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Facebook: most users have had their profile data scraped; Cambridge Analytica scandal...

By midian182 · 26 replies
Apr 5, 2018
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  1. As Facebook continues to deal with the Cambridge Analytica debacle, the social network has announced some more revelations. It says 87 million, not 50 million, users may have had their data harvested by the electioneering firm. Separately, it added that virtually all the platform’s members are likely to have had their information scraped by malicious actors.

    Chief technology officer Mike Schroepfer writes that Facebook’s 2.3 billion+ monthly users could have had their public data compromised via its search feature, which allowed anyone to find people by typing their phone number or email address into the search bar.

    Cybercriminals trawling the dark web to obtain phone numbers and email addresses could use Facebook's search function to discover information about the people affiliated with them. While only public data was available, this often consists of profile pictures, hometowns, ages, dates of birth, places of work, etc.

    "…malicious actors have also abused these features to scrape public profile information by submitting phone numbers or email addresses they already have through search and account recovery. Given the scale and sophistication of the activity we’ve seen, we believe most people on Facebook could have had their public profile scraped in this way," wrote Schroepfer. The feature, which was enabled by default but could be turned off in the privacy settings, has now been removed.

    "We built this feature, and it's very useful. There were a lot of people using it up until we shut it down today," said CEO Mark Zuckerberg, in a call with reporters.

    Facebook also said it believed the number of people who may have had their data improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica was actually 87 million, not 50 million as previously reported. It added that 70 million of those affected were from the United States.

    Cambridge Analytica disagrees with Facebook’s claim. Responding to the report, it writes that it licensed data for “no more than 30m people from GSR” and “did not receive more data than this.”

    Permalink to story.

  2. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 2,509   +1,509

    Anything you post online should be posted with the knowledge that ALL of it might become available to ANYONE.

    While some people seem to think that the internet is this hunky dory utopia, it is far too easy to "accidentally" share information... and once something is posted, it is PERMANENT - no deletion can be 100% reliable, as it is way to easy to copy anything.

    I use Facebook... I love it in fact... but all I post on Facebook are things that I don't care if the entire world knows. You won't find my address, you won't find my phone number or my picture... You'll find that I love my various "toys" and that I think the Maple Leafs will be winning the Stanley Cup.... If you're using it for anything personal - well, you're a fool...
    learninmypc and JaredTheDragon like this.
  3. NicktheWVAHick

    NicktheWVAHick TS Addict Posts: 147   +118

    Did Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Larry Ellison or Michael Dell ever have to testify before Congress this early in their careers if ever? Something is rotten to the core with this company.
    JaredTheDragon likes this.
  4. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 2,509   +1,509

    Lol, they were just better at hiding their activities :)
    JaredTheDragon likes this.
  5. BSim500

    BSim500 TS Evangelist Posts: 602   +1,211

    Never used it. Never will.
  6. regiq

    regiq TS Addict Posts: 237   +113

    The way you use websites, the way you interact with content, your search queries etc. tells them more about you then simple data like your name, address or phone number.

    Last edited: Apr 5, 2018
  7. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 5,249   +3,666

    Just think about how many web sites you visit and each piece of information you give up. Then think of those companies that collect it ALL and sell it to those that can take advantage of you. Insurance Companies, Medical Companies, and frankly, ANYONE that does business with you will have the upperhand, knowing your weaknesses as well as how to exploit them to their advantage.

    In the laws of the land there is "a reasonable expectation" by the everyday man. That rule applies to many, many different situations. Over time we have seem more than a little trickery to get people to ignore the lengthy sign-off disclaimers in order to get access and start exploring each new web site. While so many younger users may try to explain it away with more "everybody knows ..." but that certainly is NOT the case and as such the reasonable expectation rule comes into effect for the protection of everyone.

    At this point the only reasonable means necessary to protect the personal and private information of each American is for the government to install laws that make these non-waiverable and protected at all times with extremely stiff penalties for violators. Those that want to collect information from you should have to PAY you for that information and have limited use of the data, commonly known as "one time rights" and they should be required to tell you, IN ADVANCE, who they will be selling it to so you have the right to decline in order to further protect yourself from those that might do you harm. You should have the "right to disappear", which causes any and all that are notified to delete every piece of information they may be keeping on you. Facebook needs to be the "example" for the tightest regulation and punishment. No more "I didn't realize" or "I promise to fix that" only to have yet another lie put in place.

    The entire focus should be on the individuals, who have rights and not the companies that intend to do whatever they want to make a buck off you. PAY ATTENTION ... the government is once again trying to eliminate the Consumer Protection Agency. Doing so gives all the businesses the ability and right to take advantage of you anyway they want without fear of legal action or reprisal.
    regiq and JaredTheDragon like this.
  8. ET3D

    ET3D TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,646   +304

    I've never posted a picture on Facebook, but I've had other people tag me in their pictures. So not posting isn't a guarantee that you don't have pictures online associated with you.
  9. matrix86

    matrix86 TS Guru Posts: 846   +38

    You can set your privacy to where people can't tag you, nor can they look up your profile outside of Facebook. Or hell, even on Facebook. I've had coworkers say they couldn't find me and it's because I have it set up that way. We have to have a mutual friend in order for you to know I even exist on Facebook. I did recently set up a "dummy" profile that I post to regularly just in case I ever go to a new job and they try to look me up. And since I keep posting regularly, it makes it look like an active profile. Most of my friends and family are "friends" to help with the appearance of it being a legit profile. That one is easy to find for anyone.
  10. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 2,509   +1,509

    But why should I care if that info is released to the public? Oh no, ads I see online might actually be relevant to me!! I might actually be tempted to buy something I see online instead of the normal penis enlargers and viagra sales...

