This story is old hat to me. I now am able to suppress the expression of disgust on my face fairly quickly when I see the little microphone just above my head, but for those that don’t know, all new taxis in most major cities in China are bugged. More here.
The computer security organization Sophos recently conducted a poll, and found that 60% out of 1,500 respondents, owing to privacy concerns, were considering deleting their profile. It is not clear if this is indicative of a definite fall from grace for the website, but is at least more fuel for their bad news month.
Adding more fuel to the fire that is feeding facebook’s fall from grace, here is a graphic that demonstrates the evolution of facebook’s privacy settings over time.
The Guardian’s Andrew Brown, who provided the link had this to say:
- “Ten years ago, when the British government proposed to make traffic data available to a wide variety of agencies under the Regulation of Investigative Powers Act, there was an outcry from civil libertarians. Their point was that you hardly need to know what people are saying to each other if you know who they are talking to. And now Facebook knows and makes this information freely available to almost anyone.
This may seem like a bad way to treat customers, but the whole point about Facebook is that users aren’t customers. Anyone who supposes that Facebook’s users are its customer has got the business model precisely backwards. Users pay nothing, because we aren’t customers, but product. The customers are the advertisers to whom Facebook sells the information users hand over, knowingly or not.”
As one of the comments read:
- This is a book that nobody should take at face value.
Currently in China, those who cannot afford their own computers and reliant on webcafes, must link every instance of computer usage at a specific computer to either their ID card or their passport. This is very annoying for me, as the only time I go to internet cafes these days is when I have lost my keys, and so invariably also do not have my passport.
The Government also has a very tight relationship with the Internet Service Providers. Whilst researching the practicalities of internet anonymity through TOR on my home computer, my internet access was cut a few times, and eventually my route to all publicly broadcasted TOR entry nodes blocked.
As China is on route to turning its internet black list into an internet white list, it is eagerly looking at the further step of forcing users in all instances of internet participation, online forums for example, to display their real name; and of course for that real name to be linked to their ID card number, and other identifiable information.
It looks like being barred from facebook, twitter, blogspot, youtube and wordpress will be the least of worries for those with a social or political conscience.
The internet in China has always had its share of blacklisted sites, blocking out undesirable sources of information from the average citizen. The internet is growing at such a fast pace, with new sites added every day, that blacklists are becoming more and more difficult to manage. Now the way forward seems to be to whitelist the entire web.