• Judge Rules: Privacy Controls on Facebook Insufficient

    This post was originally published to Freedom4All. A copy of the original can be found here in the archive

    As US court has ruled that a woman who posted content to a restricted part of Facebook had “No reasonable expectation that it would remain private”. 

    Facebook is often criticised for making too much information public, however on this occasion the woman – Kathleen Romano – had set her profile to be private. Despite this, a Judge has ruled that content previously posted to Ms Romano’s profile is admissible as evidence, even though it had never been publicly accessible and Ms Romano had deleted it from her account! 

  • Religious Group harnesses power of FaceBook to ban gig

    This post was originally posted on Freedom4All, you can view the original here.

    The Catholic Group ‘Catholics Taking Action’ have successfully used Facebook to oppose the ‘Black Metal’ festival scheduled to run in Sydney, Australia next weekend. 

  • Screenshot Social Media, Don't embed

    Ever since the web was born, there have been concerns about preserving what's published on there for future generations. That's why things like the Wayback machine exist. Things like our approach, and concerns, around online privacy have also evolved with time.

    But, the way we communicate on the web has changed pretty dramatically. Personal blogs are still a thing, but humanity has increasingly leaned towards communicating via social media - Twitter, Facebook etc. 

    Now, we increasingly see news reports with embedded posts containing expert commentary about the topic of the news, and even reports about something someone has posted.

    Those expert commentators are even occasionally being asked to change the way they tweet to make it easier for news sites to embed those tweets into their own stories (that request turned out to be from Sky News btw).

    For all their many, many faults, the social media networks are a big part of how we communicate now, and posts on them are embedded all over the place.

    This brings with it a number of avoidable, but major issues.

    The aim of this post is to discuss those, and explain why you should instead be posting a screenshot of the tweet/post.

    I'm going to refer to "Twitter" and "Tweets" a lot, purely because it's shorter than "Facebook" or "Social Media", but the concerns here apply across the board.

  • So Long WhatsApp

    For years, I refused to install WhatsApp messenger because I had customer contact details and other information on my phone.

    Eventually, I made a concerted effort to clear all that out, with the side effect that I could then install WhatsApp, based in part on their promise that personal data - names, addresses, internet searches or location data - would not be collected, much less used.

    When WhatsApp was acquired by Facebook, it was inevitable that that promise was going to get broken. Something all the more apparent when one of the WA founders left Facebook as a result of a disagreement about privacy.

    So disappointing as it is, the recent news really was quite inevitable.

    WhatsApp have pushed a notification of a change in their terms and conditions - the new changes allow them to share data with Facebook, including (but not limited to)

    • User's phone numbers
    • User's contact lists (see below)
    • Profile information
    • Status information
    • "Diagnostic data"  - what phone model you're using, what networks you're on etc
    • Location data
    • "User content"
    • Details of purchases made with businesses using WhatsApp, including Financial Information
    • "Usage data"

    These changes will come into effect from 8 Feb 2021 - if you disagree with the changes, then the only recourse is to delete your account before then (which probably isn't GDPR compliant, but Facebook tend not to worry about that).