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Surveillance as a business model is the only thing that makes a site like Facebook possible.

I have been on the internet probably longer than majority of current folks today have had pubic hair. Some of the promises of universal access, universal information and something for everyone, like left handed pipe fitters who enjoy hamsters, is coming, but at a cost that is risking everyone’s privacy, safety and security.

If you want to understand how fucked up the internet is today, READ THIS.

Yeah it is this bad.

P.S. The title of this posting is a take away from the author Maciej Ceglowski posting from the link above. If you missed it here it is again. READ THIS.

SMART is Not

“Smart” is the new black. Smart Phones, Smart TV, Smart Cars. Smart is Hot! Smart is not.

Surveillance Monitoring and Reporting Tools is what SMART really is.

Your Smart Phone is a Three Way calling Device. You, who you are calling, and the Government. When you consider that your smart phone is CC’ing every thing you do to spy agencies both domestic and foreign from who you call, who calls you, time, date, duration, location, and content, in voice, text, and internet access. From the OS that runs your Phone to the Latest App, you are being spied on. From Rooms in switching offices, to taps in routers, and cables both on the ground and buried in the ocean, you are being watched.

The Telcos are the only business that violates customer privacy and personal information to anybody with a request. No other business shares information about their customers if they hope to sell them again.

Your Smart Car is tracking you as well. ON Star and similar systems track you in real time, not only by location, but also reporting speed, direction, engine and braking data, which insurance companies love in denying claims. More of these systems are coming online everyday. They are being marketed as “Safety Features”.

Your Smart TV. A recent report shows that LG’s Smart TV is not only reporting what you watch, but also reports the contents of any connected devices on your TV.

LG Smart TVs logging USB filenames and viewing info to LG servers
LG investigates Smart TV ‘unauthorised spying’ claim

It is only a matter of time before other Smart Products are outed as fellow travelers in the New World Order of SMART.

Not only is LG unapologetic about this, but actually Promotes it! This nugget is from Doc Searls over at the Project VRM Blog:

If you want to really hate LG — a company you barely cared about until now, watch this. It’s a promotional video for “LG Smart AD,” which “provides the smartest way to reach your targeted audiences across the borders and connected devices with excitement powered by LG’s world best 3D and HD home entertainment technology” and “enables publishers to maximize revenues through worldwide ad networks, intelligent platform to boost CPM and the remarkable ecosystem.”

Your Internet connection is compromised. From Your ISP, who in most cases is a Phone Company, who for some reason wants you to use their outgoing mail servers for your email. You can route around this. Your Browser, whose default settings phone home in the case of Google, Firefox, IE and others, and allow sites to track your activity, interrogate your computer, set cookies, take part of your hard drive for what is known as local storage, but in reality are data mining tools for third party actors, whose motives are at best are suspect(targeted/relevant advertising my aching asshole), and at worst another database for plundering by governmental agencies, under the rubric of National Security.

The latest Smart Tech being flogged is Cloud Computing. Really, Move all of your data to the Cloud! We will manage and back it Up. You can access it from anywhere with an Internet connection! HELLO? what part of this makes any sense? Trusting your information, individual, business, commercial or proprietary to companies who do not encrypt if or offer encrypted connections. Or even worse using your phone company to manage your cloud.

Edward Snowden’s disclosures have galvanized world governments, organizations, and individuals into speaking up. Curiously, the American public, whose tax dollars are funding these 4th Amendment violations are for the most part silent.

Let’s Recap SMART Tech Does Not Make You Smarter! It does make you a bigger target.

Bonus Link: Surveillance is not about protecting us. It’s about control.

Chrome’s HTTP Switchboard

Privacy in web surfing is becoming a much more complicated endeavor with the vast quantity of advertiser supported sites on the web. Web analytic, data miners and data sucking Social Networks Icons on sites not only compromise your privacy but also slow down your surfing.
Using the Chrome Browser is no more or less a compromising choice than the other major browsers.
There is a new tool in the drive for privacy on the internet for the Chrome Browser, HTTP Switchboard This is an amazing tool. A great explanation can be found over at BetaNews
Before you rush over there using Chrome as it is a Chrome Only Tool, lets lock down your chrome browser.

A Feature of the Chrome browser is the incognito mode.
Below is a screen shot of Chrome in Incognito Mode Notice the grey color with the guy in hat and shades in the upper left corner? You are Incognito Baby!

Going incognito doesn’t affect the behavior of other people, servers, or software. Be wary of: Websites that collect or share information about you Internet service providers or employers that track the pages you visit Malicious software that tracks your keystrokes in exchange for free smileys Surveillance by secret agents People standing behind you Learn more about incognito browsing. Because Google Chrome does not control how extensions handle your personal data, all extensions have been disabled for incognito windows. You can reenable them individually in the extensions manager.

Chrome in Incognito Mode

Here is what Incognito does.

Going incognito doesn’t affect the behavior of other people, servers, or software. Be wary of:
Websites that collect or share information about you
Internet service providers or employers that track the pages you visit
Malicious software that tracks your keystrokes in exchange for free smileys
Surveillance by secret agents
People standing behind you
Learn more about incognito browsing.
Because Google Chrome does not control how extensions handle your personal data, all extensions have been disabled for incognito windows. You can reenable them individually in the extensions manager.

