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Privacy Social Networks Microsoft Your Rights Online

New Messenger Has Same Old, Gaping Privacy Holes 287

Posted by kdawson
from the not-that-kind-of-friends dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Microsoft released the beta of the new 'Wave 4' Windows Live Essentials last week. The new beta of Windows Live Messenger 2011, while plugging some privacy holes and shoring up the user interface, fails to tackle the one biggest privacy-buster of all. Say you use Messenger to IM your wife. You also use Messenger to IM your old girlfriend. The next time your wife logs on to her Hotmail account — not Messenger, Hotmail — she will see that you and your old girlfriend 'are now friends.' It all happens without your knowledge or permission, and it happens even if you tell Messenger you want your personal information to be 'Private.'"
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New Messenger Has Same Old, Gaping Privacy Holes

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  • by Niobe (941496) on Monday June 28, 2010 @07:52PM (#32724572)
    ..we can all relate to
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Sorry, replace wife with mother, and girlfriend with the goatse guy.

      • by larry bagina (561269) on Monday June 28, 2010 @08:04PM (#32724690) Journal
        ahh, now I see the gaping hole.
        • by garcia (6573) on Monday June 28, 2010 @08:31PM (#32724950) Homepage

          My wife would make the goatse guy look like a virgin if I ever did what the blurb suggested.

          • You know it's no different than a real life situation. Say your wife drove by a gas station and your filling up and happen to run into your old girlfriend. Well a wife driving by has about the same context with which she could judge this GAPING PRIVACY HOLE as you call it.
            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by MrNaz (730548)

              Bumping into someone accidentally is different from actively establishing communication with them. The other distinction to be made is that in your example, your wife driving past happens by chance. With the example in the summary, Hotmail reports your contact with your ex-GF to your wife, so its a certainty that all of your existing contacts know who you are in contact with.

              Your example is about as relevant to this scenario as a tyrannosaurus chasing a field mouse.

            • by SkyDude (919251)

              You know it's no different than a real life situation. Say your wife drove by a gas station and your filling up and happen to run into your old girlfriend. .

              C'mon your example doesn't work .
              /. ers are geeks who fear females. None here have girlfriends, so by extension, no wives.

    • by izomiac (815208) on Monday June 28, 2010 @08:48PM (#32725086) Homepage
      I detest examples such as this. They imply that you only need privacy if you're doing something wrong. Why not use one where a person is friends with both a fundamentalist christian and a well-known atheist, or a homosexual and a homophobe? There are countless examples of where doing the right thing has negative repercussions if the wrong people find out about it.

      Privacy isn't your right to get away with illegal or immoral behavior. If you frame it as such then people will rightfully point out that you do not have such a right.
      • by Draek (916851) on Monday June 28, 2010 @09:19PM (#32725318)

        How in hell is chatting up with your ex-girlfriend when you're married something inmoral? at all?

        I know, I know, lack of experience to judge here in this forum so take my word for it: it's something perfectly normal, and relatively common as well. Yeah, some people can get a bit jealous but the same goes for, say, commenting how 'cute' David Beckham looks wearing the England uniform yet few (if any) would say that making such a statement qualifies as "inmoral" for a married woman.

        • by TheLink (130905)
          > How in hell is chatting up with your ex-girlfriend when you're married something inmoral?

          Chatting with her is not necessarily immoral, but chatting up with her I don't know :).

          Seriously though, that's why privacy is useful. Because life is too short to possibly provide context to everyone, and they may not still accept your version of it.

          So if you can control your privacy you don't have to waste lots of resources and time dealing with things which wouldn't have been problems in the first place.

          Imagine
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by interkin3tic (1469267)

        Why not use one where a person is friends with both a fundamentalist christian and a well-known atheist, or a homosexual and a homophobe?

        One potential reason: that sounds like the start of poorly-written sitcom, not a serious privacy problem. Not only would that have convinced fewer people it's a problem, but then some network would be premiering a horrible new show this season.

