[islandlabs] Google Exec Admits to Congress they are tracking you even if you opt-out and turn off location

Yow-Ning Chang yowning at yahoo.com
Fri Mar 15 21:58:31 EDT 2019

I started using Facebook 10 years ago. It is a very good platform for me to see my friends’ postings (many of them like to post photos of their foods or social gatherings), as well as posting things for my friends, most of whom are far away and hard to keep in touch with.  
I have had conversations deleted in front of my eyes arguing Taiwanese politics. That made me keenly aware of the censorship. I do not like the abundant ads but I feel that the ads cannot be avoided on such a free platform. 
At one point, I decided to NOT distinguish between “Friends only” and “public” posts. The reason being that just because I am friendly with a person, it doesn’t mean I know everything about them.  This decision limits me from posting contents to closer friends that might be offensive to strangers.  I compare this consideration to talking on the bus or a train, full of strangers listening.  

Since there are strongly opinionated postings I do not enjoy seeing, I stay away from those topics.  The platform is not perfect but it has met a very human need of wanting to stay in touch with friends.  The type of posts one sees really has to do with who the friends are and which groups one chooses to follow. 
I think legislation had caught up a little after EU issued huge fines.  Meanwhile, I would agree that a smaller and more limited social group can be more liberating and functional, especially when there is a common goal. 

On Friday, March 15, 2019, 8:15 PM, Bill Burns <bot779 at protonmail.com> wrote:

Facebook in particular employs many people (in addition to employing many algorithms) to enforce their acceptable use policies.
These people have to view and evaluate some of the most offensive content on the internet.

So they are doing *some* things to prevent misuse of their platform. 

But they still do little to prevent their platform from being data-mined by unscrupulous companies and their users from being trolled for political and other nefarious purposes.

..but that already puts us into territory where privacy is not available to users on the most common (and increasingly less useful) platform for publishing user content.

..and in a place where Zuckerberg was called to testify before congress and made to promise to do much better but basically just kept on doing the same things.

I think the FAA was successively granted more power/authority after a series of major air disasters.
I don't know what the equivalent of an air disaster would be in the world of web technology.

I know of people who have gotten killed because they couldn't get their friends to take their stalker situations seriously and stop posting their whereabouts on Facebook.
That kind of thing doesn't even make the news.
People get radicallized online, post freakish manifestos online, then go and do a mass killing.
Maybe that's not a "platform" issue?
Often, there are so many of these things going on at once that law enforcement, even when these things come to their attention in advance, still don't have the resources or sometimes legal basis to intervene.
I don't know what a federal "web" administration could do , what I'd want them to do or why an "air disaster" of the web hasn't been declared already.

What maker stuff have you done lately?

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 On Friday, March 15, 2019 11:36 AM, gabe at bigapplehobbies.com <gabe at bigapplehobbies.com> wrote:

I think that one start of addressing the issues is for everybody to agree that there is a place and a need for regulation and regulators.

To continue my automobile-based metaphor, if I were stopped by the constabulary while driving at night with no driver’s license, no headlights, bald tires and a high BAC level, I would not be able to walk away by simply saying that “it’s complicated.” 

However, the “it’s complicated” is still about where we find ourselves in relation to G et al.

At the start of aviation there were no regs and people were free to kill themselves and break things to their heart’s content (“Sacrifices must be made” Otto Lilienthal after his ultimately-fatal last flight.)

However, as things developed, order was imposed, sometimes to teeth-gnashing, and sometimes w hilarious results (after flights from US to Europe were temporarily banned since a bunch of Lindbergh wanna-be’s died in quick succession, “Wrong-Way Corrigan” flew to Europe but claimed he meant to fly to Calif and just got lost), but ultimately a rules-based system (not based on “trust-us”) prevailed, and helped bring aviation to the ridiculously high level of safety we all enjoy.

In the case of the “tech companies” one specific tactic might be to simply treat them according to what they actually do rather than by how they accomplish it. For instance, FB is a publisher and an ad agency. They use more servers and fewer employees than traditional publishers and ad agencies, but that is not necessarily relevant, the same way that faster cars do not get to enjoy faster speed limits on our highways.

Anyway, my whole problem w the “It’s complicated” approach is that it asks everybody to “trust us.” I don’t, and I don’t think that anybody else should either.

Sent from my iPhone

On Mar 15, 2019, at 8:41 AM, Bill Burns <bot779 at protonmail.com> wrote:


You should have attended the LILUG.org meeting on Tuesday.
It covered many legal issues relevant to doing business on the internet.

