mfioretti: privacy*

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  1. uno studio legale noleggia una stampante di alto livello, poi la macchina viene passata ad un altro cliente. Nulla di strano, il bello del noleggio è proprio di poter rinunciare alla macchina o cambiarla con una più nuova o performante. Però bisognerebbe ricordarsi di svuotare l’hard disk e di formattarlo con programmi di sicurezza che impediscono il recupero dei dati, non lasciare migliaia di scansioni di documenti legali a disposizione dell’utilizzatore successivo. Così come la ditta di noleggio dovrebbe attivarsi per un doppio controllo.

    Non dimentichiamo che la perdita di una chiavetta USB, il furto di un portatile o di uno smartphone possono causare una data breach, con tutta la procedura e le sanzioni conseguenti.
    Tags: , , , by M. Fioretti (2018-05-13)
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  2. The research was, as the study puts it, “premised on the notion that ad transparency undermines ad effectiveness when it exposes marketing practices that violate consumers’ beliefs about ‘information flows’ — how their information ought to move between parties.” So if a clothing store asks you for your email address so that it can send you promotional spam, you may not enjoy it, but you probably won’t consider it a breach of trust. But if that same store were, say, covertly following your movements between the aisles by tracking your cellphone, that would be unnerving, to say the least. Given that Facebook operates its advertising operation largely on the basis of data harvesting that’s conducted invisibly or behind the veil of trade secrecy, it has more in common with our creepy hypothetical retailer.

    as John explained via email, “If I have to see ads, then yeah, I’d generally prefer ones that are relevant than not relevant but I’d add the qualifier: as long as I get the sense that you are treating my personal information properly. As soon as people feel that you are violating their privacy, they can become uneasy and understandably, distrustful of you.” Zuckerberg’s claim that you prefer to have your most personal information and online behavior tracked and analyzed on an industrial scale probably only checks out if you’re unaware it’s happening.

    Assuming the validity of the research here, it’s no wonder Facebook doesn’t want to show its math: The ads that are its lifeblood will stop working as well. John agreed that “there’s a disincentive for firms to reveal unsavory information flows, so that could plausibly explain trying to hide it.” Facebook is, after all, one big, world-spanning, unsavory information flow.
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  3. For readers, these are ads that, again, are visually unobjectionable, and which offer the most privacy you could hope for. Not only is there no tracking involved, there is no JavaScript involved. They’re just images, text, and HTML links. (The images are even served from itself.) You have my word that I will never allow tracking via these or any other ads on Daring Fireball without posting a big prominent “OK, DF Ads Are Now Tracking You” post on the site. I don’t expect ever to allow this.

    If you’re a prospective sponsor, you might be thinking, “Wait a minute, ‘no tracking’ sounds good, but if they’re not tracked, how will I know how my ad performs?” Easy. Do what (for example) Rogue Amoeba did, and provide a custom URL for the ad. Then you can track your own hits to that URL and trace them to the ad on Daring Fireball. Or just look at your referral stats (but I highly recommend sponsors use a custom URL). This is something that’s always baffled me about ad tracking — if you pay (say) Facebook for an ad, why in the world would you, the advertiser, trust Facebook’s numbers for how the ad performed? Measure the performance yourself, and you’ll know you’re getting the truth.
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  4. The move also flags up contradictions in’s messaging to its users. For instance we’ve asked the company why it’s shutting down in the EU if — as it claims on its website — it “respects your privacy”. We’re not holding our breath for a response.

    The market exit also looks like a tacit admission that has essentially been ignoring the EU’s existing privacy regime. Because GDPR does not introduce privacy rules to the region. Rather the regulation updates and builds on a data protection framework that’s more than two decades old at this point — mostly by ramping up enforcement, with penalties for privacy violations that can scale as high as 4% of a company’s global annual turnover.

    So suddenly the EU is getting privacy regs with teeth. And just as suddenly is deciding it needs to shut up the local shop…
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  5. The company’s financial performance is more of a reflection of Facebook’s unstoppability than its cause. Despite personal reservations about Facebook’s interwoven privacy, data, and advertising practices, the vast majority of people find that they can’t (and don’t want to) quit. Facebook has rewired people’s lives, routing them through its servers, and to disentangle would require major sacrifice. And even if one could get free of the service, the social pathways that existed before Facebook have shriveled up, like the towns along the roads that preceded the interstate highway system. Just look at how the very meaning of the telephone call has changed as we’ve expanded the number of ways we talk with each other. A method of communication that was universally seen as a great way of exchanging information has been transformed into a rarity reserved for close friends, special occasions, emergencies, and debt collectors.

