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Title: Facebook accused of tracking all users even if they delete accounts, ask never to be followed
Source: The Independent via Drudge
URL Source: http://www.independent.co.uk/life-s ... r-to-be-followed-10146631.html
Published: Mar 31, 2015
Author: Andrew Griffin
Post Date: 2015-03-31 15:28:16 by Tooconservative
Keywords: Facebook
Views: 1654
Comments: 14

A new report claims that Facebook secretly installs tracking cookies on users’ computers, allowing them to follow users around the internet even after they’ve left the website, deleted their account and requested to be no longer followed.

Academic researchers said that the report showed that the company was breaking European law with its tracking policies. The law requires that users are told if their computers are receiving cookies except for specific circumstances.

Facebook’s tracking — which it does so that it can tailor advertising — involves putting cookies or small pieces of software on users’ computers, so that they can then be followed around the internet. Such technology is used by almost every website, but European law requires that users are told if they are being given cookies or being tracked. Companies don’t have to tell users if the cookies are required to connect to a service or if they are needed to give the user information that they have specifically requested.

But Facebook’s tracking policy allows it to track users if they have simply been to a page on the company’s domain, even if they weren’t logged in. That includes pages for brands or events, which users can see whether or not they have an account.

Facebook disputes the accusations of the report, it told The Independent.

“This report contains factual inaccuracies,” a Facebook spokesperson said. “The authors have never contacted us, nor sought to clarify any assumptions upon which their report is based. Neither did they invite our comment on the report before making it public.

“We have explained in detail the inaccuracies in the earlier draft report (after it was published) directly to the Belgian DPA, who we understand commissioned it, and have offered to meet with them to explain why it is incorrect, but they have declined to meet or engage with us. However, we remain willing to engage with them and hope they will be prepared to update their work in due course”.

The report does not have any legal standing, and was written by independent academics.

With respect to its European data, Facebook is regulated by the Irish Data Protection Commissioner, who checks that Facebook is acting within the EU’s Data Protection Directive. As part of that regulation, Facebook is regularly audited.

Facebook has a page on its site that gives users’ information about cookies and how they are used on the network. The company makes clear that cookies are used for the purposes of advertising and other functions, and that users can opt out of such tracking if they wish to.

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#1. To: TooConservative (#0)

Set your browser to automatically delete cookies when you exit the browser, or manually do it yourself.

cranko  posted on  2015-03-31   17:38:24 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#2. To: cranko (#1)

Not just cookies. Even if you clear regular cookies, there are still the Adobe supercookies that follow you everywhere (unless you take measures to stop that).

Facebook’s tracking — which it does so that it can tailor advertising — involves putting cookies or small pieces of software on users’ computers, so that they can then be followed around the internet.

If you look at most any webpage, you'll see their Google tracking code.

< scr**t type="text/javascript">
        var _gaq = _gaq || [];
          _gaq.push(['_setAccount', 'UA-3639451-1']);

          (function() {
            var ga = document.createElement('script'); ga.type =
'text/javascript'; ga.async = true;
            ga.src = ('https:' == document.location.protocol ? 'https://ssl' :
'http://www') + '.google-analytics.com/ga.js';
            (document.getElementsByTagName('head')[0] ||
        < /script>
This sets a few object parameters for Google (the first 3 lines with gaq), then loads and installs the appropriate Google tracking script (*.google-analytics.com/ga.js) and which also tells Google your IP address and what page you are looking at. The Google script is attached it to the page HEAD where it will be activated and "phone home" to Google with your info and the site page info.

They have a lot of ways to track. And they cheat. They also routinely disregard whether you have set the DNT flag in your browser preferences (Do Not Track setting). DNT does you about as much good as trying to delete your Facebook account.

These academics are accusing Facebook of lying about how much tracking they are doing at non-Facebook sites. I think the academics will be able to demonstrate that Facebook is lying since their web pages will emit telltale info that you can see in the excellent (and free) WireShark and other network packet capture utilities.

It is a problem to get people to understand what is going on under the hood of these web pages. It's just not a fun chat topic. Only hopeless nerds seem to care about it.

Tooconservative  posted on  2015-03-31   18:50:39 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#3. To: TooConservative (#2)

Adobe supercookies

Flash is pretty much dead, except perhaps on two-way video chat porn sites (the adult version of show me yours and I'll show mine).