        Were the WB still around, it would probably be starting right about now in fact.

      • by xero314 (722674)

        I detest examples such as this. They imply that you only need privacy if you're doing something wrong. Privacy isn't your right to get away with illegal or immoral behavior.

        Actually what the summary is suggesting you actually do is the immoral part. Talking to an ex is not immoral. Intentionally hiding it from your spouse is.

        There are countless examples of where doing the right thing has negative repercussions if the wrong people find out about it.

        Could you please provide at least one, because you have not done so yet.

      • by TubeSteak (669689) on Monday June 28, 2010 @09:53PM (#32725510) Journal

        Privacy isn't your right to get away with illegal or immoral behavior. If you frame it as such then people will rightfully point out that you do not have such a right.

        Immoral behavior?
        WTF do morals have to do with illegal behavior?
        The courts have generally supported your right to privacy over the moral police.

        Now excuse me while I legally engage in some immoral sodomy with a consenting adult.

    • by noidentity (188756) on Monday June 28, 2010 @08:53PM (#32725134)
      I think most of us are adept enough to look up things like this pretty quickly. I found lots of useful links explaining what these things are (wife, girlfriend) and was able to follow along.
    • It is as if you HATE seafood, but you are driving along and you see a broken down carload of nuns (of course you thought they where hot college girls going to a costume party) on their way to a fish fry and you innocently help them out by transporting their (unbeknown to you) leaky boxes of melting cod fillets to the parish hall.

      Then you suffer with retching dry heaves every time you drive, for the remainder of your ownership of said car.
  • by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Monday June 28, 2010 @07:54PM (#32724588)

    I understand the privacy implications, but maybe they could have chosen a better example.

    If your Wife has some huge issue with you talking to your Ex-girlfriend, there are probably other underlying things.

    Communication should be open, like this:
    "Oo, she has a nice ass"
    [girlfriend turns]
    "yeah, you're right"

    • by Renraku (518261) on Monday June 28, 2010 @08:02PM (#32724666) Homepage

      You're living in a fantasy world.

      Here's how it really goes:
      "Oo, she has a nice ass."
      [girlfriend glares]
      "Why are you looking at her ass?"
      "Well, she walked by, I just kind of glanced there."
      "Why didn't you glance the other way?"
      "I don't know, I just didn't."
      "What's wrong with my ass?"
      "Nothing's wrong with your ass, I was just making an observation."
      "Are you saying my ass is fat?"
      "No not at all, I love your ass."

      The next day:
      "My boyfriend doesn't like my ass any more..I don't think he loves me."
      "Aw, it's okay sugar, there's boys everywhere! Let me introduce you to my friend Ronaldo, he's single!"
      "Well, okay, since my boyfriend obviously doesn't love me anymore."

      A week later:
      "Well since you have an infatuation with other women's asses, I'm leaving you for Ronaldo. At least HE says I have a nice ass!"

      • by Korin43 (881732) * on Monday June 28, 2010 @08:05PM (#32724710) Homepage

        You're living in a fantasy world

        Or maybe you're living in relationship-hell. Why date someone so insecure that you have to lie to them?

        • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 28, 2010 @08:17PM (#32724818)

          You're living in a fantasy world

          Or maybe you're living in relationship-hell. Why date someone so insecure that you have to lie to them?

          I'm guessing that you've never dated any real women.

          • by spazdor (902907)

            I'm guessing *you* haven't.

            (Where "real woman" means something roughly analagous to "real man", as opposed to the more usual /. definition, "not a blow up doll")

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Lehk228 (705449)
            and that is why i date men
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Hurricane78 (562437)

            I studied this aspects of social dynamics and psychology, and... well... I know for a fact that you never learned how to be a real man.

            Real men don’t have to lie. Because they define what’s OK and what not. And don’t let the women define their reality.
            Which does not mean the unfair shit that extreme feminists want to paint it as. Quite the opposite.
            The difference is: We don’t enforce. We offer. She accepts. Because she likes it.

