miércoles, 18 de febrero de 2009

Facebook y Big Brother

Referente al revuelo más reciente de Facebook:

Facebook's Fine-Print Fiasco
When social media site Facebook slipped in a clause giving it rights in perpetuity to users' content, consumer watchdog groups and privacy experts cried foul. Now it's backing off
By Douglas MacMillan
It's always a good idea to pay attention to the service terms on social media sites. The importance of reading the fine print became especially clear over the President's Day weekend during a recent brouhaha over social network Facebook and recent changes to the terms of service users must sign digitally before joining.
Initially, users paid little heed to a move by Facebook in early February to update its terms of service, announced with a brief note on the company blog by legal representative Suzie White, who said Facebook "simplified and clarified a lot of information that applies to you." At issue is the clause that says users, by signing on, give Facebook "an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license" to use, retain, and display content posted to the site. Facebook removed language saying that the license expires when a user leaves the site.
Defending the Policy
On Feb. 15, The Consumerist, a consumer blog, called attention to the changes, saying, "Now, anything you upload to Facebook can be used by Facebook in any way they deem fit, forever, no matter what you do later."
After witnessing an uproar in the blogosphere and on Facebook's own profile pages, on Feb. 18 the company retracted the changes and announced it would revert to its old terms of service. Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg explained in a blog entry that the company had "received a lot of questions and comments about the changes and what they mean for people and their information." The company is inviting users to contribute to a new version of its terms, in a group on the site called Facebook Bill of Rights and Responsibilities, which will be formed over "the next few weeks," according to Zuckerberg.
Yet initially, Facebook executives had taken pains to clarify the changes. A spokesman pointed out in an e-mail that the company wouldn't use information in a way that goes against the privacy settings outlined by users. For instance, it wouldn't publicly show a photo that a user wished to be shared only with friends. "Any limitations that a user puts on display of the relevant content are respected by Facebook," a company representative pointed out in an e-mail.
Zuckerberg said in a blog entry that his company's policies are comparable to those of e-mail service providers. "When a person shares something like a message with a friend, two copies of that information are created—one in the person's sent messages box and the other in their friend's inbox," Zuckerberg wrote. "Even if the person deactivates their account, their friend still has a copy of that message. We think this is the right way for Facebook to work, and it is consistent with how other services like e-mail work."
How Facebook Stacks Up Against Others
But how comparable were Facebook's revised service terms to those of other social media sites? Legal and privacy experts say Facebook was giving itself wider latitude in how it can use content than several other companies that rely on user-generated content. Retaining rights to content after the user has left is unprecedented for a social media site, says David Ardia, director of the Citizen Media Law Project at Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet & Society. Licenses granted to News Corp.'s (#HYPERLINK "http://investing.businessweek.com/research/stocks/snapshot/snapshot.asp?symbol=NWS"NWS) social network MySpace, Google's (#HYPERLINK "http://investing.businessweek.com/research/stocks/snapshot/snapshot.asp?symbol=GOOG"GOOG) video-sharing site YouTube, Yahoo's (#HYPERLINK "http://investing.businessweek.com/research/stocks/snapshot/snapshot.asp?symbol=YHOO"YHOO) photo-sharing site Flickr, and the microblogging site Twitter "end at the time a user terminates his or her account—or within a reasonable time after termination," Ardia says. "In this regard, Facebook's new terms of use are a significant departure."
MySpace removes from its site all content associated with any user who leaves. "Once you terminate, they say their license terminates," says Howard Susser, partner of the intellectual property group in the Boston-based law firm Burns & Levinson. YouTube's terms of service states that the license terminates after a "commercially reasonable time." Blogger Amanda French did a side-by-side comparison of several sites' terms of service and came to the conclusion that Facebook users had cause to be aggravated. "Facebook's claims to your content are extraordinarily grabby and arrogant," she writes.
So what would Facebook want with records of 25 Random Things About you or photos of your family vacation at the lake? It's possible the company didn't even know yet, Ardia says. But the site was adopting a legal tactic that predates even the Internet: "It's normally the best practice for a lawyer to recommend to their clients to take for themselves the broadest possible set of rights," he says.
And at a time when Facebook has yet to determine how to make money from the online activities of its more than 175 million users, it wants to retain access to a trove of data that could be used for marketing and other efforts to turn a profit. "It's not about them owning your content," says Ben Kunz, director of strategic planning for digital media consultancy Mediassociates. "They don't want to own your baby pictures. The most valuable thing they're creating is information about potential customers" that could be sold to marketers, he notes.
Beware the User Backlash
Whatever the purpose for the changes, Facebook didn't do a good enough job communicating the changes to the terms of service, privacy experts say. Rather than asking users to agree to the new terms, or even sending an e-mail alert to all users, the company added this line to its terms: "Your continued use of the Facebook Service after any such changes constitutes your acceptance of the new Terms." "That just isn't a good business practice," says Pam Dixon, executive director of the World Privacy Forum.
While numerous blogs and news outlets have picked up the story, Facebook has seen perhaps the most vocal reaction to its changes on its own site. Users created multiple Facebook groups protesting the changes, including one, "People Against the new Terms of Service (TOS)," that had more than 38,000 members at the time of this story's publication.
In November 2007, similar user protests caused Facebook to back down after introducing Beacon, a program to share user information with advertisers. "There are some nonlegal limitations that Facebook has to deal with," says Harvard's Ardia. "It also faces limitations that come from meeting the needs and expectations of their users."
"The social networking sites are at a real crossroads here: They can either differentiate themselves based on fair treatment of their customers" says privacy expert Dixon. "Or they can swim to the bottom and make a grab for all these rights."
Douglas MacMillan is a staff writer for BusinessWeek in New York.


