purposes then people are being grossly misled.

"But all that is not my original point: facebook data mining may or may not ne amoral, but if Zuckerberg should count as an amoral person, it shouldn't be for respecting court or administration orders. That's neither moral nor unmoral, it's plain normal."

I agree with you here but I don't think anyone was necessarily saying he was amoral for respecting court orders, but being amoral for having a reason to be issued court orders in the first place, again, as I say, by hoarding data on people, much of which is against their will or knowledge.

Re:Amoral? (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about a year ago | (#44038943)

Amoral if you do, terrorist if you don't.
Can't win.

Re:Amoral? (1)

Hatta (162192) | about a year ago | (#44039271)

Enforcing an unjust law is not just amoral, but immoral. "I was only following orders" is never an excuse.

We need social software that is hosted on phones (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about a year ago | (#44038339)

Facebook and other social networks are useful because they host your pictures. That is not as useful as it once was because phones have much more storage space and much faster networking than they did 7 years ago.

I'd like to see a social network app that runs on phones (and PCs, and even big servers for people who need major horsepower because they have a lot of "friends" like celebrities). Maybe with the ability to backstop your media on a variety of sources like dropbox, or even a bittorrent swarm of all your "friends" so that when your phone is turned off, or out of cell bandwidth (versus wifi bandwidth) your friends can still get access to your shared media.

Facebook is "over centralized" in that anyone on facebook is equally close to you all the same server farms - but that ignores the entire point of having friends. All we need is a system where your phone knows about the ip addresses of the people on your friends list. It is OK if it takes a lot longer find the people who are not your friends list because accessing their data is going to be pretty rare.

Re:We need social software that is hosted on phone (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44038617)

I agree. I have been thinking for a while about how a system like that might work (although I am no distributed systems/p2p expert). Smartphones solve the traditional problem with such an approach that people won't install software on desktops, but they will readily install apps on their smartphones. On the other hand, and smartphone app has to minimize its battery and network usage, which makes something like a bittorrent swarm of your friends difficult. I think the right balance is having a network where devices with power and non-cell internet act as normal p2p nodes and the mobile devices choose one (hopefully belonging to a friend if possible) to use as it's server. That theoretically could allow for a lot of the benefits of a centralized system without actually being centralized (e.g. the mobile device's current server would be in charge of push notifications for that device). There's still the social issue of getting enough users to be running p2p nodes (either installed on a desktop or a plugged in mobile device) to have a working network, but I think it's a design worth exploring.

Re:We need social software that is hosted on phone (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year ago | (#44038621)

You'd need a distributed caching system too, otherwise you're going to find yourself inadvertently DDoSed if your pics go viral.

The real power of facebook isn't the hosting, it's the promotion. Simply putting the files up on a webserver somewhere isn't going to do any good if people don't go to look at them. Facebook makes that happen, alerting all of your friends (who may be far too numerous to email manually) of the new pics.

Re:We need social software that is hosted on phone (1)

vikingpower (768921) | about a year ago | (#44038801)

In case you are a developer, you could help me with an idea I recently had for exactly this kind of app(lication). Based on Apache ZooKeeper. Drop me a line ( you, or anyone else ) if you're interested. I don't care to give the idea away for free; the important thing is that such an app(lication) actually comes to life.

Re:We need social software that is hosted on phone (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about a year ago | (#44038993)

I don't care to give the idea away for free; the important thing is that such an app(lication) actually comes to life.

Ideas are a dime a dozen. See my original post for an example. The hard part is execution.

Signal to Noise ratio (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44038383)

Just increase the noise.

Friend EVERYONE.
Call random numbers from your cell.
Setup your own spamming mail server.
Put key words in white text in your posts.
Start fake twitter/facebook/youtube channels.

A few million of us generating 2 fake identities each could soon drown out the real data.
Now, does anyone have Abu Hamzas twitter details?
Whats the dialing code for North Korea?

Facebook (1)

frozentier (1542099) | about a year ago | (#44038407)

There's no promise that the owners of ANY social network won't give data over to the government when ordered to (or even simply asked to). Other than the whole issue of the government itself spying, facebook is actually as secure as you make it. Don't add apps. That will help control privacy. Also, you can control who sees EVERYTHING on your account other than the profile picture and "cover" image, which are always public. If you set everything to "friends" only, a non-friend can't even find your profile in a search, and can't see any information about you at all if they do find your page. People act like facebook is such a huge security breach sharing all aspects of your life. But facebook doesn't go through your house and workplace gathering information about you... facebook can only share what YOU put on it. If you don't post bank account information, your phone number, your vacation schedule, your address, nude pictures of your wife, whatever, then there isn't going to be much to see anyway. Even the information you DO have to enter like your birthdate, gender, etc, can all be set to private where nobody but you can see it. Use it to keep in touch with family and friends, send sensitive messages as private messages like you are supposed to and put the mundane crap on your newsfeed, and there really doesn't have to be any problems.

