• The new privacy policy’s here! The new privacy policy’s here!

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    ISSUE 19.32 • 2022-08-08 LEGAL BRIEF By Max Stul Oppenheimer, Esq. On July 26, Meta (aka Facebook) changed its privacy policy. So this is a good time
    [See the full post at: The new privacy policy’s here! The new privacy policy’s here!]

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    • #2468433

      Imagine how much safer and saner the world would be if we just abandoned social medial altogether!  I’ve actively avoided it from day one.

      Personally, I wouldn’t mind seeing all social media targeted and destroyed.  I believe it is the worst aspect of technology manifested to date.  It has caused the largest disruption in health and happiness.  If there was ever anything that needed to be regulated to death, this is it.

       

      9 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2468546

        I’ve actively avoided it from day one.

        Same here!

        When Facebook first came on the scene, I actually took the time to carefully read thru their entire service agreement and quickly realized it presented a huge privacy problem.

        I had to look a few terms up to find out what they actually meant and it became obvious they intended to use any/all personal data you entered with no “user control” over what they did with it (i.e. by signing up for an account you “agreed” they could use any data they gathered from you however they wanted.)

        NO THANKS!

        I’ve since avoided signing up for any of the “infamous” social medial sites so popular these days.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2468577

        Absolutely agree with KevSpa comments!  I’ve been using the World Wide Web since the mid/late 90’s as required for job purposes and at home since 2004.  What a bill of bogus goods sold to the seemingly mindless millions of Americans and others around the world peering into their electronic ulcer aka smartphone in what seems every conscious moment!  Social Media… Ugh!  Phew!  Madison Avenue, New York is giddy everyday of the year at how successful their advertising power has been.  What was the name of that 60’s era book?  Oh yes… A Nation of Sheep.

    • #2468441

      Great information, as usual!

      How does the Meta privacy policy affect individuals who have no accounts with Meta or its subsidiaries and have never explicitly “accepted” the policy?

      Does the collection and use of information about those individuals (with or without their knowledge) violate the trade-secret laws?

      Does the law require that Meta provide a mechanism to explicitly rescind (or terminate) the data sharing and collection contract?

      6 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2468530

        I would imagine that if a friend is using the service and therefore agreed to the privacy policy, that anything they post about you (intentional or not) and any associated metadata derived from it would be fair game for Meta.  How many regular people have an NDA with their friends? As for Meta (what an “in your face” name change btw), they’re teflon.

        Terminating the collection contract or swearing off the privacy policy, if a mechanism were to exist, would be tantamount to terminating the account (but not the data already collected and stored and future data from “partners”) because slurping your data and selling it to advertisers is their business. IOW, as it stands, if you want to use the service, you have to agree to a complete package of overstepping that tilts the balance of power firmly in their favor.  Take it or leave it.  It’s fundamentally wrong to use your content like they do, but the will is not there to reign in the industry and the big players have the money to keep it “legal”.

        It would be best not to catch the facebook virus in the first place, but even for people on the fence, FOMO means most people take that pill and forget about it and move on.  I think it’s only people like us that wring our hands over it, because we believe privacy and laws regarding it are paramount to a functioning and equitable free society.

        3 users thanked author for this post.
    • #2468533

      From the rather long and really disturbing summary by Oppenheimer of the new policy by Facebook (Meta? Really?  Zuckerberg can call it whatever he likes and so can I), after reading it, I dare ask: How is this new policy different from the old one (assuming there was one, besides “let’s try and stay out of jail, OK?”) And this is a real question I am asking because I want to know.

      Another thing: From Oppenheimer’s blog:

      Obviously, the best step to take to maintain confidentiality is not to tell anyone. Sometimes that is not feasible.

      An alternative is to disclose the information subject to a nondisclosure agreement, essentially a contract that limits how the person to whom the information is disclosed may use the information.

      I have another option: not to participate in anything (e.g. Facebook) that is meant to disseminate your information to whomever might be interested in having it. Doing something on one of those is not like having chat at a pub or between women in a sewing circle: everyone can see and “follow” you and instantly gather all information about yourself you care to mention there including, for example Facebook itself. Same applies to Twitter and similar Internet-based outfits that let people show themselves to the world and, or get in close and sometimes unguarded confidential contact with each other and also with unintended others. Including Facebook and “partners.”