Just disable Flash. You really don't need it.

cranko  posted on  2015-03-31   19:29:58 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#4. To: TooConservative (#0)

Uh oh. Facehook could end up in heap big trouble in Europe. Better get out the checkbook.

Vicomte13  posted on  2015-03-31   20:25:56 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#5. To: Vicomte13 (#4)

The EU actually does much better at protecting its consumers from Microsoft and Google and Facebook. They have real teeth.

If only we followed suit but our legislators are too bought off or too stupid to grasp the tech essentials.

Tooconservative  posted on  2015-03-31   21:16:19 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#6. To: TooConservative (#0)

A new report claims that Facebook secretly installs tracking cookies on users’ computers, allowing them to follow users around the internet even after they’ve left the website, deleted their account and requested to be no longer followed.

If a computer user is that stupid to permit "tracking cookies" on their Internet exploits, whether on Facebook or any website, they deserve the disservice.

I permit ZERO cookies on my computer and frequently remove all history buffers of any browser I may use with an application that completes "erasure" with using advanced algorithms to write pseudo-random values to all unallocated disk after erasure (de-allocation).

buckeroo  posted on  2015-03-31   21:27:59 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#7. To: TooConservative (#5)

Yep. The key concept in Europe is PRIVACY, and the most ferocious avatars of privacy of all are the French.

In France, personal e-mails, done on a corporate computer, are personal: the employer commits a CRIME f the employer opens and reads private e-mail.

Privacy is pretty absolute.

Vicomte13  posted on  2015-03-31   21:39:06 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#8. To: Vicomte13 (#7)

Privacy is pretty absolute.

And not just a code word for sodomy and abortion which seems to be the notion of USSC.

Tooconservative  posted on  2015-04-01   4:10:43 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#9. To: TooConservative (#8)

Privacy is pretty absolute.

And not just a code word for sodomy and abortion which seems to be the notion of USSC.

In France, it's a code word for: "I can have an affair and its illegal for you to spy on me or tell anybody."

Truth is a defense against slander, but it is no defense against "atteinte a la vie privee". If you obtain knowledge by penetrating into private life, you've committed a crime by the fact that you have penetrated into private life, and the knowledge you have obtained is the proof of the crime you have committed.

It's not the English slander law, under which "the greater the truth, the greater the slander" - that's ridiculous. The English purpose has always been to shield powerful people from exposure of their actions, to protect the powerful from revelation of what they are doing.

That's not the French purpose. The French purpose is not aimed at protecting people from getting caught insider trading. It is to punish people who intrude into other people's business. The focus is different. Protection isn't the issue, it is active, assertive punishment of spies, private investigators, busybodies and nosy people.

French people like to be left alone. So, if you rent out the hotel room overlooking a gated, hedged villa, and you take a picture of the scenery out of that window, including the villa, you have done nothing wrong.

But, if you rent out the hotel room and sit in there with a telephoto lens and snap pictures of the celebrities enjoying dinner with their girlfriends on the veranda of the private villa, you have committed a crime. You can publish the photos, but if you do, you and the paper that printed it will be prosecuted, fined and owe damages for "attack on private life".

Basically, if you point a camera through somebody's hedge or windows, or follow him around to photograph him with his mistress at dinner at Le Cirque, you're a criminal. The public does not have the right to know the private lives of other people, and the people who go to collect the "gotcha" information on other people's private lives are criminals.

Likewise, employers. Employers do not need to know their employees private lives, and have no reason to be reading their private e-mail. The fact that it's on the company server doesn't change that.

In America, there is this thing called broad discovery, whereby if I sue you, I can demand that you produce to me all of your documents so that I can go through your stuff to find evidence against you and in my favor.

To the French, this is absurd reversal of the whole concept of justice and privacy. If you sue me, YOU have to prove it. I don't have to prove the case FOR you, and you don't have the right to MY papers so that you can make ME testify against myself! That is absurd. For public companies, there is some discovery, to the public prosecutors. but that only goes so far. It does not permit the employer to go rifling through people's private e-mails. Private is private, and privacy is more important than enforcement of rules or catching people.

I think that this is a legacy of the Reign of Terror and the Nazi Occupation. The French endured two periods of being spied upon in their personal lives for the purposes of reducing them to servitude. So they passed laws to make spying on personal life a crime.

