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comment by nowaypablo
nowaypablo  ·  515 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Facebook logs your call history

i don't get it man so what

goobster  ·  515 days ago  ·  link  ·  

So, yeah. It's hard to see the "so what" on the end of that, and why you should care.

Lemme give you an example:

Police have been getting a list of all the cellphones in the area where a crime was committed. They then paw through all these cellphone numbers and get their records from the cellphone companies. Where the phone was (GPS), who the phone called, who the phone texted, who texted the phone, who called the phone, what web sites the phone visited (all that data went over the cellular data network, so is also available), etc.

Then they try to find correlations in all this data. (They have automated tools for this, documented by Snowden and others.) If you work in any downtown area, I guarantee you have been in proximity to a crime. A hit and run. Bank fraud. Drugs. Stalking. Whatever. Someone in your 40-story office building has done something bad. It's just basic statistics.

So let's say that lawyer on the 40th floor is being investigated for buying cocaine. And you are a barista working in the Starbucks on the 1st floor.

The lawyer comes in to your Starbucks every single day for his quad-shot venti latte. So both of your phone record a GPS location right next to each other every single morning, all week.

And since you are a Starbucks barista, and young, with lots of student debt, you don't live in the best part of town. You have four roommates, and live in the "sketchy industrial/artist-friendly" part of town. Also a part of town known to the police for being a hotbed of drugs and illicit activity.

According to the algorithms, you might be the lawyer's drug dealer.

So now the police are tracking YOUR phone...

And you grab an Uber with your friends, and go to a warehouse where there is an underground rave that gets busted by the cops. You got nothing to worry about, right? You are just a barista who went to a party with friends. (Oh, and one of those friends has a restraining order against him by his high-school girlfriend's dad, who didn't like him. So now you are riding with a convicted Bad Guy.)

A barista who talks to the suspicious lawyer every day.

A barista with big student loan payments due every single month. And you have been making the payments on time. (Maybe because your parents are slipping you some cash every month, so it's off the books.)

Now you are paying bills you don't make enough to cover, you frequent "known drug dens", and the lawyer knows you by name.

So the police say, "We got you, drug dealer. Cop this lesser plea of possession, and we'll put you on a six month watchlist. You keep your nose clean, and you'll just get a little black mark on your record. OR, we can go to trial, and it'll cost your parents $150,000 in lawyer fees, and you won't win anyway, because the lawyer copped a deal pointing to you as his supplier, in exchange for keeping his name out of the press."

This happens. All the time. Today. (See: Black people.)

Get it now?

kantos  ·  513 days ago  ·  link  ·  

My pea-brain has follow-up question. You related this brilliantly to DOJ and telephone companies, but how does Fb tie into the equation if (in this situation) the DOJ just gets their information from the cell providers anyways?

In other words, if Fb is storing the data themselves as if they are a cell provider, then is the problem who they are selling the information to (who can then connect the dots in the same manner as the cops do?).

goobster  ·  513 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Great followup. Two answers:

1. The DOJ does get their info from the cellphone companies. They also suck it directly off the internet backbone and store it away in their data centers for later assessment/decryption. (Except the NSA's new data center that was supposed to last then 20 years was full before it opened.)

2. The DOJ has to follow rules to gather your data. Facebook doesn't. Every one of those, "What kind of potato are you?" quizzes on Facebook are created by people who want access to your data. By taking the quiz, you allow that app/company access to enormous amounts of data about you, your friends, your activities, your locations, your likes, your dislikes, etc. The quiz itself is a simple Eliza script that is totally meaningless. The point of these quizzes is not the quiz. It's the permission; you give that company access to your personal data and use metrics and network, in perpetuity. There is a lot, they can find out, about you and your life.

Now, take every place you have ever been (Check-Ins, photo metadata, friend's tagging you, GPS location tracking), and correlate that with every single phone call, email, fax, voice message, text message, ATM transaction, and Google Search you have ever done...

