Risk
6/26/2013
12:41 PM
Kevin Casey
Kevin Casey
Commentary
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Online Privacy: We Just Don't Care

Facebook leaked your data (again). Big Brother's watching everyone and everything. And Google is testing a "service" that sounds like you providing them a list of everything you own.

Maybe Mark Zuckerberg was right when he said, way back in 2010, that people just don't give a you-know-what about their privacy online.

The Facebook founder didn't quite put it that way. But he came close: "People have really gotten comfortable not only sharing more information and different kinds, but more openly and with more people," Zuckerberg said, soon after Facebook had drawn ire for making changes to its privacy settings.

The subtext, as U.K. newspaper The Guardian said at the time, was clear. It was also a bit of circular reasoning: The popularity of social sites like Facebook means that people no longer expect privacy on social sites like Facebook. "That social norm is just something that has evolved over time," Zuckerberg said.

"Devolved" would have been the better word choice.

Fast-forward to last Friday afternoon at 4:50 ET, when Facebook quietly copped to a previously undiscovered bug that may have publicly exposed the private contact information of 6 million users. The note begins: "At Facebook, we take people’s privacy seriously... ."

The announcement's timing is worth noting. Companies don't share news that they want people to pay attention to just before happy hour on a Friday -- and definitely not on the first day of summer.

The Huffington Post ran a thorough and rather entertaining dissection of Facebook's communications strategy. That strategy appears to have worked: On the grand and growing scale of online data breaches and privacy brouhahas, Facebook's prior episodes among them, this one barely generated a yawn.

[ Would you share information about your belongings with Google? Read Google Mine Wants To Track Your Stuff. ]

That might have something to do with bigger-picture timing: The latest data breach came right on the heels of The Washington Post's report that both the National Security Agency and FBI have direct lines to the servers of nine major internet companies -- Facebook among them. Hey, what's a few million leaked phone numbers and email addresses when the government has unfettered access to just about everything we do online?

Even with the Prism revelations, a funny thing happened: While there was a predictable amount of handwringing and media debate, the general response seemed more like a large collective shrug. In fact, I think that was my actual reaction -- a shrug. It was more unsurprising than unsettling. Hey, waddyagonnado?

Half of Americans actually approve of the practice, according to recent Pew Research polling. There was no mass exodus of users from Facebook, Skype, or any other technology company on the Prism list -- nor Dropbox, which got a "Coming Soon" pass in the story. We didn't all relocate to abandoned industrial parks and go off the grid like Gene Hackman in "Enemy of the State." (That movie and its fictional NSA paranoia came out in 1998, by the way.) We probably didn't even re-check our privacy settings in our favorite online services. We talked about it. Made jokes about it, even. But we seem more fascinated with Edward Snowden's catch-me-if-you-can flight than the actual implications of what he brought to light. We've already gone on about business and lives. Fuggedaboutit.

Is there any virtual line in the sand when it comes to online privacy? Is there any limit to what we'll share "openly and with more people" than ever before, as Zuckerberg put it? It doesn't seem so.

Previous
1 of 2
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
micjustin33
50%
50%
micjustin33,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/11/2014 | 4:54:34 AM
Online Privacy: We Just Don't Care
According to news by Forbes, teens in the US really care about their privacy, which comes as a surprise to many.

The web of social networking spun by Mark Zuckerberg has quickly spawned around the world to engulf a substantial majority of internet users.

I would also share 10 Things about Facebook That Affect Your Internet Privacy!
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Flash Poll
Current Issue
Cartoon
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-3341
Published: 2014-08-19
The SNMP module in Cisco NX-OS 7.0(3)N1(1) and earlier on Nexus 5000 and 6000 devices provides different error messages for invalid requests depending on whether the VLAN ID exists, which allows remote attackers to enumerate VLANs via a series of requests, aka Bug ID CSCup85616.

CVE-2014-3464
Published: 2014-08-19
The EJB invocation handler implementation in Red Hat JBossWS, as used in JBoss Enterprise Application Platform (EAP) 6.2.0 and 6.3.0, does not properly enforce the method level restrictions for outbound messages, which allows remote authenticated users to access otherwise restricted JAX-WS handlers ...

CVE-2014-3472
Published: 2014-08-19
The isCallerInRole function in SimpleSecurityManager in JBoss Application Server (AS) 7, as used in Red Hat JBoss Enterprise Application Platform (JBEAP) 6.3.0, does not properly check caller roles, which allows remote authenticated users to bypass access restrictions via unspecified vectors.

CVE-2014-3490
Published: 2014-08-19
RESTEasy 2.3.1 before 2.3.8.SP2 and 3.x before 3.0.9, as used in Red Hat JBoss Enterprise Application Platform (EAP) 6.3.0, does not disable external entities when the resteasy.document.expand.entity.references parameter is set to false, which allows remote attackers to read arbitrary files and have...

CVE-2014-3504
Published: 2014-08-19
The (1) serf_ssl_cert_issuer, (2) serf_ssl_cert_subject, and (3) serf_ssl_cert_certificate functions in Serf 0.2.0 through 1.3.x before 1.3.7 does not properly handle a NUL byte in a domain name in the subject's Common Name (CN) field of an X.509 certificate, which allows man-in-the-middle attackers...

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Dark Reading continuing coverage of the Black Hat 2014 conference brings interviews and commentary to Dark Reading listeners.