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Author Topic: Anybody else sick of hearing "OMG Facebook is spying on us!"?  (Read 5033 times)

Stephen66515

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Anybody else sick of hearing "OMG Facebook is spying on us!"?
« on: August 17, 2014, 02:34:23 PM »
So...once again, Facebook are in the spotlight...this time it is because of permissions used within the Facebook Messenger Android App.

This story has been hitting my Facebook Feed, and also been featured on TV/Radio...and I am sick of hearing it...It all feels like it has been written by The Daily Mail (We all know how much crap they put into the world...)

To sum it up...people are bitching that Facebook Messenger needs to use things like Contacts, Camera and Microphone...I mean...It asks your permission to do so...not like they are HIDING it...also...those permissions are generic as hell and used for specific features within a crap load of different software...like...say...You would obviously have to give a custom dialing app permission to make calls and view your contact list and such, much like you would expect to give an app that allows you to take and edit pictures, access to use your camera...yet all of a sudden, people are going ape-shit about Facebook Messenger wanting permission to use these things...

As I got fed up with it, I posted this on my Facebook to try shut people up...

Read Here...Contains Strong Language

Urgh...Right...Lets settle some things about Facebook Messenger...sick of seeing it in my news feed...

1. Yes it needs your permission to use the Camera...because you can take photos using it.

2. Yes it needs your permission to use the Microphone...because you can send voice messages...or use it to call people...pretty sure you need a microphone for that
Asides from those, they also have the following permissions...alongside this...I will show you why they ask!

Read your text messages (SMS or MMS): If you add a phone number to your account, this allows us to confirm your phone number automatically by finding the confirmation code that we send via text message.

Take pictures and videos: This permission allows you to take photos and videos within the Messenger app to easily send to your friends and other contacts

Record audio: This permission allows you to send voice messages, make free voice calls, and send videos within Messenger

Directly call phone numbers: This permission allows you to call a Messenger contact by tapping on the person's phone number, found in a menu within your message thread with the person

Receive text messages (SMS): If you add a phone number to your Messenger account, this allows you to confirm your phone number by finding the confirmation code that we send via text message

Read your contacts: This permission allows you to add your phone contacts as Messenger contacts if you choose to do so. You can always stop syncing your phone contacts by going to your Messenger settings

So...In short...shut the fuck up and stop complaining and claiming it is for spying on you...know the facts...and seriously...if you feel threatened by it...uninstall the fucking thing and stop spamming the world with your pseudo-scientific bullshit.



Renegade

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Re: Anybody else sick of hearing "OMG Facebook is spying on us!"?
« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2014, 08:14:28 PM »
My guess is that if you knew more about what is happening with Big Data you would be scared shitless and on the opposite side of the fence.

Also, services like Facebook conveniently have clauses that allow them to change the terms of their agreements without your consent. So, you go from your camera being used to simply do video chats with friends, to your camera being used to monitor your facial expressions while you're reading online in order to push content at you, which may be ads or political messages or content designed to alter your mood, etc.

They need to have strong conditions in their agreement regarding the usage of devices and stop altering the T&C. Until then, it's not worth the bother of agreeing then uninstalling/deleting/whatever once you're done using it.

But, I stopped using Facebook.

While I don't use extreme measures for my cameras, they are pointed at the ceiling when not in use.

Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

Stephen66515

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Re: Anybody else sick of hearing "OMG Facebook is spying on us!"?
« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2014, 08:38:51 PM »
On the point of cameras pointing at the ceiling when not in use...I have that habit...more for the fact it freaks me out knowing I have a lens pointed at me...not through the thought somebody could see me...couldn't care less about that...not much to see ;)

Anyhow...the point wasn't what they could possibly do in the future (Which...I highly doubt they would do for very long before somebody clicked on to it)...it is about what they are doing now...People have gotten hysterical in typical Daily Mail style about it, when it is unfounded and pointless.  Yes there are dodgy applications that WILL do all the dodgy crap that people are thinking Facebook are doing now...but being a HUGE company...there are more eyes watching them, than there could ever be watching us ;)  The power of the people far outweighs that of companies.

Typically, people go crazy about it...yet they still use it...personally I couldn't care less about the privacy aspect of things when it comes to me...I only put the information that I don't care about sharing, online...anything else...I NEVER put online and NEVER have...and to this day...that information still isn't available online :)

We could go on and on about the politics of it all but realistically...even you can agree...when they have the eyes of the world staring in their direction...it would be a bloody miracle if they managed to sneak anything by the world without somebody noticing within 30 minutes of it happening.

I saw something recently that actually made me laugh, and does somewhat fit perfectly into this situation...

