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Government Facebook Privacy United States

DNI Office Asks Why People Trust Facebook More Than the Government 273

Posted by samzenpus
from the like-this dept.
Daniel_Stuckey writes "General Counsel of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence Robert S. Litt explained that our expectation of privacy isn't legally recognized by the Supreme Court once we've offered it to a third party. Thus, sifting through third party data doesn't qualify 'on a constitutional level' as invasive to our personal privacy. This he brought to an interesting point about volunteered personal data, and social media habits. Our willingness to give our information to companies and social networking websites is baffling to the ODNI. 'Why is it that people are willing to expose large quantities of information to private parties but don't want the Government to have the same information?,' he asked."
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DNI Office Asks Why People Trust Facebook More Than the Government

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  • Executive Power (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 21, 2013 @11:46AM (#44342969)
    Seriously? Gee, I don't know... maybe it's because those private parties can't ruin your fucking life like a government can?

    When was the last time Facebook's swat team raided someone's house, taking all posessions and ruining their job/social image?
    How many people are in jail for life because of Google's will?

    Now granted if a company the size of Facebook decided to target an individual, that person would have a very hard time defending due to the large mismatch in resources. But this kind of this doesn't happen often, because it's not really profitable. On the other hand, targetting alleged law-breaking individuals is part of the government's job and is a regular occurence.

    The government is granted a lot of power for the good of society -- power to decide the fate of any citizen or company. In exchange for that power, they are held to a much higher standard and have a responsibility to implement the most stringent safeguards. However inconvenient those safeguards might be, it's the price of maintaining public confidence.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mozumder (178398)

      Seriously? Gee, I don't know... maybe it's because those private parties can't ruin your fucking life like a government can?

      Any private party can initiate executive power - just call your local government official.

      Just because it's from a private party doesn't mean they have no power over you.

      Also, the government is granted power because we DON'T want private parties to have that power.

      • Re:Executive Power (Score:5, Insightful)

        by readin (838620) on Sunday July 21, 2013 @05:24PM (#44345603)

        Also, the government is granted power because we DON'T want private parties to have that power.

        Exactly. We want a clean distinction between those who are allowed to use force to ruin our lives, and those who are granted other abilities. The government by definition has a monopoly on the legitimate use of violence for purposes other than self-defence. Having been given that, we should be very wary every time we consider giving them any additional power.

        When we let the government start interfering in those parts of our lives that have previously been dealt with through private means, we are doing exactly what you warn against - we're mixing private and government power.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I agree. To sum it in two words: Police Powers.
      FB doesn't have those do they DNI?
      B.T.W. and for what its worth- When signing the Act in 1947 creating the CIA, President Truman refused to create the DNI as it now stands because: "People will not tolerate a Gestapo in America."

      • Re:Executive Power (Score:5, Interesting)

        by number6x (626555) on Sunday July 21, 2013 @01:30PM (#44343861)

        Just scroll down a few slashdot stories to see some examples of government abuse of power [slashdot.org] and ways it over-reacts with police force against private citizens. Heck, My home state now has a moritorium on the death penalty because we kept sending innocent people to death row.

        If the people of the State of Illinois killed innocent people, does that make them all murderers?

    • Re:Executive Power (Score:4, Insightful)

      by mark-t (151149) <markt@@@lynx...bc...ca> on Sunday July 21, 2013 @12:13PM (#44343227) Journal
      I suspect that you underestimate a private party's abilities. Maybe the former can't ruin your life the exact same way the latter can, that doesn't mean that they can't still ruin your life.
      • by manicb (1633645)

        Maybe we rely on the *government* to protect us from that?

        • by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Sunday July 21, 2013 @12:49PM (#44343525)

          A government must be limited in its powers at a constitutional level, because you never know who will be running the show in the future. Limits on things they can legally do that no-one else can are necessary, but they need to be beyond the power of the administration of the day to change without further consent or the protections are meaningless.

