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Old 7th February 2012, 14:30   #16
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Default Re: Facebook is a surveillance engine not a friend

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Originally Posted by Daewood View Post
True, but that's too fragmented and basic to be of much use to someone who has a wrong intent. Say when you buy a car the data collected will not say whether you use X brand of perfume or love reading Y author or you wake up only by Z time.

But in FB and Gmail all the data gets consolidated. It's like a Master-key with access to many aspects of an individual's life including his behavioral patterns.
I agree Daewood and that is what I said, that a lot of this information is "floating" around, but it is already good enough for people to use it without your authority or consent.

The next time your car/bike comes up for renewal on Insurance you will know what I am saying, if you don't already do so!!

FB and google as you said are just smart enough to consolidate it and use it for markerting, why do you think FB is being valued at USD 75-100 billion. Also with FB and Google, We, I, have the choice of largely what I reveal. I, for one am not a "click like" crazy person and am sure FB or Google is not aware of what perfumes I like or acquainted with my sleep patterns. My FB account too has no information about me other than my DOB.

At the end of it calling FB a surveillance engine is stretching it. If people value their privacy so much, don't use it, period.
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Old 7th February 2012, 14:32   #17
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Default Re: Facebook is a surveillance engine not a friend

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This is not a problem, its trying to help by getting some context from the content that is available within its databases, to make your life easier.

If you do not want Google/Yahoo to do that, there is a well defined option called "Opt Out", and it would then not push any advertisement or do anything with content that is inside your email. Picture here.

A Good place to start would be google dashboard (of your profile) which lists all settings of all google applications at one place.
Thanks. I have done that. But let's say a newbie or casual user doesnot go thru all fine prints.
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Old 7th February 2012, 14:36   #18
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Lightbulb Re: Facebook is a surveillance engine not a friend

Facebook and google are not "The internet". there are plenty of alternatives you can use if you're paranoid about privacy.

And both these sites have a very detailed user agreement that specifies everything they do. People ignoring it and then whining about "privacy" have themselves to blame

When google changed privacy policies this year i got mails and plenty of popups notifying me about it. i was also given an option to discontinue their services if i did not agree with it. nothing was secret or done behind the curtains.

Privacy is essential till a certain limit but you cant willingly jump into a pond and then complain about getting wet
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Old 7th February 2012, 14:44   #19
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Default Re: Facebook is a surveillance engine not a friend

I'm not at all getting paranoid. I'm only against the way it is collected. Eg : let us say we are logged on to gmail, and search for something in the next tab, even our search pattern and usage is stored. And you should remember there is no free lunch.
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Old 7th February 2012, 14:44   #20
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Default Re: Facebook is a surveillance engine not a friend

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When google changed privacy policies this year i got mails and plenty of popups notifying me about it. i was also given an option to discontinue their services if i did not agree with it. nothing was secret or done behind the curtains.
I am not really sure that is/was the case with Facebook. I am not a member on FB, but I do remember reading about horror stories of members who suddenly found their private info suddenly made public because FB decided to 'upgrade' the privacy settings to reveal all instead of hide all.

Google has been accused of collecting illegal data over unsecure Wi Fi networks in Europe and is currently facing a lawsuite in the European courts AFAIK. Also it took much time and persuasion before Google agreed to erase such data from their systems. I don't know if this has been done, or if there have been any secret copies made. I am not discounting anything. While it may sound paranoid, but a good thing to remember is all these companies care about their revenues, not our privacy.

Selling subscriber numbers and details to clients willing to pay has been a substantial revenue generator for many telecom companies. How many of us knew that? Your insurance company sells your mobile number and email addresses to advertisers, your bank does it. Why should you not be paranoid?
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Old 7th February 2012, 15:10   #21
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Default Re: Facebook is a surveillance engine not a friend

I'm in advertising, and I may be able to offer a slightly different point of view.

As of today (and that's not to say it might not change) you are absolutely open to surveillance even if you have a mobile phone in your pocket. Your exact location (to the nearest police barricade) and the IMEI (which is directly traceable to you) are visible to the phone operator.