      Well, OK, you might say, but what about you OscarCP? Are you telling us with a straight face to go off the grid (Facebook-wise) while you do exactly what yourself, eh?

      Alright: what I do is exactly nothing: I am not on Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp? or any of the other outfits with cool, catchy names. Surprising and even dubious as it might seem to some, I am still clicking along, have been clicking along, in fact, since before these things first appeared.

      >Fine, but what if my job, my significant other or my mother makes it necessary for me to be in Facebook, WhatsApp, or whatever?
      >I don’t know what you can do about your mother, but the others you can keep or change, that’s up to you.

      When I was born, grew up, became a full adult and long after that, none of those things existed and we managed, we survived. We even had friends, nice parties, got along, some of us thrived. Did interesting things at work and in life, generally. I am still at it, doing interesting things, etc. And still Facebook-less. Go figure.

      Ex-Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7); since mid-2017 using also macOS. Presently on Monterey 12.15 & sometimes running also Linux (Mint).

      MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
      Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
      macOS Monterey; browsers: Waterfox "Current", Vivaldi and (now and then) Chrome; security apps. Intego AV

      4 users thanked author for this post.
    • #2468543

      I think that how business is allowed to use data needs to be severely reigned in, allowed only to collect the bare minimum necessary to maintain a business relationship with the customer and to monitor and improve the service for mutual benefit. Anything that goes outside the walls and is legally shared between third-party service vendors should be required to adhere to the strongest of any of their privacy policies to avoid “Five Eyes” type of hijincks (I didn’t share your data.  HE shared your data, nyuk, nyuk). Any preventable breaches should be met with more than a slap on the wrist and a shrug of the shoulders, even if it looks like the barn door isn’t ever going back on its hinges.

      Imagine if a brick and mortar business were to exploit your business relationship with them in such a manner as Meta does.  Oh wait, they’re all plugged in now; forget I said anything. That didn’t change the rules of decency overnight. It just opened the door to exploitation by distant perpetrators with throats you can’t reach to get your hands around.

      That’s why we have apps for coupons at the grocery store, personalized for your pleasure with secret savings just for you, instead of the simplicity of just a circular you grab when you walk in, same savings for everybody. They still have those, though, so it wasn’t about saving trees. It’s so they can collect data from you to sell to the grocery marketers and anybody else who will pay, which I despise, as it only entrenches the big brands that can afford to play in the metadata sandbox and derive useful information from it. If they were being honest, they would just come out and say that they benefit greatly from the market research you provide, but that would open the door to having to pay you. I guess they do, in a way. You want to continue to be bestowed with savings don’t you? Going somewhere else isn’t an option in my town and I see what a burden this system is on the poor people at the customer service kiosk.

      Not only that, but now the door is open for discrimination in who is allowed to save money on what or who is allowed to see what in a curated feed.  Who knows what these algorithms are doing when they aren’t being abjectly horrible?  They could be partnering up with artificial stupidity!  Not only do they have massive data sets that allow them to know more about you, than well…you, but they can mangle it and still attribute it to you.  Nothing is anonymized for those who can dig and literally put two and two together.  It stands to reason the can of worms should be kept as small as possible, especially considering the daily data breaches that occur, but greed prevails so we need massive warehouses to store the data that is being rampantly collected for no other reason than that it can be and may prove useful down the road for some purpose… any purpose.  Their attitude is basically “Somebody stop us, mwa-hahaha.”  Somebody should.

      It would be immensely useful if a business could just download a federally authorized and enforceable restrictive privacy policy document, or contract, if you will. Government needs to step up and do their job for the average citizen, but they can hardly see due to all the dolla dolla bills in the air around them.

      3 users thanked author for this post.
    • #2468610

      I agree that privacy needs to be more heavily regulated on social media. This fox watching the hen house act is a bit laughable.

      So I don’t think it is necessary to shut them down or close all of your accounts. My family and friends are all spread out over the east cost of the US, and Facebook provides me a means to conveniently stay in touch with them. That was a nice thing to have during the peak Covid lockdown season when travel was difficult or ill advised.

