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Welcome to Our Social Network!

What You thought You were Getting

What You Thought

What You Thought You Were Getting

What You Got

Welcome to Our Social Network! Now SHUT THE FUCK UP and BUY!!!

Welcome to Our Social Network!

Welcome to Your OUR Social Network!

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.

Advertising Rights Management ARM 2

Previously I shared my favorite add-ons for browsers to surf ad free

The Browser Makers are getting on the privacy train.

Here are some guides to secure your browser from tracking.

Google Chrome Settings

Firefox Settings

Internet Explorer


Advertising Rights Management ARM

When you venture out on the web, and go places like here, you are a guest. Normally guests are treated with respect, and are not subject to ID checks, cavity searches, pickpocketing or data theft.

Commercial websites do not treat you like a guest, but rather squeeze you for every morsel of information they can grab from your computer to sell you shit you can probably do without.

Advertisers, Marketeers, and websites that are supported by advertisers think that your personal information from your IP address to your browser history, cookies, Local Storage Objects and other information on your personal computer is theirs for the taking.

Cookies are not required to build or present webpages.

Anybody who tells you that they are required is lying.

The current scheme is having a Third Party manage advertising is what is creating this crisis in privacy.

You have the choice to deny info thieves anything but what you choose to share.

Privacy is not the default setting in your browsers. Although that is changing. But there are things that you can add to deny data collection, tracking and restrict invasion of your privacy.

I like to call it Advertiser Rights Management. ARM
Here are a few things that you can add to your browser to take back your privacy
My personal favorites are
AdBlock Plus
AVG Do Not Track
Albine Do Not Track Me

This is your internet. Take it back from the pricks who think that you are fodder for marketing.

Instagram’s TOS – Facebook Beacon 2.0

OMG!!! Instagram the internet mobile phone photo sharing site has changed it terms of service and has the interweb media in an uproar!!!
They want to use your images as part of paid advertising campaigns without paying you or acknowledging your ownership.
Wake the Fuck UP!

There is no FREE on the internet!

When you signed up you agreed to:

you hereby grant to Instagram a non-exclusive, fully paid and royalty-free, worldwide, limited license to use, modify, delete from, add to, publicly perform, publicly display, reproduce and translate such Content, including without limitation distributing part or all of the Site in any media formats through any media channels, except Content not shared publicly (“private”) will not be distributed outside the Instagram Services.

Let’s look at this…
non-exclusive, fully paid and royalty-free, worldwide, limited license
You gave them a license to use your photos anyway they want without any compensation aka money to you in any form or at anytime.
So quit your bitching about them using your stuff without your permission. You gave that right up as soon as you created your account and uploaded your very first photo.

Remember they did say it was Free. Is your ass beginning to itch yet?

limited license
“use, modify, delete from, add to, publicly perform, publicly display, reproduce and translate such Content, including without limitation distributing part or all of the Site in any media formats through any media channels”
Since the ‘limits’ cover everything that you can do with any sort of image on the internet, the only limit seems to be printing it out and mailing it to your house. Which of course is the last thing any internet company is going to do. Even AOL stopped sending out CD’s years ago.

use, modify, delete from, add to
Holy Photoshop Buckwheat!! they can cut, paste, dodge, burn, and remodel your images anyway they want.This also gives them all derivative works rights also. They can change your photos from .jpg, to gif, svg, and so on and back and forth.

publicly perform, publicly display, reproduce and translate such Content
This allows them to bait the hook for the next group of suckers who can’t read and have mobile phones.

including without limitation distributing part or all of the Site in any media formats through any media channels
See use above for media formats. As far as media channels think Facebook who now owns Instagram and all of your content even if you are not a Facebook Member.