    And why are there any photos of you online for people to tag?!? If you're not comfortable with the entire world seeing your picture - DON'T put it on the Internet!!!

    My profile picture on Facebook is the Toronto Maple Leaf logo.... Tag it all you want :)
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2018
  11. Rockstarrrr

    Rockstarrrr TS Booster Posts: 97   +72

    Things you`re posting in private are available to Facebook too. And you can bet they are monetizing it too. Kinda doubt that guy who "loves Facebook" post only NFL and nothing important.
  12. regiq

    regiq TS Addict Posts: 237   +113

    So you don't understand what's Cambridge Analityca fuss all about.
    And it's just a single example of using big data for segregation and control.
    No one cares who you really are, just the number in the database aggregated from many different sources, a virtual representation, a psychometric profile. Data is the new oil.
  13. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 2,509   +1,509

    That was my point!!! I ONLY use Facebook for unimportant things - ANYTHING you post on the internet (not just Facebook) is susceptible to becoming public....

    Everyone should have to take an “internet awareness” class before using the net I suppose... never post ANYTHING online unless you are comfortable sharing it with the entire world :)

    And the Maple Leafs are in the NHL (hockey!!) by the way :)
  14. regiq

    regiq TS Addict Posts: 237   +113

    But what if the same mechanisms start to shape your everyday life? There's no virtual reality, just reality.
    A good read: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weapons_of_Math_Destruction
  15. regiq

    regiq TS Addict Posts: 237   +113

    What your suggesting is like wearing sunglasses and a hat to avoid surveillance cameras. But you still visit the places of your interest, take the routes that suit you - and it tells a lot.
    I'd rather have it regulated to my advantage (the surveillance example: limited access to data, short retention times etc.)
  16. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 2,509   +1,509

    Your "places of interest" are for sale... but it doesn't really matter to YOU... it matters to the companies who are buying and selling it.... Yes, it will affect your everyday life eventually - but for the GOOD, as businesses see what people want/do and respond accordingly.

    I know people see "evil" everywhere and assume there are conspiracies to control everyone's thoughts and actions.... but the real reason companies want your info is simply to sell you more stuff! You always have the choice NOT to buy it....
  17. regiq

    regiq TS Addict Posts: 237   +113

    I'd like to think so easily about this... Guess it's to much sci-fi novels in youth ;)

    But what does Cambridge Analityca sell to its customers..?
  18. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 2,509   +1,509

    It sells data - to other companies that sell us real stuff :)
  19. regiq

    regiq TS Addict Posts: 237   +113

    The way I see it it's not just data, it's our data. And that's the core of the problem: we consider ourselves customers, yet actually became the merchandise.
  20. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 2,509   +1,509

    But here's the thing... "our" data is useless to us.... it's only useful to people who want to "exploit" us... And the data that is being sold helps companies gear their products towards us. People remember the phrase "knowledge is power", so they assume that if people have our "big data", then they have power over us...

    Well, this is both true and untrue: As long as you have a bit of willpower and a modicum of intellect, someone having this knowledge about you should only help you "buy better"... It's the people who insist on sharing EVERYTHING about their lives online and are completely spineless when it comes to spending who are in danger - and alas, there are tons of those people!

    As time goes by, however, people will become more knowledgeable and in a few decades this won't really be a concern - just a fact of life. Although, there are still a disturbing amount of people who call tech support before rebooting their PCs, the number HAS decreased :)
  21. soonerproud

    soonerproud TS Rookie

    I don't need businesses to sell me more stuff at the cost of my privacy, thank you very much. Do you really think these businesses have your best interest at heart? The "evil" in this whole fiasco are companies profiting off YOUR personal information without consent and without compensation. Your personal information is your property and you should have the right to control who has or what is done with that information.
  22. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 2,509   +1,509

    I see you either didn't read my posts or simply misunderstood them...

    Businesses tend to have one goal only... making money... despite what you see in the movies, they aren't really in the business of mind control or global domination. Your data ISN'T private.... as soon as you do ANYTHING on the internet, the possibility of it becoming known to ANYONE exists. Make sure you educate yourself about how to spend your money (don't fall for the Robo-stir or penis enlarger) and you should be fine :)
  23. soonerproud

    soonerproud TS Rookie

    You obviously didn't read what I said. You should be in control of your data, not the third parties you share that data with. You should be able, under the law, to control how companies can use that data or if they can share with third parties. I never said businesses were into mind control. Global manipulation on the other hand is something companies do through bribery and lobbying governments and politicians. You also missed the part where I said your data is YOUR property. You should have the same level of control of your data as you do any other property. You can try to be an apologist for businesses behaving badly but quite frankly it just makes you look naive as to their intentions to profit off your property.
  24. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 2,509   +1,509

    And you missed the part where I said ANYTHING you post online becomes part of the public domain.... Your data doesn't, nor should it, belong to you once you post it online! If you are naive enough to think that something you post on Facebook remains your exclusive property, you're going to be sadly disappointed.
  25. soonerproud

    soonerproud TS Rookie

    Actually it does still belong to you. This entire incident wouldn't be scandal if that was the case. A lot of that data wasn't publicly available on peoples pages. That's the reason this is a big issue.

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