            And here is the key: A real man does not have to lie or

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          > Why date someone so insecure that you have to lie to them?

          Because it beats being alone?

          We're all flawed humans. Insecurity isn't the worst problem a date/mate could have.

      • by secolactico (519805) on Monday June 28, 2010 @08:17PM (#32724814) Journal

        A week later:
        "Well since you have an infatuation with other women's asses, I'm leaving you for Ronaldo. At least HE says I have a nice ass!"

        If you ever find yourself in that situation thank your lucky stars and feel pity for poor Ronaldo.

      • by selven (1556643)

        If I had a girlfriend whose self-image was reliant on one small part of her physical appearance I would be the one dumping her.

      • "What's wrong with my ass?"

        This is the point at which you leave your girlfriend -- if she can make such massively illogical statements, which are tangentially related (at best) to what you said, you are better off single.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by shaitand (626655)

          I take it you are single? In what world do any women hit a better than 60% logical statement rate?

          • There is a reason that I cruise for girls in the math department at my university.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by X0563511 (793323)

            The one where you don't settle for the first woman you find.

          • In my dreams. In reality it's even worse :(

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by icebraining (1313345)

            Have you ever considered that your experience may be biased by the fact the only women you meet are the ones too stupid to get that you're a misogynist?

          • I take it you are single? In what world do any women hit a better than 60% logical statement rate?

            I think that depends on whether or not you settle for a chick. When I was 'hunting' I met every crazy chick in town. When I got pissed off and said "fuck it", I quit looking, and that's when I started bumping into ladies (yes, plural) that actually had brains in their heads. My problems stopped when I stopped running around going "ok... I can live with that."

          • I take it you are single? In what world do any PEOPLE hit a better than 60% logical statement rate?

            Fixed that for you.

      • You forgot to mention how dear Ronaldo got to be single in the first place: HE was in the exact same predicament a month before and got licked to the curb by his ex- for Eduardo, who just happened to be eager to tell her she had a nice ass because HE was recently single. It's a pyramid scheme!

      • You're living in a fantasy world.

        That fantasy world isn't nearly as nice as my real one, where my wife enjoys pointing out noteworthy asses and breasteses for my enjoyment.

      • by Hurricane78 (562437) <deleted.slashdot@org> on Monday June 28, 2010 @11:47PM (#32726284)

        No, you’re living in a fantasy world.
        A world that was parroted around so much by the losers of the world, that everybody started actually believing it.
        A world where what you describe is normal.

        Where the man has no spine and no dominance whatsoever. And hence the woman only uses him as a provider and as a slave. While she fucks someone else behind his back. And for good reason. Since that other man is the actual manly man with the spine and dominance, but he’s too “free” to be able to be much of a provider.

        Meanwhile we get told from childhood on, that being dominant would be wrong and men and women are equal. Has anyone looked at them lately? Or talked with the other sex? The needs and everything as so very different, they could as well be two species.
        But when you mention that dominance is a male thing, you always get those female and male extremist feminists who in a very funny quirk of nature want to make men and women completely equal, by running after *male* ideals, as if they were their own too.
        Meanwhile, every healthy woman shakes her head, since her ideas are *her* ideals. And dominance or other male things not being them is only a bad thing for actual sexists, who value male ideals higher. As I said: A funny quirk that those who do that, are the worst feminists. ^^

        Look, it’s simple: A woman simply loves the feeling of being safe and secure. She can still pull the strings if she wants. But I can completely relate to having a safe nest. Especially if I were by nature dedicated to be the “child expert”.
        (The sad thing, is that raising children is not the most respected and best paid job in our society. For both sexes. Mothers earlier, fathers later.)

        And then women get flooded with things that make them insecure.

