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Author Topic: Facebook, privacy, and the CIA
Callipygous
BlabberMouth, a Blabber Odyssey
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Icon 1 posted January 17, 2008 07:00      Profile for Callipygous     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
This is an interesting read. It is quite easy to pick apart, as he seems to head too deeply into paranoid conspiracy theory land for me, and seems to have little understanding of what Facebook does and why it is popular. Nonetheless he is right about much else, and much of the information about the CIA investment in Facebook is disturbing.

I joined Facebook last year so that I could see my daughters photos while she was living abroad that year and follow her news, but I don't use it otherwise. She is in her last year at university, and tells me that in the library on computers, whatever other things students are doing, just about everyone there has their Facebook homepage open. She has also noticed that at student parties, the room often is so full of people taking pictures of each other to post on Facebook showing what a vibrant social life they have, that they almost forget to have a good time. It didn't happen unless you've posted it on the Internet folks!

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"Knowledge is Power. France is Bacon" - Milton

Posts: 2922 | From: Brighton - UK | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged
TheMoMan
BlabberMouth, a Blabber Odyssey
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Icon 1 posted January 17, 2008 07:13      Profile for TheMoMan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
_______________________ You have some very good points. I try not to be too paranoid. However when I look at the blocked attempts on Firestarter I wonder if I am paranoid enough.

So I was wondering about Comp. Safety (you know the condom on the ethernet cable). I know that there are live Linux distro's, but what about a ROM or burned install on a CD then only personal files on the actual HD. No E-mail addresses no bookmarks nothing that could assist a hacker from taking control of your box, you might not even have to have a fire wall.

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Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.


Benjamin Franklin,

Posts: 5848 | From: Just South of the Huron National Forest, in the water shed of the Rifle River | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged
dragonman97

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Icon 1 posted January 17, 2008 08:35      Profile for dragonman97   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
It's impossible to be truly secure /and/ networked at the same time /iff/ that network has access to the Internet.

If /any/ information of yours is accessed or uploaded to resources on the Internet, you run the risk of data compromise. If you use your credit card in a store, you run the risk of data compromise. Same goes for restaurants (doubly so!!!), doctor's offices (and with good enough lawyers, they can probably get around HIPAA), gas stations. Some have better security than others.

If your computer is *uber-secure* and it is /impossible/ to reach the information stored on it while on the Internet (e.g. Knoppix with NO hard drive) while using a browser that does not permit JS to run, cookies, referers [sic] disabled, and other means of CSRF/XSS locked down, it is *still* possible for the packets to be sniffed through any hop along the way.

-- The easiest way is via insecure wireless...but someone could also be sitting on the copper...or at greater expense...sitting in an undocumented room at AT&T on the West Coast (*cough*). The only protection against this is SSL.

--If you use a VPN or SOCKS5 proxy via SSH (which I use on insecure networks), it's still possible for the endpoint to be sniffed, unless you're only accessing resources at the endpoint, and you /trust/ the endpoint. Furthermore, the endpoint can potentially be hacked via weak application security, or leaked via a rogue admin.

--Also, all the security in the world won't keep you from getting phished if you don't pay attention.

--You could even fall prey to DNS poisoning, if your ISP and the roots upstream of it are not configured securely. However, SSL can also protect you here, as the cert has to be signed by someone in your list of CAs, and that can't be readily forged. Certs can be legitimately made for typo-squatted addresses, though.

Bottom line?
[Bob Grant]It's sick out there, and getting sicker.[/Bob Grant]

Use Facebook or the like at your own risk. Use the Internet at your own risk.

Oh, and try not to worry too much about these things -- using a little bit of common sense will go a long way, and your odds of getting hacked aren't /too/ high.

(If you live in the States, it's not a bad idea to get a free annual credit report, though.)

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There are three things you can be sure of in life: Death, taxes, and reading about fake illnesses online...

Posts: 9332 | From: Westchester County, New York | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
TheMoMan
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Icon 1 posted January 17, 2008 08:44      Profile for TheMoMan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
_______________________ Hi All this came in today, I often contact my Congress Person.

