Perimeter
6/1/2010
12:27 PM
50%
50%

Facebook: Screw You, Privacy Hugger

As you know, Facebook recently overhauled its privacy controls -- or, well, overhauled the user interface to them. Upshot: Get over the privacy thing. But is that really what we want?

As you know, Facebook recently overhauled its privacy controls -- or, well, overhauled the user interface to them. Upshot: Get over the privacy thing. But is that really what we want?Facebook's take is that it has made material changes to make privacy restrictions easier to use. But while it's true certain elements of setting one's privacy on the vast social media network have changed, all of the underlying privacy models and business strategies have remained exactly as they were. In fact, Facebook sounds more entrenched in its indifference to privacy than ever.

A National Public Radio piece on the privacy control changes investigated Facebook users who had inadvertently placed information on display to the Internet and found that while they might not have been aware of how widely the information would be available, they weren't necessarily concerned about it. The NPR reporter used website Openbook.org to look for the phrase "my new cell phone number."

It's a great bit of radio. The reporter calls up a couple of inadvertent number posters. Here's the written summary from NPR:

Heidi Irbi in South Carolina was a little surprised that NPR was able to see her photo, her status update -- and her number. She thought that information went only to her Facebook "friends."

At the same time, Irbi says she doesn't really mind that her number went out to the rest of the world. Another woman whose number came up in the search, Judy Corley, was even less worried.

"I'm a gun-toting Texan, so I just don't have much concern about it," Corley says.

You have to love it: "I'm a gun-toting Texan..."

But note this, gun-toters: As far as I can tell, both the reporter and Heidi hung up the phone, logged in to Facebook, and changed their privacy settings. The Heidi Irbi in South Carolina who I can find doesn't share her status updates. None of the Corleys in Texas share theirs, either.

Ain't that peculiar.

I think most people (including these, according to the NPR piece) at least imagine they aren't handing over their personal information, as it were, lock, stock, and barrel. And that's not the default model Facebook uses, with or without the new user interface. More on the CSI view of privacy models here.

And one important omission from the NPR piece: If you search Openbook.org for "my new cell number," you'll find a lot more people saying "contact me for my new cell number" than you'll find people just throwing their cell numbers out into the world. How can that be if privacy is dead?

CSI Director Robert Richardson's new cell phone number is already far too widely distributed. Reach him via gocsi.com.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Flash Poll
Title Partner’s Role in Perimeter Security
Title Partner’s Role in Perimeter Security
Considering how prevalent third-party attacks are, we need to ask hard questions about how partners and suppliers are safeguarding systems and data.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2012-1978
Published: 2015-05-21
Multiple cross-site request forgery (CSRF) vulnerabilities in Simple PHP Agenda 2.2.8 and earlier allow remote attackers to hijack the authentication of administrators for requests that (1) add an administrator via a request to auth/process.php, (2) delete an administrator via a request to auth/admi...

CVE-2015-0741
Published: 2015-05-21
Multiple cross-site request forgery (CSRF) vulnerabilities in Cisco Prime Central for Hosted Collaboration Solution (PC4HCS) 10.6(1) and earlier allow remote attackers to hijack the authentication of arbitrary users, aka Bug ID CSCut04596.

CVE-2015-0742
Published: 2015-05-21
The Protocol Independent Multicast (PIM) application in Cisco Adaptive Security Appliance (ASA) Software 9.2(0.0), 9.2(0.104), 9.2(3.1), 9.2(3.4), 9.3(1.105), 9.3(2.100), 9.4(0.115), 100.13(0.21), 100.13(20.3), 100.13(21.9), and 100.14(1.1) does not properly implement multicast-forwarding registrati...

CVE-2015-0746
Published: 2015-05-21
The REST API in Cisco Access Control Server (ACS) 5.5(0.46.2) allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (API outage) by sending many requests, aka Bug ID CSCut62022.

CVE-2015-0915
Published: 2015-05-21
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in RAKUS MailDealer 11.2.1 and earlier allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via a crafted attachment filename.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Join security and risk expert John Pironti and Dark Reading Editor-in-Chief Tim Wilson for a live online discussion of the sea-changing shift in security strategy and the many ways it is affecting IT and business.