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Test 'Reveals Facebook, Twitter and Google Snoop on emails': Study Spurs New Privacy Concerns

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posted on Sep, 3 2013 @ 02:36 AM

Hello again ATS!

Since this issue is ever-increasingly out in the open, I am not offering this news story as any sort of bomb shell or deep food for thought... but more as another verification of what we know and a validation - before the world - that WE were the people who knew it long before Snowden came along to make it a "legit" concept.

An article making some of the FOSS site rounds this morning comes from a post in the Mail Online.

That article states:

Study set out to test confidentiality of 50 of the biggest Internet companies
Researchers sent unique web address in private messages through firms
They found six of the companies opened the link from the message

Facebook, Twitter and Google have been caught snooping on messages sent across their networks, new research claims, prompting campaigners to express concerns over privacy.

Cyber-security company High-Tech Bridge set out to test the confidentiality of 50 of the biggest internet companies by using their systems to send a unique web address in private messages.

Experts at its Geneva HQ then waited to see which companies clicked on the website.

During the ten-day operation, six of the 50 companies tested were found to have opened the link.

Among the six were Facebook, Twitter, Google and discussion forum Formspring.

The fact that only a few companies were trapped does not mean others are not monitoring their customers. They may simply be using different techniques which are more difficult to detect.’

While Facebook and Twitter offered the sort of patronizing meh one might expect, seeking to downplay it and throw in some technobabble about security... Google went a step further and showed exactly what they think about the people. The Google statement?

A source at Google said: ‘There is nothing new here. It simply isn’t an issue.

That's right folks - a private company entrusted with handling data and subject to the same wire privacy laws that are supposed to force cops to get warrants to spy on us just shrugs off their violations with a "Meh, nothing to see here... don't worry, be happy" type of patronization.

THIS is why I despise Google. They make a few high profile Internet freedom moves, now and again... but then always end up seeking to exempt themselves from the standards they supposedly believe in.

It is also of note that Google is heavily involved with Linux development and their own OS is, itself, a Linux based operating system. This has bearing regarding a previous thread I authored discussing my fears that the FOSS world might be under Federal attack and in danger of corruption.

Ultimately all involved seek to excuse their behavior in the name of advertising and needing ever increasingly personal information to create tighter and tighter profiles to offer advertisers... so that there is more bang for their buck. By way of disclosure - ATS advertises and the model is somewhat the same... though ATS goes to great lengths to protect our members ( All you needed to come here was a webmail account and a password - should you choose to stay silent.. that is all anyone on ATS would ever know about you, period - besides a posting IP that is only visible to upper staff ).

Maybe it is time for a new model? Maybe it is time for the masses to teach the online overlords how we prefer to be advertised to. As long as the herd is following the shepherd, his way works... but let the herd stampede? And suddenly the control dynamic changes and new ideas are entertained.

My personal boycott move? I am no longer going to click any ads, for any reason, that do not represent small, local businesses. Those I will click whether I need their services or not. But as for the rest? Let them atrophy. Let the people making money get the message, from me, about what I will and will not engage in.


When the smokes clears, we will remember who betrayed us and who protected us. And we will not forget nor will we forgive.

Thanks ATS

edit on 9/3/13 by Hefficide because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 3 2013 @ 03:04 AM
Their incompetence is showing. And their character. If this is the best they can do, they're just as screwed as we are. Do no evil indeed.

posted on Sep, 3 2013 @ 03:04 AM

Originally posted by Hefficide

When the smokes clears, we will remember who betrayed us and who protected us. And we will not forget nor will we forgive.

Love it!

This seems like an opportune time to mention a few Firefox add-ons.

Facebook Disconnect: "Stops Facebook from tracking the webpages you go to. Facebook is notified whenever you visit one of the more than one million sites on the web that use Facebook Connect and has a history of leaking personally-identifiable information to third parties... Facebook Disconnect blocks all traffic from third-party sites to Facebook servers but still lets you access Facebook itself."

Google Disconnect: "Stop Google from tracking the webpages you go to. Google is notified whenever you visit one of the more than 25 percent of the sites on the web that include Google Widgets. Turn of the flow of your data to them! Google Disconnect blocks traffic from third-party sites to Google servers but still lets you access Google services."

Self-Destructing Cookies: "Cookies when you need them, not when others need them to track you. Gets rid of a site's cookies and LocalStorage as soon as you close its tabs. Protects against trackers and zombie-cookies. Trustworthy services can be whitelisted."