Nota de ROF- Resumidas cuentas el intento de Facebook mediante el cambio en las condiciones contractuales buscaba poderse apropiar de data para crear una base de datos de sus participantes con fines de mercadeo, lo que se ha llamado "data-mining' (una cosa que han hecho una multitud de empresas que mediante sus operaciones consigue obtener data de sus clientes incluyendo Domino's Pizza, las diferentes empresas de celulares, Yahoo, etc.).

Luce a primeras instancias que el objetivo era poder 'vender' su universo de millones de usuarios para efecto de mercadeo de clientes comerciales.

El 'data-mining' que nace como un ejercicio puramente universitario (si no me equivoco una universidad de Pennsylvania lo desarrolla como base da datos de personas con predisposición a temas ambientales, que cosa ahh...) en cierto momento fue 'federalizado' como parte de la mentalidad ultraparanoica de pos 9/11 y de hecho es una de las práticas de vigilancia del sistema de seguridad de los EU bajo investigación en esta era de Obama.

Lo cierto es que desgraciadamente la vasta mayoría de los 'subversivos' o 'liberales' hace rato que figuran en listados del FBI y esa data proviene del uso de los 'emails', visita/ entrada a portales 'señalados' y de las máquinas de búsqueda (yahoo, google, etc.).

Personalmente recomiendo extrema cautela con el uso de los medios electrónicos igual que de los celulares (ironía de ironías, la telefonía alámbrica era más difícil de intervenir mientras que la tecnología de celulares al igual que el popular "WiFi" son extremadamente fácil y solo requiere el uso de un 'scanner' de ondas un aparato demasiado accesible -inclusive disponible en el mercado comercial doméstico- y de fácil manejo. Dicha característica ampliamente reconocida y pericialmente probada ha implicado, entre otras cosas, que tribunales hayan establecido que NO existe una presunción de confidencilidad/ intimidad/ privacidad cuando se trata de telefonía móvil-celulares incluyendo los tan de moda Blackberry -recuerdan la controversia tan aguda sobre si Obama podría seguir teniendo/manteniéndo el suyo siendo Presidente- y I-phones en su opción de texto/'emails'), gente no tienen ninguna garantía real de confidencialidad a menos que se utilicen sistemas de codificación- 'encryption'.

Igualmente cierto es que hasta el FBI no tiene tiempo ni personal para seguirle el rastro al universo de comunicaciones del Internet aunque tengan, que tienen de hecho, la capacidad de intervenir temporeramente TODOS LOS EMAILS DEL MUNDO (sistema curiosamente llamado Predator). Funcionan a base de lo que llaman 'Red Flags' (coincidencia el color ahh) por ejemplo si escribes en un buscador de data FBI o Cuba o FARC se alega que en materia de minutos en el centro de comunicaciones de Langley (FBI, CIA, DEA, NSA y demas entes de seguridad) te identifican aunque sea solo para anotar tu conducta como parte del perfil de usuario (y no para mandarte pizzas necesariamente ni ofertas de Borders).

Comoquiera en Puerto Rico nos tienen el ojo echado por lo menos desde 1935 (el legado nefasto de J. Edgar Hoover -luego el director/ creador del FBI nos otorga el deshonor de iniciar el programa COINTELPRO en 1961 en nuestra isla-, Cecil Snyder y el 'Security index' vive) y gente ¿de verdad alguien cree que el carpeteo no sigue existiendo? Claro nos dieron el fichero (literalmente tarjetas índice que asignaban números a individuos 'sospechosos' o 'subversivos') y las infames carpetas cuando los habían digitalizado. Hay dos constantes en la historia de nuestra isla: la represión (de cual forma parte la vigilancia 'preventiva') y lamentablemente los chotas tanto las personas (los famosos nombres tachados y otros no tachados en las carpetas) como ahora los sistemas como todo el sistema Microsoft desde la llegada de XP y su secuela. Amig@s con eso hay que bregar.