Therefore privacy is simply an illusion. If you still have it it's because the control is lax, but the capability exists.

Next, to the intrusiveness of advertising. Yes, advertising is intrusive but by design. It interrupts programming, it eats up editorial space and it screams at you from (regrettably) ugly hoardings. It is our job as advertising professionals to make sure it entertains you, and make you think. A job many of us do less than well, I admit, but we are supposed to make the interaction pleasant, surprising, and fresh.

The difference with interactive/digital advertising is that it is not intrusive at all. Using cookies to track user behaviour is as old as the sun and moon. With personal logins you are basically surrendering to the privacy policy and advertising terms that the service provider chooses to impose on you. However, because it is the most easily controllable medium, you have a number of options.

You may choose to block all (or almost all) advertising. Firefox comes with a wonderful ad-blocker that will block anything you want it to, including Google ads. I have one in action on my home machine. My work machines cannot be used in this mode (because I am in advertising).

You may choose to ignore advertising. All you need to do is not look, or not click. If you do not click an ad, the advertiser counts it as an impression and not a click. If you choose to click because the ad interests you, it is fundamentally your choice. It is the equivalent of a shopping mart, where the shelves are all decked out but you only pick what you want. That is the power of the user, his choice is the ultimate barometer of advertising.

Finally, you can choose to opt out or not log in to your service. That basically is a rejection of that specific medium. A gent I know had his cable TV connection removed every year two months before exams, so his son would focus on studying. It is possible to cut the cords, but since we are addicted to the medium, it is a difficult choice for most to make.

So if you choose to stay with your provider (Facebook or Google or whoever) you have to be able to accept the terms that it comes with. If it gets bad enough, enough people will leave the service for the provider to make the changes it needs to. This is the ultimate test - stickiness is a big measure of an online property and one with a declining user base (or slow-growth base) will never be as attractive as one that demonstrates high loyalty and high growth.

Therefore for the provider, they have to balance user privacy/retention, commercial viability (the ability to turn a profit) and intrusiveness of the advertising - if any. At the end of the day you may choose, as Stallman has done, to simply not use the service/s, and advocate for change. Each user has that choice and should make that choice. If advertising is what helps you choose the right products and services for you, it also should be able to let you choose to ignore and block itself.

Last edited by cranky : 7th February 2012 at 15:12.
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Old 7th February 2012, 16:07   #22
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Default Re: Facebook is a surveillance engine not a friend

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I'm in advertising, and I may be able to offer a slightly different point of view.
Fantastic write up Cranky and an eye opener at the same time as well, kudos to you.

Your voice holds more reason and sense and should be published in Economic Times rather than Stallman's who paradoxically is just trying to grab attention IMHO.

Last edited by PGNarain : 7th February 2012 at 16:09.
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Old 7th February 2012, 16:09   #23
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Default Re: Facebook is a surveillance engine not a friend

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Thanks. I have done that. But let's say a newbie or casual user doesnot go thru all fine prints.
That is something no one can help, folks need to read the fine print and if they do not have time to read up pages and pages of Terms then do understand that some of the data you are putting in could be used for purpose of making money by the platform provider (FB/Google/Yahoo). Its the price you pay to get that service free. Long long ago there was a discussion on making emails by subscription (and not free as it currently is) trust me that model did not succeed, its still available though.
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Old 7th February 2012, 16:29   #24
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Default Re: Facebook is a surveillance engine not a friend

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Its the price you pay to get that service free.
If Telecos decide to record what we speak for targeted marketing, should we agree for that too, because incoming calls are FREE?

Last edited by Daewood : 7th February 2012 at 16:32.
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Old 7th February 2012, 16:51   #25
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Default Re: Facebook is a surveillance engine not a friend

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If Telecos decide to record what we speak for targeted marketing, should we agree for that too, because incoming calls are FREE?
Excellent and valid point.
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Old 7th February 2012, 16:57   #26
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Default Re: Facebook is a surveillance engine not a friend

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If Telecos decide to record what we speak for targeted marketing, should we agree for that too, because incoming calls are FREE?
Actually it isn't free, you pay monthly fixed charges for them to let the incoming call get to you, only specific calls are free. So if you decide not to make any calls in a month you still will end up paying the monthly minimal bill. Not sure how it works on pre-paid though.

