All Articles Tagged "privacy"
It seems so Orwellian. But according to a bombshell report by The Washington Post the National Security Agency (NSA) have been tapping into the central servers of nine top U.S. Internet companies. It is part of a highly classified program code-named PRISM that began in 2007, reports The Guardian. The tap is all encompassing, allegedly collecting audio, video, photos, emails, documents, and connection logs that let analysts follow a user’s movements and contacts from Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, Paltalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, and Apple.
And it seems the government bypassed getting permission from the companies. “Senior officials from the aforementioned Internet companies told the Guardian that they did not offer direct access to servers and that if data collection was taking place, it was without their knowledge,” reports The Daily Beast in their Cheat Sheet snapshot of the scandal. But the government says that the reports of the tapping are not fully correct. National Intelligence director James Clapper issued a statement on his website stating that the reports “contain numerous inaccuracies” and that the collection of communications “cannot be used to intentionally target any U.S. citizen, any other U.S. person, or anyone located within the United States.”
The snooping scandal has been at full boil for the past couple of days, first with revelations, also from The Guardian, that the NSA was collecting data from millions of Verizon customers. “The document shows for the first time that under the Obama administration the communication records of millions of US citizens are being collected indiscriminately and in bulk – regardless of whether they are suspected of any wrongdoing,” the article says. This contradicts some of what’s being said at this point — Are people in the US being watched or not? Who? What? Huh? — but at this point, with more information coming out, it’s inevitable that things are going to need to be hashed out. It’s clear, however, based on what’s being pushed out, that the surveillance is widespread.
Today, President Obama defended the surveillance, saying during a press conference, “Nobody is listening to your telephone calls… You can’t have 100 percent security and then also have 100 percent privacy and zero inconvenience.” According to Obama, Congress and judges on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court were making sure that the surveillance didn’t overstep any bounds.
Despite the concern and controversy, many Americans are kind of giving the whole thing a bit of a “meh,” feeling as though the revelations only confirm what was already a widely-known secret. But, according to The New York Times, while people were, for instance, very upset about news that Harvard University had taken a peek at the email messages sent by faculty members earlier this year, “[b]y every indication, the continued concern about domestic terrorism has colored the way Americans are reacting to intrusions in their privacy.”
So how do you feel about this? Are you surprised?
Tonya Garcia contributed to this post.
Though you may not want to admit it, at some point in time you have Google’d a date’s name, gone through your boyfriend’s clothes drawer, or taken a quick look through his Facebook messages when he accidentally left himself signed in on your computer. To most people, this is definitely considered snooping. The act alone stands as one of the most controversial in the dating world. But, in the end, no matter if you find it right or wrong, if you’re going to snoop, there are some definite do’s and dont’s.
‘My Business Is My Business:’ Lauren London Talks Privacy And Not Caring About The Public’s Thoughts On Her Pregnancy
Lauren London is most known for her breakout role as NewNew in T.I.’s 2006 film, ATL. Although she may seem like an overnight success, the 28-year-old L.A. girl says she encountered a lot of rejection before became the big-time television actress we see before us today. In her recent interview with Vibe Vixen, The Game actress opened up about her early years in the industry, being a single mom and why she refuses to take mess off of anyone.
On facing a lot of rejection during the early years of her career:
“Starting my career, there was a lot of rejection going on. I remember my dad telling me that if you let that define you, they’ll basically make you nothing. You have to define yourself. Every time you hear a no, it’s one step closer to a yes. Jobs come and go, so I don’t get too down on myself. You have to stay self-motivated. If you wait for someone else to motivate you, you’ll be waiting for a long time. You have to really be your own cheerleader. Even if you don’t feel all that way in the moment, tell yourself that you’re enough.”
On maintaining her privacy:
“I was always a private person. My business is my business. I have a small group of friends, and I just like the simple things out of life. My privacy is something that I value. I’m also socially awkward.”