    Most of the general pressures on the internet industry’s data practices, whether from Europe or anywhere else, don’t seem to scare Facebook. Their relative position will still be secure, unless something radical changes. In the company’s conference call with analysts last week, Sheryl Sandberg summed it up.

    “The thing that won’t change is that advertisers are going to look at the highest return-on-investment » opportunity,” Sandberg said. “And what’s most important in winning budgets is relative performance in the industry.”

    As long as dollars going into the Facebook ad machine sell products, dollars will keep going into the Facebook ad machine.

    As long as their friends are still on Instagram, Facebook, and WhatsApp, people will keep using Facebook products.
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  6. Un altro dei possibili punti di contesa è probabilmente legato alla pubblicità e alla condivisione di dati tra Whatsapp e Facebook. Al momento non sappiamo se la casa madre intenda introdurre inserzioni sulla app di messaggistica, una mossa che è stata sempre osteggiata da Koum e Acton. All’epoca della acquisizione i due cofondatori avevano ricevuto rassicurazioni sul fatto che non sarebbe stata aggiunta.

    Ma un anno e mezzo dopo Facebook ha convinto Whatsapp a cambiare i suoi termini di servizio per ottenere i numeri di telefono dei suoi utenti e inviare loro pubblicità mirata sul social (non sulla base delle loro conversazioni Whatsapp, che restavano inaccessibili all’azienda; ma sulla base del loro numero di telefono, che permetteva di farli trovare ad aziende che avevano liste di clienti e di loro cellulari, e che volevano raggiungerli con delle promozioni su Facebook).

    Nel maggio 2017 l’Unione europea ha multato Facebook con 110 milioni di euro per aver fornito informazioni fuorvianti al tempo dell’acquisizione di Whatsapp. Nel 2014 infatti il social aveva sostenuto che non avrebbe potuto collegare in modo automatico gli account degli utenti della app di messaggistica con i propri.

    Nello stesso periodo anche l’Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato, in Italia, sanzionava Whatsapp per 3 milioni di euro, per aver indotto gli utenti “ad accettare integralmente i nuovi Termini di Utilizzo, in particolare la condivisione dei propri dati con Facebook, facendo loro credere che sarebbe stato, altrimenti, impossibile proseguire nell’uso dell’applicazione”.
    II futuro dopo Koum

    Alla base dell’uscita dei due cofondatori sembra esserci soprattutto uno scontro culturale fra il modello Whatsapp, che punta sull’idea di privacy, e il modello Facebook, che punta sull’utilizzo dei dati degli utenti per guadagnare con la pubblicità. E malgrado Facebook avesse vinto alcuni passaggi cruciali – come l’abbandono della sottoscrizione da 0,99 centesimi per Whatsapp (che era stata introdotta per nuovi utenti) o il cambio di termini di servizio ecc - i due cofondatori resistevano a modifiche più radicali. Che d’ora in poi potrebbero non trovare più ostacoli.

    Ma tutto ciò potrebbe anche essere un boomerang per Whatsapp. Non sembra il momento migliore per svendere la propria identità di servizio orientato alla privacy. Non a caso all’inizio del 2018 Acton ha deciso di mettere 50 milioni di dollari in Signal, la app cifrata, di nicchia ma apprezzatissima dalla comunità tecnologica, sul cui protocollo si basa la stessa cifratura di Whatsapp (di fatto i milioni li ha messi nella Signal Foundation, no-profit che dovrà ampliare la missione della app di “rendere più accessibili e ubique le comunicazioni private”).

    Nel contempo l’altra appcifrata più nota, Telegram, si erge (almeno a livello di immagine e marketing, non sulla qualità della cifratura e della sua implementazione) a paladina della libertà di espressione e della privacy, facendosi mettere al bando in Russia. In questo scenario, c’è da scommettere che difficilmente Koum se ne starà a lungo a giocare con le Porsche.
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  7. Give Facebook Its Own Browser

