Boing Boing 

On Big Data's shrinking returns


In my new Guardian column, I point out that the big-data-driven surveillance business model is on the rocks.

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Facebook can't trace revenge-porn poster

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Because its policy is to delete data 90 days after an account closure, Facebook is unable to comply with a court order that it turn over information about the revenge-porn-posting user.

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What does Facebook learn about you when you rainbowify your profile pic?

terrify When Facebook offered a "rainbow filter" for images, following last week's landmark Supreme Court decision in favor of gay marriage, people joked that it was probably another creepy social experiment. Well, probably, yes.

Even seemingly small online actions—clicking the “like” button, changing one’s profile photo—are being tracked and analyzed. Just like McAdam’s research on Freedom Summer shapes our understanding of support for marriage equality, Facebook's past research on marriage equality has helped answer a question we all face when deciding to act politically:

Does the courage to visibly—if virtually—stand up for what a person believes in have an effect on that person’s social network, or is it just cheap, harmless posturing? Perhaps the rainbow colors across Facebook will become part of the answer.

Previously: Facebook's massive psychology experiment likely illegal

Anti-corruption journalist immolated by cops, allegedly under orders from minister


Jagendra Singh reported on corruption in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh on his Facebook account, which allegedly prompted Ram Murti Singh Verma, a ruling party politician, to send police to his house to burn him alive; he died a week later of his injuries.

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If the FBI has a backdoor to Facebook or Apple encryption, we are less safe

Reuters


Reuters

Freedom of the Press Foundation director Trevor Timm tells Boing Boing,

Now that the USA Freedom Act is out of the way, it seems pretty clear the next battle in Congress will almost certainly be over encryption, as the FBI has not stopped its push to force tech companies to insert a backdoor into their communications tools, despite being ridiculed for it by security experts. The FBI seems to push it even farther in the past week, testifying before Congress that they need to stop encryption "above all else" and leaking a story to the LA Times about ISIS using encrypted text messaging apps. I wrote about what a dumb move it is on several levels for the Guardian.

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After lying and covering up, Facebook finally changes rules for inmates' pages


After at least four years of lying about its rubberstamp takedown process for prison authorities and omitting prison takedowns from its transparency reports, Facebook is finally bringing a crumb of due process to its treatment of prisoners.

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Facebook rolls out new encryption features

Reuters


Reuters

An update rolled out today by Facebook allows users to post their public email encryption key on their Facebook profile, so others can encrypt future emails to that user. Here's the official blog post at Facebook.

More at CPJ:

Facebook profiles now have a field for PGP public keys--just like for phone numbers or email addresses. Uploaded keys can be shared as widely or narrowly as desired, just like other information on a Facebook profile. For journalists who use Facebook to connect with sources and disseminate, share, and comment on news, their profile will now indicate they are available for encrypted emails. The new feature will also make it easier to securely contact potential sources.

A sample display of the new encryption feature offered to users by Facebook.


A sample display of the new encryption feature offered to users by Facebook.

"Status update: Facebook users now have access to PGP encryption" and "CPJ welcomes Facebook move to add PGP encryption features" [Committee to Protect Journalists]

"Securing Email Communications from Facebook" [Facebook]

Mark Zuckerberg just dropped another $100M to protect his privacy


Remember when Mark Zuckerberg declared that the age of privacy was over?

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Images of breastfeeding, operative scars now permitted on Instagram

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How magnanimous of them! Your breasts are now appropriate for their "authentic and safe" environment, so long as you're not doing anything bad with them. But don't get any ideas: "close-ups of fully nude buttocks" are still unacceptable.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Strengthening neighborhoods with ... Facebook!

SHN group pic

Facebook gets a bad rap, but where I live, it has brought neighbors together, and it started because of the things I didn't want to share.

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Imaginary ISIS attack on Louisiana and the twitterbots who loved it


Gilad Lotan has spotted some pretty sophisticated fake-news generation, possibly from Russia, and possibly related to my weird, larval twitterbots, aimed at convincing you that ISIS had blown up a Louisiana chemical factory.

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Facebook tells Native Americans that their names aren't "real"


Facebook's "real names" policy means that from time to time, it arbitrarily decides what its users are allowed to call themselves, which sucks if your name is something like Dana Lone Hill or Robin Kills The Enemy or Shane Creepingbear.

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Use Facebook while in South Carolina jail, go to solitary for 37 years


Prisons have a legitimate interest in controlling contraband, but in South Carolina, using social media from behind bars is a Class I offense, carrying stiffer penalties than murder, escape and hostage-taking.

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Facebook must face privacy violation lawsuit over scanning users' messages to target ads

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Just before the Christmas holiday, a judge in Oakland, California ruled that Facebook does indeed have to face a class action lawsuit charging that the social media firm violated user privacy when it scanned the contents of users' messages for the purposes of targeting advertising to those users.

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Algorithmic cruelty


With its special end-of-year message, Facebook wants to show you, over and over, what your year "looked like"; in Eric Meyer's case, the photo was of his daughter, who died this year: "For those of us who lived through the death of loved ones, or spent extended time in the hospital, or were hit by divorce or losing a job or any one of a hundred crises, we might not want another look at this past year."

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Focus on the Family's Singapore sex-ed class promotes rape, bigotry


A plagiarized sex-ed textbook presented to Singapore junior college students by Focus on the Family volunteers left student Agatha Tan aghast, so she penned an open letter to her principal including photos of some of the more grossly offensive pages.

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