The new TOS

1.Instagram does not claim ownership of any Content that you post on or through the Service. Instead, you hereby grant to Instagram a non-exclusive, fully paid and royalty-free, transferable, sub-licensable, worldwide license to use the Content that you post on or through the Service, except that you can control who can view certain of your Content and activities on the Service as described in the Service’s Privacy Policy, available here: http://instagram.com/legal/privacy/.
2.Some or all of the Service may be supported by advertising revenue. To help us deliver interesting paid or sponsored content or promotions, you agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos (along with any associated metadata), and/or actions you take, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you. If you are under the age of eighteen (18), or under any other applicable age of majority, you represent that at least one of your parents or legal guardians has also agreed to this provision (and the use of your name, likeness, username, and/or photos (along with any associated metadata)) on your behalf.
Source Instagram TOS

Yep they added sub-licensable to be able to sell your ass to ad networks and Facebook. And they say that they can take money for selling your ass to advertisers to support themselves disclosing your username, likeness, photos as part of the bargain.
No you still are not getting any money nor will you ever. Get Over It.
If this scheme sounds familiar it is. This is Beacon 2.0 with the Facebook fingerprints wiped off.
Facebook Beacon was the same scheme floated a few years ago that was found to be so creepy that it spawned a class action lawsuit and was eventually shut down.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
“Beacon was a part of Facebook’s advertisement system that sent data from external websites to Facebook, for the purpose of allowing targeted advertisements and allowing users to share their activities with their friends.”

The sneaky bit that the digerati has missed so far is (along with any associated metadata)
Metadata is data about data.
By default, most mobile phones with cameras have GPS enabled.
In that case, mobile phone photos contain metadata that show the GPS coordinates of the location where the picture was taken. Not only does it contain the date and time, but also the geographical area where the photo was taken.
A fuller explanation and a tool to extract this metadata can be found here

So you are thinking so what? You can see jacks bar in the photo.
On the one hand this could be an electronic alibi for you. On the other hand you could be tracked as an un indicted co conspirator due to time and location information buried in your photo. On the gripping hand, large quantities of photos that are data mined with this information can form all sorts of ‘interesting’ directions.
Let’s say while you are taking your buddies photo outside of jacks, Hannah the Hooker is being busted by an undercover cop. Let say a week later you are out with your buddies and the same thing happens in fred’s tavern. With this metadata you could be accused of being a person of interest either in soliciting prostitution, or frequenting known prostitution venues despite the fact that you are all happily married and are just having a guys night out.

By now your ass should be bleeding profusely and there should be sirens screaming in your lizard brain, because as sure as you are reading this, someone will figure out how to fuck you with this.

Yeah, I am a glass half empty sort of guy, because I know There is no FREE on the internet!

I pay for my internet connection, hosting and my time posting this. You pay for your internet connection and your space if you have any, and your attention reading this.
I hope it is a fair trade.

Facebook’s Billion Member Bullshit

Facebook is an Online Social Network. Requires a connection to the Internet. That is about it.

Disclaimer: I am not now, have ever been, or will ever be a member

Across the interwebs is the Facebook’s One Billion Members announcement. Let me try to count the ways this is a bullshit number.

One Billion? Really? Are there really that many folks shoveling shit in the Facebook room hoping to find a pony?

First up is Internet Accounting. IA is where you count the user names in an ever ascending number. Subtraction is strictly forbidden. Nobody adjusts for people who leave, quit, and just stop playing.
Remember AOL, My Space, etc.

Let’s do the Math…
By Facebook’s own admission nearly 10% of ‘accounts’ are fake, duplicates, misclassified, and or ‘undesirable’ whatever the fuck that means. I see the only requirement for membership seems to be an internet connection. I was going to say that a pulse was a requirement but I am wrong. No don’t squawk about the Real Names Policy. I’ll get to that in a moment.

So we are down to 900 million, which is a lot but doesn’t quite have that zing that a billion does.

Does the ‘billion’ include the accounts created by Facebook who are not official members but are created by cookie tracking on pages that have Facebook badges/Like buttons?

However, according to a May 2011 Consumer Reports survey, there are 7.5 million children under 13 with accounts and 5 million under 10, violating the site’s terms of service.
Source: Wikipedia Facebook Entry

So we are down to 877 million. Here the math is much less certain as there is no verifiable data but what the hell.

