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-2011-4403
Published: 2015-04-24
Multiple cross-site request forgery (CSRF) vulnerabilities in Zen Cart 1.3.9h allow remote attackers to hijack the authentication of administrators for requests that (1) delete a product via a delete_product_confirm action to product.php or (2) disable a product via a setflag action to categories.ph...

CVE-2012-2930
Published: 2015-04-24
Multiple cross-site request forgery (CSRF) vulnerabilities in TinyWebGallery (TWG) before 1.8.8 allow remote attackers to hijack the authentication of administrators for requests that (1) add a user via an adduser action to admin/index.php or (2) conduct static PHP code injection attacks in .htusers...

CVE-2012-2932
Published: 2015-04-24
Multiple cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities in TinyWebGallery (TWG) before 1.8.8 allow remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via the (1) selitems[] parameter in a copy, (2) chmod, or (3) arch action to admin/index.php or (4) searchitem parameter in a search action to admin/...

CVE-2012-5451
Published: 2015-04-24
Multiple stack-based buffer overflows in HttpUtils.dll in TVMOBiLi before 2.1.0.3974 allow remote attackers to cause a denial of service (tvMobiliService service crash) via a long string in a (1) GET or (2) HEAD request to TCP port 30888.

CVE-2015-0297
Published: 2015-04-24
Red Hat JBoss Operations Network 3.3.1 does not properly restrict access to certain APIs, which allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary Java methos via the (1) ServerInvokerServlet or (2) SchedulerService or (3) cause a denial of service (disk consumption) via the ContentManager.

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.