Dear Mr MoMan:

Thank you for contacting me about domestic wiretapping by the
National Security Agency (NSA). I understand and appreciate
your point of view on this issue, and I am glad to have this chance
to respond to you.

In December of 2005, The New York Times revealed that
President Bush had ordered a large-scale program of phone and e-
mail surveillance against Americans who were suspected of links
with terrorist groups. It the ensuing months, it became clear that
this program had been going on since late 2001, and had been
conducted with minimal Congressional oversight and no
Congressional authorization. Members of Congress from both
parties have been highly critical of the President's program, which
violates the requirements of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance
Act of 1978 and poses a serious threat to the basic Constitutional
rights of American citizens.

Recently, additional details about the President's "Terrorist
Surveillance Program" have come to light, including evidence that
the NSA has been secretly collecting the phone records of tens of
millions of Americans. If these reports are true, such activity goes
well beyond the targeting of a handful of legitimate suspects and
raises serious legal and Constitutional concerns. I have repeatedly
joined with my colleagues to demand that the President answer to
Congress and the American people. I will continue to do so,
despite the President's refusal to come clean with either Congress
or the American people.

As a Member of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee
on Telecommunications and the Internet, I supported hearings and
a full investigation into the transfer of phone records to the NSA.
While intelligence is a critical element of our war on terror, it does
not represent a blank check to trample the rights of millions of
innocent citizens by monitoring their phone records, cell phone
records or emails.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me. If there is
anything further my staff or I can do to assist you, please do not
hesitate to call on me again.

Sincerely,

BART STUPAK
Member of Congress

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Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.


Benjamin Franklin,

Posts: 5848 | From: Just South of the Huron National Forest, in the water shed of the Rifle River | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged
Sxeptomaniac

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Icon 1 posted January 17, 2008 08:57      Profile for Sxeptomaniac   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Callipygous:
Nonetheless he is right about much else, and much of the information about the CIA investment in Facebook is disturbing.

Maybe I missed something, but what I read is that one of the senior partners of one of the venture capital firms that invested in Facebook is also on the board of the CIA's venture capital wing, and not that the CIA invested in Facebook.

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Let's pray that the human race never escapes from Earth to spread its iniquity elsewhere. - C. S. Lewis

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dragonman97

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Icon 1 posted January 17, 2008 09:30      Profile for dragonman97   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
So...I'm finally reading TFA, and I saw a very curious piece of writing:
quote:

After 9/11, the US intelligence community became so excited by the possibilities of new technology and the innovations being made in the private sector, that in 1999 they set up their own venture capital fund, In-Q-Tel, which "identifies and partners with companies developing cutting-edge technologies to help deliver these solutions to the Central Intelligence Agency and the broader US Intelligence Community (IC) to further their missions".

Let's do the Time Warp again?

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There are three things you can be sure of in life: Death, taxes, and reading about fake illnesses online...

Posts: 9332 | From: Westchester County, New York | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
TheMoMan
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Icon 1 posted January 17, 2008 09:41      Profile for TheMoMan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
____________________________ Nine Eleven was so bad that it doesn't matter when some other event happoned blame it on 9/11 Next we will hear that Pearl Harbor could have been prevented if we would have been snooping into E-mails.

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Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.


Benjamin Franklin,

Posts: 5848 | From: Just South of the Huron National Forest, in the water shed of the Rifle River | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged
Ugh, MightyClub
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Icon 1 posted January 17, 2008 10:45      Profile for Ugh, MightyClub     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by dragonman97:
(If you live in the States, it's not a bad idea to get a free annual credit report, though.)

Even better, stagger your report from each of the three reporting companies over the course of a calendar year. You get one report *per agency* per year, with no requirement that you do all three agencies at the same time. The MightyClub household gets a free credit report every two months.

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Ugh!

