Posts Tagged ‘social engineering’


Reading Over Your Shoulder: Social Readers and Privacy Law

March 19, 2012

Margot Kaminski has an article in Wake Forest Law Review. Online that begins:

My friends, who are generally well educated and intelligent, read a lot of garbage. I know this because since September 2011, their taste in news about Justin Bieber, Snooki, and the Kardashians has been shared with me through “social readers” on Facebook.[1] Social readers instantaneously list what you are reading on another website, without asking for your approval before disclosing each individual article you read. They are an example of what Facebook calls “frictionless sharing,” where Facebook users ostensibly influence each other’s behavior by making their consumption of content on other websites instantly visible to their friends.[2] Many people do not think twice about using these applications, and numerous publications have made them available, including the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and Guardian.[3]


  1. See, e.g., Ian Paul, Wall Street Journal Social on Facebook: A First Look, Today @PCWorld Blog (Sep. 20, 2011, 7:02 AM),
  2. Jason Gilbert, Facebook Frictionless App Frenzy Will Make Your Life More Open, Huffington Post (Jan. 18, 2012),
  3. See The Washington Post Social Reader, Wash. Post, (last visited Feb. 26, 2012); Press Release, The Guardian, Guardian Announces New App on Facebook to Make News More Social (Sept, 23, 2011), available at
    -press-office/guardian-launches-facebook-app; Paul, supra note 1.

Facebook Profiles Accurately Predict Job Performance [STUDY]Facebook Profiles Accurately Predict Job Performance [STUDY]

February 22, 2012

Do you want to know how that applicant you just interviewed will actually perform on the job? Check out her Facebookprofile.

That’s the advice of a new study from the Northern Illinois University, the University of Evansville and Auburn University. The researchers recruited a group of four Facebook-savvy human resources professionals and students to evaluate the Facebook profiles of 56 users. The four perused each of the profiles for about 10 minutes each before grading them according to the so-called Big Five personality traits (openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism).


Google offering to pay web users to track their every move

February 14, 2012

Less than a month after announcing a controversial new privacy policy that shares user data across all its sites with no opt-out option, Google is introducing a system to monitor all online activity of those who participate in a program called Screenwise.

In exchange for unrestricted access to information on your every online move, the search and software giant is offering financial compensation.

Do you want to sell your privacy?


Path caught storing users’ unencrypted data

February 8, 2012

Path is a 16 month old social network that acts as a personal journal and allows you to share photo, video, music, people, places, and text to a select network of 150 people. Since version 2 was released, Path has surged to just over 2 million users.

In the last few hours since Thampi posted his discovery online, Path users have been up in arms. They were never asked permission for Path to access their address book. The bigger worry? Though with most apps collected data is encrypted, it appears Path is storing the actual information so all of your contacts are now online.

Dave Morin, Co-Founder and CEO of Path, was quick to respond in the comments of Thampi’s post. We believe that this type of friend finding & matching is important to the industry and that it is important that users clearly understand it, so we proactively rolled out an opt-in for this on our Android client a few weeks ago and are rolling out the opt-in for this in 2.0.6 of our iOS Client, pending App Store approval. When asked why an opt-in for them to collect your data wasn’t included from the very beginning, Morin responded that it was industry best practise.

 The App Store guidelines do not specifically discuss contact information. However we believe users need further transparency on how this works, so we’ve been proactively addressing this…We fundamentally believe that you as a user should always have control over your information and data and you can always email our service team and we will remove anything you’d like from our servers.

It is good to see such openness in response but it’s a naive one. Apple’s app store guidelines states “Apps cannot transmit data about a user without obtaining the user’s prior permission.”


The FBI vs the FTC: the battle for user privacy in social media

February 1, 2012

Why should you care that the FBI wants to better reap intelligence? The agency’s RFI comes swaddled in the dialect of benevolent care for national security. From the document:

Intelligence analysts will monitor social media looking for threatening responses to news of the day such as major policy announcements by the federal government, for responses to natural disasters like an earthquake or hurricane, or indicators of pending adverse events.

Yes, of course we want our intelligence agencies to have advanced intelligence when it relates to terrorism or natural disasters. But do we really want these agencies to have better ways to pinpoint us if they associate our online personas with given keywords, rightly or wrongly drawing assumptions and gathering ever-more information that can and will be used against us in a court of law?


Charlene Li: Expert on Social Media and Internet Marketing

October 17, 2011



Facebook Claims It Can Use Kids’ ‘Likes’ As it Likes, Wants Class Action Tossed

August 9, 2011

Facebook asked a federal judge to dismiss a class action accusing it of exploiting children, claiming that Facebook users’ “like” statements qualify as matters of public interest.
“Expressions of consumer opinion, such as the plaintiffs’ Like statements challenged here, have repeatedly qualified as matters of public interest under the First Amendment,” Facebook claimed in a motion seeking “more definite statement or dismissal.”

Source Facebook Claims It Can Use Kids’ ‘Likes’ As it Likes, Wants Class Action Tossed