I have a better method (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a year ago | (#44038425)

I'm not on Facebook. Woo, I win.

Re:I have a better method (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44038561)

I'm not so sure I benefitted from being away from it so far. Instead of being more integrated into a small community using facebook, I ended up depending on a larger urban area to sociaize because without facebook, it's much harder to meet people. so it's kind of a damned if u do / damned if u don't maybe. I'm going to try google + next I think. I might end up getting sucked back in in the end but not permanently I hope if I do.

private social network using crypto.. (3, Insightful)

nellaj (2702743) | about a year ago | (#44038427)

Send encrypted messages to a broadcast network (make this efficient by having many geographically local "boards"). The decryption key is sent along with the message but is encrypted with each of your friend's public keys. Your friends have to attempt to decrypt each message on the local board: when they find one which they can decrypt then they have successfully received your message. Messages are also cryptographically signed to validate identity and prevent forged messages.

Enumeration of PRISM is and how it (might) work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44038451)

Theres an interesting article over at the 360 Security blog on the universe of possibilities for how PRISM does it's thing, reading through them probably gives you a head-start on how to avoid it.
http://360is.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/a-quick-enumeration-of-prism-program.html

Re:Enumeration of PRISM is and how it (might) work (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year ago | (#44039285)

Parent is (almost) spam: a bait article with links to a site asking you to create an account.

Network externalities (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44038537)

This is a great idea, except for being terrible.

Networks work not primarily because they offer certain technical capabilities. They work because they connect people. You use a certain network because other people use that network. This is why Google+ is such a failure. No one uses it because noone else uses it.

For networks to be useful, they need to connect people with each other. Regardless of technical implementation, a network that connects people with other people in a way that lets them know who they're connected to creates a social graph. That graph can be collected and analyzed.

"Small" networks are either largely useless because they don't ofer the people you want yo connect with, or interoperate in ways that recreate the problems of one big network. You can't have it both ways.

Re:Network externalities (1)

Gamer_2k4 (1030634) | about a year ago | (#44038751)

This is why Google+ is such a failure. No one uses it because no one else uses it.

Spoken like a true ignoramus. G+ has 500 million users, nearly half of what Facebook does. It's also only been around for two years, while Facebook has been around for eight. Given its age and the fact that it's had to find its place in a market already dominated by a similar product, I'd say Google+ is a smashing success.

Secret Agent Man... (4, Informative)

some old guy (674482) | about a year ago | (#44038821)

He's giving you a number, and taking away your name.

How can any of us with more database experience than the average five-year-old think that once indentifiable data is in the wild, on any corporate or government server of any kind, all it takes is access to said data for it to be parsed against every other available database and have it filtered to a single common file? Do you really think your credit report, email history, school transcripts, and every bloody thing else can't be centralized once the access door is opened?

Yeah, go ahead with home-baked encrypted email, abandon Facebook, and use prepaid phones. You're still fucked.

The government owns us. And it's our own damned faults.

Re:...The Prisoner (3, Interesting)

Nyder (754090) | about a year ago | (#44039089)

Prisoner: What do you want?
        Two: Information.
        Prisoner: Whose side are you on?
        Two: That would be telling.... We want information...information...information!
        Prisoner: You won't get it!
        Two: By hook or by crook, we will.
        Prisoner: Who are you?
        Two: The new Number Two.
        Prisoner: Who is Number One?
        Two: You are Number Six.
        Prisoner: I am not a number; I am a free man!
        Two: [Laughter]

Why Would the little guy (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about a year ago | (#44038955)

.... Who cannot even afford a lawyer be more likely to stick his neck out to protect his customers privacy against the government?
And decentralised means it would cost orders of magnitude more money to run, meaning necessarily either far more ads, or everyone being willing to run one at a huge loss.

Sure, I could see many people running one at a huge loss, but you are not going to get away from 80% of the market, at least, being run by people who can afford to offer better service because they run at a profit, because they host far more ads than FB.

Social networks are unnecessary. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44039301)

People have done just fine for many years without this crap.

Anyone who thinks it is necessary is a fool.

Of course there are a lot of fools. But their abundance doesn't
make them any less foolish.

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