Staying Logged In All The Time? Diversify for Privacy



Privacy and NSA's three hop query

President Obama continues to talk reform after pervasive and ongoing criticism of the bulk surveillance of U.S. citizens revealed by Edward Snowden. One of the more interesting points is the creation of a public advocate who would defend a citizens’s right to privacy in the court. Yet the administration’s defense of the current system, where supposedly limited information is seized--the widely discussed “three hop query”--ignores a basic tenet of investigative research: data trees allow the identification of millions of people in a 2-3 hop query.

Facebook leaked data all over internet--including non-users

Security researchers who revealed Facebook's shadow profiles vulnerability are claiming that Facebook leaked massive amounts of data, including private phone numbers and other personal data--despite what Facebook told its users.

Facebook had announced the fix of a bug that inadvertently exposed the private information of over six million Facebook users. In addition, Facebook apparently is collected non-user phone numbers and email addresses and then matched the data to people. Here is the technical explanation of how data gets merged over several sets of databases, and unique links are discovered.

Knowing the information industry, I expect that this data will be for sale very shortly.

Privacy is dead and no one cares

Recently, we tracked down a number of witnesses using the usual armada of investigative databases. However, some witnesses had moved recently and did not appear to have current addresses in the data. No problem: many witnesses between the ages of 21 and 30 had conveniently plastered their entire personal life on Facebook, Twitter, Bebo, etc. making follow up relatively easy. One witness when called on her "private" cell phone expressed dismay at the intrusion. Later, she realized that she had provided the cell phone to a numer of retailers who, to her surprise, resold her "private" cell number database firms.

The modern American: willing to give private contact information to grocery clerks in exchange for "special offers" on mustard.