Posts about privacy

NSA Admits It Analyzes 2 or 3 Hops

Inglis' admission isn't likely to help the effort to convince members of the House that the surveillance programs should be kept as is. Neither will a response offered by DNI counsel Robert Litt. Asked by committee chairman Bob Goodlatte if the government really thought the massive collection of phone records could be kept from the American people, Litt replied, "Well, um, we tried.

Etsy users irked after buyers, purchases exposed to the world

Even if users haven't entered their full names, their profiles are still searchable by username. Even better, people's Etsy profiles and their purchase histories (via the feedback they leave) are beginning to show up under Google results for their names. Even if the buyer didn't leave feedback, a seller could leave feedback for the buyer and still expose what that person purchased.Why does this matter? Not everyone wants their purchases to be made public--and some purchases are definitely more private than others. "I just found a woman who's Etsy profile comes up on Google as the 5th link. I was expecting 6 or 7 pages down, but it's on the very first page, right after her online resumes," wrote one concerned user on the Penny Arcade forums. "She signed up a year ago, under the old privacy policy, and hasn't logged in since 2010. And now I know what dildo she uses. Right down to the curvature and coloring."A different user added later on in the thread, "Found an XXL glass dildo with veins and swirled gold coloring (beautiful piece really) and checked to see if anyone favorited it. Someone did. She also favorited some cosplay cat eat hats [sic] and a bell collar/necklace thing. Then I found her on Facebook."Critics of Etsy's new policy seem to have a thing for searching for artisan dildos, but the point is pretty clear. Buyers have no idea that their purchases are being exposed, and they don't need to be embarrassing purchases to cause problems. We're reminded of the fallout from Facebook Beacon, the tool that allowed Facebook to show users' off-Facebook activities and purchases without their consent or knowledge. Facebook offered an opt-out for the service, but the damage was already done. Facebook eventually faced an FTC complaint and a class-action lawsuit--Facebook settled the suit in 2009 by shutting down the service and donating $9.5 million to an organization that fights for online privacy.