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What the heck is this "like us on facebook to get more info" bs?


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#21 jhaelen

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 05:02 AM

subochre said:

Yeah but at the same time, our hypothetical hacking enthusiast is also going to understand that "Likes" on a social networking site (of all things) are more like usenet posts than they are like social security numbers

I think you may not be aware of how Facebook "Likes" work and how the can be evaluated _if_ you have a Facebook account. If you _don't_ have an account, you're quite right; then it's about as dangerous as what I'm doing (i.e. using the same username on several sites in the internet).

 

The problem with Facebook isn't that it's the most popular social networking site. I don't have anything against social networking sites per se and I'm even a member in one. The problem is how Facebook in particular treats your data. As a default you're wide open to the world, and while there are (horribly complicated) ways to _limit_ the amount of information that is available about you, the average user is either unaware of them or doesn't properly understand them (and, as ffaristocrat so aptly proves, sometimes also simply doesn't care).

One of the most striking problems is that everything you make accessible to your friends is also automatically available to all of your friend's Facebook apps. Essentially this means unless you don't make _any_ information available to them (or they don't use _any_ apps), your data is immediately known everywhere and by everyone.

Oh, and before I forget it: Don't take my word on any of this. Inform yourself, read up on Facebook and their security settings and make up your mind.



#22 subochre

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Posted 19 August 2012 - 04:45 AM

Yeah, I did know that.  In dismissing it as "just" a social networking site, I'm not saying that their practices are especially innocuous, but rather that the data that's being mined is not any more compromising than whatever the app designers could have obtained in bulk from a junk snailmail marketer, unless there's a  "Like if your mother's maiden name is Smith and your bank account number ends with 67890" group that I'm unaware of.  I mean, what are they going to do with the knowledge that I Liked "Profiling the Suspects" on fantasyflightgames.com, try to send me a virus attached to the world's most clumsily personalized email?  And why should I be any more worried about this than about all my other publicly available data?

Mind you, I agree that facebook is a pretty sucky organization in a lot of ways, and that there are a lot of things they should be doing better; I'm just saying that anyone who takes reasonable precautions doesn't have much to worry about.  I do also happen to think that the ignorance of the average facebook user is horribly exaggerated, as is the complexity of the privacy settings--when they as much as change the default messaging settings, for the next month my feed is full of links saying "this thing changed; uncheck this box" (and I don't think my peers and former classmates are all that exceptional).  But we're not talking about the average facebook user, but whether a savvy and security-minded individual would refuse to Like anything on principle…and, as I say, I think that level of alarmism is not a sign of acumen, but rather the opposite.






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