Internet privacy is now an oxymoron

There are several concerns beyond just the economical facet of the bill the Senate and House passed last week repealing a Federal Communications Commission privacy rule adopted in October requiring ISPs to get customers’ permission to use and share personal information about their web browsing history, children, health, finances, location and Social Security numbers.

One major concern revolves around a modern-day interpretation of the limits of the First Amendment.

Doesn’t this constitute unlawful search of any American citizen’s business? Hordes of information can be gleaned using data collected from one’s technological antics. And even though internet providers assure users they have no plans to take advantage of their data, that doesn’t necessarily mean they never will, nor does the ability to access your browsing history by ISPs go away.

Dangers in illegal usage of data abound with this new bill passed. Hackers now have easier access in dismantling virtually anybody’s privacy through this initiative, paving the way for more identity theft and fraud incidents.

We may see a new surge in internet users taking advantage of security measures like VPN tunnels to fortify themselves, as well as providers guaranteeing customers security through various forms. But the potential for harm still lurks, and only time will tell the ramifications of repealing FCC privacy rules.

Featured image: An iPhone 6S with a Midnight Blue leather case, iMore

Edward Snowden Warns Everyone to Not Use Google Allo

By Terrance Sowells Kemp

edward-snowden-google-allo.jpg
Image Source: MBEDDED
Allo_Smart-Reply_Google-582x1057.jpg
 

Allo’s “smart messaging” in use. 

 

Recently Google released their new app, Google Allo, a messaging that will compete with others like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and iMessage. What makes Allo stand out is what Google calls “smart messaging.” Google says that Allo is able to learn your personality by the way you text, which allows it to suggest text and emoji responses. This is made possible with what Google is calling the Google Assistant.

Edward Snowden, the man famous for leaking top secret information about NSA surveillance activities, has warned everyone to not use Google Allo. According to Snowden, Google Allo has a major flaw that could invade a persons privacy. Last year, the US foreign intelligence court did not deny any surveillance requests last year, which means the NSA is able to intercept communications, including email and phone calls. This would also cover Google Allo.

Earlier this year Google stressed the privacy aspects of Allo, saying that all messages are encrypted. Google also said that the incognito mode would be encrypted end to end. Originally Google announced that the reason that messages not in incognito mode would temporarily be stored on their servers in order Google Assistant to learn your texting patterns for “smart messaging” and would delete them in a certain amount of time. Last week when Google officially released Allo, this turns out to not be true. Allo will be storing user messages on Google servers indefinitely. At least until the user and the person receiving the messages decide to delete them. Which means at any moment, the government can request access to any and all users messages.

But Google Allo isn’t the only messaging app that saves our private messages or our personal information. Most of the apps we use today have some kind of risk that comes with using it. With all the apps we all use today, such as Snapchat, WhatsApp, Facebook, etc., we put ourselves out in the world. It’s up to us as individuals to decide what we want to share and how we want to share it.

References:

Google Allo: Why people such as Edward Snowden are advising against using the app. (n.d.). Retrieved September 25, 2016, from http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/features/google-allo-should-i-download-it-privacy-issues-problems-fixes-snowden-a7321216.html

Google Allo – A smart messaging app. (n.d.). Retrieved September 25, 2016, from https://allo.google.com/

US foreign intelligence court did not deny any surveillance requests last year. (2016). Retrieved September 25, 2016, from https://www.theguardian.com/law/2016/apr/30/fisa-court-foreign-intelligence-surveillance-fbi-nsa-applications

Lardinois, F. (2016). Google lands in hot water after backtracking on earlier Allo privacy promise. Retrieved September 25, 2016, from https://techcrunch.com/2016/09/21/google-lands-in-hot-water-after-backtracking-on-earlier-allo-privacy-promise/

Facebook’s New Search Option

Image taken from searchengineland.com

Blog by Allison Hughes

     Have you ever wanted to find a post that your friend posted three weeks ago and sat there forever scrolling through their feed? Well call that a thing of the past because Facebook has launched their site wide search option. Users can now put in say “Spectre” and find posts on that topic.

     This means that Facebook is taking steps to catalog all past posts. With over 2 trillion posts this will be no small feat for Facebook. However this is in my opinion a step in the right direction because Facebook’s search engine will now allow users to find out what the world is talking about.

    With this new update Facebook could very well beat out Twitter and be the number one site people turn to for their news. This could mean that Facebook will grow even bigger in the social media world.