          For the rest, in theory normal laws should suffice. The government itself should legislate to ensure that, for example, businesses must respect privacy to a reasonable extent, because telling a health insurance company that you've been having lots of discussions with people who have cancer lately could potentially have serious consequences too.

          The catch here is that when politicians and lawyers are involved, the distinction between government and non-government authority and restrictions can get blurred, so I am increasingly of the view that basic rights must be protected at a constitutional level against anyone who might infringe them unjustly.

          None of it matters anyway if your judicial system declines to enforce the law, of course, but at least this removes any ambiguity regarding whether those fundamental rights are legally protected.

          • by manicb (1633645)

            You do realise that "normal laws" are written, enforced and may be changed by the various branches of government, right? The judicial system is generally defined as one branch of government, and policing is ultimately funded and directed by politicians.

          • by plopez (54068)

            Government must be limited. But so must be the power of the private sector and corporations.

        • No, we evidently do not want the "government" to protect us. I'm willing to take my chances and look out for myself if I need to. Terrorism has never terrorized me in the slightest. Chances are greater that you will be killed in an auto accident then by any terrorist attack. Close the TSA down and put an end to FISA warrants and data collecting from the Internet and other electronic sources. Cut the NSA and CIA budgets forcing them to stop many of the programs they are currently running. Then and only the

        • by slick7 (1703596)

          Maybe we rely on the *government* to protect us from that?

          In the immortal words of SGT Mike, "If you have to ask the question, then you are not on the 'need to know' list".

      • Re:Executive Power (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 21, 2013 @12:33PM (#44343413)

        I suspect that you underestimate a private party's abilities. Maybe the former can't ruin your life the exact same way the latter can, that doesn't mean that they can't still ruin your life.

        The point is that it isn't in Facebook's financial interest to ruin the lives of its users. If every time a Facebook user posted something incriminating, someone at Facebook filed a police report, people would rapidly stop using Facebook.

        If you're a DoJ bureaucrat, it's in your financial interest to ruin as many lives as possible. The more criminals there are, the bigger a budget you need to track, arrest, try, and imprison them all.

        • More importantly, the Congressional Research Office was just asked to list out all federal crimes.

          Their response? "That would be too much work" [typepad.com]

          "The task force staff asked the Congressional Research Service to update the calculation of criminal offenses in the federal code, which was last undertaken in 2008, said task force chairman Representative John Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) "CRS's initial response to our request was that they lack the manpower and resources to accomplish this task," Sensenbrenner sa
      • by greg1104 (461138)

        The history of the US government shows it's willing to use census data for rounding up citizens into internment camps [wikipedia.org]. The ability of Facebook to ruin your life with its data mining is quite trivial in comparison.

    • Re:Executive Power (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Lawrence_Bird (67278) on Sunday July 21, 2013 @12:14PM (#44343233) Homepage

      And in the age of the "privacy" policy, users have at least a basic idea of what comes of their data shared with a company.

      Further, information like call "meta" data is something I may agree to because there is no other way to use the product, ie, the phone company needs that info to bill me accurately. Were there any other way around this I would of course not allow them to collect that information. So to call it sharing is really a reach.

    • Re:Executive Power (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Coolhand2120 (1001761) on Sunday July 21, 2013 @12:17PM (#44343271)

      I would add that people give their information voluntarily to these third parties, while the government takes it using the threat of violence. People give their information to third parties because the third party offers a service for storing and distributing their information to select friends and acquaintances. The government takes and distributes information to an untold number of alphabet soup agencies for some abstract, unproven and unconstitutional notion of security.

      Furthermore, the very definition of sharing information at all requires that you do it with a third party. So does the ODNI suggest that the government be privy to communication between me and my doctor? Lawyer? Wife?! That we're even at the point that government officials are asking these questions is proof that the government has grown too big and powerful for the good of the people.

      “When the people fear the government there is tyranny, when the government fears the people there is liberty.” -Thomas Jefferson

      "If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy." -James Madison

      Malo periculosam libertatem quam quietum servitium.

