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10 December 2009

Facebook's New Privacy Controls

Facebook has rolled out a new set of privacy controls to its users as an attempt to simplify the controls so that more people can more effectively protect their information.

The change has created a significant amount of negative hype across the Internet as users complain that the new controls are less effective and actually encourage users to publicize more of their profile. These complaints are due to confusion from the controls Facebook provides to migrate user settings to the new controls. Facebook is not clear in explaining that the transition tool is NOT the actual privacy panel- it allows users to select Facebook's recommendations for settings or to keep their old settings.

The new privacy panel is as powerful as the old one, though it is laid out more simply. It can be accessed the same way as the old panel; by hovering over the "Settings" menu on the blue bar at the top of the page and clicking on "Privacy". All of the settings from the old pan...

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05 December 2009

Facebook Privacy Update

Facebook will be making some changes to the way its users control who can see their information within the next few weeks, which include changes to the privacy pages and networks.

...as Facebook has grown, some of these regional networks now have millions of members and we've concluded that this is no longer the best way for you to control your privacy.

The first plans for Facebook's new privacy system is to remove regional networks.  As Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg notes, networks worked well for privacy before the site had millions of users; in the beginning the user base was mainly students, so each school had its own network.  From then, networks have expanded to engulf entire regions in some cases.  The vastness of these networks makes them unusable from the standpoint of using networks to control privacy.

In addition to the removal of regional networks, a new set of privacy controls will be introduce...

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30 November 2009
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17 November 2009

Reviews of OpenID: MyOpenID

MyOpenID was the first OpenID provider I used. It's a very simple site, intended for pure authorization purposes rather than social networking. That's not a bad thing though, as it makes it very simple to use for its purpose. The features are simple but well-implemented;

  • Multiple Identities. As with most others, MyOpenID allows for multiple IDs. It's fairly simple, you fill out an information form with the information you'd like on each "Persona" and choose which one you'd like to use when signing up for a site.
  • Non-login landing page. This makes it harder to hack an OpenID- essentially, when you visit the site you need to click a link to visit the login page, which helps security a bit.
There's really no other major features to describe about the site, it is that simple. I liked the site because it's fast and does what it needs to. I had a certain trust for it, thoug...
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10 November 2009

Reviews of OpenID: Your Internet ID (YIID)

Admittedly I haven't been using YIID for too long so I can only give a general overview of the main features. YIID strikes me as your standard modern OpenID provider.

  • Integration of other IDs. YIID allows you to make an account with a different OpenID or Hotmail or Facebook account, which makes a lot of sense.
  • Contacts. YIID provides a contact list that you can add contacts to. In addition, you can import contacts from a few other sites or upload a contacts file (vCard) from your computer.
  • Multiple Identities. As with most providers, YIID allows you to set up separate IDs and choose the one you'd like to use when you sign up for a site.
  • Twitter Integration. Not all providers currently support this and possibly never will, but YIID allows not only logging in via twitter, but also tweeting from the YIID site, which makes some sense given the next point;
  • Networkin...
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02 November 2009

Reviews of OpenID: Verisign Personal Identity Portal

Most avid Internet users have heard of Verisign or at least seen their logo on secure sites. Verisign provides security certificates to web sites that it reviews and certifies as being secure and is highly reputable and recognised for doing it

A bit more recently, Verisign introduced the Verisign Personal Identity Portal, providing secure file storage and sign-in. The features:

  • Encrypted file storage. Of all the OpenID providers I tried, Verisign's is the only one that provides secure file storage. There's not much to say about it, online file storage is online file storage for the most part.
  • No Multiple Identities. This is a feature of most OpenID providers. Put simply, it allows you to set up separate 'identities' to share with sites with different degrees or or different types of information. Verisign does NOT provide this feature directly, but allows you to select what in...
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26 October 2009

Facebook Memorials

As the use of social networking grows for both personal and professional use, how to deal with the profile(s) of a deceased person has been slowly making its way into the thoughts of the maintainers of Facebook, among other sites.

Given the idea of social networking, which is partly to show off relations, disabling or deleting profiles of the deceased defeats the purpose while also highlighting the loss (for any friends and family on the site as well). With the apparent death of a Facebook employee, dealing with this issue has been brought directly into the hands of his friends. Announced today is the new "Memorial Profiles" for the deceased. Directly from the Facebook blog;

We understand how difficult it can be for people to be reminded of those who are no longer with them, which is why it's important when someone passes away that their friends or family contact Facebook to request that a profile be memorialized. For instance, just last week, we...
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22 October 2009

Reviews of OpenID: Chi.mp

Chi.mp is my current OpenID provider and I plan to stick with it as it is extremely full featured and under active development. The only downside to it is really that it has so many features that it takes a while to learn all of them, but they are easily accessable and easy to navigate. Here's the features;

  • A personal URL. Yes, you heard it, you get your own designated URL for free, yourname.mp. This in itself is very nice because it gives it a more personal feel and a more professional look, if that's what you're going for. They have a deal with a web hosting company- therefore you can also find some web hosting features here as well.
  • Your own website. Chi.mp isn't so much a website as a personal content hub. You get a full web page all to yourself that you can theme to your liking, though currently you can only do colors and background images- layout is coming soon (there is no coding, it's a...
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15 October 2009

Do you know where you are?

In the online world, privacy is surprisingly difficult to come by because once online, data becomes free game to anyone or anything that has access to it. In day to day life, very little thought is devoted to the fate of anything posted online such as where it goes and to a large degree, who can access it, generally due to the false assumption that in the online world, data solidly stays only where it has been posted. Even in my own experience, I find that Googling myself brings me to things I've shared online on sites I didn't even know existed.

In my situation, there isn't any particular problem, as everything I can find about me I have intentionally published in some form or another, be it on The Philosophy of Nate or elsewhere. However, having an idea of where other parts of my identity are floating around the Internet is much scarier, mainly because I have no idea where it may be, public or not. One of my email addresses, for example, has sudd...

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07 October 2009

Update to account compromises (2)

The issues with the exposed email accounts have been far more widespread than previously thought. As the investigation continues, it appears that accounts for Windows Live, Yahoo, Google, AOL, EarthLink, and Comcast have been affected. Details for the affected accounts were posted online but have been taken down by request of the affected sites.

However, it seems that if you have any of those services, you should not start to worry about your privacy. Yahoo, Google, and Microsoft (Windows Live) have confirmed that all of the stolen accounts are real, but that they were compromised as a result of phishing attacks. This means that the account compromises were NOT resulting from internal security problems.

Security experts who are investigating say that the accounts were probably posted online NOT for data theft but instead to make a point to users about phishing attacks, which many people aren't well aware of. The specific order (alphabetical, it would s...

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