Archive for the ‘Law’ Category

Facebook privacy… IT’S THERE AND IT’S GOOD!

03 Jun 2010 I can’t take it anymore… I keep hearing people talking about how Facebook is "sharing all your information" or why they closed their account because it’s not private or how unsafe it is… Facebook’s privacy settings are GOOD! There’s LOTS of options that have been there for a LONG TIME. But, typical of a lot of web users, they don’t READ.

Yes, READING is an important part of using the web. Especially if someone is going to complain or cry "foul!" My Facebook profile is pretty open. I want the general public to see most of my stuff. Of course, I’m not posting pictures and videos of myself drunk at a party or stealing from the local drug store. But, for those times that I want some piece of content to be private, I click a couple of links, and poof – it’s gone (at least it appears to be gone to anyone who I do not want to see it.) And that includes wall posts, photo albums, search-abilty by Google, email addresses, links… almost anything.

Zuckerberg is not doing a good job of directing people to that "Privacy Settings" link under the "Account" heading (top-right corner of Facebook.) It’s REALLY easy. Click it, then click "Friends only" and TA-DA. Your information is "private". This is NOT HARD! And it hasn’t been much more difficult than that over the past couple of years. The problem is – people don’t read! The tools are there. The options are there.

MasterCard - Visa The other big issue is that people mistakenly think that Facebook wants to sell YOUR name and YOUR information to Starbucks or Ford or whoever… That’s not the case. Facebook does the exact same thing that Safeway and Radio Shack and Target and MasterCard and Sprint and your car insurance company and your bank all do – they sell your STATISTICS. That means that Facebook (who knows about the other guys) removes your "Personally Identifiable Information" (PII) and then tells Starbucks that they have, say, 280,000 users who are between the ages of 21 and 29, who have used the word "coffee" in their wall posts. Or, FB might show you an ad based on the fact that you play Farmville and are a male between 35 and 40 who lives in Seattle. That’s it.

So, PLEASE STOP listening to the media (and anyone else) when they say that Facebook is selling YOUR information and how unsafe it is. Instead, tell them to click a couple of links then READ the    manual. POOF no more "privacy issue."

Be thankful that Facebook cares about your privacy and your statistics. And good luck trying to find the "privacy" options with your credit card company… or grocery store… or car dealership… or tax returns… or twitter account… or video rental service… or…

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Posted in Databases, Law, Technology, Websites


Music piracy and government computers…

10 Nov 2005

I’m not a big music person.  Well… I mean, I don’t buy a lot of CDs.  I’ve got tons of music from CDs I bought years ago, plus plenty of other music, but I think I can understand what people who like music are facing with regard to music piracy issues and CDs.

This article about Sony’s most recent attempt to slow CD copying was interesting.  I had no idea that Sony – or any companies – were embedding software on music CDs to keep them from being copied too many times:

What’s on that music CD, anyway? –

According to the article, Sony has put this “software” on about 20 MILLION CDs… now, forget about the fact that Sony did not get permission from you to install the software.  Let’s look at some other points:

  • The “software” installs itself without you knowing.
  • The “software” cloaks itself when it is running so that you don’t know it’s there (and neither does anti-virus software.)
  • The “software” uses processor time/cycles/power to run.
  • The “software” runs ALL the time – even if you don’t have a CD playing.
  • The “software” can apparently be exploited by hackers to do other things on your computer – including HIDING other, more harmful “software” on your computer.

From the bullet points above – does this sound familiar?  Maybe like some of the spyware and adware that is currently on your computer that you don’t know about?  Yes – spyware.  That stuff that eats up computer processing power, gets installed without you knowing it, runs all the time, and opens doors for other spyware and junkware.

So… think about what you’ve just read, then read this article about a guy who installed “software” on other computers without the users knowing it for the purpose of hacking and making money:

…held without bond –

Here’s the answer for the music companies:

Create a new technology that allows you to manage your copyrights.  CDs were invented for a different time.  We aren’t using 486 computers and a dial-up modem to read bulletin boards anymore.  Technology has moved on – take the hint.

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Posted in Law, Technology