Facebook Collects What You DON’T Tell Them (and Google/Boston Dynamics, DSL backdoors?)

There’s a random tale, probably dating back several hundred years, that goes something like this:

In the middle of a pouring rainstorm, the town witch shows up at a gathering perfectly dry. Someone asks her, “but how did you not get soaked?”

She answers, “It was simplicity itself. I merely danced between the raindrops.”

Facebook appears to be trying something similar, only far less benign — and loads less magical.

When you type text into a Facebook text box, even if you never hit send, it still gets sent to Facebook’s servers. And still gets stored on Facebook’s servers, as a “self-censored” comment.

Anyway, now facebook’s “researchers” have released a paper analyzing the collected data.

(They don’t mention how self-censored comments presumably get flagged for extra attention by e.g Facebook’s investors at the CIA, the obligatory watchdogs at the FBI, the snooping snoops at the NSA, the “competitive intelligence” team at Facebook, N-thousand different private investigators who’ve recruited sources inside the company while looking for kompromat, etc.)

The report explains that out of 5 million users they followed, they found 33% of all potential posts were self-censored and 13% of all comments. (“self-censorship” was defined as typing more than five characters in the box before hitting cancel.)

In general, people self-censored more when they were unsure of their audience. This is consistent with observed behavior in other totalitarian states, where the lack of clarity about the total reach of one’s comments (e.g to the local secret police) also led to self-censorship.

Google gets into the defense contracting business, buying Boston Dynamics.

This can’t be good.

Boston Dynamics makes those military robots that gallop like horses —
you know, exactly what Google needs to kill off the resistance as they implement The Matrix. And with their new defense contracting connections, they can snuggle up even more closely with the “government Google” at Fort Meade. http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2013/12/google-acquires-boston-dynamics-a-leading-robotics-company/

DSL modems backdoored? Unclear… reads more like “zomg I found something I don’t understand, it must be the NSA!” On the other hand, the way things are looking, there’s a fair chance anything you find and don’t understand actually is the NSA.

Nevertheless a number of security experts have said this is FAKE — so read it yourself and decide. http://www.politaia.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Full-Disclosure-NSA-GCHQ-Hacks.pdf

https://autoblog.postblue.info/autoblogs/wwwinternetactunet_8a3fe3331e0ad7327e18d9fe6ec3f0ad04dcea58/media/801702b3.self-censorship_on_facebook.pdf
http://securityaffairs.co/wordpress/20471/social-networks/self-censorship-facebook.html

“Does Facebook track everything its users type and then erase before hitting the ‘post’ button?

The answer is very concerning, Facebook is analyzing thoughts the writing that users have intentionally chosen not to share. Facebook implemented algorithms that analyzes what users have typed even if they decide not to publish it considering it’s not private stuff.

Facebook calls the unposted thoughts “self-censorship”, the researchers Sauvik Das and Adam Kramer published an article on their study of the self-censorship behaviour conducted on 5 million English-speaking Facebook users.

[…]

Facebook collects metadata on self-censorship behavior and probably the information could be used for intelligence purpose, the company analyzes it to better understand people thought and habits.

Facebook is analyzing thoughts that we have intentionally chosen not to share, Das and Kramer argue self-censorship analysis is an intrusion in users’ privacy.

If someone chooses not to post, they claim, “[Facebook] loses value from the lack of content generation.”

The information could be used for commercial purposes to propose the proper best ads to the users, even if they never published their thoughts or preferences, or to evaluate the sentiment of wide audience of users on a large scale.

The repercussions on security and privacy are evident, Facebook studies self-censorship behavior to improve its system and minimize self-censorship’s prevalence, but this data is a mine of information for intelligece agencies to spy on users.”

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