Stonewalled by the NSA, Members of Congress Ask Really Basic Question Again

NSA computers. (photo: Paul J. Richards/Getty Images)
NSA computers. (photo: Paul J. Richards/Getty Images)


Dan Froomkin | The Intercept | Reader Supported News | April 23, 2016

bipartisan group of lawmakers is none too happy that the executive branch is asking them to reauthorize two key surveillance programs next year without answering the single most important question about them.

The programs, authorized under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, are called PRISM and Upstream. PRISM collects hundreds of millions of internet communications of “targeted individuals” from providers such as Facebook, Yahoo, and Skype. Upstream takes communications straight from the major U.S. internet backbones run by telecommunications companies such as AT&T and Verizon and harvests data that involves selectors related to foreign targets.

But both programs, though nominally targeted at foreigners overseas, inevitably sweep up massive amounts of data involving innocent Americans.

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Facebook’s New Policy Is Awesome, Especially For The Queer Community

James Michael Nichols | Huffington Post | December 16, 2015

Facebook announced important new steps going into effect on Tuesday towards ensuring greater protections for the privacy of users who, for a variety of reasons, use a name on the site that may differ from the name on their legal documentation.

The site came under fire in 2014 for forcing many individuals operating personal profiles under pseudonyms, stage names, or any name not matching their legal name to change their name on the site or risk having their profiles deactivated. As a result, many leaders in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community spoke out about the policy. A representative of the social platform apologized several months later to those affected by the change.

Earlier this year, Facebook’s vice president of growth also published an open letter detailing the changes taking place on Tuesday. In a post, the networking site outlined their two key goals of allowing authentic identity.

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Facebook Is Diving Into the Presidential Race. Yes, You Should Be Worried.

John Minchillo / AP


Thor Benson | Truthdig | August 15, 2015

It isn’t news that presidential candidates are logging on to Facebook to rustle up followers and spread their messages. What is new, as The New York Times recently reported, is how involved Facebook is getting in providing social media services to those candidates.

In the past three years, the company has doubled its political team, according to the Times. New video capabilities on the site and the ability to upload voter files are said to be two of the most important features that the social media giant is providing to the campaigns. What will likely have the biggest impact is how these candidates advertise on the popular platform. Facebook has already made news with its breakdown of data concerning how many people are talking about certain candidates in specific geographical areas, and that’s likely just the beginning.

“They provide something that political campaigns have wanted for, really, as long as there [have] been political campaigns, which is a really precise way to target the people they’re interested in talking to,” Chris Calabrese, the vice president of policy at the Center for Democracy and Technology, told Truthdig.

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New Facebook software can scan, snitch on people for criminal activity


Social media giant Facebook has developed software to check in on people who may be engaging in criminal activities and alert company employees to decide whether to contact authorities. Boom Bust’s Erin Ade talks with Manila Chan about the software and security concerns for consumers.

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Harvest of Facebook User Data Prompts Calls for Tighter Privacy Settings

Facebook. (photo: Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty Images)
Facebook. (photo: Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty Images)


Josh Halliday | Guardian UK | Reader Supported News | August 9, 2015


Software developer exploits loophole to obtain thousands of names, pictures and locations of users who link their mobile phone number with account


acebook has been urged to tighten its privacy settings after a software engineer was able to harvest data about thousands of users – simply by guessing their mobile numbers.

The developer obtained the names, profile pictures and locations of users who had linked their mobile number to their Facebook account but had chosen not to make it public.

Security experts said the loophole would allow hackers to build enormous databases of Facebook users for sale on internet black markets. “They should be attempting to prevent the widescale hoovering up of data, and I’m disappointed to hear that they appear to have failed on this occasion,” said Graham Cluley, a computer security analyst.

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Facebook could trigger envy, depression – new study

RT News | Mar 2, 2015

A new study claims that spending too much time on social media network Facebook might have adverse effects on your mental health. RT’s Ameera David takes a look at this new information on how Facebook might be contributing to personal feelings of depression and envy.

Transgender? Now you can declare it on Facebook

Rainbow pride: Facebook's diversity team is letting its users freely self-identify their gender.

Rainbow pride: Facebook’s diversity team is letting its users freely self-identify their gender. Photo: Facebook

| The Age | February 26, 2015

Facebook has given another thumbs up to social progression with the introduction of a custom gender option for all Facebook US English users worldwide.

Now, rather than being restricted to female or male, users can enter just about whatever they like into a custom field – whether it’s transgender, transexual or lumbersexual – and customise who gets to see that information.

The change expands upon the social network’s introduction last year of more than 50 gender options for its United States users to choose from in a drop-down list.

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