Igualmente cierto es que en China y Cuba nadie tiene acceso sin límite al Internet, durante las recientes Olimpiadas hasta arrestaron a periodistas que enviaron mensajes no aceptables para el gobierno de Beijing.


posdata- Gente esta nota surge luego que un amigo me envia alarmado un mensaje sobre el asunto, lo cierto es que ya en MSNBC lo habian reportado, eso si el tema me sirve de anticipo al tema que estoy trabajando pal' blog y que verán espero pronto.

nota adicional- "Según los expedientes del FBI que han obtenido algunos puertorriqueños, sabemos que esa agencia confirmaba sus informaciones sobre supuestos “subversivos” que vigilaba en la década del 60 con el Destacamento 471 de Inteligencia Militar, el Servicio de Investigaciones Navales y a la Oficina de Inteligencia de la Policía de Puerto Rico. Así me consta en un memorando de la oficina del FBI en San Juan, del 18 de diciembre de 1963, de una carpeta de un familiar mío.

Esto es confirmado por las viejas investigaciones de la Comisión de Derechos Civiles, el estudio del Dr. David Helfeld para el Comité de Derechos Civiles a finales de la década del 50 y publicado en 1964 por la Revista del Colegio de Abogados, y el estudio sobre el Programa COINTELPRO en Puerto Rico que hicieron la profesora Carmen Gautier Mayoral y Teresa Blanco Stahl, que se publicó originalmente en 1979 y se reprodujo en el libro de "Las Carpetas", de Ramón Bosque Pérez y Javier Colón Morera.

En una ponencia de Bosque Pérez en un foro auspiciado por la Asociación de Periodistas de Puerto Rico (ASPPRO) el 9 de marzo de 2001 en el Colegio de Abogados, indicó que aunque la oficina del FBI en San Juan negaba enfáticamente a la Prensa en esos días su participación en el carpeteo y la persecución política en Puerto Rico, la realidad es que “el FBI ha estado muy vinculado a la persecución política en Estados Unidos desde sus propios orígenes, según ha quedado documentado en los trabajos de numerosos historiadores, en informes de investigaciones del Congreso de Estados Unidos y hasta en algunas historias oficiales o semioficiales de la propia agencia federal”."
- Ponencia de la Comisión por la Verdad y la Justicia por Leila Andreu ante Comisión de lo Jurídico del Senado de Puerto Rico. 23 de enero de 2002.

Rev.- 20/2/09

3 comentarios:

Anónimo dijo...



Anónimo dijo...

EFFector Vol. 22, No. 05 Friday 20, 2009

Some highlights:

* January 31, 2006: EFF sued AT&T for helping the National Security Agency spy on millions of ordinary Americans in Hepting v. AT&T.

* May 26, 2006: EFF successfully defended the right of online journalists to require their ISPs to protect the confidentiality of their sources in Apple v. Does.

* June 16, 2007: EFF's FOIA project secured the release of
documents concerning the FBI's use of National Security
Letters. Revelations from the documents were cited during
the Senate investigations that led to the resignation of then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

* September 18, 2008: EFF filed suit directly against the NSA in Jewel v. NSA, seeking to stop the illegal warrantless wiretapping program.

EFF has been at the forefront of the fight to ensure that these new digital technologies and tools are used to enhance and extend our freedoms, rather than to restrict them.

Anónimo dijo...

The ACLU's vision of an uncensored Internet was clearly shared by the U.S. Supreme Court when it struck down the 1996 Communications Decency Act (CDA), a federal law that outlawed "indecent" communications online. Ruling unanimously in Reno v. ACLU, the Court declared the Internet to be a free speech zone, deserving of at least as much First Amendment protection as that afforded to books, newspapers and magazines. The government, the Court said, can no more restrict a person's access to words or images on the Internet than it could be allowed to snatch a book out of a reader's hands in the library, or cover over a statue of a nude in a museum.

The importance of the Internet as the "the most participatory form of mass speech yet developed," requires that the courts perpetually uphold the freedom of speech.

> Ashcroft v. ACLU - Challenge to Internet Censorship Law
> US v. American Library Assn. - Supreme Court Rules On Challenge to Library Web Blocking Law
> Edelman v. N2H2 Inc. - Protecting Censorware Research from DMCA
> Melvin v.Doe - Challenging Frivolous Breaches of Online Anonymity