    • by lennier1 (264730)

      Private parties can easily ruin your life, but compared to the government they're still playing in the amateur league.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      Seriously? Gee, I don't know... maybe it's because those private parties can't ruin your fucking life like a government can?

      Hello? Your student loans called. Something about ruining your life? I took a message.

      When was the last time Facebook's swat team raided someone's house, taking all posessions and ruining their job/social image?

      Depends... Ever posted a link to a torrent?

      Now granted if a company the size of Facebook decided to target an individual, that person would have a very hard time defending due to the large mismatch in resources. But this kind of this doesn't happen often, because it's not really profitable.

      That's adorable. You do realize that they are targetting individuals, right? That's their whole business plan. The more data you volunteer with your name on it, the more valuable your marketing profile becomes, which they sell in aggregate to third parties.

      On the other hand, targetting alleged law-breaking individuals is part of the government's job and is a regular occurence.

      Yes, amazingly, the government does try to put a priority on investigating, arresting, and charging people who engage in crim

      • by HiThere (15173)

        In the declaration of independence it talks about the government deriving it's "just powers" from the consent of the governed. I doubt that the signers would have considered the powers being discussed as just. I certainly don't.

        P.S.: I don't think governmental prosecutions are random. Just unpredicable. Perhaps chaotic.

    • Oh it's even worse (Score:4, Insightful)

      by NotSoHeavyD3 (1400425) on Sunday July 21, 2013 @12:39PM (#44343449)
      If they raid your house they can just confiscate your stuff and basically claim "Well I'm not finding you guilty but I can find your possessions guilty and therefore I can just take it since property doesn't have rights." (IE They can just claim "This stuff was involved with drugs therefore it's totally legal for me to take it without due process." (How this shit isn't against the 8th amendment is beyond me. IE The maximum penalty for someone who has not been convicted of anything should be $0.)
    • Re:Executive Power (Score:4, Interesting)

      by arisvega (1414195) on Sunday July 21, 2013 @12:45PM (#44343501)

      Seriously? Gee, I don't know... maybe it's because those private parties can't ruin your fucking life like a government can?

      I do not think that it is just that. Some years back when Facebook started, one could have an account by providing a VALID ACADEMIC email address ONLY- that, implied that one had to do with a serious social academic tool that allowed to connect with other academics, and not yet another place to post pictures of cats and sandwiches. So many people bited and just gave away their personal information. Of course, Facebook turned a couple of years later, showing its real face and bringing chat to the masses, and it was only then that people started not giving away their real names.

      When was the last time Facebook's swat team raided someone's house, taking all posessions and ruining their job/social image?

      Indirectly, all the time: do you seriously think that there is no backdoor for the authorities in Facebook?

      • by petes_PoV (912422)

        I do not think that it is just that

        No, it is just THAT in a nutshell. Any contact with government has the potential to really screw you - badly. There are so many rules, regulations and laws that it's impossible to know how many you break on any given day. It's impossible to know what seemingly innocuous actions, words or contacts you have will lead to being punished and it's generally impossible for the average citizen to defend themselves against the sort of absolute power that governments wield with impunity.

    • by dbc (135354)

      Exactly. The only way this could not be dead-obvious to the most casual observer is if they have spent their entire working life inside the beltway's realitiy distortion field. Oh wait.....

    • by plopez (54068)

      Hmmmm..... private parties can destroy your credit rating, report you as a disgruntled employee, confuse you with a serial killer, refuse your loans, post sensitive information in places where ID theft can occur, screw up your medical records, deny you insurance, and just generally cause you misery. You can be so marginalized you would wish you were in prison simply because in prison you can't starve and you get at least some medical care. The government can't starve you to death, the private sector doesn't

      • by Aighearach (97333)

        report you as a disgruntled employee

        Actually if a company gives out information in order to prevent you from gaining work, you can sue them for the lost income! They most certainly will not "report" anything bad about you.

