I was watching the morning news the other day when I saw that a group was suing Facebook for scanning their allegedly private messages and selling the information to third parties.
Facebook Inc. (FB) was sued over allegations it systematically intercepts its users private messages on the social network and profits by sharing the data with advertisers and marketers.
When users compose messages that include links to a third-party website, Facebook scans the content of the message, follows the link and searches for information to profile the message-sender’s Web activity, violating the Electronic Communications Privacy Act and California privacy and unfair competition laws, according to the suit.
Although I understand that people are upset about this violation of privacy by Facebook, as well as the numerous reports of our very own government violating our privacy; there really isn't anything substantial that the courts will do about it in the near future.
Just look at the Federal Court's ruling in favor of NSA spying, or their ruling in favor of the DHS's Constitution Free Zones. In the eyes of the United States Government and the courts, there is no such thing as a reasonable expectation of privacy these days.
Therefore it really is up to you to try and protect your privacy in the world of the police state and corporations selling your information. You need to start using encryption.
Two relatively simple methods I recommend for communication are GnuPG for email, and OTR for Instant messaging. However many people I talk to are too damned lazy to setup these easy to use tools. They would rather just keep on bitching and complaining that their rights are being violated.
You do realize that without encryption when you send an email, or use instant messaging that anybody can pick that up off the wire right? It's transmitted in plain text across the Internet for crying out loud!
Facebook is a different animal though. You are sending messages to your friends on Facebook's servers. It may be encrypted between your computer and Facebook's website if you use SSL, but on Facebook's servers those messages are in plain text too!
In short, without encryption your communications are transmitting on the digital equivalent of a postcard that ANYBODY can read!
So I say stop bitching and do something about it. Suing is nice, but you can't always expect the government to protect your rights. Nope, you need to get off your butts and protect your rights yourselves!
What do you think about this? Let us know in the comments.
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