    The search will not however just be a info dump. The more reputable sources like news organizations will take the top spots in the search.Then it will go to your friends posts and comments and finally strangers posts and comments.

   However this also means that all past posts will be searchable. Anything that has been previously posted is no longer hidden by time. They can all resurface with a simple search. People may need to start worrying more over past posts. The privacy of it just being to inconvenient to find old posts will be a thing of the past.

      However if you specify that only your friends can see the post it will not be searchable by the Facebook. So go out and mark all those embarrassing posts private or only for friends people because you don’t know who will see your posts in the future.

Social media and celebrities

By: Marleine Calderon

So this week Chrissy Teigen announced she was pregnant and we found out Lamar Odom was found unconscious in Nevada. And as always social media activity blew up.

But I just started thinking, why do celebrities share their news with everyone?

In Odom’s case, someone told the media that the former NBA player was found unconscious, so Odom couldn’t have a say about his state of being. But he’s already unconscious, his family is already worrying, and news outlets are trying to get information out of doctors or people from the brothel.

Aside from being a former NBA player and a reality star, he’s a person, just like everyone else in the world, so TMZ and other news outlets trying to be first to get information need to be respectful. I don’t think that someone in the hospital fighting for their life should be covered in the news and it also shouldn’t be all over social media. What if his family didn’t know and found out through social media? It just becomes insensitive.

I understand that the relationships between fans and celebrities have blurred with the growth of social media and stars like to share their personal lives with everyone, but a line needs to be drawn between what’s shareable and what’s not.

Do celebrities have a right to privacy?

In Teigen’s case, she posted a picture on Instagram and included a message where she and John Legend are happy to announce their pregnancy. It’s a happy occasion to share with everyone family, friends and fans. But unless she goes into hiding until the end of her pregnancy, paparazzi will follow her around, become aggressive animals, and will do anything to take a picture of her baby bump. Again, people need to be respectful and give her and John their space.

Screenshot from Chrissy Teigen's Instagram account
Screenshot from Chrissy Teigen’s Instagram account

People forget celebrities are human beings and don’t think about their safety. In pop culture, it’s about who can get the news out first, without considering the safety and the feelings of celebrities. And honestly, I don’t know if there’s anything to change that because social media continues to grow.

If anyone has any idea on what could be done, I would like to hear your opinion.

Yik-Yak: Is this the end?

Laith Hussein

This is an outrage! First and foremost, if you do not know what yin yak is, allow me to explain. Yik Yak is a social media app that allows people anonymously to create and view “Yaks” within a 5-mile radius. This app is mainly used throughout college campuses. Lately there has been talk of this app becoming extent on college campuses. The College of Idaho has asked yin-yak to geo fence their campus. Geo fencing is where the yik-yak blocks the use of their app in certain locations. Yik-Yak has not responded to the request, which is why College of Idaho has threatened to ban them from their wireless network. Now you may be wondering as to why all of this commotion? This is due to the fact that people are being offensive, vile, and hateful. People are using this app to express things that they wouldn’t be allowed to say in public. Of course this isn’t going to be good? This is an anonymous posting app after all… But I do believe that even though with all of this bullying that there is still hope. People are able to as well as be themselves on this app. They are able to seek help from their peers and connect with like-minded people. From my personal experiences with this app, I’ve found that there was more good than bad. Yes, there probably is too much talk of sex within this app, but the community actually cares believe it or not. I see posts where people are constantly being cheered up and helping each other. It just depends on which you think is worth more? There will be bad in everything as well as good. It’s up to the people to decide what is worth more. You don’t have to listen to the negative things people say on this app. No matter how negative people are, the good always prevail. This app is a place where we are able to express ourselves without judgment. A place where we are able to ask and get help on things that we couldn’t in our real life. This app is needed, especially in college campuses where we are all so lost and confused. The only place its probably needed for that matter.

71e5c-yikyakcreatorshttp://atlasbusinessjournal.org/yik-yak-greater-implications-upon-society/

http://www.cosmopolitan.com/college/news/a40578/yik-yak-is-now-banned-from-the-college-of-idaho/

How Important Is Privacy?

by Sam Metzler

Is it something we should still value or it is obsolete? Either way, the emergence of social media made us rethink the way we view privacy and our conversations will pivot into another direction. Ever since the huge NSA scandal back in 2013, privacy has been a forefront issue that people have voiced their opinion about on multiple occasions.