        Conclusion: Be dominant and lead the way, but be there for her! And you know you are doing good, when she does not have bad thoughts about you or her, when you mention a nice ass. Because of how very sure she is because of how very sure and safe you are.
        Turn it around and think of it: If your wife would say that a man was very charming, when do you think it’s more likely she will think that maybe it’s a bit unstable with you both? When you just stay cool and maybe agree, not showing a big reaction? Or when you start to panic inside of “Oh god please don’t let her run away because oh god I’m so lucky that I got her at all!”?
        Hm? ^^

        See... :)

    • by Aladrin (926209)

      Perhaps he didn't mean 'old' in that sense. ;)

    • I guess people can live how they like, but IMO that would probably mean your GF would be likely to cheat on you. Sluts are fun but unreliable in the long term.

  • so it's like,, (Score:3, Insightful)

    by phrostie (121428) on Monday June 28, 2010 @07:56PM (#32724614)

    so it's like facebook?

  • by js3 (319268)

    If your girlfriend tags you in a facebook picture everyone including your wife will see it too. What's the big deal?How is this a huge privacy hole?

    • by jamesh (87723)

      If your girlfriend tags you in a facebook picture everyone including your wife will see it too. What's the big deal?How is this a huge privacy hole?

      Because we hate Microsoft here, that's why.

    • Re:Err what? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by LBt1st (709520) on Monday June 28, 2010 @08:04PM (#32724680)

      Normal don't make it right.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You can untag yourself in a facebook photo, you can unfriend someone so they can't tag you, etc. With this, there are no options. Facebook isn't exactly the golden standard of user-controlled privacy settings, but it's better than this.

    • Re:Err what? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by spazdor (902907) on Monday June 28, 2010 @08:26PM (#32724902)

      Hang on a second here. Did you just point out that MSN works kind of like Facebook, and then insinuate that this means the privacy is fine?

      • by js3 (319268)

        Hang on a second here. Did you just point out that MSN works kind of like Facebook, and then insinuate that this means the privacy is fine?

        Of course not. I'm saying OMG MSN HAS A HUGE PRIVACY ISSUE when the biggest social website out there had this 2 years ago is a bit disingenuous

        • Lets review. MSN is an IM program. It allows for person to person direct communication. Facebook is a social network. It allows for everyone you know to meet everyone else you know.

          So your point is that if facebook has a privacy flaw, then it's ok for every other form of communication to have this flaw too? Try again.

          Consider if your phone, instead of ringing, told the caller the last 5 people you talked to. Would that be ok because facebook does the same thing? I can't speak for anyone else, b
        • Except we've been saying OMG FACEBOOK HAS A HUGE PRIVACY ISSUE for two years. Facebook privacy issues have at least one story per week. Nobody is being disingenuous.

    • Facebook (and Google) have been getting a ton of flack for this, too. Your example is poorly chosen if you really want to argue that this isn't a big deal.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Facebook is a social interaction system. IM is a communication system. They have entirely different expectations of privacy and function. It's really not that difficult to draw distinction between them and what functions should cross over and which should not.

      I think the bigger point here is that MSN is a crappy IM system trying to be a crappy social network. Neither of those things is terribly useful, so don't use it. Problem solved.
  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday June 28, 2010 @08:07PM (#32724720) Journal
    All the lack of privacy and cliquishness of the tiny little towns that people ran like hell to the big city to avoid; but with the systematic asymmetry of information that only modern technocratic corporatism can provide... Just lovely.
  • The obvious problem is having a wife and an ex-girlfriend. That's backwards: girlfriend and ex-wife works much better.
  • Never do anything involving both "ex-girlfriend" and "old, gaping ... holes".

  • What about MSNs lack of even simple encryption? I don't know how many times I've seen people snoop on other peoples conversations over wireless...
    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday June 28, 2010 @08:20PM (#32724842) Journal
      Lack of encryption is a pretty egregious offense; but a vulnerability that consists of making possibly-compromising disclosures specifically to people with which you have some sort of prior relationship, no matter where they are on the internet, is quite arguably more salient, for the vast majority of people, than a vulnerability that exposes their communications to technically savvy individuals within wireless range(if the wireless is unencrypted or weakly encrypted, or those individuals have the keys).