On finding out she was pregnant:
“The public was the last thought. Most of my thoughts were on my family and inner circle. It was mostly how is this affecting Lauren as a person and is Lauren ready to completely put herself to the side and be a mother. My priorities were changing. My career was last.”
“Before ATL, people didn’t know about me. I auditioned for ATL and no one cared who I was. I was a regular girl in L.A. who auditioned and got the role. No one knew I was doing it and I did it. No one gave me that. I did that. They can’t take what they didn’t give. God has the last say, so I just trust that. Is it an uphill battle? Yes. But isn’t everything? I’m not starving.”
Thoughts on marriage:
“I think it’s awesome when it’s done right. I don’t think anyone is supposed to be alone, you know. Having a partner and having somebody that is with you through the ups and downs is awesome. I’m all about connection. If I connected with someone and met a nice guy maybe, but I just haven’t ran into that yet.”
On lessons from her mom that she plans to pass down to her son:
“Being resilient. No matter what, never giving up on your dreams. It sounds cliché but it’s so real. She grew up struggling, but she was always very positive, no matter how bad things came. We kept a positive outlook because your perception is everything. It is your reality. That is something I want to pass down to my child. My mom was very into inner beauty. She would say all the time, “Being cute is cute, but who are you on the inside?”
On lessons she’s still learning:
“[To have] faith and thicker skin. Not letting what people have to say about me matter so much.”
On constantly being scrutinized by the media:
“I’m not going to front. I’m not a lover, I’m a fighter. I will forget that I am Hollywood and get Holly-hood [Laughs].”
Over the past few years, we have been allowed to enter the Queen Bey’s Hive. Through Beyoncé’s social media accounts, we are able to scroll through her most priceless moments with family, stunning performances, and selfies. Like all of us, Beyoncé controls how she wants to appear to her audience. Therefore, when Beyoncé banned independent photographers from her Mrs. Carter tour, I didn’t understand why people began to ask: “Is Beyoncé not secure in the skin she’s in?” When what we should be asking ourselves is: As consumers (and human beings), do we allow others the same non-judgmental agency when controlling their Internet personas?
“Beyoncé may run the world, but the diva is going to extremes to have some serious control over her internet personification. The decision was indubitably prompted by this year’s Super Bowl fiasco, after Buzzfeed published unflattering photos that propelled Beyoncé’s publicist to issue an emailed request for removal. Instead of taking the pictures down or replacing them, the site reposted the images and the email with the headline: “The ‘Unflattering’ Photos Beyoncé’s Publicist Doesn’t Want You to See.” Visitors of Buzzfeed are familiar with the comedic and playful tone to the popular site, but Bey wasn’t laughing.”
Yes, people are interested in a Beyoncé who does not “wall” herself in, at her convenience. We want to see those stank-faces while she is dancing so we can feel the passion, blood, sweat, and tears of every practice session that make her concerts so noteworthy. But if she is not comfortable with sharing a less than flattering picture of herself, can we find it in ourselves to let her live? If a friend uploads an undesirable photo of you on a social network, you would want it to be removed. “Take away the power to un-tag and how many women would be orchestrating an online petition to permanently ban Facebook from ever seeing the light of day?” When people become celebrities, do we set and require new societal expectations? Our implications show we demand total transparency from celebrities even if it is embarrassing because we are far removed from the actual life they live.
Beyoncé’s appearance of flawlessness has helped her brand come off as all-s*xy and all-sassy all the time, consistent, and never messy. With Beyoncé we know what we are paying for – her talents and not antics. Though her brand is constantly evolving, we must also remember her rise to fame did not occur during the social media age. “The Beyoncé we’ve come to know has constructed an entire empire based off of seeming perfection and trying to keep the focus on her music, her acting endeavors, her business ventures. She receives million dollar endorsements solely from her pristine beauty and body. I’m not sure how it feels to be labeled one of the most beautiful women in the world, but in addition to her already gargantuan self-standards, one can only imagine the pressure she’s put under. And her rule number one is to never let them catch you slipping. And we can all agree that the one thing Beyoncé demonstrates in her career is to “be a brand first, human second.”