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matt.hickford
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Icon 1 posted January 17, 2008 10:50      Profile for matt.hickford         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
> It is quite easy to pick apart.
Agreed, the author states that he has never used the site. It's really an article on the politics of some of the board members (certainly disturbing), arguing that facebook run by the CIA. Unsurprisingly, he mentions not how facebook was created by students at university.

Some of the rhetoric is pretty cheap, writing not 'the society for artificial intelligence' (harmless) or similar, for 'the so-called society for artificial intelligence' (highly suspicious, must be a conspiracy)

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dragonman97

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Icon 1 posted January 17, 2008 14:45      Profile for dragonman97   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Ugh, MightyClub:
quote:
Originally posted by dragonman97:
(If you live in the States, it's not a bad idea to get a free annual credit report, though.)

Even better, stagger your report from each of the three reporting companies over the course of a calendar year. You get one report *per agency* per year, with no requirement that you do all three agencies at the same time. The MightyClub household gets a free credit report every two months.
Absolutely. I was going to add that, but my post was long enough as is. [Razz] I run mine once every 4 months.

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There are three things you can be sure of in life: Death, taxes, and reading about fake illnesses online...

Posts: 9332 | From: Westchester County, New York | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
dragonman97

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Icon 1 posted January 17, 2008 14:48      Profile for dragonman97   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by matt.hickford:
> It is quite easy to pick apart.
Agreed, the author states that he has never used the site. It's really an article on the politics of some of the board members (certainly disturbing), arguing that facebook run by the CIA. Unsurprisingly, he mentions not how facebook was created by students at university.

Some of the rhetoric is pretty cheap, writing not 'the society for artificial intelligence' (harmless) or similar, for 'the so-called society for artificial intelligence' (highly suspicious, must be a conspiracy)

While it's good to apply a critical eye to it, and the political bent is a bit extreme... one should not be too quick to dismiss it. The privacy implications of Facebook are *huge* and most people quickly ignore them in pursuit of shiny things.

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There are three things you can be sure of in life: Death, taxes, and reading about fake illnesses online...

Posts: 9332 | From: Westchester County, New York | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Callipygous
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Icon 1 posted January 18, 2008 04:25      Profile for Callipygous     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by dragonman97:
While it's good to apply a critical eye to it, and the political bent is a bit extreme... one should not be too quick to dismiss it. The privacy implications of Facebook are *huge* and most people quickly ignore them in pursuit of shiny things.

Exactly, dman which was why I posted it. The point is that it is a mistake to think of Facebook as a relatively benevolent business run by a bunch of brattish kids, as the money behind them comes from people with some fairly extreme right wing views with connections to the CIA. Also sxepto, sure the CIA has not directly invested in Facebook, but if they wanted to, perhaps to ensure that they always have a key to the back door, do you imagine that they would use their own venture capital arm, or would they be more likely to channel funds through sympathetic friends?

--------------------
"Knowledge is Power. France is Bacon" - Milton

Posts: 2922 | From: Brighton - UK | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged
TheMoMan
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Icon 1 posted January 18, 2008 06:16      Profile for TheMoMan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
__________________________ It seems that some US Mayor has some images on My Space or Face Book that are some what not, what she would use on campaign posters unless she is trying to get the perv vote.


http://www.kimatv.com/news/13762007.html

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Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.


Benjamin Franklin,

Posts: 5848 | From: Just South of the Huron National Forest, in the water shed of the Rifle River | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged
GrumpySteen

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Icon 1 posted January 18, 2008 07:07      Profile for GrumpySteen     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
My first reaction is to wonder why anyone would bother with secret funding and a covert operation to gain backdoor access to information that people are putting online for the express purpose of allowing others to see it.
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Sxeptomaniac

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Icon 1 posted January 18, 2008 10:28      Profile for Sxeptomaniac   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Steen:
My first reaction is to wonder why anyone would bother with secret funding and a covert operation to gain backdoor access to information that people are putting online for the express purpose of allowing others to see it.

