Big Brother Is Watching

Hey Facebook, Good Job Alienating Everyone to Make a Point We Already Knew

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Facebook gave the world a new reason to think they’re a bunch of scary, omnipotent puppeteers last week when it was revealed that Facebook data scientists tinkered with users’ news feeds to study the emotional impact it would have.

It all started when the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published the study by a team of data scientists working with Facebook, which went mostly unnoticed at first. Once it made its media debut — likely in this small article from NewScientist — it caught fire, and the headlines are calling the study creepy, manipulative and unethical. Read More

Privacy is Dead

Stop Being Evil: Google CAPTCHA Program Accused of Privacy Invasion

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Of course it’s not new, Google gets this a lot. This time the breach is Google’s program using CAPTCHAs to interpret blurred house numbers. If Google has ever asked you to enter a set of blurred numbers when answering a security query for a Google account, you’ve entered one of these numbers–therefore Google has made you part of the problem, citizen. Let the Guardian, in posh tones, explain:

The same image is presented to other Google users around the world at the same time. If enough people submit the same number, Google accepts they have accurately read the photo and are therefore not bots.

Traditionally these security checks – of which there are estimated 200 million a day – have involved typing blurred letters or words into a box.

According to the U.K. Big Brother Watch‘s delightfully named Nick Pickles, this constitutes “a serious privacy issue with identifying the individual number of people’s homes.” Read More