... and the idea of "Precrime" from Minority Report looks like child's play. (And doesn't need any mystically-mind-linked flesh goobers to make it work, either.)

kantos  ·  512 days ago  ·  link  ·  

So you're telling me that Facebook knows which celebrity I was in a past life too? FUCK!

On the real, thanks for the answers and reading material. The delete button is getting a stronger argument to be pressed than the groups I have on there.

kleinbl00  ·  515 days ago  ·  link  ·  
nowaypablo  ·  515 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I read your post and it sounds like you're affirming my point, so I'm confused. Only counter-argument I see to "so what" is the Manning link with their chat log, but...

Having a rogue actor with access to your personal data is a problem, but then the actor is a criminal, and Manning would be in jail until 2045 had Obama not granted executive clemency. So, it's still not a concern to me. The only vulnerability I can think of is having the data stolen through hacking, for which I can only hope Facebook and/or the NSA are not vulnerable to non-governmental agencies in that regard; if a foreign government agency steals all our data from Facebook, I have less of a problem with the fact that Facebook collected our data than the fact that this is now an international issue between governments.

kleinbl00  ·  515 days ago  ·  link  ·  

The greater argument is data wants to be free. It wants to be used. The NSA has data centers colocated with Google and Microsoft in Utah and Texas (as I recall) and These United States have more of an appearance of civil-commercial separation than a reality of civil-commercial separation. We know Google and the NSA are thick as thieves. We know the NSA and the DEA are thick as thieves. If I sell drugs, and you buy drugs, and I send a text message to my dealer, if at any point that dealer gets busted Jeff Sessions can assemble ex-post-facto that you bought drugs from me. Now: I live in Washington State, where I can buy more weed than I could ever smoke from a convenience store walking distance from my house. I got guys spinning signs on the sidewalk that say "WEED HERE." Jeff Sessions don't give a fuck.

That's just one example of data leaking from irrelevant use to prosecutorial use. The Stasi example is there to demonstrate that data is forever but administrations change. The majority of the McCarthy witch trials were about who knew who and who went to what meeting thirty years previously; it gave Hollywood conservatives a way to settle the score with Hollywood liberals. Despite winning WWII, Robert Oppenheimer died under scandal because he was a Jew - I mean, because he'd been to some meetings when he was in his '20s. And that's back when people had to stand up and accuse you in court - they didn't have to pull up your metadata from a .csv buried deep on a magneto-optical tape drive five formats dead.

It's not the vulnerabilities you can think of. It's the vulnerabilities yet to arrive.

nowaypablo  ·  515 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Thanks for the explanation, I have no problems with what you're saying. I think I'm just reacting emotionally from being pissed off by what I perceive to be stupid news. See enough stupid news, start bleeding onto actual insight.

kleinbl00  ·  515 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Back when Snowden broke I tried really hard (and often failed) not to be "fucking duhhhhh people Bamford and crew had all this shit up to and sometimes including the code names back in the mid '80s." I mean, it had been conclusively proven that the NSA was processing all (all) domestic telecom traffic through a diverter wherein they siphoned off all (all) of it.

I think the experience taught me that so long as they're outraged, you can't be mad. I mean, you can be bitter that they didn't give a shit back when it could have helped but truly: better late than never.

tacocat  ·  515 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I dunno. Some of us don't want a log of everything we've ever done on a random server

nowaypablo  ·  515 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I kinda just always assumed that I'm trading up my privacy to a general internet datapool when I first even started going online. I guess that's why I'm not surprised/bothered by it.

tacocat  ·  515 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I'm 35. I remember when the internet was new and novel.


I sometimes wonder if people younger than me will have any expectation of privacy. I started to write a sci-fi book about it at one point and can honestly not remember where the fuck I was going with that thing

oyster  ·  515 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I don’t really like the idea of all my information being on some server but I think people find comfort in the volume. Like, I just don’t matter, nobody is sitting at a computer rifling through my data looking at when I FaceTimed my family.

tacocat  ·  515 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I do buy security through obscurity. I just never opted in this