Facebook Offers Poor Personal Data Protection

Facebook Offers Poor Personal Data Protection (or, tell us something we didn’t know!)
SINTEF (11/17/09)

A study of Norwegian Internet users and social media found that people are willing to post their personal information on social media sites even when they are not aware how it will be used.

Conducted by SINTEF for the Norwegian Consumers’ Council, the researchers found that 60 percent of Norweigan Internet users are on Facebook. SINTEF’s Petter Bae Brandtzaeg and Marika Luders conclude that Facebook offers relatively poor personal data protection due to the service itself, its design, the level of competence of its users, and their lack of awareness of how to protect themselves.

“Facebook has become an important arena for social participation in our personal environment,” Brandtzaeg says. “However, it is becoming ever more easy to gather and aggregate personal information, outside the control of users.”

Still, people are willing to post their personal information because so many other people use Facebook, and they rarely hear of unfortunate incidents.  Respondents were usually not aware that Facebook uses personal information for commercial purposes, and their personal information also can be used against them, such as when they apply for a job.

The researchers say that people and objects will be woven together ever more closely by the next wave of Internet media such as Google Wave and mobile smartphones. “This can make us even more vulnerable to failures of personal data protection,” Luders says.

Damn Facebook, anyway

Researchers Build Malicious Facebook Application
IDG News Service (09/05/08) Kirk, Jeremy

Researchers from the Foundation for Research and Technology in Heraklion, Greece, and the Institute for Infocomm Research in Singapore, have built Facebot, a malicious program for Facebook as part of an experiment to demonstrate the dangers of social networking applications. The researchers developed a Photo of the Day application that provides a new National Geographic photograph daily, but every time the application is activated it sends a flood of traffic to a victim’s Web site, causing a denial-of-service attack.

The researchers uploaded the Facebot application to Facebook in January and nearly 1,000 people have installed it in their profiles. The researchers then monitored traffic on a Web site they established for a Photo of the Day attack. If the traffic patterns observed could be applied to a Facebook application with a million or more users, the researchers estimate that a victim’s Web site could be flooded with as much as 23 megabits per second of traffic.

The researchers say Facebook applications have a highly-distributed platform, offering significant firepower for anyone that controls the applications. Facebook applications also can access users’ personal data, making it possible to record and transfer personal data to a remote server.

Social networking sites can take measures to prevent such malicious applications, by ensuring that applications cannot interact with hosts that are not a part of the social network, and by vigorously verifying new applications added to the social networking site.


It’s that vigorously verifying that gets me – how would we know if they do or not?

Feh.  Stupid Facebook.


I’m suffering some serious suckage in the Fresh And Meaningful Posting department.   I have all the regular excuses, none of which are very good, and then I have the real excuse, which is that I’ve been playing Scrabbulous via email with Az and Silverstar non-stop every time I sit in front of my computer.  Every bit of my creativity is going toward coming up with good words and blocking that damned Azahar from using all the red squares.  She’s relentless.

Yes, well, this is all very entertaining for me, but it begs the problem of getting the posting done.  I mean, MY GOD, I may have cooked something delicious and not written about it, or given poor Lewi another impossibly bad haircut and not shared.  What’s that, you say?  You hadn’t noticed?

Bitches.  Fine.  Be that way.

Also, I still hate Facebook.  I hate all the apps that need total access to all my info every time I accept something.  It feels like I’m being buggered sans vaseline each time I say yes to another request.  The other part I don’t like is that I think I’m doing it wrong, or it wouldn’t be so annoying.

Feh.  Feh and Feck.