Archive for the ‘future’ Category

Internet Driver’s License?!?

February 25th, 2012
Comments Off

This article was originally posted at the I Shared What?!? blog on 7 January 2011.

Calling for an “Internet driver’s license” is a bit of a stretch, for now. Technology Review has an article, Facebook Wants to Supply Your Internet Driver’s License, that explores this possibility:

Facebook’s identity system might very well supply something that VeriSign, Microsoft, Yahoo, and Google have all struggled to offer: a single “driver’s license” for the Internet. (This leaves aside the question of whether it’s a good thing for one company to hold such a position of power.)

Putting aside necessary notions of sharing best practices (which might cut down on the amount of successful phishing that goes on) or a licensing body (whose “rules” we would need to agree to abide by), the article is really talking about user authentication and authorization: access to all the sites that you have accounts on. We use an account name and password for each site, and tracking them has long been recognized as a problem–how do we keep it all straight? Facebook, Technology Review points out, is positioning themselves to be THE single sign-on (SSO) site. The article continues:

Unfortunately, Facebook still has two important vulnerabilities that makes its website significantly less secure than those of most U.S. banks: its reliance on a single user name and password to gain access to an account, and its use of an unencrypted cookie for tracking which web browsers are logged in.

At the risk of turning everything digital that I care about over to a company whose practices are inconsistent at best and arguably not in their individual user’s interests, I’ll wait until a “driver’s license” is required. Meanwhile, to control my digital assets I’ll keep looking at new tools as they become available.

future, history, records , , , , , , , ,

On Being Popular

February 25th, 2012
Comments Off

This article was originally posted at the I Shared What?!? blog on 2 January 2011.

Facebook chartSo what if “Facebook youth are an angry, foul-mouthed, selfish bunch,” or that “we Facebook users–at least the U.S. English speakers, anyway–start the day in a good mood, but as the day goes on and the coffee wears off we become increasingly demoralized?” These observations were among several in NetworkWorld’s article Facebook Offers Tips On Being Popular. Is this really something we want to know?

Well, yes we do want to know these things. There is much to learn and gain from an information-rich society. There is more to learn when the information is offered voluntarily, and tremendous untapped value when such information is within our ongoing control. So it is acting as a double-edged sword that Facebook wants to help show us a thing or two. From their recently published study, Facebook notes:

People use status updates to share what’s on their minds, to tell others what they’re doing, and to gather feedback from friends. The different ways people use status updates form some interesting patterns. In this study, we looked at the usage of words in different “word categories” in status updates. This led us to discover some patterns in how people use status updates differently, and how their friends interact with different status updates.

Facebook shared their findings in a recent post entitled “What’s on your mind?” The data was based on the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC), text analysis software that–as NetworkWorld pointed out#&150;uses word categories such as “past tense verbs, prepositions, religion and positive feelings.”

The part about a tremendous untapped value? What if this information could be used for new product and service discovery? Yes, caffeine drink makers might have a customized audience in the afternoons, but what if we could see a widget that would help with a common task, or a product that needs to be created? Or what if we could learn the source of our anger and demoralization? How would that change our society?

future, history, records , , , , , , , , , ,

Kickin’ out the old (apps)

February 25th, 2012
Comments Off

This article was originally posted at the I Shared What?!? blog on 28 December 2010.

As 2010 winds to a close, we came across great advice for kickin’ out the old apps on Facebook, and why you should do so. “The developers of these older applications required you to hand over your entire digital identity, and often have access to all of your personal data–including things like marital status, personal photos and videos,” says author Vanessa Dennis. From Delete Older Facebook Apps — or Risk Everyone’s Privacy, Ms. Dennis points out that:illustration of permission changes from the original story

In 2009, Facebook made several highly publicized privacy changes as part of a settlement with the Canadian government. This means newer apps offer much more privacy control for the user.

So in addition to monitoring your profile privacy settings on Facebook, you should also consider deleting older apps and installing newer versions. Here is an example of the data access from an older YouTube app and then the newer YouTube app. Much less personal information is available, and much less is required for the app to work.

The author includes five clear, illustrated steps for checking on your apps and making changes. Now at the end of this calendar year, a little housecleaning seems in order.

Best wishes for an informationally aware New Year and beyond!

future, history, records , , , , , , , , ,

The Greatest Surveillance in History

February 25th, 2012
Comments Off

This article was originally posted at the I Shared What?!? blog on 7 December 2010.

Eben MoglenThe Wall Street Journal has an interesting story about a rare moment of legislative censure. “In an unusual move, the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection asked a Columbia University Law School professor to censor his remarks in a hearing about online privacy legislation,” states WSJ author Jennifer Valentino-DeVries. Whose testimony was censored? Eben Moglen, Professor of Law and Legal History at Columbia University Law School, Chairman of the Software Freedom Law Center, and Director of the Software Freedom Conservancy.

Moglen’s testimony got to the heart of the problem of information sharing as it is now: Read more…

future, history, records, tools , , , , , ,

But I’m not on Facebook

February 25th, 2012
Comments Off

This article was originally posted at the I Shared What?!? blog on 6 December 2010.

We see Facebook “Like” buttons everywhere. They’re a common token of popularity: if you “like” someone or something, you’re connected in some direct-through-Facebook digital way. In Facebook’s ‘Like This’ button is tracking you (Whether you click it or not), author Stewart Meagher reports that Dutch researcher Arnold Roosendaal “warns that Facebook is tracking and tracing everyone, whether they use the social networking site or not.”

“However, when a site is visited which includes Facebook Connect, this application issues a cookie. From that moment on, visits to other websites which display the ‘Like’ button result in a request for the Like button from the Facebook server including the cookie.”

Which means Facebook has swiped another batch of valuable data without asking for permission.

“Based on the cookie, the entire web behaviour of an individual user can be followed,” says Roosendaal. “Every site that includes some kind of Facebook content will initiate an interaction with the Facebook servers, disclosing information about the visited web site together with the cookie.”

Roosendaal’s paper is available at the Social Science Research Network (SSRN).

Our question is this: is there a way to change the system so that it is permissions-based?

future, history, records , , , , , , ,