Fans are always thirsty (even the anti-folks who go to every story about her to down her) for her to send out bow-down tweets to other artists or to hear the juicy, most intimate details of her marriage to Jay-Z. The want for Beyoncé to find the perfect medium between her private and public self for the entertainment of others is alarming. We tend to forget we all have inner-Beys. Privacy settings, makeup, and filters have allowed us to leverage between who we are and who we want to expose ourselves to. Are we really out here posting our bad photos and embarrassing ourselves through social media? Of course not–we want people to see us at our best. In reality we are controlling how our “audience” (aka, our friends, family and foes) views our authenticity just like Queen Bey. So what’s the problem?
One Down, ‘Bout 8 Or 9 More To Go: Kim Kardashian Says She’s Done With Family Reality Show After Season 9
Kim Kardashian has been exposing her life to us without our permission since about 2006-2007, and since then, she’s been damn near everywhere, promoted almost everything, dated almost everybody (that was black) and made her living from being part of the overexposed. But everybody gets tired of participating in the rat race, whatever their particular rat race is, at one time or another, and according to Kim Kardashian, she’s getting tired of reality television.
According to US Weekly, even though she has signed on for season nine of Keeping Up With the Kardashians, after it’s over, she’s going to make an exit from reality television and focus on her growing family with Kanye West and the husband that won’t let go–Kris Humphries. She told DuJour magazine, “My boyfriend has taught me a lot about privacy. I’m ready to be a little less open about some things, like my relationships. I’m realizing everyone doesn’t need to know everything.”
Word?? You’re just now realizing the importance of keeping some things to yourself? Interesting…
“When you live your life so publicly, like on a reality show, people assume that they know every side of you already. But they always want more.”
But despite what the people want, Kardashian claims that she wants to back away slowly but surely from the show. It’s a part of her growing up and maturing. “I think there’s always an evolution of, you know, what you want to do in life. It’s all about finding things that really excite you and motivate you and spark you all over again. I’m realizing that no matter what, if you go into something with all these expectations and plans, once you’re actually living it, it could be completely different.”
So what could this mean for Keeping Up With the Kardashians and their spinoffs? Can it still be a reality powerhouse without Kim? Probably, but then again, do we really believe that she would be fully capable of walking away from reality television for good? She says a lot of things for attention and press, but you never know how motherhood can change people, so we’ll have to wait and see now won’t we?
Even though Facebook came under scrutiny in 2011 for installing cookies onto users’ browsers that tracked Facebook members’ every move online, industry insiders say the social media network is now trying to find a way to follow user locations nonstop.
Facebook is working on location-tracking mobile app, reports Bloomberg Businessweek (via The LA Times). And get this: the app would be able to locate a user even when the phone isn’t being used. Currently, Facebook’s mobile app allows users to let others know where they are by “checking in” at a restaurant or a landmark, for example. But the new app would continuously track the user once the app is activated.
Like its cookie-tracking information, the data Facebook can collect with the new app will help the company “generate more revenue from ads based on users’ locations and their daily habits,” the report says.
The location-tracking app is expected to be made available in mid-March. Users will have to give the app permission to track them.
This new app will most likely create more criticism for Facebook and its data collecting practices, and also raise further privacy concerns for the network’s members.
Would you use this new app?
If you are one of the 165 million American Facebook users, you may have received an email about becoming a part of the class action lawsuit against Facebook entitled “Re: LEGAL NOTICE OF SETTLEMENT OF CLASS ACTION.” Although this email is legit, don’t go quitting your job or thinking it’s your day to cash out.
In the case of Farley vs. Facebook, the court was asked to focus on the practice of including Facebook users in “Sponsored Story” ads based on things they “Liked” in the past. Forbes points out the popular example of Nick Bergus, who ended up promoting a 55-gallon drum of personal (ahem!) lubricant last Valentine’s Day after he wrote a funny online story. In the past, the only way to avoid this mismanaged advertising was only to not “Like” anything.
