Facebook has been accused of intercepting private messages of its users to provide data to marketers, according to a class-action lawsuit filed in a federal court in California.
The social networking company scanned plaintiffs’ private messages containing URLs (uniform resource locators) and searched the website identified in the URL for “purposes including but not limited to data mining and user profiling,” according to the complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
The complaint cites third-party research to back its claim that Facebook is intercepting and scanning the content of private messages. Swiss firm High-Tech Bridge, for example, reported in Augustit used a dedicated Web server and generated a secret URL for each of the 50 largest social networks, Web services and free email systems it was testing for their respect of user privacy.
HTB then used the private messaging function of each of the services, embedding a unique URL in each message, and monitored its dedicated Web server’s logs for all incoming HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) requests, in order to see whether any of the services would “click” on the test URLs that had been transmitted via private message, the complaint said. ”Facebook was one of the Web Services that was caught scanning URLs despite such activity remaining undisclosed to the user,” according to the complaint.
The fact that a machine reads it for automated ad targeting seems unworthy of mention.
The main issue here seems to be about facebook not only data mining but searching other websites (the URL mentioned in the exchanges) , read the wording of the law suit The social networking company scanned plaintiffs’ private messages containing URLs (uniform resource locators) and searched the website identified in the URL for “purposes including but not limited to data mining and user profiling,”
This is like scanning your PC, if they had access to it, the URL's used were bait and facebook (according to this law suit) seems to have searched those websites for content?
so fundamentally, if they knew your bank account password to access certain details in your private exchange, they would not hesitate to use it. that's what I gather from this. I could be wrong, but lets see where this ends.
President Barack Obama is expected to endorse changes to the way the government collects millions of Americans' phone records for possible future surveillance, but he'll leave many of the specific adjustments for Congress to sort out, according to three U.S. officials familiar with the White House intelligence review.
In another revelation about NSA activities, The New York Times reported Tuesday that the agency has implanted software in nearly 100,000 computers around the world — but not in the United States — that allows the U.S. to conduct surveillance on those machines.
The NSA calls the effort an "active defense" and has used the technology to monitor units of China's Army, the Russian military, drug cartels, trade institutions inside the European Union, and sometime U.S. partners against terrorism like Saudi Arabia, India and Pakistan, the Times reported
Though most of the software is installed by gaining access to computer networks, the NSA can also employ technology that enters computers and alters data without needing internet access.
The secret technology uses covert radio waves transmitted from small circuit boards and USB cards clandestinely inserted into targeted computers, The New York Times reported. The waves can then be sent to a briefcase-sized relay station intelligence agencies can set up just miles away, according to NSA documents, computer experts and US officials.
“What’s new here is the scale and the sophistication of the intelligence agency’s ability to get into computers and networks to which no one has ever had access before,” James Andrew Lewis, cyber security expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, told The Times. “Some of these capabilities have been around for a while, but the combination of learning how to penetrate systems to insert software and learning how to do that using radio frequencies has given the U.S. a window it’s never had before.”
How? One method is to use small radio transceivers concealed within otherwise normal-looking USB plugs. These spy plugs (code name: “Cottonmouth I”) can sweep through an affected machine and broadcast stolen information to hidden relay stations up to eight miles away.
A relative of this program involves tiny circuit boards physically inserted into computers, either at the factory or via clandestine methods on-site. They allow the NSA to connect to computers which users believe to be safely insulated from Internet-based hacker attacks.
The programme, Dishfire, analyses SMS messages to extract information including contacts from missed call alerts, location from roaming and travel alerts, financial information from bank alerts and payments and names from electronic business cards, according to the report.
Through the vast database, which was in use at least as late as 2012, the NSA gained information on those who were not specifically targeted or under suspicion, the report says.
The NSA and its British counterpart are tapping popular smartphone apps such as Angry Birds to peek into the tremendous amounts of very personal data those bits of software collect -- including age, location, sex and even sexual preferences, according to new reports from the New York Times and The Guardian.
Both spy agencies showed a particular interest in Google Maps, which is accurate to within a few yards or better in some locations and would clearly pass along data about a phone owner's whereabouts. “It effectively means that anyone using Google Maps on a smartphone is working in support of a GCHQ system,” reads a secret 2008 report by the NSA's sister spy agency, according to the New York Times.
Even sophisticated users are often unaware of how smartphones offer spies a unique opportunity for one-stop shopping for information. “By having these devices in our pockets and using them more and more,” said Philippe Langlois, who has studied the vulnerabilities of mobile phone networks and is the founder of the Paris-based company Priority One Security, “you’re somehow becoming a sensor for the world intelligence community.”
Smartphones almost seem to make things too easy. Functioning as phones to make calls and send texts and as computers to surf the web and send emails, they both generate and rely on data. One secret report showed that just by updating Android software, a user sent more than 500 lines of data about the phone’s history and use onto the network.
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