"Tell people not to panic over Ebola, and people freak out...tell people to panic over global warning and they reply "lol...where's my coat?""

Don't wanna get onto the whole Ebola subject...or global warming for that matter...just feels like it fits here.

My guess is that if you knew more about what is happening with Big Data you would be scared shitless and on the opposite side of the fence.

I actually do keep on top of these things...and yet..not actually worried...I have no reason to be...like I mentioned above...the information that I don't want people to know...I have never put online in any form.  They can sell any of the data that I have shared...if it is worth something to them...good for them...just wish I could make some money from it ;)

Renegade

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Re: Anybody else sick of hearing "OMG Facebook is spying on us!"?
« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2014, 09:01:55 PM »
Thing is, Big Data doesn't need any "important" information. They can figure things out well enough already.

e.g. Your disparaging comments against the Daily Mail already show attitudes that can be used to target you. Your username includes information that can be used to link to other accounts (albeit other data is likely needed to increase the confidence in linking).

Facebook (and similar) doesn't weigh things in their favour by dropping 1 kg weights on the scales; they drop a grain of sand at a time. They boil frogs.
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

Stephen66515

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Re: Anybody else sick of hearing "OMG Facebook is spying on us!"?
« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2014, 09:46:03 PM »
Hey...if disparaging comments about Daily Mail shit means I see less stuff FROM the daily mail...I don't really see the problem ;)

Honestly though...we all know our information is being bought, linked, sold, auctioned, taken apart, put back together, and whatever else...life is life and the only way to solve it is to use Tor and register for everything under a pseudonym lol

Deozaan

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Re: Anybody else sick of hearing "OMG Facebook is spying on us!"?
« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2014, 08:30:25 AM »
The problem is that if I'm going to use the Facebook messaging system, the only thing I want to use it for is essentially as an IM client. I don't want it accessing my contacts or my camera or my microphone or my location or anything else.

The very act of granting it permission to do those things means that it can at any time access those functionalities of your device. And if you trust the app to only do it when you explicitly give it permission to (e.g., only access the camera/gallery when you're taking/attaching a photo to your IM) then great! Use it. But IMO, Facebook has already demonstrated time and again that they cannot be trusted. They will abuse these permissions, they will take every advantage they can to collect as much information about you as possible.


Stephen66515

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Re: Anybody else sick of hearing "OMG Facebook is spying on us!"?
« Reply #6 on: August 18, 2014, 09:48:16 PM »
The problem is that if I'm going to use the Facebook messaging system, the only thing I want to use it for is essentially as an IM client. I don't want it accessing my contacts or my camera or my microphone or my location or anything else.

The very act of granting it permission to do those things means that it can at any time access those functionalities of your device. And if you trust the app to only do it when you explicitly give it permission to (e.g., only access the camera/gallery when you're taking/attaching a photo to your IM) then great! Use it. But IMO, Facebook has already demonstrated time and again that they cannot be trusted. They will abuse these permissions, they will take every advantage they can to collect as much information about you as possible.

You give your built in SMS app permission to use services that cost you money...and compose/send SMS...

Your dialing app has permissions to use your microphone and such...

Your camera app has permissions to...hmmmmm...take photos...

All of which are basic and standard...yet people ain't having a retarded fit about all these...WHY do people have to be so idiotic?  Seriously..May actually sign up to these guys...

http://www.mars-one.com/

tomos

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Re: Anybody else sick of hearing "OMG Facebook is spying on us!"?
« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2014, 03:42:55 AM »
Yeah, I think it's a case of use it or dont.
Using it, and bitching about it at the same time *is* a bit hypocritical.

FWIW I dont use FB anymore.
Tom

Deozaan

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Re: Anybody else sick of hearing "OMG Facebook is spying on us!"?
« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2014, 01:31:09 PM »
You give your built in SMS app permission to use services that cost you money...and compose/send SMS...

Your dialing app has permissions to use your microphone and such...

Your camera app has permissions to...hmmmmm...take photos...

All of which are basic and standard...yet people ain't having a retarded fit about all these...WHY do people have to be so idiotic?  Seriously..May actually sign up to these guys...

http://www.mars-one.com/

Yes. Exactly. It's idiotic for someone to buy a camera and be upset that it might take pictures. Or to buy a phone and be upset that it can hear your voice with a microphone. But it's not idiotic for someone to be upset that an app you would use to look at pictures of cats and family also wants your entire address book, image gallery, GPS location, microphone access, credit card numbers, PIN(s), and DNA sequence.

My SMS app doesn't have ulterior motives.

My dialer doesn't have ulterior movites.

My camera doesn't have ulterior motives.

Facebook does.


