Facebook - follow the warning signs?
J - A Guide to the Digital Advertising Industry That's Watching Your Every Click - Joseph Turow - TechnologyIn this excerpt from his new book, The Daily You , University of Pennsylvania professor Joseph Turow takes you on a tour of the industry that's trafficking in the data you generate every day on the Internet. You don't have to be a privacy stickler to be worried. At the start of the 21st century, the advertising industry is guiding one of history's most massive stealth efforts in social profiling. At this point you may hardly notice the results of this trend. You may find you're getting better or worse discounts on products than your friends. You may notice that some ads seem to follow you around the internet.
Try as you might, there's no foolproof way to be absolutely sure that your BitTorrent downloads are private and hidden from prying eyes. To prove it, one web site is posting your downloading habits out and in the open for all to see, and so we all understand how easy it can be to pin specific torrents to individual IP addresses. You Have Downloaded is a new site that claims to know what files you've been torrenting—and it makes all of that information public to anyone who searches for it. If you visit the site yourself, You Have Downloaded will look up your IP and display any torrents it's managed to scrape that are associated with you. If you change your IP regularly or have a dynamic IP, it may not have anything on you—or at least nothing recent—but if you've had the same IP for a while and do a lot of downloading, it's possible they have at least some record of you.
Important Update : Facebook has responded and issued a fix for this issue. See the follow up blog post "Facebook Fixes Logout Issue, Explains Cookies" Dave Winer wrote a timely piece this morning about how Facebook is scaring him since the new API allows applications to post status items to your Facebook timeline without a users intervention.
Over the weekend, Dave Winer wrote an article at Scripting.com explaining how Facebook keeps track of where you are on the web after logging in, without your consent. Nik Cubrilovic dug a little deeper , and discovered that Facebook can still track where you are, even if you log out. Facebook, for its part, has denied the claims . Regardless of who you believe, here's how to protect yourself, and keep your browsing habits to yourself. The whole issue has stirred up a lot of debate in privacy circles over the past few days.
Open-Xchange's tool for helping people reconstruct their Facebook contact list on Google+ has fallen victim to Facebook's revocation of its privileges. Open-Xchange, a maker of open-source e-mail and collaboration software, last week launched a tool that used the company's Social OX technology to help people assemble a list of their friends . It used connections to a combination of services such as LinkedIn and e-mail accounts to create a single "magic address book." The tool didn't actually copy e-mail addresses from Facebook--only first and last names. It then matched those names to other e-mail records in the user's accounts. But Facebook disabled the API (application programming interface) key that the software used to read the names, Open-Xchange Chief Executive Rafael Laguna said.