With that in mind though, some people believe we have tossed the idea of privacy out the window we became glued to social media sites. We can and do share things like personal bios, locations, personal accounts, and sometimes revealing photos (more on that later). Some justifiably think that we have no grasp of privacy anymore since many of us are so willing to tell the world what we’re doing, who we’re with, and what we struggle with. Some researchers even suggest that we are more inclined to share personal details the more we use social media.

But we have to remember that dangers of sharing our information and that privacy is still important to this day. Earlier I mentioned that we sometimes send revealing photos to one another, which is all fine and dandy. However, that can go very wrong very quickly, enter “revenge porn.”

For those unaware, revenge porn encompasses sexually graphic images that are uploaded without the consent of the person in the image. These types of images can be found on many websites dedicated to revenge porn and they most commonly stem from the ex-boyfriends, hence the “revenge.” It may seem like a minor issue, but this has ruined many lives including, former Rutgers’ student Tyler Clementi.

Tyler Clementi

Clementi’s roomate, Dharun Ruvi, and a hallmate, Molly Wai, secretly recorded Clementi indulging in a sexual act with another man. Ruvi uploaded the video to Twitter, exposing Clementi’s sexual orientation. In response, Clementi jumped off the George Washington Bridge, killing himself.

Ruvi and Wai faced trail for the act and Hunter Moore, know for starting the “revenge porn” trend was arrested last year. However, it is important to note that whether or not you believe privacy is a fading value, it is imperative, especially in modern times.

Sources:

http://www.pewinternet.org/2012/02/24/privacy-management-on-social-media-sites/

http://digitalcommons.law.umaryland.edu/fac_pubs/1420/

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2012/02/06/the-story-of-a-suicide

Who’s Accessing Social Media? Prisoners are.

Written by Tracy Summers

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Source: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Many of us are familiar with television shows or movies that depict prisoners gaining access to contraband items, but how much of that is really true? Well, according to one correction department, one of the highly sought-after items is the smart phone because it allows prisoners to connect with outsiders through a variety of methods (California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitations). CNN also reports that cell phones are one of the most dangerous items smuggled into prisons. (Click here to watch the CNN video “An inside look at prison contraband.”)

One concern is that prisoners use these devices to access social media (Ferranti, 2012). A few short years ago, Facebook did not allow people who were incarcerated to have a profile/account. They would close down such an account when notified by the prison (or other source); however, Facebook no longer automatically closes those accounts. According to Fortune (2015), the issue is complicated: “Inmates have reportedly used social media to intimidate witnesses and to carry out ongoing criminal ventures. But on the other hand, from a social standpoint, a blanket plan on Facebook might be cruel and counter-productive. “

What’s Your Opinion?

Since social media is a common part of life, we can see why people want to stay connected even after they are incarcerated. They probably use Facebook to store photos and contact family and friends—just like the rest of us. The topic certainly raises a lot of questions and concerns. If Facebook automatically closed someone’s account, they would loose everything. But is it fair for prisoners to keep a Facebook account (even if they aren’t using it while they are incarcerated)? What about other social media accounts? What about victims’ rights? (Click here to see an article about prisoners who posted photos while incarcerated.)

References:

Burnett, E. (June 15, 2015). An inside look at prison contraband. CNN. Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/videos/us/2015/06/17/prison-contraband-young-dnt-erin.cnn

California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation. Contraband cell phones: How California is cracking down on illegal cell phone use in state prisons. Retrieved from http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/Contraband-Cell-Phones/index.html

Ferranti, S. (2012). Cell phones in prison. Gorilla Convict. Retrieved from http://www.gorillaconvict.com/2012/04/cell-phones-in-prison/

Kuruvilla, C. (2013). Tennessee inmates post Facebook photos of themselves partying with drugs and junk food inside their jail cells. Daily News. Retrieved from http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/tennessee-inmates-post-photos-partying-drugs-cells-article-1.1334686

Roberts, J.J. (June 5, 2015). Should convicts be on social media? Facebook stands up for prisoner accounts. Fortune. Retrieved from http://fortune.com/2015/06/05/facebook-prison-social-media/

Sakhorn38 (2011). Hand on cage stock photo. Image ID 10054483. FreeDigitalPhotos.net. Retrieved from http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/Security_g189-Hand_On_Cage_p54483.html