Tag Archives: cookies

Messenger says your shit is not secure. Now what?

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Today the interwebs were all a twitter over the fact that Facebook was requiring users, who wanted to message each other via the Facebook app, to download Messenger.

The issue with Messenger, is the fact that by installing the app onto your mobile device, you’re giving Facebook the right to do things that many consider a violation of basic privacy rights.

By way of example, installing the Messenger app allows Facebook to collect data on who you call and the length of the call, the other apps you use and how frequently you use them, the content of text messages and various other on-device activities that have nothing to do with Facebook Messenger interactions.

Among the more draconian things that Messenger will purportedly be able to do, is access your camera and microphone, essentially turning your device into a surreptitious spying device. To spy on you!

I find it humorous that folks are all up in arms over Facebook’s attempts to track it’s users, as if it’s a case of first impression.

The truth of the matter is we’ve long since given up any reasonable expectation of privacy.

The day you visited your first website, you allowed cookies into your life.

Cookies promised faster load times, the instant recall of previously identified preferences, and a host of behind the scenes functions to take place, all to make your browsing experience better – and to know where you browsed (and what you did when you got there).

When you got your first cell phone, you agreed to be tracked.

All those cell towers helped to ensure call quality wherever you went – and kept track of wherever you went.

Today, when you install apps, you agree to let them access you contacts or calendar or Facebook profile, or whatever innocuous piece of information they request.

We think nothing of letting some application vendor post on our behalf, or access the data on our devices.

Instinctively, we click “Accept” and happily tap away on our devices like assimilated members of the Borg.

The outrage we feel about today’s Facebook Messenger revelation is feigned.

Can’t believe Facebook is mining your personal data?

So what do you do?

Update your Facebook status and let all your friends know.

You’re an ass.

If you’re really not trying to have Big Brother in your business, stay off of everything.

No internet.

No cell phone.

No wifi.

No Facebook.

Nothing digital at all.

If you’re not prepared to do that, then STFU about Facebook’s (or any other technology provider’s) invasion of your privacy.

Because privacy in the digital age is a fallacy.

You’re either on the grid, and none of your shit is private.

Or you’re off, and all the privacy in the world is yours.

And “off-the-grid” is relative.

Once you leave your house, you’re subject to the constant glare of the innumerable cameras dotting our city streets, stores, office buildings, gas stations, buses, trains and cabs.

As well as your YouTube crazed citizen i-reporters with camera phones on the ready looking for their 15 minutes of viral fame at the expense of some unsuspecting fool’s gaffe.

Unless you’re prepared to live like someone the run, with burners and throw-away phones, or a hacker, with fake online aliases, and constant IP-masking, accept that cats are collecting data on you constantly – and be good with it.

Today’s takeaway?

If you were among those alarmed by the recent Facebook Messenger revelation, the choice of what to do is really quite simple: red pill or blue?

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Filed under apps, iPhone, mobile, technology

Google sucks balls (and steals Safari user’s information)

I’m sure you’ve heard about the $22.5 million settlement between Google and the FTC to resolve Google’s theft of information by users of the Apple Safari browser.

Apparently, Google pimped a loophole in Safari’s privacy settings designed to prevent third-party cookies.

Employing what was essentially a hack, Google fooled Safari into thinking that a user had interacted with a Google ad.

Once Safari was tricked, cookies were placed on the device, unbeknown to the user.

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The Wall Street Journal summarized Google’s trickery quite succinctly.

For a company whose motto is ‘Don’t Be Evil’, Google seems to be pretty rotten pretty often.

Wasn’t there a dust up not too long ago about Google surreptitiously mining its users’ data in ways violative of their own privacy policy?

Mind you, Google was already in hot water for its previous naughty behavior.

This settlement comes in the wake of another 2011 settlement, in which Google was found to have engaged in questionable practices.

Of course, Google has admitted no wrongdoing.

Every time they get caught with their pants down, they do a Sandusky a proclaim their innocence.

“It wasn’t me.”

“It was an accident.”

“They wanted me to stick my cookies in there.”

Lies. Lies. Lies.

And we all know they’re lying.

Google didn’t become the search giant they are by accident.

I mean seriously?

Google employs some of the most sophisticated search algorithms known to man.

They have thousands of Ivy League engineers and computer scientists on staff.

Everything they do is calculated.

So you’ll pardon me if I find it a tad implausible that “an accident” caused them to circumvent the privacy protocols on the browser of its principal rival.

Me thinks not.

More likely, this was a carefully crafted strategy to make more money at the expense of unwitting Safari users.

At the end of the day, as many observers have noted, $22.5M is a drop in the bucket to Google.

They’ll make that shit back in a day.

Since this settlement didn’t include an admission of guilt on Google’s part, it’s business as usual.

We’ll all soon forget and forgive.

Google will get back to playing Big Brother to the unsuspecting masses, all the while flashing innocent doe eyes.

But I’ll not be lulled into a false sense of security.

And know this, Google: you suck balls and one day your evil ways shall be your undoing.

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Filed under digital advocacy, opinion, privacy, technology