Facebook and the plaintiffs settled the suit in December for about $20 million. Most of the money will cover lawyers’ fees. But after they get paid, that’s where you come in. The rest will be divvied up among Facebook users who appeared in Sponsored Story ads. Meaning you could be awarded up to a whopping 10 bucks for the violation of your privacy! However, if the demand is too great, the money will go to a group of non-profits that work on privacy issues. According to Social Bakers, if all 165 million American users cashed in you’d get about 12 cents.
Well this might not be your day to take Facebook to the cleaners, but you might get more privacy options out of the deal, which based on the increasing number of lawsuits, is much needed in social media.
Do you remember all the pages that you have “liked” on Facebook? Well, the social network does and they are recycling your “likes” and using them to promote “Related Posts” in the news feeds of your friends. Strange as it may sound, you may have never seen the story, “liked” the story or even know that it is being promoted in your name, reports Forbes.
The story broke when Minneapolis developer Craig Condon accused Facebook of “impersonating people without their consent.”
And if Facebook does this to you, you might never know as posts made by Facebook on your behalf are “completely invisible to you, and only show up in your friends’ and family’s news feed,” Condon told Forbes. For it’s part, Facebook is clearly labeling the “liked” content as “related,” but to most Facebook users, these posts look normal.
“It’s hard not to see this as intentionally manipulative and misleading on Facebook’s part,” says Forbes. Facebook has already been in hot water over its use of Sponsored Stories and the social media network made a preliminary $20 million settlement.
But there is more, writes the magazine. “A story from ReadWrite by Bernard Meisler documents a boatload of cases where friends had supposedly liked brands that the writer couldn’t imagine them ever liking. Some of these friends were no longer even alive!,” reports the magazine. And yet another reporter, Jim Edwards of Business Insider, wrote about how Facebook generates “likes” in ways other than a user clicking a Like button. It seems that Facebook also adds likes any time a user messages a link to a “likable” page. “This automation in combination with fake bot accounts that can pump out these messages effectively create a method through which Likes can be bought. And even if your message that accompanies a link contains negative sentiment, Facebook still counts it as a Like,” explains Forbes.
Facebook puts the onus on its users. A spokesman told Forbes that the likes are the result of liking activity and possibly “those people ‘liked’ something by accident, by inadvertently pressing a button, perhaps on the mobile app.”
One way to possibly monitor this is to ask your friends to track your likes and report them back to you. It’s a bit labor intensive, but if you want to avoid ties to something you’re opposed to, it could be worth it.
Have your friends asked you about your strange Facebook “like” activity?
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Are you as shocked as I am?
One of the reasons some people were so annoyed with news that Kanye and Kim are expecting their first child is because of the assumption that this pregnancy is just another ploy to extend Kim’s already suspect fame as well as her bank account. Immediately, people starting coming up with all sorts of reality TV spinoff ideas like, a “Kim Gives Birth,” special or Kanye and Kim getting their own show like Khloe and Lamar, but sources tell TMZ that’s not about to happen.
“We’re told K&K want to keep that part of their lives separate from ‘Keeping Up With the Kardashians’ … so they can ‘ensure real privacy’ for the baby,” TMZ reports.
“Further, we’re told Kim is saying the baby will NEVER be on the family’s show or have its own spin-off — nor will there be a ‘Kim Gives Birth’ TV special … she and Kanye are nixing that idea too.”
“Like so many Kardashian fans, we love it when this close-knit family gets even bigger. We look forward to sharing the joy as they prepare for more diapers, more bottle and without a doubt, more fabulous baby wear.”
Another insider also told the site that the Kardashian franchise, which includes the upcoming season of “Kourtney & Kim Take Miami” set to premier January 20, “will continue to cover all aspects of Kim’s life as it always has.”
So basically she’ll be all baby talk until little Yeezy’s head starts crowning. Let’s just hope the couple keeps that promise to not put their child in front of the cameras — although I’m sure there will be more than enough Twitpics, Instagrams, and commissioned photo shoots and magazine covers to make up for that.