        • by plopez (54068)

          Good luck with that. How much time do you have and how much money do you have? Five years? Can you wait that long?

    • by mjwalshe (1680392)
      well look at some of the gross abuses that us companies have perpetrated - read any history of industrial relations and you will see what i mean.

      And look at how many US companies require drug and back ground tests that in the rest of the developed world are reserved for a tiny number of Jobs of national importance.
    • by sconeu (64226)

      I was going to post something similar, essentially:

      Private Parties don't have guns that they can (semi-)legally use on my and they don't have prisons.

      • by dryeo (100693)

        Like the Railway police or Pinkertons? The history of the Pinkerton Detective Agency shows how things can swing the other way when business does have police forces.
        Prisons are more and more private institutions lobbying the government for more low risk prisoners. They'd happily supply their own prisoners if the government let them and it wouldn't be dangerous people like murderers.

  • Easy answer (Score:4, Informative)

    by Brett Buck (811747) on Sunday July 21, 2013 @11:50AM (#44343011)

    Because Facebook can't come after you will full force of arms, put you in jail, and otherwise make your life miserable or unlivable by misusing your information.

    • To hell with jail or death; I'm far more worried they'll send the IRS.
    • Re:Easy answer (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot AT hackish DOT org> on Sunday July 21, 2013 @12:15PM (#44343253)

      If they wanted to, they could certainly do the 2nd part. They can't legally blackmail you, but there are plenty of legal things they could do to make your life miserable. For example, they could start websites to name-and-shame people who hold particular unpopular views. As long as they accurately identified the views, that wouldn't be libelous.

      • by mjwalshe (1680392)
        Or run secret blacklists as the construction industry did in the UK for decades or run their own private security service
      • by sjames (1099)

        So on the one hand, I have getting named and 'shamed' for an opinion I expressed in public anyway and on the other I have my getting killed in a hail of bullets from SWAT and the FBI before they stick me in jail for life (possibly without a trial). Hmm, which is worse...

        • by dryeo (100693)

          Read up on the history of the Pinkerton Detective Agency, bigger then the American Army at one point and only one of the numerous private police forces that existed at one point. Private industry will happily employ people to take you out in a hail of bullets if they can't socialize it as they do now.

    • by b4dc0d3r (1268512) on Sunday July 21, 2013 @12:47PM (#44343513)

      Easy answer is not to respond.

      The question is a false premise. It's not the same people giving info to Facebook but not wanting the government to have it. A small group of privacy advocates are arguing on behalf of those who don't understand what giving information away can do.

      Lots of people have no problem with government - if they want to read my shopping lists, or listen to me talk to my wife or kids about whatever, let them.

      The question is only valid for a small subset of people - and I say first you would have to find them, and then ask them.

      Plus, we are not "giving information to Facebook" - we are giving it to our friends, and the fact that Facebook has to have the data is transparent, and largely not understood. I think that explains it much better.

      The question was poorly formulated because it was supposed to be a rhetorical "gotcha" that made you think - well when you say it like that, the government can have whatever it wants to have. And so many people fell into the trap of considering it a real question that deserves an answer.

  • It's opt in? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DeadDecoy (877617) on Sunday July 21, 2013 @11:51AM (#44343017)
    It's opt in and facebook doesn't have the authority to send a swat team to my door? Sure the government can read facebook posts and then send the swat team, but in that case, I'm explicitly putting information out in the open. With a telephone call or email, I have an implicit assumption (a big one nowadays), of privacy.
    • 3000 years ago, a king wrote that even if you speak a word in your own bedroom, a little bird will fly away and tell the king. It is in the Bible. Technology hasn't really changed the game. Most people still trust the government, and report anything "unusual" to it. Most crimes against you will be done by those close to you; friends and family. That is the experience of my legal friends.
    • Re:It's opt in? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by spire3661 (1038968) on Sunday July 21, 2013 @12:03PM (#44343127) Journal
      Even if you are explicitly putting data out in the open, the government shouldn't be slurping it up. They should have reason to cast their gaze.
  • FB posters choose (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    what they post, the govt chooses what they snoop. A world of difference.

