November 16, 2018

Big Brother

Just One More Reason To Not Act Like an Idiot on the Internet

Federal officials are looking for “easier” rules that would allow for wiretapping of Internet-based services since no one uses their phones anymore, says the NYT.

The FBI, DoJ, NSA and White House officials have been meeting for awhile now to come up with a way around the everyone ditching their phones problem. Spying on someone gets hard when they’re doing all their dirty business on Skype I’m sure. Can you show me any criminals that actually do that?

If things go the way the in-the-dark could mean requiring communication providers to provide access to encrypted interactions using common platforms like BlackBerry and Facebook. While it’s unlikely that any of you will become subject of a federal wiretap warrant, just opening this door means a critical component of our online security has been compromised.


Monitoring services and firms already watch the conversation (look at Cyveillance, for example) and if you brag about all your unreported income on Twitter (e.g. “Fuck 1099s, I haven’t filed a return in five years and those idiots at the @IRS will never find me!”), chances are you’ll get busted so we know TPTB are watching but what happens when they can force their way through encryption? It’s one thing to open yourself up to litigation by being stupid enough to say you’re going to blow up an airport in 140 characters or less but you should be able to make inappropriate comments in the privacy of your own Facebook outbox.

Since when do drug cartels use Facebook to arrange their deals?

Regardless of where this proposition goes the reality is that we’ve already pretty much given our information up (and do, consistently – see also “Sign in using Facebook” buttons that you guys are probably constantly pressing out of laziness) so one more step can’t really be the end of the world for individual privacy, right?

All the more reason to tighten up your personal Internet security in the meantime, which means not using your full name for stuff and refraining from threatening to stab the senior while at the client’s. You know who you are.

Why Would E&Y Download 100 Million Facebook Profiles off BitTorrent?

Good question! In case you didn’t hear, someone – his name is Ron Bowes – created a “crawler” (resident tech expert Nick told us it’s “a bot that has directives and algorithms based on known patterns in a webpage it ‘visits’ a webpage and pull information from selected places in that structure.”) that pulled data on 100 million Facebook profiles.

Since it only pulled the data that was publicly available, you could claim that this is NBD as Nick told us, “[A]ll the crawler did was collect it and put it into a single place, presumably in a format that is searchable and very ordered.”


And Engadget agrees, “There’s nothing illegal about any of this, of course — we put our information out there into the public forum that Facebook is, after all — but there’s still something creepy about the idea of someone torrenting our profile.”

What may be even more creepy is that lots of corporations – including E&Y – are downloading the data.

Nick told us that any corporation could have done this anyway but since someone else did, these companies figured, “why the hell not?” and downloaded the data. But E&Y? Maybe it’s just some back office guy stalking ex-girlfriends, as Gizmodo suggests, or Zitor collecting names for future abductions but it certainly makes you wonder.

So much so, we emailed E&Y spokesman Charlie Perkins to ask him about it (and if nothing else, we may have introduced him to a new website!) but we haven’t heard back and we don’t have our hopes up.

Major Corporations Are Downloading Those 100 Million Facebook Profiles off BitTorrent [Gizmodo]