The information below is Windows Specific. Hopefully somebody on a Mac will explain this for those users.
In Windows to make this happen, find the Icon for the Chrome Browser, Right mouse click and click on Properties
The Properties dialog box appears.

Properties Box

Properties Box

Scroll to the end of the Target Window which says
“C:\Documents and Settings\your computer name\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe”
and add the following: space-incognito so the target window now says:
“C:\Documents and Settings\your computer name\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe” -incognito
Do Not forget the space after the quote and before the minus sign. It will not work otherwise
Now your Target Window should show
Going Incognito

Going Incognito

Click Apply, Click Okay, and you are done.
You’ve gone incognito. Pages you view in this window won’t appear in your browser history or search history, and they won’t leave other traces, like cookies, on your computer after you close all open incognito windows. Any files you download or bookmarks you create will be preserved, however.

At this point it will erase your history, searches and cookies on exit, however the damage has already been done as even in incognito mode Chrome accepts cookies.
I have written about privacy before under the pithy title of Advertising Rights Management ARM:
Advertising Rights Management ARM
Advertising Rights Management ARM 2
In any case in incognito mode you need to go to Settings> Extensions> and enable your extensions to work in incognito mode.
Chrome’s HTTP Switchboard is a new privacy tool for the Chrome Browser. It is more complicated than AVG Do Not Track, albine Do Not Track Me, AdBlock Plus, and Ghostery, but the quantity of information about the sites is amazing. And you can allow or deny cookies, scripts, Plugins, iframes on a case by case basis.

An exciting addition to your privacy on the web. Highly Recommended!

[Bonus Link: How to Always Start Any Browser in Private Browsing Mode]
Hat Tip: Joe Crawford

Internet Geometry

If you are not living on the edge, you are taking up too much room.

When you are on the edge there are no sides.

Cookieless Monster Privacy Invasion

From the 2013 IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy, comes this report on browser fingerprinting.

Cookieless Monster:
Exploring the Ecosystem of Web-based Device Fingerprinting [PDF]

HatTip Metafilter

You can find out what information your browser shares with sites using Panopticlick Created by the EFF.
Panopticlick tests your browser to see how unique it is based on the information it will share with sites it visits.
Surprising amount of information.

how private is your social network?

The Canadian Access to Social Media Information Project has a clear look at the Privacy Policies of 20 of the top ‘social’ media sites.
Follow this link and click on the icon of your social media site and see the results.

highly recommended

hattip Naked Security

the cloud The Cloud THE CLOUD

the cloud The Cloud THE CLOUD!

Remember Fantasy Island? The Magical Place with umbrella drinks and a staff who sorted out the problems you didn’t know you had while you were on vacation?

Yep Boys and Girls, The CLOUD!!, the latest nonsense from the freaks and geeks inhabiting the basements of Software Marketers, Social Media and their red headed stepchildren, the Internet Identity folks.

In a nutshell cloud computing means having files located on a computer somewhere else and making them available to you wherever, and whenever you are connected to the Internet.

The theory is that having your files located in the cloud, your company can be more productive, folks can work from anywhere, and hand over the hassle of managing your companies data, applications, and business information, both public and private to a third party who promises to make them secure, lower the cost of ownership, and have rainbows shooting out of your ass at the next shareholders meeting.

Microsoft has a strong vested interest in getting companies into the cloud as they are trying to move the core office applications to the internet like Office 365, moving everyone they can to Outlook.com in an attempt to keep the revenue up as personal computing sales have dropped, Windows 8 can be characterized as either Vista2, or BOB 3,(BOB 2 being Windows Me) depending on how far back your memory goes. Subscriptions are the new green at Microsoft. They are not alone. Google, Amazon, and others are offering you the cloud also.

Think about having your companies data on a computer located outside of your control, on the internet, which has a nasty habit getting broadcast far outside your network. Can you say Wikileaks?

Doc Searls who I know and love, has spent probably longer on the web than I have, whose work on Digital Identity and VRM is second to none, recently introduced the concept of the Personal Cloud.

Doc’s perspective on Digital Identity and VRM Vendor Relationship Management is filtered by his earlier life owning and running an Advertising Agency. He views the Internet as a place where we should be in charge of our Digital Identity and through that mechanism also Manage Relationships with Vendors aks companies that want to sell us stuff. We just disagree on how to manage those relationships.

My response to VRM is ARM aka Advertiser Rights Management [1] [2]. Block them all and find what you are looking for yourownself.

Doc and I agree that our digital identity has to be under our control. Establishing a Bombproof Digital Identity is an enormously thorny problem, technically. The best and brightest are working on it.

The Cloud are your files located somewhere else addressable across the internet. Sort of like this website. More on that in a minute.

Which brings us to The Personal Cloud.

Let me see…..
files stored on a computer somewhere else, Check!
available across the internet Check!
tied to someone Check!
secured under many layers of encryption Not so Much.

Holy Crap Pixel Man!
Welcome to the head lemurs personal cloud.
This is also my digital identity.

