A few days ago I blogged about how I was able to check my wife into a local liquor store using Facebook Places without her permission, despite Facebook’s insistence that “No one can be checked in to a location without their explicit permission”. This check-in has remained visible in my news feed, and depending on my privacy settings, may be viewable by any logged in Facebook user. Presumably there also is a database at Facebook that contains a record of my checking-in my wife into this location. Again, all without my wife’s explicit consent to participating in this new “feature”. Now, four days later, my wife had a chance to react to the notification she received from Facebook regarding my tagging her, and I thought I’d share a few more reactions to her attempt to opt-out of Places altogether.
Facebook has finally launched its location-based service: Places. Places allows Facebook users to “check in” wherever they are using a mobile device, and let’s their friends know where they are at the moment.
Facebook has tried to do a better job addressing privacy with Places compared to previous launches of new “features”. Particularly, Facebook brags that “no location information is associated with a person unless he or she explicitly chooses to become part of location sharing. No one can be checked in to a location without their explicit permission.”
But as I’ve played around with the service, I’ve uncovered a problem with Facebook’s assertion that “no one can be checked in to a location without their explicit permission.”
When Google launched Google Latitude 9 months ago, they took steps to ensure users’ locational privacy was protected. Among the most important privacy-protecting features was the fact that Google didn’t keep a log of user locations on its servers; only the most recent locational ping was stored. Not even law enforcement could gain access to […]
Recently, the EFF released a report named “On Locational Privacy, and How to Avoid Losing it Forever“, introducing some of the basic threats to locational privacy: Over the next decade, systems which create and store digital records of people’s movements through public space will be woven inextricably into the fabric of everyday life. We are […]
A couple of stories popped up on my radar this morning related to cellphone privacy: The New York Times has a story on advertisers increasingly collecting behavioral and locational data from consumers’ cellphone activities: “Advertisers Get a Trove of Clues in Smartphones”. The Berkman Center for Internet & Society recently hosted a talk by Albert […]
This week, Google launched Google Latitude, a new Google Maps feature that lets users share location data with friends, using either a mobile phone or through an interface on iGoogle. (see how it works here) Unsurprisingly, concerns have arisen regarding the privacy implications of Latitude, and I, of course, have taken issue in the past […]
As I just mentioned, Google recently announced plans to blur or otherwise obscure people’s faces in the Canadian version of the Street View product. After a brief conversation with my colleague Chris Hoofnagle, I’ve come to realize that in their launch of Street View, Google blew a chance to really take a leadership role in […]
Given the obvious privacy concerns with Google’s Street View imaging system (as well as Microsoft’s Windows Live Local Virtual Earth), you would think providers of such services would make it easy for privacy-threatening content to be flagged and removed. While Google did provide a means to flag “unacceptable images” in Street View, I noticed right […]
Even while Earthlink seems to be stepping away from municipal wi-fi projects, San Francisco is introducing a non-binding ballot proposal to gauge citizen interest in blanketing the city in Google/Earthlink hotspots. Nathan Weinberg dug up a copy of the ballot initiative, which includes requirements for privacy protections (emphasis added): Declaration of policy supporting a wireless […]
There continues to be quite a bit of buzz and concern about Google’s “Street View” enhancement for Google Maps. A couple of comments on recent developments: ::: I don’t want to be picky, but given all the (necessary) attention given to the privacy aspects of Street View, I still wonder where everyone was when Microsoft […]