      Plus, lack of encryption is something that you can, with minimal effort(and the cooperation of whoever you are talking to, which is the harder part), solve on your own. Pidgin+OTR. Done, instant encryption that even the provider can't do jack about for any protocol supported by libpurple. The provider telling everybody you know who you have been talking to lately, on the other hand, is an unsolvable problem from the client side(barring the old "uninstall that fucker like a bad habit that owes you money and never touch it again" solution).

      And, ultimately, except in the case of financial matters, or malware that renders a computer unusable(where the damage is pretty much fungible, and it really doesn't much matter who inflicts it, it hurts the same), security vulnerabilities and privacy disclosure issues that specifically aim at people you know in real life hurt more than ones where random strangers can get the same data. Random malefactors on the internet can certainly steal your money, and a few hardcore sociopaths with nothing better to do might torment you just for giggles; but the people immediately around you are a large part of your life. Disclosures to the former are unfortunate. Disclosures to the latter are potentially devastating.
    • by icydog (923695)
      Honest question: Which of the common IM protocols are encrypted, excluding things like OTR?
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by man_of_mr_e (217855)

        None that i'm aware of. Same with most VOIP services. Skype has encryption, but they also tap peoples calls at the drop of a supeona.. Which is not a good thing even if you're not doing anything wrong (there are lots of people in jails and prisons for things they didn't do based on evidence which "seems to fit")

  • by cosm (1072588) <thecosm3@EEEgmail.com minus threevowels> on Monday June 28, 2010 @08:12PM (#32724774)
    ...must still be fresh in people's minds...

    Gaping Privacy Holes

    while plugging some privacy holes

    your wife

    your old girlfriend....... your wife's logs

    she will see that you and your old girlfriend 'are now friends.

    you want your...... 'Private.'"

    ...or maybe just mine. Sounds like a bad 2girls1cup scene played out over IM's!

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      That is probably because you are a sick fuck.

  • I didn't know MS's messenger can communicate with the Wave. And since when it's already in version 4?
  • what a crap story. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bloodhawk (813939) on Monday June 28, 2010 @08:20PM (#32724846)
    Where is the option to mod the whole story as overrated/troll. Sigh
  • Deja Vu (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Velorium (1068080) on Monday June 28, 2010 @08:37PM (#32725000)
    So basically it's like what Google did with Buzz and Gmail contacts. You didn't learn from others' mistakes on this one did you Microsoft?
  • by ShawnDoc (572959) on Monday June 28, 2010 @08:43PM (#32725050) Homepage
    Can't you turn this off in the Windows Live privacy settings (not the Live Messenger privacy settings)?
    • by bloodhawk (813939) on Monday June 28, 2010 @09:03PM (#32725188)
      yes you can, but lets not confuse a MS bashing with facts.
  • don't communicate with people you don't want your wife finding out about. Problem solved.

  • This is about the worst example one might make to argue for privacy. If you're sleeping around on your wife, you deserve whatever you get.

  • XMPP (Score:2, Insightful)

    by slasho81 (455509)
    It's 2010 and Windows Messenger still doesn't support XMPP. What's up with that?
  • Microsoft, or the other two headaches?

  • Say you use Messenger to IM your wife. You also use Messenger to IM your old girlfriend...

    i suggest flowers. or maybe not cheating on your wife. if you think it's not cheating, then ask your wife (or your mom if you are living in her basement) and see what she thinks.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Renraku (518261)

      Here's how it would go.
      "Do you still talk to your old girlfriends?"
      "No, not really. Why do you ask?"
      "LIAR! I saw that MSN notification. Why are you still talking to them?"
      "I'm not 'talking to them.' My ex added me to her friend's list."
      "So you ARE 'talking to them.'"
      "I haven't talked to her in over a year."
      "But it says you're friends with her! You have to talk to someone to be friends with them!"
      "No you don't..all they have to do is add you!"
      "If you think I'm stupid, you're WRONG."

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