And just for the sake of this question (Although i know its off topic) they do make your number public for a price so as telemarketers can call you with offers etc. Now with DND in place they will need figure out another way of making money.
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Old 7th February 2012, 17:05   #27
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Default Re: Facebook is a surveillance engine not a friend

Over 3 years later, "deleted" Facebook photos are still online
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Old 7th February 2012, 17:45   #28
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Default Re: Facebook is a surveillance engine not a friend

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And just for the sake of this question (Although i know its off topic) they do make your number public for a price so as telemarketers can call you with offers etc.
My question was not about my Ph.No or user-Id being sold,
it was about the contents of my phone calls or email/msgs being sold.

And it isn't entirely off-topic. Very related. Personal phone calls and personal emails/ msgs are almost similar in intent.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mayankjha1806 View Post
Actually it isn't free, you pay monthly fixed charges for them to let the incoming call get to you, only specific calls are free. So if you decide not to make any calls in a month you still will end up paying the monthly minimal bill. Not sure how it works on pre-paid though.
Around 85% or around 700 million Indians use prepaid.
With lifetime-free incoming for a pre-paid connection at just Rs.20, which isn't enough for sustaining the services, if current outgoing rates aren't increased, imagine what will happen if Telecos too decide to follow the same path as FB or Gmail.

Last edited by Daewood : 7th February 2012 at 17:47.
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Old 7th February 2012, 18:50   #29
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Default Re: Facebook is a surveillance engine not a friend

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My question was not about my Ph.No or user-Id being sold,
it was about the contents of my phone calls or email/msgs being sold.

And it isn't entirely off-topic. Very related. Personal phone calls and personal emails/ msgs are almost similar in intent.

Around 85% or around 700 million Indians use prepaid.
With lifetime-free incoming for a pre-paid connection at just Rs.20, which isn't enough for sustaining the services, if current outgoing rates aren't increased, imagine what will happen if Telecos too decide to follow the same path as FB or Gmail.
+1. Android phones allows you to back up your phone to Google server. This, of course is done with our permission. I bet they can access our phones if necessary without our permission also. I have seen many friends keeping their sensitive data like PIN numbers, passwords, bank account numbers etc. in their mobile/tablet. These information can be accessed(which itself is wrong), and may land into wrong hands(dangerous) also.
I had a Flickr account where I used to post pictures. Later it was taken up by yahoo and the terms and conditions were changed. I choose to delete the account in entire fashion, due to change in t&c, and did so. This happened in 2006. Circa, Nov 2011, I was searching for some pictures in Google and saw a link pointing to the old pics which was posted in Flickr. I logged on to my yahoo account and deleted the same, one by one. Just imagine , the pictures you choose to delete still remain in their server, just imagine what sort of data volume would Google/FB having?

Last edited by Vasuki : 7th February 2012 at 18:51. Reason: Spell
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Old 7th February 2012, 19:08   #30
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Default Re: Facebook is a surveillance engine not a friend

Daewood has actually raised a very valid and serious point. Aren't your Google searches already being tracked and profiled so you are shown ads for products you 'might' be interested in? Sure there's no name against those searches today, but soon there will be. Or could be. After all the websites retrieve enough information from your browser (and store it within their databases) so they can identify you uniquely even when you return to the website after a couple of weeks. Today it may be cookie-based, so deleting the cookies gets rid of the tracking for a while. But how long till it happens at the server, and you can no longer erase it?

What if Google decided to automatically process your email contents so they could run an even more focussed ad campaign? What if the department of post and telegraph thought of sending you catalogs of things you like to shop for after going through your correspondence for a whole year? After all a few paise for a postcard anywhere in India is next to free, isn't it?

With governments trying to secure the power to monitor and edit content flowing through every possible communication channel, the days aren't far off when telcos will have to mandatorily keep voice recordings of calls available with them, to be provided on demand to any statutory investigation agency, and some bright MBA grad has this money-spinning idea of processing these records and profiling them for marketers.
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