      But hand in hand with that, users need to be better educated to limit within reason what is shared online, as everything that is posted online is certainly going to be vacuumed up by big data.

      My personal rules online are:

      • Never post publicly. My scope is limited to friends only.
      • Only friend people that I know IRL (in real life), and that is limited to family, good friends, and their good friends that I also know (and like).
      • Allow only friends, and friends of friends, to see what I post. I fully realize that Facebook is looking over my shoulder.
      • Think twice about what you are posting before hitting the enter key. I avoid political and religious topics. That is certainly fodder for future profiling, as well as you will never win an argument online, but you may lose a few friends. Be kind.
      • Never post anything that you may regret if it gets seen on the evening news.
      • Don’t brag about doing stupid stuff. If you are stupid, your friends already know!
      4 users thanked author for this post.
    • #2468629

      Beware the Meta Pixel.
      EULAlyzer analysis of the Meta Privacy Policy lists 3 catagories; Ads with over 30 listings, the highest number being 8 (out of 1 – 10), next catagory is Privacy with only one item concerning websites you visit and the scary Meta Pixel used for tracking even non users of Facebook and Instagram. The third catagory Third Party has 3 items that basically lets others besides Meta know about your behavior. The most concern should probably be about the invisible Meta Pixel that any website can use to gather information for personalized ads, and it is everywhere.
      Meta Pixel Lawsuit Claims Violation of Data Privacy Rights Laws
      July 8th, 2022
      “Facebook describes its Meta Pixel feature as a snippet of JavaScript code that users can put on their website. Once Pixel is installed, it tracks what forms website visitors click on, and what options users select from dropdown menus. Recently, The Markup/STAT released a report summarizing a test it ran on the 100 top hospitals in the United States.”
      Facebook Is Receiving Sensitive Medical Information from Hospital Websites – June 16, 2022
      “A tracking tool installed on many hospitals’ websites has been collecting patients’ sensitive health information—including details about their medical conditions, prescriptions, and doctor’s appointments—and sending it to Facebook.”
      Now the question becomes – How Do I Stop Facebook Tracking Me?
      and the Make Use Of website has a good article from October 14, 2021:
      Facebook Is Tracking You! Here’s How to Stop It
      Basically use browser extensions like uBlock Origin, Privacy Badger, and No Script, which is a little more complicated and takes some effort to tame, but does make one more secure for the extra work involved.

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    • #2468633

      Basically use browser extensions like uBlock Origin, Privacy Badger, and No Script, which is a little more complicated and takes some effort to tame, but does make one more secure for the extra work involved.

      Absolutely! That is actually a subject that needs a topic of its own! I use uBlock Origin, Privacy Badger, and Disconnect in all of my browsers. I have replaced NoScript with uBlock Origin here, as NoScript seemed to break too many websites. I prefer the alternate approach.

      I forgot to mention earlier, that I never stay logged in to my Facebook (or any other accounts, such as Google) any longer than I need to get in and get out. I assume that if you stay logged in, that increases the chances for being tracked!

      And I dump all cookies daily with CCleaner, except for the 1st party sites that I have active accounts with.

      • #2468690

        And I thought I was running in hardcode paranoid mode…. 🙂  I Keep NoScript around and like uMatrix for certain purposes.  Decentraleyes and User-Agent-Switcher can be useful (but break some popular online tools/utilities).  Clear Cache is goof for when some site has stuffed enough info on your machine that said site treats it is irredeemable.  Zappa the cookies and the site may work just fine.  (One of my banks’ site gives me headaches — time for a new bank.)

        I am glad you reminded me about DisConnect.  I forgot to add that to my default list of addons for Waterfox and Firefox.

        TMG

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    • #2468642

      So … does anyone here know how the new Facebook policy is different from the old one? Because Oppenheimer’s article does say nothing about this that I can see.

      Ex-Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7); since mid-2017 using also macOS. Presently on Monterey 12.15 & sometimes running also Linux (Mint).

      MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
      Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
      macOS Monterey; browsers: Waterfox "Current", Vivaldi and (now and then) Chrome; security apps. Intego AV

    • #2468689

      It’s not just how FB uses the info it gathers from you.  For instance, Amazon is attempting to buy the company that makes the Roomba vacuum cleaner.  Not much to worry about here, is there?  Well, this article puts forth the premise that Amazon could learn the layout of your house and perhaps a lot more info from the actions of a simple little vacuum cleaner! [lol]
      ——-
      Amazon bought the company that makes the Roomba. Antitrust researchers and data-privacy experts say it’s ‘the most dangerous, threatening acquisition in the company’s history’
      8 Aug 2022
      ….
      https://www.businessinsider.com/amazon-roomba-vacuums-most-dangerous-threatening-acquisition-in-company-history-2022-8

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    • #2468730

      I am glad you reminded me about DisConnect. I forgot to add that to my default list of addons for Waterfox and Firefox.

      Disconnect is a real eye-opener when you show the “Visualize Page”. You will see a graphic map of all the server connections made when you connect with a site.

      One click can block/unblock all of the tracking servers related to that site, you can see their domain names as you roll your mouse over them. When blocked they are outlined in red.

      It is really shocking when you connect to a single mainstream commercial site, and see over 40-50+ third party connections made from that single URL (i.e., CNN or CNBC). These other sites are informed whenever you visit the primary site. At minimum, they now have your IP address logged, and probably tried to drop a cookie on your device.

      Some of the third party sites are legit, such as content providers. But way too many trackers and advertisers!

      I install Disconnect on all of my Firefox and Chrome browsers. A must have!

      https://disconnect.me/disconnect

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    • #2468864

      Does Disconnect do anything more than uBlock Origin does ? I run uBlock Origin and thought it was sufficient.

      Windows 10 Home 21H2, Acer Aspire TC-1660 desktop + LibreOffice, non-techie

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      • #2468913

        Does Disconnect do anything more than uBlock Origin does ?

        Yes, Disconnect catchs stuff that Privacy Badger and uBlock Origin might miss, see attached screenshot:
        RD-Trackers

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        • #2468994

          I use all 3 as well, and I have noticed an interesting effect here. For example, if I allow a site completely in uBlock, the number of trackers detected goes up in the other blockers.

          So I haven’t confirmed the actual order of which one blocks what first, but they do seem to work together. Say if uBlock was first, and it did catch everything, then the others probably would not show detection. But that doesn’t seem to be the case. I have decided not to overthink this. They seem to catch a lot, and that’s good enough for me! Teamwork!

          There have also been times when one of the blockers apparently interferes with the rendering of a complex website, and toggling the blockers off/on one at a time can help to identify which one is the culprit. Fyi, this is strictly trial and error.

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    • #2468922

      After reading about “Disconnect” here, I just installed it in Waterfox, donating some money to the developers. Now let’s see how this goes. I already had PrivacyBadger and uBloc Origin

      Ex-Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7); since mid-2017 using also macOS. Presently on Monterey 12.15 & sometimes running also Linux (Mint).

      MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
      Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
      macOS Monterey; browsers: Waterfox "Current", Vivaldi and (now and then) Chrome; security apps. Intego AV

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2468992

      Does Disconnect do anything more than uBlock Origin does ? I run uBlock Origin and thought it was sufficient.

      Yes, that’s why I use them both!

    • #2469132

      but they can mangle it and still attribute it to you.

      That is indeed a very scary scenario.

      🍻

      Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
    • #2469643

      Max,

      A Big Thank You for drilling down through the Baclava-like layers of this legal flummery and distill it’s odoriferous essence.

      This kind of legal balderdash makes me stop breathing and rolls up my eyes after the fourth paragraph, and I just fall over in a dead swoon. (This is what it’s supposed to do with the average user, and it’s quite successful, too.) I am so glad you’re here to “pierce the veil” of this turgid rigmarole, strip it of it’s flummery, and present the bare, naked truth. (Ah, “The horror, the horror…”!)

      Personally, I consider Disgracebook something to eschew totally.

      Gracias, Efcharistó, Vielen Dank!