I was wondering the same thing. The whole CIA connection to Facebook is a pretty slim thread. Being aware of what information you give out online is just good sense, and there's other aspects of the current intelligence-gathering techniques that are worthy of concern, but that article just seems like paranoia to me.

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Let's pray that the human race never escapes from Earth to spread its iniquity elsewhere. - C. S. Lewis

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dragonman97

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Icon 1 posted January 18, 2008 11:21      Profile for dragonman97   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Behind the scenes, full-fledged data mining? I'm sure someone clever could do something interesting with the data in there.

I'm still skeptical. I'm much more worried about things we /know/ are going on, like NSA wiretaps of phone & data, waterboarding, and rendition.

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There are three things you can be sure of in life: Death, taxes, and reading about fake illnesses online...

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Serenak

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Icon 1 posted January 18, 2008 15:39      Profile for Serenak     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
And surely stupidity like posted by MoMan above.. I mean come on... the woman wasn't exactly "exposing herself" - I bet most of the "moral whiners" show a lot more flesh on their vacations to Florida or St Tropez or wherever the hell they blow their cash on visiting - hell the "infamous" UK Calendar Girls of the Women's Institute were more risqué than that!!11!!!

OMG "Land of the Free" and home of the MASSIVE "adult entertainment" film industry (read pr0n) can't bear to see a woman in a bra that conceals more than most bathing costumes? Either you are having me on, or the US is more messed up in the head than I ever thought possible!

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"So if you want my address - it's No. 1 at the end of the bar, where I sit with the broken angels, clutching at straws and nursing my scars..."

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TheMoMan
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Icon 1 posted January 18, 2008 16:20      Profile for TheMoMan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
____________________________Either you are having me on, or the US is more messed up in the head than I ever thought possible!

Yup You got it. Seems that to some people Abortion and the death penalty are not the same, to me a life is snuffed.

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Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.


Benjamin Franklin,

Posts: 5848 | From: Just South of the Huron National Forest, in the water shed of the Rifle River | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged
Callipygous
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Icon 1 posted January 18, 2008 18:54      Profile for Callipygous     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Steen:
My first reaction is to wonder why anyone would bother with secret funding and a covert operation to gain backdoor access to information that people are putting online for the express purpose of allowing others to see it.

Facebook is not like MySpace unless you let them most people see very little indeed of your info, which makes it feel less of a public notice board than MySpace.

--------------------
"Knowledge is Power. France is Bacon" - Milton

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dragonman97

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Icon 1 posted January 18, 2008 18:55      Profile for dragonman97   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
“Placing provocative photos on the Internet using an elected official title is unacceptable,” says a statement written by Arlington's concerned citizens group. “Due to the seriousness of these concerns, we are asking for the mayor's immediate resignation. If she is not willing to resign, we are prepared to proceed with a recall.”
I might take that remark /somewhat/ seriously if the fellow reading it had more than a 5th grade reading level. Instead, I find it makes that mayor's opponents look like children. [Razz]

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There are three things you can be sure of in life: Death, taxes, and reading about fake illnesses online...

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GrumpySteen

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Icon 1 posted January 18, 2008 19:40      Profile for GrumpySteen     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Callipygous wrote:
Facebook is not like MySpace unless you let them most people see very little indeed of your info, which makes it feel less of a public notice board than MySpace.

If it feels less public to you, I suspect you aren't browsing other people's profiles and seeing all the stuff they've posted. I have accounts on both and, to be honest, the main difference is that there seem to be a great deal fewer porn site ads masquerading as profiles on Facebook than there are on MySpace.

MyDungeonSpace, on the other hand... nah, let's not go there [Wink]
*adjusts his halo*

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Worst. Celibate. Ever.

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Aditu
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Icon 1 posted January 19, 2008 10:06      Profile for Aditu     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I guess I never assume that anything on the net is private. I try not share things I wouldn't put on a billboard. Although board I frequent a lot probably have more personal things on than I should post.

We had a teen patron at my library loose a scholarship to a religous college because they found her party pictures at Myspace or some place.

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