Category Archives: Privacy

Social Marketing’s bet that we’ll do their work for them

Build it and they (us) will advertise for us (them). Genius. If it works.

For a long time now web marketers have been struggling to get heard above the din of flashing web animations and banners. No longer. If you ever wondered how social networking giants Facebook and MySpace made money (and why they’ve in turn been purchased by megamedia companies Microsoft and Fox), wonder no more. It’s target marketing. And it’s powerful. Or at least some are betting it will be.

If marketers believe in numbers, Facebook is betting they can deliver them. Facebook Ads (powered by Facebook Beacon) is a viral marketing distribution system wherein Facebook members are “empowered” to share (recommend) their product and purchasing habits with their online buddies.

To make this work Facebook, to the displeasure of many, lifted it’s longtime ban on member profiles that weren’t actual people. Corporations wanting a piece of the social marketing action can now create brand-specific profiles, but unlike your average-joe-Facebook-member, they’ll be tracking the behavior of their Facebook friends.

Think about marketing distribution channels for a second. Millions of dollars spent to advertise in print and on tv stand to be replaced by….us. And we’re cheap (free).

It’s not like everyone in the socialsphere is chomping at the bit to market to their online pals, but the fact is it’s a seemingly natural attempt to co-opt a fairly normal offline behavior. The markets as conversations crowd sees this all as incredibly natural.

Since Facebook’s announcement there’s been plenty of criticism. There’s the typical rants against insidious stealth advertising techniques, but privacy concerns are the primary cause for alarm. It may even be illegal. But I doubt it.

Don’t worry, the government is getting involved, so it will all probably work out.


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Filed under A Culture of Participation, Business 2.0, Privacy, Social Media, Virtual Communities, web 2.0, When New Meets Old

‘Social’ porn sites and the privacy intrusions we make on each other

As sites like YouPorn and PornoTube that mesh community aspects of social networking with completely free-of-charge pornography rise in popularity, so too do the associated copyright and privacy infringements. Right now, the law is lagging behind in redressing the harm done to victims of “porn 2.0.”….But the worldwide nature of the web makes it difficult to trace and prosecute violators and even more difficult to police privacy rights. There is no universal set of laws that apply to the distribution, purchase, or possession of Internet porn. Still, that’s not to say what happens on the net can’t be regulated, says Benedet. “The idea that the Internet is a borderless lawless universe is quite false,” she adds. Experts like Lane say porn 2.0 is here to stay, given how easy it is to post and view material online. Now lawmakers need to catch up with tech-savvy Internet users, and deal with the potential emotional and psychological damage lurking for “ex-girlfriends” around the world.

Sunny Freeman’s Porn 2.0: What Happens When Free Porn Meets Social Networking from Alternet


Filed under A democratic medium?, Privacy, Social Media, Technology, our Mirror, Virtual Communities

Seeing Yellow: How your printer could narc on you.

We’ve known for years that color laser printers can embed a series of tiny yellow dots on pages they print. The dots—almost invisible under normal circumstances—can be used to determine which particular printer produced the image. Essentially, each printer outputs its own serial number. This is great for busting counterfeiters but raises all sorts of privacy concerns. Now, MIT students are getting involved in the campaign against the dots with the new Seeing Yellow project.

Read this item from Ars Technica

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Filed under Privacy

US v. Forrester: The privacy implications for your email and IP address

The court’s ruling was essentially a simple one. The government is currently allowed to deploy “pen registers”—devices that can record every telephone number a suspect dials—without a warrant, since a list of telephone numbers is considered only addressing information and not content. This is analogous to the US Postal Service, where anyone can read information on the outside of an envelope but can’t look at the contents. The Ninth Circuit ruled that grabbing e-mail addresses and IP addresses without a warrant amounts to the same thing, and is legal. This is the first time that a federal court has ruled on the issue.

Read this item from Ars Technica

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Filed under Privacy, The Politics of New Media

RIAA allegedly violated privacy laws during a private investigation of P2Pers

A grandmother targeted by the RIAA for file-sharing is striking back at the controversial music industry association, arguing that it has knowingly engaged in “one or more overt acts of unlawful private investigation” to further its case….At the heart of the issue is a Texas law which says that investigations companies must be licensed in order to collect evidence that can be used in a court. According to court documents, Ms. Crain says that MediaSentry—the company carrying out the investigations for the RIAA—was aware of this requirement, both in Texas and in several other states, and ignored it. The counterclaims even suggest that the RIAA encouraged this arrangement….MediaSentry, the investigative company at the center of the allegations, is used by the RIAA, MPAA, and a handful of other groups to track and identify P2P users believed to be infringing copyrights.

Read this item from Ars Technica

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Filed under Digital Commons, Fair Use, P2P (Peer to Peer), Privacy, The Politics of New Media

Nations consider ‘Net-relevant privacy laws

The world’s leading industrialised nations have been forced to update privacy laws made obsolete by the huge volume of data moving around the net. Of particular concern to the 30 OECD states was the increasing amount of personal data flowing between nations. These cross-border torrents made it tricky to prevent unlawful use of people’s data and for authorities to enforce existing laws, the OECD said. The newly adopted recommendations update a 27-year-old agreement. The 1980 guidelines laid the foundations of privacy laws amongst OECD states but did not account for the internet age, with instant access to global information.

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from the BBC

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Nominations sought for worst privacy encroachments

Wired’s Threat Level is asking readerss for nominations for the internet’s worst corporate privacy villains.

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Filed under A democratic medium?, Business 2.0, Privacy