      Win7 Pro SP1 64-bit, Dell Latitude E6330, Intel CORE i5 "Ivy Bridge", 12GB RAM, Group "0Patch", Multiple Air-Gapped backup drives in different locations. Linux Mint Greenhorn
      --
      "Courage isn’t the absence of fear; it's being scared to death and going on anyway. The man who says he's fearless is a fool, and I won't have him in my command.” —Unknown

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2469740

      Quoting from Oppenheimer’s Newsletter piece:

      Max O. : “Recall that it is a violation of trade-secret law to “acquire” confidential information without permission. Meta notes:

      [Follows, a list of things Meta can use, sell, tell others about without asking for permission first.]

      ….

      Max O. “The fact that such uses [by Meta of private information without the user’s consent] may be admirable (promoting safety, for example), or that the use is purely internal, does not make the use any less a violation of trade-secret law — unless the owner has given permission.

      Now I ask:

      So is all this illegal?
      If the existing laws, in the USA or the EU, for example, be applied the way they should, should Zuckerberg be wearing orange and be accessorized with a ball and chain?
      Is there anyone who can answer this particular question and also explain why the answer is “Yes” or ‘No”?

      Does it say, laughingly, somewhere in this new and massive Meta privacy policy document, that:
      “by agreeing to these terms of service you are implicitly agreeing to us grabbing any information on you we can lay hands on, from any source, and selling it to anyone willing to pay us enough, or taking it home and showing it to our friends and family for a laugh”?

      Or words to that effect?
      If so, what exactly does it say there?

      And if, in fact, it says that, does this make it all legal?

      Ex-Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7); since mid-2017 using also macOS. Presently on Monterey 12.15 & sometimes running also Linux (Mint).

      MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
      Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
      macOS Monterey; browsers: Waterfox "Current", Vivaldi and (now and then) Chrome; security apps. Intego AV

    • #2469923

      Privacy policy indeed.

      Facebook gave teen’s private messages about alleged abortion to Nebraska police

      Meta gave police access to private Facebook messages that allegedly detailed a Nebraska teen’s plans to get an illegal abortion, bolstering local authorities’ cases against the girl and her mother.

      Mark Zuckerberg’s social-networking giant — which has promised to cover travel costs for its own employees looking to access abortions following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade — complied with a search warrant from Norfolk, Nebraska police in early June, according to court records obtained by The Post.

      The parent of Facebook and Instagram handed over the records just weeks before the high court’s ruling — and weeks before Zuckerberg reportedly told a company all-hands meeting that “protecting people’s privacy” was “extra salient” in the wake of the Supreme Court decision…

      2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2470003

        From Alex’s quoted paragraph: “[Facebook] complied with a search warrant from Norfolk, Nebraska police in early June, according to court records obtained by The Post.

        Not a fan, a user, or even interested on Facebook itself, but only as far as the problems it creates to the societies where it has a grip on the public.

        That said, can any organization, including Facebook, refuse to comply with a search warrant?

        At least in the U.S.A, the police requests search warrants, providing the reasons for them, to independent regular judges that then have entirely at their discretion whether to issue them or not; they are not issued by the police. If one is issued, resisting it is a misdemeanor punishable with jail time and, or fines, as well as with having this entered in an active criminal record that makes further violations of any kind likely to be more severely punished.

        For example:

        https://code.dccouncil.us/us/dc/council/code/sections/23-524

        An officer executing a warrant directing a search of a person shall give, or make reasonable effort to give, notice of his identity and purpose to the person, and, if such person thereafter resists or refuses to permit the search, such person shall be subject to arrest by such officer pursuant to section 23-581(a) for violation of section 432 of the Revised Statutes of the United States relating to the District of Columbia (D.C. Official Code, sec. 22-405) (resisting a police officer) or other applicable provision of law.

        Note: In the US at least, ‘person’ may refer to a human being (‘real’ person), more to the point here, to this person and, or by extension to its property, or to an organization such as a business, corporation, foundation, NGO, etc.  (‘juridical’, or ‘fictitious’ person).

        https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/search_warrant

        Ex-Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7); since mid-2017 using also macOS. Presently on Monterey 12.15 & sometimes running also Linux (Mint).

        MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
        Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
        macOS Monterey; browsers: Waterfox "Current", Vivaldi and (now and then) Chrome; security apps. Intego AV

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