Stephen66515

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Re: Anybody else sick of hearing "OMG Facebook is spying on us!"?
« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2014, 05:02:37 PM »
Maybe they DO have ulterior motives...maybe not...nobody knows but them  :-\

However...the point isn't about the possibility of it happening in the future...people are getting up in arms about the PERMISSIONS because they have jumped on the band wagon for something they have no idea about.  It is purely a permissions based argument which can ONLY be solved at Operating System Level...Facebook...like every other developer of Android Apps, have no choice over the CONTENTS within that permission...merely the permission itself.  Now...if Google implemented a permission that allowed developers to strictly say "ONLY WHEN YOU REQUEST IT" next to things like Camera, Microphone and such...rather than just a vague "Can be used at any time, for any reason, by anybody" then this would be easily solved...because if Facebook or anybody else still wanted to use the system wide permission to be able to use it 24/7 without further permission...then we would have an issue...however...on the other side of the coin...if the added permissions could be implemented by Android to get rid of such stupidity, and Facebook chose to use that...then there would be no issue at all!

The problem isn't Facebook and what they COULD do...the problem is with the Android OS and what they WON'T fix...

Stephen66515

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Re: Anybody else sick of hearing "OMG Facebook is spying on us!"?
« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2014, 05:07:21 PM »
As an addition to the above...how hard would it be to do the following example?:

(Current Permission): Take pictures and videos: This permission allows you to take photos and videos within the Messenger app to easily send to your friends and other contacts.

(Proposed Revision or Additional Permission): Take pictures and videos: This permission allows you to take photos and videos within the Messenger app to easily send to your friends and other contacts when explicitly requested by the end-user ONLY.

So basically...in your applications manifest, instead of having  
Code: Text [Select]
  1. <uses-permission android:name="android.permission.CAMERA" />
you would have something like  
Code: Text [Select]
  1. <uses-permission android:name="android.permission.CAMERABYREQUEST" />

Deozaan

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Re: Anybody else sick of hearing "OMG Facebook is spying on us!"?
« Reply #11 on: August 19, 2014, 05:17:51 PM »
The real solution would be to allow users to deny permissions on a permission-by-permission basis (per app), so that if I didn't want Facebook to have access to my GPS, I could simply deny the location permission and anytime it tried to access the GPS, it would simply get an OS-level error/denial and be unable to get info from the GPS.

Then they (Facebook) could request all the permissions they wanted, and all I'd grant them is the ability to talk to the internets to deliver me my LOLcats and family photos.  :Thmbsup:

I believe that Cyanogenmod has or is working on implementing this feature.


Stephen66515

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Re: Anybody else sick of hearing "OMG Facebook is spying on us!"?
« Reply #12 on: August 19, 2014, 05:22:19 PM »
The real solution would be to allow users to deny permissions on a permission-by-permission basis (per app), so that if I didn't want Facebook to have access to my GPS, I could simply deny the location permission and anytime it tried to access the GPS, it would simply get an OS-level error/denial and be unable to get info from the GPS.

Then they could request all the permissions they wanted, and all I'd grant them is the ability to talk to the internets to deliver me my LOLcats and family photos.  :Thmbsup:

I do agree with this actually...However, it should give detailed explanations of the features that will no longer work when you remove a permission (Because...well...people are idiots).

However...where would be the issue with implementing both ideas?  Allow people like Facebook to only be able to use the Camera when the user requests...but they can also deny the permission forever (or at least until they re-enable it).

OR...you could even go as far as defaulting all Android phones to have security popups much like UAC in Windows...so when an app requests permission to use Feature X, the user would be then informed and asked to choose Yes or No.

Renegade

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Re: Anybody else sick of hearing "OMG Facebook is spying on us!"?
« Reply #13 on: August 19, 2014, 05:25:14 PM »
As an addition to the above...how hard would it be to do the following example?:

(Current Permission): Take pictures and videos: This permission allows you to take photos and videos within the Messenger app to easily send to your friends and other contacts.

(Proposed Revision or Additional Permission): Take pictures and videos: This permission allows you to take photos and videos within the Messenger app to easily send to your friends and other contacts when explicitly requested by the end-user ONLY.

So basically...in your applications manifest, instead of having 
Code: Text [Select]
  1. <uses-permission android:name="android.permission.CAMERA" />
you would have something like 
Code: Text [Select]
  1. <uses-permission android:name="android.permission.CAMERABYREQUEST" />

My guess is that this might be tough to implement if a user action can be spoofed, which is pretty normal stuff to do.

I can only think of hardware buttons working here, which would muck up the UX.
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

Stephen66515

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Re: Anybody else sick of hearing "OMG Facebook is spying on us!"?
« Reply #14 on: August 19, 2014, 05:27:24 PM »
As an addition to the above...how hard would it be to do the following example?:

(Current Permission): Take pictures and videos: This permission allows you to take photos and videos within the Messenger app to easily send to your friends and other contacts.