  • Neither (Score:5, Insightful)

    by aaaaaaargh! (1150173) on Sunday July 21, 2013 @11:52AM (#44343029)

    Have canceled my FB account a long time ago, but still caon't opt out of the government.

    • Re:Neither (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Teckla (630646) on Sunday July 21, 2013 @12:03PM (#44343137)

      Have canceled my FB account a long time ago, but still caon't opt out of the government.

      I find this attitude short-sighted and sad. You can influence your government. It's hard work -- you have to get involved, and stay involved -- but the government is ultimately beholden to the will of the people. If you don't like it, work to change it.

      Or just throw up your hands in defeat like most people, but then you don't really have any right to complain about the results.

      Kudos for dropping Facebook, though. Given their history of constant "oops, did I invade your privacy again? oops, did I quietly add another opt-out feature? oops, is my misleading UI making you choose the wrong things again?", nobody should use or trust Facebook.

      • Re:Neither (Score:4, Informative)

        by Fuzzums (250400) on Sunday July 21, 2013 @12:50PM (#44343531) Homepage

        I find this attitude short-sighted and sad. You can influence your government. It's hard work -- you have to get involved, and stay involved -- but the government is ultimately beholden to the will of the people.

        Awww. Come here and let me hug you. You're too sweet!!!

        We can vote, but governments are run by money and corporations.

        • by Teckla (630646)

          Awww. Come here and let me hug you. You're too sweet!!!

          LOL! :-)

          We can vote, but governments are run by money and corporations.

          True right now, but we can change that.

          • by Fuzzums (250400)

            We can vote, but governments are run by money and corporations.

            True right now, but we can change that.

            I would love to think so, but I doubt it. As long as corporations like Google or Amazon can say "no taxes or else we go to an other place" we have a problem. Or medical companies that "negotiate" ridiculous prices for their medicine.

      • by b4dc0d3r (1268512)

        Allow me to paraphrase aaaaaaargh! (1150173)

        Have canceled my FB account a long time ago, but still can't opt out of giving the government information.

        I'm fairly certain that was the tenor of the post. You can't opt out of the government completely - unless you travel on private roads only, and purchase goods and services which did not travel on government roads, and did not get farm subsidies. Nearly impossible.

        So here is how the two posts read together -

        • aaaaaaargh! : Giving info to Facebook is voluntary,
    • Let's see: you could let your driver's license and passport lapse, your credit cards expire, close your bank accounts, use only cash, keep your cash and birth certificate in a personal safe, cancel your phone lines, cancel your TV (maybe that part isn't so bad), cancel your internet connectivity and only use connections at coffee shops (and even then, use only TOR to surf), have no accounts with Google, Facebook, et al ... am I missing anything?

      I think that would go a fair ways towards anonymity, but, frank

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 21, 2013 @11:52AM (#44343031)

    Or worse. People know Facebook is whoring out your data to sell you (stuff).

    The government is out to arrest you, or send a drone down your ass when you're out of the country. There is no good reason for the government to be snooping on you other than to make you out to be a criminal.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 21, 2013 @11:53AM (#44343037)

    When I share something on facebook, it's voluntary.

    When you snoop on me confiding something privately to a close friend or family member, it's not voluntary.

    Why would that be hard to understand?

  • by IndianaJonesSidekick (2991527) on Sunday July 21, 2013 @11:56AM (#44343065)
    I was going to start by talking about the fact that social media can't come after you with guns and exact taxes. Previous commenters covered that well. But government doesn't share the info they collect. They sit on it. At least with Facebook, when I share information with friends, there is a good expectation of reciprocity. With government, it is almost all one way. If government made it clear WHAT information they had on me, and gave me an opportunity to annotate their observations, and if they made decisions affecting me with MY INPUT beyond and above the secret info they collect, I'd have no problem with the information they already collect. I mean, we can't stop them. At every period in history, government has collected as much information as they can. What is important is transparency and accountability. The glass ceiling isn't just for women and racial minorities. If we're going to live in a feudal society, we should at least be honest about it. I hate the pretty illusions and lies.
    • by b4dc0d3r (1268512)

      Imagine for a moment that you actually are a terrorist, here in a sleeper cell, waiting for direction.