See! we already have personal clouds. Mine probably isn’t as fluffy as most, but hey its mine.

Social Networks and Privacy #FAIL

There is no privacy on the internet. You post it, it becomes fair game and part of someone’s database by the time you finish reading this sentence. Social Networks have never been about privacy. N E V E R.

Think about it for just a moment. You are reading this because you pay for an internet connection. Lord only knows how you ended up here. Somebody offers you a place to post information about yourself, photos, and text, for Free. Do you really believe that there is a web fairy footing the bill to allow you to share this information to only a small group of ‘friends’?
There are no privacy controls that will ever work on any computer that is publicly accessible on the Internet. Not for long.

Facebook’s latest foray into privacy controls has created an entire cottage industry of explanations and step by step guides to actually afford you a virtual fig leaf. Good Luck with that. That may last until the next brain fart from Facebook Central.

Facebook is the poster child for OPM Other People’s Money and Other People’s Material A sort of New Math for the Advertising Targeting Complex.
Facebook uses Other People’s Material (yours) to populate their site. You lost control of your material and privacy as soon as you set up an account.
Exhibit 1.

Sharing Your Content and Information

You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook, and you can control how it is shared through your privacy and application settings. In addition:

1. For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (“IP content”), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (“IP License”). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.
Source Facebook Terms

First they say that you own your material, then they tell you that you have given them a ‘royalty free world wide license’ to use any of it in anyway they want.

They use Other People’s Money to support themselves until they get enough advertisers to sign up to pay the bills. In order to get advertisers to buy in, they need to use Other Peoples Material to chum the waters. At the end of the day you and your material are bait for advertisers, to try to sell you shit.

There is no Privacy in Social Networks.
Social Networks are not about privacy. They are Social as in Pregnancy. There is no ‘a little bit pregnant’. This is why I laugh my ass off when I read postings like this,Facebook’s Privacy Move Violates Contract With Users
What bullshit! As I mentioned above, you have no privacy, nor do you have any control over the shifting sands of this weeks privacy rights to the material that you post there.  The author goes on about the dangers of this network and makes a leap that there is some contract about your use of their service giving you any privacy. Privacy settings are a Virtual Figleaf so you are not Socially Nude. And only show up in your browser, while in the back room, all your data is being collated, strained, prioritized, and shoveled into the sweaty hands of advertisers. Facebook makes no money by keeping things private.
Facebook, like the rest of the Social Networks are using Advertisers who should have more sense, building the Internet version of magazines. Having the ability to corral ‘users’ into smaller and smaller boxes to shoot ads at, is the electronic Midway Carnaval, and you are all rubes.
Social Networks and Privacy is an Oxymoron
Regardless of what sort of pixie dust you are snorting, Eric Schmidt of Google is right in telling you, If you want to keep things private, keep them off the internet.

Facebook’s New Privacy Publicity Settings

Those kids at Facebook just can’t catch a break. In their continuing quest to throw every piece of advertising trash against their ‘members’ to see what sticks, they have really outdone themselves this time. Facebook’s problem is they can’t decide if they are Fight Club or WalMart. First rule of Fight Club is that you do not talk about Fight Club. Wal Mart on the other hand offers cheap shit to anybody they can get to walk in the door.

Starting our at Harvard as an electronic collegiate Fight Club whose actual authorship is still under a cloud, ( $65 Million settlement under seal is not proof of genesis , but a legal expedient to remain attractive to advertisers and the burgeoning covens of ‘Social Media Firms’)  it was just another club with Membership requirements, you know, like actual verification of attendence at Harvard. Since opening up their ‘membership’, the only requirement is an internet connection and a pulse.

This in concert with their Terms of Service allowed them to grant themselves a “non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use, copy, publicly perform or display, distribute, modify, translate, and create derivative works of (“use”) any content you post on or in connection with Facebook.” every piece of text photo and page on their servers. So the AdMen descended on Facebook like a pack of rabid dogs finding a kitten in their yard. The natives started getting restless when they discovered that  their photos were being use for product endorsements without explicit permission. That was the Beacon lunacy. Cheap at 9.5 Million to settle that one. According to PC World:

Facebook has terminated the Beacon program and agreed to pay $9.5 million into an interest-bearing account to create a nonprofit foundation that will “fund projects and initiatives that promote the cause of online privacy, safety, and security.”
Source: PC World

Anybody seen this Foundation?
The latest Playing at Privacy episode is the new privacy settings that default to public everything, if you do not go through a whole bunch of settings.
You will be able to hide some things, but the vital Advertising Targeting Information will be available to all like:

Some information–including name, profile picture, gender, current city, networks you belong to, friend lists, and pages you’re a fan of–will be available to everyone
Source c|Net

So you will be able to keep that photo of you puking on somebodies sofa private until the game changes because the ROI falls. Trust me, Facebook is not designed to help you find and share your interests, it is designed to let advertisers sell you shit.

Yet another Facebook ‘feature’

In the continued quest to monetize your participation in the Facebook silo, is this article outlining Photo Tags.

The Biggest Nuisance on Facebook – Photo Tags.
Hattip to Digital Inspiration