Next let’s chop out the company accounts, brand accounts, business accounts, marketing accounts, PR flack accounts, and the rest of the Social Media Marketeer’s crap. Companies and Brands are not people and have no pulses so they get the ax. Real Names Policy doesn’t cover this bit so well. But then a Business Account is a different animal. Like George Orwell said in Animal Farm,”some animals are more equal than others’.
20% is what I figure based on how many sites have badges and links crying for you to ‘like’ them or join them on their Facebook Page. I think that this is low but I am feeling charitable in this moment.(Trust me this won’t last long.)

702 million plus or minus.

Facebook defines an active user as someone who’s logged in at least once in the previous 30 days. According to Experian in Sept 2011 which is the most recent number I could find says that folks are on Facebook between 18-38 minutes per session. Doing the math here should send every company CEO screaming about lost productivity, brain drain and sapping the potency and creating moral degeneration like email did a few years ago.

702 million. Are there really that many people shoveling shit looking for a pony? Don’t get me started on what Facebook is doing with your information while you are shoveling.

Bonus Link Facebook’s 10-Q Quarterly Report

Facebook’s Fantasy Island and GM’s Drive By Shooting

Today it seems that having a Facebook page is the height of cool. It is not. First a little trek down memory lane.
15 years ago having an email address was the height of cool.
10 years ago having a website was the height of cool.
5 years ago having a blog was the height of cool.

With each iteration the number of participants has increased by orders of magnitude making your coolness less valuable and harder to find. With each new communication channel(email, website, blog) companies and advertisers want you to buy their stuff. As the population has grown and the internet has supplanted print, radio, and television in delivering raw numbers of prospects, or suckers depending on your viewpoint, Advertisers have and are betting big on getting you to ‘Yes’ from email,banner ads,websites and now Facebook pages. Using other peoples money to make a living selling you shit is as old as the first print advertisement. This is not a new business model. The FB mission is to deliver eyeballs to advertisers in exchange for money.

Facebook membership is a suckers bet. Here is a piece of poker player wisdom; ”If you look around the table and can’t spot the sucker, than you are the sucker.” If you are under the illusion that Facebook is about sharing and caring about you, I would like the opportunity to offer you either a piece of the London Bridge or a square inch of the Moon.

Facebook is arguably the current darling of the internet with a ‘reported’ 900 million users, whose sole function is to encourage members to provide information by ‘sharing’ yourself with others for the marketing machine that is Facebook. This is not a new business model. However with web beacons, third party advertising companies and Facebook’s ‘like’ buttons infecting the web,(Imagine being an alcoholic and going to the local mall and every store is a bar or liquor store.) data mining, collection and data sales has gone into overdrive.

Facebook has become the internet’s Digital Plantation and its members are all sharecroppers slaving in the digital fields living in the company town, buying ‘cred’ from the Plantation owner, and in the big house there is a giant party as the ‘bosses’ buy and sell attention data, your data.

I mentioned before that this is not a new business model, but a 21st century feedlot(fattening the cattle before sale and slaughter) that has attracted the attention of advertisers and companies in a big way.

In October 2007 was this quote in a Wired Article
“The key thing is that Facebook has an audience,” says Forrester analyst Charlene Li. “Wherever audiences go and people spend time, that becomes an advertising medium.”
The buzz and revenue being earned by Facebook has led to the upcoming stock sale to the public. If you have a few bucks and want to double your money… fold your money in half and put it back into your pocket. Institutional traders and program traders will be snapping it up and bouncing it around for days.

As I mentioned earlier Facebook is generating revenue by selling advertising and data to companies who have been sucked into the Social Media Kool Aid. On the back of a matchbook, the ability to reach up to 900 million ‘customers’ would seem to be a great bet. Since you can sell almost anything on the web from abacuses to zebras. Almost.
If you consider 1/2 of 1% of ads actually get clicked, and you have a pool of fish even around 450 million would give you about 4.5 million leads to turn into sales, it might be a good deal if you are selling stuff folks need. But need is the last item on the list of advertising objectives.