      Now imagine that you are the NSA, FBI, or CIA, or other government office. You suspect the terrorist, but don't know for certain if they will act. Do you trust them? Do you add their notations to their file?

      A citizen then, a domestic terrorist like McVeigh or the folks in Waco. Still being monitored, but allowed the right to annotate your own file. What good does it do?

      Do you think it would stop someon

  • Simple (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Facebook doesn't disappear people.

  • FB doesn't tax (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Kohath (38547) on Sunday July 21, 2013 @11:58AM (#44343077)

    Facebook doesn't take money from my paycheck. And if I want to stop using Facebook, I just stop.

    • by dryeo (100693)

      They happily would if the government was powerless. Businesses have a long history of doing the equivalent of taking money out of your paycheck, eg the company store and things could swing back that way.

  • prison (Score:4, Informative)

    by O('_')O_Bush (1162487) on Sunday July 21, 2013 @11:58AM (#44343081)
    Because the U.S. government imprisons more of its population than any country on earth. For laws most people have no idea that they are breaking, since there are so many, and so complicated (we are not lawyers). Not to mention the police murders and raids for nonviolent offenses.
    • by dryeo (100693)

      Mostly in the interests of private industry. How many people have suffered to protect outdated business models such as pulp paper when hemp paper was the future? Now with the private prison industry and the associated slave/forced labour etc it is once again business as much as anything encouraging huge prison populations.

  • by LurkerXXX (667952) on Sunday July 21, 2013 @12:02PM (#44343111)

    I never consented to giving any of my personal data to Facebook. I've never joined. Why is the government using that as an excuse to invade my privacy?

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      well, but you posted here.
      which gets us to the point.. all information you put on facebook you post there. for other people to view.

      the government is arguing in this case that since you don't mind people joining your public rally for gay rights then why are you upset that government posted a guy in your bedroom? it sounds stupid if put that way and it sounds stupid put in the facebook context. what you place as public on facebook is public.. what you put as public on your google+ is public - that doesn't me

  • by headhot (137860)

    Because Facebook can't throw political protesters in jail.

  • by joe_frisch (1366229) on Sunday July 21, 2013 @12:05PM (#44343145)

    People have already posted about the government's power to do harm. Another issue is that the government is able to collect from all sources. Many people (including myself) post limited information associated with each online activity and also have a set of information that is never (intentionally) posted online. This prevents any company from forming a complete and possibly dangerous profile. The government has the ability to combine all of these sets of data and the budget to use very sophisticated data mining. This places people at risk of statistically matching some sort of undesirable (child molester, terrorist, etc) even though they themselves are innocent.

    The data is also a very dangerous weapon if the government were to become more authoritarian. We've already seen a number of our constitutional rights weakened in the last decade or two - it is not beyond imagination the they will be weakened much further. If we at some point have a politically unified government there is the concern that it might use this data against political opponents.

    If the government firewalled its own data, it would not be so bad. I don't mind the DOD having attack aircraft and tanks, but I would not give my local police department this technology. In the same way, if a federal organization who's only mission were to protect against external threats had full access to data I would not be very concerned, but under the current rules this data is share with local law enforcement.

  • When Facebook screws up its data mining, I see a stupidly-placed ad on my wall.

    When the US government screws up its data mining, you get a million dead Iraqis.

    Predicted response from Robert S. Litt and his ilk: "Iraqis don't vote in our elections... they don't donate to our political campaigns.... I don't get it...?"