(Proposed Revision or Additional Permission): Take pictures and videos: This permission allows you to take photos and videos within the Messenger app to easily send to your friends and other contacts when explicitly requested by the end-user ONLY.

So basically...in your applications manifest, instead of having 
Code: Text [Select]
  1. <uses-permission android:name="android.permission.CAMERA" />
you would have something like 
Code: Text [Select]
  1. <uses-permission android:name="android.permission.CAMERABYREQUEST" />

My guess is that this might be tough to implement if a user action can be spoofed, which is pretty normal stuff to do.

I can only think of hardware buttons working here, which would muck up the UX.

I didn't think it would be easy to implement as such, the idea was simply to throw some ideas in the pond for ways it could actually be made more sane :D

40hz

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Re: Anybody else sick of hearing "OMG Facebook is spying on us!"?
« Reply #15 on: August 20, 2014, 06:04:11 AM »
Honestly though...we all know our information is being bought, linked, sold, auctioned, taken apart, put back together, and whatever else...life is life

IMHO, acquiescence and capitulation are no way to go through life. Whether or not the above is true, we don't need to accept it. Or tolerate it either. Just sayin'  ;)

wraith808

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Re: Anybody else sick of hearing "OMG Facebook is spying on us!"?
« Reply #16 on: August 20, 2014, 02:38:10 PM »
Honestly though...we all know our information is being bought, linked, sold, auctioned, taken apart, put back together, and whatever else...life is life

IMHO, acquiescence and capitulation are no way to go through life. Whether or not the above is true, we don't need to accept it. Or tolerate it either. Just sayin'  ;)

Totally agreed.  And just telling someone 'don't use it then', is not an acceptable alternative.  Market pressure is a very real thing.

Stephen66515

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Re: Anybody else sick of hearing "OMG Facebook is spying on us!"?
« Reply #17 on: August 20, 2014, 02:59:00 PM »
Honestly though...we all know our information is being bought, linked, sold, auctioned, taken apart, put back together, and whatever else...life is life


IMHO, acquiescence and capitulation are no way to go through life. Whether or not the above is true, we don't need to accept it. Or tolerate it either. Just sayin'  ;)

Totally agreed.  And just telling someone 'don't use it then', is not an acceptable alternative.  Market pressure is a very real thing.


We choose to do these things in the full knowledge of what the outcome is going to be...However, we DO have a choice...and that choice is yours to make.

You know the dangers of driving...but most people do it anyway, and there are options there if you choose not to...
You know the dangers of flying....but most people still do...yet again, there are other options...

Facebook isn't the be all and end all of civilization as we know it...there are other ways and means to stay in touch with that girl you once met at that bar you don't remember the name of in the town you forgot you ever visited...;)

Although I do agree that Facebook could be a little more VISIBLE about what they do (Although, it is pretty easy to find the information for those who know where to look or are willing to dig a little deeper)...however...Like I said above...Facebook isn't the problem here...Android Permissions are...

How many of you guys here have downloaded something for your phone that..say...lets you edit images you have taken, or apply filters to your photos...or have a custom launcher...or have a completely custom rom on it like Cyanogenmod?...All of those things have permission based issues that are EXACTLY the same as Facebook...Cyanogenmod obviously has some differences being a complete overhaul of Android but again..who really knows what the hell is going on there?

If you want your private information to stay private...don't share it...pretty simple really...I have only ever shared online, the information about myself that I couldn't care less who knows about me...and like I have said many times before...if people like Facebook have figured out a way to make money from that information...good for them!  I only hope that one day I figure out how the hell knowing that I enjoy a Coffee in the morning and I have a dislike for anything from The Daily Mail; is worth money!

wraith808

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Re: Anybody else sick of hearing "OMG Facebook is spying on us!"?
« Reply #18 on: August 20, 2014, 03:12:40 PM »
This is a totally different thing.  If Microsoft did the same sorts of things... oh wait, they did use market pressure on other companies, and were rightfully slapped for it (though it should have been more).

Let's say it again.  Market pressure is a very real thing.

So when you get a certain percentage of the market, you have certain responsibilities to your users, especially if you've leveraged your users to get that market percentage.  You can't just use your users willy nilly to become successful, and then change the game.

Which is exactly what Facebook, Google, and others have already done.

resized_fry-can-t-tell-meme-generator-can-t-tell-if-being-sarcastic-or-drinking-the-koolaid-47a904.jpgAnybody else sick of hearing "OMG Facebook is spying on us!"?