GM’s Drive By Shooting
However GM, the largest auto manfacturer in the US is pulling out of Facebook. Holy Crap Batman! Somebody in ad land figured out that trying to sell cars used to drive to destinations to folks who are sitting down at a screen or even on a mobile phone is just about the dumbest way to spend money advertising a product that requires you to use your head as an active participant where your tablet, monitor, or mobile phone will get you seriously hurt if you try to multitask.

Once more folks figure this stuff out, ad revenue will plummet, people will demand more accountability from these networks, and the death spiral of irrelevance will suck Facebook into another What Happened to…. article on the back side of the web.

Quote of the Year

This is the last time I’m going to say this, so pay attention. In the digital world, people are passionate about interacting with each other — not brands, not ads, not you, not me.
Get over it.

Source: The Ad Contrarian

Imagine ad men running after you with stencils and cans of spray paint hoping to ‘brand’ you in hopes that your scarlet letter will get all your faceyspacey ‘friends’ to buy shit you probably don’t need, or want.
The internet is littered with Social Media Lunatics whose goal is to sell your ass to advertisers.

Facebook’s latest Privacy Violations, History Sniffing and Web Journalism.

The latest discovery in Facebook Privacy Violations is the Facebook ‘like’ button seen on websites. Over at Thinq.co.uk is this article:

Facebook’s ‘Like This’ button is tracking you Whether you click it or not
This is ‘drive by’ technology,which only requires you to view the page with the button, and the privacy violation begins. You do not have to click on the button or have a Facebook account. Drive by is a technique that virus writers and malware authors use to infect your machine by just visiting their pages.

The argument that this is not malware, but merely marketing data, is bullshit in my view. History tracking is no different than keystroke logging, or user name password theft. The idea that they should be happy just visiting their sites instead of thieving from us like an electronic TSA strip search, genital grab shows how far the web has been corrupted by marketeers. The standard disclaimer by websites that they are pure as the driven snow, and it is those third party sites who pay them money are to blame is also bullshit, because this is not passive information, but aggressive theft and privacy violation. Because at the end of the day, this information’s value is not to enrich your experience on the web, but is all about spending the least amount of money to sell you shit you can probably do without.

Arnold Roosendaal, a Dutch university researcher, is the author of the paper that this article is based on and is available here. [PDF]
If you have a Facebook account, this gets added to your hidden profile on their servers, regardless of being logged in or not. Even if you do not have a Facebook account, you are tracked. Yet another reason not to have a Facebook account.

Next up is this gem from Forbes.
History Sniffing: How YouPorn Checks What Other Porn Sites You’ve Visited and Ad Networks Test The Quality of Their Data
This article outlines how websites and the companies behind them use Javascript to sniff your browser history to determine where you have been before. YouPorn , described as a “a YouTube for porn enthusiasts” uses a javascript to hijack your browser history to see where else you have been in the porn universe. They use encryption to try to hide this behaviour.
Other sites use similar scripts to do the same thing. Here is the research paper that demonstrates this.
“An Empirical Study of Privacy-Violating Information Flows in JavaScript Web Applications.” [PDF]

This is not limited to rogue sites running home brewed scripts, but some of the major destinations on the web.
In the case of Interclick, it is a business tailored to tracking you. When asked by Kashmir Hill, the author of the forbes piece, their reply was:

“Interclick purchases anonymous audience data from several vendors for the purpose of targeting advertising campaigns. Consequently, it has a number of quality control measures in place to understand the quality and effectiveness of this data. The code observed in the paper was a quality measure being tested,”
Source Forbes.com History Sniffing: How YouPorn Checks What Other Porn Sites You’ve Visited and Ad Networks Test The Quality of Their Data

I had to laugh reading that. First they get caught, then they admit that they don’t trust what they paid for, and then they run their scripts without telling folks. Here is company using these privacy violating scripts to ‘check’ the data that they are buying from companies that are selling this data out the back door while posting signs on their front doors saying that they do not sell this data.
No honor among thieves, indeed!

JavaScript, the darling of the AJAX whizz band school of web design, utility is being overshadowed by its use as a data mining and privacy violating tool.

The one thing that both of these articles have in common, is links to source material used to write these stories. This is the new face of journalism web style.