It's a reversal of assumptions: it is far more important to repress busybodies than it is to repress adultery. That's the French mindset.

Now, interestingly, the French don't limit the state spying on e-mails and other things for the purposes of national security. Getting blown up or having the country overthrown is bad, so the state can do that. But that's for that purpose: national security, and done by the security types. It doesn't spill over into regular civilian judicial actions and lawsuits. The purpose of State espionage is to protect the country from attack, NOT to give private litigants an edge over each other in court.

Of course there ARE private investigators in France, and they DO photograph cheating spouses and hand over the evidence to the other spouse, who then can privately retaliate in whatever way s/he chooses (usually by having an affair of his/her own, more rarely, by divorce), but it's not evidence as such to hand to the court or the public to say "See! See!" Because if you do that, then you have attacked the private life of the mistress or boyfriend, and that's a crime.

You can get out of the relationship, but if you decide to use the media to go Pearl Harbor on somebody by exposing his/her private life, you're going to be hit with fines and you may go to jail.

Different mentality. I prefer it. Americans are so exposed to attack from all sectors. Employers can take action against them for anything, including what they do on their Facebook accounts at home. My view is that if the employer wants 24 hours of control, he has to pay 24 hours of salary. The French view is that employers who look at their employees private stuff are criminals.

Vicomte13  posted on  2015-04-01   7:35:02 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#10. To: Vicomte13 (#9)

I prefer more privacy than less. The sheer spectacle made of the lives of celebs and pols is ridiculous. It feeds some very base and ugly urges.

Tooconservative  posted on  2015-04-01   8:19:50 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#11. To: TooConservative (#10)

I prefer more privacy than less. The sheer spectacle made of the lives of celebs and pols is ridiculous. It feeds some very base and ugly urges.

The ability to be able to threaten people's livelihoods by prying into their lives and obtaining secret information to hold over them is the very essence of strangling out freedom.

There are two answers: (1) Everybody can straighten up and fly right, according to Christian principles. And if they don't, they get what's coming to them however exposed.

(2) Society is secular and there is no "flying right" that is anybody else's to judge. People who pry into other people's privacy are criminals with blackmail on their mind.

Option (2) leaves people freer.

Vicomte13  posted on  2015-04-01   10:41:46 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#12. To: Vicomte13, buckeroo, cranko, Pinguinite (#11)


ITWorld.com: Verizon subscribers can now opt out of 'supercookies'

erizon said in January that it would allow subscribers to opt out of the tracking mechanism, but it didn’t say when. On Tuesday, it said the identifier won’t be inserted for customers who opt out of its mobile advertising program.

The move hasn’t satisfied privacy advocates, who say many customers won’t be aware that they need to opt out of the program. The identifier should be “opt in” instead, those advocates say.

The EFF and other privacy groups have severely criticized the technology. While users can normally delete tracking cookies from their web browsers, Verizon’s system sends a unique identifier to every unencrypted website its customers visit from their mobile browser.

That allows third-party websites and advertisers to track people’s movements on the web, and users were unable to turn the identifier off, Hoffman-Andrews explained in a blog post last November.

Verizon has been serving up its users on a platter to all these tracking companies for years. The cookie they attach to your phone's data traffic can't be detected or shut off.

Every website you visit, including LF, get this treatment. Stone could probably identify any users with a Verizon cellphone by the hidden Verizon supercookie on every access to any webpage here at LF.

This sort of data tracking is why many sysops think every web connection should be encrypted.

Verizon is a scumbag company and they're far from alone.

Tooconservative  posted on  2015-04-02   8:38:08 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#13. To: TooConservative (#12)

This sort of data tracking is why many sysops think every web connection should be encrypted.

As my brother correctly states, on facebook, you are not the customer. You are the commodity.

This sort of data tracking is why many sysops think every web connection should be encrypted.

I think every internet communication should be encrypted. Email, web traffic, VOIP, video, everything. There's more than ample PC power to handle it. There is no reason not to.

Pinguinite  posted on  2015-04-02   13:30:53 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#14. To: Pinguinite (#13) (Edited)

There's more than ample PC power to handle it. There is no reason not to.

The NSA would whine. And promptly get funding for a vast expansion of their decryption capabilities.

Tooconservative  posted on  2015-04-02   13:49:13 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

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