  • by diamondmagic (877411) on Sunday July 21, 2013 @12:05PM (#44343155) Homepage

    There's a knock one day at your door. There's a man at the door, he says "You must give me your money, you don't have a choice in the matter, but don't worry, I'm going to give it away in your name."

    You wouldn't trust a crackpot like that with your property, why should you place trust when that crackpot is the government?

    "...doesn't qualify 'on a constitutional level' as invasive to our personal privacy."

    Besides being completely wrong, it shows how little the government thinks of property rights. The information belongs to your phone providers/Facebook/etc, it's their hard drives, you need a narrowly-scoped warrant to compel them to hand over that information, end of discussion.

    But even suppose there were no property rights in this context. Could a regular person, or even a well funded company like Facebook, possibly get away with demanding personal records from other companies? No? Then it's not really public information, is it?

    • by houghi (78078)

      The information belongs to your phone providers/Facebook/etc,

      It should not belong to them. It should belong to me.
      And because of that it is not a companies choice to hand it over, it is mine (or the laws if there is a warrant involved).

      In Europe (at least in Belgium) a company can not sell the data, unless it very much specifies this very clearly. And even then there are serious restrictions.

      Oh and if you are living in Belgium. Register on http://www.robinsonlist.be/ [robinsonlist.be] I have not had a cold call or direct mar

  • Why? A few reasons: (Score:4, Informative)

    by Ihlosi (895663) on Sunday July 21, 2013 @12:08PM (#44343177)
    1. You can stay away from facebook.

    2. You can sue facebook without fear of being turned down due to "national security".

  • by technomom (444378) on Sunday July 21, 2013 @12:12PM (#44343213)

    I don't trust either but I can walk away from Facebook.

  • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Sunday July 21, 2013 @12:20PM (#44343289) Homepage

    I'm not sure I do trust Facebook more than I trust the government, but there's one key difference here: We're giving our data to Facebook voluntarily.

    Facebook is like handing the keys of your house over to a relative stranger-- let's say a cleaning service-- knowing there's a possibility that they'll snoop around and go through your stuff. It might be a bad idea, but you want the service being provided. You choose to hand over access by choice, knowing what you're getting into. What the NSA is doing, to extend this analogy, is like someone breaking into your house and snooping around, going through your stuff, and doing it in secret so you never even knew they were in there.

  • Better question... (Score:5, Informative)

    by msauve (701917) on Sunday July 21, 2013 @12:21PM (#44343299)
    "Litt explained that our expectation of privacy isn't legally recognized by the Supreme Court once we've offered it to a third party. "

    Why does Litt flat out lie? Smith v Maryland, which this claim is based on, does NOT say that. The ruling was based on an expectation of privacy assumed when one voluntarily gives information to a third party. It does not address an expectation of privacy explicitly and contractually promised (e.g. a "privacy policy"), nor does it cover information not offered voluntarily (e.g. incoming caller ID, location information, etc.).

    Even more significantly, ignoring the legalities, spying on your citizens is simply the wrong thing to do. Litt, and other defenders of these surveillance programs are confusing ethics and law. The US Government seems not to care what the local laws are when criticizing rights violations in other countries, but use the law to defend rights violations at home.
  • And more about *distrusting* government.
  • Ok, in this case should be a black hole calling another black hole black. But at least you can avoid one of them (not joining, installing extensions like Disconnect [disconnect.me], etc). And as far i know, facebook don't hack your own servers or the servers of your isps/cellphone companies/hosting companies to track what you do in your own space, or plant backdoors just waiting for the moment they will be useful, or force other, unrelated companies to install spyware for you. And of course, don't have such real life impac

  • 1) Facebook can't throw you in prison if they don't like the information you've given them.

    2) You can stop giving Facebook your information if you decide you no longer trust them with it.

    • Point 2 ignores the larger issue.

      People can post about you, and it will be added to the things that Facebook knows about you. You don't have to be the one that does the posting. I believe it has even been reported that you don't even need to have started an account in the first place - facebook will make a "shadow account" to keep track of what it knows about you...

  • Facebook hasn't murdered anyone.