There are many legal liabilities for tech companies due to most of our laws being passed at the state level and lacking continuity across the country. It would be nice to have sensible regulation but in the current climate (where the FCC regards an organized email campaign to object to the loss of net neutrality rules as a "denial of service campaign") I don't see how that's possible.

Yes, there's a lot of lobbying against regulation in general.
When you say "Lobbying against streetlights and headlights", it implies (to me) a "safety" context.
..which sounds odd to me.
I suppose you could say that the lack of privacy that the current "big data" mindset brings is coming with a "risk" that all that data will be mis-used.
To my mind, the "risk" has already been realized.
So much data is out there that there's basically zero chance that a targeted effort could not find some scrap of information to "prove" that a person had committed some real or imagined offense. 
The idea that a political figure could rise to nationwide prominence without falling victim to this kind of attack is fantasy.
The only "defense" seems to be counter-attack with the high likelihood of a race-to-the-bottom re: civility, etc.

And even while reasonable regulation is struck down:
It's also hard to imagine what kind of regulation could single-handedly address these issues.

There needs to be some kind of culture change, industry change *and* regulatory change to get close to "fixing" things.

There have been some conversations about "data portability", "content portability", "right to delete", etc.
These things seem to be in prelimary concept phase.
Meanwihle, the promise of Web 2.0 turned into "Facebook".

There seems to be more concern with making Facebook more profitable than with privacy issues.
I don't see how we'll move towards protecting any kind of "end user" rights if that continues to be the focus of concern.


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On Wednesday, March 13, 2019 7:48 PM, gabe at bigapplehobbies.com <gabe at bigapplehobbies.com> wrote:

For driving, we have rules of the road, we have means to communicate this information to all users and we have enforcement mechanisms.

The issue here (one of several) is that in the current context, the “tech companies” get make the “rules,” they do not have to communicate them to anybody, there are no enforcement mechanisms, and a lot of people lobbying strenuously against allowing streetlights & headlights.

Sent from my iPhone

On Mar 13, 2019, at 7:12 PM, Bill Burns <bot779 at protonmail.com> via List <list at lists.islandlabs.org> wrote:

Um... no.
By that logic, we should never drive period because there are license plate readers at every red light camera that probably log your travels. .. and at booth-less toll systems. And toll systems that have booths. And on certain highways for seemingly no reason at all. And on police cars traveling on random highways/roads. And on those same police cars when they go trolling through certain neighborhoods looking for cars That aren't registered in those neighborhoods. And on "commercial" vehicles belonging to repo-men who may or may-not sell that data in bulk but certainly do look for your vehicle information in repossession databases.

Privacy is dead.
No matter how safe, responsible or lucky you are:
You leave a digital trail when you drive a registered vehicle, carry a phone or stay home and order a pizza.


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On Wednesday, March 13, 2019 6:47 PM, gabe--- via List <list at lists.islandlabs.org> wrote:

By that logic we should also never drive on a two-way road because doing so means we are assuming responsibility of dying in head-on crashe because, when cars are on two-way roads, head-on crashes can happen and so it’s a matter of personal responsibility.

What happens instead is that before being given a driver’s license, people are instructed about which side of the road to drive on, and told that if they do not obey the rules, they will be penalized in various ways, such that head-on crashes mostly do not happen.

>From the article:
"It's not complicated," Hawley insisted. "What's complicated is that you don't allow consumers to stop your tracking of them. You tell them that you do. You would anticipate that they do — that the consumer would have a reasonable expectation based on what you've told them, that they're not being tracked — but in fact, you're still tracking them. You're still gathering the information and you're still using it."

Sent from my iPhone

On Mar 13, 2019, at 6:28 PM, Joseph E. <ejhern at gmail.com> via List <list at lists.islandlabs.org> wrote:

So a phone with gps services and IP can be used for location services and IP lookup... 
If you don't like the services they provide don't carry the hardware.
It is always your choice.
IP and DNS lookup is not unique and has been going on for decades. LMAO.

On Wed, Mar 13, 2019, 11:21 AM R.J. Petrillo <rjpetrillo at gmail.com> via List <list at lists.islandlabs.org> wrote:

I thought the group might be interested in this:


I haven't personally vetted the source - so I cannot speak to any bias, but the majority of the article is direct quotes from the hearing, and a link to a transcription and youtube of it as well - it mostly checks out in my opinion.

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