    I mentioned before that Facebook also can track what you do when you browse other sites. Have you ever noticed little Facebook "Like" icons on other sites? Often websites will include those icons to help increase engagement on their sites. What it also does, however, is link the fact that you visited that site with your specific Facebook account—even if you didn't click "Like" or otherwise engage with the site. If you want to reduce how much you are tracked, I recommend selecting a separate browser that you use only for Facebook. So if you are a Firefox user, load Facebook in Chrome. If you are a Chrome user, view Facebook in Firefox. If you don't want to go to the trouble of managing two different browsers, at the very least, set up a separate Firefox profile (run firefox -P from a terminal) that you use only for Facebook.
    3. View Facebook over Tor

    Many people don't know that Facebook itself offers a .onion service that allows you to view Facebook over Tor. It may seem counterintuitive that a site that wants so much of your data would also want to use an anonymizing service, but it makes sense if you think it through. Sure, if you access Facebook over Tor, Facebook will know it's you that's accessing it, but it won't know from where. More important, no other sites on the internet will know you are accessing Facebook from that account, even if they try to track via IP.

    To use Facebook's private .onion service, install the Tor Browser Bundle, or otherwise install Tor locally, and follow the Tor documentation to route your Facebook-only browser to its SOCKS proxy service. Then visit https://facebookcorewwwi.onion, and only you and Facebook will know you are hitting the site. By the way, one advantage to setting up a separate browser that uses a SOCKS proxy instead of the Tor Browser Bundle is that the Tor Browser Bundle attempts to be stateless, so you will have a tougher time making the Facebook .onion address your home page.
    Tags: , by M. Fioretti (2018-04-30)
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  8. La funzione OK Google o Assistente Google degli smartphone Android è comoda, per carità: permette di usare queste parole per attivare il telefono e dargli dei comandi a voce. In teoria il telefono dovrebbe attivarsi soltanto quando viene pronunciato “OK Google”, ma la realtà è diversa. Oggi l’ho tenuto acceso per prova e i risultati sono stati piuttosto comici.
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  9. The answer is yes, at least in theory. New University of Washington research, to be presented in a paper Oct. 30 at the Association for Computing Machinery’s Workshop on Privacy in the Electronic Society, suggests that for roughly $1,000, someone with devious intent can purchase and target online advertising in ways that allow them to track the location of other individuals and learn what apps they are using.

    “Anyone from a foreign intelligence agent to a jealous spouse can pretty easily sign up with a large internet advertising company and on a fairly modest budget use these ecosystems to track another individual’s behavior,” said lead author Paul Vines, a recent doctoral graduate in the UW’s Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering.

    The research team set out to test whether an adversary could exploit the existing online advertising infrastructure for personal surveillance and, if so, raise industry awareness about the threat.

    “Because it was so easy to do what we did, we believe this is an issue that the online advertising industry needs to be thinking about,” said co-author Franzi Roesner, co-director of the UW Security and Privacy Research Lab and an assistant professor in the Allen School. “We are sharing our discoveries so that advertising networks can try to detect and mitigate these types of attacks, and so that there can be a broad public discussion about how we as a society might try to prevent them.”
    graphic of commute where someone could be tracked via ads

    This map represents an individual’s morning commute. Red dots reflect the places where the UW computer security researchers were able to track that person’s movements by serving location-based ads: at home (real location not shown), a coffee shop, bus stop and office. The team found that a target needed to stay in one location for roughly four minutes before an ad was served, which is why no red dots appear along the individual’s bus commute (dashed line) or walking route (solid line.)University of Washington

    The researchers discovered that an individual ad purchaser can, under certain circumstances, see when a person visits a predetermined sensitive location — a suspected rendezvous spot for an affair, the office of a company that a venture capitalist might be interested in or a hospital where someone might be receiving treatment — within 10 minutes of that person’s arrival. They were also able to track a person’s movements across the city during a morning commute by serving location-based ads to the target’s phone.

    The team also discovered that individuals who purchase the ads could see what types of apps their target was using. That could potentially divulge information about the person’s interests, dating habits, religious affiliations, health conditions, political leanings and other potentially sensitive or private information.
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  10. Today’s Internet and digital platforms are becoming increasingly centralised, slowing innovation and challenging their potential to revolutionise society and the economy in a pluralistic manner.

    The DECODE project will develop practical alternatives, through the creation, evaluation and demonstration of a distributed and open architecture for managing online access and aggregation of private information to allow a citizen-friendly and privacy-aware governance of access entitlements.

    Strong ethical and digital rights principles are at the base of DECODE’s mission, moving towards the implementation of open standards for a technical architecture resting on the use of Attribute Based Cryptography, distributed ledgers, secure operating system and a privacy focused smart rules language
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