  • If I have a conversation on the phone with someone, that's protected, even though the phone call is routed through a third party (the telecoms company). Why is it different on the internet, or on a computer? Consider these situations:

    I have a conversation in a room in my house with two other people: There's a third party, depending on how you choose to group the three people. That conversation is private. The conversation isn't encrypted, and it's technically very easy to record, by bug or parabolic mic for

  • Litt asks a very good question, but it's based on a bias toward the way the law is worded, which is worded that way as a means to for law enforcement to have sensible ways to legally acquire information about people. If you offer "private" data to a third part, legally, it's not private anymore. But that's not how people really think about it. People want to have the freedom to choose who does and does not have access to "private" data. And since this goes contrary to the law, the will of the people rea

  • Clearly, the problem is that government has the power to arrest and imprison you. or make financial demands of you that you have no legal recourse to wash away, or even in some cases to legally end your life. A private social media web site like Facebook can do none of this, by comparison.

    But that said? I still use FB (often using it as a sounding board to complain about political issues and repost relevant news items for my friends to read). Certainly, there are many personal things I choose not to share

  • What a bizarre question: Facebook vs. the government. They're one and the same with PRISM. While I have been called paranoid and a conspiracy nut over the past decade for labelling Facebook and Google as government front operations, I call those who are late to the realization naive. Power naturally agglomerates like gravity wells regardless of whether that is "private sector" or "public sector".
  • Facebook, Microsoft and Google do not possess armies of dragoons who can break your door down, drag you into the street and throw you into the slammer and then throw away the key. Well, not yet anyway. Although these are large companies, they operate at the same level we do. That is why we trust them more than the government.
  • Because they're killing Independent George [youtube.com]. It's not "just FaceBook." If they were looking at "just FaceBook" it would still be awful, but not terrifying. It's the cross references. It's the JOIN statement.

    Select AWFUL_SHIT from FACEBOOK and PHONERECORDS and EMAILS and SEARCH_HISTORY and FINANCIAL_RECORDS and BUTTPORN_FETISHES where SLASHDOT_UID = '321000'

    We all have our personal lives, our professional lives, and our private lives, and we establish boundaries between them.

    At the office, I keep it about bus

  • Why is it that people are willing to expose large quantities of information to private parties but don't want the Government to have the same information?

    Why is it people have sex every day, but when I jump out of the bushes wearing a condom, they cry foul?

  • Either that or he really, really, really does not have one...which in itself is then an inditement of the Federal Government choice of directors of important agencies.

    For God's sake, he had better understand by the time he reads this post that most people are petrified at the thought of having to resist the Feds, whether in a Tax Audit or a SWAT attack on the wrong house.

  • "We do not use our foreign intelligence collection capabilities to steal the trade secrets of foreign companies in order to give American companies a competitive advantage."

    No you just spy on friendly foreign governments to give American companies a competitive advantage. Nobody gives two shits about the moral difference.

    "Thus, sifting through third party data doesnâ(TM)t qualifyâ"on a constitutional levelâ"as invasive to our personal privacy."

    The very idea a constitutional protection would

  • by msobkow (48369)

    Facebook isn't being bought off by lobbyists or run by political fanatics with an agenda. They're in it for the money, plain and simple, and that's something the people can understand.

  • We actually see government as a potential ally against big business. Yet we also realize that the government can and does send jack-booted terrorists against some citizens. So far business rarely sends thugs to kill customers although they surely would if we allowed them to. So the government is a huge buffer that aids the citizen. That makes government much like the Mafia or organized crime. The Mafia buffers against a society that has fallen apart and can not provide reasonable pay checks for c

  • They are willing to give up their information (valuable) for the opportunity and convenience that the private companies offer. Its a trade they are willing to make. The people no longer value what the government does for them at all. They see lie after lie and the huge monumental expense those lies generate and they refuse to trade with the government on anything. Uncle Sam, nobody trusts or believes you anymore. Nobody.

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