Thursday, February 4, 2010

What Facebook knows about non-members

Recently a German site (heise) reported that facebook collects substantial information about non-members, just by storing and consolidating data which is entered by other facebook members. For example you might end up in their database, only by some of your friends uploading their entire address book. If multiple of your friends do this, facebook might even derive your complete social graph.

As every mail address is certainly stored in several address books somewhere, facebook might pretty soon have data about every single person on earth (ok maybe not everybody, but at least everybody with online activity).

So what can you do about this ? I see only one mechanism: obfuscation.
So if you want to protect your privacy, then build on the data they already have:
  • create a facebook account
  • link to lots of your friends
  • and make sure to link to plenty of wrong friends, (be sure plenty of them will accept),
  • then enter a lot of wrong data about you,
  • and choose very wrong data,  so that all your friends will know that your account is rubbish
And why create only one wrong account...create dozen wrong accounts.

Let us screw the facebook database and get some basic privacy by obfuscation !
Lets not complain about missing privacy but do something for it.
We will make their data worthless ! (ok, please hear the ironic subtext to this)

Any good tips, how to mess with data ?


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  2. Thank you very much for that suggestion! I think I will do the same! We're not gonna take it, never did and never will...