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Facebook Throws Privacy Advocates a Bone 126

sarysa writes "In response to a week-long assault by privacy advocates, and following a well publicized all-hands meeting, Facebook has introduced two new security features in response to privacy concerns. One feature allows users to whitelist devices associated with a Facebook account, and the other allows users who verify their identity to view previous logins. While both are useful features, they do nothing to address the recent privacy complaints."
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Facebook Throws Privacy Advocates a Bone

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  • Re:Non Sequitur (Score:5, Informative)

    by dontmakemethink ( 1186169 ) on Saturday May 15, 2010 @12:55PM (#32220516)
    Well we're talking about people who run scripts taken from Facebook pages promising them a $100 Walmart card, then when the card doesn't arrive, they make a group slagging Walmart for being dishonest, all the while not realizing it was a scam all along, Walmart had nothing to do with it, and their Facebook info is pwned. Last I saw before it was taken down, the anti-Walmart group had 78,000+ fans. The ENTIRE purpose of Facebook is to sell as much of your identity as they legally can. The more of your identity they can convince you to agree to share, the more money they make. Knowing this, I am still a Facebook user since I actually get most of my freelance work by following the actions of my peers and seeing when they're in the market for my services. For me it's definitely worth it to stay on my toes and maintain as much privacy as I can, but for most it's a trap with potentially dire consequences.
  • by ihatewinXP ( 638000 ) on Saturday May 15, 2010 @01:10PM (#32220594)

    I actually find this good news as I was worried there for a minute that Facebook was actually 'getting it' finally and was going to revamp its privacy policies in wake of all of the nasty criticism and high profile people leaving the site. Projects like Diaspora* [] can hopefully fill in the gaps that Facebook seems oblivious to. I have heard the criticisms that Diaspora* will be only for the technically adept - but I can see companies popping up to fill in the gaps if the market arises.

    "The Network Effect" makes FB place incredibly useful and of course power users can wade through everything and get some decent privacy from the service - but I long for the day when that site is clearly in a myspace-esqe death spin as normal users start fleeing for better alternatives. It is the net; everything dies, so it goes. No juggernaut (AOL, Yahoo, Microsoft, Napster, Myspace....) has been able to tame it. Facebook will be no different - and all the faster with their current disregard for their userbase.

  • Re:BFD (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 15, 2010 @01:46PM (#32220840)

    The point is that you can't absolutely control everything that other people do. No matter how much you trust people, unless a specific group is THE ONLY people you ever talk to, you can't guarantee anything.

    Example: some of your friends have a party. Chances are that it's not going to just be the six of you there. There's going to be many people you don't really know that well. Those people can take pictures of the party and post them to Facebook; if you get tagged in there, that could be bad for you. Your only options to avoid that would be to either skip all parties forever, or sit in a corner the entire time and don't move (or drink), thus doing nothing that could be remotely damaging.

    The bigger issue is naivety. Even if you trust people, they might not realize the damage they can do with Facebook--and I'd wager this is 90% of people using it. Unless all your friends are all Slashdot-types (Heaven help you if they are ;) ), they might do something that compromises you without realizing what they've done.

    That's the problem with these things. It's the damage other people can do to you that's scary. The mere fact that you have to opt-out of what your friends can share about you is just ridiculous. It makes keeping anything but a bare-bones profile more risky than it's worth.

    Another real issue with all this sharing of info is that privacy laws are based on what is "reasonable." For instance, you can't sue a newspaper if your face appears in the background of a photo taken in public. It's unreasonable to expect complete invisibility when in public. As such, as people share more and more, those things become reasonable in the eyes of the law. For instance, people don't encrypt their hard drives. If you do and you go through customs, they will presume you are hiding something and ask your to unlock it, and if you don't, they will detain you and break it themselves. In an extreme scenario, the very act of not having a Facebook account might make people (say, potential employers, or police even) assume you have something to hide and cost you.

  • Re:BFD (Score:5, Informative)

    by ZekoMal ( 1404259 ) on Saturday May 15, 2010 @01:57PM (#32220928)
    There is no guarantee of privacy with Facebook. Even if you kept your information hidden to everyone but your friends, your friends can slip up. If they use an application to fill out a survey about you, for example, that application instantly gets free access to your information. If they take a picture and tag you in it, any of their friends can see it.

    Plus, as Zuck made it obvious on the 13th, he's got all of your info and doesn't give a damn who gets it.

    Facebook changed the nature of friendship. It gave people who don't care about privacy the ability to share private information about their friends with complete strangers, without ever getting consent from the friend.
  • One more thing (Score:2, Informative)

    by Sensible Clod ( 771142 ) <dc-7 AT charter DOT net> on Saturday May 15, 2010 @02:11PM (#32221018) Homepage

    Facebook changed the nature of friendship. It gave people who don't care about privacy the ability to share private information about their friends with complete strangers, without ever getting consent from the friend.

    It actually goes one step further than that: It gave people who don't know every single detail of the TOS and all the other agreements the ability to share private information about their friends with complete strangers, without either friend's even knowing they've done so.

  • by calmofthestorm ( 1344385 ) on Saturday May 15, 2010 @02:59PM (#32221306)

    This. I nuked pretty much everything but friend lists and an email address, but one does not turn away from a total monopoly overnight. I can count on one hand the number of people I know who don't have facebook (and consider that unlike most situations, the set of people I know is actually quite relevant here)

  • by cymbeline ( 1792306 ) on Saturday May 15, 2010 @04:15PM (#32221762)
    There is an option beyond deactivating: []. That is what I've done, but I haven't confirmed whether or not they have erased all my data. And yes, that link was rather difficult to find. I was first tricked into deactivating my account when I attempted to delete it. In addition, you are completely right about exporting. It took me around an hour to download and save each individual photo I had.
  • by Daengbo ( 523424 ) <> on Saturday May 15, 2010 @09:13PM (#32223500) Homepage Journal

    Apparently, Zuck ended up paying $65M [], so I don't think getting laughed out of court is accurate.

The shortest distance between two points is under construction. -- Noelie Alito