And you'll find many other privacy add-ons there. REMEMBER: You may not use any ad-blockers that affect ATS! Either whitelist or disable—or do not use them....

edit on 9/3/2013 by Ex_CT2 because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 3 2013 @ 03:29 AM
reply to post by The GUT

I think they changed that. It's now something like: "Do No Evil—Except In The Pursuit of Insane Profit and Ridding the World of the Obnoxious Vice of Personal Privacy." Or something to that effect.

*Sigh* We're just the worst sheep ever, aren't we? I'm sure the world will be a much better place once we've graduated from the FEMA re-education camps....

posted on Sep, 3 2013 @ 05:06 AM
Truth is a few years ago I posted on googles own forums about how we are nothing but a financial revenue raising service to them and no longer a customer, and that they don't care a jot about our privacy.

The next day I had lost access to my gmail, youtube, google+, google search customisations etc.. the lot. They canned my account. Not a single word of warning nor any way for me to complain.

That's when I realised they are well beyond their motto of do no evil. They embody evil, because they not only embrace it, they thumb their nose at anything that attempts to reveal it, laughing - mockingly.

Now they don't have google representatives on their own forums. You can see how bad things have gotten when things being complained about, such as google image search changes, even android development of simple things such as transparent proxies, are ignored for 3-4 years.

But this is a really interesting development. I never even thought to test this sort of thing. Honey pot links in private emails to see who accesses the link. And they simply say it's a non-issue?

So it's now gone from having an automated system to scan your email for keywords to specifically target you - which you can opt out of, so that they simple scan your emails to non-specifically target you - to now actually accessing url's in order to get more data.

God damn obnoxious.

But then, I still use my isp email address for real things. I have a number of gmails. More or less to use for things I rarely need. Yahoo, the same. I could lose these and not be put out. I could use a different search engine or one that privatises my details before sending to google. I could care less about youtube.

The only thing that ties me now, to google, is my android devices that I've purchased items for. And if they did cut me for any reason, and I lose access to them, well that's a whopping $8 or so bucks and a lesson learnt. One that I would spread far and wide.

As for them being involved with linux, they have even taken that to an extreme. Their version of linux is not accurately the same as linux was intended.

The Android Open Source Project is led by Google, who maintains and further develops Android. Although Android consists of multiple subprojects, this is strictly a project management technique. We view and manage Android as a single, holistic software product, not a "distribution", specification, or collection of replaceable parts. Our intent is that device builders port Android to a device; they don't implement a specification or curate a distribution.

they release it. They control it. If you want a change, you have to request it.

Then you're still waiting 4 years later to be able to do things that apple products do out of the box... it's a joke.

Sadly, despite all of this, we will only see a change if someone takes the challenge full on. There is an alternative to everything google. But nothing that lets granny do it without her techie nephew setting it up for her.

And with every alternative, they always have something lacking. that one thing that you go "Damn it!" and return to google for. And that's the sad fact of the inevitable fate of our unmotivated, unthinking future..

posted on Sep, 3 2013 @ 05:54 AM
reply to post by Hefficide

Why am I NOT surprised? This makes me want to send provocative messages to everyone just out of spite.

But seriously, this is horrifying and just confirms my own suspicions.

posted on Sep, 3 2013 @ 06:51 AM
reply to post by Hefficide

I think what is also important to mention here is that this topic highlights the notion of the "Uninformed Consumer" and how prevalent it has become. This is an issue I have spoken on a number of times.

You know the saying's; "It's to good to be true" and "There is no such thing as a free lunch."; I believe these to highlight the central issues of this discussion.

-Nothing is ever truly free.
-Decisions are up to the responsibility of the individual. Do not expect these companies to lay it out in the open for you.

To be honest, the way I see it, we are slowly indenturing ourselves into this mechanism and further perpetuating it by not acting against policies or behaviors we deem unacceptable.

We have allowed companies like Facebook and Google to become the foundation for our digital lives and it seems apparent that not enough people are willing to tear that foundation up and start anew.

edit on 3-9-2013 by MDDoxs because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 3 2013 @ 07:15 PM

Originally posted by The GUT
Their incompetence is showing. And their character.


They have character?

You learn something new everyday

posted on Sep, 4 2013 @ 06:49 AM
Heff, freedom and privacy are dead in the US. These companies don't care about your outrage. They have the power and they know you can do nothing about it.

We have no recourse. Our government is corrupt. Without an honest government to support its citizenry these companies will never be held accountable.

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